One enchanting October, I achieved one of my biggest travel goals and went on an epic trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC), perched on the Himalayan mountains of eastern Nepal. This is, hands down, the most beautiful hike I’ve experienced so far.

The scenery is spectacular throughout the trail. From the refreshing alpine forests and majestic waterfalls at the start of the trek to the otherworldly landscapes and breathtaking views of the world’s tallest mountains. After reaching Everest Base Camp, I followed a detour to the Gokyo Lakes, the world’s highest freshwater lake system & Gokyo Ri summit, blessed with amazing views of the Himalayas including Mount Everest.

Highlights

EBC-Gokyo trek series

Inside the tiny 14-seater flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, the jump-off point of treks to Everest Base Camp.

Lukla’s Tenzing-Hillary Airport, one of the highest and most dangerous airports in the World. The extremely short 527-meter runway is built at a 12 percent slope/gradient. During take-off, the sloped runway aid planes gain speed as they accelerate down the mountainside. Pilots have one chance to get the take-off right, else risk steering the plane down the steep valley.

Buddhist mantras (prayers) carved on prayer wheels and mani stones, beside a teahouse in Chheplung village. Teahouse villages can be found almost the whole way to Everest Base Camp.

Teahouse dining area, a common space for hikers to socialize, in Lukla. Teahouses also offer private rooms, dorm beds, and even hot showers (at an extra cost). No need for bringing tents, camping, and cooking your food.

Dal Bhat, a popular local Nepali rice dish, in Phakding. It’s a full meal perfect for a long day on the trail.

A local porter transports a huge basket overloaded with boxes of beer. There are no roads and vehicles. To transport cargo between villages, goods are popularly carried on the backs of porters or animals like mules or yaks.

The highest river in the World, the Dudh Kosi, is surrounded by alpine forests & waterfalls seen from a viewpoint near Benkar village. The Dudh Kosi means “milk river” because of its gleaming white water.

Stopping for a quick break along the cobblestone trail at scenic Monjo village.

Locals crossing the scenic trail between Monjo and Jorsalle.

Buddhist Mantras carved on a massive cliff wall with a tall waterfall and refreshing alpine forest view, in Monjo.

Mani stones and a massive waterfall flowing down the alpine forest near Monjo. As a form of prayer, these stones are carved with the mantra “Om mani pad me hum.” In Buddhism, these six syllables embody the essence of all Dharma (moral law & order of the Universe).

Crossing the Hillary Bridge, on my to Namche Bazaar. This is one of many breathtaking hanging bridges found along the trail to Everest Base Camp.

Sunrise at Namche Bazaar (3,440 m), the largest Sherpa town along the EBC trail, and the main hub for trekking in this part of the Himalayas.

Night view of Namche Bazaar, filled with souvenir stalls and trekking shops. You can do your last-minute shopping here before venturing father to more remote villages. On your way down, you can celebrate with a pint of Guinness beer at the highest Irish pub in the world.

Sherpa Culture Museum (3,524 m) in Namche Bazaar, Sagarmatha Everest region, Nepal

Tenzing Norgay Memorial (3,552 m) with a view of Mount Thamserku (6,608 m)

Mount Everest view from Tenzing Norgay Memorial. Seen in the photo (right to left): Mount Thamserku (6,608 m), Ama Dablam (6856 m), Lhotse (8,516 m), Everest (8,848 m), Nuptse (7,861 m).

Hotel Everest View. Built at 3,880 meters above sea level, it was once listed as the highest placed hotel in the world.

Coffee at Hotel Everest View. As the name suggests, you can enjoy a view of Mount Everest here on a clear day.

Enjoying the colors of the autumn season during my trek in October.

Yak dung sun-dried on the stone walls, in Khumjung village (3,802 m). Once dry, it’s tossed in the burner to heat the tea houses/lodges.

A Yeti skull displayed at Khumjung Monastery (3,802 m) near Namche Bazaar.

View of prayer flags and Mount Everest on the trail from Namche Bazaar to Kyangjuma (3,550 m). Leaving Namche feels like leaving the comforts of civilization and venturing deeper into the high landscapes of the Himalayas.

Tengboche Monastery (or Thyangboche Monastery). Built in 1916, at an elevation of 3,867 meters, the monastery is the largest gompa in the Khumbu region of Nepal.

View of Mt Ama Dablam from Tengboche Monastery.

Scenic view from Tengboche village (3,860 m). Seen from right to left: Mt. Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Mount Everest, Nuptse.

Majestic view of Mount Ama Dablam, a real show-stealer on the EBC trek. Ama Dablam means “Mother’s necklace”. The long ridges on each side like the arms of a mother (ama) protecting her child.

Ama Dablam view on the Dechobe to Panboche trail (3,800 m).

Lhotse (8,516 m) towers over the village of Shomare (4,069 meters) in the Nepal Himalaya.

Ama Dablam view from Dingboche village (4,410 meters).

Dingboche village surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. It’s one of the most beautiful villages along the EBC trail.

Dingboche is a popular place to spend a day to rest/acclimatize. From Dingboche, you can go on a nice day trip to Chukhung Ri summit (5550 m), Chukhung village (4,730 m), and the Dingboche View Point (5,050 m).

Teahouses are built in the middle of terraced fields protected by stone walls.

Enjoying the view from the stupa (shrine) overlooking Dingboche village (4,400 m).

A clear view of the milky way and the night sky from Dingboche.

