Of course we could have gone to a beautiful beach resort, instead we booked a room at the highest situated hotel on earth nearby the Mnt Everest Base Camp (EBC) at Tibet side. This is no place for wimps. At an altitude of 5300m (17,000ft) there is lack of any luxury, instead, all your senses are highly stimulated. If you intent to go here, you better take your precautions: prepare for altitude-sickness as well as for cold.
Gyatso-La and Pang-La
From Sakya city it takes about 2 hours to reach Gyatso-la pass at 5250m. Then at Baiba (Bebar) village you have to buy your access-passes for the Mnt Everest National Park before you reach the Pang-la pass at 5150m. The road up and down this pass might be little scary but the view at the top is just awesome. At a clear day 5 mountains can be seen including mnt Everest.
Next, in Pazhuo village we had a lunch at the “Cho mo lang ma ben ba” Guesthouse-restaurant. This restaurant is known by many people visiting the Mnt Everest Base Camp. Apart of the Tibetan tsampa meals and noodle soups, one can order here a great variety in dishes. For every taste they can prepare a meal.
Rongbuk and Everest Base Camp
From PazHuo a sandy road takes you in another 2 hours to today’s destination: the Rongbusi hotel. Our 4wd land cruiser did not even blush when the chauffeur directed the car off the main road onto the rough unpaved sandy road. At a speed of 70km/hr (50Mi/hr) we left a huge cloud of sand and dust behind us.
Apart of the hotel one can sleep at the nearby Rombuk (Rongbuk) monastery and die-hards might try to sleep in a nomad tent at the camping ground down the road. No luxury exists here. Electricity is only available during daytime by solar panels. Even the access to the mobile network disappears after sunset. There is no heating so the temperature inside the buildings is just as low as outside (-6C / 20F). The rooms are simple: two beds, two chairs, one electric lamp (which does not work after sunset), but no bathroom and no water.
The restaurant is a warm and lively place because it contains the stove to create the food. Many backpackers exchange their travel tips here. Unfortunately, the coffee tasted bad but we succeeded to warm our hands. To keep it simple only tea is available. For those who insist to have a coffee, the waitress adds some coffee powder to the tea. We decided to stay with tea next time and forget the coffee. The food here is quite nice compared to the circumstances.
The highest post office on earth
Next to the hotel, at short walking distance there is a small camping ground. Tents can be rented by those who like to experience a sleepover outside. Meanwhile other tents are used as little shops. Furthermore the post office at earth highest altitude is located here.
From this camp it takes a 20 minute bus ride to visit the viewpoint of Mnt Everest itself as well as the worlds’ highest located public toilet building and the basecamp of the mountaineers. The mountaineers basecamp is not accessible for tourists, but the toilet building is. Public toilet buildings in Tibet are know because of (their lack of) cleanness and a small glance inside learned that this building was just as the rest.
We switched on our satellite responder to ping back home our GPS coordinates. We use such device at places without internet to let our family and friends know our location. This time we could let them know we really did arrive at the Mnt Everest Base Camp. While waiting for the satellite to pass, of course, we took many pics before we headed back to the hotel.
After sunset the solar panels at the roof of the hotel stop charging the batteries. Then shortly after, all the lights will dim and flat out due to lack of electricity. Some guest wear a little lamp strapped to their heads to be able to find their way inside and outside the hotel. Our laptop showed blue screens only due to disk errors: this we expected as the disk is not of military quality so it didn’t work at these high altitudes.
On our after diner walk we met few Yaks and again we had a supurb view at Mnt Everest during sunset. Even without any luxury we are glad we did visit this place.
View the map of Mnt Everest base camp area (Tibet side)
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