Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit

19 days
from
£1,849
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4.6 / 5 from 37 reviews
Walking & Trekking
Suitable for:
Age 18+
Activity level:
Challenging / Tough
Activity Rating - Challenging/Tough
Trip code: 
TNE
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Group size:
4–16
Min age:
18

Circular trek via the Gokyo Lakes, crossing the Cho La Pass to Everest Base Camp

This circular Everest Base Camp trek explores the heart of the Sherpa homeland, from Namche Bazaar to the Gokyo Valley, crossing the glaciated Cho La Pass and on to the classic route to Everest Base Camp used by the great climbing parties. Allowing ample time for acclimatisation, we are able to explore this high mountain wilderness, the quieter Gokyo Valley as well as the main Everest trails. Our goal is Everest Base Camp on the Khumbu Glacier with the chance to climb iconic Kala Pattar (5545m), which offers fabulous close-up views of Mount Everest.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a circular trek via the quieter Gokyo Valley
  • Stay beside the azure blue glacial lake at Gokyo
  • Cross the Ngozumpo Glacier and conquer the Cho La Pass
  • Ascend Kala Pattar and Gokyo Ri for views of Everest and other Himalayan giants
  • Trek to Everest Base Camp and stand at the foot of the highest mountain on Earth

Key information

  • 3 nights standard hotels and 15 nights teahouses
  • 15 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus tour leader and local staff. Min. age  18 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 5545m, average 4100m
  • Travel by private minibus and 2 domestic flights
  • Staff carry oxygen and a first aid kit on trek
  • Countries visited: Nepal

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • Morning bed-tea on trek
  • Welcome drink at each overnight lodge
  • 3 nights hotels and 15 nights teahouses
  • All listed transport and activities
  • Tour leader throughout, plus local staff (staff to client ratio of 1:4 on trek)
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Full porterage throughout trek
  • Exodus kitbag 
  • Trekking map (provided locally)
  • Trekking permit and national park fees

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request, Kathmandu only)
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Sleeping bag (hire in advance from £45*)
  • Down jacket (hire in advance from £45*)
  • *Hire package incl. sleeping bag & down jacket from £63
Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

15 (one optional)

Days of Walking & Trekking
Pace:

Approximately 6 to 9 hrs walking on average per day, with some shorter/longer days (crossing the Cho La is a 12 hr day)

Terrain:

High altitude; mostly well-established trails - snow is possible at the highest parts. One mountain pass involving steep, rocky terrain, some scrambling and walking on a glacier

Day by day breakdown
Day 28.0km/5.0miles
Day 315.0km/9.0miles
Day 47.0km/4.0miles
Day 510.0km/6.0miles
Day 610.0km/6.0miles
Day 76.0km/4.0miles
Day 85.0km/3.0miles
Day 910.0km/6.0miles
Day 109.0km/6.0miles
Day 116.0km/4.0miles
Day 1213.0km/8.0miles
Day 1314.0km/9.0miles
Day 1410.0km/6.0miles
Day 1517.0km/11.0miles
Day 1613.0km/8.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Exodus has a longstanding relationship with our local partner in Nepal, having worked with the family business for over 30 years. We employ local leaders, guides and staff throughout and work with family-run hotels wherever possible, such as the Hotel Royal Singi.

Exodus has set up and supported many projects in Nepal over the decades, from installing solar cookers and donating smokeless stoves, to supporting a tree nursery in Braga (Annapurna’s) and helping supply water and hydro-electric power to several villages.

Following the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Exodus’ emergency fundraising appeal raised over a quarter of a million pounds. This enabled us to provide immediate and longer-term emergency support in the necessary areas. Exodus worked with volunteers from Nepal Medical College to run a medical camp in the remote village of Thulopatel in 2016, and sponsored Health Partnership Nepal to run a medical camp in Charikot in 2017. We are also proud to support Freedom Kit Bags (providing sanitary wear) for women in Nepal..

To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here... and follow the link to Himalayan Community Support.

Itinerary

Kathmandu
to
Kathmandu
  • Day 1

    Start Kathmandu.

    The group flights are scheduled to arrive into Kathmandu this afternoon. Free airport transfers are available for any flight, provided you have supplied your flight details to Exodus in advance and requested a transfer. A representative will meet you at the airport and you will be transferred to the hotel. There are no activities planned today so if making your own travel arrangements, you can arrive at any time. Upon arrival to the hotel please look out for a noticeboard in the reception area with details of where and when to meet for your welcome/trek briefing this evening. There is an Exodus desk in the hotel lobby should you require any assistance.

    Royal Singi Hotel (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Drive to Manthali (Ramechhap) airport; short but spectacular flight to Lukla (2800m) Head northwards up the valley of the Dudh Kosi; trek to the small settlement of Phakding.

    We will need to depart the hotel at around 2-3am to drive to Manthali (Ramechhap) airport to catch our flight to Lukla. At this time of day when there is usually light traffic, the drive should take about 4 hours. Roads in Nepal are not of the same standard as in the west, there may be potholed areas and the last section is unsurfaced.

