Tucked away from the crowds of Everest Base Camp, the Gokyo Lakes Trek is a preserved gem. These six lakes are hidden jewels in the lap of Sagarmatha National Park, claiming the title of world’s highest freshwater lakes. Their turquoise banks are framed by the snowy peaks of Lhotse, Makalu, Cho-Oyu and Everest mountains to create a surreal vision high in the Himalayas.
To reach this stunning place of beauty, we will climb over the Bhote Koshi valley and trace Renjo La pass. Sherpa hospitality and pleasant teahouses will keep us warm as we make our way across rocky ridges, through Tibetan trade routes and into stony Himalayan villages. The Thame Valley, with its pristine and untouched vistas will stand in contrast with the tiered developments of Namche village. On top of Gokyo Ri, we will have one of the best views of the Everest region. Add thundering rivers, peaceful valleys, thick forests and memorable sunrises, and you have the perfect recipe for an off-the-beaten track adventure.
Day 1: Arrival / Welcome Dinner
Your guide will be waiting for you at Kathmandu’s international airport to bring you to your hotel. After unpacking your things you will have time to relax before meet the rest of your team. Those arriving early will have time to explore some of the bustling local markets of Thamel. Together we will share a traditional Nepali meal and enjoy a cultural dance program while reviewing our plan for our trek ahead.
Day 2: Kathmandu City Tour
After breakfast, explore some of Kathmandu’s most historic and religious sites. Our guide will show you the white dome of the Buddhist Boudhanath temple and explain the Hindu ceremonies performed on the banks of Pasupatinath. In the afternoon, we’ll distribute any gear you’ll need for our trek and answer questions about what to expect in the days leading to Gokyo.
Day 3: Lukla (2840m / 9,186ft) / Phakding (2600m / 8530ft)
A small plane will take us high into the Himalayas where the snowy peaks of the Khumbu region welcome us to Lukla’s short, steep runway. Here we will start our journey by making our way through Sherpa villages and farming communities. The gushing Dudh Koshi River carves through boulders and mountainsides, and we’ll cross suspension bridges high above freezing waters. After a gentle walk, we’ll reach Phakding, where a home-cooked meal will warm and refuel us for tomorrow’s trek.
Day 4: Namche Bazaar (3450m /11,318ft)
A day’s walk will lead us to the tiered Sherpa settlement of Namche Bazaar, and our bodies will begin to feel the pull of higher elevations. We’ll take our time, stopping at Lorsale village for lunch and crossing rickety bridges with care. Alluring vistas and gorges will enhance our views of white-capped mountains. Upon reaching the picturesque village of Namche, we’ll rest for the evening and spend tomorrow acclimatizing.
Day 5: Rest Day
Namche is complete with cafes and bakeries, so you’ll have plenty to do while letting your body adjust to higher elevations. Our guide will plan side excursions to suit your tastes and keep feet moving. In the afternoon, stop by the Visitor Center or explore some of the nearby rock ledges for memorable photographs.
Day 6: Khumjung (3780m /12,401ft)
A short, easy walk from Namche is the village of Khumjung. Here we have several activities planned, including a visit to a yak farm to learn about the region’s farming practices and a trip to the Hillary School, an educational initiative established by Sir Edmund Hillary and his team. We can also explore the airstrip at Syangboche and see views of Mt. Everest from the luxurious Everest View Hotel. The Khumjung Monastery, home to yeti remains, is a must-see, and you’ll have time to relax and enjoy afternoon views of Mount Khumbiyela.
Day 7: Dole (4040m / 13,250ft)
Crossing bridges over the Dudh Koshi, our destination is Dole, a charming farming community with a handful of teahouses. An upward trail carries us to the ridges of Mong La, a Sherpa village boasting the oldest stupa, a Buddhist structure for worship. With towering mountains and the glistening Cho-Oyu watching over this community, Dole is the perfect place for a good night’s sleep.
