Adventures / Wild Hikes

Everest and Gokyo Lakes Circuit

Hike across rugged terrain and traverse the immense Cho La Pass (5330m) as you climb to the base camp of the world’s highest mountain

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Trip Ref #9923

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Everest and Gokyo Lakes Circuit

Hike across rugged terrain and traverse the immense Cho La Pass (5330m) as you climb to the base camp of the world’s highest mountain

DURATION

18 nights

LOCATION

Nepal

ANNUAL LEAVE

2.5 weeks off work

SEASON

Oct—May

GROUP SIZE

Up to 12 people

MEETING POINT

Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel · Glamping · Teahouse

DIFFICULTY

Challenging

A proper challenge and a real adventure, however, there’s plenty of time allocated each day to ensure that everyone makes it.

Trek one of the most adventurous routes out there and spend 15 days exploring the mighty Himalayas – bucket list stuff in the making

Cross the famous Hillary Suspension Bridge and get your first glimpse of the immense 8,848 m peak of Mount Everest

Watch the sun set from Kala Patthar (5,550m), the highest point of the trek, fill your camera with jaw-dropping photos and then celebrate your achievement over beers back in Kathmandu

All our reviews are verified

We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

Livia Thorpe, March 2022

Such an amazing trip! Everything was so well organised, and the team who took us on the trek looked after us really well. The itinerary was great, felt like we had lots of time on the way up to acclimatise to the altitude before moving on which was good. Some days were tough, but we were encouraged to go slowly and take lots of breaks which helped! Views are stunning and the people we met were really lovely. Communication before the trip was great, very responsive. Would really recommend!

Robin, October 2019

I had the time of my life yes it was hard some days very hard but it paid you back. Never have I seen such a fantastic part of the world life-changing.

Included

Internal flights

To and from Kathmandu and Lukla

Guides

Local, expert, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

2 nights in Kathmandu and 15 nights on the trek

Meals

Welcome and farewell dinners in Kathmandu

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in between

Porterage

Your overnight luggage is carried for you

Permits

All entrance fees and permits are taken care of

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu

Anytime on Day 1

Ends

Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu

Anytime on Day 18

Transfers

You'll be picked up on arrival and dropped off in time for your departure.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Kathmandu from major airports across the UK and Europe.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Glamping · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 17

Teahouse · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 18

Hotel · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 19

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Breakfast is usually hot porridge, muesli or Tibetan bread served with an omelette or boiled eggs. Menus in 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 advice re consumption as it tends to depend on how far it has travelled as to whether it is a safe option.

It is possible to eat vegan food while trekking however you should let you guide know so they can assist when ordering - the options will be limited but dhal bhat is likely going to be your go-to staple. And of course, bringing along some extra snacks is advisable.

What is the accommodation like?

Kathmandu

You’ll stay in a hotel in Thamel close to the main shopping area and heritage sites. Expect an en-suite room with air-con and wifi included.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for $26USD per person per night (subject to availability). This is only for the 2 x nights in Kathmandu and is subject to availability. Please request this at the time of booking.

In Manthali

You will stay in the Manthali Resort in safari tents. There is a swimming pool on site.

On the trek

You’ll be staying in teahouses - mountain lodges with a communal dining area and basic toilets that are usually sorted by gender. Wifi, phone charging and hot showers are often available for a small cost.

Day 1

Intoxicating Kathmandu

Check into your hotel in Thamel and get your first taste of life in Kathmandu. After meeting your guides and making any last minute plans for the trek, you’ll finish the day with a group dinner alongside the rest of your team.

Day 2

Journey to Manthali

You'll have the morning free to explore a little more of Kathmandu before jumping on the bus and heading to Manthali. This remote region is where most Lukla flights now depart from and you'll spend the night in safari tents near to the small airport so you're ready to jump on the first flight in the morning.

Day 3

Fly to Lukla, trek to Phakding

Hiking

4hrs · 7.5km · 190m up · 460m down

Fly across the roof of the world on a small plane to Lukla in the Everest region – a breath-taking (and occasionally thrilling) journey and the jumping-off point for your trek. Meet the rest of your local crew and then hike along the lovely Dudh Kosi River to Phakding village where you'll stay in your first teahouse.

Day 4

Phakding to Namche

Hiking

5hrs · 10.4km · 1205m up · 375m down

Start your day with a walk through a beautiful pine forest and then cross the famous Hillary Suspension Bridge – be sure to check out the wonderful view of Mt. Thamserku (6618m) in the distance. Continue on to Jorsale village and up the challenging climb to Namche Bazaar where you’ll get your first glimpse of the world’s highest mountain, the immense 8,848m peak of Mount Everest.

