Everest Base Camp Tibet in 2021: The Definitive Guide

This is a guide to how to visit Everest Base Camp Tibet. At the moment, it looks likely that Tibet won’t be open again for travelers until 2021, though it’s a good idea to start planning now.

Everest Base Camp Tibet: Yolanda O'Bannon of YoWangdu at EBC on the Tibet side.
YoWangdu’s Yolanda O’Bannon at Everest Base Camp on the Tibet side.

In this up-to-date and definitive guide, you will learn:

  • How to get to Mount Everest Base Camp
  • How to get the permits and visa you need for Tibet
  • Answers to your top questions about Everest and Everest Base Camp
  • The best Everest Base Camp tours
  • And a lot more…
Everest Base Camp Tibet: Everest from Everest Base Camp and Rongbuk Monastery
View of Mount Everest from Rongbuk Monastery on the Tibet side.

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents Show

TOP TEN QUESTIONS ABOUT MT. EVEREST AND EVEREST BASE CAMP

Before we get into the details, let’s start with quick answers to the most common questions:

#1 Can you see Mt. Everest from Lhasa?

Everest Via Tibet: View of Everest from the Gyawu La Pass
View of Everest, the large peak on the left, from the Gyawu La Pass.

Everest is not visible from Lhasa, since it is almost 300 miles / 482 km away as the crow flies. (Almost 400 miles / 643 km via winding mountain roads.)

Coming from Lhasa, you can get your first glimpse of Everest from the Gyawu La Pass, between Lhatse and Shelkar.

#2 Where is Mount Everest located?

If you wonder if Everest is in Nepal or Tibet, you may be surprised to know that it is in both.

Mount Everest Map: Location of Mount Everest on the Tibet-Nepal border.
Location of Mount Everest on the Tibet-Nepal border.

To find where Mount Everest is located on a map, you will see that the mountain straddles the border between Nepal and Tibet and the summit sits exactly on the border. 

A mountain climber can climb up one side, from one country, and descend down the other side, into a different country. (Amazingly, this has been done, by climbers from Nepal and from Tibet, on the same day!)  

That’s why you will find two major Everest Base Camps, one on the northern side of Mount Everest, in Tibet, and one to the south, in Nepal. 

In this post, we focus on the base camp on the Tibet side, which you can see here, in this beautiful night view:

Mount Everest: Night view of Mount Everest from Base Camp on the Tibet side.
Night view of Mount Everest from Base Camp on the Tibet side.

#3 Is Mount Everest Base Camp closed?

Generally, both the Tibetan and Nepali base camps are open to travelers. Misinformation about access to the Tibetan side spread in 2019, when the Chinese authorities slightly moved back the farthest access points for travelers.

Now, Tibet travelers can only go as far as the Rongbuk Monastery area rather than a few kilometers farther, as they used to be able to do. It’s not a big difference in terms of experiencing the view of Everest. 

Lhasa to Everest Base Camp by car
Arriving at Mount Everest when you travel Lhasa to Everest Base Camp by car.

2020 Travel Advisory: Due to the current health crisis, Tibet is temporarily closed to all foreign travelers. There has been no announcement regarding a re-open date. However, travelers can pre-book travel for a later date. At the same time, you will support local Tibetan-owned businesses at a time when they are struggling to survive. To learn more, ask us for an introduction to a reliable Tibetan travel agency here.

#4 Which is better: “Tibet or Nepal Everest base camp”?

Full disclosure: We are basing this answer in part on extensive research, since we have only been to Mt. Everest Base Camp on the Tibet side, and not to the Nepal base camp.

Advantages of Everest Base Camp Tibet

Tibetan man at Mount Everest Base Camp.
Tibetan man from the Kham area at Mount Everest Base Camp.
  • The view is more expansive, not obscured by other mountains. Compare the unobscured view of Everest above, with the view below shown from the Nepal side. From the Nepali side, you can only see the topmost part of Everest. It is the darker summit peeking out from the center. The smaller white peak is Pumori and the pointy white mountain to the right is Nuptse.
  • You can drive there or trek there, your choice.
  • You can see Lhasa and other Tibetan highlights on the same trip.

