Discover the majestic Himalayan wonders of Gokyo valley and experience the highly affluent Sherpa culture along with excellent views of the highest mountains on earth including Mt. Everest and gateway to the world’s most popular trekking trail - Everest Base Camp Trek. Gokyo lake trek is the second most popular and visited trekking trail in the Everest Region that offers stunning mountain views, rich Sherpa culture, Tibetan Buddhism, exotic biodiversity along with beautiful landscapes and nature exploring the largest glacier in Nepal, Ngozumpa Glacier, exploring the beauty of the highest freshwater lake system in the world, and witnessing the magical hour from Gokyo Ri (sunset and sunrise above the mountain). The extremely beautiful Gokyo Lakes trekking is a must-do trip in your lifetime.
Sherpa People are the inhabitants of the Khumbu region and they are popular and recognized as the pioneers for climbing the highest mountains, we know the fact that Tenzing Norge was the first person to climb the world’s highest mountain along with Sir Edmund Hillary. The local lodges and tea houses are available in the entire Everest Region trekking. Especially on the Gokyo Lakes side, it’s less crowded than the popular Everest Base Camp trekking route. Footprint Adventure keeps no stones to explore the beautiful Gokyo lakes trail and makes you visit a wonderland of Nepal offering you a lifetime memorable experience. In this blog, “ the comprehensive guidebook for Gokyo Lakes Trek” we’ve tried to explain most of the essential and important things that you must know before planning for the Gokyo Lakes trek.
Introduction of Gokyo Lakes Trek
Gokyo Lakes Trek is the second most popular and visited trekking trail in the Everest region where you can explore the world’s highest freshwater lake system along with the giant snow-capped mountains, stunning landscapes, rich Sherpa culture, traditions, and natural beauties of the Gokyo valley. For the close encounter with the highest peak on earth Mt. Everest, the Gokyo Lakes trek offers the best view from Gokyo Ri and Renjola Pass.
The trip began with the 30 min thrilling and scenic flight to the most extreme airport in the world called Lukla Airport and furthermore hiking alongside the beautiful Sherpa villages, a dense alpine forest of Rhododendron, and pristine Dudh Koshi river. The popular Namche Bazaar offers warm hospitality from the popular Sherpa community along with the town and amazes you with a service that is not less than a city. Exploring the nearby Khumjung villages, the first glimpse of the highest mountain of the world - Mt. Everest 8,848.86m from Everest viewpoint would be the highlights of the Gokyo lakes trek. Encountering with Yaks, Dzho, donkeys, trekkers, porters, and climbers while trekking and sharing the experience with them makes your trip even more memorable.
Highlights of Gokyo Lakes Trek
- You can explore so many things on the Gokyo Lakes trek. Some of the major highlights of the Gokyo Lakes trek are:
- Short and scenic flight from Kathmandu to the most extreme airport in the world - Lukla Airport.
- Get a chance to witness the Sherpa people, community, culture, festivals, and rituals of the Everest Region.
- A royal walk in the world’s most popular trekking trail - Everest Base Camp trek
- Get a chance to know more about Tibetan Buddhism, its practices along its correspondence such as prayers flags, mani walls, chortens, monasteries, and stupas.
- Explore the most popular and famous tourist capital - Namche Bazaar.
- Witness the exquisite views of the world’s highest peaks such as Mt. Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, and Cho Oyu including iconic Ama Dablam.
- Explore the natural beauty of the UNESCO Natural Heritage Site of Sagarmatha National Park.
- Wide range of exotic flora and fauna.
- Ancient monastery in Phakding, Namche, Dole, and Khumjung.
- Encounter with exotic wildlife such as Musk Deer, Himalayan Monal, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Tahr, and Blood Pleasant.
- Explore the longest glacier of Nepal - Ngozumpa Glacier.
- Explore the pristine world’s highest freshwater lake system in Gokyo lakes.
- Witnessing the sunset/sunrise from the popular Gokyo Ri viewpoint.
How long is the Gokyo lakes trek?
