The Road Less Travelled: Gokyo Ri

Gokyo Ri is fast becoming one of the more beautiful alternatives to Everest Base Camp. Ri in Sherpa means “Mountain” and from this lesser-known viewpoint, you can see a magnificent vista of the Himalayas as well as the Gokyo glacial lakes.

Though Everest Base Camp has always been the main attraction in Khumbu, the trek to Gokyo Ri is an exceptionally surprising alternative that many have found to be more rewarding. The valley of the Dudh Koshi hides her greatest secret and reveals slowly to only those who reach Gokyo Ri. The trail follows Sherpa villages, tea houses, lodges and rhododendron forests along the Dudh Koshi river and gradually ascends through thin air into the Gokyo valley. From the top of Gokyo Ri, the angle allows for the North Face of Everest to be seen as well as Lhotse, Makalu and to the north the great mass of Cho Oyu. The turquoise Gokyo Lakes that sit serenely below these icy giants makes for the most stunning panoramic view. For the braves who dare to start their climb to Gokyo Ri in the very early hours will be blessed with an awe-inspiring sunrise view over Khumbu. Visitors here have found the airy viewpoint to be better than from Kala Pathar. It’s been made popular recently by the likes of Travel Instagrammers like Sjoerd, who took fantastic photos of Gokyo Ri on his last trek in Nepal.

Essentially, the six Gokyo lakes started as glaciers a millennia ago and so the remaining body of water is ancient. It’s fascinating from a hydrological perspective because this system of lakes is a deep source of permanent freshwater fed by streams and glaciers from the surrounding mountains. Sitting at an altitude of 4,700 – 5,000m, these lakes are the world’s highest freshwater system and are seen as sacred by Hindus and Buddhists. Every year around the month of August, on a full moon day, Hindus take holy bath in the lakes during the festival of Janai Purnima (Sacred Thread of Purity and Security). Gokyo Ri is known for having formidable views of the turquoise blue lakes, and it’s a sight to behold.

Here is a general overview of the itinerary:

  • Day 01: Fly to Lukla, Trek to Monjo (2850m)
  • Day 02: Excursion to Thakchok Danda (3,000m)
  • Day 03: Trek to Tashinga (3450m)
  • Day 04: Trek to Luza (4360m)
  • Day 05: Exploration & Acclimatization in Luza
  • Day 06: Trek to Gokyo (4790m), afternoon exploration
  • Day 07: Climb Gokyo Ri for sunrise (5357m), trek down to Machermo (4470m)
  • Day 08: Trek to Tashinga (3450m)
  • Day 09: Trek to Mende (3850m) via Khumjung and Kunde
  • Day 10: Trek to Monjo (2850m)
  • Day 11: Trek to Lukla (2743m) via Gumila
  • Day 12: Fly to Kathmandu

This trip is a very short and sweet introduction into the Sagarmatha Region and is one area that not many explore, because most are interested in completing the EBC Trek, and to visit Gokyo Ri would be a 4-day extension to an already 15-16 day journey. You’ll be spending 5/6 nights in total comfort at our Everest Summit Lodges’ (in Lukla, Monjo, Tashinga, and Mende) and the rest of the journey will be in teahouses hand-selected by our travel experts in Nepal.

This trip can be fully supported by our Guides and Porters, so to learn more, send us an email and we can customize this trip for you!

Comfort and adventure – two adversaries that complement each other

Everest is observing a welcome surge in tourism as more travelers are willing to leave behind their comfort zone in pursuit of adventures and lifelong memories, stored and shared perfectly within the vortex of social media. The advent of technology and the social network has brought a profound impact in the Himalayas but this influx of “over-tourism” however, has contributed to steep competitions among the industry professionals, which as always, is directly countered with a reduction in prices and with poor service standards.

Modern travelers’ journey is now very different than it used to be as they bring with them the culture of social media and the thrills of instant gratifications and recognition via social networks. The backlash against the recent infamous viral photo of the Human traffic jam in Everest that counted for loss of 11 Everesteers, had many industry experts throw in their views and raise issues, with one internet commentator blaming the tragedy to what he calls “Ego-tourism” where getting that all-important social media recognition is a much bigger priority than the journey to get there. Yes, we have now foregone securities, safeties, and comforts, and traded them for that one selfie on top of the world. Without having anything against social media and their endgame to be the next viral hashtag, the modern travelers, it seems, are here only to sell a picture and not the harsh reality of traveling to one of the most remote regions in the world. They are willing to compromise with the cheapest option and dreadful experiences in order to get that one perfect photo and instant social media recognition. In their rise, they leave behind an industry trifled with cheap services and experiences.

“Adventure begins where comfort ends”, is a saying that is familiar to most adventure seekers but in today’s ever more urbanizing world, the adventure does not have to be void of comfort. In fact, can we really relinquish comfort after all? High above the Himalayas, every detail counts every comfort a lifeline, a luxury, a boost that easily helps to focus all our senses to the beautiful slice of paradise. An Everest Adventure conjures up an expedition filled with exploration, discovery, mysticism, culture, and learning, so why trade that for a hellish holiday experience.

“Tired Minds Don’t Plan Well”

A playground of ruggedness and remoteness, the Himalayas, offer vast challenges to those who come seeking for adventures, wilderness and to test their endurance and spirit. Treks in Nepal are rarely a pleasant affair with ruthless ascents, knee grinding descents, relentless high passes and unpredictable climates and conditions. The very demanding nature of the region has not only attracted the elites among us but the naïve name seekers as well who fail to understand the challenges of traveling in the harsh environment and do opt for cheapest means to get there. It is no fun, at the end of a long strenuous day, to be arriving at a crowded lodge with tiny rooms, having to wait your turn in the shower, sidestepping unwell/coughing fellow travelers in the small dining area, addressing the lack of healthy and familiar meal choices or hoping that the common bathroom is available when needed. The greater entry of these beginners to Everest means that their voices are heard more loudly than those of the experienced travelers, practices they promote are now accepted as the general approach. However, this exertion of both physical and mental stress can be a deadly combination in Everest, were cutting the Himalayan holidays short are now an everyday reality.

“The Comfort Factor”

It may sound obvious but a good night’s sleep, of course, has no price in the Himalayas. Up in the high altitude, our body needs plenty of water and rest to help in acclimatization and rejuvenation of not only our physical senses but our mental awareness as well. A comfortable bed inside a room that has enough personal space, good shower and private bathroom offer us security, safety, privacy and comfort, and is everything that we wouldn’t settle for far less back home. Likewise, choices of nutritious and healthy meals that always remind us of home, has a way of softening our hearts and filling it up with wanderlust. A happy mind and a tireless body are what we really need in Everest where each day is filled with challenges, surprises, emotions and moments that last for a lifetime. Comfort does not devalue our adventure but rather elevates the experience to its glorious flavors.

We, all, initially envision our Everest holiday with a promise of an exotic experience in a faraway place and not one where we repetitively stress and battle over our basic necessities and anxieties. Yes, no doubt, the very act of defiance and overcoming of the same basic necessities and anxieties are generally defined as adventure and wilderness lifestyle but are we falsely misleading our experience by overlooking and ignoring a fact so important yet abstract as the idea of comfort. In the world of internet and social network our decisions are based on the pictures we see online and the price listed under them, but never is true comfort taken as an essential reason.

Our first queries while planning for an Everest adventure starts out with “what is the best time to experience,” contemplating the many distresses of traveling under bad weather and demanding conditions, and yet we ignore the most significant question “what is the best way to experience.” Years later when we look back at our adventure we rarely recall the bills and invoices that were exchanged but rather our memories go back to those awe-inspiring moments of surprises and self-achievements. Why throw comfort to the wind in the name of cheap thrills and sacrifice the soul of our journey.

Imagine feeling safe and happy, free and without worries, comfortably knowing we are taken well care of, secured with an easy feeling that a cozy home with hot meals, warm blankets, and a good shower awaits at the end of the day. Imagine getting seduced and awed by the experience, all the while deliciously reflecting on the many stories, encounters, discoveries and culture likely to get vigorously shared back home to anyone willing to lend an ear. Memories of life forever etched under the majestic Himalayas – an exotic experience that was once promised.

The best instagram spots in everest

Everest will always remain a stunning backdrop to that perfect Instagram shot, and with the region’s huge collection of classic panoramic views, the quest to find some of the most iconic photographable locations in Khumbu can be a mini adventure on its own. We follow Sjoerd, a travel photographer on Instagram, to show us some of his favourite shots from his recent sojourn to Khumbu. Let’s have a look!


This stunning bird’s eye view of the village of Dingboche (4,410 metres), taken from the viewpoint (5,050m) on the ridge of yak pasture above the village, offers a glimpse of the harsh living environment for the small settlements around Khumbu. Towered by majestic mountains and deep gorges, the region has very little grounds for farming and combined with a short harvesting period, the settlements here have very few options and even fewer stubborn residents. A 2011 census found that there were only 200 permanent residents in Dingboche.

Kala Pattar

Many thousands of trekkers come to Everest Base Camp, but did you know that the view of Everest is mostly obstructed by a smaller 7,861 metre Nuptse, a gorgeous equilateral triangle of a mountain, similar to the one we’ve all drawn as children? In fact, going up to Kala Pattar at 5,550 metres (400 meters above Gorakshep) has a rewarding and most unobstructed view of Everest. After a good night’s rest at Gorakshep, it is generally advised to hike up early in the morning or late afternoon to catch the fiery dance of colors that reflects across Everest during sunrise and sunset.

Tengboche Monastery With Amadablam In The Background


This photo was probably taken very early in the morning along the trail above Namche Bazaar. It’s a magnificent shot of the EBC trail as it snakes across juniper forest and climbs to Tengboche Monastery, but if you look directly below it, you can also see our Lodge, Everest Summit Lodges, Tashinga in view! At our lodge, we have a stunning vista of Thamserku and if you stay on the top floor, and keep the curtains open on a moon-lit night, the view is luminous.

The Lakes Of Gokyo

If you’re keen to get away from the seasonally crowded EBC trails, extending your trip to Gokyo is well worth it. The glacial lakes are some of the highest freshwater lakes in the world and are about 4,700 to 5,000 metres above sea level. The pristine blue waters, sometimes an emerald colour, should be one of the most photographed lakes in the world, but because of the allure of Everest Base Camp, few decide to take an alternate route to reach here. Sjoerd’s photo is such a love letter to this lake because it juxtaposes the drama of the mountains and the serene calm of the lake, and in doing so gets us to the heart of this stark environment.

The um hong gil human foundation has played an important role in education in the khumbu region since 2008.

We are honoured to announce that our Managing Director, Mr. Phintso Lama, has been appointed Special Educational Advisor along with several other prominent members of the Business Community in Nepal including Mr. Tendi Sherpa, President of Mountain Hardwear and Mr. Lhakpa Sonam Sherpa, Chairman of Yeti Airlines and President of Thamserku Trekking and Mr. Ang Dorjee Sherpa, President of Ne-Ko Treks and Expeditions.

Founded and currently run by the legendary South Korean Mountaineer, Mr. Um Hong Gil, formidable talents have led him to be the first person in the world to climb 16 of the highest Peaks in the World. Mr. Um is the first Korean (and Asian) and the eleventh climber in the World to hold the distinction of earning the Himalayan Crown, a prestigious award for mountaineers climbing 14 peaks above 8000 meters.

Mission Statement Of Foundation

The mission of the Um Hong Gil Foundation is to aid vulnerable children of Nepal by empowering them through education and other fundamental activities. Recently, the organisation donated $150,000 with the Mountain Medicine Institute to create a hospital that is capable of servicing the residents of Namche, Chaurikharka, and Kunde. The “Human School Project” is one of the main focuses of the Foundation, which aims to build 16 schools in remote places in Nepal- one for each of the peaks Mr. Um has climbed. So far the organisation has successfully built 15 schools to help impoverished Nepalese students in remote areas to have good access to education.

Mr. Lama’s role as a Special Advisor in Nepal requires him to provide insight on organisational issues, mediation with local communities, school teachers and government bodies, as well as participating in seminars on Rural Education in Nepal. We are honored to be associated with Mr. Um Hong Gil’s Foundation and look forward to building a brighter future for children in remote regions.

A brief history of medical care in everest

Prior to the 1950s, the Sherpas had little access to modern medical care in Everest. The closest the Sherpas were to allopathic medicine then was when they went to trade, and went on pilgrimage, to Northern India and Tibet, where they would bring along “traditional Tibetan medicines”.

Sherpa’s usually sought divine intervention, usually trying to find the cause of the illness before treating the symptoms and would seek lhawas, or spirit mediums, and amchi’s, who are practitioners of Tibetan Medicine. One of the first experiences of allopathic medicine was in 1963, during a terrible smallpox epidemic that threatened to ravage the people of the Everest area. Sir Edmund Hillary was on an Expedition, saw that people were starting to succumb to the disease, and was swiftly able to get about 7,000 villagers vaccinated by coordinating with the Red Cross. Sir Edmund Hillary was dismayed by the transiency of allopathic medicine in Nepal, usually, medicine would only come in from the hands of various Expedition Teams ascending the peaks and there was no permanent Hospital or dispensary. Sir Edmund Hillary was able to get approval from the Nepalese government, and through private funds, a Hospital was built in Khunde, that also became the main source of medicines. read more

Current Medical Care In Everest

Kunde Hospital was run by the Himalayan Trust New Zealand and the Sir Edmund Hillary Trust. It was founded in 1966 by Sir Edmund Hillary, and since 2002 has been staffed by local doctors and health workers. The hospital provides inpatient and outpatient services, OPD services, and deliver several other services catered to the locals in the region. The hospital has smaller service centers, in the villages of Phortse, Thame, and Monjo; these centers can provide first aid to trekkers. To this day, the Hospital in Kunde is one of the main healthcare providers in the Region and it is worthwhile to have a look inside the Hospital and make a donation if you can.

Other Notable Hospitals In The Region

The Pasang Lhamu – Nicole Niquille Hospital is another one of the Everest region’s most important Hospitals, and is located in Lukla. It is currently managed by the Pasang Lhamu Mountaineering Foundation and receives technical and financial support from the Nicole Niquille Foundation. It’s a professionally run hospital with visiting doctors, including specialists in Altitude Sickness, and they have a range of services such as inpatient and outpatient care, dressing and injections, X-rays, dental services, eye clinic, and Maternity care. These services are all provided to locals for a minimum fee, and international trekkers pay USD 50 for consultation and medicine fees are additional. The Pasang Lhamu Foundation also has extensive Projects for Healthcare and Education throughout the Region read more

  • Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) also has a clinic
  • Equipped with Volunteer Doctors, during the season in Pheriche, for travellers and locals.
  • More information can be found on the HRA website here

Khumbu has made leaps and bounds in medical care, but there is still a long way to go. We look forward to and hope to participate in, future Public Health Campaigns and infrastructure projects, in this beautiful region.

Khumbu in the winter doesn’t have to be brutal if you have the right trekking gear for january. the trick is all in the layering.

You’ll want to be super warm in the mornings and evenings, but to avoid sweating profusely, you also need to have the option to remove layers and keep them in your day bag. Down below we’ll go through a step-by-step on certain clothing hacks to optimise your January Gear and keep yourself cosy above 4,000 meters.

First of all, we recommend Merino wool socks, because it keeps your feet so warm! It’s so much better than cotton socks, and it’ll also help in preventing blisters based on the sheer thickness of the material. Choose socks that go up your calf because you’ll appreciate that extra leg warmth.

Another great woolen item to have are thermals. They regulate temperature well and are the perfect base layer. It’s really important to have a couple of these, one for sleeping and another for day use. As every trekker knows they’re the foundation to a well-dressed adventurer. Merino wool thermals are on the pricier side, but, it’s definitely worth the investment if you look at the cost per wear (they last you years) and overall comfort and performance.

On top of the thermals, we’d recommend a mid-layer fleece jumper (or two) to keep in the body heat. Keep an eye on the composition of the material, you don’t want 100% polyester because the cheapness of the material will show at a higher elevation. We really like the Patagonia jumpers, but the brand doesn’t matter here, as long as it’s not polyester!

We’d suggest having a down puffer vest over your jumper because it’s great for protecting your chest from the incoming winds. It’s also super versatile and lightweight. There is the classic men’s vest here and for women, there’s a beautiful one here.

Obviously, you’ll require a heavy duty jacket as the final layer, however, one thing that most trekkers forget is the importance of a humble Thermos. It’s so important to have a warm beverage with you during the day, and even more so at night when temperatures can get below minus 15 degrees Celsius.

Et voila! You have yourself protected for the Khumbu winter. The Norwegians say, “ Det fins ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær”- there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing. So with that in mind, make sure you check the material composition (the clothes must use the warmest fabrics) and you layer with your key basics, and away we go!

Five things you need to buy in kathmandu, that you wouldn’t think of!

The silver craftsmanship in Nepal is really something else, and luckily for you, we know a pretty good one! The shop is called “Millenium Craft”, right on top of “Cobra Bar” in Thamel. Don’t be fooled just because it’s on top of a dance bar, these guys export their silver world over. The silver isn’t branded yet so you get a true bargain, with intricately made bracelets, hairpieces, you name it! Plus, it’s such a great souvenir because of its longevity and aesthetic appeal, perfect as a thoughtful birthday present, maybe even personalizations are possible.

Prescription glasses, we have an array of “designer” glasses and you can prescriptions at a fraction of the price you would at home. We’re not sure about sunglasses, but we know a fair few people who regularly come to Kathmandu, and always get their glasses made here! Piercings, from “Mohan’s Tattoo Inn”, a friend I went with said an ear piercing would have cost her $50 in the USA, but she got it for $5 and loves it! Coffee beans from KarMa coffee, this coffee shop in Jawalakhel has some great beans you can gift your loved ones, but what’s also lovely here is all the handmade mugs and plates that are incredibly chic and almost rustic . Leather goods, at Ahmed Dulla, premium quality leather goods for, you guessed it, a bargain of a price.

Holy Mountain Of Khumbu

Trekking to the Khumbu area is iconic because it’s the starting point of so many explorers climbing prolific mountains, and you’re walking in their footsteps. So it’s no surprise that with such a high energy place, there is a deity with equally as much power.

Khumbila is a sacred mountain that overlooks the village of Khumjung, and stands at 5760 metres high, or 18,900 feet. It towers over the village of Khumjung, one of the more developed villages in the region, equipped with the Khunde Hospital. According to a story recounted by Susan Haydon in her book “Soundings in Tibetan Medicine”, a woman fell on a steep track and was unconscious for many days, around “Dumje” her husband went to go pray at Khumbila, the staff at the hospital went to go see the festival, and miraculously the woman awoke and walked home two weeks later. The main festival time is in November, called “Dumje”, where it is believed the god descends from his abode and dances in the local monastery.