Gosaikunda – Helambu Trek takes you to the holy lake Gosaikunda at a high altitude of 4380 m. And the views of mountains like Langtang Ri, Dorje Lhakpa, Gauri Shankar, Gang Chhenpo, Jugal Himal, Nayagang Himal, etc. is mesmerising.
The trail takes you through the green lush forests full of Rhododendrons (Laligurans), wild flowers, different species of Birds and wild animals.
And the sunset from Laurebina is exceptional.
Along with the natural beauty, both the lake Gosaikunda and Helambu are equally important with religious values.
Gosainkunda: Religious Values
It is believed that bathing in the lake will wash away one’s sin.
According to hindu mythology, it is believed that Gosainkunda is the place where lord Shiva and Gauri live.
And people also believe that lord Shiva is the creator of Gosainkunda lake and was created when Lord Shiva thrust his Trishul (holy Trident) into the mountain to extract water to cool his stinging throat after he had swallowed poison.
Facts of Gosainkunda:
- Gosainkunda Lake is 40 square miles in size and there are around 108 other lakes nearby.
- The lake is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus and the peak period is the full moon (Janai Poornima) in August (more than 25,000 devotees from Nepal and India visit the lake).
- Gosainkunda Lake is the source of Trishuli River
- The lake is oligotrophic – low in nutrients. So there are very few fishes and algae. And the water is so clean that you can drink.
- Tamang people are the major inhabitants of the Gosainkunda Area (5.6% of total Nepal population)
- High altitude gain in a short time.
- Sunrise at Laurebina is the major highlight of Gosainkunda Trek (15,120 feet – highest point of the trek)
- On a clear sunny day, Panoramic view of Langtang ridge and Annapurna range can be seen to the north
Helambu is a rural municipality and village in the higher region in Nepal. And it is not that far from the capital, Kathmandu, as well (80 KM from Kathmandu).
The region begins from the Laurebina La pass (Mountain above Gosaikunda Lake) and descends down to Melamchi Valley. And it is famous for its sweet apples and many religious places for buddhists.
And people from all around the world visit this region to pray to the buddhists gods and to see the artistic monasteries as well as the beautiful village itself.
Majority of people living here are Sherpa. And they are equally rich in their culture and traditions.
Not only the religious values, but the trail from Gosaikunda to Melamchi is also really amazing. It’s full of different species of plants, wild flowers, birds and animals.
And is a paradise for Photographers and Sound Therapy.
Gosainkunda – Helambu Route Itinerary for Easy Trek
1. Kathmandu – Dhunche (6-7 hours Bus Ride)
Take a Bus from Machhapokhari, New Bus Park, Kathmandu to Dhunche. Then stay the night at Dhunche Bazaar. Explore the town and prepare for the next day.
2. Dhunche – Deurali – Chandanbari
Start Trekking after having breakfast. Then walk slowly, enjoying nature and reach Chandanbari. Have lunch there and stay the night. Best for Acclimatization (to avoid altitude sickness).
3. Chandanbari – Laurebina – Buddha Mandir – Gosainkunda
Have breakfast and continue trekking to Laurebina. Have Lunch at Laurebina, rest for a while and start walking to Gosaikunda. After you reach your hotel at Gosaikunda, keep your backpack safely in your room, then go for a short hike up the hill (To adapt body at higher altitude). Then come back to the hotel.
4. Gosaikunda – Surya Kunda – Phedi – Ghopte
Have Breakfast and Start your Trek early, since you have to do the Laurebina La pass. Reach the Suryakunda lake, enjoy the view and start walking down the mountain on the other side.
Have Lunch at Phedi. If you’re tired, stay the night there, else walk for another 2 hours and reach Ghopte for the night (but ask at Phedi whether the hotel at Ghopte is open or not).
5. Phedi/Ghopte – Helambu (Melamchi Ghyang)
After having breakfast, start your trek from either Phedi or Ghopte and reach Tharepati for lunch. Enjoy the view and rest for a while, then continue walking down to Helambu Melamchi Ghyang. It will take around 3 hours to reach there. And stay the night, If hotels are not available, then you can walk another hour and reach Nakhote for night stay.
6. Melamchi Ghyang – Timbu – Kathmandu
You can either get a Bus at 7:00 A.M. from Nakhote or continue walking to Timbu and get a bus to Kathmandu. But remember, the buses are only available till 2:00 P.M.
Gosainkunda – Helambu Trek Route for Hardcore Trekkers
1. Kathmandu – Dhunche – Deurali – Chandanbari
Take a Bus from Machhappokhara (New Buspark) to Dhunche at around 6:00 A.M. You’ll have lunch on the way. And the bus ride is around 6 – 7 hours.
You can have snacks at Dhunche and start walking towards Deurali. It can take around 1.5 – 2 hours to reach Deurali.
If you’re early then try to reach Chandanbari. You can reach there in another 2 hours approx.
Based on our experience, we recommend you to stay at Chandanbari. It’s better fooding and lodging at a cheaper price than the Hotel at Deurali.
2. Chandanbari – Laurebina – Gosainkunda
Have breakfast at Chandanbari, then start walking towards Laurebina. It can take another 2-3 hours to reach Laurebina. And then you can have lunch there.
It’s recommended to stay there for at least an hour, it helps the body to acclimatize at higher altitude.
After lunch and rest, start walking slowly towards Gosainkunda. The trail is really steep and the wind also slows you down.
Reach Gosainkunda before Sunset, then go for a hike just a little above the lake (for acclimatization). Stay at a higher altitude for a while, then return to the hotel at Gosaikunda.
3. Gosainkunda – Phedi – Ghopte – Thadepati
Have Breakfast, then start walking up towards Suryakunda. It can take around 1.5 hours to reach there. Enjoy the view and start to climb down towards Phedi.
Have lunch at Phedi, then start walking towards Thadepati. You’ll reach Ghopte first then to Thadepati. It can take another 4-5 hours to reach Thadepati from Phedi.
4. Thadepati – Melamchi Ghyang (Helambu) – Timbu – Kathmandu
Have breakfast at Thadepati, then start walking down the forest towards Helambu (Melamchi Ghyang). You can reach there in another 2 hours.
Then have lunch, visit the religious places and enjoy the Sherpa Community and their lifestyle.
