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Three Passes Trek Vs Everest Base Camp

18 Jun 2024 Himalaya Trip

The Three Passes trek Vs Everest Base Camp is the combination of a trek to the EBC and the addition of three beautiful passes. Naturally, the trek takes place in the Everest region, where you will visit different settlements of the Khumbu region and the Gokyo Lakes, along with three passes in Renjo La, Cho La, and Konglama Pass.

Like other treks in the Everest region, the trek starts from Lukla as you travel to the Namche Bazaar. From Namche, the route separates as you reach Thame, Lungden, and finally, across one of the three passes in Renjo La Pass. You will explore all three passes and Gokyo Lake and drop down to Pheriche before exploring the Everest Base Camp.

The Everest Base Camp is 5380 meters high and has stunning views of the towering mountains. A local expert guide accompanies this moderately tricky trek, starting with a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. As you continue your journey, you will encounter different Buddhist monasteries, temples, meditation spots, and more, highlighting Sherpa culture. On this trek, you can see majestic views of Mount Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Makalu.

From Lukla, your trek takes you to Namche, where you will get the first fantastic sight of Mount Everest. From there, you will pass through several Sherpa villages in Tengboche, Dingboche, Periche, Lobuche, Gorakhstep, Everest Base Camp, and finally explore Kala Patthar. Your trek to EBC is a great way to get a close-up look at the spectacular Mount Everest (8,848.86m), the highest point on Earth. It has been a popular destination for climbers and hikers, attracting many people to admire its snow-covered mountains.

Quick Facts about the Three Passes Trek Vs Everest Base Camp

Everest Three Passes Trek Quick Facts

  • Length – 14 to 18 days
  • Starting Point – Lukla 2800m
  • Highest Elevation – Kongma La Pass 5,535 m
  • Trek’s total distance –  166 km
  • Difficulty – Moderate to Challenging
  • Accommodation – Hotels, Lodges and Teahouses

Everest Base Camp Trek Quick Facts 

  • Length – 12 to 15 days
  • Starting Point – Lukla 2800m
  • Highest Elevation – Kala Patthar 5,644 m
  • Trek’s total distance –  130 km
  • Difficulty – Easy to Moderate
  • Accommodation – Hotels, Lodges and Teahouses

Highlights of the Trek

Everest Three Passes Trek

  • Visit the three highest passes of Nepal, Renjo La, Cho La, and Kongla Ma, which have an elevation of over 5000m.
  • Climb the highest glacier in Ngozumpa Glacier and go to Gokyo Ri. 
  • Visit the stunning Everest Base Camp, which lies at 5364m.
  • Explore the beautiful freshwater lakes of Gokyo and click some stunning pictures.
  • Get to see rare and endangered species of floras and faunas like snow leopards, red pandas, Himalayan Thar, and more in Sagarmatha National Park.

Everest Base Camp Trek

  • Reach the base of the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest.
  • Stunning flight to Lukla from Kathmandu, where you will see bird’s eye views of the mountains.
  • Explore Namche Bazaar, where you can even reach the amazing Hotel Everest View.
  • Visit Tengboche village and climb the Tengboche Monastery, where you will see beautiful mountain views.
  • Stroll around the fantastic Sherpa settlement in the Gorakhstep.
  • Climb the Kala Patthar, where you will see beautiful sunrise and sunset.

Trek Route

Everest Three Passes

The duration of the Everest Three Passes Trek is 14 to 18 days. The trek starts from Lukla when you land either from Kathmandu or Ramechhap. After a bit of a hiatus, you will start your trek and eventually reach Phakding, where you will stay overnight on your first day of the trek. The next day, you will move forward from Phakding and reach Namche Bazaar, where you will stay another day for acclimatization. 

Everest Three Passes

From Namche Bazaar, the trek road changes as you move to Thame and then reach Lungden. You will now reach Gokyo Valley and climb the first pass in Renjo, La. After this, you will get two more passes, Cho La and Kongla Ma Pass. Furthermore, you can explore the Gokyo lakes and click some amazing pictures. You will then pass through the Everest Base Camp route as you arrive in Lobuche, explore the EBC trek, reach Gorakhstep, and climb Kala Patthar. From the next day, you will start descending the route as you reach Namche, Phakding, and Lukla, then return to Kathmandu.

