If you’re short on time and looking for a luxury experience, here’s a unique way to see the Everest Region and all the main highlights. You’ll spend your nights in the comfort of Himalayan resorts (often with panoramic views) and your days either trekking and flying through the Everest region by helicopter.

Highlights

  • Experience the best of the Everest Region in a short amount of time
  • Get up close and personal with Mt. Everest by helicopter
  • Spend each one of your nights at a beautiful lodge, away from the main crowds
  • Explore the renowned Sherpa culture of the Khumbu Region
  • Trek sections of the Everest Base Camp trail without doing the whole thing

Overview

Many adventurous travelers dream of trekking through the Khumbu region, but not everybody has the time or inclination to complete the full Everest Base Camp trek. If money isn’t an issue and if you are looking for the best accommodation or would like to see the Khumbu region from a unique perspective, this is the perfect luxury trekking itinerary.

Besides the basic teahouses along the main trekking route where most travelers stay, there are a couple boutique and luxury hotel chains that have built beautiful lodges with excellent service and comfort (Yeti Mountain Homes and Everest Summit Lodges). Some of these lodges are along the main trekking route, while certain lodges are perched in their own unique location with incredible vantage points. At any of the lodges, you’ll find a comfortable night’s sleep, hot showers, and some of the best local cuisine in the Solu Khumbu. 

All photos © Yeti Mountain Lodge

Suggested itinerary

Day Activity Overnight Altitude
Day 1 Arrive in Kathmandu; private transfer to your hotel Dwarika’s Hotel 1440m
Day 2 Tour of Bhaktapur, an ancient city with Newari culture Dwarika’s Hotel 1440m
Day 3 Helicopter to Lukla (45 minutes); trek to Phakding (4 hrs) Yeti Mountain Home 2610m
Day 4 Trek to Namche Bazaar (6-7 hrs), the heartland of the Sherpa people Yeti Mountain Home 3440m
Day 5 Helicopter tour: EBC, Khumbu Icefall & Gokyo Lakes;
Visit the Edmund Hillary school and Everest Museum
Yeti Mountain Home 3440m
Day 6 Helicopter to Kongde Yeti Mountain Home 4250m
Day 7 Trek from Kongde to Phakding (5 hrs) Yeti Mountain Home 2610m
Day 8 Helicopter from Phakding to Kathmandu Dwarika’s Hotel 1440m
Day 9 Depart Kathmandu    

Traveling by helicopter

However, luxury travel in the Khumbu region isn’t just about the great hotels: the best part of this itinerary is that you’ll travel around by helicopter. The actual distance between Kathmandu and Mt. Everest (as well as the villages/hotels in the Khumbu region) is actually not that great (Everest is only about 100 miles/160 kilometers from Kathmandu).

Although it takes a long time to trek to Everest Base Camp, traveling by helicopter allows you to see the varied landscape in a shorter amount of time. Helicopters will take you from teeming Kathmandu to the green terraced farmland around Lukla and Namche Bazaar to the dazzling turquoise Gokyo Lakes and high-altitude icy, rocky desert around Everest in a matter of hours, rather than days.

Getting there & away

Flying from Kathmandu to Lukla by helicopter or small plane is the easiest and quickest way. This only takes 30-45 minutes. Plane flights are scheduled multiple times a day, and this is the cheapest option. Helicopters must be chartered independently, and are much more expensive. Keep in mind, flights of any type to or from Lukla are sensitive to the weather and can be canceled or postponed at short notice for safety reasons.

All photos © Yeti Mountain Lodge

Best season

Following the main trekking seasons in Nepal, the best time for visiting the Everest region is in Spring (March-May) and Fall (September-November). During these months, the days are warm and the skies are likely to be clear.

No matter what season you do this trip, flying by helicopter is always dependent on weather. In winter, snow and ice can sometimes limit landing spots, while in the summer monsoon, thick clouds can limit flying. That said, helicopters can fly under circumstances when fixed-wing planes can’t.

Yeti Mountain Home and Everest Summit lodges are open during the main trekking season but sometimes close during the summer and winter. If you book your trip in advance, however, the lodges can often accommodate your dates.

What to bring

It is essential to have sturdy hiking boots, a waterproof outer layer and other clothing that can be layered and put on/off as the weather requires. Lodges will be equipped with blankets for cold weather, and luxury lodges will be especially cozy in the cold.

Difficulty

The altitudes in the Khumbu region are relatively high, and altitude-related health problems can arise after ascending above 2500m. Because this itinerary includes flights that take you to higher elevations relative quickly, the overall difficulty of the trekking is less than on the full EBC trek, for example. The most challenging trekking day here is the 6-7 hour trek between Phakding and Namche Bazaar. The trail is mostly uphill, but you will catch your first glimpse of Everest this day and cross the highest suspension bridge in Nepal, so it will be memorable!