After lunch, start walking down towards Timbu. It can take another 3-4 hours to reach Timbu.
If you reach Timbu before 2:00 P.M., you can get a bus to Kathmandu, else stay the night there and take another bus, the next morning.
Our Experience from Gosainkunda – Helambu Trek
Day 01: Kathmandu to Dhunche to Deurali
We’re so excited for this trek that we bought the ticket a day before. You can get the ticket on the same day but reach the ticket counter (Machhapokhari, New Buspark) as early as possible.
The ticket price from Kathmandu to Dhunche was Rs 665 per person.
On the day, I woke up at around 5:30, then brushed my teeth and got ready to walk. The back was already packed, so I just picked up the bag and walked towards my friends house.
He was also ready, then his mum wished us good luck for the journey and we started to walk towards the place where we could get a bus to reach Macchapokhari.
At around 6:45, we reached Machhapokhari bus park, and searched for the bus based on our ticket. We took our seats and the bus staff let us know that the bus will leave at 7:00.
Then the bus left Kathmandu and started moving towards Dhunche.
At first we reached Kalanki, and then started to move down the Thankot hill. And almost at the end of Thankot hill, we took a short break at around 8:15 A.M.
There we decided to have our breakfast. So we bought a cup of black tea and a mix of Aaloo (Boiled and Fried Potato), Chana (Fried Peas) and Noodles fry for each of us.
The price for a cup of black tea was Rs 20 and for the mix breakfast was Rs 70.
Best place to enjoy local authentic music in Nepal
Then again we started moving forward. The bus was almost full with passengers and it also had a TV with local Nepali song playing on it.
The Music videos were really entertaining. It’s perfect to explore the local music genre.
Most of the youths from the city generally don’t listen to these genres. So these buses could be one of the best places to find the local authentic music genres.
The road was the same as the road to Pokhara till the place called Galchhi. From there it took a right turn towards Nuwakot at around 9:00 A.M.
The road till now was really good. It’s completely metallic or pitched.
But lots of road construction was also being carried on.
We moved slowly and carefully. And we passed many small and beautiful towns like Gangatey and Battar.
Then at around 9:50, we reached another town called Dhungey. And it was the lunch place for us.
Dal – Bhat Power, 24 hour
For lunch, we ordered a Nepali Khana Set with Chicken Curry. For Rs 250 per plate, we got Daal (lentil gravy), Bhaat (Rice), Tarkari (Veg Curry), Aachaar (Pickle), Papad, Saag (Spinach) and Chicken Curry.
If you’re vegetarian, you can get Veg Khana Set for Rs 150.
And for the Mutton Khana set, it’s Rs 300 per plate.
After lunch, we continued our journey. Now the path was becoming steeper and rough than earlier.
Slowly and Carefully, the bus carried us past the hills, villages, rivers and towns like Kalikasthan, Grang village, etc.
Official Start of the Trek from Dhunche
And finally at around 1:45 P.M, we reached Dhunche city. It’s the capital city of Rasuwa district and our Trek to Gosaikunda also starts from here.
At first, we bought some biscuits, water, toilet paper, etc. at the shop in Dhunche. A shopkeeper there also recommended that we stay at a place called Khendi.
We thanked him for the recommendation and started our trek to Gosaikunda at around 2:10 P.M..
As soon as we hit the roads, a little girl came towards me and told us to buy a stick (like a trekking pole).
She was cute, so I bought a stick from her. It was just Rs 20 per stick.
As we walked for a while, another little girl came near us and she also asked us to buy another stick.
Since I had bought just before and my friend already had a trekking pole, he just gave her 10 rupees for nothing and we continued our walk.
While we were walking ahead, we met a couple of boys, so we asked them for the direction to Gosainkunda. And they showed us the way. We talked with them for a while and got to know that they were from another village and came here for better education.
We thanked them for the direction and continued our journey.
In another World
The environment here was really soothing. Green hills all around us, fields, forests, stupas with prayer flags. They were really powerful that they could make you forget the hustling and bustling city for some time.
With lots of excitement and curiosity, we continued to move forward. On the way we also took several photos as an official start of the trek.
Though the weather was clear in the morning and in the noon, the sun started to get covered with clouds and we could hear thunders as well.
So, we decided to move as quickly as possible to avoid getting wet at the beginning of the trek.
As we continued walking forward, we met locals on the way, some working in the fields, some going to the forests to collect firewood and fodders for cattles.
We used to talk with them for a while and move forward.
The path till now is really easy, it’s flat and really pleasing.
On the hills nearby, we could see the fully bloomed Rhododendron (Lali Gurans – national flower of Nepal), hear the chirping of birds and flow of streams.
Now, we’re walking by the river (don’t know the name of the river). As soon as the path started from the banks of the river, the trail started getting steep.
So we walked slowly up the hill.
But the weather was cloudy, so we also had to reach today’s destination as soon as possible.
Raining, Is it Bad Luck?
On the way we also met some people coming back from the Gosainkunda Trek as well. We talked with some of them and told us that the weather was not so great and had to walk while snowing.
On the way I saw a really amazing tree, so we took some photos there. And found out that the photos were really amazing.
With the amazing view of nature on the way, we felt welcomed by the mountains and started continuing our journey.
As we were climbing up the hill, it started to rain with thunder. So quickly, we searched for our rain gear and covered ourselves to protect from rain.
I covered my bag with a waterproof cover and had an umbrella.
My friend used a raincoat to protect him and then we started moving up the hill slowly.
After walking for some time the rain stopped, so again at a nearby resting place we again packed our rain gear and put inside the bag.
There we also ate biscuits and drank water then again started walking up the hill slowly.
The trail was steep and through the forest of Pine and Rhododendron trees and bushes. And lots of different types of birds were chirping and playing on the way. They were so near that it felt like we could touch them.
The different colors of birds, their chirping and the peek of mountains energized us whenever we felt tired.
Met new Friends
After walking for sometime, we found a hotel on the way. And we found out this was the place called “Khendi” which was recommended by the shopkeeper in Dhunche. Also it was the only hotel at that place.
There we bought two bottles of mineral water. The price was Rs 60 per liter of water.
So we paid Rs 120 for 2 liters of water then poured on our own water bottles, rested for a while and took photos there.
At that time we also met a few guys who were having snacks there and were also going to Gosainkunda.
