A recent addition, the much-talked-about trek in Nepal in recent times is the Gokyo Valley Trek. This trek promises to provide the most jaw-dropping views of the Himalayas towering over 8000 meters such as Mt. Everest (8848m), Cho Oyu (8188m), Lhotse (8414m) and Makalu (8463m) along with the largest glacier of Nepal, Ngozumpa. Declared as a Ramsar Site in 2007, Gokyo houses the highest freshwater lake system of the world, consisting of six main lakes. The Gokyo valley is an epitome of picturesque beauty with stony settlements and lush meadows at the shore of one of the lakes, Dudh Pokhari. The trek commences at Lukla and proceeds towards Khumjung from where the visitors will follow winding paths of the Dudh Koshi River. The hike to Gokyo Ri (5360 meters) is one of the major highlights of this trip. To add, another exceptional sight is the view of the ice edge between Gyajung (5657 meters) and Cho Oyu (8188 meters) in the Khumbu region.
The entire trek can be completed within 12 days at most. Although, a number of trekkers visit Gokyo after extending 5 days of their Everest Base Camp (EBC) Trek too. The Gokyo Valley trek is appropriate for a moderately fit person and is not as challenging and difficult as compared to the others. The trails are spotted with tea houses and lodges with standard accommodations and also, have a good number of porters. The climbers will gradually acclimatize to with the soaring elevation and won’t be so vulnerable to altitude sickness.
Gokyo Valley Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Kathmandu to Lukla
Day 2: Phakding to Namche (3440 meters)
Day 3: Acclimatization day in Namche (3440 meters)
Day 4: Namche to Dhole (4200 meters)
Day 5: Dole to Machhermo (4470 meters)
Day 6: Machhermo to Gokyo Lake (4790 meters)
Day 7: Gokyo to Dhole (4200 meters)
Day 8: Gokyo Exploration (hike to Gokyo Ri (5360m) and explore the remaining lakes)
Day 9: Dole to Namche (3440m)
Day 10: Trek from Namche to Phakding (2610m)
Day 11: Phakding to Lukla (2840m)
Day 12: Lukla to Kathmandu
After subsuming all the major factors and services, the average cost for the Gokyo Valley Trek ranges from $1190 $1690 depending on the extent to how the clients customize their trip.
The package includes the cost of the following services:
· Airport pickup and drop
· Two nights at a 3-Star Category Hotel in Kathmandu (Bed and breakfast)
· Three meals a (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner) during the trek
· All accommodations during the trek
· All required documents (entrance permits) at the Sagarmatha National Park
· Trekking information management system (TIMS) permit
· Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, Kathmandu
· A highly trained and knowledgeable government officer guide with well-spoken English and a fully covered personal insurance
· A strong and helpful porter with proper equipment (one porter for two people)
· Medical supplies (first aid kit)
· All government taxes and office expenses.
· Domestic Airport tax
· Trekking route map
Note: The cost does not include the International Visa fees, International airfare, travel insurance, meals in Kathmandu and extra personal expenses for souvenirs, alcoholic drinks, and gifts.
Best Time to Travel
The best time to undertake the Gokyo Valley Trek is between September to December in winter and March to May in spring. However, to channel the best view it would be suitable to be there in early March or the beginning of September. The weather is moderately warm around these times along with a reduced risk of bad weather and cloud cover. The turquoise lakes sparkle the best during this time and the tourists also witness the aesthetic alpine campsites, blue skies and vivid panoramic views of the Himalayan range. Some people choose to travel to Gokyo during late November to avoid the crowd and high expenses as October is one of the busiest trekking seasons. The only disadvantage is that the temperature falls sharply during nights to the point that it almost gets insufferable. November is also the driest winter period that does not receive any rainfall making the trails easily accessible.
To wrap things up, Gokyo is an extraordinary feat that encourages the visitors to fall in love with its comely environment and eye-candy views. It is an easily achievable trek that is less crowded and certainly, can be categorized as a hidden jewel in the Nepalese trekking scene. With over 19 associated lakes, Gokyo emulates a near paradise experience for any trekker. Pack your bags and get ready to indulge in an exploration of a lifetime.