    We fly to the mountain airstrip of Lukla (2,800m), and set off on the first short leg of our trek, heading northwards up the valley of the Dudh Kosi (or 'Milk River'). We descend from the small plateau down into the forested valley. The trail crosses several tributary streams and we have some tantalising views before reaching the small settlement of Phakding, where we will spend our first night.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 2650m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Follow the Dudh Kosi and ascend to Namche Bazaar.

    Heading out of Phakding we follow the Dudh Kosi northwards. This day's walk takes us through magnificent forests with glimpses of the mountains ahead. We cross the river several times by bridges as we pass through the villages of Benkar, Monzo and Jorsale. A final bridge brings us to the foot of the steep climb to Namche. Halfway up this ascent we may get our first glimpse, cloud-permitting, of the summit of Everest appearing majestically behind the great ridge of Nuptse-Lhotse. A last 300m of climbing brings us to Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa capital and the main town in the area. Namche is a prosperous Sherpa town and an important trading centre. It has a weekly market on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning but the town bustle all day every day with trekkers, coffee shops, bakeries and stores selling all kinds of trekking and climbing gear as well as Tibetan souvenirs. 

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 3,440m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Explore in and around Namche Bazaar; acclimatisation walk in the Thame Valley.

    We spend today acclimatising to the altitude. If it’s a clear morning those who want can get up before breakfast and walk up to the National Park Museum for our first good view of Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse. After breakfast we have an easy acclimatisation walk into the Thame Valley, a quiet side valley on the way to Tibet. The trail climbs steeply out of Namche and then contours around the valley on an easy trail through beautiful forest. We return to Namche for lunch and in the afternoon there is time to explore the Sherpa capital or visit the Everest National Park Museum or the Sherpa Cultural Centre.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 3,400m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Acclimatisation walk to Kunde and Khumjung; descend to Kyanjuma.

    We climb steeply out of Namche to the Everest View Hotel. This spectacularly situated hotel has wonderful views of Everest and Ama Dablam and is an ideal place for a tea break. Continuing on, we trek to the villages of Kunde and Khumjung set below Khumbila, the rocky peak sacred to all Sherpas. In Kunde we can visit the Edmund Hillary hospital, and in Khumjung we can see the Edmund Hillary School. There should also be time to visit Khumjung monastery, where for a small donation we will be shown the only Yeti skull in the world! Descending to the main trail we spend the night at Kyanjuma.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 3,600m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Cross the Mong La into the Gokyo Valley and trek to Dole.

    At Kyanjuma we turn off the main trail and begin climbing to the Mong La, marked by a chorten on the top of a ridge at 3,972m. This ridge descends from Khumbila, the abode of the patron god of all Sherpas. From the ridge, the trail descends in a series of steep switchbacks towards the Dudh Kosi. At Phortse Tenga (3,600m) the trail starts to climb steeply out of the valley and we enter the rhododendron forests, which give way to juniper and conifers higher up the valley. We pass through kharkas, summer settlements used by the Sherpas to graze their yaks, before coming to Dole, where we have magnificent views of Kangtaiga and Tramserku.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 4,040m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Continue to Machhermo.

    A short walk today. From Dole the trail is steep in places as it passes through Lhabarma and Luza along the side of the valley, high above the river through scrub junipers until we cross the sandy spurs to Machhermo (4,410m). It was here in 1974 that a yeti was reported to have attacked a sherpa and killed three yaks! We should get to Machhermo by lunchtime and in the afternoon there is time for an acclimatisation walk up onto the ridge behind the lodge for amazing views of Tramserku.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 4,410m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Trek to Gokyo Lake, a small settlement of lodges on the shores of a blue lake. Afternoon, optional walk up the hill behind camp for incredible views of the Ngozumpo Glacier.

    We begin today by climbing a ridge for an excellent view down the valley to Kangtaiga and Tramserku and up the valley towards Cho Oyu (8,201m). The valley now widens as the trail passes through Pangkha then descends to the riverbank before beginning the steep climb on a narrow trail onto the terminal moraine of the Ngozumpo Glacier. We pass the first of the lakes at Gokyo, called Longpongo. We then follow the almost level trail past the second lake and on to the third lake and the walled meadows and lodges of Gokyo at 4,750m. Gokyo is a small settlement of lodges on the shores of a blue lake. Look out for Brahmany Ducks swimming in the lake. We have lunch in Gokyo and in the afternoon we can walk up the hill behind camp for incredible views of the Ngozumpo Glacier.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 4,750m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Climb Gokyo Ri (5360m); afternoon trek to Dragnag.

