• GOSAINKUNDA TREK

    A morning view of Gosainkunda lake, surrounded by snow covered slopes and mountains
  • GOSAINKUNDA TREK

    A morning view of Gosainkunda lake, surrounded by snow covered slopes and mountains

GOSAINKUNDA TREK

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE

In this guide we cover everything you need to know about the Gosainkunda (Gosaikunda) trek in Nepal. This includes suggested itineraries, as well as practical information about accommodation, costs, transport, what to pack, independent vs. guided treks, and more. We also offer a route map with GPX download for use on the trek. Along with this written guide, we also share a ‘silent hiking’ film of the trail, acting as a visual accompaniment to the Gosainkunda Trek. For detailed trail notes, check out our Gosainkunda Helambu Trekking Route Guide.

Part of a group of high altitude alpine lakes, Gosainkunda (4400 m) is a spectacular sapphire jewel in the mountains of Langtang National Park. The entire area has huge importance within Hindu mythology, and Gosainkunda, home to major deities, is the most prominent and significant lake. Countless pilgrims from Nepal and India visit the area to bathe in the lake’s holy waters, with those numbers swelling during the Ganga Dashahara and Janai Purnima festivals. This gives the trek a different feel and atmosphere to most others in Nepal.

The trek can vary in length depending on the route taken, with the choice of route and itinerary having a significant impact on the difficulty level. It can be accessed from the Langtang Valley to the north or from the Helambu trek to the south, and is a great option to combine with the Langtang Valley trek and/or Tamang Heritage Trail. The area is relatively close to Kathmandu and the transport options make it easily accessible. Read on to discover more and start planning your own Gosainkunda trek.

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GOSAINKUNDA TREK OVERVIEW

    • DISTANCE | 40 – 75 km (depending on route taken)
    • DURATION | 5 – 8 days (+ 2 days travel to/from Kathmandu)
    • START/END | Various options including Syabrubesi / Dhunche / Kutumsang / Sundarijal
    • PERMITS REQUIRED | Langtang National Park Fee 3000 NPR (payable at checkpoint near start of trek), Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park Fee 1000 NPR (if starting/ending Sundarijal, payable at checkpoint at NP entrance), TIMS NOT Required (subject to change)
    • TREKKING SEASON | Best Seasons: Mid-March to April, October to Mid-November; Shoulder Seasons: Early-March, May, September, Mid-November to December; Avoid: June to August, January to February
    • TREK DIFFICULTY | Moderate
    • ELEVATION GAIN/LOSS | +/- approx 4000 – 7000 metres (depending on route)
    • MAX ALTITUDE | 4420 m (Gosainkunda), 4613 m (Gosainkunda viewpoint), 4650 m (Laurebina Pass)
    • GUIDE MANDATORY | Debatable: From April 1st 2023, trekking guides became mandatory for all foreign trekkers in Nepal, however the rule isn’t necessarily being enforced on the ground
    • ACCOMMODATION | Teahouses/Guesthouses in villages along the trail
    • TREK COST | $29 – 100 USD per person, per day (budget independent trekker to fully inclusive package)
    • ADD-ON TREKS | Langtang Valley, Tamang Heritage Trail
    • RECOMMENDED TREKKING AGENCY | Himalayan Masters, Quote HOGG5 for 5% discount

GOSAINKUNDA TREK OVERVIEW

DISTANCE
40 – 75 km
(depending on route)

DURATION
5
– 8 days
(+ 2 days travel to/from Kathmandu)

START/END
Various options including Syabrubesi / Dhunche / Kutumsang / Sundarijal

PERMITS REQUIRED
Langtang National Park
Costs 3000 NPR
(payable at checkpoint near start of trek)

Shivapuri-Nagarjun
National Park

Costs 1000 NPR
(only if starting/ending at Sundarijal, payable at NP entrance checkpoint)

TIMS NOT Required
(subject to change)

TREKKING SEASON
Best Seasons
Mid-March to April
October to Mid-November
Shoulder Seasons
Early-March, May, September
Mid-November to December
Avoid
June to August
January to February

TREK DIFFICULTY
Moderate

ELEVATION GAIN/LOSS
+/- 4000 – 7000 metres
(depending on route)

MAX ALTITUDE
4420 m (Gosainkunda)
4613 m (Gosainkunda viewpoint)
4650 m (Laurebina Pass)

GUIDE MANDATORY
Debatable: From April 1st 2023, trekking guides became mandatory for all foreign trekkers in Nepal, however the rule isn’t necessarily being enforced on the ground

ACCOMMODATION
Teahouses/Guesthouses in villages along the trail

TREK COST
$29 – 100 USD per person, per day (budget independent trekker to fully inclusive package)

ADD-ON TREKS
Langtang Valley, Tamang Heritage Trail

OUR RECOMMENDED TREKKING AGENCY
Himalayan Masters, Quote HOGG5 for 5% discount


GOSAINKUNDA TREK FILM

Get a sense of the Gosainkunda trekking route in our ‘silent hiking’ style ambient film.

Watch the behind the scenes version of our Gosainkunda trek on Instagram stories

Watch the behind the scenes
version of our
Gosainkunda
trek
on Instagram stories 

GOSAINKUNDA TREK MAP & GPX DOWNLOAD

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

MAP & GPX DOWNLOAD

We have created a detailed Gosainkunda trekking map to accompany this guide. The various trekking routes between Gosainkunda and the possible start or end points of Syabrubesi, Dhunche, Kutumsang, and Sundarijal are all marked, along with stats for each section. Guesthouse settlements and tea shops are also marked, as well as key sights and practical info such as checkpoints. Guesthouses as per our own trek itinerary are marked, including prices and services, phone numbers (where possible), and a copy of the menu. Photos are included with most pins.

You can use the digital map online, or download it for offline use with a mapping app such as Organic Maps, Maps.me or Gaia GPS. This is very helpful for navigation assistance on the trail. It allows you to quickly pinpoint key places and services along the way and calculate distances and elevation differences between destinations.

Note that while we’ve tried to be as accurate as possible when recording and mapping the route, changes on the ground are inevitable, and this map should not be solely relied upon for navigation. 

GOSAINKUNDA TREK ELEVATION PROFILE

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

ELEVATION PROFILE

The image below shows the elevation profile of our own route for the Gosainkunda trek, joining the trail at the Gosainkunda turn-off after trekking the Langtang Valley, crossing Laurebina Pass, and finishing at Kutumsang. Elevation is displayed in metres and distance in kilometres.

An elevation profile for the Gosainkunda Trek, from tthe Gosainkunda turn-off in the Langtang valley to Kutumsang

3D ROUTE MAP

Watch our 3D relief map video of the route to visualise the landscape and get a sense of the trek to Gosainkunda.


GOSAINKUNDA TREK ITINERARY

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

ITINERARY

There are a variety of options for a Gosainkunda trek itinerary, both with regards to the route and the number of days. We have outlined these options in our itinerary table below, along with trekking stats for each. We also go into more detail about each option, including what we think is the best Gosainkunda itinerary for pre-acclimatised and non-acclimatised trekkers.

POSSIBLE GOSAINKUNDA TREKKING ROUTES

One route option is to trek between Gosainkunda and Syabrubesi and/or Dhunche, both towns situated to the northwest of the lake. This typically involves starting at Syabrubesi and ending at Dhunche (or vice versa), and you must repeat the section of trail between Gosainkunda and Laurebina/Chandanbari on the way to/from the lake. Syabrubesi is the starting point for both the Langtang Valley and Tamang Heritage Trail treks, so combining a Gosainkunda trek with either of these is straightforward.

A second route option connects Gosainkunda to the start/end points of Sundarijal or Kutumsang to the southeast, trekking via Laurebina Pass (4650 m). A section of this route follows the Helambu Trek, so this is commonly referred to as the Gosainkunda Helambu Trek. Typically you would trek from Syabrubesi/Dhunche to Kutumsang/Sundarijal (or vice versa), and you do not have to repeat any sections of trail. Again, it’s possible to combine the Gosainkunda Helambu trek with a Langtang Valley and/or Tamang Heritage Trail trek.

After climbing up from Gosainkunda, a trekker and guide descend the snow covered valley from Laurebina Pass (4650 m) towards Ghopte

After climbing up from Gosainkunda, a trekker and guide descend from Laurebina Pass (4650 m) towards Ghopte and the Helambu trail beyond



After climbing up from Gosainkunda, a trekker and guide descend the snow covered valley from Laurebina Pass (4650 m) towards Ghopte

After climbing up from Gosainkunda, a trekker
and guide descend from Laurebina Pass (4650 m)
towards Ghopte and the Helambu trail beyond



If you opt for the Gosainkunda Helambu trekking route, we feel it’s best to start at Syabrubesi/Dhunche and end at Kutumsang/Sundarijal. Trekking in this direction allows for a more gradual rate of ascent, making it easier to properly acclimatise. The elevation gain on big trekking days, such as crossing Laurebina Pass, is also much more favourable when trekking in this direction.

