Gokyo Lake: Nature’s Work of Art

Gokyo Lakes are situated in a very remote part of Nepal. But, the more remote the location, the more unspoiled beauty you get.

26, Feb 2023 | nepaltraveller.com

The Gokyo Lakes trek in Nepal takes you to a chain of six turquoises, and glacier-fed lakes in the Everest region.

Gokyo Lakes are oligotrophic lakes located in Nepal’s Sagarmatha National Park at an elevation of 4,700-5,000 metres above sea level. The Gokyo Lakes are a collection of six breathtaking glacial lakes. These lakes comprise the world’s highest freshwater lake system.

Six Gokyo Lakes:

Gokyo Cho: Gokyo Cho is also known as Dudh Pokhari and is also the main lake amongst six others. The lake is spread in the area of 42.9 hectares, and its depth goes to the height of 43 metres. It is also the most sought lake by the travellers of Gokyo Lakes.

Thonak Cho: Thonak Cho is the largest lake among all the six with an area of 35.07 metres. Also, it is also the deepest lake with a depth of 62.4 metres.

Gyamzumpa Cho: It is another lake of Gokyo Lake, and is spread in an area of 29 hectares.

Tanjung Cho: Tanjung Cho of Gokyo Lakes is spread over an area of 16.95 hectares.

Ngojumba Cho: It is the smallest lake with an area of only 14.39 hectares.

Longpanga Cho: Longpanga Cho is another of Gokyo Lakes, and it is the first one to come to your sight when you visit Gokyo Lakes.

The main attraction of the Gokyo valley trek is turquoise lakes, glaciers, Sherpa villages, viewpoints, monasteries, and the trek to Phakding, Namche, Portes Tenga, Dole, Manchhermo, Gokyo, Thyangboche, Monjo, and Lukla, which make every moment memorable.

The Gokyo trek is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for many people with its beautiful glacial valley, pristine turquoise lakes, huge icy glacier, ridges, and the best panoramic views of the highest snow-capped mountains. It offers an alternative to the well-known Everest Base Camp Trek. Gokyo Valley trek is ideal for both adventurers and those who appreciate natural beauty.

The Gokyo trek to the foot of Everest base camp crosses high passes- Ranjo La pass, Cho La Pass, and Kong Ma-La, with climbing of three peaks Kala Pathar and Gokyo Ri, and Chukung linking the four district valleys of Bhote Koshi, Gokyo, Khumbu and Imjatse.

This place has significant hydrological value as sources of on-going freshwater. They consume water that comes from a variety of sources, including seepage from the Ngozumpa glacier, a stream that emerges from the Renjo La pass in the north-west, and another stream that emerges from the Ngozumpa glacier in the east. These are freshwater wetlands that receive their water from glaciers, and they discharge it to the Dudh Koshi headway via Taujon Lake and Longabanga Lake.

There has not been evidence of a direct link between the Gokyo Lake and the upper Thonak Cho and the Ngozumpa Cho, but there could be an underground seepage water connection between these lakes. The Gokyo lake system is vulnerable to glacier's eruption and poses a constant threat to the lakes’ survival. The wetland is located at the top of the Dudh Koshi, a tributary of Cho Oyu.

Religious believes:

Both Hindus and Buddhists regard the Gokyo Lakes as sacred. During the Janai Purima festival, which takes place in August, approximately 500 Hindus take a holy bath in the lakes. Every year, nearly 7,000 tourists visit the Gokyo Lakes. The site is revered as the residence of ‘Nag Devata’ (snake God). Also, a temple dedicated to the Hindu deities Lords Vishnu and Shiva is located in the lake’s western corner. Traditionally, fauna has been protected due to the belief that birds and wildlife in the area should not be harmed.

The time to visit:

The serene valley boasts extensive pastures for yaks to graze during summer and the pristine turquoise lakes are simply breath-taking.

The best seasons to go on this trek in Nepal are spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November). During these months, there is a good chance of clear skies and warm daytime temperature. However, the Khumbu region is notorious for being particularly chilly and dry, and many trekkers get the “Khumbu cough” as a result of the dry dust.

Trekking is usually possible during the summer/monsoon and winter months, but you must be more prepared for the challenging weather and possible poor visibility.

How to get there:

The most common way to access the lakes is to fly to Luka’s small airport. This is a breathtaking experience in itself. Daily flights from Kathmandu are made in small fixed-wing planes that take about 30 minutes. However, bad weather frequently closes the airport, so it’s best to plan for delays and keep a day or two as buffer days if you are flying to Lukla.

The alternative to flying to Lukla is to trek overland from outside Kathmandu, following the “pioneer route '' used by Everest expeditions in the 1950s. This leads to the Jiri trailhead, which passes beneath Lukla, choosing this option significantly lengthens the journey, adding about seven days. It also necessitates crossing several passes, one of which is over 3,500 metres high. This is not the ‘easy’ way to get to the Gokyo Lakes, but it is more adventurous and will aid in acclimatisation.


Khumbu Entrance Permit: This permit is required when entering the Khumbu region. This permit cannot be obtained in advance in Kathmandu. It costs 2000 Nepalese rupees and must be proposed in Lukla or Monjo (if you are trekking from Jiri).

Entrance Permit to Sagarmatha National Park: The actual National Park entrance permit costs 3400 Nepalese Rupees. It is available at the Nepal Tourism Board office at Bhrikuti Mandap in Kathmandu or at the Monjo checkpoint.

Things to Remember:

For each trek in Nepal, trekkers must obtain a TIMS card. A TIMS card costs 2000 Nepalese rupees and can be obtained from the Nepal Tourism Board Office in Kathmandu. On Everest, they felt that most of the money stayed in Kathmandu. As a result, they installed their own permit (The Khumbu entrance permit). They will no longer check your TIMS card in the Everest region beginning in 2018. Because this is a contentious subject, the situation may change. Check before you get or don’t get your TIMS card.


Day 1: Fly to Lukla then trek to Phakding (2600m)

Day 2: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3440m)

Day 3: Acclimatization Day

Day 4: Trek to Dole (3680m)

Day 5: Dole to Machhermo (4470m)

Day 6: Trek to Gokyo Lake (4800m)

Day 7: Hike to Gokyo Ri (5357 m) and back to Gokyo valley (4800m)

Day 8: Trek to Dole (3680m)

Day 9: Dole to Namche Bazaar (3440m)

Day 10: Trek to Lukla (2800m)

Day to 11: Fly back to Kathmandu (1350m)


Total costs of Gokyo Ri Trek:

The total cost of the Gokyo Ri Trek varies greatly depending on the route, number of people, and length of stay. It can range between $1250 and $2400. However, many reputable operators have their own set of pieces which includes all necessary services such as transportation, lodging, food, and miscellaneous expenses such as entrance fees, park fees, and so on.


Compiled By: Nikita Gautam

Photo Credit: KimKim

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