GHT | Kanchenjunga, Lumba Sumba & Makalu Arun Trek - Nepal

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Linking the Kanchenjunga and Makalu Barun regions via the challenging and spectacular Lumba Sumba pass, this GHT adventure is one of Nepal's most remote and adventurous treks!

Our Kanchenjunga to Makalu Barun trek follows the Great Himalayan Trail through the Kanchenjunga region in Nepal's far east and continues over the remote and breathtakingly beautiful Lumba Sumba pass to Makalu Barun National Park and the Arun and Tamor River valleys, inhabited by Limbu, Sherpa, Rai, Gurung, Magar, Newar and Tamang ethnic groups. The incredible landscapes, traditional villages, diverse topography and amazing panoramas of Himalayan peaks make this one of Nepal's absolute best treks.

Kanchenjunga (8598m) is the world's third highest mountain, surpassed only by Everest and K2, known in Tibetan as 'the great treasure house of snow'. It is certainly one of the most spectacular massifs in the Himalayan range, rising majestically from the borders of Nepal and Sikkim (India) and inhabited by Tibetans, Rais and Limbus living in remote mountain villages. The Makalu Barun Valley is a region of contrasts, where dramatic waterfalls cascade into gorges, rock outcroppings jut out from lush forests, and flowers infuse color into the white snow peaks which rise majestically above us, including magestic Makalu (8485m).

We start our journey in the Kanchenjunga region, trekking through lovely Rai villages, lush rain forests, hillsides of cardamom and a patchworks of farmland with peppered with traditional mud brick houses. Trekking north into an alpine world of alpine forests, Himalayan peaks, sparkling streams and mountain lakes, we pass through Tibetan seasonal settlements to reach Kanchenjunga North Base Camp (Pang Pema), where the Kanchenjunga massif and Kanchenjunga glacier exhibit some of the most impressive high mountain scenery on earth.

Highlights are a day trip to an awesome Jannu viewpoint and the Tibetan village of Ghunsa before crossing the snow covered Nango La pass, decorated with five-colored Tibetan prayer flags, to reach remote Olangchung Gola, a lively Tibetan village with an ancient Tibetan Buddhist monastery, traditionally woven Tibetan carpets and locally brewed tongba, or fermented millet beer.

From Olangchung Gola we start the epic crossing of the epic Lumba Sumba (Lumbha Sambha) pass, trekking along the Great Himalayan Trail, crossing the 5000+ meter Lumba Sumba pass where we are treated to awe inspiring views of Kanchenjunga and Makalu. We trek through the pristine Arun and Makalu Barun glacial valley in the Makalu Barun National Park, passing through traditional mountain villages clinging to steep hillsides, some of the least trekked trails in Nepal. The Makalu Barun region was originally inhabited by the Kiran Rais centuries ago and remains one of Nepal's most diverse regions, with incredible varieties of flora and fauna.

Trekking through the breathtakingly beautiful Makalu Barun region, we pass through the habitats of some of Nepal's endangered species such as the snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard and Assamese macaque. Rare birds, a wide variety of rhododendron, orchids and wildflowers contribute to the magic of the trek.

Explore the Kanchenjunga and Makalu Barun regions of the Nepal Himalaya with us!