HOW LONG IS THE GOSAINKUNDA TREK?

The Gosainkunda Trek takes from 5 – 8 days, plus 1.5 – 2 days to travel to/from Kathmandu. This variation in our suggested length depends on whether you are already acclimatised or not. Note that some Gosainkunda Trek itineraries suggest a shorter time frame, however we would not recommend ascending to Gosainkunda over fewer than 3 – 4 days, unless you are already well acclimatised to altitudes above 4000 m. Doing so puts you at high risk of developing AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness/Altitude Sickness). See our Altitude Awareness section below for more info about AMS.

GOSAINKUNDA TREK LENGTH

(Pre-acclimatised Trekker)

Minimum 5 days / Ideally 6 days (+ 2 travel days)

If you are already acclimatised, for example you are doing the Langtang Valley trek first and have been at altitudes of up to 5000 m just a few days prior, then we would suggest a minimum of 5 trekking days if ending at Dhunche or Kutumsang. You will need a minimum of 6.5 trekking days if you want to end at Sundarijal.

Ideally, you should allow 6 days (plus travel days) in order to enjoy 2 nights/1 full day at Gosainkunda, if ending at Dhunche or Kutumsang, or 7.5 days if ending at Sundarijal.

GOSAINKUNDA TREK LENGTH

(Non-acclimatised Trekker)

Minimum 6 days / Ideally 7 – 8 days  (+ 2 travel days)

If not already acclimatised when starting the Gosainkunda Trek, you should allow a minimum of 6 trekking days for the trek if ending at Dhunche or Kutumsang. You will need a minimum of 7.5 trekking days if you want to end at Sundarijal.

Ideally, you should allow 7 days (plus travel days) in order to enjoy 2 nights/1 full day at Gosainkunda if ending at Dhunche or Kutumsang, or 8.5 days if ending at Sundarijal.

If you are concerned about ascending to high altitude too quickly, adding an extra day to your itinerary will allow you to ascend at a more cautious rate by spending a night at Cholangpati, between Chandanbari and Laurebina.

GOSAINKUNDA TREK ITINERARIES

The tables below detail our recommended Gosainkunda trek itineraries for pre-acclimatised and non-acclimatised trekkers. Times given for each day are an average and don’t include time for lunch or other significant stops, such as tea/coffee breaks. You may of course be faster or slower than these times, depending on a variety of factors such as your pace, desire to take photos, and interest in things along the way.

PRE-ACCLIMATISED TREK ITINERARY

Our recommended Gosainkunda trek itinerary for a pre-acclimatised trekker looking for the most scenic and varied route is to start at Syabrubesi (or Sherpagaon/Lama Hotel/Rimche if joining after the Tamang Heritage Trail or Langtang Valley trek) and end at Kutumsang, following a 6 day trekking itinerary (7.5 day itinerary if ending at Sundarijal).

If viewing on a mobile device or tablet, scroll to the right to see the full table or flip your screen to landscape mode

DAYROUTEDISTANCE & TIME

ELEVATION GAINELEVATION LOSSSLEEP ALTITUDE
TRAVEL DAYDrive KATHMANDU → SYABRUBESI5.5+ hours1500 m
DAY 1*SYABRUBESI → THULO SYABRU8.2 km / 4 hours1195 m453 m2230 m
DAY 2
(Option 1)
THULO SYABRU → CHANDANBARI6.6 km / 5 hours
1264 m
185 m3300 m
DAY 2**
(Option 2)
THULO SYABRU → LAUREBINA8.1 km / 6 hours1747 m39 m3930 m
DAY 3
(Option 1)
CHANDANBARI → GOSAINKUNDA9.1 km / 6.5
hours
1297 m184 m4420 m
DAY 3
(Option 2)
LAUREBINA → GOSAINKUNDA3.75 km / 3 hours595 m110 m4420 m
DAY 4***GOSAINKUNDA VIEWPOINT
(4613 m)
1.25 km / 1 hour195 m195 m4420 m
DAY 5****
(Option 1)
GOSAINKUNDA → LAUREBINA PASS
(4650 m) → GHOPTE
11.2 km / 6.5 hours783 m1775 m3425 m
DAY 5
(Option 2)
GOSAINKUNDA →
CHANDANBARI
9.1 km / 4.5 hours184 m1297 m3300 m
DAY 6
(Option 1)
GHOPTE → KUTUMSANG13.5 km / 6 hours749 m1702 m2470 m
DAY 6
(Option 2)
CHANDANBARI →
DHUNCHE
7.4 km / 3 hours 192 m1461 m2030 m
DAY 7
(Option 1)
Drive KUTUMSANG → KATHMANDU4.5+ hours1400 m
DAY 7 (Option 2)Drive DHUNCHE → KATHMANDU5.5+ hours1400 m
DAY 7
(Option 3)
KUTUMSANG → CHISAPANI16.4 km / 7 hours1313 m1608 m2170 m
DAY 8
(Part 1)
CHISAPANI → SUNDARIJAL9.8 km / 3.5 hours355 m1145 m
DAY 8
(Part 2)
Drive SUNDARIJAL → KATHMANDU1.5 hours1400 m

* If joining after Langtang Trek or Tamang Heritage Trail, trek from Lama Hotel/Rimche/Sherpagaon → Thulo Syabru (approx 10 km, 5 – 6 hours, +1126 m, -1377 m)

** There are two trekking routes between Thulo Syabru and Laurebina. Assuming you are well acclimatised and prepared for a big climb, it’s possible to skip Chandanbari and go directly to Laurebina via Mulkharka

*** If you are well acclimatised and feeling good you could hike to the viewpoint the day you arrive at the lake, crossing Laurebina Pass to Ghopte the following day and only sleeping 1 night at Gosainkunda instead of 2

**** From Gosainkunda you have the option of crossing the Laurebina Pass, joining the Helambu trail and finishing at Kutumsang or Sundarijal OR returning to Chandanbari then finishing at Dhunche

NON-ACCLIMATISED TREK ITINERARY

Taking all of the altitude-related medical advice into account (outlined in our Altitude Awareness section below) along with what we would consider to be the most scenic route, our recommended Gosainkunda Trek itinerary for a non-acclimatised trekker is to start at Syabrubesi and finish at Kutumsang, following an 8 day trekking itinerary (9.5 day trek itinerary if ending at Sundarijal).

If viewing on a mobile device or tablet, scroll to the right to see the full table or flip your screen to landscape mode

DAYROUTEDISTANCE & TIME

ELEVATION GAINELEVATION LOSSSLEEP ALTITUDE
TRAVEL DAYDrive KATHMANDU → SYABRUBESI5.5+ hours1500 m
DAY 1*SYABRUBESI → THULO SYABRU8.2 km / 4 hours1195 m453 m2230 m
DAY 2THULO SYABRU → CHANDANBARI6.6 km / 5 hours
1264 m
185 m3300 m
DAY 3**CHANDANBARI → CHOLANGPATI

3.8 km / 2 hours395 m75 m3615 m
DAY 4CHOLANGPATI → LAUREBINA

1.6 km / 1 hour307 m0 m3930 m
DAY 5LAUREBINA → GOSAINKUNDA3.75 km / 3 hours595 m110 m4420 m
DAY 6***GOSAINKUNDA VIEWPOINT
(4613 m)
1.25 km / 1 hour195 m195 m4420 m
DAY 7****
(Option 1)
GOSAINKUNDA → LAUREBINA PASS
(4650 m) → GHOPTE
11.2 km / 7 hours783 m1775 m3425 m
DAY 7
(Option 2)
GOSAINKUNDA →
CHANDANBARI
9.1 km / 4.5 hours184 m1297 m3300 m
DAY 8
(Option 1)
GHOPTE → KUTUMSANG13.5 km / 6 hours749 m1702 m2470 m
DAY 8
(Option 2)
CHANDANBARI →
DHUNCHE
7.4 km / 3 hours 192 m1461 m2030 m
DAY 9
(Option 1)
Drive KUTUMSANG → KATHMANDU4.5+ hours1400 m
DAY 9 (Option 2)Drive DHUNCHE → KATHMANDU5.5+ hours1400 m
DAY 9
(Option 3)
KUTUMSANG → CHISAPANI16.4 km / 7 hours1313 m1608 m2170 m
DAY 10
(Part 1)
CHISAPANI → SUNDARIJAL9.8 km / 3.5 hours355 m1145 m
DAY 10
(Part 2)
Drive SUNDARIJAL → KATHMANDU1.5 hours1400 m

