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The Kathmandu valley is surrounded by four major peaks – Shivapuri (2,800 m/9,200 ft), Fulchowki (2,795 m/9,170 ft), Nagarjun (2,825 m/9,268 ft) and Chandragiri (2,551 m/8,369 ft). It is possible to day-hike to all these peaks and other minor ones too. These day hikes are perfect for those who do not wish to embark on multiple day trek and/or those who do not wish to sleep in local lodges. On a clear day, it is possible to get views of the Langtang, Ganesh and Manaslu ranges from the tops of these peaks. Below are descriptions of some of the hikes:
CHISAPANI hike (Shivapuri):
Start early and drive from your hotel to Sundarijal. The hike begins with a steep ascent for about 30-45 minutes on staircases to the Sundarijal water reserve. The uphill eases as we slowly hike past a Tamang village and then an army camp after which we enter the Shivapuri forest. Most of the trees at Shivapuri are pine, oak and rhododendron and this area is a bird lover’s paradise. After 3-4 hours of uphill hiking, we come to a small pass from where we descend for around 25 minutes to the village of Chisapani. After lunch at Chisapani, a 4 x 4 will drive you back to your hotel in Kathmandu.
NAGI GOMPA hike (Shivapuri):
Start early and drive from your hotel to Budanilkantha – north of Kathmandu city. Quick visit of Budanilkantha temple which is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. The temple is dedicated to lord Vishnu who lays on a bed of serpents. Continue on your jeep past the temple to the entrance of the Shivapuri National Park. From the park, we begin our ascent to Nagi Gompa nunnery. The hike through the forest should take anywhere between 2-3 hours. At the gompa, visit the nunnery. You can continue further past the Nagi Gompa temple and you may opt to either take the 4 x 4 back from the nunnery or hike down to the entrance of the park.
JAMACHO hike (Nagarjun):
Start early and drive from your hotel to the entrance of the Nagarjun National park. This area is guarded by the army. It is a 4 hour hike to the top where there is a small temple.
Per person price (valid until December 31, 2020)
1 persons: US$150 per person
2 persons: US$105 per person
3 or more persons: US$90 per person
4 x 4 transportation to the hike start point and return, National park permit, English speaking guide and lunch.
Your international airfare, Nepal Visa, Meals not indicated in the itinerary, Tips and gratuities, Personal equipment (a suggested list will be mailed to you), Travel insurance (Required), Other expenses of a personal nature
Activity: Lodge Trek
The Gokyo Lakes trek is a great alternative for those who wish to avoid the popular (and busy) trail to Everest Base Camp. Moreover, the views from Gokyo Ri (5,357m/17,575ft.) and Renjo La pass (5,465m /17,930ft) are arguably better than those from Kalapathar. A little above Namche, the trail to Gokyo splits from the trail to the Everest Base Camp. Head North, following the Dudh Koshi river to its source near the Ngozumpa glacier. Trekking to the Gokyo Lakes allows you to enjoy views of giants such as Everest, Cho-Oyu, Makalu, Pumori, Amadablam, Thamserku, Tarboche, Cholatse etc.
From Namche, head north west following the Dudh Koshi river to its source near the Gokyo Lakes. The Gokyo Lakes trek culminates at Gokyo on the banks of the third lake. Here, we will spend three nights exploring the area. On our second day at Gokyo, hike to either Gokyo Ri or Renjo La pass for views of the lakes and the mountains (see photo above). On the third day, hike to the 5th lakes for up-close views of Cho Oyu and other mountains.
It is possible to combine trekking to the Gokyo Lake with the Everest Base Camp trek. Check out our 19-day Everest Base Camp Trek or the 15-day Everest Base Camp – fast paced trek. Also, if you have more time and wish to be more adventurous, check out the Ultimate Everest Trek. This involves crossing two passes: the Cho La pass (Everest Base Camp to Gokyo lake) and the Renjo La pass (from Gokyo lake to Thame). Furthermore, an even more physically challenging trek is the Everest Three Passes Trek. No climbing skills are required for these treks. We are also happy to customize any of these treks for you. Click on the options tab to check out more options.
The Gokyo Lakes Trek is a lodge trek. This means you will sleep and eat meals in local lodges along the trail. The quality of the lodges on this trek are quite comparable to those on the Everest Base Camp Trek. And quite a few of them have en suite rooms with hot showers. Meals are also quite varied with many options including rice with veggies, noodles, local breads etc. Read our article about food options on Everest treks.
