• Last Updated on Jul 11, 2024

The trip to Everest Base Camp and Three Passes passes through many scenic and different portions of Sagarmatha National Park. Not only will it take you to the world's most famous base camp, but it will also take you up and over three amazing mountain passes.

Three Passes Trek vs. Everest Base Camp: This argument has been ongoing for a few years and is still strong. There are still too many variances between them to allow them to be associated, even if they are more alike in that they both reside in the Everest region and are extremely well-known. The main draw of Three Passes and Everest Base Camp are their breathtaking panoramas, expansive landscapes, and distinctive geological characteristics. Trekkers must endure several obstacles to finish despite their breathtaking surroundings.

This Blog covers the differences between Everest Base Camp and the Three Passes Trek. It includes a thorough itinerary, route maps, difficulties, terrain information, and answers to concerns about cost, what to bring when to trek, and other topics. The Three Passes trip to Everest Base Camp is considered the most comprehensive trip in Nepal as it circles the Everest region. The trek's three high passes, Renjo La, Cho La, and Kongma La, each rising to over 5,000 meters, make it more difficult than the traditional Everest Base Camp Trek and its other versions.

On the other hand, the Everest Base Camp Trek is a simpler and quicker path. It includes a trip to Mount Everest's base camp but does not require traversing difficult mountain routes. The walk offers amazing views of the mountains, including Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse, and passes through the Sagarmatha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The walk is around 130 kilometers overall, usually taking 8 to 12 days to complete.

Compared to Everest Base Camp, the Three Passes Trail requires more walking through remote areas devoid of habitation, making it more challenging to trek there. Three Passes Trek is comparatively more demanding than Everest Base Camp, rising to a height of 5,535 meters.

Due to its steeper incline and rugged terrain, the Three Passes trek can rapidly cause hikers to become out of breath. As more hikers travel the trail, it also implies that Everest Base Camp is more popular than the Three Passes. Even climbers of Mount Everest and tourists to Kala Patthar and Island Peak have used it. Here, we'll review the differences between the Everest Base Camp Trek and the Everest Three Passes Trek. It considers variations in difficulty, landscape, social & cultural interactions, and overall experiences. The important thing to remember is that when choosing between these two trek packages, individual tastes, fitness levels, desired levels of effort, and level of resolve can all have a big impact. Continue to read to know more about both treks of the Everest region. 

Table of Contents

Quick Fact and Differences of Everest Base Camp and Three Passes Trek

Everest Three Passes Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek 

Length: 14–18 days.

Difficulty: Challenging Trek than Everest Base Camp 

Starting elevation: 2,800 meters (9,200 feet) at Lukla.

Peak elevation: Three Passes Are Mostly Over 5000 Metres Above Sea Level

Total Distance Travelled- 166 Kilometres

Guiding: Recommended and Required

Accommodations: Teahouses and Luxury accommodations available

When to Go: Fall peak trekking season is from October to early December; spring trekking season is in March and April.

Guiding: Recommended and Required

Access: Lukla, a 35-minute flight from Kathmandu.

Trek features- Suits adventure lovers, Requires some long Hiking Experience, Less Crowded, and Broad View of Sceneries.

Length: 12–18 days.

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging. The main EBC trail is in good condition, but the initial jump in altitude to Lukla can be challenging.

Starting elevation: 2,800 meters (9,200 feet) at Lukla.

Peak elevation: Only Gorakshep, Kala Patthar, and Base Camp Are Over 5,000 Metres Above Sea Level

Total Distance Travelled- 130 Kilometres

Guiding: Recommended and Required

Accommodations: Teahouses and Luxury accommodations available

When to Go: Fall peak trekking season is from October to early December; spring trekking season is in March and April.

Access: Lukla, a 35-minute flight from Kathmandu.

Trek features- The Most Popular Trek in Nepal, the Most Crowded, Does Not Require any Skills and Broad View but Less Compared To the Three Passes Trek.

Introduction of the Treks

Everest Three Pass Trek- An Introduction

By its very name, this journey is an Everest trek with three well-known passes in the area. People who undertake the Everest Three High Passes Trek visit Gokyo Lakes and Everest Base Camp. People participating in this three-pass trip complete a lengthy loop in the Everest base camp hiking track, connecting at Namche Bazaar.

