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Adventures / Wild Hikes

Everest and Gokyo Lakes Circuit: 2019/2020 Season

Trek through the rich scenery of the Gokyo Lakes to reach world-famous Everest Base Camp.

I'M UP FOR
Wild Hikes
DURATION
17 Nights
DIFFICULTY
Challenging
COMFORT
Basic
LOCATION
Nepal
SEASON
March—May, September—January

Experience true mountain beauty, Sherpa culture and the achievement of climbing to the base camp of the world’s highest mountain. This trek from Gokyo to Everest Base Camp offers one of the most adventurous routes out there, as you hike the rugged Himalayan terrain and traverse the Cho La Pass (5330m), with the view of Everest always in touching distance.

You may also want to check out the classic slightly shorter Everest Base Camp Trek.

Your hassle-free adventure includes:

  • 15 days of trekking (including 2 days of acclimatisation)
  • 15 nights of accommodation on the trek
  • 2 nights of accommodation in Kathmandu
  • Internal flights to/from Kathmandu - Lukla
  • Local, professional English-speaking guides
  • Assistant leader on 4:1 basis
  • Porter on 2:1 basis to transport luggage
  • Welcome and farewell dinner in Kathmandu
  • Permits and entrance fees
  • Transfers to/from Kathmandu city
  • Airport transfers

Perfect for: Those who want to tackle a slightly tougher alternative trek to Everest Base Camp whilst marvelling at the magnificent Gokyo Lakes.

Need To Know

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Meals and drinks while on the trek
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Tips for the guides (optional)
  • Showers and charging while trekking

We do not include meals on the trek as from experience we know that altitude and physical exercise can mean appetites vary hugely. The cost of food rises as we ascend as it is all carried in by porters and yaks and as we get higher up, very little food can be grown. How much you spend per day will vary according to your choice of meal but generally, people spend between $15-$25 per person per day on meals and hot drinks. Below is an approx. breakdown of some items:

  • Dal Baht: $4 to $7C
  • Chow Mein: $2 to $4
  • Eggs: $2 to $4
  • Toast: $1.50 to $3
  • Tea/Hot Chocolate: $1.00 to $3.00
  • Chocolate Bars: $2 to $4

Teahouses will provide cold water free of charge however it needs to be treated to enable you to drink it. Please read the FAQ re our advice here. Other extra costs to be considered:

  • Shower: $2-$4
  • Wifi: $2-5
  • Electricity: $2-5

The trip will run with a maximum of 14.

Sure can! A lot of people do, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Breakfast is usually either hot porridge, muesli or Tibetan bread served with an omelette or boiled eggs. The menus in the teahouses are very similar at every stop and there will usually be a choice of traditional Nepalese dhal bhat (a mixed plate of lentils, rice, vegetables and pickles - delicious and healthy!), Nepalese dumplings (momo’s), mixed noodles, pasta and even pizza. Although meat is available at some teahouses, we suggest you ask your guide for their advice re consumption as it tends to depend on how far it has travelled as to whether it is a safe option.

Absolutely, just make a request when booking.

Although most teahouses have the option to buy bottled water, we advise against it to reduce the use of plastic in the mountains (this ends up being burnt or in landfill out of sight). You will instead be provided with cold water that needs treating. There is a wide range of products available these days which are more effective than traditional purification tablets - some trekkers like to use UV handheld devices such as a Steripen but other options are available (just check the performance in freezing conditions).

You’ll hike from 4 to 7 hours a day, averaging around and gradually ascend from 2610m to 5550m. While the trail is generally good, there are some more challenging uphill sections of the journey.

Much of the trek is within the capabilities of people with average fitness who are keen trekkers. Still, it is important to note that trekking at altitudes above 3000m/10,000ft is more demanding on the body than walking at low elevations. Some training beforehand will help and we advise doing at least one weekend of back to back days walking. The guide will set the pace and as with all altitude treks, the theme is ‘slowly slowly’ to ensure we adjust to the altitude. So although this trek is rated ‘Challenging’ there are plenty of hours factored into each day to ensure it is completed by all.

When you trek in the mountains, there always the risk of getting altitude sickness, regardless of how old, young, fit or unfit you are. We would expect most trekkers to feel some mild symptoms of altitude sickness (headache, sleeplessness, heavy breathing) when over 3500m. Our guides are trained to identify the symptoms of altitude sickness so if any more serious symptoms are noted, there is a strict procedure regarding extra care or a rapid descent if needed. All of our trips have been designed with altitude best practice in mind so acclimatisation days have been built in and our experienced guides follow advice to ‘walk high and sleep low’.

