Not Just EBC: Exploring the Everest Region's Underrated Gems

  • Ram Khadka
  • May 20, 2024
Table of Contents

The Everest Region is most popular for the world’s highest peak and its base camp, but this incredible area offers so much more. Many trekkers focus solely on reaching EBC, but the Everest region has a world waiting to be explored, full of hidden gems.

Beyond the busy paths to EBC, lesser-known trails lead through ancient forests, high pastures, and stunning mountain passes.

These trails take you to peaceful and serene villages where you’ll meet humbling people and get glimpses of their way of life, traditions, cultures, and cuisines. Also, you might spot rare species and diverse flora and fauna along the way.

Exploring off the main paths, you can find hidden valleys like the Gokyo Valley, with its stunning turquoise lakes surrounded by beautiful peaks.

The Gokyo Lakes Trek is a great alternative to the typical EBC route, with awesome views of Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth-highest mountain.

Not to mention, the landscape here is serene and almost surreal.

The Everest region is also rich in spiritual sites, with Tengboche Monastery being prominent. This monastery is a special place for the Sherpa community as they worship and perform various rituals. From the monastery, you can see breathtaking views of Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam.

Sagarmatha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes the region even more attractive with its many different plants and animals.

In spring, rhododendron forests burst into color, and you might spot elusive wildlife like the snow leopard, Himalayan tahr, and red panda. You also get to see unique birds like the Himalayan monal, Nepal’s national bird.

For those who love adventure, the Everest region has some exciting challenges like the Everest Three High Passes, Chola Pass, and Renjo La Pass. These are high-altitude passes and challenging but the beauty of the place makes it all worthwhile.

No doubt, the Everest region is a place of endless exploration and unforgettable adventures beyond Everest Base Camp. Explore the Everest Region's underrated gems here.

Gokyo Lakes

Gokyo Lake

The sacred Gokyo Lakes are stunning and have a touch of spirituality. It's definitely a place you must visit at least once in your life.

These turquoise lakes, located high up at 4,700–5,000 meters above sea level, are some of the highest freshwater lakes in the world. There are six main lakes, with Thonak Lake being the biggest.

The lakes are fed by glacier meltwater and streams and are the source of fresh water in the region.

The surrounding area is not only stunning but also holds religious significance for both Hindus and Buddhists. Every year, hundreds of Hindus take part in the Janai Purnima festival, bathing in the holy waters of the lakes.

Additionally, the lakes are believed to be the home of the 'Nag Devata' (Snake God) and there's a temple nearby dedicated to Hindu deities Vishnu and Shiva.

We offer two packages for exploring the Gokyo Lakes: Gokyo Lakes Trek - Gokyo Ri with Renjo la Pass and Everest Gokyo Chola Pass Trek.

Gokyo Lakes Trek is a 13-day trek that takes you to the Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri for stunning views of the Himalayas. It starts in Kathmandu and ends in Lukla.

The trek offers stunning views of some of the world's most famous mountains, including Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu, and Thamserku.

One of the major highlights of the trek is Gokyo Ri, a peak with an elevation similar to Everest Base Camp. From the top of Gokyo Ri, you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Another highlight of the trek is the Ngozumpa Glacier, the longest glacier in the Himalayas. The trek also takes you past the six Gokyo Lakes on Days 7 and 8.

On Day 7, you will trek to Gokyo village and see the first three Gokyo Lakes. On Day 8, you will hike up Gokyo Ri and visit the fourth and fifth Gokyo Lakes.

You will also have the opportunity to experience the Sherpa culture and lifestyle as you trek through villages inhabited by these friendly people.

On the other hand,  Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes and Cho-La Pass Trek is a more challenging 17-day trek that takes you to Everest Base Camp, Gokyo Lakes, and Cho-La Pass. It also starts in Kathmandu and ends in Lukla.

You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Himalayas, including Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Amadablam, Kanchenjunga, Mt. Pumori, Nuptse, and many more. You will also get to explore traditional Sherpa villages and learn about their culture and lifestyles.

You will be witnessing Buddhist ceremonies and rituals. Not only that, You will experience the diverse range of plant and animal species in Sagarmatha National Park, including rhododendrons, junipers, blue pines, The Himalayan black bears, snow leopards, red pandas, musk deer, and over 200 species of birds.

Not to mention, the major highlights are trekking through the Gokyo Valley and visiting the Gokyo Lakes, as well as crossing the challenging Cho-la Pass at 5,420 meters. Also, reaching the iconic destinations of Everest Base Camp and Kalapatthar.

You must be prepared for the challenge and the possibility of altitude sickness, but the rewards are more than worth it.

Kongma La Pass

Everest region pass

Kongma La is a high mountain pass in the Khumbu region of the Himalayas in Nepal. It's located on the popular trekking route to Everest Base Camp. The pass sits at an elevation of around 5,535 meters (18,159 feet) above sea level.

Despite the challenges, trekking over Kongma La offers breathtaking views of some of the world's highest peaks, including Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Ama Dablam. The rugged beauty of the Himalayan landscape, with its glaciers, moraines, and towering peaks, makes the journey memorable.