The trip offers spectacular panoramas and a breathtakingly beautiful setting. The high heights necessitate personal fitness. Before attempting this journey, you must prepare. Four enormous 8,000-metre-plus peaks—Mt. Cho Oyu (8,201 m), Mt. Makalu (8,463 m), Mt. Lhotse (8,516 m), and Mt. Everest (8,848 m)—offers a rare chance to be humbled. 

Everest has numerous high passes, but the three around the mountain's base camp are particularly well-known because none of them requires technical climbing expertise. These three high-pass treks are easily doable with standard equipment and an average trekker.

Everest Base Camp Trek- An Introduction

Everest Base Camp is a paradise literally high in the skies. At a height of 5380 meters, Everest Base Camp offers breathtaking views of the towering mountains. A local expert guide accompanies this moderately difficult EBC trekking route, starting with an exciting adventure flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. From there, you trek through secret Buddhist monasteries, suspension bridges, and the center of Sherpa culture and enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Everest, Amadablam, Lhotse, and Makalu.

The Everest Base Camp Trek is a wonderful way to get a close-up look at the spectacular Mount Everest (8,848.86m), the highest point on Earth. Everest has been luring climbers to its peak and hikers to take in as much of its snow-covered faces since the early days of mountaineering. As a result, trekking to Mount Everest base camp has emerged as one of the best and most thrilling trekking destinations worldwide.

Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp Highlights

The Three Passes Trek's main highlights are Renjo La Pass, Cho La Pass, and Kongma La Pass. Similarly, the EBC Trek's main draw is the base camp of the tallest mountain in the world, Everest itself. Both treks' main draws are their unique natural wealth, various populations, cultures, flora and wildlife, and breathtaking views of the mystical Himalayas. Here are specific Three Passes Trek comparisons to Everest Base Camp highlights.

Everest Three Passes Trek

  • Cross the Kongma La Pass (5,535 meters), Cho La Pass (5,420 meters), and Renjo La Pass (5,340 meters), three high mountain passes.
  • Visit Mount Everest's base camp, the tallest mountain in the world at 5,364 meters
  • Explore Khumbu Glacier and Gokyo Ri (5,357m).
  • Beautiful mountain views, including those of Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse
  • Engage with local populations to gain insight into their culture and way of life.
  • Visit the Gokyo Lakes, a collection of freshwater lakes at a high altitude.
  • Sagarmatha National Park consists of remote and beautiful landscapes.
  • Encounter diverse flora and fauna, including threatened species like the red panda, blue sheep, snow leopard, and Himalayan tahr.
  • Viewpoints of Everest, snow-capped mountains, sunrises, and sunsets may all be explored.

Everest Base Camp Trek

  • Visit the base camp of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain, at 5,364 meters.
  • Walk through the Sagarmatha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Stunning views of the mountains, including Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse
  • Interact with local communities and learn about their culture and way of life
  • Visit the Tengboche Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Khumbu region
  • Optional side trip to Kala Patthar, a viewpoint offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains
  • Visit the final Sherpa settlement in the Everest region- Gorakshep.
  • In Sagarmatha National Park, encounter various flora and fauna.
  • Reach the tallest mountain's base camp, Everest Base Camp, at 5,364 meters above sea level.
  • Discover far-off villages' cultures, traditions, norms, customs, and languages.
  • Acclimatization at Namche Bazaar- the famous capital of the Sherpa people. 