Day 8: Machhermo (4410m / 14,468ft)
To allow our bodies to get used to the altitude, we will make our gently way to Machhermo. Our climb will be steady, offering views of Kyojo Ri and Macchermo peaks. Passing settlements and the village of Luza, we will enter the area where the Yeti was reportedly spotted. In the afternoon, attend an informational lecture at the Himalayan Rescue Hospital before saving a warm meal prepared fresh by the friendly innkeepers at Machhermo.
Day 9: Gokyo (4754m/15,597ft)
Venturing over a ridge filled with Buddhist shrines, we will see spanning views of the valley and white Himalayan crests. We will descend towards the river before regaining altitude and attempting a steep climb up the moraine of the Ngozamba Glacier. Passing over a bubbling stream, the trail will begin to even out until bringing us to the first lake, Longpongo, where a monk’s footprints are reportedly preserved in stone. The second lake Taboche Tsho is a turquoise vision, luring us further into the Gokyo region. After lunch, we will have time to explore and savour this phenomenal landscape before nestling into a comfortable teahouse for the evening.
Day 10: Gokyo Ri (5483 m / 17,988ft) / Dole (4040m / 13,250ft)
Sunrise on top of Gokyo Ri is magic. We will rise early to watch the Everest region turn purple and gold with the rays of morning. Here, you will understand exactly why we have ranked this trek as on of our favourites. After sipping morning tea, we will make our way back down to Dole, an easy descend from Ngozumpa Glacier. Tonight’s warm meal will be even more delicious, and after the hard work you’ve put in, you’ve earned it; the trek today is a challenging one, but well worth your efforts.
Day 11: Rinjo Pass (5360m / 17,585ft) / Lungden (4500m / 14,7463ft)
Just when you think views can’t get any better, we climb high above the plains to enter Thame Valley. The trail to Rinjo Pass is steep, yet the panorama waiting for us is remarkable. Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and Makalu mountains rise before us as we make our way past lakes and pastures leading to Lundgren. This remote community welcomes Tibetan traders weary from crossing the Nangpa La Pass, and we may have to sidestep lines of yak carrying goods to reach tonight’s guesthouse.
Day 12: Thame (3829m / 12,562ft)
We’ve planned to cover distances conservatively to protect shaky legs and wobbly knees. After a leisure breakfast, we’ll begin our descent towards Thame village. The path is a rolling one, and you can enjoy wildflowers and rhododendrons that decorate the trails. We may see native wildlife musk deer, pheasants or mountain goats in the dense forests.
Day 13: Namche Bazaar (3450m / 11,318ft)
From Thame, our return trip to Namche will follow a different trail, passing towering waterfalls and Buddhist prayer wheels. The walk is mostly downhill, with continued views of some of the most well known Himalayan giants. Upon reaching Namche Army Camp, we will see Lhotse, Everest and Tengboche behind us. After our day’s six-hour walk, the warm guesthouse and hot showers (and maybe a piece of apple pie from the local bakery) will be much appreciated rewards.
Day 14/15: Lukla (2840m / 9,186ft)
The trail leaving Namche stretching towards Lukla is a fairly steep decline, but the familiar sites of suspension bridges and the Dudh Koshi River will encourage us to press on and reach our destination. We will pass rhododendron forests and Sherpa villages, taking in our final views of prayer stones and colourful flags. The mountains will stand tall in the distance to remind us of our accomplishments, and we’ll celebrate the success of our journey with drinks and dancing with our local team. We’ve included an extra day in our itinerary in case of weather or flight cancellations.
Day 16/17: Kathmandu
After arriving back to Kathmandu, bargain for gifts or rest at a day spa. If you need recommendations, our team is happy to suggest their favourite restaurants and activities. The Garden of Dreams is a beautiful, quiet piece of greenery tucked near one of Kathmandu’s busiest intersections if you’re craving more nature! Our last dinner together will be a celebratory one.
Day 18: Depart
Our guides will make sure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to check your luggage and prepare for your flight home. You’ll have many photos to review and share with friends. Just remember: It isn’t goodbye, it’s “Pheri betaula!” (See you again!)