Unlike the popular Everest Base Camp trek, the Everest Three High Passes Trek route takes you off the beaten path, which gives you a more remote and pristine trekking experience. The trek includes ascents of three high passes: Kongma La, Cho La, and Renjo La. You won't have to deal with as many other trekkers, giving you a chance to soak in the peacefulness of the Himalayan wilderness.

Chola Pass and Renjo La Pass

Cho La Pass is a high mountain pass located at 5,420 meters (17,782 feet) above sea level. It connects the village of Dzongla, which is at 4,830 meters (15,850 feet), to the village of Thagnak, at 4,700 meters (15,400 feet).

Cho La Pass is part of the Gokyo trail in the Khumbu Everest region. To the west, the trail goes to the beautiful Gokyo Lakes and crosses the large Ngozumpa glacier. To the east, it joins the Everest Base Camp trek, a popular route for those heading to Mount Everest.

Likewise, Renjo La Pass is another high mountain pass in the Khumbu region, sitting at 5,360 meters (17,585 feet) above sea level. This pass is less known but offers a chance to explore the remote and beautiful areas of the Khumbu region.

Renjo La Pass is part of a less-traveled trekking route, making it a hidden gem. It's one of the three high passes in the Everest region that lead to the stunning Gokyo Lakes. This trek not only provides amazing views but also takes you through peaceful and remote areas, away from the busier trails.

Both passes offer some of the best views in the Himalayas. You can see the towering peaks of Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu, as well as the beautiful Gokyo Lakes and large glaciers.

Trekking in these areas also gives you a chance to experience the local culture. You can visit remote Sherpa villages, see ancient monasteries, and meet friendly local people, learning about their traditional way of life.

Renjo La Pass, in particular, offers a quieter trekking experience compared to other popular routes in the Everest region. This allows you to enjoy the peace and beauty of nature without the crowds.

These hidden gems of Everest are a must-visit for anyone who loves adventure and nature.

We have two packages for exploring Chola Pass and Renjo La Pass: Everest Gokyo Chola Pass Trek and Gokyo Lakes Trek - Gokyo Ri with Renjo la Pass.

On the Everest Gokyo Chola Pass Trek package, you will cross Cho-La Pass on day 10 of the trek. You will need to be careful because the path is rocky, steep, and difficult. You will see beautiful landscapes covered in snow as you approach the top. After reaching the top, you will be able to see beautiful views of Mt. Cholatse, Lobuche, and Ama Dablam.  From there, you will proceed to Dzongla.

Similarly, on the Gokyo Lakes Trek - Gokyo Ri with Renjo La Pass package, you will trek over Renjo La Pass, on Day 9. The pass is 5,435 meters high.

The day starts with a trek from Gokyo towards Renjo La Pass.  As you approach the pass, brace yourself for a steep uphill climb.  The effort will be well worth it, as you'll be rewarded with superior views of Mt. Makalu, Tengi Ragi Tau, the Rolwaling Range, and Gyachung Kang once you reach the summit.


Tengboche Village Monastery

Tengboche is a village known for its beautiful scenery and the Tengboche Monastery.

Situated at an altitude of approximately 3,867 meters (12,687 feet) in the Everest region, Tengboche is a popular stop for trekkers on the Everest Base Camp trek. The village welcomes you with cozy teahouses serving up comforting local dishes, basic accommodations, teahouses, and other facilities.

It offers breathtaking panoramic vistas of some of the world's highest peaks, including Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, and Thamserku.

One of the most iconic features of Tengboche is its historic monastery, the Tengboche Monastery, also known as Dawa Choling Gompa.

Built in 1916, this Buddhist monastery holds deep cultural and spiritual importance in the region. It is a special monastery for the Sherpa community's religious practices and hosts various ceremonies, rituals, and festivals throughout the year.

The monastery is renowned for its unique architecture, adorned with intricate wood carvings, colorful murals, and sacred religious artifacts.

But Tengboche comes alive during the Mani Rimdu festival, a huge celebration held annually.

This 19-day festival, usually falling between October and November, marks the founding of Buddhism by Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava.

During this festival, the Tengboche Monastery becomes the center stage for masked dances, dramatic performances, and rituals performed by the monks.

Experiencing this unique cultural expression and spiritual devotion is a truly unforgettable experience.

Tengboche is worth visiting. It's a place where you can immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of the Himalayas, experience the lovely Sherpa culture, and witness the deep faith that makes this place so special.

If you're thinking about visiting Tengboche, our Everest View Trek is perfect for you. This package provides ample time to explore Tengboche and offers stunning views of the Himalayas.

The itinerary includes one night in Tengboche, allowing you to explore the Tengboche Monastery. Spending a night here gives you more time to explore the monastery and its surroundings compared to just passing through.

This package goes beyond Namche Bazaar, which means you'll get closer views of the Himalayas than short “Everest view” treks that end at Namche Bazaar.

Overall, the package is ideal for exploring Tengboche.

Ram Khadka
Ram Khadka

CEO and Managing Director at Sublime Trails Trekking, Ram has been leading adventure-hungry souls into the mountains of Nepal for over 15 years.