We work with some of the best leaders in the industry. Every single one of them is government licensed and very experienced. In order to ensure guides’ high standard of performance, the host provides them with top-notch in-house training that covers, Leave No Trace (LNT) principles, advanced wilderness first aid, hyperbaric chambers, oxygen system, mountain rescue and incident management.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but the norm in Asian culture means there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice however we suggest the below as a guideline per person:

  • Porters: You will have a porter per two people - we suggest US$1-$2 per person, per porter, per day.
  • Assistant Guide: We suggest US$2-$3 per person, per assistant guide per day.
  • Guide: You may also consider tipping your guide for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however, as a guideline US$3-5 per person, per day can be used.

Of course, you are free to tip more or less and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

There are 3 different seasons for trekking in Nepal:

Winter (Dec-Feb): Despite being seen as ‘off-season’ this is often the best time to trek in Nepal. The nights can be very cold (down to minus 20ºC) but the trails are quieter and the mountain views are often at their best due to the clear sunny skies.

Pre-Monsoon / Spring (March-May): Temperatures rise significantly in Spring and flowers are in full bloom in the lower lands. Although it can still drop below freezing at night, the daytime temperatures tend to sit between 10-15ºC.

Post-Monsoon / Autumn (Sept-Nov): This is the most popular time to trek in Nepal with sunny and mild days generally. It can get cold and windy at higher altitudes however skies are usually clear.

Of course, mountain weather is notoriously hard to predict and snow can be expected on any trip so come prepared.

We recommend checking the Travel Health Pro site for up to date information: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/159/nepal

All of our trips include a porter per every two trekkers. They will carry up to 15kg of kit so your overnight bags and spare clothes will be transported for you (7.5kg per person). You will only need to carry a ‘day pack’ with essentials in (extra layer, snacks, water, suncream, camera etc).

Your host recommends packing the following:

  • 1 rucksack/duffle bag for the porters to carry with your overnight kit (duffel can be purchased in Kathmandu for approx. $20)
  • 1 day pack as above (approx 30ltr) with waterproof cover
  • 1 waterproof jacket
  • 1 pair waterproof trousers
  • 1 down jacket
  • 1 pair lightweight trekking trousers
  • 1 set of thermals (merino is ideal)
  • 2 trekking t-shirts/shirts (shoulders covered)
  • 1 mid-layer (fleece or similar)
  • 1 pair trekking boots (must be worn in)
  • 1 pair lightweight trainers for evenings
  • 1 pair waterproof thick gloves
  • 3 pairs thick walking socks / 3 pairs lighter walking socks
  • 1 warm wool hat
  • 1 buff or similar
  • 1 sunhat or similar
  • Spare underwear

Kit

  • 4 season down sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Trekking poles if needed
  • Travel towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Personal medication and first aid kit
  • Hand gel
  • 2 x 1ltr water bottles
  • 1 x headtorch
  • Suncream
  • Water purification tablets/system
  • Small biodegradable bags to take toilet tissue off the mountain/to camp each day
  • 2 x passport photos for trek permits

You can hire a down jacket and sleeping bag in Kathmandu for the below approx. prices. Please ask your host if this is needed so they can assist you with how to arrange the hire.

4-Season Sleeping Bag Rent: Approx $2 per day Deposit: $80

Down Jacket Rent: Approx $1.5 per day Deposit: $50

On some trekking days/acclimatisation days there will be some downtime at the teahouses. A pack of cards and a book may come in handy here.

A metal SIG bottle can be useful to fill with hot water before bed and used as a hot water bottle.

There is a weight restriction on the flight to and from Lukla of 10kg checked baggage plus 5kg hand luggage. It is not a problem for you to check in 1-2kg more than this as long as you are happy to pay an excess luggage charge (approx. £1 per kg). Some items may be left in the hotel in Kathmandu if necessary.

Please remove all unnecessary packing before you leave home and ensure you take all plastic off the mountain to be disposed of in Kathmandu.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical treatment, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here. For trips to Nepal please ensure that your insurance covers trekking at altitude and includes helicopter evacuation.

Most nationalities require a visa for Nepal so check with your embassy before leaving - there is usually the option of obtaining before or upon arrival. All nationalities also require a passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay.

The flight from Lukla to Kathmandu at the end of the trip is usually reliable however if the weather is poor cancellations can happen and there is the chance that you will have to fly the next day. So to play it safe we advise you consider booking an extra night’s accommodation in Kathmandu at the end of the trip.

We’ve sourced some great optional activities for you to do in and around Kathmandu should you wish to explore that little bit further. Please discuss these directly with your host who will be able to book them for you.

Cook Like a Local: This short cooking workshop (approx. 3 hours) teaches you how to cook popular Nepali dishes like MoMo and Dal Bhat. You’ll meet your teacher and accompany them shopping, then head to the kitchen and learn to cook alongside them. Price: Pay what you think the workshop is worth!