Like most treks in Nepal, the best seasons for the trekking to the Gokyo Lakes are Spring (March-May) and Autumn (October-November). It is also possible to do this trek in Winter months of December, January and February if you do not intend to cross the passes. While it will obviously be very cold (upto -20 C/, -4 F), it will be less crowded and there aren’t as many trekkers in the area.
The Gokyo Lakes trek is rated “STRENUOUS”. It is rated 4 on a rating scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging). While the highest altitude reached is at Gokyo Ri (5,357 meters), the highest overnight elevation is at Gokyo Lakes (4,750m/15,500 feet) which is much lower than on the Everest Base Camp Trek. Average daily hiking times is 5 to 6 hours with one long day of around 7 hours on the day hike to the 5th lakes. It is important to prepare for any trek in Nepal. Read our advice on training for treks.
All our Gokyo Lakes Treks are private treks for a minimum of two participants for a date of your choosing. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – all inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. Most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We have been in business for over 30 years and we employ only the most professional and friendly staff.
We are also proud to give back to our community through 3 Summits For Nepal managed by Crystal Mountain Treks staff. Contact us to learn more…
On the Makalu Base Camp trek, participants get up-close with the fifth highest mountain in the world – Mt. Makalu (8,485m). Eric Shipton was the first outsider to have trekked in the region in the 1950’s. Consequently, the Shipton Pass on this trek was named after him. The first climb on Makalu was made by an American team led by Riley Keegan and Sierra Club members including Bill Long and Allen Steck. They attempted via the southeast ridge but they turned back at 23,300 ft. due to bad weather. The first ascent of Makalu was by a French expedition team on May 15, 1955.
The Makalu Base Camp Trek starts at a relatively lower elevation which is home to Rai’s, Gurung’s and Tamang people. The last permanent settlement is Tashigaon which is the home of the Sherpa people. Ascending slowly, the trek follows a trail through the beautiful Makalu Barun National Park which is home to diverse flora and fauna. Continue to trek past the Barun river along spectacular granite rocks, pastures and waterfalls.
The Makalu Base Camp trek is quickly emerging as a popular trekking destination especially among trekkers who prefer solitude. Trekking to Makalu is a great alternative to the more busier treks in the Everest and Annapurna region. And with daily flights available to Tumlingtar, the Makalu Base Camp Trek is also quite easily accessible. It has all the makings of an epic Himalayan trek including stunning snow-clad mountain scenery, high passes, intriguing mix of Nepal’s culture and soaring Himalayan peaks.
The journey begins with a 35-minute flight to Tumlingtar from where we drive to the road-head on a chartered vehicle. The lower parts of the Makalu region are quite hot and humid with lush rhododendron and oak forests, cardamom plantations. Ascend slowly over several passes and follow the Barun river valley to the Makalu Base Camp. Return to Tumlingtar is along the same trail but vistas are quite spectacular in both directions. For more information, do check out Jwalant’s blog: My Makalu Base Camp Trek
The Makalu Base Camp Trek is a combo Lodge Trek/Camping Trek. This means you will sleep and eat meals in local lodges along the trail and also in tents where necessary. The lodges on this trek are quite basic. Meals are not as varied as on the Everest or the Annapurna treks but options do include rice with veggies, noodles, local breads etc. On this trek, we will carry some food to supplement what’s available at the local lodges and a certified trekking cook will accompany the group to prepare more varied meals. Furthermore, we will also carry tents so you may opt to sleep in tents in some of the more basic places.
Like most treks in Nepal, the best seasons for the Makalu Base Camp trek are Spring (April-May) and Autumn (October-November).
The Makalu Base Camp trek is rated “CHALLENGING”. It is rated 5 on a rating scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging). While it does NOT involve crossing 5,000 meter mountain passes, it is probably the MOST CHALLENGING trek in Nepal in terms of daily elevation gain/loss. No technical climbing experience is required but some sections of the trail (all stair-cases) are almost 50 degrees steep. The highest overnight altitude reached is at Makalu Base Camp (4,800 m/15,750ft) and the highest elevation reached is at the view point above base camp (5,300m/17,400 feet). There are two acclimatization days to allow for proper acclimatization.
Trekking to Makalu involves average daily hiking or around 6 hours with a few longer days of around 7-8 hours. Also, this is a relatively long trek in a remote area. Regardless of the rating, it is important to prepare for any trek in Nepal. Read our advice on training for treks.
The Makalu Base Camp Trek is a private trek for a minimum of two participants. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. With over 30 years of experience, most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We employ the most professional and friendly staff. We are also proud to give back to our community through our giving arm – 3 Summits For Nepal – managed by Crystal Mountain Treks staff. Contact us to learn more…