Machhermo
5.0
| 36 reviews

Everest and Gokyo Lakes Circuit

18 nights
Challenging

Hike through rugged terrain and traverse the mighty Cho La Pass as you climb to Everest Base Camp the hard way

What's Included?

Activities & Certified Guides

All itinerary activities with local, expert, English-speaking guides

All accommodation

2 nights in Kathmandu and 15 nights on the trek

Meals

2 breakfasts plus welcome and farewell dinners in Kathmandu

Internal flights

Internal flights from Kathmandu/Manthali to Lukla (return)

Transfers & Permits

Airport and local transfers, transportation of your overnight luggage, entrance fees and permits

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 14 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

5.0
| 36 reviews
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April 2024
Danielle C.
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April 2024
Danielle C.
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April 2024
Danielle C.
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April 2024
Danielle C.
EBC & Gokyo Valley Circuit
April 2024
Alan K.
EBC & Gokyo Valley Circuit
April 2024
Alan K.
EBC & Gokyo Valley Circuit
April 2024
Alan K.
EBC & Gokyo Valley Circuit
April 2024
Alan K.
Gokyo Lakes
April 2024
Charlotte L.
Gokyo Lakes
April 2024
Charlotte L.
Gokyo Lakes
April 2024
Charlotte L.
Gokyo Lakes
April 2024
Charlotte L.
Gokyo Lakes
April 2024
Charlotte L.
Gokyo Lakes
April 2024
Charlotte L.
Gokyo Lakes
April 2024
Charlotte L.
Gokyo Lakes
April 2024
Charlotte L.
Gokyo Lakes
April 2024
Charlotte L.
Unforgettable trip!
April 2024
Nicole N.
Unforgettable trip!
April 2024
Nicole N.
Unforgettable trip!
April 2024
Nicole N.
Unforgettable trip!
April 2024
Nicole N.
Unforgettable trip!
April 2024
Nicole N.
A Fantastic Adventure - Gokyo/Cho La/EBC
April 2024
Catherine P.
A Fantastic Adventure - Gokyo/Cho La/EBC
April 2024
Catherine P.
A Fantastic Adventure - Gokyo/Cho La/EBC
April 2024
Catherine P.
A Fantastic Adventure - Gokyo/Cho La/EBC
April 2024
Catherine P.
A Fantastic Adventure - Gokyo/Cho La/EBC
April 2024
Catherine P.
A Fantastic Adventure - Gokyo/Cho La/EBC
April 2024
Catherine P.
A Fantastic Adventure - Gokyo/Cho La/EBC
April 2024
Catherine P.
A Fantastic Adventure - Gokyo/Cho La/EBC
April 2024
Catherine P.

Stand at the foot of the highest mountain in the world on this challenging circular trek through the quiet and relatively untrodden Gokyo Valley

Snake between cairns, ice and moraine as you trek the famous Ngozumpa Glacier - the longest in the Himalayas - to reach the top of Cho La Pass (5420m)

Ascend Kala Patthar (5550m) and Gokyo Ri (5357m) for some of the best views in the Himalayas, including Everest’s summit and the turquoise Gokyo Lakes

Unsure which trek in the Everest region is for you? Check out our handy guide comparing this route with the classic Everest Base Camp trek

Key Information

Day 1

Intoxicating Kathmandu

Aerial view of Kathmandu, Nepal at sunset with a stupa rising into the skyline.

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

Tree roots taking over a temple in Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal.

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 (although occasionally they depart from Kathmandu if you're lucky) 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

To Phakding village

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.

Occasionally Lukla flights can be delayed or cancelled - please see the FAQs for further information.

Day 4

Phakding to Namche

Hillary Bridge

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

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

Dudh Koshi River

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

Nepal

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

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

Machhermo

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

Gokyo

You’re now approaching 5,000m, so it's time to acclimatise once again as you prepare for the final push. Spend some time hiking this beautiful valley, and trek between glorious lakes fed by towering peaks. If you're feeling acclimatised, do not miss the opportunity to hike up the small peak of Gokyo Ri (5,360m), a viewpoint that has to be seen to be believed - the Ngozumpo Glacier stretches for miles, a string of lakes line the valley floor, and four of the highest peaks in the Himalaya are visible (including Everest) and the Gokyo Lakes themselves!

