Gokyo Dudh Pokhara Ngozumpa Glacier

Gokyo Valley: A Complete Guide (Gokyo Lakes + Gokyo Ri)

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Gokyo is a small village located at the foothills of Goyo Ri. Here, most homes are tea houses that host guests and trekkers. The valley resides just beside the Gokyo Cho Lake, overlooking Mount Machhermo. What’s fascinating is that the village is one of the highest settlements in the world at 4750 m/15580 ft. and is dotted by the largest glacier in Nepal – Ngozumpa Glacier. During winter, people move to lower altitudes from Gokyo and return when the season starts. If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, you’ll be glad to find several yaks in this village.

Visiting Gokyo was one of the highlights of our trip. You shouldn’t miss Gokyo if you’re around. This guide is all about Gokyo and what you should know to get the most out of your visit.

Things To Do In Gokyo

3 Reasons Why You Should Trek Via Gokyo

  • Witness 4 of the 14 tallest and the most majestic peaks in the world. These are Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyo, all above 8000m.
  • Encounter 6 beautiful high-altitude alpine lakes.
  • Trek along the scenic route, which has a smaller crowd than the popular classic EBC route.

How To Reach Gokyo?

There are three ways to reach Gokyo, of which two require you to climb mountain passes. You would have to pass the Renjo La Pass or the Chola Pass. The third route to reach Gokyo via Dole and Machhermo is the easiest. If you trek on this trail, you can reach Gokyo in 2 days from Namche Bazaar

We did the Everest Base Camp (EBC) and three passes trek and stumbled upon Gokyo. The sheer beauty and serenity captivated our hearts, and we instantly fell in love with how life was led in this village. Since we were short on time, we had time to explore only the first 4 out of 6 lakes.

The Best Time To Visit Gokyo

Gokyo - High altitude lakes

Gokyo can be visited during the two trekking windows – Late April to Early June and September to December. The best months to visit Gokyo are May, October, and November because, during this period, you can enjoy the clear mountain views.

Where To Eat & Stay?

 

At the Gokyo village, you’ll find tea houses that provide food and shelter. We stayed at Gokyo Namaste Lodge and Restaurant, which was pretty comfortable.

Network Availability

We didn’t get any signal at Gokyo. But a few of the co-trekkers got intermittent signals from NCell and EverestLink. However, no signal was observed while hiking Gokyo Ri and the lakes.

ATM Availability

No ATMs are available at Gokyo, and few tea houses accept card payments. Cash payments are widely accepted. 

Languages Spoken

Many people speak Nepalese, Sherpa, Hindi, and English.

Top 3 Things To Do At Gokyo

Trek To The 6 Alpine Lakes of Gokyo

The 6 alpine lakes of Gokyo are the highest freshwater lakes in the world, located at around 5000 m. These form the source of the Dudh Koshi River. The river flows South to Namche Bazaar, exits Sagarmatha National Park, passes West of Lukla, and continues downward. Another mesmerizing facet of this trek is that you will encounter Mount Cho Oyo, and it’ll overlook the trail from the third lake onwards. Swimming, bathing, diving, and washing clothes are prohibited.

Trekking to the turquoise blue lakes is easy and has no steep climbs on the trail. You can do the trek independently without a guide or porter by downloading the offline maps and following the trail.

1. Langponga Tsho/ Lake One (4668 m)

Gokyo Langponga Tsho or Lake One

The first lake you’ll reach from Namche Bazaar to Gokyo is Langpong Tsho, the smallest of all.

2. Taujung Tsho/ Lake Two (4720 m)

Gokyo Taujung Tsho or Lake Two

From Lake One, Lake Two (Taujung Tsho) is a Km away, and the terrain on this trail is almost flat. The water flowing beside the trail creates numerous little waterfalls. The second lake is relatively larger, and you will walk across the entire length of Taujung Tsho and further to reach Lake Three (Dudh Pokhari).