* If joining after Langtang Trek or Tamang Heritage Trail, trek from Lama Hotel/Rimche/Sherpagaon → Thulo Syabru (approx 10 km, 5 – 6 hours, +1126 m, -1377 m)

** Days 3 and 4 are obviously short in terms of distance and this itinerary is the most cautious in terms of acclimatisation. If you’re feeling good at Cholangpati and/or know from previous experience that you acclimatise quickly, continue to Laurebina but be prepared to descend if you feel unwell

*** If you are well acclimatised and feeling good you could hike to the viewpoint the day you arrive at the lake, crossing Laurebina Pass to Ghopte the following day and only sleeping 1 night at Gosainkunda instead of 2

**** From Gosainkunda you have the option of crossing the Laurebina Pass, joining the Helambu trail and finishing at Kutumsang or Sundarijal OR returning to Chandanbari then finishing at Dhunche

OUR RECOMMENDED TREKKING AGENCY

We partnered with Himalayan Masters for our Langtang Valley, Gosainkunda, and Everest Three Passes treks, and found them to be professional and committed to a high level of service

To enquire about booking your own trek, get in touch via email at info@himalayan-masters.com and mention the code HOGG5 to get a 5% discount off the cost of your trip


GOSAINKUNDA TREKKING SEASON

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

TREKKING SEASON

Like many treks in Nepal, the peak seasons for trekking to Gosainkunda are mid-March to April and October to mid-November. These months typically offer the best chance of both clear skies and warmer temperatures, although weather patterns are becoming increasingly unpredictable in Nepal and across the world, so you should still be prepared for snow and colder temperatures during these periods. In autumn, expect less wind and higher temperatures, while in late March and April, blooming rhododendrons and other spring flowers are a beautiful sight at lower elevations.

A clear view of the snowy Ganesh Himal Range from Thulo Syabru on an April morning

Clear skies and a good view of the Ganesh Himal Range from Thulo Syabru on an April morning



A clear view of the snowy Ganesh Himal Range from Thulo Syabru on an April morning

A good view of the Ganesh Himal Range
from Thulo Syabru on an April morning



The shoulder seasons of early March and mid-November to December can be quieter and colder, typically with clear weather, especially in December. In late May and early September there is a higher chance of early or lingering monsoon rains and cloudy skies.

The summer months of June, July, and August coincide with the monsoon season. Trekking during this period means lots of walking in rain, muddy trails, leeches, and poor visibility with clouds obscuring the surrounding mountains. In August tens of thousands of pilgrims visit the holy lake of Gosainkunda during the Janai Purnima festival. The date changes every year and coincides with the full moon in the month of Shrawan in the Nepali calendar. For trekkers, it is extremely difficult to find accommodation during this time as guesthouses are packed with pilgrims.

The winter months of January and February are considered too cold by most to trek, and many guesthouses close for these months. If you don’t mind cold mornings and evenings, December is a good option for clear skies and sunny days.

HOW TO GET TO/FROM THE GOSAINKUNDA TREK TRAILHEADS

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

HOW TO GET TO AND FROM THE TRAILHEADS

There are a few possible trailheads for the Gosainkunda Trek, including Syabrubesi, Dhunche, Kutumsang, and Sundarijal. We have provided info below for public and private transport to/from each trailhead. It is much more comfortable to travel by private jeep than bus, and safer too. The cost however is considerably higher.

Note that private jeeps are not readily available to hire at any of the trailheads, so you must arrange your return transport to Kathmandu at least one day before, as the driver will come from Kathmandu to pick you up. A private jeep will pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation, offering door-to-door service.

GETTING TO/FROM SYABRUBESI

Syabrubesi is the trailhead for the Langtang Valley trek, Tamang Heritage Trail, and a possible start or end point for the Gosainkunda trek. It is a small town approximately 115 km north of Kathmandu. You can get there by public bus or private jeep and the journey takes around 5.5 – 9 hours depending on your mode of transport. The road is narrow and twisting at points with occasional steep drop-offs, and includes some bumpy sections on rough non-tarmac roads.

KATHMANDU TO/FROM SYABRUBESI (BUS)

Buses to Syabrubesi depart from Machhapokhari (near the New Bus Park / Gongabu Bus Park) in Kathmandu, between 6am – 8am every day. They depart from Syabrubesi between approximately 6am – 7am. Tickets cost 1000 NPR per person, one way. The journey takes around 8 – 9 hours, although it’s possible it can take longer depending on road conditions that day. In Kathmandu, you can arrive early and purchase a ticket on the same day, or head to the bus stop the day before to buy your ticket. In Syabrubesi, you can ask your guesthouse owner to book your seat for the following morning.

A public bus stopped in a town at lunch time, a bus which many trekkers use to get from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi to start the Langtang Valley trek

A typical bus plying the route between Kathmandu and Syabrubesi



A public bus stopped in a town at lunch time, a bus which many trekkers use to get from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi to start the Langtang Valley trek

A typical bus plying the route between
Kathmandu and Syabrubesi



The bus will stop a couple of times during the journey for food and a toilet break. It’s a pretty uncomfortable trip, with no air conditioning, dust and fumes blowing in the windows, and often music blasting through the speakers for hours on end. Drivers can tear along the road at high speed, which can be potentially dangerous and a little scary.

You can get a taxi between Thamel (or elsewhere in Kathmandu) and Machhapokhari for about 500 NPR. If you hail a taxi on the street, be sure to agree the price with your taxi driver at the start. You can also use a taxi app such as Pathao (iOS/Android).

KATHMANDU TO/FROM SYABRUBESI (PRIVATE JEEP)

A private jeep from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi costs approximately $170 one way. It can seat up to 7 people plus a guide and driver (with your bags strapped to the roof). The price can be shared between all passengers. The route is the same as by bus, but the journey time is usually significantly less at around 5.5 – 7 hours, depending on the road conditions that day. You will likely stop for lunch and a toilet break along the way, and you have more flexibility to stop for photos, etc, whenever you like.

If you are organising your Gosainkunda trek via a trekking agency, they will be able to organise a private jeep for you. Otherwise, you can ask at your hotel or at local travel agencies.

GETTING TO/FROM DHUNCHE

Dhunche is a small town situated about 15 km before Syabrubesi, on the same road from Kathmandu. There is a Langtang National Park entry point in Dhunche, and this is a possible start or end point for the Gosainkunda trek.

The transport options for getting to or from Dhunche are the same as Syabrubesi, but the journey time is around 40 minutes – 1 hour less. A private jeep costs $150 one way, instead of $170 one way to Syabrubesi.

GETTING TO/FROM KUTUMSANG

Kutumsang is a small village around 75 km northeast of Kathmandu. It is a possible start or end point for the Gosainkunda Helambu trek, skipping 1.5 days (approx 27 km) of trekking between Kutumsang and Sundarijal. You can get from Kathmandu to Kutumsang by public bus or private jeep and the journey takes around 4.5 – 7 hours depending on your mode of transport. The final 16 km drive from the valley floor to Kutumsang climbs over 2000 metres on a narrow and twisting dirt road with some bumpy, slow-going sections.

KATHMANDU TO/FROM KUTUMSANG (BUS)

Buses from Kathmandu to Kutumsang depart from the Ama Yangri Bus Park near Narayantar Bridge at 0820 daily. They depart from Kutumsang to Kathmandu at 0700 daily. Tickets cost around 1000 NPR per person, one way. The journey takes around 7 hours, including a lunch/toilet stop. In Kathmandu, you can arrive early and purchase a ticket on the same day, or head to the bus stop 24 hours before to buy your ticket. In Kutumsang, you can ask your guesthouse owner to book your seat for the following morning.

You can get a taxi between Thamel (or elsewhere in Kathmandu) and Ama Yangri Bus Park for about 1000 NPR. Be sure to agree the price first if you hail a taxi on the street; otherwise, use a taxi app such as Pathao (iOS/Android).

KATHMANDU TO/FROM KUTUMSANG (PRIVATE JEEP)

A private jeep between Kathmandu and Kutumsang costs approximately $165 one way. It can seat up to 7 people, plus a guide and driver (with your bags strapped to the roof). The price can be shared between all passengers. The route is the same as by bus, but the journey time is usually significantly less at around 4.5 hours.

As above you can organise a private jeep via a trekking agency, at your hotel or at local travel agencies in Kathmandu, or at your guesthouse in Kutumsang.

A private tourist jeep parked at the roadside, carrying trekkers from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi

A standard tourist jeep enroute from Kathmandu



A private tourist jeep parked at the roadside, carrying trekkers from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi for the Langtang Valley trek

A standard tourist jeep enroute from Kathmandu



GETTING TO/FROM SUNDARIJAL

Sundarijal is the closest trailhead to Kathmandu, just 15 km northeast of the capital. It is a possible start or end point for the Gosainkunda Helambu trek. You can get from Kathmandu to Sundarijal by public bus, taxi, or private jeep and the journey takes around 45 – 90 minutes.

KATHMANDU TO/FROM SUNDARIJAL (BUS)

Buses from Kathmandu to Sundarijal depart from Ratna Park Bus Station between 0600 – 1800 daily. Buses depart from Sundarijal Bus Park to Kathmandu regularly until 1800. Tickets cost 100 NPR per person, one way. The journey can take up to 1.5 hours. The bus stop in Kathmandu is within easy walking distance of Thamel.

KATHMANDU TO/FROM SUNDARIJAL (TAXI OR PRIVATE JEEP)

A taxi between Kathmandu and Sundarijal costs around 2000 NPR. Be sure to agree on the price before you start your journey. Taxis are easy to hail on the street in Kathmandu, or you can have your hotel arrange one for you. There are usually taxis to hail on the street in Sundarijal for a return journey to Kathmandu.

A private jeep between Kathmandu and Sundarijal costs $37. The road conditions do not require a jeep, but if you are travelling with 5 – 8 passengers, this may be better than a taxi as you can all travel in one vehicle.

The travel time for a taxi or jeep is usually around 45 minutes – 1 hour.

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A trekker and guide climbing the snow covered slope towards Laurebina Pass (4650 m), with the blue surface of Gosainkunda shining in the morning sun below
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Featured image for 'What to Pack for Trekking in Nepal', featuring trekkers, guides and porters crossing a suspension bridge on the Everest Base Camp route
A narrow trekking trail in Upper Mustang stretching off into the distance amidst some bizarre rock formations, with the snowy peak of Dhaulagiri in the background
Trekkers on a trail approaching a round orange rock formation with a plateau stretched out into the distance in Upper Mustang
Sunrise hitting the Annapurna Mountains in Nepal
Trekkers look out while descending from the Larke Pass on the Manaslu Circuit Trek
Featured image for the Everest Base Camp trek guide, featuring a trekker walking on a rocky trail with mountain peaks in the distance
With Ama Dablam as a backdrop, a trekker and guide stop to enjoy the views while doing the Nangkartshang acclimatisation hike on the Everest Three Passes trek
A hiker and guide cross a flat, rocky section before Kongma La on the Everest Three Passes trek, with the snowy ridgeline to the east visible behind
A trekker and guide climbing the snow covered slope towards Laurebina Pass (4650 m), with the blue surface of Gosainkunda shining in the morning sun below
Snow covered guesthouses reflected in the bright blue waters of Gosainkunda
Trekkers enjoying mountain views and a well earned rest atop Kyanjin Ri (4586 m) in the Langtang Valley
Snowy mountain view with colourful prayer flags in the foreground, seen from the first Kyanjin Ri viewpoint (4300 m) on the Langtang Valley trek
Featured image for 'What to Pack for Trekking in Nepal', featuring trekkers, guides and porters crossing a suspension bridge on the Everest Base Camp route
A narrow trekking trail in Upper Mustang stretching off into the distance amidst some bizarre rock formations, with the snowy peak of Dhaulagiri in the background
Trekkers on a trail approaching a round orange rock formation with a plateau stretched out into the distance in Upper Mustang
Sunrise hitting the Annapurna Mountains in Nepal
Trekkers look out while descending from the Larke Pass on the Manaslu Circuit Trek

GOSAINKUNDA TREK PERMITS AND FEES

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

TREKKING PERMITS & FEES

You need to pay the Langtang National Park entrance fee to trek to Gosainkunda. This costs 3000 NPR (1500 NPR for SAARC nationals/100 NPR for Nepalis). If you are starting at Dhunche or Syabrubesi, you can pay at the national park entrance shortly before Dhunche, where all public and private transport have to make a stop. If you are starting at Sundarijal or Kutumsang, you can pay at the national park entrance at Helmu, shortly after Kutumsang. You need to have your passport and the cash fee in Nepalese rupees (NPR). Be sure to hold onto your receipt as you need to show it at checkpoints along the route.

If you are starting or ending your Gosainkunda Helambu trek at Sundarijal, you will also need to pay the Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park Entrance Fee of 1000 NPR (600 NPR for SAARC nationals/100 NPR for Nepalis).

Formerly, getting a TIMS card was also necessary, but this hasn’t been the case for a couple of years and when we trekked in March/April 2023, it was not required. Whether this situation will continue, we can’t say, but since April 1st 2023 a TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) card can only be obtained by a representative of a registered trekking agency.

Your bag will be searched at the same checkpoints where your NP entrance fee is paid. The police will specifically ask if you have a drone with you, which are not permitted unless you have the relevant permission and documents to prove it.

TREKKING TO GOSAINKUNDA INDEPENDENTLY

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

TREKKING INDEPENDENTLY

Gosainkunda is not in a restricted area, and as such, a guide (historically) has not been mandatory. However, the Nepal Tourism Board announced on March 9th 2023 that as of April 1st 2023, all international trekkers in Nepal are required to hire a licenced trekking guide and obtain the TIMS card through an authorised trekking agency registered with the government of Nepal. This abrupt announcement led to much confusion and debate about where such a rule applies, and whether it is being enforced on the ground.

A common interpretation of the rule is that trekking routes where TIMS is not required are exempt from the mandatory guide rule. Treks within Langtang National Park fall under this category (along with treks in the Khumbu region, such as Everest Base Camp or Everest Three Passes).

From our own experience trekking in Nepal in March and April 2023, we can confirm that independent trekkers were still trekking in the Langtang National Park region without guides. They were passing through police and national park checkpoints without any problems. However, the situation can of course change, so it’s best to seek out on-the-trail updates from independent trekkers on active Facebook groups, forums, etc.

PROS AND CONS OF INDEPENDENT TREKKING

Assuming the situation stays the same, and hikers continue to be able to trek independently to Gosainkunda, here are a few thoughts on the pros and cons of independent trekking here.

PROS

This is the cheapest way to trek to Gosainkunda. You won’t have to pay for anything extra beyond your daily food and accommodation costs, permit fee, and transport to/from the trailhead.

You have complete freedom and flexibility. You can choose how long to trek for each day, what route to take and where to stay. If you like somewhere, you can choose to stay an extra day without having to consult anyone else or consider their needs.

It is easier to enjoy a bit of ‘alone time’ on the trail. If you are trekking with a guide or group it can be harder or more awkward to branch out and enjoy walking alone with your thoughts.

You’ll likely have more interaction with locals. If you are trekking with a guide it is common practice for them to deal with everything at your guesthouse and act as a go-between. It’s normal for your guide to take your order, bring out your food, and settle up the bill on your behalf, which means you may have little interaction with the owner or staff yourself. But, you’ll be doing all that by yourself if you trek independently.

CONS

With freedom and flexibility comes more responsibility and the need to do more research, preparation and daily planning. You will need to spend time organising things both on and off the trail. You will need to sort out all the logistics like your permit, transport, and accommodation by yourself, and be confident in your route planning and navigation. 

You are more vulnerable in an emergency situation or if you get sick. This is especially true if you are trekking solo. You should prepare as best you can with a comprehensive medical kit, emergency contact numbers at the ready, and ideally an emergency communication device like the InReach Explorer

In peak trekking season you may find it harder to get a room. Many guesthouses prefer bigger groups with organised companies and will give preference to them over independent solo trekkers or those in small groups. Guides with existing local contacts often call ahead to book rooms, something which isn’t as easy for independent trekkers with no personal contacts. 

You miss out on all the insights a knowledgeable, English speaking guide can offer. Your understanding of the region, and Nepal in general, is likely to be much broader after spending a week or more in the company of a Nepali guide rather than going it alone.


PROS

This is the cheapest way to trek to Gosainkunda. You won’t have to pay for anything extra beyond your daily food and accommodation costs, permit fee, and transport to/from the trailhead. 

You have complete freedom and flexibility. You can choose how long to trek for each day, what route to take and where to stay. If you like somewhere, you can choose to stay an extra day without having to consult anyone else or consider their needs. 

It is easier to enjoy a bit of ‘alone time’ on the trail. If you are trekking with a guide or group it can be harder or more awkward to branch out and enjoy walking alone with your thoughts. 

You’ll likely have more interaction with locals. If you are trekking with a guide it is common practice for them to deal with everything at your guesthouse and act as a go-between. It’s normal for your guide to take your order, bring out your food, and settle up the bill on your behalf, which means you may have little interaction with the owner or staff yourself. But, you’ll be doing all that by yourself if you trek independently.

CONS

With freedom and flexibility comes more responsibility and the need to do more research, preparation and daily planning. You will need to spend time organising things both on and off the trail. You will need to sort out all the logistics like your permit, transport, and accommodation by yourself, and be confident in your route planning and navigation. 

You are more vulnerable in an emergency situation or if you get sick. This is especially true if you are trekking solo. You should prepare as best you can with a comprehensive medical kit, emergency contact numbers at the ready, and ideally an emergency communication device like the InReach Explorer

In peak trekking season you may find it harder to get a room. Many guesthouses prefer bigger groups with organised companies and will give preference to them over independent solo trekkers or those in small groups. Guides with existing local contacts often call ahead to book rooms, something which isn’t as easy for independent trekkers with no personal contacts. 

You miss out on all the insights a knowledgeable, English speaking guide can offer. Your understanding of the region, and Nepal in general, is likely to be much broader after spending a week or more in the company of a Nepali guide rather than going it alone.


GOSAINKUNDA TREK WITH A GUIDE (AND PORTER)

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

TREKKING WITH A GUIDE (AND PORTER)

Many people choose to do the Gosainkunda trek with a guide, and often with a porter too. Whether you’re an inexperienced or seasoned trekker, this is a great option. Not only can an experienced guide be invaluable when it comes to your safety, a guide can also enrich your experience on the trail, giving you the opportunity to learn much more about the history, culture, and geography of the land. Hiring a porter to carry your bag will put less strain on your body, making your trek much easier and perhaps allowing you to better enjoy the surroundings. Hiring a guide and/or porter also provides jobs and supports the trekking tourism economy.

If you are doing the Gosainkunda trek with a guide you will usually meet them in Kathmandu prior to your trek, travel to the trailhead together, and then return to Kathmandu together at the end. If you’re trekking with a porter, they may also travel with you from Kathmandu, or you may meet them locally at the start of the trek.

A trekker and guide smile for a photo in the snow on the Gosainkunda trek

A guide can help with many practical things, provide insight into local culture, and be a good companion on the trail



A trekker and guide smile for a photo in the snow on the Gosainkunda trek

A guide can help with many practical things,
provide insight into local culture, and be a
good companion on the trail



During your trek a guide will stick with you on the trail, suggest the best spots to stop for lunch, and take you to their recommended overnight accommodation. At busy times, they may call ahead and pre-book a room for you. They will act as your go-between at each guesthouse, arranging your room, taking your food orders, and settling the bill. It’s normal for a guide to run through the following day’s itinerary each evening, giving you an overview of the trail, trekking time, and any other relevant information. Your guide will always be around at your guesthouse, but they won’t stick by you constantly. You will have plenty of freedom to hang out in your room or the dining room, read your book, chat with other guests, play cards, etc. Guides sleep and eat in the same guesthouse as you, always in a separate room.

Porters often trek at their own pace, meaning you won’t always be with them on the trail. It’s common for you to pack your porter bag before breakfast and have it ready for them, and for your bag to already be in your room when you arrive at your guesthouse for the evening. On a Gosainkunda trek, porters will sleep and eat at the same guesthouse as you, again in a separate room.

HOW TO ORGANISE A GOSAINKUNDA TREKKING GUIDE (AND PORTER)

The easiest way to arrange a trekking guide is via a trekking agency. You can book an inclusive Gosainkunda trekking package which covers your transport, entrance fees, guide (and porter), accommodation costs, and three meals a day. Alternatively, you can pay for a guide (and porter) only, and then pay-as-you-go for your accommodation, food, transport, and entrance fees.

Choosing a trekking agency is often the trickiest part as there are thousands of registered agencies in Nepal and the quality of service can vary greatly between them. Many trekkers will choose a guide or agency based on a trusted recommendation from a friend or fellow trekker, and this is a good approach. An alternative option is to visit a number of trekking agencies in person when you arrive in Thamel (Kathmandu) to get a feel for a company that you like, or to contact agencies online in advance.

OUR RECOMMENDED TREKKING AGENCY

 Having trekked with three different agencies and three different guides on three visits to Nepal, our best experience has been with Himalayan Masters. We partnered with them for our Langtang, Gosainkunda Helambu, and Everest Three Passes treks, and found them to be professional, committed to a high level of service, and competitively priced.

We really appreciate the fact that Sandip, the agency owner, is super flexible when it comes to itinerary amendments that don’t just follow the norm. He’s also a problem solver and what we’d call a real ‘go-getter’, a trait that’s highly valuable to his clients, whether he’s retrieving a swallowed bank card from a Thamel ATM in record time, or fixing logistical issues when things go wrong last minute at 2am (both real life examples experienced by us or fellow Himalayan Masters clients we met on the trail!).

We’d also highly recommend our Himalayan Masters guide, Govinda Rai, who we spent over a month trekking with in Nepal. He is very professional, taking care of everything you would expect from a guide, but also tailoring his suggestions and advice specifically to his clients, resulting in a more enjoyable trekking experience overall. We quickly came to trust his choices for lunch stops and accommodation as we felt they were always among the best options available. His knowledge of the trail was excellent, and his advice on trekking times for each day (based on our own pace) was spot-on, making it easier for us to plan our itinerary and make on-the-go changes as we saw fit. And on a personal level, we found Govinda to be easy-going, friendly, and an all-round great person to spend time with.

Govinda Rai, a trekking guide for Himalayan Masters, laughing and smiling in front of colourful prayer flags at the top of Kyanjin Ri (4856 m) on the Langtang Valley trek

Govinda, our Himalayan Masters guide



Govinda Rai, a trekking guide for Himalayan Masters, laughing and smiling in front of colourful prayer flags at the top of Kyanjin Ri (4856 m) on the Langtang Valley trek

Govinda, our Himalayan Masters guide



We also met a number of other Himalayan Masters guides while out on the trail, including Dipak who we chatted with lots, as our Langtang Valley trek itinerary coincided for three nights at the same guesthouses. From our interactions with Dipak, and positive feedback shared over dining room chats with his two trekking clients, we’re confident that Himalayan Masters are working with great guides across the board.

To discuss your Gosainkunda trek, get in touch with Himalayan Masters at info@himalayan-masters.com, and you’ll get a 5% discount off your trip cost by using our code HOGG5.

WHY NOT COMBINE THE GOSAINKUNDA AND LANGTANG VALLEY TREKS?

ACCOMMODATION ON THE GOSAINKUNDA TREK

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation on the Gosainkunda trek is in the form of guesthouses, also known as teahouses or lodges. These can be found regularly along the trail, usually in small settlements that have sprung up to serve trekkers, but occasionally in larger villages with a mix of local homes and guesthouses. In general, the standard of accommodation on the Gosainkunda trek is quite basic, usually in older guesthouses with shared bathroom facilities. The exception is in villages at lower elevation near the start/end, such as Thulo Syabru and Kutumsang, where more modern accommodation and rooms with attached bathrooms are available.

A snowy scene of the Hotel Mount Rest in the morning sun, at Laurebina (3930 m) on the Gosainkunda trek

Built in 1994, the Hotel Mount Rest at Laurebina (3930 m) is basic but atmospheric



A snowy scene of the Hotel Mount Rest in the morning sun, at Laurebina (3930 m) on the Gosainkunda trek

Built in 1994, the Hotel Mount Rest at
Laurebina (3930 m) is basic but atmospheric



Guesthouses provide both accommodation and meals, and you are expected to eat dinner and breakfast at the guesthouse you sleep at. Lunch is usually at a different guesthouse along the trail, unless you arrive early at your destination for the day.

ROOMS

Rooms are basic, but comfortable. They usually have two single beds, although some places will have rooms sleeping three, or just one. Beds always have a sheet-covered mattress, a pillow with a pillowcase, and a blanket. We have seen plenty of bedding hanging out to dry which would suggest sheets, pillowcases, and blankets do get washed, however there is no guarantee that they will be freshly laundered for each guest. Personally, we always trek with our own sleeping bag and silk liner, using the blanket over our sleeping bag for extra warmth at higher altitudes.

There is always a light in the room, powered by mains electricity or solar. Often there is a small table, some hooks on the wall, and a bin, and there is almost always a window with curtains. Some guesthouses will have charging sockets in the room, but this is not always the case. There is no heating in guesthouse rooms, only ever in the main dining room.

Traditional stone guesthouses in the snow at Gosainkunda (4420 m)

Traditional style guesthouses at Gosainkunda (4420 m)



Traditional stone guesthouses in the snow at Gosainkunda (4420 m)

Traditional style guesthouses at Gosainkunda



TOILETS AND SHOWERS

Shared bathroom facilities are most common on the Gosainkunda trek. Usually there are separate toilets, shower rooms, and sinks, although sometimes there is no dedicated sink and you’ll need to wash your hands/brush your teeth at an outdoor tap. In most guesthouses you do not need to go outside of the building to access the toilet facilities.