Advantages of Everest Base Camp Nepal

View of Mount Everest and Lhotse from Kala Patthar. Photo by Gerd Eichmann.
View of Pumori, Everest and Nuptse from Kala Patthar. Photo by Gerd Eichmann.
  • More varied and spectacular trekking
  • Easier to get visa and permit for Nepal than Tibet
  • You can travel independently in Nepal

#5 How high is Everest Base Camp?

Everest Base Camp Tibet elevation: 17,060 ft/ 5200 m

When we talk about Everest Base Camp in this post, we are referring to the base camp that travelers are allowed to visit, near the Rongbuk Monastery area.

Mountaineers use a different base camp located at the foot of the Rongbuk Glacier.

Note: The altitude of EBC is near the upper limit of what is generally regarded as “very high” altitude. Above 18,000 ft / 5486 m becomes “extreme high” altitude.

To get critical information on how to avoid altitude sickness, see the section below on Staying Healthy and Safe at Everest Base Camp.

Everest Base Camp Tibet
View of Everest taken from the International Space Station. Annotation of NASA image done by YoWangdu Experience Tibet.

#6  How hard is it to get to Everest Base Camp?

On the Tibet side, the hardest part of getting to base camp is getting to Tibet itself. It’s not that hard to visit Tibet, but you will require a Chinese visa plus a special permit for Tibet.

Chinese Visa
Sample of a Chinese Visa in a US passport.

You will also need to be on an official tour (This can be either a private tour or on a group tour.) Your Tibet travel agency will arrange all the details.

You can choose a trek or to drive to Mount Everest Base Camp on the Tibet side. If you would like a recommendation for a reliable, Tibetan-owned agency, ask us here.) 

#7 Is Everest Base Camp safe?

The greatest danger at Everest Base Camp is altitude sickness.

And there is a lot you can do to avoid it!

See our complete beginner’s guide to avoiding altitude sickness here.

You are particularly at risk for altitude sickness if you take an overland trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa, via Everest. We strongly recommend that you do not do this. It is much better to visit Everest on the way from Lhasa to Kathmandu, instead.

Everest Base Camp Elevation
Stone at Everest Base Camp Tibet showing the elevation.

The numbers of people who die at base camp on the Tibet side are generally not published, but certainly this happens. 

We have heard once of trekking deaths from unexpected snow and an avalanche but this is more rare we believe.

#8 How cold is Everest Base Camp?

Because it is so high, the traveler’s base camp at Everest is always considerably colder than Lhasa, no matter what time of year. And it’s especially cold at night. 

The Meteoblue website has an excellent page on the climate at Everest Base Camp on the Tibet side. Here is a useful chart from their website:

Average temperatures and days of rain at Everest Base Camp Tibet
Everest Base Camp Weather
Everest Base Camp Weather: Average temperatures and precipitation. Credit to Meteoblue.

As you might expect, July and August are the warmest months, with highs over 50 F. 

January and February are the coldest, with average highs in the mid 20’s F. 

Average daytime and nighttime temperatures

Spring

  • Daytime average temperatures: 41 F/ 5 C
  • Nighttime average temperature: 19 F/ -7 C

Summer

  • Daytime average temperatures:  50 F/ 10 C
  • Nighttime average temperature:  23 F/ -5 C
Everest Base Camp on the Tibet Side.

Fall

  • Daytime average temperatures: 41 F/ 5 C
  • Nighttime average temperature: 19 f/ -7 C

Winter

  • Average daytime temps: 23 F/ -5 C
  • Average nighttime temps: 5 F/ -15 C
View of Everest Base Camp Tibet on an uncommonly snowy day in winter.
View of Everest Base Camp Tibet on an uncommonly snowy day in winter.

#9 How long does it take to go from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp?

The distance is 403 miles / 650 km by road.

Generally speaking, after acclimatizing in Lhasa several days, we recommend that you take four days to drive to Mt. Everest Base Camp. Along the way you will see some of Tibet’s highlights.

The route would look like this:

  • Lhasa to Gyantse
  • Gyantse to Shigatse
  • Shigatse to Sakya to Shegar
  • Shegar to Everest Base Camp

#10 How tall is Mount Everest?

Mount Everest elevation: 29,029 feet/ 8848 meters.

It’s still growing about a quarter inch a year.

To give you a little bit of an idea of just how crazy high the summit of Everest and even Everest Base Camp are, check out this amazing NASA image taken from space.

