Complete Guidebook for Gokyo Lake Trek
Gokyo Lake, located at the height of 4700 meters within the Everest massif, is an awe-inspiringly gorgeous stretch of water surrounded by mountains with plenty of quiet places to relax and gaze. Gokyo Lake is not the largest glacial lake in the Everest massif; however, size isn’t anything. If you consider yourself a lover of the great outdoors, then there are numerous ways to spend your time exploring the surrounding area. The lake is famed for its shimmering, turquoise coloration and is one of those locations that you will long to return to time and again.
Lush forests do not surround Gokyo Lake. However, the Nepalese Himalayas encircle the lake beautifully, making a scenically pleasing picture. One of the top attractions in the Everest range, the Gokyo Lake thrives with snow-capped mountains and glaciers, offering incredible scenery as you take into the ambiance that surrounds you.
Read our Complete Guidebook for Gokyo Lake Trek, where you can learn about the best features of the area, including tips on when to go or ways to go, top hikes and activities, as well as the best time to visit.
Why must you go on a Gokyo Lake Trek?
Well, there is no reason why one should not visit Gokyo Lake. It is one of the beautiful places in the Khumbu region but less visited. Although the place does get fewer visitors, that does not mean it lacks in any sense of beauty. The place offers a majestically beautiful setting with its serene and tranquil backdrop and a great chance to indulge the infamous Sherpa culture. Home of the famous Sherpa tribes known for their impressive records of summiting the world’s highest peaks, this trek is a remarkable opportunity to learn about their excellent cultural background. Overall, in the coming section, we highlight the best features of Gokyo Lake Trek, so stay tuned and read further:
Best features of Gokyo Lake Trek
A memorable adventure among big mountains
The Gokyo Lake trek is for lovers of adventure. The hike climbs to the glacial Gokyo Lake, sitting amid big mountains. Famous mountains of the world rise in front of you in this valley – Mt. Everest, Mt. Cho Oyu, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Nuptse, and many more. You stay in the shadow of the mighty snow peaks in the world.
Many treks in Nepal bring you close to big mountains, but Gokyo Lake Trek, without any questions, offers the most scenic and thrilling experience.
A remote trekking trail
Gokyo Lake Trek goes through a remote trekking trail in the Everest region. Thus, one can consider the trek route to be highly remote as well. There is no proper human settlement at this altitude. And you will find very few trekking groups on this trail. When seen in comparison to a lot of other unfortunately crowded trails, this solitude is a blessing.
The Gokyo Valley’s pristine elegance
The Gokyo Lakes’ dazzling, translucent blue and green waters are unforgettable. But spending a glorious day at the small habitation of Gokyo is equally splendid. There are not many houses, and all homes are in some way like a teahouse. Thus, the settlement here only exists for commercial reasons. Setting a few hours away from your long journey to chat with the locals is completely worthwhile too. Similarly, there are few small cafes and bakeries where freshly made goods are made. Thus, travelers can find themselves in a lovely corner and enjoy newly made bakeries and spend their time enjoying the scenery surrounding them.
Six sacred pool of Gokyo Lakes
There are six spectacular lakes situated at an altitude ranging between 4700m and 5000m, making them some of the world’s highest freshwater lakes. Both Hindus and Buddhists believe that Lake Gokyo is sacred. Around 500 Hindus bathe in the lake during the Janai Purnima festival, usually held in August. The valley is best known for its six emerald blue lakes, namely, Longabanga Tso, Tanjung Tso (4,720m), Gokyo Tso, Donag (4,870m), Ngozumpa (4,990m), and Gyazumpa (5,150m). The sixth lake is also known as Cho Oyu First Base Camp.
Hike to Gokyo Ri
Standing at the height of 5357 meters, Gokyo Ri is a small peak in Gokyo Valley. This peak overlooks the Gokyo village, Gokyo Lakes, and Ngozumpa glacier, and the mighty Himalayas. The ascent of Gokyo Ri is steep and challenging on some level too. Nevertheless, from the summit of the peak, you will see a much grander view of Everest massif. The top of the ridge shows the panoramic view of eight thousand such as Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, along with other majestic peaks.
Explore Ngozumpa glacier
Take your precious time to explore the captivating Ngozumpa Glacier- the longest glacier in the Himalayas. It is below the sixth highest mountain in the world- Cho Oyu. The glacier is 36 kilometers long and is a large persistent body of ice. It flows slowly due to stresses induced by its weight.
