The Everest Base Camp helicopter tour is a thrilling journey to the world's rooftop. However, the tour has recently undergone significant changes. The sad thing is that CAAN has prohibited helicopter landing on Kala Patthar. It will still be a different experience; you can read more about it here.
Before the recent change in the landing rules imposed by the CAAN, the old practice route where the helicopter tour to EBC, including landing at Kala Patthar, had been ranked as the best tour in Nepal.
To top it all up, the journey ended in Kala Patthar, famed for offering unparalleled perspectives of Mt. Everest, sunrise, and sunset. However, CAAN has suspended most of the Everest helicopter operations and landings at Kala Pattar after an unfortunate incident with the Manang helicopter.
Such helicopter restrictions also apply to shared helicopter flights. Previously, people could pay for sharing a 5-seater helicopter and go to Everest's base camp.
Nevertheless, the ban has led to the suspension of the shared chopper flights from Lukla; there are no more. Thus, there is no chance of taking a group helicopter flight towards Everest Base Camp with landing at Kala Patthar.
Currently, there is an option for a private helicopter ride with a limited capacity of two passengers stopping at Gorak Shep en route to the base of Everest.
This prohibition is due to an accident in a helicopter that happened in July 2023. The tragedy happened at Lamjura in Likhupik rural municipality in Solukhumbu district, where a Manang Air chopper accident killed six people. As a result, CAAN has put in place strict security guidelines for tourists' safety and helicopter operations in the Everest part of Nepal.
Even though there is a prohibition against landings at Kala Patthar, helicopter operations for search and rescue purposes have not stopped. Tourists can still be rescued using helicopters with prior permission, and they are allowed to cartage delicate goods.
Also, they can fly in and land under specified conditions. However, the Routine Everest Base Camp Heli tours with landing at Kala Patthar have been banned.
The head of conservation in the park has stated that although they do not offer landing permissions within the park boundary, a person needs prior approval to land at existing helipads within Lukla, Syangboche, and Namche Bazaar within the national park.
Park authorities have asked for cooperation from local stakeholders such as the police administration, hoteliers, lodge operators, civil aviation authority, intermediate zone management committee, and park's protective force to strictly ensure no helicopter lands other than the helipads on the designated zones of the Everest Region.
The landing at Kala Patthar is suspended pending further notice, while another alternate landing site is available at the Everest View Hotel in Namche. As a result of the recent helicopter accident in the Everest region, CAAN has enacted this rule as a preventive measure to reinforce safety and security standards.
The Everest base camp Heli tour now looks different. In response to this tragic incident in July 2023, CAAN has prioritized safety such that no shared helicopter flights can go past Lukla, and even Kala Patthar cannot be landed.
Despite that, the Everest BC helicopter tour will remain one of the greatest adventures. However, the itinerary will be altered as tourists need time to adjust to the new situation.
Before the ban on kala Patthar landings, the Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour would typically begin at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport. While you fly up in the helicopter, you will realize that you can see the ancient heritage sites of Kathmandu Valley in the distance.
The journey continues for about an hour after a short stopover at Lukla airport to refuel before reaching famous destinations of the region like Phakding, Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Dingboche, finally landing at Kala Patthar.
Nevertheless, new restrictions interfere with landing services around Kala Patthar, thus changing the traditional Everest Base Camp helicopter journey route entirely.
The updated itinerary now starts from the Kathmandu airport, directly taking you from Kathmandu to Lukla in phase 1. For phase 2, you land at Lukla for refueling.
After a refill, you fly over the Periche, Kala Patthar, and Everest base camp, finally landing at Hotel Everest view For your scenic breakfast in front of Mt Everest (the tallest mountain in the world). The revised route of the Everest base camp helicopter tour provides a different perspective on viewing the Everest region, making it a memorable trip.
Updated Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour Itinerary
Transfer from Hotel to Airport in early at around 5:50 AM
Start your amazing Everest base camp helicopter tour with an effortless pick from your hotel to the starting point of the helicopter tour, i.e., Kathmandu Airport Helipad.
Scheduled at around 5 in the morning, this transfer ensures your flying adventure to the Everest region is not delayed. Kathmandu Valley, situated at a height of 1,300m, provides an ideal starting point for your trek into the Himalayas.
The tension keeps mounting as you walk towards the Helipad, preparing the way for the amazing views ahead. Mountain Rock Treks will take care of every detail to ensure your once-in-a-lifetime vacation in Everest starts on time.
This tour does not entail any hiking; it is better to be prepared by dressing warmly by wearing a proper jacket, gloves, trousers, and sunglasses. Similarly, you may or may not get to shop in the local tea houses en route. Therefore, ensure you have at least water bottles, light snacks for those who get hungry easily, and any needed medications (in a handbag).
Airport Check-in To Board a Helicopter
Upon arrival at the airport from your hotel, you must check-in and confirm your booking. This is one of the key stages before your helicopter trip, where you must present all the documents for your Everest helicopter tour.
They can ask you for a passport copy weighing you, among other things. Every helicopter has a weight capacity; thus, this is critical to Everest helicopter tours.
After that, you will go through the boarding pass checkpoint and into the main hall of waiting rooms. However, sometimes, you must wait for a while before your helicopter tour begins due to weather conditions.
The operators will confirm that the weather at Helipad is good enough for the safe conduct of the helicopter tour. In the meantime, you will also receive a Helicopter safety guideline and briefing on how to operate a helicopter’s door, among other things.
The safety guides also include some important safety instructions, like only using the front section of the helicopter for entry and exit. Finally, we will go to the Helipad. We shall verify the weather conditions of our Everest Base Camp journey to check if it is secure there.
We must also obtain a permit from the tower. The captain shall brief you on your safety measures and demonstrate how the helicopter door operates and where you should sit. Also, during this part, you will be able to clarify any questions related to the helicopter flight to create a good environment for collaboration and make the trip amazing.
You should always enter through the front—never get close to the tail. And if you need oxygen, our captain can provide it in an emergency.
Phase 1 - Flight to Lukla and Fueling
After completing all your work at the airport, you begin your helicopter trip to Lukla from Kathmandu. Their first destination is the Lukla Airport at 2800 meters or 9,000 feet. At around 6:40 in the morning, we will fly to Kathmandu by helicopter.
Weather or seasonality determines departure. As we go eastwards, you can see some amazing scenes. Upon takeoff from Kathmandu, the beautiful resettlements of Nagarkot, Bhaktapur, Dolkha, Jirin, etc. will be visible.
Similarly, It is possible to glimpse Mt Manaslu to your left during the clear days, along with other mountains like Djore Lakpa, Ganesh, and mountain Langtang to the far east.
Moreover, the flight entails encountering verdant grass slopes, terrace fields (over 3,000 years old), and vegetation such as rhododendrons, pine, and fir forest. Lamjura La pass allows you to glance at Mt Lhotse and Mt Everest at a glance from one of its sides. After landing in Lukla, travelers can spend about 10 - 15 minute breaks during helicopter refueling.
Phase 2 - Fly to Pheriche From Lukla
Upon refueling and performing any other critical activity, our helicopter tour is headed to the Khumbu region at around 7:50 AM. The second stage of this journey takes us along the Dudh Koshi River.
On our way, watch out for the villages, lodges, and tea houses along the trail - resting places for walkers and climbers. The helicopter flies over well-known locations such as Namche Bazaar, Khumjung, and Phortse, all against an impressive backdrop formed by the summit of Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam. Impressive Mount. Cho-Oyu, ranked the sixth-highest mountain in the world, lies on your right.
Similarly, You may be fortunate enough to see how the religious festival called Mani-Rimdu is carried out during the latter part of October or the first days of November as we fly past one of the well-known monasteries, Tengboche.
The flight continues further, taking you to Pangboche and then Periche. Located at around an elevation of 4,371 m (14,340 ft) just above the Tsola River, this village in the Everest region is a famous resting point for climbers and trekkers.
Phase 3- Flying High Over Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar
At around 8:30 am, the peak moment comes, which includes flying across the renowned Everest base camp and Kala Patthar. The passengers are then taken into an amazing world as the helicopter flies over these two famous locations.
On soaring upward, you’ll pass through Thukla and see views of Cho-La pass on your left and Lobuche peak, with a settlement and lodges around it. You will have great views of Mt. Pumori, too.
Then, you’ll soar via the Khumbu Glacier towards the village of Goreksepb before the Everest base camp. After that, the helicopter goes higher than the base camp, where you will see many tents and mountaineers preparing for their Everest expeditions.
The colorful collection of tents, the Base Camp, is an iconic reminder of man’s unconquerable spirit. Close by, there is Kala Patthar, whose prominence affords matchless views of the Everest range. This is an opportunity for travelers to take photos with other images that will remind them about one rare time in their lives.
Note: The helicopter will not land at Kala Patthar or Everest Base Camp due to the new CAAN rules.
Phase 4 - land at Hotel Everest View for Breakfast with a View
After flying over Everest base camp and Kala Patthar, the helicopter will return to Lukla via Namche bazaar again. You will land at one of the most famous hotels in the world, i.e., Everest View Hotel, at an altitude of 3880 meters,approximately 1200 feet.
The settings are amazing! You will see scenic mountains and Namche, the beautiful village, from your window. Similarly, you will have around 45-60 minutes of free time after landing at this hotel.
During this 45-60 minutes of spare time, you can savor the delicious breakfast in the shadows of Ama Dablam and Mt. Everest. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is one of the best places on earth with free WiFi, established by Japanese enthusiasts around 52 years ago.
Everest View Hotel is among the best five-star hotels at high elevations. The hotel's terrace has an amazing view of mountains like Mount Everest, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Tawache, and Thamserku.
Phase 5 - Flight back to Lukla and stopover for refueling
At 9:45 AM, we end our wonderful hour at Hotel Everest View and head back to Lukla to fuel quickly. We finally set off, returning to Kathmandu through the most beautiful scenery. This is the end of some exceptional experiences that impressed me deeply with beautiful sceneries and unforgettable memories.
Phase 6 - Flight back to Tribhuvan International Airport (Kathmandu) and return to your hotel.
The return trip again starts in the one that takes you from Lukla to Kathmandu after an astonishing Everest Base Camp Helicopter tour. On arrival, you undergo immigration procedures and appear from the domestic part of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Kathmandu.
On arrival at the TIA domestic terminal exit, our Mountain Rock Treks agent will pick you up and drive you to your respective hotel. This is where your tour now officially ends, but not without leaving a memory trail about the Himalayan view and the excitement of viewing Everest Base Camp, Kala Patthar, Mt Everest, and many other attractions in a helicopter.
Despite CAAN restricting helicopter landing at Kala Patthar, the newly updated itinerary on the Everest base camp helicopter tour has made the trek the better version. The ban does not allow direct landing at Kala Patthar or Everest Base. However, the tour includes a more exciting adventure than before.
Though, for some time, there was an impossibility of landing at Kala Patthar, the Everest Base Camp helicopter tour remains exciting to travel around the magical beauty of the mighty Himalayas.
With a new look, the tour has other landing options like the Everest Heli Tour landing at the Everest View Hotel or the Helicopter returning on the Everest base camp trek. This is because these alternatives ensure the participants enjoy the wonderful scenery in the Everest region without walking on foot.
The main characteristic worth mentioning in the updated itinerary of the Everest base camp helicopter tour is flexibility.
This has pushed tour operators to create new routes and incorporate different destinations and activities like spending more time in the Everest View Hotel, encountering the EBC and Kala Patthar from above, and many more.
These ensure participants are taken into the heart of the Everest region at their pace, ensuring everyone understands everything and having an opportunity to select what would suit them best.