Desolate alpine tundra landscapes on the trail past Dingboche.

Desert-like landscape with a view of snow-capped mountains from Dingboche to Lobuche.

A porter carries a basket-full of goods to Dughla village (4,620 meters).

River crossing on the trail from Dingboche to Dughla.

Everest Memorial site (4,720 m) near Dughla. Here, there are cairns, prayer flags, and memorial monuments everywhere, honoring climbers and sherpas who have died attempting to climb Mt. Everest.

A glacial moraine pool, near Lobuche (4,940 m).

Yak train carrying goods from Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5,164 m).

Nuptse (7,861 m) south face view on the way to Everest Base Camp from Gorak Shep.

Everest Base Camp view of the Khumbu Glacier/IceFall and Mt Nuptse (7,861 m). The site is marked by colorful Buddhist prayer flags.

Enjoying a view of the Khumbu Glacier/IceFall and Mt Nuptse (7,861 m)

View of Mount Everest (8,848 m) and Nuptse (7,861 m). The actual summit of Everest is not visible from the base camp.

Gorak Shep, the last/highest teahouse settlement before reaching Everest Base Camp.

Detour trail from Lobuche to Chola Lake & Dzonghla

Beautiful viewpoint near Chola Lake (4,796 meters)

Lake Chola formed by melted snow and ice from Cho La Glacier and surrounding mountains.

The hard uphill trek from Dzonglha (4,830 meters) to Chola Pass (5,279 meters).

View after the ice crossing at Chola Glacier Pass (5,279 meters)

Long and steep downhill trek over loose rocks from Cho La Pass to Dragnak/Thagnak (4,700 meters).

Glacial moraine pool at Ngozumpa Glacier.

The breathtaking view from Gokyo Ri. Seen on the photo are two of 6 high altitude lakes in Gokyo.

From Gokyo Ri summit, you can get a panoramic view of the Ngozumpa Glacier, the longest glacier in the Himalayas, and 6 out of the Top 20 tallest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest (8848 m; 1st), Lhotse (8516 m; 4th), Makalu (8,485 m; 5th), Cho Oyu (8,201 m; 6th), Gyachung Kang (7,952 m; 15th), and Nuptse (7,864 m; 20th).

A clear view of Mount Everest’s summit from Gokyo Ri.

A sea of clouds forms over Gokyo Lake and the Ngozumpa Glacier.

Above the clouds at Gokyo Ri.

Unbelievable view at the roof of the world. Snow-capped peaks rising over a sea of white fluffy clouds.

Trekkers on the trail down from Gokyo Ri.

Gokyo village located beside the Gokyo. It’s well worth the detour from the popular EBC trail. 101% recommended if you can spare an extra week on top of the typical 12-day itinerary.

A view of the lakeside in Gokyo.

One of the many stone-walled villages seen on the way from Gokyo to Dole.

A scenic view of cotton-like shrubs on the way back to Namche Bazaar.

Trail Map

View larger map

EBC-Gokyo Trek Itinerary

Here’s a day-by-day summary of my EBC-Gokyo Lakes trek. The itinerary below could be still be improved (significantly). Make sure to check out the Everest Base Camp itinerary guide, so you can maximize your trip and plan it better than what I did. In addition, I’ve posted loads more photos and travel tips for each part/leg of the trek (links posted below).

Route
PART 1 Lukla Airport to Namche Bazaar (click here to see more)
Day 1 Lukla (2,860 m) to Phakding (2,610 m). Best if you can arrive in Lukla earlier and make it to Monjo (2,824m) on your first day.
Day 2 Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3,880 m)
PART 2 Namche Bazaar & Mt Everest View
Day 3 Namche Bazaar acclimitization day
PART 3 Namche Bazaar to Tengboche & Dingboche
Day 4 Namche Bazaar to Tengboche (3,860 m)
Day 5 Tengboche to Dingboche (4,410 m)
Day 6 Dingboche acclimitization day. I spent most of the day taking photos around the pathways near the village. If you want to maximize your itinerary, go on the intense day hike to Chukhung Ri (5550 m) or the easier trail to Nangkartshang Peak/Dingboche View Point (5050m).
PART 4 Dingboche to Everest Base Camp via Lobuche
Day 8 Lobuche rest day.
Day 9 Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5,164 m)
Everest Base Camp (5,364 m). Total distance hiked from Lukla to Everest Base Camp: 65 kilometers (one-way approx.)
PART 5 EBC to Chola Pass & Gokyo
Day 10 Gorak Shep to Dzonglha (5,164 m). Go for the sunrise climb to Kalla Pathar if you have the chance.
Day 11 Cho La Pass (5,420 m) – Dzonglha to Dragnak (4,700 m).
Day 12 Dragnak to Gokyo (4,750 m). The trek from Dzonglha to Gokyo is popularly done in one day.
PART 6 Gokyo Lakes & the circuit trail back to Lukla
Day 13 Gokyo Ri (5,357 m)
Day 14 Gokyo IV & V Lakes
Day 15 Gokyo to Dole (4,038 m)
Day 16 Dole to Namche Bazaar (3,440 m)
Day 17 Namche Bazaar to Phakding (2,610 m)
Day 18 Phakding to Lukla (2,860 m). It’s possible to descend from Namche to Lukla is just one day. Total distance hiked on the EBC-Gokyo circuit trail: 140 km (approx.).
Day 19 Lukla to Kathmandu

View prices online: