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Blessed by Prayer Flags on a Gokyo Ri Trek

Nomadic and adventurous at heart, guest contributors Navit Zuckerman and Gary Wilson have backpacked, cooked and danced everywhere from Israel to India. Here, they share their tale of their Gokyo Ri trek in Nepal.

It’s not every day you get to experience a 360-degree view from the ceiling of the world.

We did – on our Nepal Gokyo trek.

But let’s back up to the beginning.

Gokyo Ri Trek
Prayer flags on Gokyo Ri

Gokyo Ri trek

We started this phase of our journey in India, where we were fortunate enough to take in the Sant Narankari Samagam.

This spiritually-based event in Delhi fills the hearts and bellies of hundreds of thousands of people with compassion – and lots of chappatis!

Women making bread for the Sant Narankari Samagam event in Delhi
Women making bread for the Sant Narankari Samagam event in Delhi

From India, we continued on to Nepal.

Trekking in Nepal

Travel to Nepal and you can explore eight of the ten highest mountains in the world – Mount Everest being the most famous.

Thousands of people do, in fact, trek to Everest Base Camp each year.

We embarked upon our own 21-day, self-guided trek through the Himalayan mountain range of north-eastern Nepal, which left us breathless – not only from the elevation gain but even more so from the incredible views.

Gokyo scenery while on Gokyo Ri trek
Just one of the stunning mountain scenes on our Nepal trek

Every corner we turned presented a unique jaw-dropping panorama, from lush green valleys and terraced farmland to epic snow-covered Himalayan peaks.

Most people who trek in the Khumbu valley of Nepal are on their way to Everest Base Camp to sleep in the shadow of the tallest mountain in the world.

Being the adventurers that we are, we decided, however, to take a road less traveled – the Gokyo Ri trek – the “other Everest” route for trekkers.

Yaks on a Gokyo Lakes trek
Yaks in Gokyo Lakes

Gokyo Lakes trek

We made our way up to the small village of Gokyo at 4,570 meters (15,580 feet).

Gokyo is one of the highest settlements in the world, and the surrounding terrain is barren and wind-blown but majestically beautiful.

Gokyo village by Gokyo Lake
See Gokyo village snuggling up to the lake?

It’s nestled right between a sparkling turquoise lake – the third of six sacred Gokyo Lakes in the Gokyo Valley – and the Ngozumpa Glacier, the longest glacier in the Himalayas at 36 kilometers (22 miles).

We spent three days in this isolated little village exploring the landscape while trying our best to keep warm.

A yak we meet while trekking Nepal...
Hello there! While trekking Gokyo, we got a visitor peeking into our lodge

On one of these magical days in Gokyo, we climbed the local peak of Gokyo Ri which reaches 5,357 meters (17,575 feet).

This climb is not, by any means, for the faint of heart – it shoots almost completely vertically up the steep rocky mountainside. The air became increasingly thin as we climbed higher.

But every time we stopped to catch our breath, we were gifted with a view that dazzled our senses.

Peak of Gokyo Ri, Nepal

When we finally stumbled onto the peak of the mountain, we found ourselves surrounded by brightly colored Tibetan prayer flags flapping ferociously in the brisk and unforgiving wind. 

Tibetans believe that mountaintops are sacred places.

On our Gokyo Ri trek, many mountain peaks and passes were adorned with strings of prayer flags – releasing the prayers written upon them every time the wind blew the flags away from stillness.

Tibetan prayer flags fly in the wind on the Gokyo Lakes trek.
Sometimes on the Gokyo trek, you won’t see another soul, but you’ll see prayer flags!

On top of Gokyo Ri, it seemed as though we’d reached one of the holiest places in the world.

Countless prayers were being released into the wind, while we took in the surrounding view of the tallest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest in her entirety.

Best photography tip?

Be curious and spontaneous, stay visually inspired and when the right opportunity arises, snap the photo without thinking! 

Read more about a Gokyo Lakes trek: See Navit and Gary’s blog posts on Destination: Gokyo and The Ceiling of the World

Experience more amazing places in the world!

Thailand: From Bangkok’s gilded temples to Phang Nga Bay’s dream islands, check out the bucket list places to visit in Thailand.

Yangon, Myanmar: Best expat bar? Where to shop? Why could dentists make a great living? Discover loads of fun and useful Yangon travel tips and facts.

China: Zhangjiajie is a hidden treasure if you love mountains, nature and hiking. Here’s a 4-day Zhangjiajie Avatar Mountains itinerary for luxury lovers.

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one – invariably at lower rates than the hotel’s own website. We especially like Booking’s flexible cancellation policy!

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Flights: To book the cheapest flights, search on Google Flights or Expedia. (Just be aware your tickets may be non-refundable if you get them through Expedia.)

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

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Photo credits: Navit Zuckerman and Gary Wilson

About the author

Navit Zuckerman and Gary Wilson are chiropractors who took their portable adjusting tables with them on a 9-month adventure to India, Nepal and Thailand. They currently live and work in Boulder, Colorado.


Thursday 7th of June 2018

Brrr... Gokyo seems cold and barren, but that yak is so cute! We'd love to visit Nepal too, but who knows when... It's not an easy-to-reach destination. I keep telling my husband that we should go see the hard-to-reach places while we can still walk. We'll have time for the beaten path when we'll be in our 80s, lol!

Janice and George

Friday 8th of June 2018

Hah! We're like you :-). Trekking in Nepal would definitely be a challenge! We too are trying to do the trips now that are harder (like our walking safari in Zambia). It's good we love cruising, because we can do that hopefully for decades to come :-).


Wednesday 30th of May 2018

I've been to India, and I'm going to India again this year, but I haven't yet been to Nepal!

One of my ambitions is to walk a part of the Himalayas. I'd probably use all the help at my disposal re horses, donkeys and local guides, as I always aim to go up the mountains & volcanos, and end up crying tears 'cos really it's hell, as I'm asthmatic and can't really breath up there, but I do it anyway!

p.s. 'Love the yak, is it?

Janice and George

Thursday 31st of May 2018

Yes, that's a yak :-). And, hey, if you can walk part of the Himalayas -- no matter how much help you get -- that is an achievement to be proud of! Thanks for taking the time to comment :-).

Amit Mind

Monday 28th of May 2018

Trekking up Mount Everest will always be a good place for adventurous people.

Janice and George

Monday 28th of May 2018

So true!