Gokyo lake is the highest freshwater lake in the Himalayas. It is an excellent alternative to the most popular EBC trek. This 11-day Gokyo Lake Trek takes you to the laps of the Himalayas with an outstanding view of Gokyo lake from Gokyo Ri. I have listed the detailed itinerary, Cost, and accommodation.
- 1 Itinerary for Gokyo Lake
- 1.1 Day 1: Kathmandu
- 1.2 Day 2: Kathmandu to Lukla (Flight) and Trek to Phakding
- 1.3 Day 03: Phakding to Namche Bazaar
- 1.4 Day 04: Acclimatization Day in Namche Bazaar
- 1.5 Day 05: Namche Bazaar to Dole
- 1.6 Day 06: Dole to Machhermo
- 1.7 Day 07: Machhermo to Gokyo (Afternoon hike to Gokyo, RI)
- 1.8 Day 08: Gokyo to Machhermo (Morning hike to Gokyo 4th Lake)
- 1.9 Day 09: Machhermo to Namche Bazaar
- 1.10 Day 10: Namche Bazaar to Lukla
- 1.11 Day 11: Lukla to Kathmandu flight
- 2 How Much Does it Cost to go to Gokyo Lake?
- 3 Trekking Permits for Everest Region
- 4 Insurance for Gokyo lake
- 5 Tips for Guide and Porter in Khumbu
- 6 Accommodation in Gokyo Lake Trek
- 7 Risk and Difficulty in Gokyo lake
- 8 Food in Gokyo Lake Trek
Here is a short breakdown of what to expect on the trail. The scenery will change a little depending on the season you go in, but this gives you an idea, and you can decide if you want to do more research and sign up for this adventure!
Day 1: Kathmandu
Having arrived in Kathmandu, I got the opportunity to meet my guide and ask questions about the Gokyo lake trek. If your trekking agent is up to scratch, you will have, like me, already had a lot of interaction before arriving in Nepal, but this meeting gives extra confidence at the start of the adventure.
Day 2: Kathmandu to Lukla (Flight) and Trek to Phakding
Flight time: 35 to 40 minutes
Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
According to everything I read, flying into Lukla (Tenzing Hillary Airport) is always exciting. Yes, it was! Flying into the high Himalayas is not something I get to do every day!
After disembarking, the porters sort out your bags, and off you go! It is approximately a 3-hour hike to Phakding, where I spent the first night. Today passed in a flash, but there was plenty more to come.
Day 03: Phakding to Namche Bazaar
Trek time: 7 to 8 hours
The trail wound its way over the Dudh Koshi River by suspension bridge and through rhododendron forests. If you come in spring, it is very colourful with flowers. On entering Sagarmatha National Park, I was told I was now in the land of exciting wildlife and majestic mountains.
I had heard of the market town of Namche Bazaar, which is famous for being the starting point of many treks and climbing expeditions. It has a buzz about it as trekkers, climbers, and staff prepare for what is ahead. It’s a great place to meet like-minded folks over a cup of tea or a beer.
Day 04: Acclimatization Day in Namche Bazaar
Since you are now at an altitude with higher climbs, I was told trekkers need to let their bodies acclimate. Interestingly the best way to acclimatize is to stay active. There are a couple of options to help you achieve this.
I was told I could head to the Everest View Hotel for a coffee. And, it turns out, not surprisingly, great views of Mt. Everest. I was particularly interested in watching people fly in for breakfast by helicopter (my next adventure, maybe?).
I also headed to Khumjung village, made famous by Edmund Hillary when he established the Khunde Hospital and Khumjung School. Some of you might be interested in Khumjung Monastery, the area’s Sherpa religion and culture centre. It is also a good time in Namche to buy goodies for the Gokyo Lake trek.
Day 05: Namche Bazaar to Dole
Trek time: 6 to 7 hours
The hike up the Dudh Koshi Valley was beautiful, with Thamserku, Everest and Ama Dablam towering overhead. The whole region is predominantly Buddhist, so there are stupas (Buddhist shrines) and prayer flags scattered along the way, and from a ridge near the village of Mong, there are views of the Tengboche monastery.
The more rhododendron and pine forests, as well as waterfalls, were stunning. There were also some stone stairs on the hiking trail, which were not as much fun.
Day 06: Dole to Machhermo
Trek time: 7 to 8 hours
The short climb leaving Dole leads to more gentle but still uphill trails with the Dudh Koshi River lying below and stunning views of Thamserku from a ridge above the destination village. I was into my ‘trekking stride’ and thoroughly enjoyed even the rougher bits.
Day 07: Machhermo to Gokyo (Afternoon hike to Gokyo, RI)
Trek time: 7 to 8 hours
Today I reached the first, second and third of the Gokyo lakes, which is confusing. You would think someone would give them names! The day went like this – cross a ridge, through a narrow valley that opens to a more expansive valley, and descend to the Dudh Koshi River before the steep climb to Ngozumpa Glacier and the first lake.
Heading north, the second lake is more significant than the first and runs parallel to the trail. Even further on, the third lake appears. Thankfully there are some teahouses here, so it’s an excellent place to stop for lunch before what I anticipated to be a tiring afternoon.
I was told it would be exhilarating to hike 2.5 to 3 hours up Gokyo Ri. Well, it was worth it at the top, for sure. A panorama of mountains, lakes, and glaciers is astounding. This was the highlight of the Gokyo Lake trek.