View of Mount Everest from Space by NASA
View of Mount Everest from Space by NASA. Thanks to Janderk Jan Derk for the annotation.

The astronauts took the image from their position in space over the Tibetan Plateau, looking south from Tibet toward Nepal.

You can see both Makalu (27,765 ft/ 8462 m) and Everest (29,035 ft/ 8850 m)at heights that are usually flown by commercial aircraft!

HOW TO GET TO MOUNT EVEREST BASE CAMP

To reach Everest Base Camp from the Tibet side, first of all, you’ll need to get into Tibet.

You can enter Tibet from either mainland China, or from Nepal. 

Entering Tibet from China

Visiting Tibet: Tibet Train Soft Sleeper

From mainland China, you can enter Tibet by air, train, and even by driving overland on the Sichuan Tibet Highway. See more details on getting to Tibet from China >>

We recommend flying into Xining, acclimatizing a few nights, then taking the Tibet train to Lhasa.  

Entering Tibet from Nepal

From Nepal, you can enter Tibet by air or overland, via the Friendship Highway. 

Kyirong Border gate to enter Nepal
Kyirong Border gate to enter Nepal

Note: We STRONGLY recommend against traveling to Tibet this way, due to major risk of serious altitude sickness. This is caused by the unavoidably high elevations at which you must sleep after crossing into Tibet on this route.

Though it sounds counterintuitive, it is actually better to fly directly to Lhasa from Kathmandu than to go overland, in terms of altitude sickness risk.

Learn more about how to travel to Tibet from Nepal here >>

How to Get Your Visa and Tibet Travel Permit

No matter how you enter Tibet, you will require two major pieces of documentation. 

  1. A Chinese visa 
  2. A special permit for entering the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) — which is where Everest Base Camp Tibet is located.

You can get the visa on your own, but to receive the permit for the TAR, you have to be part of an organized tour with a certified Tibet travel agency. (Fortunately, your “tour” can be a private tour.)

Tibet Travel Permit

If you’d like us to provide you with a Tibet travel agency recommendation to organize either a group or private tour, contact us here

Note that there are different rules for getting your visa and permit from mainland China vs. from Nepal.

Details on getting a visa and permit for Tibet >>

ONCE YOU ARE IN TIBET…

Once you are in Tibet, you have two choices for approaching EBC at Mount Everest, you can trek in, or drive in:

Trek to EBC

Camping on the Everest North Base Camp Trek
Camping on the Everest North Base Camp Trek

To take the Everest Base Camp trek, you will generally start in Lhasa for acclimatization for at least a few days, then take a vehicle to the town of Old Tingri, where you’ll take a 4-day trek to Everest Base Camp.

Everest Base Camp Map for the Trekking Route

Here’s a rough hand-drawn map from our Tibetan guide that shows the general routes into Everest Base Camp on the Tibet side.

You will be driving from Lhasa and Shigatse (shown on the far left of the map), through Shelkar (also called New Tingri) and the border check point.

Hand drawn Everest Base Camp Map
Hand drawn Everest Base Camp map showing trekking route from Old Tingri to the bus station.

If you are driving, you take the left fork to drive to the Eco-bus station, but if you are trekking, you will take the right fork to continue on to Old Tingri. You’ll start your trek there, and follow the broken line toward the Eco-Bus station and EBC (Everest Base Camp).

If you are a trekker, you can choose to take the Ecobus from the station or to continue trekking all the way to EBC without taking the bus.

Note that the orientation of the map is not your typical north/south orientation. On the Google map below you can see the actual orientation. The border check point shown on the hand drawn map is between Shelkar/Sheger and Tingri/Old Tingri, and you would branch off there, south toward Mt. Everest, if you are driving.

How to get to mount everest base camp
To get to Mount Everest Base Camp, on the Tibet side, you will usually journey from Lhasa or Kyirong/Gyirong.

Drive to EBC

It is much more common to go from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp by car. Again, you start in Lhasa for acclimatization and sightseeing, and then drive to Everest Base Camp. 

Can you drive to mount Everest base camp? Along the way, you drive by the Yarlung Tsampo River.
Views of the Yarlung Tsampo River on the drive to mount Everest base camp in Tibet.