Normally, the Gokyo lakes trek is similar to the popular Everest Base Camp trek. It takes 12 days to complete an approximately 110 km round-trip i.e Lukla to Gokyo to back to Lukla. It takes 8 days to get to the Gokyo Lakes and coming back to Lukla would be a four days trek. In between the trek, there will be a few days of acclimatization and a few days are shorter hikes.
Normal Itinerary for Gokyo lakes trek
Gokyo lake's trek can be customized and planned according to the needs and requirements of the clients. But, we are offering the normal itinerary for the Gokyo lakes trek.
- Day 1: Fly to Lukla Airport & Trek to Phakding
- Day 2: Trek to Namche Bazaar
- Day 3: Acclimatization in Namche Bazaar
- Day 4: Trek to Dole Village
- Day 5: Trek to Machhermo
- Day 6: Trek to Gokyo Village
- Day 7: Hike to Gokyo Ri
- Day 8: Trek to Lungden via Renjola Pass
- Day 9: Trek to Thame
- Day 10: Trek to Namche Bazaar
- Day 11: Trek to Lukla
- Day 12: Fly back to Kathmandu
Are the Gokyo lake treks difficult?
The amazing Gokyo lakes trek is moderately difficult without any hard technical skills. The entire 12-day trek starting from Lukla to Gokyo Ri and back to Lukla includes a normal 5-7 hour average hike per day. The trek is slightly challenging as well as the most rewarding trek in the Everest Region. The trail is well-marked, easy to navigate and there is a tea house and hotels on the way. The important thing that you must know about the Gokyo lakes trek is, it’s less crowded than the popular Everest Base Camp trek and you’ll have fewer people on the way. You’ll go to stay a few days above the 4,000m above, so you must know about the consequences of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
The trail includes steep uphills, downhills in the rugged terrain of the high Himalayas. Sometimes, the trails are physically demanding and challenging as well. So, normal cardio exercise, running, and jogging before the few weeks of your trek help you to build stamina and enhance your confidence to trek at a high altitude. Besides this, past hiking & trekking experience would be the plus point for you but you don’t need technical experience and knowledge for the Gokyo lakes trek. Also, if you have any irregular medical conditions such as problems in the lungs, hurt, joints, and blood, please consult with your doctor before preparing for the Gokyo lakes trek.
How much does it cost to do the Gokyo lakes trek?
On average, the beautiful journey to Gokyo lakes itself is around two weeks treks and the normal price of the “ Gokyo Lakes Trek” would cost around 1200 USD to 1600 USD which includes Lukla flights, all the necessary permits, full board meals, best available accommodations, professional trekking guide, porter and other small expenses during the trekking. The above-mentioned price for the Gokyo Lakes trek is regular trekking packers, it may vary depending on your requirements and customization of packages. Huge discounts are made if you are traveling in the fixed departure or joined the group.
Besides this, Gokyo Lakes' trek cost and price depend upon whether you are traveling privately or joining a group and what kind of other services you want to add or remove. Traveling in a group can be cheaper as you’ll share the trekking guide, porters, whereas the private treks are tailored as per your requirements.
Is the trek to Gokyo lakes dangerous?
Every year thousands of people trek to the Gokyo valley and Gokyo lakes. This is one of the most rewarding and beautiful trekking trails in the Everest region however high altitude, rugged terrain, massive uphill and downhills make this trek quite difficult for normal people. Getting to the Gokyo Lakes is a slow and steady walk with a strategic time ascent into altitude. A few questions may arise in your mind: has anyone died trekking to the Everest Region and Gokyo lakes? The fact remains that while there are no official figures, any statistics reported have been less than 0.5% of the overall trekking number and usually because of natural disasters. The other case is if you walk without proper guidance and information then it would be dangerous.
What are the best seasons to do the Gokyo lakes trek?
Weather in the mountain region is always unpredictable and variable. But, it’s not always unpredictable, as we know spring and summer is the best season for trekking in high mountains. In order to avoid extreme weather conditions and unpredictable climates, most hikers love to travel during the spring ( which occurs between March to May) and autumn (Sept to November). In the spring season, forests are filled with colorful Rhododendron flowers, the temperature is warm and the weather looks more clear so you can experience the beautiful views of mountains. Likewise, autumn is the best time of the year for crisp days, clear mountain views, and a green environment. Besides this, monsoon and winter treks in Gokyo lakes are also possible with proper guidance and safety. Hence, for the regular trekkers, autumn and spring are the best seasons for trekking in Gokyo lakes. Learn more about the seasons in Nepal.
