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Mountain Flight in Nepal: That’s How I Saw T...

Mountain Flight in Nepal: That’s How I Saw The Himalayan Giants!

Have you ever dreamt of seeing Mount Everest with your own eyes? Then you need to take a mountain flight in Nepal. Departing from Kathmandu, the Everest scenic flight is the ultimate experience to get close to the mighty Himalayan giants.

Small, that’s how I felt. In front of this wonderful display of nature I felt tiny and unimportant, and yet so wonderfully free.

It was my second to last day in Nepal, and I felt like something was missing. The trip around the country had been great, I had seen rhinos in Chitwan, Buddha’s birthplace in Lumbini, and had incredibly fun times with new friends, but I hadn’t had any close encounters with the big giants, the Himalayas, yet.

To be fair, I had seen the Annapurna range far in the distance in Pokhara, but that was it. I hoped to see Mount Everest from plane on my way back, but I couldn’t rely on that; some of my friends were going on a trip to Himalayas afterwards, either to trek the Annapurna or to do a Mount Everest tour, but I wasn’t. So I started to look for ways to get closer to the mountains.

Somewhere in the distance, the Annapurna range…

Lukla airport, at the base of where the trekking to Everest starts, is often referred to as the most dangerous in the world. It sits on the side of the mountain so if anything goes wrong while the pilots are attempting the landing, there isn’t much it can be done, and accidents do happen rather frequently. Trekkers have not much choice but taking the Kathmandu to Lukla flight and hope for the best, but there is a safer solution for non-trekkers: the Everest scenic flight.

Leaving from (and returning to) Kathmandu domestic airport, the Everest flight lasts about an hour, goes all the way from Kathmandu to Mount Everest by following the Himalaya range, and then comes back.

There are a few companies that offer the Everest Experience flight (Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Simrik Airlines), but after researching the safety records I decided to go with Buddha Air Nepal. The earlier you fly, the better, as the visibility usually is better in the early hours. I chose the 6,30am flight, but you can check the Buddha Air flight schedule.

I can’t tell you how excited I was before my flight. Just the idea of getting up there, close to these gigantic mountains I had only ever seen in photos in glossy travel magazines, was enough to keep me up all night.

This must be the smallest airplane ever!

The flight attendant handed us a map of the mountains we were going to see during our flight. I had checked the weather before booking my ticket and it was supposed to be a beautiful, clear day, but I started to feel a little anxious after take-off. What was all that fog?? I was all ready with three cameras on my lap but I couldn’t see anything outside my window!

Everest flight in Nepal - the mountains map

And then, all of a sudden, the fog disappeared. I was surrounded by a bright blue sky and the snowy caps of of the Himalayas were right in front of me. From this moment on, I spent the next hour in awe, looking outside my window and snapping photo after photo of these mighty giants. It’s time to show you why you absolutely need to take this flight because I could spend another 1,000 words telling you how wonderful it was, but the photos speak for themselves.

Pretty wicked, uh?

Mountain Flight in Nepal with Buddha Air

They were so close that I felt I could almost touch them…

Everest Flight in Nepal - View from the window

The flight attendant kept coming by each of us and pointing us the mountains that we were seeing on the map and of course everyone got even more excited when we caught the first glimpse of the biggest triangles of all, Mt. Everest.

Can you recognize it?

Mt. Everest is the tallest triangle on the left

Then, we were allowed to go to the cockpit one by one, see the full front view and exchange a couple of words with the pilots.

Frontal view from the cockpit - Mountain Flight in NepalTime in the cockpit with the pilots - Mountain Flight in NepalFrontal view from teh cockpit - Mountain Flight in Nepal

I wished the Mt Everest flight would never end but eventually we got back to the chaos of Kathmandu. The images of the mountains though, and the sun rising behind them, together with a feeling of calmness and tranquillity, lasted the whole day. Flying over the Himalayas was a dream come true.

Small, that’s how I felt. In front of this wonderful display of nature I felt tiny and unimportant, and yet so wonderfully free.

How To Make The Most of Your Mountain Flight in Nepal

Everest flight in Nepal - So happy to have gone for it!

Buddha Air Ticket Booking – You can book directly online and there’s no need to do it in advance (I’ve booked at 5pm for the next morning), but you might be better off asking for a quote to one of the bazillion travel agencies in Kathmandu. The Buddha Air fare for the Everest mountain flight is $192 if you book online, but I ended up paying $180 (look for the travel agency inside Trekkers’ Home in Thamel), plus $14 for a driver to pick me up, bring me to the airport, wait for me and bring me back.

Buddha Air Mountain Flight Seat Selection – Get to the airport in advance. You want to be waiting right in front of the Buddha Air check-in counters so when they open you are one of the first in line. The planes used for the Buddha Air Everest flight are super tiny with just 16 seats, so everyone is guaranteed a window seat, but you should ask for a letter A seat. This is because you’ll get the best mountain views on your left side, and even if the plane then circles and comes back and you get good views on the right side on your way back, the way back is shorter for some reason. If you’re looking to take some amazing photos, ask for seat number 8A or 9A, as the first few rows will have the view somehow obstructed by the wings and engines.

In case the weather is bad and the plane cannot take off, you can either re-book your flight for a later date or get a full refund. After all, the whole point of the Everest flight from Kathmandu is the views!

All in all, the experience of flying over Mount Everest isn’t cheap if you consider that a good private room in Kathmandu costs you as little as $15 but trust me, the experience is worth every penny.

Disclaimer: My time in Nepal was made possible by PATA and the Himalayan Travel Mart #HTM2017, but I paid the full price for this experience and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone visiting Nepal! Also, thanks to Raphael for lending me his camera and helping me edit these photos.

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  1. Wish I had more time there. I would have definitely taken the mountain flight. Photos look great!

    • Steph

      9 June

      Thank you Aleah! It was amazing, but the rest of our time in Nepal wasn’t too bad either, right? 🙂

  2. These are amazing photos! Looking forward to getting out to Everest someday myself

    • Steph

      9 June

      Thank you Dave! You have to go!

  3. Sara

    8 June

    Wow, I always thought Everest would just jut out of the ground like Kilimanjaro does, lost in jumble of the Himalayas it doesn’t look tall at all!

    • Steph

      9 June

      I know! There are so many mountains that are 7000 or 8000+ metres tall and we’ve never even heard of them!

  4. Marissa

    9 June

    I so wish I had time to do this, it looks incredible! Your photos are stunning!

    • Steph

      9 June

      Thank you Marissa! There’s always a next time 🙂

  5. It looks incredible I LOVE MY NEPAL..

    • Steph

      9 June

      You live in a beautiful country!

  6. Therie

    13 June

    Oh my goodness, it’s BREATHTAKING! I wouldn’t hesitate to pay to see that priceless view!

  7. Amazing photos!!! You really have a great talent with the camera! It feels as if we’re on the same flight with you 😀

  8. Great writing regarding the mountain flight story.
    Ram

  9. […] friend Steph took a mountain flight of Everest where she captured this amazing […]

  10. […] I would like to say a big thank you to the talented Stefania of Every Steph for sharing these photos of wonders with us for the article, be sure to check her out for a lot of […]

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