I was told sunset is the best time as watching the sun go down over the mountains is magical. But by then, I was thinking about hiking back in the dark…
Day 08: Gokyo to Machhermo (Morning hike to Gokyo 4th Lake)
Trek time: 4 hours
This short day starts with a pre-breakfast hike to the fourth Gokyo Lake along a flat trail. After this short walk, there was plenty of time to spend at the beautiful lake before hiking back to Gokyo for breakfast. Then it was a short hike to the next overnight stop.
Day 09: Machhermo to Namche Bazaar
Trek time: 8 hours
As it was going to be a long day, I ensured I had a good breakfast. Lunches at the teahouses on the trails can be a mix of good and not-so-good, so you never know. Thankfully, I got a good one on this day.
Leaving the quiet villages and landscapes behind for the lively Namche Bazaar was quite a shock. But as soon as I talked to other trekkers, I enjoyed the noisy atmosphere.
Day 10: Namche Bazaar to Lukla
Trek time: 8 hours
No choice but to repeat the trail along the Dudh Koshi River, crossing the same suspension bridges to reach Lukla, where trekkers wait overnight for flights back to Kathmandu early the following day.
Day 11: Lukla to Kathmandu flight
Flight time: 35 to 40 minutes
Flying out of the mountains can be quite an emotional experience. I will be back for sure!
The answer depends on whether you go independently or with a trekking agency. And, of course, there are varying prices between the agents. I suggest you do your homework if you are thinking of going via an agent, but you can count on the prices starting at around USD1200.
Here I will give you a rough indication of how much it will cost to go independently. First off, you need to get there. The flights into Lukla cost USD170 each way. That’s a fixed cost.
Accommodation will cost you approximately USD5 a night on the trail. In the off-season, you might reduce this by a dollar or so. And if you love to treat yourself, you can pay around USD150 for some luxury lodges in Namche and Lukla.
The teahouses are all pretty much the same in terms of what you get for your USD 5 – twin beds, a blanket, and a shared toilet. Not all places have hot showers. You will have to pay another USD4 for that luxury if they do.
Food will cost you around USD 6 per meal.
While that might include the price of a cup of tea, soft and alcoholic drinks will set you back another USD2 to USD10! Something you might want to plan for. Drinking water is not free, so bring your purifying tablets or system or build in enough money for water, whether boiled or bottled.
To charge your electronics, you will need to pay USD 2 to USD 6, depending on where the teahouse is located. You could calculate around USD35 per day for food, accommodation, and showers. But bring more in case of flight delays etc.
Note: even if you are travelling in a package with a trekking agency, your soft and alcoholic drinks, hot shower, and charging fees are payable by you.
There are other things you need to pay (Nepal Visa)
Obtainable from the Nepal Embassy in your country or on arrival. A tourist visa costs USD 15 for 30 days, USD 50 for 30 days, and USD 125 for 90 days. Indians don’t need tickets to travel to Nepal.
Please bring Dollars/ Euros/ Pounds. There is an ATM at the Kathmandu airport arrival hall, but it does not always work.
Every foreigner requires a trekking permit to Gokyo Lake trek in Nepal. For this trek, you need the:
- Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit at Nrs 3,000 or approx. USD 30
- Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Entrance Permit at Nrs2,000 or approx. USD 20.
If you are booking your trek through an agent, check if these costs are included in the package or if you must pay these separately.
You should ensure your travel insurance covers trekking and trekking at altitude. Check the small print! Please understand you will not be airlifted out of the mountains unless you have insurance or a proven way (cash) to pay for the helicopter and medical care.
Guides and porters expect to be tipped. Whether you believe in tipping or not, that is how it is. You can expect to pay around USD250 for each person.
That works out reasonably if you are in a group situation but quite expensive if you are travelling alone. Something to take into consideration when planning your trip.
As mentioned above, all the teahouses are pretty much the same. They are twin rooms with no facilities! That sums it up! There is no heating in the sleeping rooms, and very few at altitude or in the lower price range have attached bathrooms.
Bringing wet wipes will save on the cost of a hot shower, and keep taking your clothes off when it’s freezing outside! Dining rooms will be warm and welcoming; if it’s not busy, you might even get to sit in the more generous kitchen!
Gokyo lake is a challenging Gokyo Lake trek but doable if you are fit and used to hiking. You are in the Himalayas, and altitude is the central issue. Make sure you allocate a day for acclimatization.
Listen to your body and descend as soon as you feel any symptoms of Altitude Sickness. If you are trekking with a guide, consult him before making any decision.
If you are going on a group Gokyo Lake trek, your food will be included in the package price. There may or may not be a choice of menu. If there is a choice, it is usually faster if everyone in your group orders the same thing! If you are travelling independently, you can choose whatever you want.
Unless you are trekking in the lower reaches of the Annapurnas or short treks near Kathmandu and Pokhara, the food is pretty much standard on all the tours in Nepal. There will be vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Vegan food has not reached the remote trekking areas yet.
Dal Bhat is a staple not only of the people but of trekkers! If you haven’t already had it, vegetable curry, rice, dahl (lentil) soup, and pickle. It varies in every kitchen but is incredibly filling – perfect while trekking. Of course, trekkers don’t want to eat curry and rice three times a day.
Breakfasts in teahouses usually consist of some bread – Tibetan, chapati, toast, and eggs or porridge. Lunches are taken on the trail, so yes, that will most likely be dal bhat or packet noodles.
Dinner in lodges can be noodles, fried rice, curry, or even an attempt at spaghetti or pizza. Somehow these limited choices become very appetizing when at altitude and walking for hours all day!