Everest Base Camp Trek

The Everest Base Camp Trek typically takes 12 to 15 days. It begins in Lukla after arriving from Kathmandu or Ramechhap. You’ll start the trek to Phakding for an overnight stay. The following day, you’ll continue to Namche Bazaar for another overnight stay to acclimate. During your acclimatization stay, you can visit different places around Namche Bazaar, such as Khumjung Village, Sherpa Museum, Hotel Everest View, etc.

The next day, you will continue the route of the EBC trek, reaching Tengboche village and climbing Tengboche monastery. Moreover, you will now reach Dingboche, where you will acclimatize for another day and climb Nangkartshang peak. Now, the next step is Lobuche, and just ahead is the small hill station of Gorakhstep, where you will start climbing towards the Everest Base Camp. After spending a few hours in the base camp, you will return to Gorakhstep and spend the night.

Everest base camp trek 1

You will climb Kala Patthar early in the morning and return to Gorakshtep. Now, you will return to the route you come from as you make your way from Tengboche, Namche, Phakding, and Lukla. Now, board the flight from Lukla to Kathmandu, concluding your Everest Base Camp trek.

Difficulties of Three Passes Trek Vs. Everest Base Camp

Everest Three Passes Trek

The Everest Three Passes Trek difficulty ranges from moderate to challenging. The trek is initially straightforward and relatively easy, especially to Namche Bazaar. After that, the altitude increases considerably, and you will pass through more remote villages and routes.

As you get closer to the three passes, the trek becomes more challenging. You are trekking at an altitude of over 5000m in rugged terrains, and the weather won’t favor you. The trek routes from the three passes and throughout the Gokyo Valley are pretty rugged, as you have to climb steeply and trek through rocky hills and slippery mountains.

Everest Base Camp Trek

The Everest Base Camp Trek is considerably easier to moderate level in terms of difficulty. It is among the more commercial treks, so the trek routes have several villages with decent teahouses and facilities. The trek to Namche Bazaar is simple and easy as you won’t face many factors that make it challenging.

After reaching Namche, the treks become a bit difficult, like the Three Passes trek. You will now begin trekking between remote settlements like Tengboche, Dingboche, Pheriche, Lobuche, Periche, Gorakstep, and Kala Patthar. The trek routes become more rough and challenging, and the high altitude and the dynamic weather also make this portion of the trek challenging. 

Elevation and Duration of the Trek

Everest Three Passes Trek

The Three Passes Trek covers a total distance of 166 kilometers (103 miles) and typically takes between 15 and 18 days to complete. The trail distance to Everest Base Camp is 130 kilometers (80.7 miles) and usually takes 12 to 14 days to finish. The length of both treks can vary based on hikers’ choices, itinerary, season, and level of preparation. Monitoring hikers’ activities is essential to determine if the typical length of these treks can be exceeded.

The Everest region has three high passes, all around 5000 meters above sea level. The highest pass on our route is Kongma La Pass, at 5540 meters. The second is Cho La Pass at 5420 meters. Finally, the third pass is Renjo La Pass, at 5360 meters.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Everest Base Camp is at a slightly lower altitude than the passes, at around 5364 meters. Another significant high point during the EBC trek is Kala Patthar, at 5644 meters. Compared to the Everest three-pass trek, the EBC trek with Kala Patthar represents the highest point. Along the EBC trail, Gorakshep is the only location higher than 5000 meters, at 5164 meters. Furthermore, Renjo La Pass is just 4 meters lower in elevation than EBC, making it higher than both.

Trek Cost

Cost Breakdown: Everest Three Pass Trek vs. Everest Base Camp Trek

Permits* Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Entrance Permit: NPR 2,000 * Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit: NPR 3,000* Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Entrance Permit: NPR 2,000 * Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit: NPR 3,000
MealsGenerally, it is slightly more expensive due to the more remote locations on the Three Pass Trek. Expect USD 5-10 per meal.It is slightly less expensive due to more established infrastructure. Expect USD 3-7 per meal.
Transportation* Flight to Lukla (roundtrip): USD 300-500 (higher due to landing at a high-altitude airfield)* Flight to Lukla (roundtrip): USD 300-500
Accommodation* Tea Houses (basic but comfortable lodges): USD 5-10 per night (slightly higher due to remoteness)* Tea Houses (basic but comfortable lodges): USD 3-7 per night
GuidesIt is compulsory and highly recommended due to the challenging nature of the trek. Expect USD 75-100 per day.* Compulsory and helpful. Expect USD 50-80 per day.
PortersIt’s optional, but it can be a good idea for a longer trek with more gear. Expect USD 20-30 per day.* Optional, less necessary due to shorter trek. Expect USD 20-30 per day.

Trekking Conditions 


Everest Three Passes Trek and Everest Base Camp Trek lie at a high altitude of about 5000m. The weather is always dynamic at high altitudes, and no matter which treks you choose, you must be wary of the weather that changes regularly; hence, if you want to hike these treks in the Khumbu region, trek in the ideal conditions. Spring and Autumn are the best times to trek in the Khumbu region.

High Altitude

The Everest Three Passes Trek and the Base Camp Trek occur above an altitude of 5000m. Hence, trekking people must be wary of altitude sickness. It would be best to acclimate on both treks, and Namche Bazaar is the perfect place.


The accommodation for high-altitude treks is normally low-budget lodges and tea houses treks. Hence, the same applies to the Everest Base Camp and the three-pass trek. When you initially arrive in Kathmandu, you will stay in the standard three-star hotels where you will get all the services. However, you will only remain in the teahouses as you climb altitude. The teahouses are clean and small, with expansive rooms and twin beds, meaning you must share your room with other trekkers. You will also have to share your bathroom with the other trekkers. No hot showers are in the teahouses, so you must pay extra for such facilities.

Tabulated Comparision

FeatureEverest Three Passes TrekEverest Base Camp Trek
DifficultyModerate to ChallengingEasy to Moderate
Distance166 km (103 mi)130 km (80.7 mi)
Duration14-18 days12-15 days
Highest PointKongma La Pass (5,540 m)Kala Patthar (5,644 m)
AccommodationTea houses (slightly more expensive)Tea houses (somewhat cheaper)
MealsMore expensive (USD 5-10 per meal)Less expensive (USD 3-7 per meal)
GuideCompulsory (USD 75-100 per day)Compulsory (USD 50-80 per day)
PorterOptional (USD 20-30 per day)Optional (USD 20-30 per day)
Highlights– 3 High Passes (over 5000m)– Everest Base Camp
– Gokyo Lakes– Stunning flight to Lukla
– Sherpa villages
– Kala Patthar sunrise/sunset


The Everest Base Camp Trek and the Three Passes Trek are very popular in the Khumbu region. The two treks are in the same area and only a few hours apart. However, if you choose the Three Pass Treks, you will also have the Everest Base Camp Trek experience.

So, if you are looking for an exciting and adventure-filled trek in the Khumbu region, you might want to experience either the Everest Base Camp Trek or the Three Pass trek. Some other treks in Nepal, like the Island Peak trek, are beaten more quickly, but you won’t reach as high as on these two treks.


Which trek is more complex, Everest Base Camp or the Three Passes trek?

The Everest Three Passes trek is more challenging than the Base Camp Trek, mainly because of the rugged trails near the Gokyo Valley trek.

Which trek takes longer to complete?

The Everest Three Passes take longer to complete because you will also explore the base camp in this trek.

Which Trek is best for beginners?

Everest Base Camp Trek is better for beginners than the Three Passes trek as you face fewer challenges than the Three Passes trek.

Which is the highest elevation of the Everest Base Camp Trek and the Everest Three Pass Trek?

The highest elevation of the EBC trek is Kala Patthar, 5,644m, whereas the highest elevation of the three passes is  Kongma La Pass, 5,535m.

Do you need to hire guides for these treks?

Yes, you must hire guides; in fact, hiring guides are compulsory for any trekking destination in Nepal.

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