    A very early start this morning for the steep ascent of Gokyo Ri (5,360m), a small peak above Gokyo village. As we climb, the views become even more fantastic and from the top we can see four of the seven highest peaks in the Nepalese Himalaya: Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. Stretching out for miles below us is the longest glacier in Nepal - the Ngozumpo Glacier, which tumbles down from the slopes of Cho Oyu. One of the best all-round views in Nepal, the climb is well worth the effort. We return to Gokyo for lunch and then set off for Thangnak. The trail starts by climbing to the crest of the moraine overlooking the Ngozumpo Glacier. The route across the glacier is well marked with cairns but we need to take care as the path is narrow and there is ice underfoot in parts. The trail climbs up and down and takes us to the eastern side of the Gokyo Valley. We stay tonight at Tangnak (4,700m) at the foot of the Cho La Pass.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 4,700m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Cross the Cho La (5420m) and enter the main Khumbu Valley; trek to Dzongla.

    An early start for the very long day across the Cho La (5,420m). We climb up from Tangnak for about 90 minutes to a col. Ahead we can see the Cho La in the distance. We descend to a large boulder field, where we rest before tackling the climb to the pass. A new trail has been created up the Cho La with some metal chains and handrails but the old trail still exists - your leader will decide which trail is best to use depending on conditions on the day. The last two hours are very steep and rocky and involve some scrambling as we zig-zag up to the top. The upper part of the route can be covered in snow and ice, particularly after November and in spring. Finally we reach the glaciated top, from where there are excellent views including an unusual aspect of Ama Dablam. We need to take care on the descent as it’s steep and involves the crossing of a small glacier (usually snow-covered) which is fairly straightforward. After a scramble down onto the glacier, we follow a trail across the snow and down a rocky gully to the pastures below. The trail becomes more defined as we approach Dzongla, where we stay tonight.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 4,830m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Continue the ascent to Lobuje.

    An easier day ahead as leaving Dzongla we begin with a continuation of our descent. A short ascent brings us to the foot of Awi Peak, which we contour round on a wonderful high trail with great views of Chalotse and Tawoche across the valley. We finally descend to join the main trail again just below Lobuje. We spend the night at Lobuje (4,930m). The sunset on Nuptse from the ridge across from the lodge is not to be missed.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 4,930m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    A long day to visit Everest Base Camp. Overnight at Gorak Shep.

    We are now surrounded by giant Himalayan peaks; Everest, Nuptse, Lingtren, Khumbutse and Pumori tower above us. Today is long and hard as we visit Everest Base Camp (5,364m). The trail from Lobuje climbs steadily by the side of the Khumbu Glacier, with some steep ups and downs on a rocky trail. It will take us about 3 hours to reach Gorak Shep (5,180m), a collection of lodges situated at the foot of Kala Pattar. After a short break and an early lunch, we fill our water bottles and make sure we have plenty of snacks (there are no lodges from here to Base Camp) and set off for Base Camp. The trail heads along the crest of the moraine at first with plenty of undulations, some of them quite steep. We then drop steeply down onto the Khumbu Glacier itself, where we get magnificent close-up views of the great Khumbu Icefall as it tumbles down from Everest. In the spring season we will see expedition teams as they prepare for an ascent. We retrace our steps to Gorak Shep for the night.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 5,184m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Climb Kala Pattar (5545m) for classic views of Everest; descend to Pheriche.

    Another long day as we ascend the small peak of Kala Pattar ('black rock') at 5,545m. It is a steep two-hour climb to the summit, but the effort is well worth it, as we appreciate the most magnificent view of the Khumbu glacier and above all a close-up sight of the world's highest mountain which the Nepalese call Sagarmatha - Head of the Waters and the Sherpas Chomolungma - Mother of the World. We return to Gorak Shep and descend past Lobuje to Pheriche (4,243m).

    Please note the exact order in which we trek up Kala Pattar and visit Everest Base Camp will depend on the weather and how the group is acclimatising. Both days are long and hard due to the high altitude.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 4,243m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Trek to Thyangboche and visit the famous monastery.

    We descend the Pheriche Valley with spectacular views of Ama Dablam. We join the main Imja Khola Valley, which we follow down to Pangboche with superb views looking back to the great ridge of Lhotse-Nuptse. Pangboche, at 3,985m is the highest permanent settlement on the approach to Everest. Dropping down to the rushing Imja Khola we then walk through rhododendron forests to Thyangboche. From here we have a fantastic panorama of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam. We stay here for the night and we can visit the famous monastery and if the weather is clear we can enjoy the fantastic sunset and sunrise.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 3,800m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Trek back to Monzo via Kyanjuma and Namche.

    We descend through the forest to the river at Phunki Tenga. Crossing a bridge we then climb up to Kyanjuma with great views of Ama Dablam. From here an easy trail contours around the hillsides back to Namche Bazaar, from where we descend to the river and retrace our steps to Monzo (2,815m).

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 2,815m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Return to Lukla.

    We retrace our steps southwards with a final climb to the airstrip at Lukla.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 2,800m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 17

    Fly to Manthali (Ramechhap) airport and transfer to Kathmandu

    We fly back to Manthali (Ramechhap) airport and transfer to our hotel in Kathmandu. At this time of day there can be heavy traffic, especially coming into Kathmandu itself, and the drive is likely to take 5 hours or more. 

    the rest of the say can be spent at leisure.