So we led the way and they also followed us. As we talked with them, we found out that they had also come from Kathmandu and were also planning to take the same route (via Sundarijal) while returning.
It was a good thing to know that, we won’t be the only ones going down that trail.
As we climbed up the hill, they lagged behind. But we continued walking slowly but continually up the hill.
So they were way behind us as they were walking really slowly.
On the way we captured several photos of each other and continued walking.
Hotel with mountain Views, First Stop
After walking for a couple of hours, we reached a hotel and found out that it was Deurali, our end of the day.
The altitude was 2650 m above the sea level. And we came from Kathmandu which is at 1200 m above sea level, so we gained pretty good altitude. Thus, we decided to stay there for the night though it was 4:45 P.M. in the evening and the next stop was at around another 2 hours walk.
We talked with the hotel owner, then asked for the keys to the room and we headed straight to the room.
Then we kept the bag in the room, replaced our shoes with slippers, changed clothes and let our wet clothes (t-shirts) to dry. Then came to the open tap outside the hotel and washed our feet. The water was icy cold, so we washed our feet and face quickly and ordered some milk tea.
Huge Tibetan Mastiff nearly bit me while exploring around the hotel
As we were enjoying the view of mountains, hills, forests and cattles near the hotel, our tea was ready. With the hot and sweet tea, we rested on the benches in front of the hotel.
There we also met a son and father duo who were also on the way to Gosaikunda, but they did not stay at Deurali, instead they continued their journey towards the next stop.
Then after the tea, we started to roam around the hotel. It was also a single hotel but with a good space.
We also met some people who were there to work on construction for the same hotel. They were preparing for a wood fire behind the hotel.
Talking with locals near fire
So we joined them and with the warmth of fire talked with them for a while. And we found out that they were from another village and were there on a construction of a house for the hotel owner.
While we were there we also ordered another cup of tea and enjoyed their company.
As it started to get dark, it started getting colder. So we came inside the hotel and stayed inside. We charged our phone there and also drank hot water.
There, we were joined by another group who were also on their way to Gosaikunda and stayed there as we were.
We sat near the heater. Then a staff put the woods inside the heater and lit it. Slowly it started to get warm.
There we talked with them and found that they were also from Kathmandu and on their way to Gosaikunda and they were returning from the same route.
As we were resting there and waiting for our dinner, we met other groups as well. Some of them arrived quite late.
First Dinner of the Trek
And finally at around 8:20 P.M. We were served our dinner.
For dinner we got Daal (lentil gravy), Bhaat (Rice), Aaloo Tarkari (Potato Curry), Papad and Achaar (Pickle).
After the dinner we stayed there for a while talking with a group of younger guys. They were a group of 4 from Dhading district and were school friends. But now working in a different profession.
Two of them trekked quite regularly but for the other two it was their first trek. But they were raised in the hills of Nepal, so it did not feel that difficult, they told me.
After talking for some time, we went to bed at around 9:45 P.M.
Day 02: Deurali – Chandanbari – Laurebina – Gosainkunda
With the hope of seeing the beautiful mountain ranges from the hotel, we woke up early in the morning at around 6:00 A.M.
Now the weather in the mountains was clean and the beautiful mountain ranges could be seen from the back side of the hotel.
Yesterday, the view was completely blocked by the clouds.
After enjoying the view for a while we came down and freshen up, brushed teeth and washed face with icy cold water. Then we went inside the dining room and ordered milk tea and hot noodles for breakfast.
While the breakfast was cooked, we charged our phone and talked with the guys we met yesterday. And they were ready to continue the journey as they were planning to return the same day if possible.
So, we wished them good luck and waited for breakfast while having our tea.
During that time, we also clicked some photos in front of the hotel for memories.
Breakfast with the View
In a while, the auntie from the hotel invited us to have our noodles at around 7:00 A.M.. So we told her to bring our breakfast outside as we wanted to enjoy the fresh morning view while having our breakfast.
The hot noodles with egg tasted good as the weather was cold and we also had to walk up the hill on a steep trail.
After breakfast, we went to our room and packed our bags, then came down and asked for our bill.
The expenses at Deurali hotel is as follows
Bed and Veg Khana per Person – Rs 750
Milk Tea per Cup – Rs 50
Noodles soup with Egg – Rs 150
After paying our bill, we started our day second at around 7:50 A.M.. The destination for today is Laurebina and Chandanbari is our lunch spot.
Start of the Hard Trail: Day 02
According to the hotel owner, today we’re going to have a hard climb till Laurebina. So, we had planned to walk slowly but continuously and reach the destination as early as possible.
And the only next place (houses or hotel) we could find was at Dhimsa. And it would take around 1.5 to 2 hrs to reach there.
So we continued walking up slowly. And on the way we also captured lots of photos and videos whenever we got a beautiful spot.
Then at around 9:00 A.M. we reached Dhimsa. There were a couple of hotels where travelers can stay the night or have food on the way.
The view of the mountains up the hill was really amazing from this place but the view in front of the hotel was not that clear, which is opposite from Deurali hotel.
There we also took a couple of photos and talked with an elderly man. He asked us where we were from and where our destination for today was.
So we told them that we had just started walking from Dhimsa and would probably stay at Laurebina.
Then we continued our journey to Chandanbari for lunch.
Again the trail was up the hill and through the Rhododendron forest. And the chirping of birds, beautiful mountains and the cool breeze were motivating us to move forward.
Best place of the “Gosaikunda Trekking Trail”
Finally after walking for another hour, we reached Chandanbari (3,250 m above sea level) at around 10:00 A.M. Now, we saw lots of hotels there. And probably this was the largest settlement on this trail.
Almost all other stops had just a couple of hotels at max.
There, while we were taking pictures and looking for a place to have lunch, we met a boy. I asked him where he was going and whether he had lunch or not.
Then he replied that he was going to bring some goods for the hotel and will have lunch after some time. Then he asked whether we had lunch or not.
So we said that we still hadn’t had lunch but were looking for the best place to have lunch at Chandanbari.
Then he suggested we have lunch at Hotel Red Panda.
Based on his suggestion we looked for Hotel Red Panda and went inside. There, we were greeted by auntie.
We put our bags down then the auntie offered us warm water.
Is it Phakding?