Shop Local: A 2/3 hour guided exploration of the markets of Kathmandu. Prepare to learn about the vendors that line the crowded narrow alleyways and to witness everything you could ever imagine being sold, haggled and bargained for. A great experience to learn about the melting pot of cultures that exist in Kathmandu. Price: $9-$50pp depending on the group size

Master the of Arts: Patan Durbar Square is popular for its Fine Arts and this trip will explore the local factories where handicrafts are made. We’ll visit 2-3 factories and learn about traditional processes and see art being produced. Price: $14-$59pp depending on the group size.

Introduction to Shamanism: Shamanism, which is believed to heal many diseases, is not practiced widely these days however this trip enables you to meet a practising Guru and learn all about this age-old tradition. We’ll visit a small house to have an introduction, followed by lunch and a drumming session where we’ll learn the importance of rhythm pattern to healing. Price: $90-$150 depending on group size

Got a question not covered here? Contact the host.

Location

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Kathmandu is famed for its World Heritage sights with include of the holiest Hindu temples and one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world. Despite the 2015 earthquake which brought devastation to parts of the city, the heart of Kathmandu is as intoxicating and exciting as ever. Mount Everest - the highest mountain in the world - is one of the most famous and awe-inspiring mountains, capturing the excitement of mountaineers and trekkers alike since the 1920s.

Start point

Kathmandu Airport - anytime

Your adventure begins at Kathmandu Airport (KTM) with your private airport transfer. Private transfers are included, so you’re free to book any flight. Your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals area and will take you to your hotel. You’ll meet your trek leader and fellow adventurers for dinner later that evening.

Finish point

Kathmandu Airport - anytime

At the end of your adventure, you will be dropped back at Kathmandu Airport in time to meet your return flight. You’re free to book any flight and a transfer will be arranged from your hotel.

What to Expect

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu

Once you arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), your host will pick you up via private vehicle and drop you at your hotel. After checking in we’ll have a pre-departure meeting with our guides to run through the final plans and arrangements for the trek. We’ll finish the day with a group dinner to get to know your team.

Day 2: Flight to Lukla, trek to Phakding

Today starts with a short flight from Kathmandu to Lukla Airport in the Everest region. We’ll fly on a 19-seater otter plane, with scenic views across the Everest region - a breathtaking and (sometimes) thrilling journey! Upon arrival at Lukla, we’ll meet the other crew members and after some packing and arrangements, we start our trek through the prosperous village of Lukla until we reach Phakding along the Dudh Kosi River and spend the night in the village. The first day’s trek is relatively short to introduce us to the typical trek day.

4 hours of hiking

Day 3: Phakding to Namche

We start today with a walk through beautiful pine forests and along the track to the Dudh Koshi River. One of the (many) suspension bridges is the famous Hillary Suspension Bridge with a wonderful viewpoint of the gleaming Mt. Thamserku (6618 m).

We’ll continue through the last village of Jorsale before a challenging uphill climb to Namche Bazaar. Here, you will get your first glimpse of Everest…

6 hours of hiking

Day 4: Acclimatisation and Exploration in Namche (3440m)

Today will be a rest day in order to acclimatise to the altitude. But rest assured, there’ll be no time to get bored! Instead, there’s the option to hike to a nearby viewpoint to enjoy one of the spectacular views of Mount Everest, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Lhotse, and so on.

On the way back, we’ll walk around the Khumjung valley and we’ll have the opportunity to visit the Hillary School and Khunde Hospital, before heading back to camp for the night.

Day 5: Namche to Phortche Thanga

Gradually the trek will reach heights above 4000m as we chase the main trail towards Phortche Thanga and the Mong La Pass, which offers amazing views of the Dudh Koshi River.

Upon arrival in Phortche Thanga, we may have the opportunity to explore a local monastery as well as finding time to eat and relax on the river bank.

6 hours of hiking

Day 6: Phortche Thanga to Dole

After breakfast, the trek begins with a steep climb out of the rhododendron forests and into the settlements of Tonga and Gyele which offer marvellous views of the Khumbila and Tawache mountains.

Today give us plenty of time to explore our overnight villages and immerse ourselves in some Sherpa culture.

4 hours of hiking

Day 7: Dole To Machhermo

As we ascend higher and higher, the jungles we’re used to will blend into alpine and juniper forests, interspersed with yak pastures and summer settlements.

By lunchtime, we’ll arrive at Machhermo, where we’ll be able to explore the valley and take in the amazing views of Cho Oyu.

4 hours of hiking

Day 8: Machhermo to Gokyo Valley

The morning views today will be of the deep-seated Khantega Gorge, overlooked by Cho Oyu. We’ll descend to the river bank where the hike will continue along the vast Ngozumpa glacier until we reach the Gokyo Valley.

