Trekking is the best way to experience Everest Base Camp. Helicopter ride is a close second. If you can’t commit the time and effort it requires to trek for any reason, there is a chopper ride waiting for you. Everest Helicopter Tour gives voyagers an aerial perspective of the eastern Himalayans including the highest peak on earth, the Everest. Here, we have listed down 5 things you should know about Everest Base Camp Heli Tour before you undertake one.
The brief itinerary
Before we get into other points, first let’s dive into what exactly is Everest Base Camp Heli Tour and what does it include. It is a private chopper ride for 4-5 people to the base camp of highest peak in the world. The journey begins with a ride to Lukla, the gateway to Everest. Your aircraft will land for refueling purpose here. Meantime, you can enjoy a hearty meal and explore this beautiful town. From there, the chopper will fly over Namche Bazaar and few other villages to finally reach the base camp. After spending some time here, the chopper will fly you back to Kathmandu via Lukla.
Some itineraries also feature an excursion of Kala Patthar. It is one of the best viewpoints in the Everest region. However, note that not itineraries include this point. Make sure to discuss it with your travel agency beforehand if you want to stop at Kala Patthar and explore it too.
It’s a well-known fact that luxury comes at a cost. Everest Base Camp Heli Tour is no different. While others endure blistered feet, tired stamina, weak knees, and altitude sickness for over a week to reach the base camp, if you want to do it in a matter of few hours, of course it is going to cost you a little more. However, we ensure you that the investment is going to completely worth every penny. And, truth be told, you don’t have to pay significantly higher too. Travel agencies charge anywhere from USD $1200 to $1500 per person. If you book the Heli tour in a group, you will obviously receive chunky discounts.
The cost varies very much depending on your operator. So, we suggest you to carefully do your online research and consult few travel agencies before making your choice. As to why the cost differs from one agency to other, we have discussed it in our second point.
Choose your operator wisely
You may have heard of the recent news of burgeoning Heli tour scams in Nepal where travel agencies claim fake insurance against insurance companies to receive compensation for casualties that never happened. Booking a chopper flight in the Himalayans can be a bit tricky because it is a very lucrative business. Not all travel agencies have your safety at their hearts. You have to consider many things from the cost to state of the aircraft to credentials of the pilot before you book a flight.
So, we once again recommend you to do extensive research, considered the aforementioned factors, and only book a flight with a very reliable and proven travel agency so that you are in safe hands and can savor the experience to its fullest.
Measure the risks carefully
Nothing in life is absolutely risk-free. Even the day-to-day commute to work or college bears some risks. Same is the case for Everest Base Camp Heli Tour. While the number of unfortunate incidents is very low, it’s our responsibility to tell you about potential risks. Since you will be going to elevation above 5000 meters, there will be looming risks of altitude sickness. However, don’t worry, your chopper will have ample supply of oxygen, and if it gets any worse, they’ll quickly fly you over for treatment. Other than that, landing at the airport of Lukla also carries some risks and is going to be a memorable experience. After all, it’s the world’s most dangerous airport!
It’s different from Everest mountain flights
Due to the similarity in region and mode of transportation, one might confuse Everest Base Camp Heli Tour with Everest mountain flights. Well, for starters, the mountain flights are undertaken in airplanes. Unlike the Heli tour, the mountain flights do not stop or land anywhere in between the trip. The flight begins from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and will end there as well. The flight’s duration is about 50 minutes and it can be booked directly with an airline or through a travel agency.
The price is significantly lower too. It will cost you somewhere around USD $150 to $200. However, remember that this is not a private Heli trip and you will be sharing the experience with several other passengers too.