Qomolangma National Nature Preserve

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On the broder between China and Nepal, lies the worlds highest mountain - Mount Everst. The Tibetan name for Everest is Qomolangma. A provincial nature reserve was formed around this mountain in 1989. In 1993, it became a Chinese National Nature Preserve.

Along the border with Nepal, this reserve contains four of the worlds six highest mountains: namely Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu. The park also contains Shishapangma, which is the 14th highest mountain in the world and is wholely within China - not shared with Nepal. The Rongbuk Monastery can be found here. It is the highest monastery in the world, standing at 4,500 metres. This monastery, and other sites in the preserve, are key pilgrimage locations for Tibetan buddhist including the famous poet Milarepa.

The Qomolangma National Nature Preserve links up with five protected area, over the border in Nepal. Counting both sides of the border then, the Preserve covers an ara of land that is larger than the country of Switzerland. It contains several Himalayan ecosystems inlcuding very wet and extremely dry areas between the altitudes of 1,000 feet and 29,000 feet.

Access can the area can be made on foot or by 4 wheel drive vehicles. Cross border tours between Lhasa and Katmandu often visit Everest Base Camp and Rongbuk Monastery, which are within the Preserve area. A permit for entry to the preserve costs 65 RMB for person and 405 RMB per vehicle. Permits can be obtained at Shelkar, Tingri or Chay Villages.

The best season to visit is between May and October. However, the peaks are often covered in clouds from July to August. Snow can be found on the some routes around October.

Map showing location of Qomolangma National Nature Preserve

Above: Location of Qomolangma National Nature Preserve in Xigazê, Tibet, China