Toilets may be sit-down or squat style. Toilet paper is never provided, so you’ll need to pack your own and buy more as you go. Do not flush toilet paper down the toilet, always put it in the bin next to the toilet (this may be an old tin can, a cardboard box, a plastic container, or such like.) Sit-down toilets will likely have an automatic flush, although at higher altitudes in cold weather, the pipes can freeze and you may need to flush the toilet using a bucket of water. Squat toilets never have an automatic flush; you always need to flush using the scoop and bucket of water provided.

Showers are generally solar heated, although sometimes a gas shower is available (usually for a fee). If neither are available, guesthouses can provide a bucket of hot water for a fee, which you can use to wash.

In cold weather, water in the pipes will freeze and supplies can be cut off until the sun thaws them for a short period in the afternoon.

DINING ROOM

Every guesthouse has a dining room where you can eat your meals, drink tea, and hang out. Tables and chairs are dotted around the room, often with a cluster of seating around the central stove. This is usually lit in the late afternoon/early evening as the sun goes down and it starts to get cold, making this room nice and cosy.

COME JOIN US ON INSTAGRAM

FOOD ON THE GOSAINKUNDA TREK

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

FOOD AND DRINKS

Every guesthouse serves meals and you are expected to eat dinner and breakfast at the guesthouse you are sleeping at, otherwise the cost of the room will be much higher. Unlike on the Langtang Valley Trek, there are no bakeries or coffee shops along the Gosainkunda Trek.

Every guesthouse has a menu, and the options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at each are almost identical. Prices tend to increase the higher you go as food and fuel needs to be transported further via porters or pack mules, resulting in additional costs.

GOSAINKUNDA SAMPLE MENU

Click into the slider to see a typical example of a menu on the Gosainkunda trek. This menu is from Gosainkunda Hotel Namaste at Gosainkunda, where prices are at their highest due to the altitude and difficulty of transportation.

  • Food and drink menu from the Gosainkunda Hotel Namaste
  • Food and drink menu from the Gosainkunda Hotel Namaste
  • Food and drink menu from the Gosainkunda Hotel Namaste

BREAKFAST

Breakfast dishes include porridge, muesli, eggs, Tibetan bread (a kind of fried dough), chapati (flat, unleavened bread), and pancakes. Honey, jam, peanut butter, apples, chocolate sauce, and yak cheese are common accompaniments on offer.

Breakfast options are generally priced between 300 – 600 NPR (approx $2 – $5 USD), depending on location and item.

LUNCH AND DINNER

Dal Bhat is a ubiquitous Nepali meal, eaten twice a day by many locals. It consists of plain rice, a lentil soup, veggie curry, papad (poppadom), and some sort of pickle. Depending on the veggies available, you may also get saag (spinach) or something similar. Everything is served on a big plate, and you can get free refills of each item (apart from the papad!).

A serving of classic Nepali dish dal bhat on a brass plate, sitting on a peach coloured wooden table

There are always free refills of rice, dal and curry with Dal Bhat, giving rise to the familiar catchphrase ‘Dal Bhat power 24 hour’



Dal Bhat, the national dish of Nepal, on a copper dish set on a blue wooden table

With Dal Bhat, there are always free refills of
at least the rice, dal and curry, giving rise to the
familiar catchphrase, ‘Dal Bhat power 24 hour’



Other options include various soups (some fresh, some from a packet), basic pasta dishes (usually fried), fried rice, fried noodles, boiled or fried potatoes, and momos (steamed or fried dumplings). Ingredients more or less revolve around eggs, cheese, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onion, garlic, and tinned tuna.

 Lunch and dinner options are generally priced between 500 – 800 NPR (approx $3.50 – $6 USD), depending on location and item.

DRINKS

Various hot drinks include black/green/milk/masala/mint/ginger lemon honey tea, instant coffee, and hot chocolate. You can order a single cup or a small/medium/large thermos (called ‘pots’). Cups or pots of hot water are also available.

Soft drinks like Coke, Fanta, and Sprite are available to buy at each guesthouse shop, along with bottled water (although we recommend purifying tap water to drink instead of buying bottled water). You can also buy beer (bottles/cans) and small bottles of Khukuri rum, however it’s best to avoid alcohol at higher altitudes as this dehydrates you and makes acclimatisation more difficult.

Hot drinks are on average about 150 – 250 NPR per cup ($1- 2 USD), or up to 1500 – 2000 NPR per large pot ($11 – $15 USD). Soft drinks are about 400 – 550 NPR ($3 – 4 USD), bottled water is about 350 NPR ($2.5 USD), and beer is about 800 NPR ($6 USD).

SNACKS AND DESSERTS

You can buy chocolate bars, biscuits, and Pringles at most guesthouse shops. Other snacks like popcorn, papad, prawn crackers, yak cheese, or french fries are often available on the menu, and you can usually get desserts like apple, Snickers, or Mars spring rolls/fritters/pies/momos.

The snacks, drinks and sundries on sale at the Ganesh View Hotel in Rimche on the Langtang Valley trek

A typical example of what’s on sale in guesthouses 



The snacks, drinks and sundries on sale at the Ganesh View Hotel in Rimche on the Langtang Valley trek

A fairly typical example of what’s on sale



Prices for Snickers/Mars are around 300 NPR ($2.20 USD), packets of biscuits start from 100 NPR ($.80 USD), and Pringles are about 600 NPR ($4.5 USD). Desserts range from 300 – 600 NPR ($2.20 – $4.5 USD).

IN THE MOOD FOR A CHALLENGING TREK?

SAFE DRINKING WATER ON THE GOSAINKUNDA TREK

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

SAFE DRINKING WATER

Bottled water is available to buy along the trail, however a much better option (environmentally and economically!) is to treat tap water and drink this instead. Come prepared with a refillable water bottle and/or water bladder, and a method of treating the water to make it safe for drinking.

The cheapest option is to use water purification tablets. You drop these into the water, wait about 30 minutes, then your water is safe to drink (although it can have a strange taste due to the active chemical in the tablets, ie. iodine or chlorine). You can buy these easily in supermarkets and outdoor shops in Kathmandu.

Our preferred method of water sterilisation is to use a Steripen Ultra in conjunction with a filter. The filter screws onto the top of our Nalgene water bottle and ensures any weird floaty bits or particulates are filtered out. Then we stick the Steripen into 1 litre of water for 90 seconds and the UV light sterilises the water, making it safe to drink immediately and with no change to the taste. The Steripen Ultra model is rechargeable via USB, so we can charge it using our solar panel, power bank, or an electrical socket. We always carry water purification tablets as an emergency backup, although we’ve never had to use them during 6+ years of using the Steripen.

A Lifestraw water bottle for safe drinking water


A Steripen Ultra sterilises water to make it safe for drinking


water purification tablets to make drinking water safe


Other common sterilisation methods include a Lifestraw, Grayl, Water-To Go, or a squeeze filter system.

As pipes can freeze overnight at higher altitudes, be sure to fill water for the following day before going to bed. We would also advise caution around the water sources at Gosainkunda, where water is generally stored in containers rather than available fresh from a flowing pipe. Be sure to take extra care when treating this water for drinking (we double filtered and sterilised). Consider avoiding any hot drinks at Gosainkunda, as hot water is usually heated up on the stove and stored overnight in a thermos, and you can’t guarantee that it will have reached boiling point. I (Kim) was vomiting and had diarrhoea at Gosainkunda, which I think was thanks to drinking a pot of hot chocolate the night before.

HOW ABOUT TACKLING THE MANASLU CIRCUIT?

WIFI, PHONE SIGNAL, AND CHARGING ON THE GOSAINKUNDA TREK

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

WIFI, PHONE SIGNAL, AND CHARGING

Nepal Telecom SIM cards work best on the Gosainkunda trek, although a phone signal and data connection are not available for much of it.

WiFi is also very limited, generally only available at lower altitudes in places such as Thulo Syabru and Kutumsang. You may be able to connect elsewhere, including at Gosainkunda itself, but it’s very weather dependent and often the WiFi is not working. There is usually a fee of around 300 NPR to connect to WiFi.

Most guesthouses run off solar power. At some locations it isn’t possible to charge your devices at all, but usually you can charge for a fee of around 300 – 400 NPR/hour, with sockets available in the dining room. Free in-room charging is only available in some guesthouses at lower elevation, near the start or end of the Gosainkunda trek.

It’s a good idea to pack a power bank (or two, depending on your usage), enabling you to charge your phone and batteries on-the-go. A portable solar panel can also be useful, and may be worth buying if you will use it on other treks and outdoor adventures in the future.

GOSAINKUNDA TREK COST AND BUDGET

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

COSTS AND BUDGET

The cost of your Gosainkunda trek will very much depend on how you choose to trek (whether independently or with a guide), and how many people you share the costs with. The cheapest option is to trek independently as a duo, opting to travel by public transport and sleep in rooms with shared bathroom facilities every night. Trekking with a guide and porter as part of an inclusive trek package, taking private transport, and sleeping in rooms with attached bathrooms wherever possible, will cost more.