    Royal Singi Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 18

    Free day in Kathmandu.

    Today is free for sightseeing in Kathmandu (it is also a spare day to allow for any delays in the flights to or from Lukla). You may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Boudhanath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. We offer a full range of sightseeing tours, which can be booked and paid for locally; please ask your leader for details. Or you can simply hire a taxi from outside of the hotel. The Thamel area is full of shops and restaurants and coffee shops for those who want a more relaxing day.

    Royal Singi Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 19

    End Kathmandu.

    The tour ends after breakfast. The group flight is a day flight scheduled to depart in the morning. Those on the group flights or who have booked a transfer through Exodus will be transferred to the airport.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Nepal

Most nationalities require a visa for Nepal, which can be obtained in advance or on entry. All Nepal tourist visas are multiple entry. We recommend that you apply in advance as queues on arrival can be very long – applications can be made directly through the Nepal Embassy (by post or in person) or through our recommended visa agency, Travcour. The current cost for a visa in advance is GB£20 for a 15-day visa and GB£35 for a 30-day visa for UK passport holders (plus processing and postage fees if applying through Travcour).

The current cost for a visa on arrival is US$30 for 15 days, US$50 for 30 days, or US$125 for 90 days for UK passport holders. The fee can be paid for in any major currency at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. On arrival in the immigration hall there are 3 queues (if you have obtained a visa in advance go straight to (3) - immigration):

(Step 1) Fill in a 'Tourist Visa' form: either online before travel (recommended) via the Department of Immigration website - print the submission receipt with barcode (valid for 15 days) and bring it with you, or use the electronic kiosk machines on arrival at the airport. If using the kiosks, after inserting your passport the machine will automatically fill out an application form, take an electronic photograph of you and print a paper slip. If the machine won’t read your passport you can complete the details manually using the touch screen. We recommend taking 1 passport photo with you just in case. (Step 2) Proceed to the visa fees collection counter and pay the visa fee (we advise to take some cash) – make sure to keep the receipt. (Step 3) Lastly, go to the relevant immigration desk and present your tourist visa form, payment receipt and passport to obtain your 15, 30 or 90-day visa stamp. Please check you have been given the correct visa duration.

Non-UK nationals should check requirements with their nearest embassy (a few nationalities are not permitted visas on arrival).

Vaccinations

Nepal

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

There is low to no risk of malaria throughout Nepal and antimalarial tablets are not usually advised although may be considered for certain higher risk groups; you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. The risk is highest in the low lying southern ‘terai’ districts bordering India.

A yellow fever certificate is only required if travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission or for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through a country with risk of transmission.

Dengue fever is a known risk in Nepal. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. As of August 2019, there has been a recent outbreak of Dengue fever in southeast Nepal and we therefore recommend you take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites (such as wearing full length trousers, long sleeves and applying insect repellent during the day as well as at dawn and dusk).

Most of our trips to Nepal go to high altitudes where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please refer to the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes for further advice on AMS.

Eating and Drinking

Breakfast is included throughout the trip.

In the teahouses breakfast will comprise of a choice of bread (a slice of toast, chapatti or Tibetan bread), a choice of egg (boiled, fried or omelette), and a choice between either muesli or porridge each day. Hot tea/coffee will also be served. On specific days, there will not be a choice for breakfast and either a trekkers breakfast (egg, hash brown, baked beans and toast) or a pancake with jam/honey will be served - these options are not available in all teahouses and so we have only included them in locations where they can be guaranteed.

Lunch will be taken at a teahouse en route - sometimes one of your guides will go ahead with the group's order to make it more expedient. Dinner will be in the same teahouse that you sleep at (this is custom in Nepal as teahouses base their room rate on it).

Although most lodges have almost identical menus, they are reasonably extensive and offer a varied selection, ranging from traditional Nepalese dhal bhat to pizza and apple pie. Dhal bhat is the staple diet in Nepal and comes in many different forms but generally comprises some curried lentil dhal and meat or vegetables, some rice, and a pickle/chutney. Another popular snack is momos; a type of Nepalese dumpling, fried or steamed, filled with meat or vegetables.

Although meat is available in the teahouses, we advise against eating it on trek. The meat has often been carried in the heat from lower altitudes for several days before reaching the lodges and can cause stomach upsets or illness. Germs can also be spread by handling dirty money - we recommend using hand sanitiser.  

If you have a gluten free diet, then we strongly recommend you bring some extra food and snacks with you to supplement the food on trek as there will be little variety available for you, particularly for breakfast. Even many of the soups are powdered and contain gluten. Gluten free breakfast options will be limited to vegetable fried rice and a choice of egg, and on specific days only, a trekkers breakfast (without the toast / with an extra egg) will be served. Breakfast options for vegans will be limited to a choice of muesli/porridge with water each day, and on specific days only, a trekkers breakfast (without the egg), or vegetable fried rice will be served. If you are lactose intolerant as opposed to vegan then the same will apply although you will also have a choice of egg each day. 

If you buy imported food and drink whilst on trek you will spend more than the suggested amount.

Drinking Water

Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity but particularly so at altitude where it is generally recommended to drink at least 3-4 litres per person per day.

We strongly encourage you not to buy bottled water on trek as this contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution in Nepal.

The teahouses sell boiled water for approx. Rs150-300 per litre (the price increases the higher you trek) which should not require treating. This is also perfect for a bedtime refill as it can double up as a hot water bottle.

Alternatively, all teahouses will provide cold water free of charge, if requested. Although this should not be drunk untreated, we recommend that you bring a reusable bottle with you and use an effective form of water treatment. There are a wide range of products available these days which are more effective than the traditional purification tablets - we recommend talking to an outdoor retailer for the latest advice as technologies are improving all the time: make sure to check the product’s performance in cold/freezing conditions and consider battery life (lithium batteries are best in cold conditions).

Handheld UV filters such as a ‘SteriPEN’ are very effective, can treat 1 litre of water in a couple of minutes and the water is ready immediately – look for lightweight lithium battery models and remember that you will need to bring a wide-mouthed bottle (e.g. Nalgene) for use with these devices.

There are also an array of water filter and purifier bottles on the market, such as ‘The Grayl’ or ‘Water-to-Go’ but please note that these tend to have a small capacity and the filter systems will be less effective if they freeze.

Weather

The main trekking season in Nepal is from mid-September to mid-May. We do not operate treks in Nepal outside of these months as it is the rainy season. During the trekking season conditions at most altitudes are generally comfortable for walking and rain or snow are occasional occurrences. Daytime temperatures will vary from 15ºC to 35ºC in the Kathmandu Valley to around 10ºC at 3,600m and progressively lower the higher we go.

Within the trekking season there are three further distinct seasons in the weather, each offering different advantages for trekking.

Post Monsoon/autumn: Mid-September to November. This is the most popular trekking season in Nepal. Day temperatures in Kathmandu are generally above 20ºC. On trek temperatures will be lower although skies are usually clear and days should be sunny and mild with clear mountain views. However, at higher altitudes the days can be cold and windy. Nights will be colder with temperatures dropping as low as to minus 10ºC or lower in late November at the higher altitudes.

Winter: December to end February. Despite the colder conditions this is an ideal time to trek in Nepal. Skies are usually very clear especially in December and the mountain views are at their best. Nights will be very cold with temperatures down to minus 20ºC but days are often pleasant and sunny. In Kathmandu maximum daytime temperatures are 19ºC.

Pre-monsoon/spring: March to May. Both day and night temperatures will be warmer in general but haze will often build up in the afternoons. It is very hot in the lowlands and temperatures rise to 30ºC in Kathmandu. Flowers bloom in this season and this is one of the reasons people chose to trek in spring.

Snow can be expected on any departure, usually at the higher altitudes. There will always be snow/ice on the top of the Cho La as it is a glacier.

Please remember that in any mountain area the weather is never wholly predictable and you should be prepared and equipped to deal with any differences in weather beyond the conditions described above.

Is this trip for you?

This trek is graded Challenging/Tough (Activity Level 6) with 15 days point-to-point walking and full porterage throughout - you need only carry your daypack. Please read a description of our Activity Levels, found on our website.

Most of the walking is at relatively high altitude. The maximum altitude reached is 5,545m with the average being 4,100m - please refer to the 'altitude warning' within the Trip Notes. The itinerary is designed with built-in acclimatisation days to maximise the chance of successfully crossing the Cho La pass, reaching Base Camp and climbing Gokyo Ri and Kala Pattar. The reward is panoramic views spanning pristine glacial lakes, expansive glaciers and the highest mountains in the world.

Anyone attempting this trek should be confident in their physical fitness and ideally have some previous experience of trekking at altitude. You may find our Walking & Trekking Fitness Training Guide a useful reference.

This circuit is tougher than a classic Everest Base Camp trek as it involves a long and demanding crossing of the Cho La (5,420m). This entails a very steep ascent and descent on rocky trails which can be icy; there is always ice and snow at the top as we cross a glacier.

Besides the pass, most of the walking is on well-established trails but there may be snow and ice at the highest points of the trek on any departure. Although daytime temperatures can be very pleasant, the nights will be cold; at Gokyo and around the Base Camp area it can be well below freezing; especially on the winter departures. In very bad conditions or when there has been very heavy snowfall the Cho La may be impassable, in which case a lower route will be taken. The trail also crosses a few modern suspension bridges, all of which have mesh sides but anyone with a strong fear of heights or vertigo may find them difficult.

Walking hours stated within the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings exclude lunch stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Why Trek with Exodus?

• Over 30 years’ experience of organising treks in Nepal.
• 'Ask an expert' - talk to Exodus office staff who have done the treks themselves.
• Experienced English-speaking local leaders who are qualified in first aid and trained in recognising and dealing with altitude sickness.
• One of the highest staff to client ratios on trek - 1 staff member: 4 clients.
• All staff (leaders, guides and porters) are fully insured and paid a fair wage.
• Carefully planned ascent rates and itineraries with built-in acclimatisation and contingency days.
• Staff carry oxygen and first aid kit.
• Self-assessment AMS cards used to monitor every client at altitude.
• Established protocol for Lukla flight delays: see below.