Trip

Day 1  - Sunday, 23 April 2017 - Arrive Kathmandu
Day 2 - Kathmandu
Day 3 - Fly Taplejung (Suketar). Trek Aangshyan Pati or Mitlung
Day 4 - Trek Chirwa
Day 5 - Trek Sukethum (Japantar)
Day 6 - Trek Amjilosa
Day 7 - Trek Kyapra
Day 8 - Trek Phale
Day 9 - Trek Ghunsa
Day 10 - Trek Kambachen
Day 11 - Kambachen | Jannu Viewpoint Hike
Day 12 - Trek Lhonak
Day 13 - Trek Lhonak | Pang Pema (Kanchenjunga North Base Camp) Hike
Day 14 - Trek Kambachen
Day 15 - Trek Ghunsa
Day 16 - Trek Phale Kharka (Nango La High Camp)
Day 17 - Trek Langyung Kharka (cross Nango La Pass 4775m)
Day 18 - Trek Olangchung Gola
Day 19 - Olangchung Gola
Day 20 - Trek Sanjung Camp (Tamor Sumdo Camp)
Day 21 - Trek Lumba Sumba High Camp
Day 22 - Trek Sumba Yak Kharka 4550m or Langtang Camp 4200m (cross Lumba Sumba Pass 5160m)
Day 23 - Trek Thudam
Day 24 - Trek Forest Kharka Camp
Day 25 - Trek Chyamthang
Day 26 - Trek Hatiya
Day 27 - Trek Barun
Day 28 - Trek Gadidhanda Camp
Day 29 - Trek Num. Drive Khadbari
Day 30 - Drive Tumlingtar
Day 31 - Fly Kathmandu
Day 32 - Wednesday, 24 May 2017 - Depart

Chitwan National Park | Maruni Sanctuary Lodge
Chitwan + Tharu Villages Wildlife Safari

Add Ons
Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Pashupatinath, Boudhanath + Swayambunath (+$75)
Kathmandu Durbar Square Walking Tour | Durbar Square (+$50)
Bhaktapur Heritage Sightseeing Tour (+$100)
Patan Heritage Sightseeing Tour (+$50)
Extra Trek Day Gandruk (+105)
Extra Day Chitwan (+$125)
Everest Sightseeing Flight (+$250)
Extension Shivapuri Heights Cottage (+75 Night Depending on Room)
Cycling Trip in Kathmandu Valley (+Trip Price)

Nepal Modules
Nepal & Kathmandu Modules | Customize Your Trip!

We strongly suggest keeping an extra 'free' day in Kathmandu in case of flight delays or cancellations out of Tumlingar. Or just to enjoy some of Kathmandu's many sites and adventures!

Highlights+Reviews

Trip Advisor Reviews

Trekkers Comments
Trekking in the Himalaya, for me, was a lifelong dream. I am so glad I went with Kamzang Journeys on the Kanchenjunga to Makalu Trek! We had the most fantastic crew of porters who are cared for with kindness and compassion by Kim and Lhakpa. I felt like I was a part of something special, something beyond beautiful peaks and high passes. We were trekking during the month of the great earthquakes in Nepal in April - May 2015, so our trek had many challenges all of which were met with thoughtful consideration for our safety and the safety of our porters. We became a close knit group. The terrain was dazzling, the food well thought out and very considerate of dietary restrictions all due to Kim's careful planning. We had individual tents. Our Kamzang-style community tent was comfortable full of wonderful tea, rugs, sling chairs, books and music- making camp time a warm wonderful place to chill out. Kim has this absolutely sorted. Our trekking days were well managed, Kim's genuine interest in the local people and her ability to communicate with the locals made our village visits intimate. This was a trek of a lifetime for me, which I am happy to say will be the first of many with the wonderful Kamzang team. I feel like I have made friends in this exotic exhilarating corner of the world.
 - Shannon F (Australia), GHT | Kanchenjunga to Makalu Trek 2015

Kim (Kamzang Journeys) manages a great trek! She's personable, fun and takes responsibility to make everything work as well as possible given sometimes challenging circumstances. Kim truly loves Nepal and its people. It shows in the many ways she engages with the local people. She tries very hard to provide a great experience that works for everyone on the trek.
 - Rick T (USA), Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek 2013

Read More Testimonials
Trekkers' Comments

Trek Highlights

  • Kanchenjunga North Base Camp at Pang Pema
  • Makalu Barun National Park
  • Remote Olangchung Gola village
  • Jannu viewpoint from Kambachen
  • Ghunsa & Phale (Tibetan villages)
  • Nango La & Lumba Sammba high routes
  • Start in Nepal's semi-tropical 'middle hills'
  • Himalayan panoramas & snow peaks
  • Lots of wildlife
  • A piece of 'Old Tibet'
  • Remote trekking with few other trekkers
  • Kamzang-style camping
  • Challenging trekking in the Nepal Himalaya!

Kim Bannister Photo Gallery | Trip + Trek Photos
Kim Bannister Photography

Kamzang Journeys | Country + Regional Photos
Kamzang Journeys Photos

Kamzang Journeys Group Photos
Group Photos

Himalayan Photos
Himalayan Wildlife Photos

Himalayan Bird Photos

Himalayan Flower Photos

Market + Street Food Photos
Asian Markets + Street Food

Travel Reading | Enhance Your Trip!
Travel Books

Articles on Kanchenjunga
Lumba Sumba Pass | Great Himalayan Trail | ECS Online Magazine

India, Nepal & Bhutan Unite to Protect Kanchjunga - Mail Online India

Trekking Nepal's Forgotten Mountain - BBC

Faces of Kanchenjuna - Blog, DreamWanderlust

Five Mountains Deadlier than Everest - Mental Floss

Kanchenjunga - Great Himalayan Trail

Kanchenjunga - Britannica

Date+Price

2017 Dates
23 April - 24 May
32 Days

Trek Price
$4680

+ Single Upgrade Options Available
+ NO Single Supplement for Trek (Single Tents)!

Includes

  • Kathmandu Guest House
  • Airport transfers
  • Domestic flights & local departure tax
  • Group transportation by private vehicle
  • Kanchenjunga & Makalu Barun Conservation Area Permits
  • Kamzang-Style Trekking
    Marmot or Big Agnes tents (2x, or 3x for couples), delicious & copious 'gourmet' food with seasonal, fresh produce, French-press coffee, chai, Kashmiri & herbal teas, Katadyn filtered drinking water, warm washing water, library, 'lounge' with dhurri rugs, Crazy Creek camp chairs, blankets & the occasional music at night, oxygen & PAC bag (when needed), full medical kit, horses, yaks or porters, Western, Sherpa & local guides (when needed), our 5-star staff & the signature yellow 'Kamzang Dining Tent', NO single supplement for single tents. And flexibility ...

 Safety & Health Precautions

  • Thuraya satellite phone
  • InReach satellite messaging system
  • Updated route published on InReach site
  • Helicopter evacuation services (excluding cost of evacuation)
  • Oxygen saturation monitoring system
  • PAC bag (portable oxygen chamber)
  • Full medical kit & stretcher
  • Kayadyn filtered water
  • Safe, sanitary, delicious & plentiful food and drinks

Excludes

  • Travel medical & travel insurance (both required)
  • Nepal Visa
  • Helicopter rescue service
  • Helicopter shuttle to or from airports in case of flight cancellations or delays
  • Meals (while not on trek)
  • International flights
  • Monastery donations
  • Equipment rental
  • Alcohol & packaged drinks
  • Laundry
  • Tipping & other items of a personal nature

Tips & Extra Cash
Allow approx $250 for meals (while not on trek), drinks (on trek) and tips. We recommend $300 per trekker thrown into the tips pool for the crew.

Contact+Details

Trekker's Comments
Travel Books

Kamzang Journeys Contact
Kim Bannister
kim@kamzang.com
Mobile: +(977) 9803414745
On-Trek Satellite Phone: +88216 21277980 (Nepal)
On-Trek Satellite Phone: +88216 21274092 (Tibet & India)

Kathmandu Contact
Khumbu Adventures
hiking.guide@gmail.com
Office: +(977) 01 4488352
Lhakpa Dorji Mobile: +(977) 9841 235461, 9813 371542
Doma Mobile: +(977) 9841 510833, 9803 675361

InReach Explorer
We have a MapShare page that works for sending emails to our InReach messaging device. Give this link to people who want to follow us and have them send us a message so we have their email in the system. We can email them back directly Please tell people not to expect updates every day. There is a ‘message’ button on the top left, and the message sender needs to put their EMAIL address instead of phone number to get a response. Messages are free, enjoy.

Follow Us on Facebook
Kamzang Journeys Facebook
I will post InReach updates to our Kamzang Journeys Facebook page if friends & family want to follow our progress.

Satellite Phone
We carry a satellite phone with us for emergencies. Send us a free message at the online Thuraya link below. We can call you back or email you back. If you want a return call or email include your contact info. You can send this in two SMSs if needed.
Kim Satellite: +88216 (21277980)
Lhakpa Satellite: +88216 (87710076)
Thuraya

Arrival Hotel
Kathmandu Guest House

Kathmandu Guest House Single or Double Upgrades | 3 Nights
Garden Single - $75
Deluxe Single or Double - $300

Kathmandu Guest House Extra Nights
Includes breakfast + 25% taxes
Book with Kamzang Journeys + save on room rates

Kathmandu Guest House | Room Prices
Standard Single - $80
Standard Double - $100
Garden Single - $120
Garden Double - $140
Deluxe Single - $200
Deluxe Double - $220

Kamzang Journeys | Room Prices
Standard Single - $55
Standard Double - $75
Garden Single - $80
Garden Double - $100
Deluxe Single - $160
Deluxe Double - $180

Extra Days in Kathmandu | Customize your Journey!
We have plenty of great suggestions for extra days, or weeks, in Nepal! See our Nepal & Kathmandu Modules | Customize Your Trip! to put together the perfect journey.

Mountain biking, rafting, vespa tours or yoga retreats around the Kathmandu valley or Pokhara, trips to Bhaktapur or Patan (Kathmandu Valley's other historic capital cities), a visit to the Newari temple of Changu Narayan and a night at the Fort Hotel in Nagarkot for sublime Himalayan panoramas, an Everest sightseeing flight, a luxurious stay at Temple Tree Resort & Spa, paragliding, hiking or zip-lining in Pokhara, a spa & wellness getaway at Dwarikas Resort in Dhulikhel, a relaxing excursion to Chitwan National Park Wildlife Safari & Tharu Villages (staying at Maruni Sanctuary Lodge) or Bardia National Park, a weekend of adventure, sauna and pampering at The Last Resort or five-star treatment in historic Dwarika's in Kathmandu.

Kamzang Journeys can customize any of these excursions for you, just inquire!

Kathmandu
Kathmandu Heritage + Happenings

Photo Gallery | Trip + Trek Photos
Kim Bannister Photography

Visas
You can get your Nepal visa either at the airport (or any land border) when you arrive in Nepal, or before you leave home.
Nepal Visa

Health Information
Nepal Health Information
CDC

We also recommend bringing probiotics with you to help prevent infections while on trek. Doctor's recommendation!

Travel Medical Insurance
Required for your own safely. We carry a copy of your insurance with all contact, personal and policy information with us on the trek and our office in Kathmandu keeps a copy. Note that we almost always trek over 4000 meters (13,000+ feet) and that we don't do any technical climbing with ropes, ice axes or crampons.

Global Rescue
We recommend that our trekkers also sign up for Global Rescue, which is rescue services only, as a supplement to your travel medical insurance.
Book package through Wicis-Sports via Carlota Fenes (carlota@wicis-media.com)

Wicis-Sports Wearable Tech | Sports Package
Live personal heath stats via a wearable chest strap heart rate monitor.
Track your vitals (heart rate, temperature, oxygen saturation), the weather, GPS locations, altitude, speed, bearing and stream LIVE via a Thuraya satellite hot spot. Partners: OCENS (weather), Global Rescue, Aspect Solar.

"Thuraya Telecom + WiCis Sports offer connectivity to Himalayan treks + expeditions"

"Founded in 2011 by Harvard and Stanford anesthesiologist Dr. Leo Montejo and located in the Lake Tahoe area, the company’s goal is to promote the use of mHealth and tracking devices to make adventure sports safer and engage their followers with real time data that is either private or also available to social medial platforms."

