Discover the stunning Gokyo Lakes in Nepal
Sitting at an altitude of between 4,700 and 5,000 metres above sea level, the Gokyo Lakes are a set of oligotrophic lakes in the Solukhumbu District of northeast Nepal. These 19 stunning lakes are the highest freshwater lakes in the world, with Thonak Lake being the largest at around 65 hectare.
The Gokyo Lakes is a popular destination that is seen while trekking to Everest Base Camp. It is also possible to do a trek just of the lakes and Gokyo Ri, as it is a shorter and less strenuous trek than heading to base camp. This trek takes around 14 days, and in addition to seeing these magnificent lakes you will also see Ngozumpa glacier, which is the largest glacier in Nepal.
Here are a few reasons to enjoy a Gokyo Lakes trek rather than do a full 18-21 day Everest Base Camp trek:
1. It is less stressful both mentally and physically, as the maximum altitude on this trek is 5,357 metres above sea level and the trek itself takes just 10 days to complete. This makes it great for people with time constraints or those that just want to explore the Gokyo valley.
2. It is a stunning trek that takes the same route as the Everest Base Camp trek, but then steers off at Sanasa and the follows Dudh Koshi River to Machhermo, where views of the lakes and the Ngozumpa glacier can be seen.
3. The views of Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu from the village of Gokyo are spectacular and something right out of an issue of National Geographic.
4. The culture and lifestyle of the Sherpa can really be seen on the Gokyo Lakes trek, with villages consisting of a few huts, some of which have been turned into guesthouses for trekkers passing through.
5. The experience will of course be an unforgettable one, with the spectacular scenery being imprinted in your mind for a lifetime.
The Gokyo Lakes trek can be done at any time of the year, though the most enjoyable time is in the fall and in the spring. This is when the temperatures are the most comfortable and the views are the best. Some people prefer to do this trek in the winter, as there is much less traffic, though it can get quite cold. The summer is a bit wet for enjoying the Gokyo Lakes trek, though it is a great time to see the rare flora in the region. Those combining the Gokyo Lakes trek with the Everest Base Camp trek should do the trek in the spring or in the fall.
When booking a Gokyo Lakes or Base Camp trek it is important to use a reputable company that has experience in dealing with travellers from all over the world. This ensures that you are comfortable and well taken care of so that you can really enjoy the experience. Trekking companies use porters and yaks to do all of the heavy carrying, putting less stress on you and your body. As well, all sleeping and eating arrangements will be taken care of, so all you need to do is hike, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the magnificent scenery.
Discover India’s Trekking Destination: The Valley of Flowers
Nature enthusiasts who are seeking for a new and unique adventure may just find what they’re looking for in one of India’s national parks. There is nothing more beautiful than basking in the bounty of nature, while exploring a vast valley of flowers, and being surrounded by a majestic view the Himalayan Mountains. The Valley of Flowers in India offers a challenging but refreshing trek that shows visitors various sides of its beauty during different times of the year. If you enjoy being surrounded by beautiful flowers and a spectacular view, this is a perfect trip to discover over 140 species of flowers in and around the valley, while getting the chance to meet new people and dive into rich Indian culture.
Getting to Valley of Flowers in India
Valley of Flowers is located in Uttrakhand, India, and is found 300 kilometers north of Rishikesh. Visitors will have to travel by land to Govindghat where the trek starts. To reach the city of Rishikesh in Uttrakhand, visitors will have to travel 6 hours by land from New Delhi, which is India’s capital. For foreign visitors, it is important to note that the nearest airport to the area is 295 kilometers away which is Dehradun, while the nearest train station can also be found in the city of Rishikesh. If coming from Dehradun, visitors must drive 10 hours to Joshimath and another hour to Govindghat where they will find Ghangaria, the trek’s base camp. The trek’s total distance is 13 to 16 kilometers, which has an approximate trek time of 8 to 10 hours.
What to Expect Upon Arrival
Upon arrival at base camp, there are private accommodations at your disposal. It is important to note that camping or grazing has been banned in the Valley of Flowers since 1983. Expect to see the glorious Himalayas and a meadow of colourful and vibrant alpine flowers. Valley of the flowers is also home to exceptional yet endangered species such as the Vulpesvulpes (red fox) and the Pantherauncia (snow leopard) to name a few. As you begin the trek, expect to see flowers after 3 kilometers of trekking from the base camp. This marks the start of the main valley. It is important to wear proper clothing and footwear, as the trek has become steeper due to the flash floods that have ravaged the area 2013.
Admission Fee and Other Important Things to Know
Since the Valley of Flowers is one of the major parts of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and is considered as one of India’s National Parks. Strict protection and conservation is still implemented. Visitors are asked to pay an entry fee which is valid for 3 days. Price of entry fee is 150 Rupees for locals and 600 Rupees for foreign travellers. Trekkers who would like an easier or faster trek may also hire a mule or porter for 800 Rupees. Other fees may also be charged for cameras and filming. Also, the park officially opens at 7 AM and closes at 5 PM. Visitors are allowed to enter the area until 2 PM only. Again, it is important to remember that camping is prohibited here, and all visitors will have to stay at Ghangaria.
The best times to visit Valley of the Flowers is during May to September, but this year the park will be open in June 2017, due to the reconstruction of some parts of the valley caused by the flash floods in 2013. Now is the time to visit this stunning environment!