As soon as we had entered the Chandanbari village, the place and the settlement reminded me of Phakding from Everest Base Camp Trek. Even the hotels were similar. I don’t know if they are the same like this in other treks as well.
So I told auntie that her hotel was really beautiful and it reminded me of the Everest region. And she was really happy to hear that.
To be honest, this was probably the best hotel of “Gosaikunda – Helambu” Trek. Not only the exterior, but the interior were also clean, antique and royal.
Made of wood, decorated with antique items like traditional musical instruments, tables and chairs decorated with Yak skin, and an open kitchen (you could see what’s cooking).
I fell in love with this hotel. It’s better than many in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
We talked with auntie about the places to visit at Chandanbari, her hotel and the number of tourists after Covid lockdown.
Then she replied that very few tourists have come and lots of hotels are closed because of that.
But the good thing was that many nepalese have now started to travel after the lockdown.
Auntie was really sweet and caring. After talking for a while we wanted to explore this beautiful place, so we ordered her our lunch (Chicken Khana Set) and went out for a while.
Cheese from Gosaikunda to Kathmandu
First we went to the Cheese factory near the hotel. There, we asked whether we could go inside the cheese factory or not.
Then the responsible person of the factory let us in and showed us around.
And from him, we found out that all the cheese was made from Yak milk and they’re exported to Lainchaur, Kathmandu DDC (Dairy Development Corporation).
He also showed us recently made cheese. It was a huge store room but was dark and we had to use our flashlight since there was no electricity at that time.
After exploring the Cheese factory, we bought a KG (Kilogram) of cheese. It’s Rs 1,500 for a KG of cheese.
Then we went to the nearby Monastery, Sing Gumba. We went inside and prayed for a while, then took photos and videos there, then returned to the hotel.
Till now, we had seen the dining room and front part of the hotel, now we also decided to explore the remaining part i.e. Place to sleep.
We looked at the rooms from outside, they were really clean and comfortable (best on this trek). They even had solar powered hot showers, and the view of the mountains and hills was really amazing.
We also took some photos there, then auntie called us to have lunch.
Thakali Khana Set at Tamang Hotel
So, at around 11:00 A.M. we had our lunch. For lunch we had Daal (lentil gravy), Bhaat (Rice), Aaloo Chana Tarkari (Potato and Pea Curry), Saag (Fried Spinach), Achaar (Pickle), Salad, Chicken Curry and Ghee.
The food was really delicious. It reminded me of Thakali khana at the finest restaurants in Kathmandu.
And the price was also reasonable.
Rs 350 for Veg Khana Set and Rs 200 extra if we wanted Chicken Curry.
So we paid Rs 550 per person or Chicken Khana Set.
After having lunch, we thanked auntie for serving us such delicious food, took a photo with her and then we went out to rest and bask in the sun for a while.
Our next destination from Chandanbari was Laurebina and it was said that we could reach there in another 3-4 hours of walk. So we enjoyed the sun and the view for a while.
Then at around 12:20 P.M. We continued our journey to Laurebina. Through the village, we started climbing the hill.
Scary Wooden View Tower
After walking for about 10 minutes we came near the view tower made of wood. So we climbed and checked the view from there.
From the top of the 2 storey tower, you could see the whole Chandanbari village and surrounding mountains and hills, and would probably be the best place to watch the sunset.
But the tower was not that stable. It was shaking like a suspension bridge with the blow of the wind. So, we did not stay much longer there. Just took a couple of photographs, came down and continued our journey.
Though the sun was bright, the cold wind from the mountains through the forest kept us cool and the Dal Bhaat energized us to keep walking.
For those who say “There is nothing in Nepal”
As we climbed up, we came to a place from where we could see the mountain ranges near Gosaikunda. It was really magical and I felt proud to have been born in Nepal.
From there we could also see multiple huts at the top of the hill and thought that was Laurebina, stop for today.
Since the view was really magical, we decided to enjoy it and capture the photo before it hides behind the clouds.
Teaching Mobile Photography in the Himalayas
First I took the photos of my friend and they came out really good. And then it’s my turn but I was not satisfied with his photography skills. So, I made him stay there for about half an hour taking my pictures, teaching him about different principles of photography and composition that I had known.
While we were taking photos, we also saw horse riders coming down the hill. One of them stopped and asked if we wanted a ride.
We told him that we’re good on foot and talked with him for a while. And then he told us that they were giving horse riding services to those who couldn’t walk up to Gosaikunda. Then we went down to Chandanbari.
After resting there for about half an hour, we continued our journey through the forest. On the way, first we met a couple who were coming down from Gosaikunda and shared their journey on how difficult it was the day before as it was snowing. And told us how lucky we were to visit in clear weather. They wished us good luck and continued the journey.
Hotels are closed, where to stay?
Then, at around 2:40, we reached Cholang Pati. There were a couple of hotels but only one of them was open. As it was also at a nice spot we took a couple of photos. And as we were walking past the hotel one man told us to stay there because the hotels at Laurebina are close.
He claimed that he was the owner of the hotel and had come down by closing the hotel.
But we didn’t believe him as he was drunk and started climbing up. Then a man came running and told us not to believe him and we could find a hotel up there.
So, we continued walking up the hill. It was really steep but we walked slowly and carefully as we also have to care about altitude sickness.
On the way we met a guy from India, and he was doing a solo trek. And upon talking with him for a while I found out that he spent a week in Kathmandu then started Langtang Trek, and continued trekking to Gosaikunda and was returning to Kathmandu. After that he was also planning to visit Pokhara.
A guy from another nation, from a lower altitude than where we live, carrying a bag bigger than ours was doing a solo trek in Nepal. It inspired me.
After talking for a while, we parted ways. He climbed down to Chandanbari and we climbed up towards Laurebina.
The hard climb, wind and the altitude
And at around 3:45 P.M. we reached Laurebina. The first hotel was open and found out that only that hotel was open on that day.
After Covid Lockdown very few people were visiting there, so the hotels there were taking turns to open and run the hotels.
And from today it was their turn.
The lady from that hotel recommended us to stay the night there and go to Gosaikunda the next day, early in the morning.
But it was quite early, the sun was bright so we thought of reaching Gosaikunda that same day. So, we added a layer of wind proof jacket as it was windy, wore a woolen hat, then bought a litre of water each and climbed up slowly at around 4:00 P.M.