Internal Flight Delays

Please note that adverse weather conditions at Lukla airport occasionally mean that flights to/from Kathmandu cannot operate. We include an additional day at the end of the itinerary to allow for this, but on occasion, persistent bad weather may delay the start of your trek or your return to Kathmandu.

Should there be a lengthy delay at the start of a trip we will aim to provide a shortened Everest trek, but if adverse weather conditions continue and the main objective of the trek becomes impossible to reach, an alternative trek to another region of Nepal will be offered. When fixed-wing planes are unable to fly, but helicopters to Lukla are available, clients may choose to travel by helicopter; in this event, the price per person will be approximately US$500-600 per person, of which Exodus will cover half.

Should there be a significant delay at the end of your trek, we will endeavour to get you on the first fixed-wing flights to Kathmandu available. Should helicopters be able to fly, we will consider paying for these on a case by case basis to enable clients to meet their international flights. In the case of persistent adverse weather, Exodus will re-book international flights for Flight Inclusive clients, but please be aware that clients booking on a Land Only basis will be responsible for re-booking their onward travel and for any associated costs.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotel & Lodges

This tour spends three nights in a comfortable hotel in Kathmandu and fifteen nights on trek in lodges (teahouses).

In Kathmandu we usually stay at the Hotel Royal Singi, a 4-star hotel located within walking distance of the Thamel district. All rooms have en suite facilities and there is a restaurant, a bar and an outdoor courtyard. There is free Wi-Fi throughout. There is an Exodus desk in the hotel reception area and an Exodus representative will usually be available.

The teahouses are basic but adequate; please be realistic about what to expect in the mountains. 

The hub of the teahouse is the dining room, sometimes with a stove or heater (some lodges charge a fee to put the heater on). Most teahouses sell snacks and other essentials Almost all lodges have electricity but it is not wholly reliable a torch is essential. Electrical charging facilities are generally available only in the dining room (charged at approx. Rs150-350 per hour per device). Many of the lodges use solar power so sometimes there is not enough electricity for charging. Many lodges have Wi-Fi these days – in some areas it works well but in others it is slow and temperamental.

We book twin-share bedrooms throughout this trek. Beds with foam mattresses, bedsheets and a pillow are provided. Bedrooms are unheated and can get cold at night so you will need to bring or hire a sleeping bag.

Most lodges have only one or two basic toilets and sometimes these are located outside the main lodge building. Toilets are usually Asian ’squat’ style. Toilet paper is not provided so you should bring your own or buy it locally.

Some lodges now have hot 'showers' (charged at approx. Rs250-500 per shower). Sometimes a hot shower is simply a bucket of hot water and not a shower head.

Standards of cleanliness vary especially in the peak trekking season and in winter when the water freezes at night. Please report any problems to your leader or the lodge and be vigilant in your personal hygiene regime – use soap or hand sanitizer gel before and after toilet breaks, snacks and meal times.

As a general rule, the higher altitude you go to, the more basic the lodges and the more expensive food and services become.

Most lodges in the Everest region offer Wi-Fi. - below Kyanjuma you have to pay for it in each lodge (approx. NPR500 per stay). Above Kyanjuma you can buy an Everest link data card for about NPR2000 that should work in all the lodges above Kyanjuma. Sometimes the Wi-Fi may not work because of the poor network coverage or power cuts.

Extra Accommodation

If you require any additional accommodation in Kathmandu either before or after the tour, we can book this for you (subject to availability), please enquire with your Sales Consultant.

Single Accommodation

If you prefer your own room, we offer a single supplement for the three nights in Kathmandu only (subject to availability). While in the teahouses, single rooms cannot be guaranteed but if a single room is available that night, you can pay locally on a day by day basis.

Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed November 2019
    Paul Walter

    Great Trip

    Amazing trip with a new adventure everyday so much happened it will take time to reflect on how amazing it was. The mountains and scenery was so impressive. Very glad we did the Gokyo Lakes trip rather then the straight Everest base camp trek as it gave us more time to appreciate the mountains and also it was a bit quieter and off the beaten track.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the mountains and taking in their magnificence. Also finally achieved a long held dream of doing such a trek and testing myself.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Group leader DB was very good at sharing details keeping us on track and making sure we stayed safe and healthy. I think he did more than other guides to check on our wellbeing and we appreciated that.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you get fit as many of the days are long and doing 15 days trekking back to back is pretty hard especially at altitude above 5,000m. Take a metal water bottle and fill it at night with hot water and use it as a hot water bottle in your sleeping bag as the tea houses above 4,500m get very cold at night in the bedrooms (we were at -10 deg most nights). Pack warm and take snack snd toilet rolls, tissues etc as these start to add a lot to costs as you move up the trek. We didn't bother showering for six days as the showers were so cold so be prepared! Watch out for altitude effects - our group was mainly ok but we saw a lot of pope with troubles so litter to your guides advice.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Look after the guides and porters as they are the real hero's taking your packs over the same hard terrain that you will hike with your small day pack and arriving many hours before you!
  • Reviewed April 2019
    John Pickard