Best time for the Gokyo Lake Trek
An ideal time for Gokyo Lake Trek would be the spring and autumn season. But, the trek is doable all through the year. Each season brings a different ambiance, so it is difficult to say one season is perfect for the hike. Thus, below explore what each season offers for travelers.
The spring season, one of the busiest seasons of the post-winter season; thus, the trekking route is covered in a thin layer of melting snow. The lake remains frozen, and glimmering mountains will greet you. The spring season in Nepal goes on from March to May, and it offers a mild and warm weather condition perfect for trekking.
On the other hand, summer/monsoon is one of the least visited times for trekking but grants superb ambiance. It gets green in the lower region, and basically, you get to have a trail to yourself. Also, ice over the lake completely melts, and a sparkling blue azure lake welcomes you.
Likewise, those who want to see splendid mountain views should also consider traveling during the autumn season, which falls from September and November. Autumn is the top trekking season, with low precipitation, clear blue skies, and clear mountain views. Also, the peaceful turquoise Gokyo Lakes shall welcome you.
Finally, winter is another good option; despite the cold weather, you’ll get incredible views of the snow-covered mountains and hills. However, due to the cold weather, the lake will freeze.
Overall, the Gokyo Lake Trek will grant a life-changing experience regardless of which season you visit.
How to go to Gokyo Lake?
Well, there are several trekking routes to Gokyo Lake. Some are short, and some are long as well as demanding too. Few trekking routes entail passing several high mountain passes that are difficult to cross but highly adventurous.
Similarly, like all other treks in the Everest region, Gokyo Lake Trek starts with a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. The trekking path is the same till Namche and departs to a different trekking route to Gokyo Lakes.
Besides, there are several trekking routes to Gokyo Lakes. For instance, 15 days standard Gokyo lake trek entails traveling to Gokyo Lake only and is a moderate journey. Whereas travelers also can incorporate Gokyo Lake Trek with Everest Base Camp, which makes it a 19 days expedition in the Everest region. In this way, at once, trekkers can experience the finesse of two notable attractions of Khumbu valley.
On the other hand, travelers who love adventures and want to push themselves can add crossing Cho La pass and Renjo La pass to their Gokyo Lake Trek. Gokyo Lake Trek with Cho La pass and Renjo La pass is 21 days demanding journey but very thrilling. It is not recommended to novice trekkers as it is a testing and exhausting undertaking.
Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty
Gokyo Lake Trek’s difficulty level depends on which trekking route you chose for the journey. The trek route containing mountain passes is challenging, whereas the standard trek itinerary to Gokyo Lake is a moderate journey. Besides, various factors determine trekking difficulties, such as altitude gained every day, highest height, length of a trek every day, and nature of the terrain and weather. And in terms of altitude, the Gokyo Lake trek journey climbs up to the highest height at 5360 meters at Gokyo Ri. However, this climb is gradual, so you have enough time for acclimatization.
Similarly, there are several tricky sections on the trail that make it difficult, especially for first-timers. Navigating these sections requires sure-footedness and measured footsteps. The mandatory requirement for the trek, despite any challenges, is to be mentally prepared and have good physical fitness. Similarly, do not go for the trekking itinerary that contains crossing mountain passes if you don’t have any previous trekking experience.
Preparation for the Gokyo Lake Trek
You will need at least a few months of preparation time for Gokyo Lake Trek. You can start with a brisk walk and then jog to improve your cardio exercise. Your goal should be to cover 5 kilometers comfortably in 30 minutes. Start slowly and increase the pace every day. Swimming, biking, and climbing stairs without having to rest for a long time can also help. Another area that needs trekkers can work on is strength building. During the trek, you need to walk on uneven ground. It will tire your legs. Strengthening your legs will help. You can do multiple squats to increase your strength. Another aspect that can help you walk comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises: regularly stretch the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, psoas major, and shoulders. These exercises will help you stay healthy before taking a walk.
These are general things one should know before planning to go on a journey to Gokyo Lakes. You can learn about accommodation, food, and all the other basic things about Gokyo Lake Trek in the coming section.
How is the accommodation in Gokyo Lake Trek?