How cold is the Gokyo lakes trek?
The first few days of Gokyo lakes trekking in the low altitude are warm and humid along with the cool and vibrant temperatures. The second phase of the trek which normally starts from Namche Bazaar to Machhermo would be slightly more cold and rugged terrain. Sometimes it’s often freezing. On the Gokyo lakes and Gokyo Ri, the temperature can vary from 2to -15 degrees celsius on average. So, be prepared with base layers, mid-layers, and a proper down jacket along with warm socks, gloves, and a hat that can cover above mentioned temperature.
What are accommodations in the Gokyo lakes trek?
During the Gokyo Lakes trek, we can experience the two different categories of accommodation in your entire trek. Up to Namche, the rooms are quite nice with an attached bathroom, nice furniture, and amenities along with hot showers. They have charging facilities and wifi as well.
From Namche to Gokyo lakes, there will be a common room with two single beds and less furniture. Their attached bathroom will be limited and only a few hotels offer limited rooms with an attached bathroom. So, it's generally called a teahouse in Nepal. But, every teahouse offers the best service per altitude and remoteness. The window view will be amazing in high altitudes and a cozy room with excellent service would be the memorable part of your Gokyo lakes trekking. The bed has good mattresses, bedsheets, warm blankets, and a pillow for your comfort. Once you leave Namche and head towards the Gokyo lakes crossing Dole and Machhermo villages, you will see the number of tea houses is reportedly less. So, it will be fully occupied during the peak season.
How is the food in the Gokyo lakes trek?
The hotels and tea houses of Gokyo Lakes trek offer both Nepali and Western cuisine on their menu. Despite the limited choice of foods as compared to the city, the portion of each meal is substantial. The menu starts from the traditional Nepalese cuisine and local Sherpa dishes to the popular international dishes, you can easily find all of them in the given menu. Besides this, you can also get fresh bakeries, coffees, cakes, and some other renowned foods. The hotel also serves vegetarian, vegan meals, and gluten-free meals as per your requirements. For those irregular foods, you must inform your local travel agency before the trek, so that they can ask hotels to prepare accordingly.
Entrance and trek permits for the Gokyo lakes trek
You have to get the respective permit to enter inside the Everest Region along with the Gokyo lakes trek. If you are traveling through the local travel agency, they will get all the necessary permits and access to the Everest Region. But for the solo travelers, once you reach Lukla, you have to find first the office of Rural Municipality for the one permit, and the next day, you have to get the permit from the Sagarmatha National Park office (a popular national park in Nepal), which is on the way (Manjo).
Permit for SAARC
- Rural Municipality Fee: Rs 2,000 (~18$)
- Sagarmatha National Park Fee: Rs 1,500 (~13$)
Permit for Remaining Countries
- Rural Municipality Fee: Rs 2,000(~18$)
- Sagarmatha National Park Fee: Rs 3,000 (~26$)
Before starting your entire trek, it’s important to gather all the necessary permits and access documents. Keep in mind that, all the permit fees are payable in Nepalese rupees.
Travel insurance for the Gokyo lakes trek
When you are hiking or traveling in high altitudes, travel insurance is very essential. It is one of the most critical documents for trekking in high mountains all over Nepal. Gokyo Lakes Trek is a high-altitude trek, and such a hike can be pretty hazardous. Therefore, if travelers, unfortunately, face any kind of consequences during trekking, those travel insurance might be the best for you. It saves you from paying a huge amount at once, so we request all the travelers to get travel insurance before heading to Nepal for trekking and any kind of activities. Furthermore, make sure your insurance policy covers emergency helicopter evacuation, medical expenses and also make sure the policy covers 6,000m altitude.
Is a solo trek possible for the Gokyo lakes trek?
