20 beautiful lakes in Nepal that everyone should visit
Northern Nepal consists of Himalayan ranges that extend throughout the length of Nepal. The snows of these Himalayas form the water sources for hundreds of rivers that flow south of Nepal and into India. The melting snows also feed hundreds of magnificent lakes all over Nepal.
Nepal has around 5,300 lakes, among which 2,300 are glacial lakes. Many of these rivers have religious significance. It is not practical to visit each of these lakes, so we have handpicked the best lakes in Nepal below.
1. Gosainkunda Lake
Location: Rasuwa, Langtang National Park
Area: 4.0 sq km
Gosainkunda lies in Rasuwa District, inside Langtang National Park, and the Nepal government declared it a Ramsar site in 2007. There are 108 more lakes in the vicinity of this lake.
Gosainkunda Lake has an immense religious significance. As per Hindu belief, Gosainkunda is the dwelling place of Lord Shiva and his consort Gauri (Parvati).
Hindus also believe Shiva created this lake and drank its water to soothe his throat burning with poison. Thousands of Hindus from Nepal and India travel to this lake during the festival of Janai Purnima in hopes of cleaning their soul and minds with the holy waters of Gosainkunda.
To reach Gosainkunda, you need to take a bus from Kathmandu to Sybrubesi. From here, you will be beginning your trek to Gosainkunda. While trekking to Gosainkunda, you will get to enjoy the magnificent views of mountains like Langtang, Ganesh, Hiunchuli, Manaslu, and surrounding peaks.
2. Tilicho Lake
Area: 4.8 sq. km
Depth: 85m (average)
Tilicho Lake, a glacial lake, lies 55 kilometers from Pokhara, the tourist capital of Nepal. Perhaps, due to altitude, Tilicho does not have any aquatic organisms. It is the most popular side hike destination of the Annapurna Circuit trek. The trek region provides one of the best trekking experiences in the world.
To reach Tilicho Lake, you should start in the Annapurna Circuit from Jagat. From Jagat, you need to hike for a few days passing Chame, Pisan, and Manang. From Manang, you will branch out to Siri Kharka and finally reach Tilicho.
3. Rara Lake
Location: Mugu District, Karnali Province
Area: 10.8 sq km
Depth: 100m (average)
Rara Lake is the biggest freshwater lake in Nepal, located inside Rara National Park. It drains into the Mugu Karnali River. The water of Rara Lake has a high PH, and it is oligotrophic. The lake sits surrounded by unique floral and faunal species within the Rara National Park. This region became a Ramsar site in 2007 AD. Rara exhibits different colors - blue, brown, purple, and crimson -at different times of the day, making the lake special.
Rara Lake is gaining popularity by the day for its beauty and the vistas surrounding it, including stunning mountains and Himalayan peaks.
To reach Rara Lake from Kathmandu, you can fly to Nepalgunj or take a bus. From Nepalgunj, you need to fly to Jumla and then walk for 2-3 hours to reach Rara Lake.
4. Shey Phoksundo Lake
Location: Dolpa District, Shey Phoksundo National Park
Area: 4.85 sq. km
Depth: 136.20 (maximum depth)
Shey Phoksundo is another oligotrophic lake situated in the Dolpa District and inside Shey Phoksundo National Park. It is another Ramsar site in Nepal that carries religious significance for Buddhists. On the southern belt of the lake, there are 20 stupas, and there lies a gompa on the eastern side. The turquoise water of this lake attracts thousands of visitors to this lake.
To reach Shey Phoksundo, you can fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and then to Juphal. From Juphal, you need to trek for a few days to reach Shey Phuksundo Lake. For details visit:
5. Panch Pokhari
Location: Bhotang, Sindhupalchowk
Panch Pokhari consists of five Hindu holy lakes at Bhotang in Sindhupalchowk District. Many Hindus visit Panch Pokhari during the festival of Janai Purnima.
This lake is not very far from Kathmandu. You can simply take a bus to Chautara and then trek to these lakes via Kami Kharka, Pauwa Bas, and Hile Bhanjyang. Though these lakes are near Kathmandu, it does not see hordes of tourists.
6. Tsho Rolpa Lake
Location: Rolwaling Valley, Dolakha District
Area: 1.537 sq. km
Depth: 55m (average)
Tso Rolpa, located in Rolwaling Valley in Dolakha District, is one of the biggest glacial lakes in Nepal. Tsho Rolpa is a Sherpa name, where Tsho means a lake, and Rolpa means Rolwaling Valley. This lake is expanding due to rapid snow melts, perhaps due to global warming.