The trail now was really steep than before and windy. So, we were walking really slowly.
On the way, we met father and son, who did not stay the night at deurali (where we stayed) instead came up to Chandanbari. They told us, we could reach Gosaikunda in another couple of hours and wished us luck.
Then they started climbing down as they were planning to stay the night at Chandanbari. And we again slowly started climbing up.
Again after a while, we met another group of guys, who stayed in the same hotel but started walking early in the morning.
Should have stayed the night at Laurebina?
They also said that it became difficult for some of them and even had to take a couple of tablets of medicine. So they suggested that we cover our head with caps and protect from winds.
We thanked them and then, we started climbing up the hill.
At around 5:00, we reached Buddha Mandir (Temple of Buddha) and decided to rest for a while.
Though it was really cold and windy, the view from there was really magical while the sun was about to set.
In front of our face were snow capped mountains on a golden light and on the opposite, the orange sun which was about to set in an hour.
We enjoyed the view and rested for a while inside the hut for a while. The hut must have been made to travellers to rest and stay the night if needed. During the festival, Janai Poornima, thousands of people visit there and all hotels might not be able to provide accommodation to all of them.
Did he get Altitude Sickness?
While resting, I felt the change in my friend’s voice. It’s like being slightly drunk (without drinking alcohol). I knew it’s due to the high altitude as we were at around 3500 m above sea level. But he continued saying that he was fine and the change in voice was due to quick breath through mouth.
So we took a longer rest there and I told him to be more careful.
Then at around 5:20, we started to walk towards Gosaikunda as the sun was about to set and it’s also not 100% sure whether the hotel is open or not at Gosaikunda.
The trail now had railing (iron fence) on the edge side and was not that steep. And we’re going near the mountains.
As we walked ahead, it started to get darker. But the view of the setting sun and the orange lights was really mesmerizing. I tried my best to capture the moment with my phone and continued to walk.
Will we be welcomed at Gosaikunda or have to return to Laurebina?
Now, the sun is gone and it’s getting dark, and we’re the only two walking on the trail, not knowing how long it will take us to reach our hotel.
We did not think of this long walk from the Buddha Mandir but it was a long walk after getting tired, hit hard by the winds and high altitude.
Finally after walking for around 1 hour from Buddha Mandir, we started seeing houses in the distance but were not sure whether they were hotels to welcome us or closed ones.
But we continued walking closer to it. On the way we also started to see a lake at the bottom of the Himalaya and though that was the holy Gosaikunda Lake.
After some time we reached that place and took photos with a lake and mountain view, though it was dark and continued on our hotel hunt.
But there’s no sign of any humans in any of the hotels there, so I started shouting whether anyones around or not.
Lucky enough to get a bed on the bank of Gosaikunda Lake and on the lap of Himalayas
As we were at the end of the settlements (hotels), we saw a guy coming out of the house and invited us. And we found out that it was the only hotel welcoming guests during this time.
They already had 4 guests and we were the other two.We greeted all of them and then the owner showed us our rooms.
Finally at 6:40, we’re at the hotel and end of the day 2. We hurriedly went inside the room, kept our backpacks safely and then came to the dining room, near the heater where everyone was staying.
Then, we started to talk with each other about our journeys while having warm water. And drinking lots of water and eating lots of food is really important at a high altitude to prevent altitude sickness.
Sharing Travel Experiences
After talking with them, we found out that two of them were together and the other two were solo trekkers. And among those solo trekkers one was continuing from Langtang Trek and another one was coming from Sundarijal side (where we were planning to go tomorrow).
And they said the trail was really difficult and not much of the hotels are available. So we may have to walk long distances.
The other two were from Kathmandu but came from the same route as us and were planning to reach Suryakunda (lake above Gosaikunda) and return the same way.
While we were sharing our adventure tales, our dinner was ready and the owner told us to get ready for the dinner and talk later. Because the food gets cold quickly due to the low temperature.
So, at around 8:15 P.M. our dinner was served. For dinner we got Daal (Lentil Gravy), Bhaat (Rice), Saag (Spinach), Aaloo Banda Tarkari (Potato and Cabbage Curry), Chicken Curry and Achaar (Pickle).
Tourism Business in the Himalayas after the Covid
Tourism Business was hit hard by the Covid. Here also only one hotel remains open and they take turns to serve the visitors. So a hotel can open for 5 days and the other hotel gets the next five days. And this current hotel was also being taken care of by the owner and a staff only.
So we thanked them for opening the hotel and serving the visitors, no matter how difficult the situation is. And we enjoyed the food and ate a lot.
After the dinner, we stayed near the fire and talked with other travelers. And It was also important for our body to acclimatize (adapt) at high altitude before going to bed.
(It’s recommended not to sleep before 4 hours of reaching a high altitude.)
After a while, the other 3 trekkers and the hotel staff went to bed. We two and another solo trekker stayed there and talked for a while.
We talked about our professions and also about the places we’ve traveled so far.
Did you know there are more than 108 lakes in the Gosaikunda region?
Upon talking with him, we found out that there were 3 lakes near Gosaikunda. The first one we saw while coming from Buddha Mandir was Saraswati Kunda, then above that was Bhairav Kunda and the near our hotel was Gosaikunda. And at the top also lies another lake called Suryakunda (on our way to Helambu).
Not only these lakes but there are more than 108 lakes in that area, he told us.
He also shared his adventures, how he had travelled living in tents in remote places and also told how lucky we were to start the adventure journey quite early.
He wished us for further adventure journeys and we thanked him for sharing his adventures and then at around 10:00 P.M. We also went to our beds.
Day 03: Gosainkunda – Suryakunda – Phedi – Ghopte – Thadepati
With the excitement of watching the holy lake Gosaikunda and mountains from close, we woke up at around 6:30. It was freezing cold outside.
Then I went to the bathroom to freshen up, the water was frozen at the top. So I had to use toilet paper to clean my butt.
The water was so cold that I didn’t even bother washing my face.
After wearing warm clothes, we came out of the room, ordered our breakfast and came out of the hotel to enjoy the view.
The real beauty in my face
It’s really mesmerizing, the lake, himalayas shining like a diamond and it’s reflection on the lake was really magical.
By now, people also have started to visit the lake on helicopters. Helicopters have become like Taxi services to visit high in the himalayas.