The accommodation during the trek will be in a teahouse. In Phakding, Namche, and Lukla, you can find luxury tea houses with all the services. But afterward these locations, there are no luxury teahouses. But every teahouse serves the best services to its visitors. The rooms at the tea houses are designed with two single beds to accommodate two trekkers at a time. There will be beds with mattresses, bedsheets, blankets, and pillows for your comfort. After Namche, as you move ahead on your journey to the Gokyo valley, you will notice the number of teahouses is reportedly less, so will be the occupants.
How is the food during Gokyo Lake Trek?
Diverse cuisines are available on the trekking route. From traditional Nepalese and Sherpa dishes to international dishes, you can find everything on their menu. Also, you can even find freshly baked cakes, muffins, and other baked goodies. Additionally, if you have any dietary restrictions, then also it is no problem. You can find vegetarian, vegan meals, and gluten-free meals at the teahouse. But, please inform your guide about your requirements in advance. He will assist you in getting your preferred dishes.
How about Internet facilities on Gokyo Lake Trek?
There are various ways to use the internet on trek. You can either buy a local SIM card or use the wifi service of the teahouse by paying extra cash. However, the network connection may not be consistently good. Plus, as you start approaching higher altitude, the internet connection will be weaker.
Likewise, you can buy an Everest Link card, which is well-known in the Everest area for providing easy and dependable internet access. You can purchase these cards in Kathmandu, Lukla, Namche Bazaar, Dingboche, and Gokyo Valley.
How about Bathrooms and hot showers on Gokyo Lake Trek?
You can find western flushing style toilets as well as squat-down toilets in the Everest trail. However, as you move higher in the path, we suggest using the squat-down bathroom instead of sit-down toilets. Because, as we move higher, it gets colder and water freezes, making it challenging to flush the toilet. So we advise you to check if the water is working flawlessly before using the toilets as you move higher.
Hot showers are also available all through the trek. It cost around NPR 200- 500 per hot shower, depending on location. But don’t expect showerheads or taps with hot water. After Namche, they will give you a bucket of hot water and a jug, and you have to bathe by pouring water over your head.
Solo trekking or Group Treks
Solo trekking is possible but not recommended. It is easy to navigate until Namche Bazaar, but afterward, the trail gets less busy, but the chances of losing the track increases. There will be hardly any locals or trekkers to show you the way, and several diverged paths will come in the way. Hence, even if you are experienced trekkers, it is highly suggested to go on group treks. Group tours can be hectic as trekkers have to sync with other fellow trekkers, but it is safe and will offer a wholesome experience. Group tours entail experienced guides who will show you the way and flow information regarding the trek route, mountains, people and take care of your needs and well-being. Take solo tours only if you are familiar with trekking routes; otherwise, refrain from it.
Travel Insurance for Gokyo Lake Trek
Travel Insurance for Gokyo Lake Trek is essential. It is one of the critical documents for trekking in Nepal. Gokyo Lake Trek is a high-altitude trek, and such walks can be pretty hazardous. Thus, if travelers, unfortunately, face any problem during their hike, travel insurance comes in handy during those times. It saves you from paying a hefty amount at once, so purchase travel insurance before coming to Nepal for trekking. Moreover, make sure your insurance policy includes emergency helicopter evacuation, medicinal expenses and make sure it covers 6000 meters height.
Money on Gokyo Lake Trek
It would be best if you had enough local currency with you when trekking in Nepal. Foreign currencies are not allowed on any Nepalese trekking routes, including the Namche and Everest regions. If you run out of cash, there are a few ATMs in Namche. However, we recommend that you bring enough money to last the duration of your trip.
Permits for Gokyo Lake Trek
Individuals who are looking forward to Gokyo Lake Trek are needed to have a trekking permit. For any treks in the Everest region, you need to have a Sagarmatha National Park entry ticket and a Khumbu Pasang Lhamu entry ticket.
Trekkers can purchase these permits from Nepal Tourism Board Office in Kathmandu or Lukla. As per Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality, they are available to buy in Lukla.
These are essential aspects for one who is planning for a trip to Gokyo Lake. It just gives you an idea that may not precisely fit when you find yourself on the trek. However, the guidebook is just a fraction of what Gokyo Lake Trek entails. On the whole, you will have exceptional times, although some aspects might be off-putting. The breathtaking sights of lakes and mountain scenery will be a rewarding experience. All in all, it is a beautiful experience that is deeply pleasing.