Total distance, Route, and Duration of Everest Three pass Vs Everest Base Camp 


Everest Three Passes Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek

Total Distance

Approximately 166 kilometres (103 miles)

Approximately 130 kilometres (80.7 miles)

Starting Point



Recommended Route

Lukla -> Phakding -> Namche Bazaar -> Tengboche-> Dingboche-> Chukung -> Kongma La Pass-> Lobuche -> Gorak Shep -> Kala Patthar ->Cho La Pass -> Gokyo -> Renjo La Pass -> Marlung -> Namche Bazaar -> Lukla

  Lukla -> Namche Bazaar -> Tengboche -> Dingboche -> Lobuche -> Gorak Shep -> Everest Base Camp-> Kala Patthar



Trek Duration

Typically 16-20 days

Typically 12-14 days

Distance and Duration- 

Given the difference of about 35 kilometers in total distance between these two locations, the Three Passes Trek's time compared to the Everest Base Camp is rather obvious. The average time needed to complete the 166 km (103 mi) normal route of the Three Passes is between 15 and 18 days. Similarly, the typical trail distance to Everest Base Camp is only 130 kilometers (80.7 miles). It takes an average of 12 to 14 days to complete.

However, the length of both treks might vary depending on the choices, itinerary, season, and level of preparation of the hikers. Additionally, it is necessary to keep track of trekkers' activities to determine whether the typical length of these treks can be exceeded.

Routes of the treks- 

On average, the Everest Three Passes path is 166 kilometers (103 miles) long. Similarly, the trekking duration of the Everest Three Passes trek is around 16-20 days. It begins at Lukla and leads hikers through the stunning and secluded environment of Lukla, Phakding, and Monjo before arriving at Namche Bazaar, which serves as the entrance to Mount Everest. The trail leading to Gokyo Valley and Everest Base Camp is divided by the village of Namche. 

The typical path from the EBC begins on the right side and leads to Kongma La Pass first. Trekkers can either start at Kongma La Pass, make their way to Base Camp, and then cross Cho La and Renjo La, or they can start at Kongma La Pass, go to Base Camp, and then cross Cho La and Renjo La. Your personal preference and priority among these passes will determine your path. 

Choose which of the three passes you would like to cross first if you are unsure whether you can do all three so that you won't regret it even if you can't. This secret path, which allows you to visit the most well-known EBC and Kala Patthar first, is recommended. Start by going up Kong Ma La, then travel to EBC, Kala Patthar, and continue toward Gokyo Valley.

On the other hand, the Everest Base Camp is 130 kilometers (80.7 miles) away. 

Although both EBC and Three Pass have Lukla as their starting point, the EBC trek continues from Namche Bazaar's right side, passing via Tengboche, Dingoche, Lobuche, and Gorakshep before arriving at EBC. The trekking duration of the trek is 12-14 days. 

Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp Difficulty Levels



Everest Three Passes Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek

Difficulty Level


Moderately Challenging

High-Altitude Passes

Three passes over 5000 metres

No high-altitude passes


Altitude sickness, extreme weather, freezing temperatures, snowfalls

Altitude-related issues, bad weather

High altitudes Places During the Treks 

All passes above 5000 meters: Renjo La Pass (5360m), Cho La Pass (5420m), Kongma La Pass (5540m)

Everest Base Camp (5364m), Gorakshep (5164m)

Kala Patthar (5,644 m)

Duration of Trek

Longer due to passes and varied terrain

Shorter due to less elevation gain

Altitude Sickness

Moderate prone to Altitude Sickness

High Prone to Altitude Sickness

Challenges and Altitude Sickness 

While the Everest Base Camp Trek is a "Moderately Challenging" Trek, the Everest Three Passes Trek is "Challenging." The three high-altitude passes treks take trekkers to more than 5,000 meters. Trekking to these difficult sections of the treks presents substantial risks and difficulties. Trekkers may experience difficulties due to altitude sickness, severe weather, freezing temperatures, and snowfalls. This means the trek also requires careful planning and strategy. Therefore, We recommend that you prepare yourself for the Everest Base Camp trek and Three Passes Trek by joining a gym and hiring a good instructor. For more packing and preparation details, check our packing list by MRT here. 

However, compared to the Three Passes Trek, the Everest Base Camp Trek is moderately challenging, which means it does not pose a serious risk. The Everest Base Camp journey does, however, include some high-altitude areas over 5000 m. In addition, weather- and altitude-related problems are very common in this area. Despite the fact that this hike is not as difficult as crossing three passes, careful planning and preparation should be made. Here is more information about the EBC trek challenges in detail. 