Day 5

Acclimatise and explore Namche

You've now reached 3440m, so it's time to spend the day acclimatising to the altitude. Relax, wander the village, visit the Hillary School and Khunde Hospital, or hike to a nearby viewpoint where you can enjoy an incredible panorama of Mount Everest, Ama Dablam, Thamserku and Lhotse.

Day 6

Namche to Phortche Thanga

Hiking

5hrs · 7.4km · 800m up · 660m down

Push above the 4000m line to the Mong La Pass with its amazing views of the Dudh Koshi River. Continue hiking to tonight’s destination, the village of Phortche Thanga where you can visit a local monastery or just eat and relax on the riverbank.

Day 7

Phortche Thanga to Dol

Hiking

6hrs · 5km · 470m up · 40m down

Climb through the rhododendron forest and along a steep section to the Sherpa villages of Tonga and Gyele. Immerse yourselves in the local culture, capture some shots of the Khumbila and Tawache mountains and then get some rest ready for a big day tomorrow.

Day 8

Machhermo

Hiking

4hrs · 5km · 420m up · 70m down

Ascend higher and higher through the jungle until it gives way to juniper forests, interspersed with yak pastures and summer camping grounds. Arrive at Machhermo around lunchtime and explore the valley with its amazing view of the 8,201m peak of Cho Oyu - the Turquoise Goddess.

Day 9

Enter the Gokyo Valley

Hiking

5hrs · 9.8km · 515m up · 60m down

Begin your day with an epic view of the plunging Khantega Gorge and then follow the river as it winds its way toward the vast, 36km Ngozumpa Glacier – the longest in the Himalayas. From here its time to enter the Gokyo Valley, one of the most picture-perfect locations on earth, home to the highest freshwater lakes in the world, sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists.

Day 10

Acclimatise in the valley

You’re now approaching 5,000m, so its time to acclimatise once again as you prepare for the final push. Spend some time hiking this beautiful valley, trek to glorious lakes fed by towering peaks and take the opportunity to explore the heart of the Himalayas, including a viewpoint of Mount Everest that has to be seen to be believed.

Day 11

Trek to Thagnak village

Hiking

4hrs · 5.5km · 370m up · 130m down

Break camp and trek the short distance to the small, highland village of Thangnak - staging point for the Cho La Pass. Relax, continue acclimatising and prepare for one of the best days hiking in the morning.

Day 12

The Cho La Pass

Hiking

8hrs · 13km · 668m up · 538m down

Climb the steep, eastern side of the Cho La Pass and earn the astonishing view that waits at the top - extra points if you can look at it without sighing. Continue on to Dhzongla village where you’ll spend the night.

Day 13

Dhzongla to Lobuche

Hiking

3hrs · 6.3km · 40m up · 140m down

Take a moment - your goal is within touching distance, so there’s plenty of time to rest up, recover and enjoy some high altitude scenery as you travel between mountain villages.

Day 14

Destination Everest Base Camp

Hiking

5hrs · 11km · 496m up · 260m down

Navigate around the Khumbu Glacier and on to Everest Base Camp, sitting at a whopping 5364m. Spend some time enjoying your achievement and fill your camera with jaw-dropping photos.

Day 15

Sunset from Kala Patthar

Hiking

8hrs · 20km · 537m up · 1716m down

Ascend to Kala Patthar (5,550m), the highest point on the trek so far, with a never-ending view of Everest and many of the other highest peaks on earth. After watching the sun set behind the mountains its time to head down to Pangboche, where you’ll spend the night.

Day 16

Pangboche to Namche

Hiking

6hrs · 13.6km · 875m up · 1252m down

Cross over suspension bridges and re-enter the jungle before tackling the steep incline that leads to Phungi Than. Continue through the forest and back to Namche.

Day 17

Begin the final descent

Hiking

6hrs · 18.2km · 788m up · 1200m down

Trek through the pine and rhododendron forests one last time before saying goodbye to your local support staff and heading back to Lukla.

Day 18

Return to Kathmandu

Fly back to Ramechhap after your incredible mountain journey. You'll drive back to Kathmandu in time for some well-earned beers and a celebration dinner.

Day 19

Last chance to enjoy Nepal

Sleep in, have breakfast in your hotel and then spend some final time in Kathmandu before returning to the airport and back to reality.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What do I need to bring?