Because you will be flying between some places, there will be slightly less time to acclimatize naturally. Nevertheless, this itinerary only includes one night at a very high altitude (Kongde, 4250m), thus minimizing the risks of altitude-related problems.

All photos © Yeti Mountain Lodge

Accommodation & meals

Luxury lodges in the Everest region offer a very high standard of accommodation and food. Think Swiss ski chalet rather than an urban five-star hotel, however. Beds will come with electric blankets and/or hot water bottles, and rooms come with attached bathrooms with hot water. Most lodges are built and decorated with local design elements in mind, with Sherpa and Tibetan-style touches. Dining halls will be well-heated with a fireplace, and often have large windows so you can enjoy the view. Meals are of a high standard, often made with locally grown vegetables and reflect local cuisine, with noodles, rice, and curry.

Costs

This is a luxury itinerary, and costs reflect this. Traveling by helicopter in the Himalaya is expensive, but is an unforgettable experience. However, you may be pleasantly surprised how reasonable the luxury lodges are, especially by Western standards.

Permits & regulations

The Sagarmatha National Park (through which you'll be trekking) is a UNESCO World Heritage site. As with all treks in this park, you’ll needs a TIMS card ($10 USD) and a Sagarmatha National Park permit ($30 USD). Your tour company will arrange these permits for you.

Recent Trip Reviews

Related trips planned by kimkim specialists

Nagarkot hike, Nepal - Nov 25 - Nov 25, 2017

Traveler: Gunter F. - Local specialist: Ngima Dorji Sherpa

The contact with Ngima was very professional. He responded very expeditiously, answered questions, made proposals and showed flexibility.
However, the tour as such left much to be desired.
On the positive side, the team arrived at the hotel before the agreed time.
But then the announced guide was replaced by someone whose name I do not know until today.
This person was sporty, young and knew his way. But there was a communication gap.
I would have expected that at the start the guide provide... read more

The contact with Ngima was very professional. He responded very expeditiously, answered questions, made proposals and showed flexibility.
However, the tour as such left much to be desired.
On the positive side, the team arrived at the hotel before the agreed time.
But then the announced guide was replaced by someone whose name I do not know until today.
This person was sporty, young and knew his way. But there was a communication gap.
I would have expected that at the start the guide provide information likes this:
We drive now xyz hours/ Kilometres to the place abc from where we will hike def kilometres/ hours. Lunch will be at hotel klm.
There could have also been information on the villages we passed, on the cultivation of the plots, on nature, on the local way of life, local food etc., etc.,
None of this information was provided. It was somehow half-mentioned that we would walk 4 to 5 km, in the end it were 11 km, which is quite a difference.
When I asked in Nagakort where we would have lunch, the answer was “somewhere here”. I then suggested the Club Himalaya, which is a kind of reference point for Western tourists. On the way there, the guide all of sudden said that it was still 30 min to walk and suggested some other place. But my GPS showed a distance of 231 m straight line, so I insisted on going to this place which we reached after 5 min.
However, the weakest, almost unbelievable, aspect was the following: The tour price was USD 200. But for this price (hotels in Kathmandu offer the same tour for 50… 70 USD….), there was not even a bottle of water in the car or with the guide. So, I had to get out of my way and buy one (20 Rupees or 20 US cents) in one of the village kiosks on the way.
I have been working for many years in areas related to tourism development in developing countries (in fact, prior to Nepal. I had been in Ethiopia to check out two tourism destinations –Tigray and the Danakil Depression). So I can compare a bit many different experiences. The Nagakort experience was not among the better ones.
Finally, travel agencies make money by selling impressions and emotions. It should therefore be in their interest that the tourist places are in conditions that generate positive impressions and emotions. Nagarkot, particularly the Nagarkot Tower area, urgently needs a clean-up. Littering is so spoiling the place that I left prematurely. Travel agencies, in their own interest, should engage themselves in keeping this place clean and worthwhile a visit.

Wayne

Luxury trekking in the everest region - october, Nepal - Oct 14 - Oct 19, 2017

Traveler: Wayne L. - Local specialist: Ngima Dorji Sherpa

Ngima was fantastic

Pangboche to heli tour + bhutan, Nepal - May 21 - Jun 9, 2017

Traveler: Glenn K. - Local specialist: Ngima Dorji Sherpa

Although we never saw Ngima during our journey, his staff was on top of all aspects of our trip and everything went smoothly (except for the traffic in Katmandu, but even that was part of the "experience").