Book package through Wicis-Sports via Carlota Fenes (carlota@wicis-media.com)

Medical
We have a full medical kit with us including Diamox (for acclimatizing), antibiotics, inhalers, bandages, re-hydration, painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs etc. but please bring a supply of all prescription and personal medications. Kim has First Aid, CPR and Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certifications as well as many years of experience with altitude in the Himalaya but is NOT a qualified medic or doctor, so please have a check-up before leaving home, and inform us of any medical issues. This is for YOUR OWN safety.

DO bring all prescription medications and good rehydration/electrolytes. We advise bringing your own Diamox, Ciprofloxin, Azithromyacin & Augmentin. We have all of these with us but the Western versions are always better than the Indian equivalents.

PAC Bag + Oxygen
We carry a Portable Oxygen Chamber, or Gammow Bag, with us on many treks. There is no charge for use of the PAC bag but oxygen is $300 per canister (cost price, pass on to insurance company).

Notes on Itinerary
Although we try to follow the itinerary below, it is ONLY a guideline based on years of experience trekking in the Himalaya. At times local trail, river or weather conditions may make a deviation necessary; rivers may be impassible, snow blocks passes, and landslides wipe out trails. The trekking itinerary and campsites may also vary slightly depending on the group's acclimatization rate or sickness.

The Himalaya are our passion, and we take trekking seriously. Although everyone is here on vacation, please come with a dollop of patience and compassion added to your sense of adventure ...

Arrival Kathmandu

Arrival
You will be met at the airport by the Kathmandu Guest House van or our Kamzang Journeys driver. Look for a sign with your name on it AND the Kathmandu Guest House sign. You will be driven to the Kathmandu Guest House (or the hotel of your choice) where your rooms have been booked for you. Kim will meet you at the Kathmandu Guest House to go over details and get you settled into Kathmandu.

Arrival Hotel
Kathmandu Guest House

Visas
You can get your Nepal visa either at the airport (or any land border) when you arrive in Nepal, or before you leave home.
Nepal Visa

Temperatures + Clothing
Kathmandu during trekking season, in the spring and autumn, is usually warm (t-shirt, sandals, light pants or skirts) during the day, and gets chilly (light fleece or windproof top) in the afternoon. Nights can be cold enough for a sweater or light jacket, or warm enough for t-shirts. Summer is hotter and wetter; you’ll need a rain jacket and umbrella. The winter months (November – March) are chilly in the mornings and evenings, cold enough that you might start the day in a down jacket, but often warms up enough to wear a t-shirt by mid-day. Nights get cold enough for a down jacket if you’re sitting outside in the spring and autumn, and much colder in the winter when you won’t leave the hotel without your down jacket. It never snows in Kathmandu, leave your snow boots behind. Keens or lightweight sandals great for wandering around Kathmandu, and for trekking in lower altitudes.

Trekking is a mixed bag of temperatures. LAYERS are the key as hot can change quickly to freezing crossing the passes and snowfalls are common. We often have some rain below 3000 meters in the spring and early autumn, and it can rain hard in the summer. Have a wide range of layer-able trekking clothes for summer to winter temperatures. Keep a lightweight down jacket or synthetic jacket with you at all times, available inexpensively in Kathmandu. A lightweight rain poncho and umbrella for trekking recommended spring and summer. Be prepared! See our GEAR LIST for full details on gear, shoes, clothing, electronics and meds for the trek.

There are lots of real gear shops (North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Sherpa Gear) and of course many fake ones in Kathmandu, so if you don't think you have the right gear starting the trip it will be easy to pick-up stuff once in Kathmandu. We have sleeping bags, duffel bags down jackets to rent.