The Final Leg: Ecobus

Since June 2019, travelers driving to Everest have to transfer to the “Ecobus” for the last 12 miles/ 20 km. There’s nothing “eco” about the bus itself. It’s called that supposedly because it stops individual tourist vehicles from impacting the environment around base camp. 

How hard is it to get to Everest Base Camp? Take the eco-bus as the last step.
The “eco-bus” is the last stage of the journey to EBC on the Tibet side.

The bus station is a remote little outpost about 50 miles/ 80 km inside the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve. (Qomolangma is the Chinese transliteration for the Tibetan name for Mt. Everest, Chomolangma.)

How difficult is it to get to Everest Base Camp?
On the final leg of the journey to Everest Base Camp, the gate to the Mt. Everest Nature Preserve.

The buses run frequently, generally from sunrise to sundown. 

There’s a fee for the bus, so you might want to check if that is covered in your tour cost. 

RECOMMENDED EVEREST BASE CAMP TOURS

You have an embarrassment of riches if you’re trying to decide what kind of Tibet Everest Base Camp tour to take.

Yolanda with Tibetan Guide at the Gyantse Kumbum.
Yolanda with Tibetan Guide at the Gyantse Kumbum.

Ultimately, your choice will depend on:

  • how long you have for the journey
  • how much you value feeling good at high altitude
  • how keen you are keen to trek 

Most Popular: Shorter Tibet Everest Base Camp Tour

Easily the most popular Mount Everest tour on the Tibet side is an eight day journey that is great in many ways but lacking in one important aspect. 

On the good side, this is a Tibet tour in which you experience many of the highlights of central Tibet: Lhasa, Shigatse, Gyantse, sky lakes, glaciers, exciting high passes, and of course Mount Everest herself. And you get them in a compact amount of time.

Barkhor in front of Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet: Man praying

But here’s the bad news…

This 8-day tour ascends too quickly for safe, effective acclimatization. None of the tour agencies tell you this, but the common itinerary completely blows past all the basic acclimatization rules about how high you can safely ascend each day.

Still, many, many Tibet travelers choose this tour. 

To get details on this tour, ask us for a free introduction to a Tibetan-owned travel agency. 

Recommended: Safer Tibet Everest Base Camp Tour 

Since we are obsessed with helping travelers experience Tibet as safely as possible while feeling as good as possible, we ourselves recommend a slightly longer EBC tour. 

Everest Base Camp Trip: Karo La pass along the way
On an Everest Base Camp from Lhasa, you can pass by the Karo la pass.

This is a 10-day trip that follows the same route as the popular 8-day trip, but lowers altitude sickness risk by ascending more slowly. 

Reduce your chance of altitude sickness by choosing the “easier acclimatizing” EBC tour >>

Recommended for trekkers with time: Mt. Kailash Trek Tour

One of the most spectacular journeys in the world is the Mount Kailash trekking tour. In just over two weeks, you get the major highlights of central Tibet.

In this journey, in addition to experiencing Mount Everest, you get the cultural treasures of Lhasa, Shigatse and Gyantse, plus extraordinary lakes and glaciers. 

A view of Lake Manasarovar and the Barkha Plain from the foothills of Mount Kailash.
A view of Lake Manasarovar and the Barkha Plain from the foothills of Mount Kailash.

AND you take one of the world’s great treks — the three day high altitude kora around one of the holiest mountains in the world, Mt. Kailash.

Learn more about the extraordinary Mt. Kailash trekking tour >>

Everest Base Camp Trek

If you’re keen to trek, and you don’t have time to do the Mt. Kailash kora trek, you can do a journey that includes a 4-day trek.

You start with touring Lhasa, then driving through and visiting amazing sites in Gyantse, Shigatse, before reaching the town of Old Tingri (14,402 ft/ 4390 m).

Your trek starts there, with views on clear days of Cho Oyu and Mount Everest. (There’s a sightseeing platform in Tingri built for this view.)

The trekking route to Everest used to be the road used by cars, but since 2017, the road has been closed to cars except for local villagers.

Everest Base Camp Trek: Camping along the way, with support.
Everest Base Camp Trek: Camping along the way, with support.

The 37 mile/ 60 km trekking route first crosses the grasslands of the Tingri Plain and heads into the wide Ra-Chu Valley. You spend the first night in Lungthang (14796 ft/ 4510 m).