High Elevations reached

The Three Passes are all situated at a height of 5000 meters

Kongma La Pass, at 5540 meters, is the first and highest pass we will reach from our route. The second is Cho La, which passes 5420 meters.  Last but not least, the third one is Renjo La Pass at 5360 meters.

Speaking of Everest Base Camp, it is located at a lower altitude than the other three passes in the Everest region, at around  5364 meters. Similarly, another high-elevation place you will reach during your EBC trek is Kala Patthar at 5,644 m. Compared to the Everest three-pass trek, the EBC trek with Kala Patthar is the highest point you will reach. On the EBC trail, Gorakshep [5164 meters] is the only place above 5000 meters. Renjo La Pass is also only 4 meters lower in elevation than EBC, which is higher than both.

Everest Three Passes Trek vs. Everest Base Camp Trek Cost Differences 


Everest Three Passes Trek Costs

Everest Base Camp Trek Costs

All Inclusive Package Costs

1 - 1 pax- US $1700

2 - 6 pax US $1600

7 - 10 pax US $1550

11 - 25 pax US $1500

1 - 1 pax US $1400

2 - 4 pax US $1300

5 - 10 pax US $1200

11 - 20 pax US $1175

Helicopter Tours

Around $1000- US $2000

Around US $1000- US $1300

Guide and Porter 

USD 20 to 30 per day

USD 20 to 30 per day

Accommodations Options and Costs Per Day

No Luxury accommodations available- USD 10 to 15 per person.

Various Luxury accommodations are available- with cost ranging from $10-$15

Permits Costs

Around NPR 5,000

Around NPR 5,000

Meal and Drinks Cost per Day

Around  USD 15 to 20

Around More than  USD 15 to 20 for Luxury meals

Travel Insurance

USD 120 or More for 6000 m Coverage

USD 120 or More for 6000 m Coverage

Costs of Treks 

Another important factor is the price difference between the Everest Base Camp and the Three Passes Trek. The package costs vary depending on the trekker's activities, interests, and preferences. 

The Three Passes Trek requires more planning because it is longer and more difficult than the EBC. This implies that hikers may have to spend extra money on this excursion. The typical price per person for the Everest Three Passes Trek is between $ 1,500 and $ 2,000. Similarly, an Everest Base Camp trek can cost between $1200  and $1800 per person. Luxury trekking is not available for the Everest three-pass trek. You can choose many luxurious services for your Everest base camp trek, like luxury accommodations services, helicopter services, etc.

These prices apply to the regular itinerary. The Three Passes Trek average cost is valid for roughly 15 to 18 days. Similar expenses are required for the 12- to 14-day Everest Base Camp itinerary. Looking at the price, it would seem that the Three Passes Trek is more expensive than the usual Everest Base Camp fee. However, as we've already indicated, several other factors can affect both an increase and a decrease in the cost of trekking.

In addition to hiking, there are different ways to enjoy Everest Base Camp and Everest Three Passes Treks. Among these, the most famous are helicopter tours. The cost of a group-sharing package for an Everest Base Camp helicopter tour in Nepal ranges from $1000 to $1300 per person with MRT. The average price per helicopter includes around $4500 if anyone is interested in a privately chartered excursion to Three Passes and Everest Base Camp.

Other Cost Factors (Permits, Accommodations, Food, Lukla Flight)

The cost of Everest Three Passes Trek and Everest Base Camp is also influenced by lodging and meals. The three-pass trek takes place in a remote area, so there aren't many tea house facilities in the higher region. Due to fewer lodging possibilities at higher elevations, the expense increases even further. Trekkers on the Three Passes and Everest Base Camp routes must pay the same amount because snacks and drinks are only available in the lower area.

However, there are more housing options for hikers at Everest Base Camp. In the Lower Valley, trekkers can reserve a room anywhere they wish, including guest houses, homestays, and tea houses. However, after they reach a greater altitude, their only alternative is to spend the night in a tea house, which can cost anything from $10 to $15 or more.

Additionally, trekkers must pay US$30 for the Sagarmatha National Park trek permit and an additional US$10 for TIMS. A porter and guide can be hired for anywhere between $25 and USD 30. Expect to pay considerably more if your weight exceeds the backpack's capacity by more than 25 kg.