Day 11

Trek to Thagnak village

Hiking

4hrs · 5.5km · 370m up · 130m down

Trek the short distance to the small, highland village of Thangnak. The trail from Gokyo climbs up and onto the mighty Ngozumpo Glacier and undulates its way across to the far side, snaking between cairns, ice and moraine deposits to reach 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

To Dhzongla village

Hiking

8hrs · 13km · 668m up · 538m down

Climb the steep, eastern side of the Cho La Pass before dropping down into the main Everest Valley. The ascent of the pass is steep and rocky and the upper part requires some scrambling (and is often covered in snow and ice). You'll definitely feel like you've earned the astonishing Himalayan panorama that waits at the top. The glaciated top is a bit easier-going before descending via a rocky gulley to the valley floor below. Continue on to Dhzongla village and rest up for the night.

Day 13

Dhzongla to Lobuche

Dingboche to Lobuche, EBC Trek, Trek to Everest Base Camp

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

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

Kala Patthar Sunset

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

To Phungi Than

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

Back through the rhododendron forests

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

View from the plane Lukla airport

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

View across the rooftops of temples in Kathmandu, 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.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Glamping · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 17

Teahouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 18

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 19

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Traditional Nepalese meal of dhal bhat.

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.

Dairy-free, vegan or vegetarian diets can be catered for while trekking although meals may get a bit repetitive - dhal bhat will likely be your go-to staple. Gluten-free/coeliac diets are tricky to cater for on teahouse treks (beware that powdered soups and seasonings used often contain gluten, and cooking oil is commonly reused and may cause cross-contamination). Please explain your dietary requirements to your guide so that they can assist when ordering, and bringing along some extra food/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 the two nights in Kathmandu only (subject to availability). Please request this at the time of booking. See Optional Extras for prices.

In Manthali

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

Traditional Himalayan teahouse in the lush green valleys of the Annapurna range, Nepal
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.

This trip has been rated as Challenging

This circular trek is slightly tougher than the classic linear Everest Base Camp route because of the additional challenge of crossing the Cho La Pass yet should be within the capabilities of keen trekkers who lead an active lifestyle and have good fitness and mental stamina. 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. The crossing of the Cho La is a long and demanding day with a steep climb on rocky terrain (often icy) followed by crossing a glacier at the top. 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 help you adjust to the altitude.

What will I need to carry?

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).

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 days generally. It can get cold and windy at higher altitudes - particularly in November, 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.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu

Anytime on Day 1

Ends

Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu

Anytime on Day 19

Transfers

Airport arrival and departure transfers are included no matter when you arrive and depart (even if booking extra nights before or after the trip), provided you have completed your passenger information form and have supplied your flight details in advance.

Travel options

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

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount 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
  • Microspikes
  • 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.

*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

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)

Ronit N.(June 2024)
An unforgettable Himalayan Adventure

The Gokyo Lakes and EBC trek was an epic experience. I was fortunate to be part of an amazing group of nine, whose camaraderie and support made the journey even more special. The Himalayas are truly majestic, and walking among the towering peaks, snowy valleys, crossing glaciers, and swinging bridges was an experience like no other. While the Gokyo region's lakes were spectacular, the clear highlight for me was the Cho La Pass. It was difficult and challenging, but the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the top was unparalleled. Each stretch of the trek rewarded us with incredible scenery, making it a trip of a lifetime. This incredible adventure was made possible by our exceptional leader, Nurbu Sherpa, and our amazing assistant guides, Benja Rai and Roshan Rai. They were our constant companions, cheering us on and ensuring our well-being every step of the way. Nurbu Sherpa was always available to answer questions and address any concerns, and the trip ran smoothly thanks to the excellent organisation by Freedom Adventures. While there were undoubtedly some extremely challenging days, their unwavering support and positive attitudes kept us going. Our health and safety were their top priorities. None of this would have been possible without our incredible "iron men" – the porters. They carried our loads, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the surroundings. Each morning, they greeted us with the warmest smiles, making our journey even more memorable. Special thanks to Narendra Rai, Laxmi Tamang, Dikman Rai, Nabaraj Rai, and Saila Rai.