On day two you climb to the Lamna La Pass (16,896 ft/ 5150 m), described by some as “featureless” and “desolate.”

Day three descends into a barren valley and across vast meadows with yaks to the village of Zommug (17,060 ft/ 5200 m).

On the final day, you meet with the main road from Shegar.

After the views of Cho Oyu and Mount Everest from Tingri before you start the trek, you won’t see Everest again until this third day.

In the Basum village area, you can take the Eco-bus the final miles to Rongbuk Monastery and Everest Base Camp. Unlike those who arrive by car at the Eco-bus station, as a trekker, you can choose to walk all the way to Everest Base Camp. However, know that you will be walking along the road, so you may not wish to.

In general, the landscapes on this trek are somewhat barren and not nearly as varied and spectacular as those of the EBC trek in Nepal.

If you’d like us to provide you with a Tibet travel agency recommendation to learn more about this trek, contact us here

Tibet-Nepal Overland: Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour

Another extraordinary Tibet travel opportunity that includes a visit to Everest Base Camp is the classic overland journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu. 

Boudhanath Temple Kathmandu Nepal

Note: The roads on the Nepal side, after you get to the Tibet-Nepal border are reportedly pretty awful. 

Get details on the Tibet to Nepal overland tour >>

FUN MOUNT EVEREST FACTS

Who are the most famous everest climbers?

First person to climb Mount Everest

Although Sir Edmund Hillary is often given sole credit for this, he climbed the mountain with Tenzing Norgay from Nepal and they reached the summit at virtually the same time on May 29, 1953.

First person to climb Everest: Tenzin Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary
First people to climb Everest: Tenzin Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary

First Woman to Climb Everest

Junko Tabei from Japan made the first female ascent, as part of an all-woman team — even though she was buried by an avalanche on the way up!

First woman to climb Everest: Junko Tabei
First woman to climb Everest: Junko Tabei

Most Times to Summit Everest?

Kami Rita Sherpa, a Nepali Sherpa, has climbed Everest an incredible 23 times, most recently in May 2019, at age 49.

Famous Everest Climbers: Kami Rita Sherpa, person who has climbed Everest the most times.
Kami Rita Sherpa has climbed Everest a record-breaking 23 times.

Youngest Climbers


At 13, Jordan Romero was the youngest to reach the top, in May 2010.

The youngest girl is Indian Malavath Purna, who was just one month older than Jordan when she submitted in May 2014.

Youngest woman to climb Everest: Malavath Purna
Youngest woman to climb Everest: Malavath Purna
Youngest person to climb Everest: Jordan Romero
Youngest person to climb Everest: Jordan Romero

EVEREST BASE CAMP: WHEN TO GO

Choosing the best time to visit Everest Base Camp is ALL about trying to optimize your chance of actually seeing the majestic peak! 

Here’s the truth:

No Guarantees: Mother Nature Always Wins

Everest Base Camp in Tibet: To get there you go over the Gyawu La Pass
Gyawu La Pass in December 2019. Beautiful, but unluckily no view of Everest that day.

There is no guarantee that you will see the summit, because Mother Nature decides what the weather is going to be like on any given day.

We have visited the EBC region on the Tibet side three times and we’ve seen the peak only once. 

The one time we saw the peak was on the ONE day during a rainy week when the clouds lifted. That was on August 20, 2007. On the road into EBC, we stopped and chatted with a jeep full of depressed Germans going the opposite way. They had stayed at EBC for THREE days, hoping for a glimpse, and saw literally nothing.

We decided to give it a try and on arrival could see jack squat.

When we asked our guide where the mountain would be if we could see it, he waved his arm in a big arc toward a heavy, gray bank of clouds.

Sequence of Photos Showing the Changing View in a Matter of Hours on a late August Visit:

When we woke up in the morning and headed up the road to the “view” point, all we could see was a shifting haze of clouds like this:

Horse ride to Everest Base Camp
Horse ride to Everest Base Camp

But…

In the time it took to reach what was then the nearest viewing spot for the mountain, the peak had cleared.

And…

Everest Base Camp Hike
View from near the end of the Everest Base Camp hike.

