On Top of the World (almost!)

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This one’s for the hardcore adventure junkies. It’s challenging, physically and mentally, it’s bloody cold, it’s a tad bit dangerous and it can get a lil scary, it is the foot of the world’s highest peak after all. They say a trek to Everest Base Camp changes you, you come back a different person. This journey is not for everyone. Can’t imagine what Edmund and Tenzing were thinking!

Now you can choose to ascend the mountain from two sides, the Tibetan or the Nepali. It’s one of the crown jewels of Kathmandu Tourism. It all starts with a flight to Lukla’s Tenzing-Hillary airport, touted as the world’s scariest airport. At Lukla, the planes arrive like trains, unloading and reloading trekkers in less than 10 minutes, with as little as 90 seconds between a take-off and landing. They drop from the runway down the 2000-foot cliff only to reappear soaring towards the mountain tops beyond. Lukla can be shut down for days with no prior notice, you just have to go with the flow.

From here on, it’s you and your two feet. And of course the porters and the sherpas and the pack animals. The trek will take you through the remotest mountain villages and the legendary Buddhist monasteries. And it will test every bit of your being. But make sure enjoy some of the best views that you will ever witness from literally the top of the world (almost!).

There are several bodies still lying on the upper portions of the mountain above the South Col on the Nepal side and the North East ridge on the Tibetan side. The Governments of Nepal and China requires all prospective climbers to purchase a permit. The fees depend on the route and season of the climb. A standard Nepali permit is $USD 50,000 for 7 climbers. There are also additional bonds to ensure garbage is removed from the mountain.

Spend some time regaining your composure in Nepal, there are lots of beautiful places to see in Kathmandu. Spend some time shopping in Kathmandu and savour some of the best Nepali and Tibetan cuisine while eating out in Kathmandu.

As the newest member of the content team, Shivangi Rajendran comes from the world of professional dancing. With a passion for travel and a flair for writing, the Masters in Mass Communication is just an added advantage. A gypsy at heart, she doesn’t believe in planning and is always ready to pack her bags and leave.

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