The lake itself is only 115 km away from Kathmandu. You take a bus to Dolakha and then start trekking, passing Singati, Simigaun, Beding, and other villages. Throughout your trek, you can feast your eyes on Gaurishankar Himal.
7. Kapuche Lake
Location: Kaski district
Area: 0.12 sq km
Kapuche Lake is a unique glacial lake due to its height. Though it is a glacial lake, its altitude is only 2,546m, making Kapuche Lake the lowest glacier lake. It gathers glacial water from Annapurna II, IV, and Lamjung Himal. The surface of Kapuche Lake solidifies in winter, transforming it into a solid ice ground.
To reach this lake, you need to start from a ride in Pokhara, and you need to start trekking from Sikles. The trail is unique and beautiful as you can enjoy the great views of Annapurna II, Annapurna IV, and Lamjung Himal.
8. Gokyo Lakes
Location: Khumjung Village, Solukhumbu District
Area: 1.96 sq km
Depth: 62.4m (deepest among these lakes)
Altitude: 4,700 - 5,000m
Gokyo Lakes are a collection of six major glacial-fed lakes, which form some of the world's highest freshwater lakes. Altogether, there are 19 Gokyo lakes, and the biggest lake among these is the Thonak Cho. These lakes were declared Ramsar sites in 2007.
All of these lakes lie in the Everest region, and every year they bring thousands of tourists to this region. Both Hindus and Buddhists consider these lakes as holy lakes. Hindus believe that Gokyo Lakes are the abode of "Nag Devta," or Snake god.
Since Gokyo Lakes lie in the Everest region, a trek to Gokyo Lakes allows you to enjoy breathtaking views of some of the world's highest peaks, including Mount Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and Makalu.
To reach the Gokyo Lake region, you need to fly to Lukla from Kathmandu. From Lukla, you will head to Namche Bazaar, but the exact route to Gokyo Lakes can differ from Namche. Since Gokyo Lakes lies in the Everest region, many trek packages include Gokyo Lakes in their itinerary to the Everest Base Camp.
9. Phewa/Rupa/Begnas Lakes (Pokhara)
Area: Phewa (4.43 sq km) / Rupa (1.35 sq km)/ Begnas (3.28 sq km)
Depth: Phewa (8.6m) average/ Rupa 3m (average) / Begnas 10m (maximum)
Altitude: Phewa (742m)/ Rupa (600m)/ Begnas (650m)
Pokhara is also called the tourist capital of the world. You can reach Pokhara by road transport driving for around five hours or flying for 20 minutes from Kathmandu. It is a stunning valley surrounded by glorious snow-capped mountains, including Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and Manaslu. The ten lakes in Pokhara also add immensely to its beauty. The most popular among these lakes are Phewa, Rupa, and Begnas.
Phewa Lake is the largest lake in Pokhara Valley and the second largest in all of Nepal. On a good day, you can see the Annapurna, Machapuchare, and Dhaulagiri ranges, reflected in Phewa. There is also a World Peace Pagoda Temple on the southern bank of Phewa.
Rupa Lake is the third biggest lake in Pokhara, covering an area of 1.35 sq kilometers. You can enjoy boating in this lake that provides beautiful landscape views. Locals practice caged fisheries here. This area is rich in flora and fauna. A large number of water birds live in the vicinity, bringing in a large number of bird watchers here.
Begnas is the third-largest lake in Nepal and the second-largest in Pokhara. A dam at the western outlet - Khudi Khola - regulates water from this lake for irrigation purposes. Begnas Lake is also used for fishery, and the wetlands surrounding the lake are used for paddy cultivation.
10. Ghodaghodi Tal
Location: Kailai, western Nepal
Area: 25.63 sq km including 13 large oxbow lakes
Depth: 4m (average)
Ghodaghodi Tal is a Ramsar site in western Nepal, on the lower slopes of the Siwalik Hills. (Siwalik Hills are mountain ranges in the outer range of the Himalayas.)
Ghodaghodi Tal refers to 13 large oxbow lakes that lie surrounded by tropical deciduous forests in western Nepal.
The word Ghodaghodi means male and female horses, and legend has that Lord Shiva and her consort Parvati used to circle this lake after being cursed by a hermit.
These lakes support endangered species, including Bengal Tiger, Lesser Adjutant, Marsh Crocodile, Smooth Coated Otter, Eurasian Otter, Swamp Deer, Red-Crowned Turtle, and three striped roofed Turtlets.