Below is a breakdown of the average costs for a Gosainkunda trek.

GOSAINKUNDA TREK COSTS

TRANSPORT

To/From Syabrubesi/Dhunche

1500 NPR ($11.5 USD) taxi to bus station + public bus (per person one way)

 $150 – $170 private jeep one way (cost can be shared between up to 8 people)

To/From Kutumsang

2000 NPR ($15 USD) taxi to bus station + public bus (per person one way)

 $165 private jeep one way (cost can be shared between up to 8 people)

To/From Sundarijal

100 NPR ($0.75 USD) public bus (per person one way)

2000 NPR ($15 USD) taxi one way (cost can be shared between up to 4 people)

$37 private jeep one way (cost can be shared between up to 8 people)

PERMITS/ENTRANCE FEES

3000 NPR ($23 USD) Langtang NP fee per person
(1500 NPR for SAARC nationals/100 NPR for Nepalis)

1000 NPR ($7.5 USD) Shivapuri-Nagarjun NP Fee per person
(600 NPR for SAARC nationals/100 NPR for Nepalis)
(if starting/ending at Sundarijal)

ACCOMMODATION

Twin Room cost 500 NPR ($4 USD)  – 1600 NPR ($12 USD) per night (for 1 or 2 people)
(average cost 940 NPR ($7 USD) per night)

FOOD

3 x meals with hot drinks, average 2500 NPR ($19 USD) per person, per day

Extra Snacks (chocolate bars, biscuits, soft drinks) average 1000 NPR ($7.5 USD) per person, per day

For a detailed look at prices, check out the Gosainkunda trek menu in the food section above

WIFI/CHARGING

Average 300 NPR ($2.5 USD) per person, per day

GUIDE

$20 – $30 USD per day
(cost can be shared with up to 5 people)

PORTER

$18 – $25 USD per day
(max weight carried 25 kg, cost can be shared between 2-3 people)

TIPS

Expected by guides and porters

Recommended minimum amount is:

500 NPR ($4 USD) per person, per day for guides

400 NPR ($3 USD) per person, per day for porters

For larger groups, tip 10% of total tour cost to be split between all trekking staff

GOSAINKUNDA TREK COSTS

TRANSPORT

To/From Syabrubesi/Dhunche

1500 NPR ($11.5 USD) taxi to bus station + public bus (per person one way)

 $150 – $170 private jeep one way (cost can be shared between up to 8 people)

To/From Kutumsang

2000 NPR ($15 USD) taxi to bus station + public bus (per person one way)

 $165 private jeep one way (cost can be shared between up to 8 people)

To/From Sundarijal

100 NPR ($0.75 USD) public bus (per person one way)

2000 NPR ($15 USD) taxi one way (cost can be shared between up to 4 people)

$37 private jeep one way (cost can be shared between up to 8 people)

PERMITS/ENTRANCE FEES

3000 NPR ($23 USD) Langtang NP fee per person
(1500 NPR for SAARC nationals/100 NPR for Nepalis)

1000 NPR ($7.5 USD) Shivapuri-Nagarjun NP Fee per person
(600 NPR for SAARC nationals/100 NPR for Nepalis)
(if starting/ending at Sundarijal)

ACCOMMODATION

Twin Room cost 500 NPR ($4 USD)  – 1600 NPR ($12 USD) per night (for 1 or 2 people)
(average cost 940 NPR ($7 USD) per night)

FOOD

3 x meals with hot drinks, average 2500 NPR ($19 USD) per person, per day

Extra Snacks (chocolate bars, biscuits, soft drinks) average 1000 NPR ($7.5 USD) per person, per day

For a detailed look at prices, check out the Gosainkunda trek menu in the food section above

WIFI/CHARGING

Average 300 NPR ($2.5 USD) per person, per day

GUIDE

$20 – $30 USD per day
(cost can be shared with up to 5 people)

PORTER

$18 – $25 USD per day
(max weight carried 25 kg, cost can be shared between 2-3 people)

TIPS

Expected by guides and porters

Recommended minimum amount:

500 NPR ($4 USD) per person, per day for guides

400 NPR ($3 USD) per person, per day for porters

For larger groups, tip 10% of total tour cost to be split between all trekking staff


In summary, the average cost for a 7 day Gosainkunda trek is about 3770 NPR ($29 USD) per day for a budget trekker sharing a room with one person and trekking independently, with no guide or porter. A fully inclusive package is about $100 per day. Other factors, such as trekking with a guide but no porter, buying lots of snacks, charging lots of devices daily, or taking more expensive transport, would see your daily budget falling somewhere between these two figures.

MONEY AND ATMs ON THE GOSAINKUNDA TREK

You must bring all the cash you need from Kathmandu, in Nepalese rupees. There are no ATMs on the trek. It’s a good idea to have a mixture of large and small bills, as guesthouses don’t usually have change.

ATMs in Nepal have maximum withdrawal limits (usually 35,000 NPR), and your bank card is also likely to have a max daily withdrawal limit. Be sure to plan ahead and start withdrawing cash a few days in advance if you need to carry a lot.

PLAN YOUR JOURNEY ON THIS CLASSIC NEPAL TREK

WHAT TO PACK FOR THE GOSAINKUNDA TREK

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

WHAT TO PACK

We have outlined packing recommendations for a Nepal trek in our What To Pack For Trekking in Nepal guide, so be sure to check this out for a complete rundown. You can also download our Nepal Packing List, a useful online or printable checklist for your trek.

In a nutshell, you will need clothes suitable for trekking in warm and cold conditions and for changing into in the evening, gear to use on the trail and at your guesthouse, any relevant electronics, hygiene and first aid items, and a few essentials such as cash, emergency contact details, travel insurance documents, and your passport.

If you arrive in Nepal without the appropriate gear for trekking, you can buy and/or rent everything you need in Kathmandu (either fake or genuine items). Some trekking agencies provide gear free of charge to clients. Himalayan Masters, for example, provide sleeping bags, down jackets, trekking poles, water bottles, purification tablets, caps, and T-shirts, plus a duffel bag if you’re trekking with a porter.

You can leave any excess luggage at your hotel in Kathmandu and pick it up when you return from your trek.

ALTITUDE AWARENESS AND AMS

LANGTANG VALLEY TREK //

ALTITUDE AWARENESS AND AMS

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), also commonly referred to as Altitude Sickness, can affect people at heights of around 2500 m and above. It can affect anyone regardless of age, physical fitness, or other factors. The higher you go the less oxygen there is, and it takes time for your body to adjust. Symptoms of AMS, such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, or loss of appetite, can occur when your body is not properly acclimatised to being at a particular altitude.

The highest sleeping altitude on the Gosainkunda trek is 4420 m, at Gosainkunda itself. The highest points you are likely to trek to are the Gosainkunda viewpoint (4613 m), and Laurebina Pass (4650 m) if you’re trekking the Gosainkunda Helambu route. These altitudes are considered ‘very high altitude’ in trekking terms.

AMS can develop into the life-threatening conditions of HACE or HAPE, therefore symptoms of AMS should never be ignored. Read up on the causes, symptoms, and treatments for AMS prior to your trek – it could save your life or that of a fellow trekker! We have found the altitude.org website helpful, along with the PDF booklet about Travel at High Altitude (available in a number of languages) produced by Medex. A number of other medical websites, such as the NHS, are also good resources.

In a nutshell, the best way to avoid developing AMS (or the life-threatening conditions of HACE or HAPE) is to follow medically advised best-practices. This includes ascending slowly, sleeping no more than 300 – 500 metres higher than the previous night, taking a rest day for every 1000 metres ascended above 2500 m, staying well hydrated by drinking lots of water, and going on acclimatisation hikes where you can climb high but return to sleep at a lower altitude.

Taking all of this advice into account, see our recommended Gosainkunda Trek itinerary for a non-acclimatised trekker.

A trekker and guide climbing the snow covered slope towards Laurebina Pass (4650 m), with the blue surface of Gosainkunda shining in the morning sun below

Trekking from Gosainkunda (4400 m) to Laurebina Pass (4650 m)



A trekker and guide climbing the snow covered slope towards Laurebina Pass (4650 m), with the blue surface of Gosainkunda shining in the morning sun below

Trekking from Gosainkunda (4400 m)
up to Laurebina Pass (4650 m)



If you develop AMS symptoms, do not ascend any higher. Rest, drink water, eat something, take paracetamol and ibuprofen to help with the pain, and assess whether your condition is worsening or improving. If it is worsening, you should descend to a lower altitude immediately. If it is improving or staying the same, rest at the same altitude for a night and allow your body more time to acclimatise before ascending.

