Mt. Everest - Nepal or Tibet? Which is The Best?

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Apr. 12, 2021

Mount Everest, on the border of China and Nepal, is the highest peak of the Himalayas, the tallest mountain range in the world.

Everest is known as “the third goddess” (“Qomolangma”) in Tibet; and “the forehead of the sky” (“Sagarmatha”) in Nepal. The northern slope of the mountain is in China, while its southern slope is in Nepal. Everest Base Camp on each slope is a hot travel destination, for people from all over the world.

What Is the Difference between the Mt. Everest in Nepal and that in Tibet?

Firstly, the way to climb Mt. Everest is very different. In Nepal, you need to trek to EBC, which will take you more than 10 days for a round trip. In Tibet, you can hire a private van directly to EBC, about 5 days for a round trip.

Be well prepared mentally and physically, because you will pass through lots of winding mountain roads and steep mountains, at an altitude of over 5,000 m.

Secondly, the climate in Tibet and Nepal is different. In Tibet, the weather is dry with few plants, as it’s inland. In Nepal, the southern slopes are affected by southwesterly winds from the Indian Ocean, so there is more rainfall and the natural life is more varied (with leaved forests, and coniferous broad-leaved mixed forests).

Thirdly, the gradient of the slopes on either side is different. The northern slope is much steeper than the southern slope. Hence, the southern slope is more popular for summit ascents.

Beginners should probably choose the route from Nepal to Mt. Everest. For professional mountaineers, the southern slope is more challenging.

Mt. Everest in Tibet – the Northern Slope

The northern slope of the mountain is situated in Mt. Everest (or Qomolangma) National Nature Reserve in Tingri, Shigatse, Tibet, China, about 500 km from Lhasa.

You can fly first to Lhasa, hire a van to Shigatse, Tingri County, then reach EBC. The road conditions from Lhasa to Tingri are good, but bumpy in the last section. This is the most popular route for most tourists.

Highlights Along Northern Slope 

On the long journey, you can enjoy plenty of beautiful scenery and Tibetan culture. There are several famous mountains with altitudes over 8000 m, including Lhotse (the world’s fourth-highest peak), Makalu (the world’s fifth-highest peak), and Cho Oyu (the world’s sixth-highest peak). They stand in a line in front of you.

Along the road or on the mountain, lots of colored pastels wave in the wind, earning great respect and worship from Tibetans.

Next to the EBC stands Rongbuk Monastery, the highest-altitude monastery in the world. It exhibits the great religious atmosphere of Tibet, with Mt. Everest standing just in front. You will never forget this stunning sight.

Everest Base Camp in Tibet

EBC in Tibet is at an altitude of 5,180 meters. The direct distance from EBC to the summit is 19 kilometers. Here you can send a postcard to friends or family from the world’s highest post office.

The sunrise and sunset are so stunning and spectacular that you should not miss them. If you can stay overnight, you may also have a chance to witness the clear starry sky, full of mystery and tranquility.

Accommodation and Food at EBC

As the general conditions are harsh and the road conditions are not so good, facilities at EBC are quite simple and basic. You can stay with other travelers in a group-tent hostel or rent a single tent for yourself. Most offer simple Chinese food.

Mt. Everest in Nepal – the Southern Slope

The southern slope of Mt Everest in Nepal is in Sagarmatha National Park. You fly to Kathmandu and then fly to Lukla (2,840 meters) and start the 7-day trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC).

You will trek over Namche Bazaar (3,440 meters), climb through Sagarmatha National Park (5,140 meters), and arrive at EBC (5,364 meters). The round-trip usually takes about 14 days. This is one of the most popular trekking routes in the Himalayas – the Everest Base Camp Trail.

Highlights on the Southern Slope

The southern slope has more rainfall and the air is relatively more humid. So as the altitude increases, the natural habitat is more complex, including leaved forest, coniferous broad-leaved mixed forest, alpine coniferous forest, alpine shrub land, and alpine meadow zone.

When trekking through small villages like the legendary Sherpa, you will feel how unsophisticated and simple the Nepalese people are. You can enjoy diverse flora and fauna, as well as real Nepalese culture.

Everest Base Camp in Nepal

Nepal’s EBC is at an altitude of 5,320 meters. There are lots of colorful Nepalese tents and yellow-roofed huts there. You can camp or stay in such hostels yourself. There is no other way to get to EBC except to trek. The 14-day trek will help you have a deeper insight into Nepalese culture and Mt. Everest.

Accommodation and Food at EBC

There is not much choice of food on the way to Mount Everest. Most Nepalese food: fried rice, small potatoes, or fried noodles, at quite a high price. You can bring something to eat with you.

Travel Tips

1. Bring some essential commodities and medicines. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are very strong in the plateau area, and there are lots of mosquitoes. Please bring ultraviolet-proof cream, sun-block cream, bug spray, and a wind-proof jacket. Medicines such as patulin, medicina para el estomago, and aspirin are also very important in case of unexpected sickness.

2. Altitude sickness is the first concern when visiting Mt. Everest. Since oxygen levels are low and the weather conditions can be terrible, human beings sometimes just cannot adjust to such harsh conditions, and this may cause serious trouble.

So when trekking or sightseeing on Mt Everest, please inform your tour guide or doctor if you feel uncomfortable. Oxygen will be available if needed.

3. Bring clothes to suit the actual weather conditions. It’s highly recommended for travelers to survey the weather before going, or to check with our professional staff.

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