You can reach Ghodaghodi Tal by road traveling 700 km to reach Nepalgunj. From Nepalgunj, you need to travel 123km more. If you choose to fly, you can get to Dhangadi from Kathmandu in about an hour. You will then need to travel another 77 km to reach Godhagodhi.
11. Birendra Lake
Location: Samagaun, Nepal
Birendra Lake is a freshwater lake at the Manaslu Glacier in Samagaun village of Gorkha District. Most trekkers trekking in the Manaslu Circuit visit this lake. To reach this lake, you need to start trekking in Manaslu Circuit trails after driving to Soti Khola from Kathmandu. The trek will take around a week to get to Birendra Lake.
12. Imja Tsho Lake
Location: The village of Hinku in the Everest region
Area: 1.055 square kilometers
Altitude: 5010 meters above sea level
Imja Tsho, also known as Imja Lake, formed in the 1950s when melted ice started gathering at the bottom of the Imja Glacier, creating a glacial lake. It is located in the Solu Khumbu region of the Himalayas in Nepal, specifically near the base of the Imja Glacier within the Everest region.
To reach Imja Tsho Lake, you'll start your journey by flying to Lukla in the charming Solu Khumbu region of the Himalayas in Nepal. From Lukla, you'll trek through stunning mountain trails and unique Sherpa villages. As you move towards the Everest region, you'll reach the vicinity of the Imja Glacier, where the lake is situated.
While the trek is demanding, the breathtaking views of the Himalayan landscape make it a worthwhile adventure. Hinku village is home to a tight-knit community of Rai and Limbu people, who are famous for their welcoming nature. Choosing to stay with them offers a chance to immerse yourself in their lifestyle and gain insights into their way of life.
13. Ice Lake (Kicho Tal)
Location: Manang Valley of Nepal
Altitude: 4620 meters
Locally referred to as Kicho Tal and fed by the Chulu River, Ice Lake is an excellent side hike, often undertaken for acclimatization purposes. It stands out as a key highlight along the Annapurna Circuit Trek.
To get to Ice Lake (Kicho Tal), you can opt for a flight or bus to Dhangadi, followed by a drive to Sanfebagar. The flight duration to Dhangadi is approximately one hour, and the subsequent road journey takes around eight hours. From Sanfebagar, you have the choice of either starting a trek or driving for approximately two hours to Jughada, where you can commence your hike towards Muju Bagar.
If trekking isn't your preference, you can hire a Jeep from Sanfebagar to reach Ramaroshan, which takes about 4-5 hours, provided there are no stops along the way. The most favorable seasons to visit Ice Lake (Kicho Tal) are autumn and spring, offering the best weather conditions and captivating scenic beauty.
14. Mai Pokhari
Location: Ilam district of eastern Nepal
Area: 220 acres
Mai Pokhari is also known as the lake of flowers and a lake of religious significance. The lake, surrounded by trees and mountains, hosts the Bhagwati temple nearby. Mai Pokhari is a thriving wetland, boasting unique flora and fauna within its dense forest.
To reach Mai Pokhari, you have options. A 40-minute flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur, followed by a 1 hour and 30-minute vehicle journey to Ilam. Alternatively, a 10-hour road trip from Kathmandu to Kakadvitta, then a 1-hour journey to Ilam. Choose the mode of transportation that suits your budget and preferences.
Mai Pokhari is enjoyable year-round, but the best experiences unfold during the spring (March to June) and autumn (September to November) seasons.
15. Gangapurna Lake
Location: Manang District
Area: 21.08 hectares (52.1 acres)
Gangapurna Lake is a beautiful glacial lake situated in Nepal's Manang District, close to the Annapurna Massif. To reach this lake, you can take the well-known Annapurna Circuit trek. The lake treats you to beautiful views of the nearby Himalayan peaks, and the trek itself is a mix of varied landscapes and cultural encounters.
Beginning from Besi Sahar, the journey includes charming villages, lush forests, and high-altitude mountain deserts, making it an unforgettable adventure for those who love trekking.
Excellent hotels are offering comfortable rooms for your stay. Consider organizing a brief excursion to the lovely Gangapurna Lake with your friends and family.
16. Bish Hajari Lake
Location: Chitwan district
Area: 7,900 acres
Altitude: 286 meters (938 feet) above sea level
Bishhajari Lake, a peaceful treasure in Nepal, is ready for nature enthusiasts to discover. Nestled in stunning landscapes, this calm alpine lake provides a tranquil escape.