Acetazolamide (Diamox) is a tablet that can be taken as a preventative to AMS, or as a treatment to help reduce the symptoms. It helps to speed up the acclimatisation process by causing you to breathe deeper and faster, resulting in higher oxygen concentrations in the body. It usually comes in tablets of 250 mg and the dosage is 125 mg twice a day. You can speak to a medical professional prior to your trip about taking Acetazolamide (Diamox). It is available to purchase over the counter at pharmacies in Kathmandu and trekking guides will often carry it in their first aid kit. Common side effects of taking Acetazolamide (Diamox) are tingling fingers, lips, and/or feet.

Note that many guides and locals will advise you to eat garlic soup as a remedy to AMS, but there is no medical evidence to support this notion.

TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR TREKKING IN NEPAL

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR TREKKING IN NEPAL

You will have the chance to trek up to 4650 m on the Gosainkunda trek. Trekking to this altitude is NOT automatically covered by most travel insurance providers, but you should be able to pay extra for an add-on ‘activity pack’ which will cover you for trekking at such heights. When choosing your travel insurance policy, it’s also wise to ensure you have Search and Rescue cover and Medical Evacuation cover included.

Always check the inclusions and exclusions of your policy carefully. Some travel insurance providers have specific exclusions or conditions when it comes to trekking in Nepal. For example, the excess for helicopter evacuation may be considerably higher for Nepal than elsewhere. This is due in part to a scam in recent years whereby trekkers who become ill are pressured or encouraged to fly out of the mountains by helicopter for medical attention, with unscrupulous guides, helicopter companies, doctors, and even some trekkers themselves, profiting from the scam.

You should also make a note of the correct procedure for medical emergencies and the insurance company emergency contact number. Add this information to your phone, and keep a written copy with you while trekking.

Whether you are currently in your home country or are already travelling, two travel insurance policy providers that can cover you for trekking in Nepal are World Nomads (for residents of 140+ countries) and True Traveller (for UK and EEA residents only). We have purchased travel insurance policies from both of these companies on numerous occasions and have found their policies to be comprehensive, and their online claims and extension processes straightforward.

If you still need to organise travel insurance, we’d suggest getting a quote from each to see which suits you best.

Click the links below to get a quote

Click the links to get a quote


GOSAINKUNDA ADD-ON TREKS

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

ADD-ON TREKS

It’s possible to combine a Gosainkunda trek with other treks in the region. The most common option is the Langtang Valley trek, a 6 – 7 day trekking route starting at Syabrubesi. To combine these routes, you can hike from Lama Hotel or Rimche (on the final day of the Langtang Valley trek) to Thulo Syabru (on the first day of the Gosainkunda trek, via Bamboo).

Another option is the Tamang Heritage Trail, a 5 – 6 day route which starts at Syabrubesi. To combine these routes, you can trek from Sherpagaon (on the final day of the Tamang Heritage Trail) to Thulo Syabru (on the first day of the Gosainkunda trek, via Rimche and Bamboo).

A hiker ascending the lower slopes of Tsergo Ri in the Langtang Valley, with clear early morning views of mountains behind

Hiking to Tsergo Ri (4965 m) on the Langtang Valley trek



With an impressive wall of snowy mountains behind, a trekker climbs the trail to Tsergo Ri (4965 m), one of two main day hikes from Kyanjin Gompa on the Langtang Valley trek

Hiking to Tsergo Ri on the Langtang Valley trek



You could even combine all three treks, starting with the Tamang Heritage Trail before joining the Langtang Valley trek and finishing with the Gosainkunda trek. This would be approximately 16 trekking days in total, plus 2 travel days.

You can find all the information you need to plan a Langtang Valley trek in our Langtang Trekking Guide and Langtang Route Guide.

GETTING TO NEPAL

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

GETTING TO NEPAL

OVERLAND

It’s possible to travel overland from India to Nepal, crossing the border at Sunauli. The route and details are described in this post on Seat 61.

FLYING

The easiest way to get to Nepal is by flying and this is how the vast majority of people arrive. A number of different airlines operate flights to Nepal’s only international airport, Tribhuvan International Airport, on the outskirts of Kathmandu. There are very few long distance direct flights to Nepal, so you can expect to transfer somewhere in Asia or the Middle East, depending on your direction of travel.

It’s best to book your flights at the earliest possible opportunity. During busy times, such as the peak trekking seasons in spring and autumn, flights are often fully booked.

CHECK FLIGHT OPTIONS HERE


ARRIVING AT KATHMANDU AIRPORT

There is a money exchange booth next to the visa payment counter, prior to passing through immigration. There is an ATM next to the visa payment counter too, however it is unreliable. More ATMs are available after passing through immigration, but it’s best to have some cash with you just in case.

You can arrange a SIM from NCell or Nepal Telecom at arrivals, and SIM cards are also available from many small shops in Thamel.

AIRPORT TAXI

A taxi from the airport to Thamel costs approximately 800 – 1000 NPR ($6 – $7.50 USD) and takes between 15 – 30 minutes depending on traffic and the time of day. There are prepaid taxi counters at arrivals, or you can negotiate a fare with a taxi driver outside (there are no metered taxis). You need to pay cash.

PLAN YOUR TREK TO UPPER MUSTANG

NEPAL TOURIST VISAS

GOSAINKUNDA TREK //

NEPAL TOURIST VISAS

Tourist visas are available on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport and at all land border crossings that are open to foreign travellers.

While tourist visas on arrival are available for many foreign passport holders, citizens of some countries are required to get a visa prior to arrival, while those from SAARC countries can get their visa free of charge.

See the Nepal Immigration website for more details.

NEPAL VISA ON ARRIVAL

There are three Nepal tourist visas available and three things you must have to get one on arrival:

NEPAL TOURIST VISAS

  • 15 Days – 30 USD
  • 30 Days – 50 USD
  • 90 Days – 125 USD

WHAT YOU NEED

  • A passport valid for at least six months
  • At least one blank page in your passport
  • The visa fee in cash (US Dollars is best)

The Nepal tourist visa on arrival process is as follows:

NEPAL VISA ON ARRIVAL PROCESS

  1. Go to the machines to the right as you enter the arrivals hall. You’ll need your passport details and hotel address. After filling in the required details on the screen, take a photo of the confirmation page on your phone (the printer doesn’t work).
  2. Next, you need to pay for your visa at the desk on the left as you enter the arrivals hall. You can show the confirmation on your phone. They want a cash payment for the visa. A sign indicates that a number of currencies are acceptable, including EUR, GBP, CAD, USD, AUD, JPY, KRW, AED, SGD, THB, MYR, CHF, DKK, QAD, SAR, CNY, HKD, KWD, and BHD. Note that they will NOT accept Bank of Scotland GBP notes, only Bank of England notes. You cannot pay in NPR. The sign says they accept card payments, but they will refuse and advise you that you must pay cash. If you insist hard enough, then they’ll send you to the desk on the far left to pay at a card machine with a $1 surcharge. The machine can be temperamental and the payment may fail to go through a few times. Also, it’s treated as a cash advance from your credit card, not a transaction, so you’ll probably be charged a cash withdrawal fee by your credit card company. After paying for your visa you’ll get a receipt.
  3. Take the receipt of visa payment, your passport, and boarding pass for your flight into Kathmandu to the immigration desk and get stamped through.

WHERE TO STAY IN KATHMANDU

GOSAINKUNDA VALLEY TREK //

WHERE TO STAY IN KATHMANDU

Thamel is the main tourist hub in Kathmandu, with plenty of restaurants, bars, shops, and services aimed at trekkers. Below are our accommodation recommendations for before and after your Gosainkunda trek, with something to suit all budgets.

BUDGET KATHMANDU ACCOMMODATION

Flock Hostel | Dorm and Private rooms, modern design, close to Thamel, rooftop bar and terrace, restaurant

Zostel Kathmandu | Dorm and Private rooms, terrace, bar, restaurant, close to Thamel

Flying Yak | Dorm and Private rooms, modern design, central Thamel, bar, terrace  

Yakety Yak | Dorm and Private rooms, sleek modern design, rooftop terrace, bar, restaurant, central Thamel

Bag Packer’s Lodge | Budget private rooms with shared or private bathroom, rooftop terrace, restaurant, central Thamel location

MID-RANGE KATHMANDU ACCOMMODATION

9ine Thamel | Sleek minimalist design, central Thamel, excellent restaurant 

Nomad Hotel | Tasteful modern design, short walk from Thamel, restaurant and terrace

Oasis Kathmandu Hotel | Good location in Thamel, restaurant, generically ‘nice’ decor

Kathmandu Aagantuk Hotel | Good location in Thamel, restaurant, generically ‘nice’ decor, some rooms with balconies

Hotel Roadhouse | Stylish Modern design with heritage feel, cent