6 hours hiking

Day 9: Acclimitisation at Gokyo Valley

Today is spent acclimatising and exploring the beautiful Gokyo Valley, which has everything you could want from a high mountain trek: beautiful hikes along the gorges, alpine valleys and glorious lakes while surrounded by stunning scenery. This is the perfect opportunity to explore the heart of the Himalayas, which includes a hike to a viewpoint of Mt.Everest.

Day 10: Gokyo Valley to Thagnak

When we’re ready and packed to leave, the trek will continue to the small highland hamlet of Thangnak, which lies at the bottom of the Cho La Pass - tomorrow’s goal.

Today is going to be a short trek giving us a little more rest on your way to the top.

4 hours hiking

Day 11: Thagnok to Dhzongla via Cho la Pass

The trek to Cho La Pass involves a steep climb and a glacier on the Eastern side but offers such magnificent panoramic mountain views, it will feel well-earned. We’ll continue on to Dhzongla where we’ll spend the night.

10 hours of hiking

Day 12: Dhzongla to Lobuche

As our goal is in touching distance, we’ll reach Lobuche and have time to rest today after the long previous day.

4 hours of hiking

Day 13: Lobuche to Gorak Shep via Everest Base Camp

Today is the day to reach Everest Base Camp. With the goal so close, our guide will navigate us past the Khumbu Glacier. With the last push, we will reach Everest Base Camp (5364m) and spend some time to reflect and enjoy our achievement.

We’ll be able to inspect the Khumbu ice fall, visit ice and glacier areas around EBC and of-course, fill your camera with jaw-dropping photos! You may even see the camps of climbers preparing to summit Everest.

4 hours of hiking

Day 14: Gorak Shep To Pangboche via Kala Patthar

After lunch, we’ll ascend to Kala Patthar (5,550m), the highest point of our trip so far, for its views of Everest and many other mountains. We’ll be able to watch the sun set before heading on down to Pangboche, where we spend the night.

7 hours of hiking

Day 15: Pangboche to Namche

As we trek lower, we’ll cross suspension bridges before entering the jungles again. Our guide will take us to Tengboche for its magnificent views, before steeply declining into Phungi Thanga, and then on another few hours to Namche, where we will stay for a night of celebrations.

5 hours of hiking

Day 16: Namche to Lukla

Today, we begin our final descent into Lukla. On the way, we will trek through the forest of rhododendrons and pine until we reach the Sherpa village. Here, we’ll have the opportunity to say a final goodbye and thanks to the local team staff before we move on to Lukla.

6 hours of hiking

Day 17: Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu

Today will be the last day at Khumbu region as we fly back to Kathmandu after the incredible mountain journey. Back in Kathmandu, we can spend some time reflecting on the trek and doing last-minute souvenir shop in Thamel.

Your team will meet up for some beers and dinner in the evening to celebrate a successful completion of the trek.

Day 18: Last day in Kathmandu

Enjoy a lie and breakfast at your hotel. You can spend your last day exploring the city or take the transfer back to the airport, and back to reality.

Note: *The actual itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, weather conditions and forecasts, special events, etc. In unforseen situations such as natural disasters, political demonstrations and flight cancellations, there may be extra expenses payable by you that can be claimed on your insurance.

Accommodation

Generally, most adventures to Nepal are based in remote areas where the accommodation will be basic. On the trek you will stay in ‘teahouses’ - these are mountain lodges that tend to have a communal dining area and basic toilets. The bedrooms are almost all twin-share however there may be the odd night where a triple room will be used in peak season. There’s no heating so your warm sleeping bag is needed. Wifi is often available for a small cost, and many places offer hot showers for a small surcharge. There is usually the option to also pay a small amount to charge your goods so pack an adaptor if needed.

In Kathmandu, you’ll stay in a centrally located tourist hotel so can expect an en-suite room with air-con and wifi included. The hotel is located in the heart of Thamel, close to the main shopping area and the heritage sites.

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Dates & Prices

Prices include

Accommodation · Airport Transfers · Equipment · Guide · Local Transport · Meals As Described · Happiness Guaranteed · 100% Financial Protection · No Single Supplements

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

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These dates are guaranteed to run! As soon as you've entered your payment details your booking will be immediately confirmed. Then you can make your travel arrangements in a state of zen-like tranquility.

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Optional Extras

Make your life easy. Once you have reserved your space, your host can help you arrange the extras you’ll need. Here are some guide prices which can be confirmed with you during booking.

Additional Night in Kathmandu Payable Before Departure
Additional Night in Kathmandu Single · · · Per Night
Additional Night in Kathmandu Twin/Double (shared) · · · Per Night

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