A heartfelt thank you to the team and the friendships made along the way.

Johannes E.(June 2024)
What an amazing experience, trekking

What an amazing experience, trekking through the Everest region via the Gokyo lakes. Stunning scenery and just awesome views of the Himalayas! We had an amazing team of professional guides, lead by Kanchan and assistants Anil and Fhurpa, who were very accommodating and gelled really well with our group. Same goes for the porters who made sure we always had access to our luggage when we arrived in the tea houses after a long day of trekking. Accommodation and food varied from good to basic (in more remote areas) but perfectly suited for the trek. It's been an experience of a lifetime for me I can only recommend Freedom Adventures very highly!

Sarah P.(June 2024)
Dream Trip

I cannot say enough about how wonderful this trip was - lifechanging, challenging, beautiful and truly an adventure of a lifetime. A huge thank you to the following for being the BEST team of assistant guides (Benja Rai, Roshan Rai), porters (Narendra Rai, Laxmi Tamang, Dikman Rai, Nabaraj Rai, Saila Rai) and the greatest sherpa of all time - Nurba Sherpa. I will remember this trip for the rest of my life. The mountains, teahouses, culture, hospitality and most importantly the people on this trip. Forever grateful. Thank you.

Molly B.(May 2024)
The best trip!

This was the trip of a lifetime! Nurbu Sherpa, and assistant guides, Benjamin Rai and Roshan Rai were amazing, as well as all the porters (Narendra Rai, Laxmi tamang, Dikman Rai, Nabaraj Rai, Saila rai) who supported us throughout the trek. The views were incredible and the trekking was challenging but rewarding, it was the best trip and would 100% recommend to others.

Evgeniia P.(May 2024)
Gokyo Lakes and Everest Base Camp trek

The Gokyo Lakes and Everest Base Camp trek was a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. The views were magnificent: the turquoise waters of the Gokyo Lakes, the yellow tents of Everest Base Camp among enormous mountants, the challenging and rewarding sunrise on rocky Kala Pathar, and the breathtaking (figuratively and literally) Cho La Pass. The trek is physically and mentally demanding but 100% rewarding.

Huge thanks to our lead guide, Nurbu Sherpa, and assistant guides, Benjamin Rai and Roshan Rai, for providing support, expertise, and encouragement throughout the journey. I also greatly appreciate our porters, without whom we wouldn't have enjoyed the experience.

Iain D.(May 2024)
Great time!

Had a great time trekking the Gokyo lakes and EBC route. Our guide Kanchan was excellent, very knowledgable and always made sure we were comfortable. Would definitely recommend to others.

Daniel I.(May 2024)
Amazing

This was a trip I will remember for a very long time - a real once in a lifetime experience. Our guide Kanchan was always so informative, friendly, and knowledgeable, with infectious high energy and enthusiasm. He’s a better chess player than he’ll admit too.. The whole trip was well organised and ran very smoothly, which allowed us to really enjoy the surroundings without worry. The trecking is challenging at times but always more than worth it, and part of the experience. The Gokyo route provides a quiter alternative to the main EBC trek with stunning scenery. Many thanks to Kanchan and assistant Uther for an amazing experience.

Karlijn H.(May 2024)
Everest and Gokyo Lakes Circuit

Everest and Gokyo Lakes Circuit was the most amazing experience. Our guides, Nurbu, Nima and Benjamin, were wonderful. They put 110% effort into making this an unforgettable adventure for all of us. They knew how to adapt to the needs of the group and individuals. Prefesionals who make it a fun and enjoyable trip.

Furthermore, the trip is very well put together. The alternation of heavy and less heavy days makes it easy to do! Well ‘easy’ because there are hard days for sure.

I also have a great deal of appreciation for the porters who helped us with our belongings. We could never have done this without them!

The views keep changing and this is one of the coolest things I have ever done, I would recommend it to everyone!

Abhira G.(May 2024)