Dress conservatively in Kathmandu and on the trail as a rule. Shorts are okay if they aren't too short, mini skirts aren’t recommended. Sleeveless t-shirts are absolutely fine, but perhaps avoid tank-tops on the trail. Super tight doesn't go over so well with the village elders. Many of the younger generation in Nepal wear modern Indian or Western-influenced clothes, but remember that you haven't signed up for a beach or surf vacation. Use your good judgment, be an ambassador for western tourists! Please ask Kim or your guide if unsure about appropriate clothing.

Duffel Bags
We have North Face style duffel bags with Kamzang Journeys logos for sale (XL, orange). They are (mostly) waterproof, mid to lightweight (lighter than North Face) and good quality. Price 4000 NRP (about $40)

Cultural Issues
Nepalis are very open and welcoming, but there are a few issues you should be aware of to make your stay in Nepal more fulfilling. Use your right hand to pass things, shake hands or do most anything. Left hands are somewhat taboo. Nepali's often place their left hand on the right forearm when passing things to others, a sign of respect. Best not to pat kids on heads, or point feet ahead of you at monasteries. Don't walk over someone's legs or feet, but put your hand down in front of you to signal them to pull their legs to the side. Take off shoes and hats when going into Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples, don't use flashes inside monasteries or temples in general, be respectful of a puja (prayer ceremony) if attending one. You can talk, all religious are very tolerant, but be aware of your level of voice.

Nepalis don't anger quickly, so try not to raise your voice if exasperated or angry as it only will make a situation worse. Do bargain at shops, with taxis and rickshaws, but don't fleece them. They are poor and making a living, generally.

Give small donations on the streets if you choose, but try not to encourage begging too much. Be aware of who you are giving money to, and please only give small amounts. If you do want to donate to a cause, ask about our Kamzang Fund or other responsible organizations.

Pampering Yourself in Kathmandu
We’re happy to book your rooms before or after the trek (or upgrade during the trek) at other boutique or luxury hotels in Kathmandu. We recommend Dwarika’s, Shangri-La, Yak & Yeti or Hyatt. We can also direct you to wonderful spa & massage centers in Kathmandu.

Tips for Staff
We recommend at least $200 per person to go into the tip pool for the staff. Please bring Nepali Rupees (NRP) with you on the trek for the tips. It’s nice to buy the staff drinks on the last night. Or any other night that you feel like getting them a bottle of Kukure Rum!

Tips in General
Tips are always appreciated but they don’t need to be extravagant. 100 NRP to carry bags to/from your room is fine. The women who clean your room will be happy with 100-200 NRP when you leave, and 100 NRP is good for drivers to/from the airport. Round up taxi fares. A larger tip would be expected for a daytrip in a car, perhaps 500 NRP. 10% is included in most restaurant and hotel bills in Nepal, and if it’s not included it’s still expected. Check your bills, and still round up at restaurants. Feel free to give out small change to the beggars in the streets (5, 10, 20 NRP) but try not to give it out to the street kids who use it for glue to sniff.

Cash + ATMs
You’ll want some cash with you on the trek for drinks, snacks, beer, sodas, etc. There are often  chances to during the trek, and usually local crafts to buy en route. (You’ll want your tip money in NRP as well). There are ATMs in KTM but they don’t dispense large amounts of cash (usually 10-20,000 NRP) so you’ll be best with currency or TCs to change.

International Medical Center Kathmandu
CIWEC

Kathmandu + Kathmandu Valley Information
Our personalized 'Insider' list of things to do, places to go, what to visit, the most happening restaurants + the best hotels in Kathmandu and the beautiful Kathmandu Valley.
Kathmandu Heritage + Happenings

Gear List

Travel Photography Gear Guide
The Complete Guide to Gear for the Landscape Photographer

Gear List
This is a guideline, not a bible, for the gear you will need on the trek. Ask if you have questions! One 15 kg (33 lbs) maximum weight limit for the duffel bag for flights. 20 kg (50 lbs) weight limit for treks.