    Everest & Gokyo lakes Circuit

    Do not read these trip notes and think, "oh thats a nice trip we have walked that in the lakes" This trip is a test of your physical and mental state. The views are spectacular, but so is the weather, when is snows it snows. sleep can be difficult at altitude, as can eating.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    seeing Everest from Namche, as the day before had been a huge slog, we needed some sunshine and a view

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The leader of the group kumar, Harry and Saga were all very good and helpful. There were times that i am sure we pushed their patients

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not rely on cash machines, take new english notes and exchange them. Get fit before you go!
  • Reviewed January 2019

    Spectacular and challenging

    If you're considering going to the Everest region, I strongly recommend this trip. The Gokyo Lakes and Cho La pass were stunning, and an absolute highlight and you'd miss these on a standard EBC trek. The region is absolutely breathtaking and the people welcoming and so friendly. It's certainly not an easy trek though- don't underestimate the effects of altitude, and also the cold. Be sure of your fitness too, the Cho La pass was very physically demanding, with a certain amount of scrambling.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I really enjoyed our visits to monasteries to witness nuns and monks going about their daily prayers- incredibly special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Sherpa Dorjee, was a complete star and with his colleagues Yuma and Nima, they all kept us safe, cheerful and enlightened about the region and way of life. They knew exactly the right pace to walk at to minimise the effects of altitude, and had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the surrounding peaks.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My top tips: Take merino- you're going to stink otherwise. Take plenty of hand sanitiser, you can't have too much. Take toilet paper (unless you want to pay £2 a roll up in the mountains). Steripens worked a treat for water sterilisation, but identify your Nalgene bottle somehow- when they get filled, you want to be able to identify it easily! The ATM's are variable in whether or not they work- I couldn't get one to work in Namche, and had to try about 6 in Kathmandu until one worked. I could however change cash (GBP) in Namche. The estimate of cash needs from Exodus is pretty close, but beware if you have too much left over at the end, changing it back is hard- the hotel couldn't give us GBP and airport gave change in USD. So, don't take too much! Don't forget the porters- they are like secret ninjas collecting your bag and delivering it to your door before you arrive, often dressed in trainers and a thin jacket- try to take some old gear for the porter bank. I bought them biscuits a few times in the morning- they still earn a poor wage, and it's a shame for them if their daily wage is spent on food.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just book this trip!
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Fiona Henderson

    Trip of a lifetime, but it's tough

    We started this trip at the end of October. The organisation was superb. Our leader Silas was brilliant and very helpful. He was professional, was in control and incredibly knowledgeable. This is a long trip and it is tough. By choosing this trip over the standard Base Camp trek you are giving yourself three more days trekking at more than 5,000m so don't be under any illusion that this will be any easier / the same as EBC trek. Climbing Gokyo Ri and Chola Pass are very hard. The scenery is absolutely incredible and the sense of achievement is unreal. This really is a trip of a lifetime and a huge tick off the bucket list.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching base camp.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing! Absolutely faultless.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit and have resilience. This isn't a trip for the faint hearted.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Tory Bygrave

    Gokyo Lakes

    What can I say, it really has been a trip of a life time!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Two very different experiences stand out for me; the first being the day we crossed the Cho La Pass. An early start and steep climb led to fantastic views and sense of achievement at the pass. This was followed by a decent over the glacier and stunning walk into the next valley. The second was the opportunity to meet Mr Kanchha Sherpa, the last surviving team member of the 1953 Everest expedition and listen to his memories, arranged by and translated by our guide. Another once in a life time experience provided by this trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our lead guide, Tsering Dorgee Sherpa, met us from the plane and and looked after us until departure. His experience and knowledge ensured the whole group gained as much as possible from the trip and stayed safe. He along with our other guides Uwa and Nima were always professional but still made the trek entertaining and had a great sense of humor. I really felt the group were lucky to have been guided by this team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't under estimate the trek, its tough but worth it. If you are going in the cooler season then prepare for the cold on the earlier starts, it really will make a difference to your trip. The Tea house accommodation was, on the whole, a lot better than expected and the food was always good. I took plenty of snacks, didn't need them all but glad I did. If you do take snacks make sure its food you really enjoy, peanut M&Ms were a great idea for me. If you are undecided between this and the normal EBC trek I would go for this without a doubt. Gokyo is stunning and Cho La pass an adventure.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Sue Jamieson