For the old, disabled and rich, it has become easier to reach the places which were not possible without a couple of days walking tirelessly.
After enjoying the view with hot tea, we were called inside to have our breakfast at around 7:15 A.M.
For breakfast, we had Chapati (Roti) and Veg Curry (Tarkari).
After breakfast, we packed our bags, filled hot water, paid the bill and got ready to start the journey.
Today we had to pass the mountain and reach the hotel on the opposite side of the mountains.
And one of the brothers in hotels also suggested us to Stay the night at Phedi because the hotels at Ghopte were closed and Thadepati will take longer time.
Since this trek could be a once in a lifetime event, I wanted to explore as many places as possible. So I looked for an alternative way to return instead of coming back on the same route. Then I found a route via Tharepati, Kutumsang and decided to complete the Gosaikunda Trek through there.
After paying the bills at around 7:40 A.M., we said farewell to everyone in the hotel and started our journey to Suryakunda, on the way to Phedi.
Making Memories at the Gosaikunda Lake
There was a temple on the banks of Gosaikunda Lake. We worshipped the god and then went near the lake to take cool pictures.
First I washed my face with the holy water from the lake and then started taking photos. The water was really transparent and the reflection of the mountains on the water was mesmerizing.
After capturing the images, my friend filled the bottle with holy water from the lake to take home. Hindus take the holy water from the lake and pour the water on Lord Shiva temple (Pashupatinath). And it’s considered pious.
While filling the bottle with water, I felt like taking a holy dip in the lake, I even was prepared and ready. But I had a second thought that if anything happens to me then there’ll be no one to support me. Because we also had to pass the mountain and go to the other side of the himalaya.
So I didn’t take the risk and after collecting the holy water, we started climbing up the mountain at around 8:20 A.M.
The Laurebina La Pass (4,610 M)
The trail was snowy and icy, at an altitude of 4,600 metre. So the layer of oxygen was thin and difficult to breathe.
We climbed the mountain slowly and steadily with more care as we were walking on the snow.
On the way to Suryakunda, we saw lots of frozen lakes and thought they were the Suryakunda as both of us were unknown to the route.
Luckily few people were already on the way to Suryakunda, so we followed the trail made by them. Else we may not see the path as well as it was completely covered with snow.
Finally at around 9:50 A.M. we reached Suryakunda lake.
How did we know that was the Suryakunda lake?
Because on the hill near to Suryakunda Lake, there were two friends who were together with us in the hotel, were there and told us it’s worth it to climb up there and enjoy the view. And suggested we go up there if we had an extra couple of hours.
But we had to cover a long distance that day, so we took a couple of photos there and continued our journey after saying farewell to them.
After the Suryakunda Lake, the trail started getting sloppy. We had to walk steep down the mountain on a rocky and snowy trail.
So we walked slowly and more carefully.
Are we in the set of “Lord of the Rings”?
The surrounding environment, rocky hills, snowy mountains, no vegetation and cloudy weather reminded me of “Lord of the Rings”.
The location was similar to that movie.
We talked about that and continued to walk down. After walking down for a while we saw a house in the distance. And thought that was our lunch spot, Phedi.
Couldn’t find the hotel. I’m starving!
So I started climbing down hurriedly as I was starving. But on reaching there, we found out that it’s empty.
With a sad face I sat down on a wooden plank, then my friend and we decided to have our snacks. We ate a biscuits and snicker bar, drank water and continued to walk down with the hope of reaching our lunch spot as soon as possible.
As we were walking down, we started to see small bushes and less snow.
On the way down we also took a rest in a place which could be a temporary house for a shepherd.
During summer, shepherds come up there with yaks and sheeps, but in winter they move to lower altitudes.
After taking a rest for a while and enjoying the view, we continued our walk. As we went lower, we started seeing pine trees which notified us that we were at an altitude around 3,000 m.
Single Man Welcomes the Guests
Finally at around 12:00 P.M. We reached our lunch spot, Phedi. Fortunately the hotel was opened by a single man.
We asked them whether we could get lunch or not. Then he said he will cook lunch for us.
And from him, we found out that it was the only hotel serving the guests though there were other hotels.
He said that, after Covid lockdown, very few people travel that route (few in weeks or months), so most of the hotels are closed on that route.
As he was cooking food, we enjoyed the view from there. Nearby the hotel was a beautiful waterfall, beautiful mountain just above the hotel and beautiful hills down the hotel. It was really magical.
We were also recommended to stay the night there because the next stop was very far as the hotels on the path were close.
From the hotel owner also we found out that it could take another 4-5 hours for us to reach the next stop, Thadepati (hotel in the middle was close).
But we were quite early, so we decided to walk and reach the next destination after lunch.
Lunch prepared with full dedication just for us. Huge Respect!
At around 1:00 P.M. Lunch was served. For lunch we got Daal (lentil gravy), Bhaat (Rice), Aaloo Chana Saag Tarkari (Potato Pea and Spinach Curry), Achaar (Pickle) and Papad. And even the Daal was fried (Jhaneko Dal) with onion and garlic.
We were really pleased to see lots of fresh foods made for just two of us. It was far better than what we had expected. His hard work and dedication could be seen in the food.
And the hunger also increased the taste of good food. So we ate till we were full.
Then we paid for the lunch. It’s 400/plate. We also filled our bottle with hot water, then thanked him for serving us good food and continued our journey to Thadepati.
Now, the trail was not that steep, but we had to climb up and down the hills.
As we started descending down, we started to see the colors in the hills. Now the hills were full of trees, bamboo and shrubs.
Red carpet in the Wild
The green forests, fully blooming wildflowers and the chirping of birds make us feel like a grand welcome ceremony by nature.
Admiring nature, we continued our journey. We took lots of pictures on the way and continued walking slowly but steadily.
Whenever we felt tired, we just stood for a while, then breathed the cool fresh air, smelled the wild flower, listened to the birds and felt nature. And that power gave us energy to continue our journey.
And on the way from Gosainkunda to till now we had not met any humans. It was total peace, only wild animals and birds.
We were also so lucky to see beautiful Danfe (Lophophorus), Nepal’s national bird, deers and lots of different varieties of birds on the way.
Hit by Covid. Not a Single Hotel is Open
Then at around 4:00, we reached the place called Ghopte. There were 4-5 hotels but all of them were closed. If they were open, it would be our stop.