Bish Hazari Lake, safeguarded by Chitwan National Park, is a local treasure in Chitwan known for hosting a variety of unique birds, making it a paradise for bird watchers. The lake is surrounded by dense forests, creating a habitat for diverse wildlife and vegetation.
The name "Bish Hajari" translates to Twenty Thousand (20,000), believed to resemble the lake's appearance from the sky.
Any time of the year is suitable for a visit to Bish Hazari Lake, but winter is ideal for observing distinct birds that migrate here to escape extreme cold conditions in the northern regions.
Getting to Bish Hazari Lake is convenient, with options for air or road travel. You can take a flight from Kathmandu to Bharatpur and then a road trip to Chitwan. Alternatively, opt for a public vehicle from Kathmandu to Sauraha.
To explore Bish Hazari Lake, you'll need to pay an entrance fee to Chitwan National Park. From there, you can proceed to visit the lake as part of a jungle safari experience.
17. Kajin Sara Lake
Location: Singarkharka in Chame Rural Municipality of Manang
Altitude: 5002 meters (16,411 feet)
Kaji Sara Lake, a hidden treasure in Nepal, is a delight for nature lovers. This peaceful lake is surrounded by untouched landscapes, providing a calm sanctuary.
Travelers can reach Chame from Besisahar, Lamjung, via jeep. From Chame, embark on a 6-hour uphill walk to Lamjung Himal Base Camp. The following day, continue along a rugged trail to High Camp. On the third day, trek for 2 hours to reach Kajin Sara at an elevation of 5,020m.
The return journey involves retracing your steps to High Camp (2 hours), Lamjung Base Camp, and Chame rural municipality. This itinerary for Kajin Sara Lake spans about 3-4 days, offering a trek through a pristine trail in the Annapurna region.
The optimal time to visit Kajin Sara Lake is from April to November. Once officially recognized as the world's highest lake, it is expected to attract a multitude of international and local travelers.
18. Kalmachum lake
Location: Manaslu region of Nepal
Area: 21.08 hectares (52.1 acres)
Kalmachum Lake, also called Kal Tal, stands as the largest lake. This lake is a favored side excursion for trekkers on the Manaslu Circuit Trek, accessible within a few hours from Prok village.
To get to this lake, you'll need to take the path of the Manaslu Circuit Trek, which typically spans a week starting from Soti Khola. Along the trekking trail, you'll encounter cirque-headed valleys, deep gorges, glacial valleys, towering peaks, and charming traditional villages.
The journey to Kal Tal requires about a week of trekking, and it's considered a moderately difficult trek. As long as you're in good shape and health, almost anyone can embark on this trek. It's important to be prepared to trek for an average of 4-5 hours per day.
19. Dudh Pokhari
Location: Lamjung district
Dudh Pokhari, also named the Milky Lake, is a peaceful gem nestled in the Himalayas of Nepal. This untouched alpine lake offers a quiet escape with its crystal-clear waters and breathtaking mountainous surroundings.
To reach Dudh Pokhari, many trekkers choose the Annapurna Circuit route. Whether starting from Besisahar or Nayapul, the trek meanders through charming villages, lush forests, and picturesque landscapes. Dudh Pokhari is often a delightful detour on this trek, providing a serene spot for nature enthusiasts.
The best time to visit Dudh Pokhari falls within the trekking season, typically from March to November when the weather is most favorable.
20. Ramaroshan Lake
Location: Achham district
The Ramaroshan area is a significant tourist destination, renowned as the "land of 12 lakes and 18 meadows." In this region, Jigale Lake stands as the largest, while Taune Lake holds the title of the smallest lake.
To get to Ramaroshan Lake, you can either take a flight or bus to Dhangadi and then drive to Sanfebagar. The flight to Dhangadi lasts around one hour, and the road journey from there takes approximately eight hours.
From Sanfebagar, you have the option to start trekking or drive for about two hours to Jughada, where you can commence your hike toward Muju Bagar.
The ideal seasons to visit Ramaroshan Lake are autumn and spring, offering the most favorable weather conditions and picturesque landscapes.
The lakes listed above stand as Nepal's most enchanting lakes. Undoubtedly, these lakes serve as prominent attractions, drawing thousands of trekkers, nature enthusiasts, and travelers from various corners of the world.
The calm and peaceful surroundings of these lakes provide a soothing experience for your mind and soul. Escaping the hustle and bustle of city streets, you have the opportunity to relax and cherish moments of tranquility with your friends and family at these 20 lakes in Nepal.