    Hard but great trip

    This was an amazing adventure. Don't underestimate this, it is tough, but totally worth the effort.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing over the Chola Pass. I honestly didn't think I would make it! And walking up to Gokyo was just so beautiful. The colour of the water is out of this world.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dorjee was amazing. So knowledgeable. He really looked after us all, making sure we weren't suffering the affects of altitude sickness. He was a really nice guy and I have to thank him personally for getting me over the Chola Pass.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip is hard so don't underestimate it and you will have a great time

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Keep breathing!
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Sue Jamieson

    Hard but great trip

    This was an amazing adventure. Don't underestimate this, it is tough, but totally worth the effort.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing over the Chola Pass. I honestly didn't think I would make it! And walking up to Gokyo was just so beautiful. The colour of the water is out of this world.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dorjee was amazing. So knowledgeable. He really looked after us all, making sure we weren't suffering the affects of altitude sickness. He was a really nice guy and I have to thank him personally for getting me over the Chola Pass.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip is hard so don't underestimate it and you will have a great time

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Keep breathing!
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Martin Patterson

    Gokyo lakes and Everest base camp

    Having arrived in Katmandu via Delhi we were met by our tour guide Shailesh Tamang who for the next 19 days would be our go to advisor for all things Nepalese. The first night was spent in a Katmandu restaurant getting to know the rest of our group as well as sampling some of the local food. The next morning saw us all gathered for a pre dawn return to the airport in preparation for the flight to the mountain airstrip at Lukla in a small 16 seat aircraft. The views of the mountains and valleys during the flight gave us a sample of the sights we would experience during our trek. On arrival at Lukla and our baggage given over to the porters, who with seemingly superhuman strength carried 2 or 3 bags each, and we were off on our first day of trekking in Nepal. The first day of trekking was fairly short to ease us into what would progressively become tougher days of knee jolting foot pounding trekking. Our days took on a familiar routine of 7am breakfast, trek for a couple of hours then stop for refreshments at a teahouse then move on until lunch was taken at another teahouse and then onwards again until mid afternoon to our accomodation for the night. The teahouses are clean and very basic but do provide everything needed for this type of trip. Throughout the days of trekking there are a constant stream of porters, mules and yaks moving up and down the trail with supplies which adds to the whole experience of trekking in this mountain wilderness. The scenery is constantly changing as new valleys and mountains come into view at every turn of the trail, remember to look behind you as this view is as stunning as what lies ahead. During our trek we experienced weather that allowed walking in shirt sleeves as well as hand numbing bitter cold, so a good set of warm clothing is essential. There were a couple of extra early starts to climb Gokyo Ri and Kala Pattar to view sunrise over Everest which was well worth the extra effort. Our trek up and over Cho la pass was particularly tough as we had to walk through snow and when we started our descent more snow fell upon us, which for me just added to the whole experience. All in all this trip has left us with some amazing memories and a yearning to return one day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many moments during this trip that will leave a lasting memory. Ascending Gokyo Ri and Kala Pattar pre dawn for views of Everest, making it up and over Cho la pass despite the adverse weather conditions and reaching Everest base camp.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Shailesh Tamang was always available to answer any questions and give help where necessary. His years of experience of leading in the mountains was quite evident as he successfully got 12 trekkers of varying experience safely from start to finish achieving all the goals set out in the itinery.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Listen to the advice of your tour leader and guides, this is their back yard after all. Don't underestinate the effects of AMS or how cold it can feel at night. Make sure you prepare yourself physically for the rigours of this trip to ensure maximum enjoyment.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Tracey Patterson

    Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit

    Had a great time. Was very hard trekking but the sense of achievement is worth it. Saw lots of fantastic scenery and experienced lots of weather conditions.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making it to Everest Base Camp and the top of Kala Patthar.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shailesh Tamang was a good leader and looked after all members of the group. He knows his country and imparts his knowledge well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit enough for this trip. Make sure you have micro-spikes or equivalent and know how to use them.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I believe the rating on this trip needs to be increased as some parts of the trek are hard work.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Jodie Boldy

    Amazing adventure

    A great trip to take you on a journey through the Himalayas seeing some breath taking sights.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The two highlights for me were summiting Gokyo Ri and crossing the cho la pass. Also I got engaged on an acclimatisation walk over looking macherno peak which was very beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was brilliant could not have asked for better. He is very approachable and knowledgeable. He took great care of the group and his advise was priceless, he was very encouraging on the tough days and always had a smile on his face.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would advise to take Diamox for altitude and also ciprofloxacin in case of stomach upset, better to have it and not need it. I took a small hot water bottle for the night time which was brilliant and the water is still nice and warm to wash your face with the following morning. Snacks are a good idea, you can buy them in the tea houses but they are expensive the further up you go. We had a solar charge which folds up when not us use has about 3 panels on it this was really good you can just attach it to your day pack through the day. Steri pen for the water as it gets to cost a lot if you buy mineral.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip seemed a good all round trip. If anyone is thinking of doing a trip I would defiantly advise this one. The classic base camp trek is fairly busy, so this was a nice alternative and you still do base camp. Base camp seems to be the thing to do however I must say I found Gokyo much more stunning and the views from the top of Gokyo RI breath taking.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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