So, we rested there for a while, drank water and continued our journey to Thadepati.
Enjoying the forests, streams, birds and animals, we continued our journey.
Suddenly, on the way we met a guy traveling alone. He was on the way to Gosaikunda. So we talked for a while, then again continued our journey.
That guy was traveling alone and staying mostly on tents or shepherd houses or abandoned houses.
It was really courageous to travel like that. We admired the guy and continued walking.
Now, the Rhododendron forest, it’s flowers and the singing of birds were making our journey interesting. Also the new leaves of plants in different colors were really magical.
It felt like we were on enchanted land. And the fully blooming wildflowers in different colors were like a Red carpet in the forest.
And for Photographers, the landscapes and vegetation would be a paradise, I felt.
Will we reach our next stop? Really doubt it.
Now, the sun was about to set, and we could see the houses far at the top of the hill. We thought that was our stop but not sure.
Then we continued our walk as fast as we could because the sun would set in about half an hour. And we did not have any fire or lights except mobile phones. So we had to reach our hotel before it got dark.
But the golden sun, which was about to set, looked really amazing. Not only the sun but the beautiful orange light from the setting sun gave extra colors to the plants. It was really enchanting.
I took as many photos as possible with my old gopro. I was talking shot without looking, as it did not have a screen. Fingers crossed and I believed in my judgement.
The sunset and the silhouette of the mountains looked really magical from here.
Finally at around 6:00, we reached to the top of the hill and confirmed that the place was Tharepati.
We asked a couple of people passing by about the hotel, which was open and we could spend the night.
He recommended one at the left and we went there. The hotel owner welcomed us and showed us the available room.
Then we went to the room, kept our bag safely then replaced the shoes with slippers (borrowed from the hotel). The room was nice and clean.
And went to the water tap to wash the feet. Then we asked whether we could get tea as it was cold.
In a couple of minutes, the auntie brought us red tea and invited us inside the dining hall and then heated the room with a pine wood heater in the middle.
Celebration after a long walk. Cheers to Us!
And as it was almost the end of the trek and were descending down the mountains, we decided to celebrate with a drink.
While we were enjoying our drink, our lunch was ready and the hotel owner brought us food at around 7:30 P.M. For our dinner, we got Dal (Lentil Gravy), Bhaat (Rice), Aaloo Saag Tarkari (Potato and Spinach Curry), Papad and Achar (Pickle).
After lunch, we decided to head to our room and rest as we were tired from a long walk. And the hotel owners were also not so interactive. They were staying in the kitchen with 5-6 other people. And we two were the only in the dining hall.
We did not like the environment, if someone was there talking with us, then we would love to stay longer.
So at around 8:00 P.M. we went to bed and had a good night.
Day 04: Thadepati – Helambu (Melamchi Ghyang) – Timbu – Melamchi
After a great sleep, we woke up early at around 5:30 A.M. to watch the sunrise in the mountains.
From the hotel, you could see whole mountain ranges including mountains like Langtang Lirung, Dorje Lhakpa, Gauri Shankar, etc.
We also went to the nearby view tower to see the panoramic 360 view of the mountains and the hills.
The golden sun and the huge mountains were really magical. After enjoying the view and taking pictures, we returned to the hotel.
On the way back we saw a tibetan mastiff dog barking at us. It was huge and fortunately it was tied, else it could kill us.
At the hotel we ordered tea and talked with a young guy who’s nephew of the hotel. On talking with him, he recommended us to go via Helambu village instead to Kutumsang.
Kutumsang or Helambu?
Our plan was to walk to Mangin Goth, Kutumsang and Sundarijal which was almost around 6 hours of walk and then a bus ride to Kathmandu.
And according to the hotel owner, we could reach Helambu in 2 hours and from there we could get a vehicle to Kathmandu, and the place is also more beautiful than Kutumsang trail.
As my friend was tired of walking, he chose the shortest trail i.e. via Helambu.
So, after having tea, we paid the bill, then said farewell to everyone and started to walk down the trail at around 7:23 A.M.
( NPR 1,200 for a bed and Veg Nepali Khana per Person )
The trail is paradise for Photographers
The trail was really beautiful, full of greenery, red Rhododendrons, wild flowers and lots of birds.
On the way we met people working on constructing the trails but not any travelers/tourists.
We hope this place will get lots of visitors after the end of this pandemic.
And I can vouch that every trekker will enjoy the walk through the peaceful forest.
It’s a paradise for Photographers and Sound Therapy. It feels like you’re in a different world.
Enjoying nature and it’s beauty, we didn’t feel tired at all and now we could see the Helambu Melamchi Ghyang village as well.
First we crossed the Melamchi river on a suspension Bridge and then reached the Helambu Melamchi Ghyang village. It was a really beautiful village full of greenery and prayer flags.
The Sherpa Village – Melamchi Ghyang, Helambu
I had planned to visit this place before the pandemic, but now when I had not planned, I’m here and really happy to be here.
As we entered the village, we asked an uncle about where we could get lunch as we were hungry. Then he showed us the path to the hotel.
We went inside the village and started looking for a place to have Dal Bhaat.
Hotels Closed. Lunch at Monastery.
On the way we also met some aunties dressed in traditional attire. We greeted her by saying Namaste and they replied by saying Tashi Delek which is namaste in Tibetan language.
Then they asked where we were from. Then we told them that we were travelers returning from Gosaikunda and now returning to Kathmandu. But now looking for a place to have lunch.
Then they told us that almost all the hotels are closed due to the Pandemic but we could get the food at the monastery.
And they also told us to go to the monastery without hesitation and have food there.
But we did not want to bother anyone and went in search of a hotel. Unfortunately the hotels were closed and some other aunties also took us to a monastery (Gumba), took us inside and served us lunch they had prepared.
First we had Salty Tibetan tea and then they served us Thendup (vegetable soup with flour noodle).
The food was really yummy, we filled our tummy, got energized again and thanked everyone for serving us the food and then said farewell.
Outside of the Monastery, we met some elderly people and talked with them for a while.
After talking with them, we found out that the village is not only naturally beautiful, it also had religious values.
Didn’t know Helambu was the holy place for Buddhists as Gosaikunda was for Hindus
Helambu was a really important and holy place for buddhists. And found out that there were lots of buddhists shrines and recommended to visit one of the holiest places at the top of the village and get the blessings.
