Mt. Everest and the highest Monastery in the World - Highlights of our China Trip

Ein Blick auf den Mt. Everest und das höchste Kloster der Welt – Highlights unserer China-Reise
Mt. Everest and the highest Monastery in the World - Highlights of our China Trip

China, Tibet. It is a sacred mountain, a myth and the dream of many ambitious mountaineers. But even for non-mountaineers, a view of Mt. Everest is an absolute highlight of a trip to China. In my following article you will learn where the northern flank of Mt. Everest comes closest to you. You will also read where the highest monastery in the world is located and which highlights the trip to Rongbuk Monastery at the foot of Mount Everest offers you.

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Ein Blick auf den Mt. Everest und das höchste Kloster der Welt – Highlights unserer China-Reise
Mt. Everest and the highest Monastery in the World - Highlights of our China Trip

View of Mt. Everest

This far and no further. At least not for ordinary tourists like us. If you want to get ahead here, you have to be a mountaineer and have a permit. Because the narrow road leads directly to Mt. Everest Basecamp. Unlike on the Nepalese side, the mountaineers on the Chinese side can drive up to the base camp by car. This is not only easier for the mountaineers, but also for those who later transport the empty oxygen bottles etc. away.

A map from Rongbuk Monastery to the summit of Mt. Everest.

Here, where the road for tourists ends, only a memorial stone points to the base camp. It is 5200 meters above sea level. Thus about 200 meters higher than this memorial stone. It is a popular photo motif and is photographed almost as often as Mt. Everest itself.

Memorial stone of the base camp Mt. Everest
Another memorial stone.

The memorial stone for the surveying of Mt. Everest is also a popular location for a photo shoot. Here you can find stone pyramids, saddled yaks for a souvenir photo and of course souvenirs. There are many tourists from China here who photograph each other in front of Mt. Everest with China flags.

Our camp at the foot of Mt. Everest.

Mt. Everest (Tibetan: Chomolungma, which means goddess mother of the earth) is revered by Buddhists in Nepal and Tibet as a holy mountain. I found the sunset at Mt. Everest particularly adorable. The summit was still illuminated by orange evening light, even after the sun had disappeared behind the opposite mountains. Slowly the shadows were rising at the foot of Mt. Everest and a cold wind from the mountain came towards me.

Mt. Everest Highlight China
In the evening, shadows and clouds rise at the foot of Mt. Everest.
Abendstimmung am Mt. Everest war eines der Highlights in China
The evening atmosphere at Mt. Everest with the golden light was one of the highlights of our China trip.

The highest Monastery in the World - Rongbuk Monastery

Up here, on the roof of the world, is the Rongbuk Monastery. With a location at 4,980 meters, it is also the highest monastery in the world and one of the highest permanently populated places in the world. Moreover, it lies in a spectacular landscape at the foot of Mt. Everest and is an absolute highlight of a trip to China. From here it is only 8 kilometres up the valley to the base camp of the northern route of Mt. Everest.

Das Rongbuk Kloster ist einfach malerisch gelegen und gehört zu den Highlights einer China-Reise.
The Rongbuk Monastery is simply picturesquely situated and is one of the highlights of a trip to China.
Rongbuk Kloster in Tibet
Prayer wheels at the outer wall of Rongbuk Monastery with Mt. Everest in the background
Rongbuk Kloster in Tibet
The prayer wheels are driven by a small stream.
Rongbuk Kloster in Tibet
The entrance to Rongbuk Monastery

Already in the 18th century some monks and nuns settled here in simple huts and caves. The Rongbuk monastery was only founded in 1902 and is therefore a rather young monastery. According to a legend, the founder of the monastery had previously lived as a hermit in a nearby cave. The animals were his friends and the yeti provided him with food during this time. After the monastery was founded in 1902, it was initially a supply base for the hermits living higher up the mountain. During his weddings up to 500 monks and nuns are said to have laid in the monastery.

Opfergaben im Rongbuk Kloster Tibet
Offerings in Rongbuk Monastery at the time of the Saga Dawa Festival

But during the Chinese Cultural Revolution the Rongbuk Monastery was completely destroyed. In 1983 the reconstruction was started. Today only 30 to 60 monks and nuns live here.

The monks gather daily from 17 o'clock in the prayer hall, have tea, tsampa and pray. Shortly before 18 o'clock they begin then with singing, bells and drums. Guests are welcome.

Manisteine am Rongbuk Kloster
Mani stones on the wall around the Rongbuk monastery

Photographing in Rongbuk Monastery

Fortunately, photography was also allowed inside the monastery buildings. I can also recommend the pilgrim path around the monastery. From here you have a great view of Mt. Everest and can even photograph the Stupa of the monastery with Everest in the background.

„Beschützer“ am Eingang des Rongbuk Kloster
"Protector" at the entrance of Rongbuk Monastery
Rongbuk Kloster in Tibet
Inside the Rongbuk Monastery.

Scenic Drive from New Tingri to Rongbuk Monastery at Mt. Everest.

The road from New Tingri to Rongbuk Monastery on Mt Everest leads through spectacular mountain scenery. Shortly after passing the checkpoint, the road winds its way up to the Pang-La Pass at an altitude of 5,150 metres. Prayer flags fluttered around us. If the altitude hasn't already done it, then the view of the surrounding mountain peaks will take your breath away. From here you can see Mt Everest (8848 m) for the first time and other snow-covered 8,000 m peaks of the Himalayas: Makalu (8485 m), Lhotse (8516 m) and Cho Oyu (8188 m). Shortly below the pass, another viewpoint offers a great view of the mountain road. Similar to an endless snake, it runs down the mountain flank. At both vantage points, nomads have spread jewellery, souvenirs and prayer flags for sale. Right here I bought my favourite bracelet with imitation black and white Dzi stones.

 Der Aussichtspunkt ist bunt geschmückt mit Gebetsflaggen und unser erstes Highlight auf dem Weg zum Mt. Everest.
The viewpoint is colorfully decorated with prayer flags and our first highlight on the way to Mt. Everest.
Viewpoint on the way to Mt. Everest.
Straße in Richtung Mt. Everest
The road in the direction of Mt. Everest meanders down the mountain flank like a serpentine.

For the last few kilometres to our night quarters we had to change to the green Ecobus. Our accomodation was a Camplager with nomad tents on about 5,000 meters height. We all slept in two spacious nomad tents, in the middle burned an oven and warmed the water for our tea. Due to the altitude, however, it was a somewhat restless night.

The green Ecobus brings us and up to our camp at the foot of Mt Everest.

Continue from Rongbuk Monastery to Saga

The trip from Rongbuk Monastery to Saga was one of the most scenic we had on our trip. Again and again we had great views to the Himalaya Mountains, especially to the 8000m Cho Oyo and Shishapangma. To the left and right of the road herds of yak grazed, we saw wild donkeys, blue sheep, black-necked cranes and geese. A few kilometres before Old Tingri we even see a Buddah face in the rocks on our right. After about two thirds of the way we reached the holy Peikutso Lake, which is a bright blue in front of the brown mountain range. It is part of the Qomolangma National Nature Reserve. On the shore salt has deposited in some places because of the dryness. Afterwards it goes downhill towards Saga on a semi-finished road. But a half-finished detour is a big challenge for our and other buses.

A typical picture in Tibet: The expanse and behind it snow-covered mountains.
Fahrt zwischen Rongbuk und Saga
The landscape on the route between Rongbuk and Saga is surprisingly varied.
Offroad-Abenteuer mit Tourbussen
Off-road adventure with tour buses. In the tour buses were several groups from India, who were on their way to the Saga-Dawa festival at Mt. Kailash.
  Das Qomolangma National Nature Reserve ist ein bei der UNESCO gelistetes Biospärenreservat.
The Qomolangma National Nature Reserve is a UNESCO listed biosphere reserve.

Here you come back to the main article Monasteries on the Roof of the World.


Book Recommendations for Tibet

You want to know where the journey goes? Then I can recommend these books* about Tibet.

You can order these books at Amazon with a click on the pictures. If you buy a product via one of these affiliate links, I get a small commission and you help me to keep filling Fernweh-Motive with interesting articles. The product will not be more expensive for you.


Have you ever been to Mt. Everest yourself and visited the highest monastery in the world? How did you like it? Do you have any questions about my article or suggestions? If so, please write me a comment!

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