  • Duffel Bag
  • Day Pack (35-45 L)
  • Sleeping Bag (-20F/-30C recommended)
  • Down Jacket
  • Trekking Boots
  • Air Mattress
  • Crocs (evenings & washing) 

  • Trekking Pants (2-3)
  • T-Shirts (3)
  • Long-sleeve Trekking Shirts (2-3)
  • Trekking Jacket
  • Gortex (or similar) Jacket & Pants
  • Fleece or Thermal Top (evenings)
  • Fleece or Thermal Bottoms (evenings)
  • Lightweight Long Underwear (to sleep in or layer under clothes)
  • Socks (5)
  • Gloves (lighter & heavier for passes)
  • Wool Hat
  • Baseball Cap or Wide-brimmed Hat
  • Camp Towel
  • Trekking Poles (optional, recommended)
  • Down Booties (optional, recommended)
  • Sunglasses (2)
  • Water Bottles | Nalgenes (2-3)
  • Bladder (optional, recommended)
  • Toiletries, Sunscreen with SPF, Lip Balm with SPF
  • Watch (with alarm)
  • Extra Batteries
  • Battery Chargers
  • Head Lamp 
(2)
  • Yak Trax (for treks with icy passes)
  • Water Purifying Tablets, Small Water Filter or Steripen
  • Camp Washing Bowl (optional, collapsible for clothes)
  • Laundry Detergent (Kathmandu) or Bio-degradable Clothes Soap
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Small Solar Panel (optional, recommended for iPods, iPhones, camera batteries, Kindles)
  • Book(s)
  • Zip-Lock | Plastic Bags
  • Soft Toilet Paper | Tissues (we supply toilet paper but you will want something softer for blowing your nose)
  • Baby-Wipes | Wet-Wipes (for personal cleaning)
  • Handi-Wipes, J-Cloth or Chux (optional: easy for a quick daytime clean, fast drying)
  • Rehydration | Electrolytes
  • Snacks!
  • Personal Medical Supplies

NOTE: We have a 'dress code' for the evenings in the tent, which essentially means you'll be changing out of your trekking clothes and into clean, dry evening clothes!

Medical Supplies
We strongly suggest bringing Western meds with you as there are a lot of Indian fakes on the market!

Suggested: Diamox, Azithromyacin, Ciprofloxacin, Tinidazole or Flagyl & Augmentin. Bring COMPEED for covering blisters & good tasting electrolytes &/or rehydration salts (Emergen-C is a good American brand). The local versions aren’t very appealing.
We also recommend bringing strong knee & ankle supports & braces, ACE bandages for sprains & strains, Tegaderm &/or other would coverings. Duct tape is always useful. We're happy to take excess medical supplies off your hands when you leave if you won't need them and pass them on to others. We use lots of the large amount we have with us to treat locals as well as our own trekkers ...

Comments on Gear
Layers are essential for trekking. Quality is more important than quantity. It’s worth investing in the great, newer lightweight trekking gear available in all gear shops, online or in Kathmandu.

Kim's Gear Suggestions: I generally wear a trekking t-shirt, light trekking pants, a mid-weight shirt, a lightweight synthetic jacket (instead of a fleece), a lightweight jacket and pants for wind and rain. If the weather looks stormy or it’s a pass day I carry a lightweight down jacket and a storm-weight jacket. I always have a pair of lightweight gloves (heavier ones additionally for pass days), a hat, a baseball cap and an extra pair of socks in my day-pack. I generally trek in low Merrill hiking shoes, and Keen boots on very cold days and over passes. I always carry Crocs with me in case of river crossings, or to air my feet at lunch. I carry a 38 L (although it looks larger) Black Diamond day pack although I also love Osprey packs. On pass days I carry Yak Trax and trekking poles, and I always have an extra pair of sunglasses, electrolytes, my camera, a medical kit, a Steripen, snacks and lots of water in my pack. My favorite gear brands available in Kathmandu are Sherpa Gear, Mountain Hardwear and Marmot. I wear lots of Patagonia gear although it's not available in Kathmandu.