Solo trekking in Gokyo lakes is possible but not recommended. It is easy to navigate until Namche Bazaar, but afterward, the trail gets less busy and chances of losing trail will be possible. The village becomes less, several diverse paths will come and if anything happens on the way, you might feel helpless. So, we highly recommended doing this trek in a group or with a guide. Group trek might be hectic for some trekkers but this is the best and safest option for high altitude trek. You might face the problems of altitude sickness, normal injuries, and other consequences. For such situations, local guides will help you to take you to the necessary destinations and guide you safely until you reach your destination. Guides will show you the way, pass the necessary information regarding the trekking routes, mountains, peoples, languages, their cultures, practices and they will take care of your needs and well-being. So, do a solo trek in the Everest region, if you are well known about the routes and future consequences. For more details about the solo female treks in Nepal.
Internet, Electricity and Mobile network in Gokyo lakes trek
Everest Region Trek is a popular and renowned trek in the world. So, the facility of internet, electricity, and mobile network is quite good as compared to the other trekking part in Nepal. There are different ways to use the internet on this trek. Either you can buy the local SIM card or you can get the wifi facility inside the teahouse which they will charge extra for you. Also, you can buy an Everest Link card that can also help you to access the internet. However, the network connections may not be fast and reliable. Furthermore, as you start reaching higher altitudes, the internet and network connection will be weaker. About electricity, you can get electricity until Pangboche and from there they use solar power as regular electricity but they will charge a certain amount for it as well.
Safe drinking water in Gokyo lakes trek
Water is very essential for high mountain trekking as it’s the best option to avoid acute mountain sickness. There are few options for a safe drinking water facility in the Gokyo lake trek. The first one is, you can get the normal glacier water in each hotel. For that by the water purifying tablets or water filter. The second option would be mineral water which costs like 1$ to 2.5$, the more you gain altitude, the price of things will increase. Another option would be boiled water, which is best for mountains as well. They charge little for the boiled water as well.
Packing list for Gokyo lakes trek
Gokyo lake trek is a high mountain trek and a packing list is the other most important thing to do before planning for this trek. Normally, from the head to the feet, you must bring warm, light, and comfortable things. For wearing, a down jacket, warm trekking pants, thermals, a good hiking boot, gloves, hat, socks, and shirts. Besides this, headlights, necessary medicines, power bank, cables, dry snacks, and private things if you use some. For the detailed packing list, please click here.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and Preventive measures during Gokyo lakes trek
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is not a regular situation, it only occurs when your body is not able to adjust to the high altitude climate and environment. So, the sickness differs from person to person according to the age of people, health status, physical fitness, and experience of hiking at high altitudes. On the Gokyo Lakes trek, many people feel the symptoms of AMS. If the symptoms of the illness are not taken care of properly, the situation can even turn critical. That’s why we always suggest travelers trek with guides and local travel agencies.
Some Common Symptoms of AMS
- Headache ( both side and one side of the head)
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting sometimes.
- Tiredness and dizziness.
- Feel discomfort while sleeping.
- Increase the heart rate and shortness of breathing.
- Keep your body hydrated and drink at least 4-5 liters of water every day when you cross above 3,000m
- Take plenty of rest after finishing your daily hike.
- Consume enough food and calories while trekking.
- Wear enough and make your body warm.
- When you feel most of the AMS symptoms, descend to a lower altitude as soon as possible.
- Ascend slowly and acclimatize properly according to the needs of your body.
- Travel with a local guide and travel agency so that they will help you to trail for all the possible consequences.
There are few medicines like Diamox that help to prevent sickness. But, remember one thing, before taking any drugs related to AMS consult with related doctors or medical experts.
These are the essential aspects for one who is planning for a trip to Gokyo Lakes. This complete guidebook for Gokyo Lakes will give you an idea that many do not precisely fit when you find yourself on the trek. However, this guidebook is just a fraction of what the Gokyo lakes trek entails. In general, you will have exceptional times, although some aspects might be off-putting. The breathtaking views of snowy mountains, valleys, landscapes, and glacial scenery along with the freshness of pristine Gokyo lakes will be a lifetime experience. For the detailed itinerary and package of the Gokyo lakes trek. Please contact us anytime.