Walking the Gosaikund trek, Nepal:
Gosaikund trek, also known as "the frozen lake's" trek among the Israelis, starts in Dhunche in the Langtang region, climbs up to the Gosaikund sacred lake at 4400 m, goes down through Helambu region as part of the Helambu circuit trek and finishes at Sundarijal, 30 min drive from Kathmandu.
First day - from Dhunche (1950 m) up to Sing Gompa (Chandan Bari village) (3300 m) 6-7 hours.
Alternative way to Sing Gompa: First day - from Dhunche to Thulo Syabru (2000 m) - 4 hour, moderate climb. Second day - from Thulo Syabru to Sing Gompa - 5-6 hours.
Second day - from Sing Gompa to Chalang Pati (3650 m) - 2 hours, to Laurebina Yak (3900 m) - 2 hours, to Gosiankund (4400) 3 hours. Total 7 hours. This day can be divided into 2 days, first day going to Laurebina Yak and second day going to Gosiankund.
Third day - up to the viewing point in Gosiankund - 40 min up, from Gosiankund to Laurebina la pass (4600 m) - 2 hours , from the pass to Phedi (3740 m) - 2-3 hours, from Phedi to Gopte (3440 m) - 2-2.5 hours.
Forth day - from Gopte to Tharepati (3690 m) - 1.5 hours, to Magen Goth (3420 m) - 2 hours, to Khutumsang (2450 m) - 2.5 hours.
Fifth day - from Khutumsang to Pati Bhanjyang (1770) - 6 hours
Six day - from Pati Bhanjyang to Chisopani, to Mulkharka, to Sundarijal - 4 hours.
Books and maps:
Lonely Planet "Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya", 8th edition, includes a schematic map and route description of this trek.
You can buy maps of Langtang and Helambu region in Kathmandu. 1:100,000 maps can be found in any books store. I have also seen 1:50,000, but theyare more rare.
Alone or with a guide: No guide is needed on this trek.
Carrying your own stuff or hiring porter: this trek is not especially difficult. On the first day you climb 1300 m, but in the forest, so it is not so difficult. On the second day you go up 1000 m more, mainly above the vegetation line, so it is a bit more difficult, but still doable. You can also divide the second day into two days. The trek does not get into very high altitudes (4600 m maximum), so acclimatization is not so difficult. If this is not your first trek in this season, my recommendation is to do this trek alone without hiring porters. But if it is your first trek in Nepal this season - you might consider porter after all. Porters can be arranged in Dhunche (or in Kathmandu).
Equipment: There are lodges along this trek, meaning that you do not need to worry about sleeping, breakfast and supper. I would still recommend carrying a sleeping bag, since blankets are not always available in the lodges (or sometimes you do not want to use them). Worm clothes are very important. Carry your daily food (your dinner). Walking polls are highly recommended.
Getting there and back:
Dhunche is 10 hours drive from Kathmandu. Half of the drive is on a non-paved road, so the drive is very uncomfortable. The tickets for the bus can be purchased a day before from the bus station or from any travel agency in Thamel. Just before Dhunche there is a park entrance office, where you will be charged 1000 rupees for the entrance to the Langtang National Park. You must also be aware of Maoists: they stopped our bus in some village around 3 hours before Dhunche and demanded a payment of 1000 for each person. You can bargain and get some discount (student card can help). Some people reported that they never met the Maoists, so you can get lucky.
From Sundarijal it is 30 min minibus drive the Kathmandu.
On the trek:
On the first day: You can go to Sing Gompa in one day from Dhunche. In such case you climb almost 1400 meter on this day, which is a lot. BUT - the altitude is still not significant, so it is not a matter of acclimatization, but your fitness. You walk inside the forest, which also helps your acclimatization and makes the climb easier. Alternatively, you can divide this way into 2 days and go through Thulo Syabru. This is a longer, alternative way, different from the direct way, but you climb more moderately on the second day.
There is a yak cheese factory in Dhunche - highly recommended.
On the second day, the forest finishes at Chalang Pati and from there up you go above the vegetation line. This makes the climb more difficult and slower. The second day can be divided into 2 days, by staying one night in Laurebina Yak. If this is your first trek this season or you are not well acclimatized - this is highly recommended.
On the third day, you MUST climb the view point above Gosaikund early in the morning (of course, only in a good weather). From there you have an uninterrupted view of the whole Langtang ridge on one side and the lakes on the other side. Superb! After going down back to Gosaikund, continue to the Laurebina la pass with upper lakes. From the pass there is quite a steep descent to Phedi and from there for at least 2.5 difficult hours up and down to Gopte. Both Gopte and Phedi are just two small guesthouses each.
On the forth day, going quite flat to Tharepati and from there a nice, easily descending walk in the forest to Magen Goth. Another option is to continue from Tharepati to the other side of the Helambu circuit, to Malemchigaon and from there to finish the trek on the next day (this is a shorter option of doing Helambu circuit). If continuing to Magen Goth, there is a nice guesthouse in the middle of the forest in Magen Goth and it could be a nice place to rest half day. If going more, from Magen Goth the trail continues to descend steeply, on a very eroded road, to Khutumsang. Khutumsang is a typical Helambu village, outside the forest line, with terraces, crops and rice fields.
On the fifth day, going up and down, via Gul Bhanjyang and Chipling. Pati Bhanjyang is quite a slimy place, with very dirty guesthouses. Other accommodation options are: one nice guesthouse at Thankune Bhanjyang, which is 30 min before Pati Bhanjyang, or Chisopani, which is a nice village with a lot of nice guesthouses. But Chisopani is another 1-1.5 hours up from Pati Bhanjyang.
On the six day, up to Chisopani. Just after Chisopani there is an entrance to Shivapuri watershed and wildlife reserve. You will be requested to pay entrance fee of 300 Rp. The reserve is no different from any other forest so the payment is very annoying, but the trail goes through the reserve. From there up to the hill and down to Mulkharka, from which you can already see Kathmandu. From Mulkharka going down on endless stairs to the exit from the reserve and to Sundarijal.
Last updated 17-01-2008