A guide will also set you back $30 to $35 daily.

Moreover, to reach the starting point of the treks, Lukla trekkers must pay $150 to $200 to fly from Kathmandu to Lukla. A total of US$600 will be added to the price if they fly the town in a private helicopter, which can accommodate a maximum of 5 persons with our Kathmandu to Lukla flight options. 

Everest Three Passes Trek Vs Everest Base Camp Trek Itineraries 

Everest Three Passes Trek Itinerary 

Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary 

  1. Kathmandu Arrival

  2. Kathmandu to Lukla and Phakding

  3. Trek from Phakding to Monju and Namche Bazaar

  4. Acclimatisation in Namche Bazar

  5. Trek to Namche to Tengboche

  6. Trek to Tengboche to Dingboche

  7. Trek from Dingboche to Chhukhung

  8. Chhukhung to Lobuche Via Kongma La Pass

  9. Lobuche - Gorak Shep(5140m)

  10. Gorakshep-Kalapathar(5555m)-Zongla

  11. Zongla-Chola pass (5420) -Thagnak

  12. Thagnak-Gokyo(4790m)

  13. Rest day

  14. Gokyo - Renjo la pass- Marlung (4210m)

  15. Marlung-Thame-Namche Bazaar(3443m)

  16. Namche-Phakding-Lukla(2850m)

  17. Fly Back to Kathmandu

  18. Final Departure or onward for next program

  1. Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, then trek to Phakding (2610m)

  2. Trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3443m)

  3. Namche: Acclimatization and Rest Day

  4. Trek from Namche to tengboche (3875m)

  5. Trek from Pangboche to Dingboche (4410m)

  6. Rest day Dingboche 

  7. Trek from Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5140m) to Everest Base Camp (5364m), back to Gorak Shep

  8. Trek from Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5140m) to Everest Base Camp (5364m), back to Gorak Shep

  9. Trek from Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar (5555m) to Pheriche (4220m)

  10. Trek from Pheriche to Namche (3443m)

  11. Trek from Namche to Phakding and then to Lukla (2850m)

  12. Flight back to Kathmandu(1320m)


Everest Three passes Trek VS. Everest Base Camp Trek Crowds


Everest Three Passes Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek


It is less crowded, offering a more peaceful and quiet experience.

It is highly crowded with trekkers worldwide, often leading to traffic jams and reduced privacy.

Three Passes Provides Trekkers with a More Peaceful Trekking Trail. Although the trails may be somewhat challenging, they are not impossible to pass through. Moreover, trekkers should also hire a guide or porter to lead them along the way as solo trekking has now been banned in Nepal, and of course, for the fact that it is hard to find companionship on Three Passes.

On the other hand, the Everest Base Camp is busier and more crowded than Three Passes because this trek is the most popular trekking destination. Trekkers from around the globe travel their route to see the breathtaking vista of Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu, and Nuptse from the Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar. 

The main EBC trail is traveled by those who have come to see Kala Patthar, climb Mount Everest, or even hike Island Peak. As a result, the climb to Everest Base Camp continues to be more crowded than the trek to Three Passes. The main EBC trail is more congested, which is uncomfortable for hikers. Most hikers cannot arrive at their objective on time because tourists obstruct the trails. 

It's challenging to keep up the pace and even appreciate the solitude on such terrain. Positively, those who hike to Everest Base Camp will never feel alone because someone will always be with them. With more trekkers on the road, Accommodation and food will undoubtedly be difficult. 

Accessibility for the Everest Three Passes Trek VS. Everest Base Camp Trek 


Everest Three Passes Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek

High Altitude Challenges

Difficult due to elevation

Moderate due to lower elevation

Flight to Lukla

It is a scenic but challenging landing

It is a scenic but challenging landing


Included and Required for high altitudes

Included and Required for high altitudes


Higher precautions due to terrain

Precautions mainly due to altitude

Which Trek Is Right For You?

Trek Features

Everest Three Passes

Everest Base Camp 

Trek Difficulty

Challenging: Requires high-altitude trekking experience and stamina

Moderate: Suitable for trekkers with basic fitness levels

Key Highlights

Three high passes, remote villages, pristine landscapes

Iconic Everest views, Sherpa culture, Everest Base Camp

Trekking Experience Level

Experienced trekkers with prior high-altitude trekking experience

Suitable for trekkers with moderate fitness levels


Extensive acclimatization due to high elevations and passes

Gradual acclimatization along the route

Recommended for

  - Seasoned trekkers seeking a challenging adventure


  - Those interested in exploring less-visited areas


  - Adventure enthusiasts who enjoy remote locations


  - Trekkers with 16-20 days to spare for the trek


  - Trekkers with moderate fitness levels


  - Individuals wanting iconic Everest views


  - People interested in Sherpa culture and villages


  - Trekkers with a shorter time frame (12-14 days)

Preparations for the Everest Three Passes Trek VS Everest Base Camp Trek

Preparation Aspect

Everest Three Passes Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek

Physical Training

Intense and rigorous workouts focusing on major muscle groups and endurance.

Moderate workouts with a focus on maintaining overall fitness and endurance.

Duration of Training

At least one month of intensive cross-training and exercise.

Less than a month of regular exercise and fitness maintenance.

Cardiovascular Training

Essential for building stamina; includes jogging, cycling, brisk walking, and running.

Cardio exercise is important for overall fitness but doesn't require as much intensity.

Balance Improvement

Vital due to challenging terrain; balance can be improved through specific exercises.

Balance is important but can be improved with standard exercise routines.

Practice Walks

It is necessary to prepare for uneven and jagged trails. Short and long walks on various terrains.

Short hikes can help, but they are not as critical as for the Three Passes Trek.

Practice Walks

It is necessary to prepare for uneven and jagged trails. Short and long walks on various terrains.

Short hikes can help, but not as critical as for the Three Passes Trek.

Gym Time

Significant time in the gym is required.

Less time is required in the gym.

Difficulty Level

Physically demanding, trekkers must be in excellent shape.

Moderately demanding; suitable for those with good general fitness.

Acclimatization and preparedness are crucial factors to consider when planning a hike in the Nepal Himalayas because the high altitude can be physically taxing and lead to altitude sickness. To fully acclimatize and get ready for the high altitude of the Three Passes Trek and the Everest Base Camp Trek, consider the following advice:

- Give your body enough time to become used to the high altitude. Before attempting to traverse any difficult mountain passes or get to the Mount Everest base camps, allow yourself adequate time to acclimate.

- Ensure you are adequately hydrated to maintain your physical performance at high elevations by drinking lots of water. 

- Drink plenty of water, and you might want to think about electrolyte drinks to help replenish minerals lost through sweat.

- Eat a high-calorie diet because you'll need extra calories to fuel your body due to the high altitude's potential to enhance metabolism. To assist in maintaining your energy levels, eat enough high-energy meals, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

- Don't overexert yourself in the initial days of the walk. When you need to rest, pay attention to your body.

- Ensure you have the right equipment for the walk, such as warm layers, sturdy hiking boots, and a comfortable sleeping bag.

- Ensure your trip insurance coverage includes emergency evacuation and high-altitude trekking over 6000 m.

Final Say

There is no wrong choice among those trails; it depends on your time constraints, budget, and other considerations. Perhaps due to increased publicity, more people are climbing Everest by the traditional route. Still, if you'd prefer a unique experience of the Khambhu region, you might want to consider the three-pass journey.

As wonderful as it may sound, three passes are also difficult. In our opinion, you should go on a hike with a local guide because of the continuously shifting weather and other variables. This reading is fantastic if you intend to hike the Three Pass Trek alone.

If you're one of the travelers looking for assistance setting up the necessities, we're here to help. This trek will be led by one of our most experienced guides, who has traveled this path more than 20 times. Regarding customer satisfaction, We at MRT have a great record. 

Dipak Pande

Dipak Pande

Dipak starts to step up from potter, guide, and trekking leader to the company owner. Sometimes he share his experience with others as well as wrote in local travel news. Most of time he spend his time on mountain and his company.