3. Dudh Pokhari/ Lake Three (4750 m)

Lake Three or Dudh Phokari or Gokyo Cho

Walk for about 2 Km to reach Lake Three or Dudh Pokhari. Popularly known as Gokyo Cho, it is the main lake where you find the settlements. You can see the majestic reflection of Mt. Machhermo and gaze at the still water for hours.

4. Thoonak Tsho/ Lake Four (4850 m)

Gokyo Thoonak Tsho or Lake Four

The deepest and largest lake of all six is the Thoonak Tsho or Lake Four. Located 4 Km from Lake Three, you get to see the aerial view of the lake from a distant viewpoint. Get closer to the lake to enjoy the serene surroundings with the mountains’ backdrop.

5. Ngozumpa Lake/ Lake Five (4950 m)

Lake Five or Ngozumpa Lake is 4 Km away and takes about 2 hours to reach from Lake Four. Near Lake Five, you can see Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyo, and the Ngozumpa Glacier, after which the lake is named. You can hire horses from Gokyo tea houses to reach Ngozumpa Lake. They’ll charge you around $100 for a round trip.

6. Gyazumpa Tsho (5150 m)

Gyazumpa Tsho resides 3.5 Km away from Lake Five and takes another 2 hours to reach. Unlike the others, Gyazumpa Tsho is a group of many lakes where the water bodies connect if the water flow is high. Cho Oyo Base Camp is located close by on the opposite end.

Reach The Cho Oyo Base Camp

Mt. Cho Oyo from Gokyo village
Mt. Cho Oyo from Gokyo Village

You can extend your trek from the 6th Lake and reach the Cho Oyo Base camp (Nepal side), just 10 minutes away. However, no climbers have successfully summited Cho Oyo from Nepal as it is prone to avalanches, unpredictable weather, and steepness. So, unlike the other base camps, this one will be pretty much empty even during the climbing season – August to October.

Summit Gokyo Ri

Gokyo village and Gokyo Ri
Gokyo village and Gokyo Ri

Gokyo Ri is one of the beautiful peaks from where you can see 4 of the 14 highest mountain peaks – Mt. Everest, Cho Oyo, Makalu, and Lhotse. A guide is not required. As visitors frequent it, the trail is pretty much visible from start to end. You can download offline maps, just in case. The prayer flags at the top mark the summit. Hike Gokyo Ri in the morning for the clear and best views. In the later half of the day, the peak might be covered by mist or clouds blocking your view.

  • Hike distance: 1.8 Km (one way)
  • Duration: 3 – 4 hours for ascending and 1 – 2 hours for descending
  • Highest Altitude: 5344 m
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult, dependent on your fitness level

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the Gokyo lakes visible from the summit of Gokyo Ri?

Gokyo Cho or Lake Three is visible from the summit of Gokyo Ri, while the other lakes are not visible.

Can I do the Gokyo Valley trek?

You can do the Gokyo Valley trek alone or combine it with the Everest Base Camp and the three passes. Separate packages cover Gokyo Village, Gokyo Ri, and the lakes. 

Is a guide mandatory for the Gokyo Ri and Gokyo lakes treks?

Although the Nepal Government announced that guides are compulsory to trek in the Khumbu region, it is not strictly practiced. We did EBC, Kalapathar, and the three passes trek in September’23 and were allowed to trek independently. We were not questioned at the checkpoints along the trail. You can also trek solo, and a guide is not mandatory.

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2 comments

jeff 03/27/2024 - 9:23 PM

When did you do the your Goyko trek. Everything I read states that a guide is required in the region? I hope to do the hike starting May 23, 2024. Being a bit older than you I will most likely hire at least a porter to support the local economy

Reply
Twins 04/06/2024 - 9:39 AM

Jeff, we did the trek in September’23. It is not mandatory to have a guide or porter in the Khumbu region. Hiring a guide or porter definitely helps the local community. It is totally up for you to decide.

Enjoy your trek. Good luck 🙂

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