So, we also decided to climb up and then visit the Gumba before leaving for Kathmandu. But before that we asked whether we could get a vehicle to Kathmandu or not.
In reply we found out that it’s rare to get the vehicle today but after walking down for a while, we could reach the next village and from there we could get a bus to Kathmandu. But if we could get lucky, we could even get a jeep to Kathmandu in a while.
So, with the hope of getting the vehicle, we went up to the religious place, prayed there and then returned to the Gumba again.
On returning we saw a jeep arriving near Gumba (monastery), so with the hope of getting a vehicle to Kathmandu, we went there hurriedly. But unfortunately, the vehicle was for the village and was not returning today.
No Luck. Had to walk another long day
So, with a sad face we went to Gumba and again talked with locals. Then one elderly uncle told us that we could get the bus to Kathmandu, the next morning at around 7:00 A.M. from a place called Nakhote (an hour walk from Helambu).
Or we could go to another place called Timbu and if we could reach there before 2:00 P.M. then we could also get the vehicle to Kathmandu. And we could reach there on a 3 hours walk from Helambu Melamchi Ghyang.
So, we decided to walk down to Timbu instead of waiting for a bus and depending on our luck.
Then at around 11:15 A.M. We started walking down from Melamchi Ghyang to Timbu.
As we descended down, it started getting warmer and the sun was shining bright. And to avoid long distance, we took shortcuts instead of the vehicle roads.
Scary Dogs! They’ll eat you alive if you come at night
Down the village, we met a house with 2 huge tibetan mastiff dogs. They were barking at us like we’re some criminals and I’m sure, they would kill us if they were not tied.
Though we were afraid, we had to go down, so we walked slowly and pretended not hearing the barking.
Fortunately, we saw people in the house, and it gave us a relief that the dogs won’t harm us. Then continued to walk down.
The dogs were really huge and scary. And it’s no doubt that they will protect humans and animals from thieves and wild animals.
As we climbed down, we saw a board showing the directions to Nakhote and Timbu. The place was called Urgen Pesho or Kusamghal. And the board also told us that it could take us around 2-3 hours to reach Timbu.
Then we continued walking slowly and carefully. Now we had to cross the river on an old suspension bridge. So, First I went through the bridge and found out that it’s really shaking and scary.
So I told my friend to walk really slowly on the bridge. Then as soon as we crossed the bridge, we reached a house. There we asked for some water to drink and asked for the direction to Timbu.
Then the uncle told us that an auntie is also going there, So he told us to go with her and she would show us the way.
Sherpa Auntie leading the way to Timbu
We agreed and went with her. On talking with her on the way, we found out that she was from the house where we saw 2 scary tibetan mastiff dogs.
Then she told us that, among those two dogs, one guards during the day and another at night. And it’s really important to keep those dogs to protect the domestic animals from wild animals like foxes and leopards.
And everyone in the villages has one and they’re released at night. So I imagined if anyone had to walk at night, these dogs would kill. It’s scary to walk at night, not only because of wild animals but also of these dogs.
Talking with her, we went through the forests, rivers and streams. From her we also got to know a lot about the Sherpa culture like how they marry, what they drink, daily life, etc.
While I was talking with her, my friend used to be a little far from us as he walked slowly. And then we would wait for him and she would pity him and used to tease him for not walking quickly.
Crossing the Paths could be a Bad and Good Luck.
On the way, some deers crossed our paths. And it made aunties’ mood bad because crossing the paths from down the hill to up was considered as bad luck.
But the opposite was good i.e. crossing the path from up the hill to down.
And while we were on our trail, for the second time an animal crossed the path as a bad sign which increased the tense on our auntie.
But later, a bird crossed our path from up the hill to down, which was good luck. And no matter how many bad crossings, a good crossing always wins.
Visiting the Holy Buddhist Monastery. Blessed with the Rain
With a smile on her face, we continued our journey. And on the way, we also visited JJ Milerpa Gumba at around 1:40 P.M.. We worshipped the god and then continued to walk. And as we were leaving the Monastery, it started to rain lightly.
According to auntie, it was the blessings from the god. And after a while it stopped as well, So I also considered it as a blessing and then continued to walk.
After the Gumba, we reached Kharchyung village at around 2:00 P.M. then we had to cross the Melamchi river on a suspension bridge. And across the river was a village called Sarkathali. And that was the destination of our auntie (her daughters house).
From there she showed us the way to Timbu which could take us a couple of hours more, then we took a picture with her and parted our ways.
Now, walking on our own
From here, we had to walk on a graveled road. But we took as many shortcut foot trails as possible. Took a few water breaks and continued to walk.
And at around 3:15 we reached the hydropower before reaching the Timbu village. Luckily we got a lift on a Jeep to Melamchi.
Though the ride was bumpy, we were happy as we were coming closer to home after a long tiring walk.
From there, we crossed Timbu, Chanautey and finally reached Melamchi town at around 5:30 P.M.
Since we couldn’t get a bus to Kathmandu at that time, we decided to stay at a hotel recommended by the man who gave us a lift.
Ending the Trek at Melamchi Town
So we went to the hotel, went to the room, kept our bags securely and then took a shower. Then we told the hotel owner to prepare dinner in the evening and went out to explore the Melamchi town at night.
We had snacks and drinks in one of the cafes and then returned to the hotel at around 8:00 and had dinner.
For dinner we had Daal (lentil gravy), Bhaat (Rice), Veg Curry, Chicken Curry, Pickle, Papad and Salad. It was really delicious and the auntie and uncle at the hotel were really friendly.
It gave us a family environment.
After having lunch we surfed the internet for a while then went to bed.
Day 05: Melamchi – Dhulikhel – Kathmandu
We had a really good sleep and woke up at 6:00 as we had planned to take a 7:00 A.M. bus to Kathmandu.
Then at around 6:40 we had tea, then paid the bill and went to the buspark. The uncle from the hotel took us to the buspark.
Rs 500 – Rooms with 2 single beds
Rs 250 – Chicken Khana per Person
Then at 7:10 A.M. we got into the bus to Kathmandu, said farewell to the uncle and moved towards home.
Through Dhulikhel, Banepa, we reached Kathmandu and finally arrived home at 11:30 A.M.