In the few hours before we had to depart, the clouds magically lifted and we saw THIS:

Everest Base Camp

In 2017, we drove to the gate entrance of the Chomolangma Nature Reserve in late September. The clouds were so heavy and settled that we chose not to drive the couple of hours in to the mountain (and the equal hours out) and opted instead for a great hike among the ruins of the old fort (dzong) in Shegar.

In 2019 Yolanda on a solo trip tried again to see Mount Everest on December 12, a time of year that is traditionally very clear. Unfortunately she had the rotten luck of arriving at Everest base camp in the exact few days when heavy clouds moved in, and dumped snow on the region. Everything before and after that was clear as a bell. 

This is not to discourage you. 

A lot of travelers get the once-in-a-lifetime experience of laying eyes on the shining white peaks of Mt. Everest. We’d love to help you be one of those!

Here’s what we’ve learned about optimizing your chance for views:

Best Months to Travel: May and October

In terms of maximum sunshine per day combined with relatively warmer weather, May and October are the best. 

Everest Base Camp Tours
Everest Base Camp tours from Lhasa bring you here, near Rongbuk Monastery.

The whole period of mid-April to early June can be good, though you can hit cloudy days of course. 

The same is true of late September.

The winter months of November, December and January also tend to be clear but are much colder.

Here’s a chart from Meteoblue, showing average days of precipitation at Everest Base Camp Tibet.

Weather Mt. Everest Base Camp Tibet



Days of precipitation at Mt. Everest Base Camp Tibet: Credit to Meteoblue.

You might be surprised to see that the most rainy days are in the summer.

Read on to learn more..

Less Good Chances of Views: Summer

Even though summer is generally pleasantly warm in the Tibet Autonomous Region, it is also the summer monsoon season. In Tibet, monsoon often brings evening rains anywhere from mid-June to mid-September. Mount Everest can be covered in clouds and mist. But, like we said above, our one spectacular view of Everest was during this time.

Everest Base Camp Altitude
Classic view of Mount Everest from Rongbuk Monastery at Everest Base Camp on the Tibet side.

Pro-Tip: Check the Weather!

One lesson we learned the hard way on our December trip is that we could have easily re-arranged our travel days to be able to see Mt. Everest’s peak but didn’t think about checking the weather ahead of time. 

We were on a private, month-long tour and it would have been a simple matter to move things around, but we didn’t realize the weather would be bad until too late. 

Honestly, we were counting on our guide to handle this, but realized too late that our guide never looks at the weather ahead of time! 

Mount Everest Weather
You can get a good idea of the weather at EBC by checking for Tingri.

So if you have any flexibility in your timing, take it upon yourself to check out the weather in the Tingri region and see if you can plan around any badness!

WHERE TO STAY AT EVEREST BASE CAMP ON THE TIBET SIDE

You have three options of where to stay when you visit the Tibetan Everest Base Camp. 

First, you should know that the star attraction at EBC is the mountain herself, and that all of the options for accommodation are very basic. It helps if you think of all the discomfort as part of the adventure 🤣

At Everest Base Camp itself you can stay at Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse, or at the little tent “village.” 

Mt. Everest Base Camp
A panorama view of Mt. Everest Base Camp in Tibet.

Unless you are keen to have bragging rights to sleeping overnight at EBC, there is very good reason to consider the third option. 

That is why we recommend staying at a nearby town which is lower in elevation. 

We explain why below.

Here’s a brief intro to all three options:

Option One: Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse

We have never stayed at Rongbuk, having been scared away with stories of how gnarly it was and how the tents were better, but some recent reports suggest a different story.

Mount Everest Base Camp Tibet Side
When you stay at Mount Everest Base Camp on the Tibet side, you can stay here, at Rongbuk Monastery, or at the tent houses.
Features of the monastery guesthouse:
  • Across the road from the monastery. 
  • Double room or dormitory style room
  • Reportedly clean thick duvets, pillows and bedsheets.
  • Electric blanket in some rooms
  • Terrible community toilets
  • No heating
  • No running water
  • Hot water flask provided
  • Some users report wifi, some say they can’t access it
  • Basic restaurant with basic menu of soup, noodles, and tea. 
  • Open all year.
Tibet Everest Base Camp Trek
Rongbuk Monastery Guest House and Restaurant at Everest Base Camp.

Option Two: Tent Guest Houses

There is a small “village” of yak-hair tent “guest houses” which used to be located closer to the mountain herself but have now been re-located to near Rongbuk Monastery. 

Mt. Everest Base Camp Tibet Side
Another option when you stay at Mt. Everest Base Camp Tibet Side are these tent house. (This photo is from pre-2018, after which they were re-located to near Rongbuk Monastery.)

The tents are owned by different people, so there is no single standard for all of them but in general we would venture to say that they are more cozy than the Rongbuk rooms, with a nice Tibetan vibe, and a shared space of Tibetan beds. But they can be lacking in cleanliness, depending on the owner.

Here’s a very good comparison of Rongbuk vs. one of the dirty tents by poster “Sid Mehlwal” on TripAdvisor >> 

Features of the tent guest houses:
Everest Base Camp inside tent
Everest Base Camp inside tent
  • Near Rongbuk monastery
  • Everyone sleeps together in the main room of the tent, in Tibetan style beds lining the edge of the tent, with a yak dung burning stove in the middle of the room. It’s way too cold to change clothes so modesty is not generally an issue.
  • Strong yak hair tents that resist rain and wind 
  • Thick duvets but likely not cleaned (so you might want to bring something to cover your pillow with.)
  • Electric blanket in some rooms
  • Horrible toilets
  • No heating
  • No running water
  • Hot water flask provided
  • Basic menu of noodles, fried rice, eggs, tea available from the kitchen area adjacent to your room in the tent. 
  • Not open from roughly November through March.
Tibet Everest Base Camp Tour
Hanging out at the tent houses at Everest Base Camp.

Option Three: Staying at a Lower Elevation Nearby

A critical thing that you should know about sleeping at Everest Base Camp is that the elevation of the monastery and the tents at Everest Base Camp is 17,060 ft / 5200 m. 

The generally accepted definition of high altitude is from 8,000 to 12,000 feet. And of “very high altitude” is 12,000 to 18,000 feet. 

Sleeping at very high altitude without sufficient acclimatization is not only uncomfortable to the human body, but can be quite risky. 

Learn more in our Altitude Sickness Prevention: How to Stay Healthy at High Altitude in Lhasa and Everywhere in Tibet >>

Everest Base Camp Trip: Shelkar Dzong

And despite what almost every Tibet travel agency will tell you, the itineraries that the great majority of tours follow will NOT give you sufficient acclimatization.

The Chinese government is not known for publishing data on how many visitors die at Everest Base Camp Tibet each year, but given the altitude, it would be crazy to think that this does not happen. 

Therefore,  you may want to consider sleeping somewhere nearby that is lower elevation, then getting up early to visit EBC in the morning (for the best chance of views). 

Here are a couple of options to ask your travel agency about:

  • Basum village, north of Rongbuk (14,009 ft/ 4,270 m). Very basic.
  • Shelkar, also called New Tingri (14,107 ft/ 4300 m). Shelkar has very cool ruins of an old dzong, fort, and a monastery, to explore. You can sleep at a hotel, though it’s not going to be a very good standard.

Pro Tip: Prepare for the Ecobus

You have to take the “ecobus” the last part of the drive into the base camp area, and you won’t be able to bring your whole bag. So if you plan to sleep at EBC, put everything you need for the night in your day pack. 

STAYING HEALTHY AND SAFE AT HIGH ALTITUDE AT EVEREST BASE CAMP

Visiting Everest Base Camp is for most people literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

Preventing Altitude Sickness

It’s a sad fact that many, if not most, travelers get altitude sickness at base camp, don’t sleep well if at all, and feel pretty rotten.

Everest
View of Everest from space by NASA.

If you want to feel well for the experience, you need to follow a few basic guidelines:

  • Ascend to high altitude slowly
  • Consider asking your doctor for acetazolamide altitude sickness prevention medicine, if you cannot do that (and most travelers to Tibet can’t, or don’t).

We  urge you to take altitude sickness prevention seriously. 

And please know that your age, fitness and health have nothing to do with your risk of getting altitude sickness. 

You can be a 23 year old marathon runner and be more likely to get altitude sickness than a 60 year old couch potato.

Visit Tibet: A Tibet Traveler at Everest Base Camp (EBC)

This is a bigger topic than we can cover here, but we have lots of free resources for you on this topic. You can start here:

How to Stay Healthy at High Altitude in Lhasa and Everywhere in Tibet >>

Pro Tip: Bring Cold-Weather Clothes

Remember, it’s COLD at Everest Base Camp, even in summer. And the temps drop a lot at night. Anecdotally, it is our experience that people who are underdressed for cold also happen to be the people we have personally seen most affected by altitude sickness.

There’s no scientific reason we know why that would be true, but we guess that the stress of fighting the cold may add to the body’s stress of being at high altitude, and exacerbate it. That’s just a theory, but we promise you won’t be sad if you pack your warmest gear for Everest Base Camp, at any time of year.

Driving

You might be surprised to think that one of the biggest safety issues in Tibet is driving. 

Any Tibet tour that goes outside of Lhasa involves a lot of driving. 

The roads are generally very good, and the majority of drivers are highly professional. 

But we have personally experienced a near-death situation when our tired driver was driving too fast on a dark mountain road, trying to get to the next town, and rest. We thought he was driving too fast, but we didn’t speak up, until he missed a turn, slid on gravel and almost tipped us over a cliff over a river. 

Mt. Everest location
View of Everest and other Himalayan peaks from the Gyawu la pass.

The worst didn’t happen, but here’s our lesson learned from that experience:

If the driver is driving in a way that seems unsafe, speak up. Don’t be afraid to not be cool, or laid back, or whatever. You have the right to feel safe. 

The same goes if your driver seems dangerously sleepy, or even intoxicated. These would be very rare situations, but if they happen, speak up. 

Especially if you are on a private tour, when there is a lot of discretion about the route and timing of driving, make sure your driver gets adequate time for rest and sleep. It can be easy to forget about your driver’s needs when planning a route on any given day.

Stomach

The old rule followed by travelers since forever will serve you well in Tibet:  

Mount Everest Base Camp trip
A hot, delicious bowl of hand-pulled Tibetan noodles along the way to EBC.

Cook it, boil it, peel it or forget about it! 

Learn more on these and other topics in the “staying healthy and safe when you visit Tibet” section of our How to Visit Tibet guide. 

FUN MOUNT EVEREST FACTS

What is Mount Everest called in Tibet?

The Tibetan name for Mt. Everest is Chomolangma, which can be translated as the Goddess Mother of the World, or Holy Mother.

How tall is Mount Everest?
This photo mosaic uses photos taken on January 28, 2004 from the International Space Station. Photo from NASA.

We don’t have permission to share the image but if you like the image above you will love this National Geographic panorama taken by drone of the north side of Mount Everest.

TOP RECOMMENDATION FOR EVEREST BASE CAMP TIBET

If we had to choose the one most critical piece of advice for visiting Everest Base Camp on the Tibet side, it would be this:

Book your trip with a reliable, Tibetan-owned agency.

Yolanda tea Break
Eating breakfast with Tibetan guide and driver on the way to Mt. Everest Base Camp.

If you do that one thing, you stand the absolute best chance of having an amazing journey and getting home safely. 

If you care about supporting the local Tibetan economy, don’t be fooled by the multitude of Chinese-owned agencies online that pretend to be Tibetan. 

How can you find a good Tibetan agent?

If you’d like us to introduce you to a high-quality, Mount Everest travel agency owned by Tibetans, at no cost to you, fill out this form, and we’ll hook you up.

There is honestly no way to no this by simply searching online. Sadly, the most unscrupulous Chinese agencies go to great lengths to try to appear like the real thing, and they are pretty good at faking it. 


NOW IT’S YOUR TURN

So that’s our ultimate guide to visiting Everest Base Camp on the Tibet side.

Now we’d love to hear what you have to say:

How was your experience at EBC? 

Is there anything we missed that you think would help our readers?

Do you have any questions or comments for us?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Updated on September 16, 2020. First published on February 19, 2019.

Your Tibet travel advisors, Lobsang and Yolanda

Most people who want to go to Tibet don't know how to get there or who to trust for help. We’re Lobsang Wangdu and Yolanda O’Bannon, and we help make Tibet travel more simple, safe and ethical so you can feel peace of mind about your trip. Learn more about us and YoWangdu here.