  • Day pack with rain cover (30 litre +)
  • Rucksack or duffle bag (for the porters to carry overnight kit)
Clothes
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Lightweight down jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Lightweight trekking trousers
  • Hiking shorts (if trekking in the summer)
  • Thermals (top and bottom, merino ideal)
  • 2/3 trekking t-shirts/shirts
  • Fleece or warm mid-layer
  • Waterproof thick gloves
  • Glove liners
  • Hiking socks and lighter walking socks
  • Wool hat
  • Sun hat
  • Spare underwear
  • Buff or similar
Shoes
  • Worn in waterproof hiking boots
  • Lightweight trainers (for the evenings)
Sleeping
  • 4 season sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Pillow case (optional)
Other
  • Trekking poles
  • Travel towel
  • Sun protection (sunscreen, sunglasses)
  • 2 water bottles (1 litre each)
  • Metal SIGG bottle (useful to fill with hot water to use as a hot water bottle at bedtime)
  • Headtorch
  • First aid kit and/or personal medication
  • Water purification tablets/system
  • Hand gel
  • Biodegradable wet wipes
  • Small biodegradable bags to take toilet tissue off the mountain
  • Toilet paper/tissues
  • Powerbank
  • Universal plug adaptor
  • Book/kindle/cards for downtime
Winter departures only (end Nov-March)
  • Gaiters
  • Crampons or spikes (chained spikes that will fit any boot if you don't have crampon-suitable boots)
  • Extra warm layers (add an extra warm item to all key items above)
  • Extra set of thermals (pair to walk in, pair to sleep in)
  • Merino trekking socks
  • Merino glove liners

What's available to hire?

The below can be rented in Kathmandu:

  • Down jacket: costs approx. $1.5/day with a deposit of $50
  • Sleeping bag (3 season only available): costs approx. $2/day with a deposit of $80
  • Spikes (for Winter departures only) costs approx. $1.5/day.

(Please ask your host if this is needed so they can assist you with how to arrange the hire)

What can you buy in Kathmandu?

Kathmandu has many outdoor gear shops - some are real with kit that is the same price you will find it at home and some are filled with cheaper imitation gear that may not be of the same quality. You will however find a soft duffel bag easily that the porters can carry.

Weight Restrictions

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.

Optional Private Room Upgrade (Kathmandu x 2 nights)

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade (Kathmandu x 2 nights)

Pre/post-trip accommodation in Kathmandu (Single)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post-trip accommodation in Kathmandu (Single)

Pre/post-trip accommodation in Kathmandu (Twin/Double)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post-trip accommodation in Kathmandu (Twin/Double)

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 612kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

We do not include meals on the trek as from experience we know that altitude and physical exercise mean appetites vary hugely. The cost of food also rises as we ascend as it all has to be carried in by porters and yaks and very little can be grown locally. 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 will need to be treated to enable you to drink it. Please read the drinking water FAQ for our advice. Other extra costs to be considered are -

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

It is customary in Nepal to tip guides and porters. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. You can give any tips to your lead guide at the end of your trip. This will then be shared amongst the whole team. For full transparency, the lead guide will distribute the tips to the guides and porters in your presence. A good rule of thumb is around $185pp as a tip, although the amount you give is entirely your choice. 

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.

Much of the trek is within the capabilities of people with average fitness who are keen trekkers. Still, it's 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 that 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.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

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 you ascend as it is all carried in by porters and yaks and as you 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 $25-$35 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 preferred currency is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR). Whilst ATMs are available in the main cities, please do not rely on them as they are often out of order and most have a maximum withdrawal limit equivalent to about GBP300.

It's best to bring the bulk of your money with you in cash and exchange it at a bank or at one of the many money changers in Nepal - your guide will help you with this. Most major currencies are accepted, including GBP (Sterling), Euros and US Dollars, however Scottish or Irish currency cannot be changed. Keep your exchange receipts in case you want to change any unused Rupees back into hard currency when you leave Nepal (it is illegal to export Nepalese Rupees as it is a closed currency).

You will need to carry a fairly large amount of cash while trekking for the meals. We advise that you keep this in a waterproof bag and in your day bag along with your passport.

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 dumped 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).

here 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.

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.

This trip includes one porter for every two trekkers. They will carry up to 20-25kg of kit so your overnight bags and spare clothes will be transported for you (maximum 12kg per person). You will only need to carry a ‘day pack’ with essentials in (extra layer, snacks, water, suncream, camera etc.

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

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 might have to fly the next day. To play it safe we advise you to 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 the area a 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. Learn about the vendors that line the narrow and crowded alleyways and witness everything you could ever imagine being sold, haggled or bargained for. It’s a great chance to learn about the melting pot of cultures that exist in Kathmandu. Price: $9-$50pp depending on the group size

Master of the Arts: Patan Durbar Square is popular for its handicrafts and this trip will explore the local factories where they are produced. You’ll visit 2-3 factories and learn about the traditional processes they use and see artwork 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. You’ll visit a small house for an introduction, followed by lunch and then a drumming session where you’ll learn the importance of rhythm to healing. Price: $90-$150 depending on group size.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

For current advice about travelling in Nepal, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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