Good trekking boots are essential. High boots are best, but you don’t need climbing or plastic boots (for mini-crampons or micro-spikes). You can also get away with low, sturdy trekking boot, which I wear quite often except for over the passes. Trekking poles are not required but strongly recommended, especially for going down passes which are often steep and icy and for treks with river crossings. Bring gators if you tend to use them but they’re not required if you don't own a pair. Micro-spikes (mini-crampons) or YakTraxs are almost always useful (or essential) for the pass crossings. We will have at least one ice ax with us. It’s also good (possibly essential) to have a pair of plastic Crocs for washing and to wear in the lodges in the evenings. Tevas take a long time to dry and are relatively heavy.

Good, polarized sunglasses are essential. Do bring an extra pair. Don’t forget a sun hat and/or a baseball cap, an extra headlamp and have plenty of sunscreen and lip balm with SPF!

The weather is changeable in the Himalaya, so again I recommend that everyone has a strong, WATERPROOF duffel bag for the trip (although they do tend to weigh more). We supply covers that go over the duffel bags to protect them from rain, dirt & rips.

Nights are chilly to cold, so a down jacket and a WARM sleeping bag are essentials. For your sleeping bag, we recommend a DOWN bag of 0 to -20 F (-18 to -28 C). Mine is -20 F. At lower altitudes I open it and sleep under it like a quilt and up higher am toasty warm during the cold nights. Campsites near passes can get COLD. Rentals available. The dining tent is a Tibetan style ‘yurt’, with blankets and camp chairs on the ground. It warms up in the evenings with the gas lamp but it is still important to have warm clothes for the evenings. I always use down booties which are great when it’s cold, but a pair of thick wool socks also work.

Bring extra large plastic bags or stuff-sacks in case of rain. You can pack electronics in them or stash your sleeping bag and clothes. The weather is changeable in the Himalaya, so again I recommend that everyone has a strong, WATERPROOF duffel bag for the trip. We supply covers that go over the duffel bags to protect them from rain, dirt & thorns.

Tents
Everyone gets their own Marmot Thor 2 tent without a single supplement. Singles have a 2-person tent and couples share a larger, 3-person version.

Daypack
We recommend a 35-45 liter daypack (ask at your gear shop if you’re not sure of the capacity). Better to have it too large than too small as on pass days you’ll need to carry more warm gear. Most have internal water bladders built in, which are good for ensuring that you stay hydrated. Make sure it fits and is comfortable before purchasing!

In your daypack, you will be carrying your camera, 2 liters of water, a jacket, wind & rain pants, hat, gloves, extra socks, sunscreen, snacks, electrolytes, water purifying tablets, filter, or Steripen camera, hand sanitizer, a pack-cover and often a down jacket. I slip my Crocs on the back in case of unexpected stream crossings or for lunch. Lhakpa & I carry small medical kits in our daypacks.

Water
We bring KATADYN expedition-sized water filters along on the trek for fresh drinking water, ecologically the best way to get water in the Himalaya’s fragile trekking regions. Bring your own filter pump, Steripen/UV purifier or iodine/chlorine tablets for fresh water while trekking. NOTE: To be extra safe with your drinking water, you can drop one purifying tablet into your water bottle after filling with our filtered water. Make sure you wait the required amount of time before drinking, and don’t add anything with Vitamin C as this negates the iodine.

Please bring at least TWO (and better three) Nalgene, Sigg or other unbreakable plastic/metal water bottles. Camelbacks and other bladder systems are good for trekking but can leak, so as a back-up it’s best to also bring a Nalgene or other water bottle.

NOTE: We do not provide boiled water for drinking on either our tea-house/lodge or our camping treks although there is endless hot water for herbal, black or green teas, hot chocolate, hot lemon as well as Indian chai and Kashmiri tea.

Snacks
You will NEED snacks hiking at altitude, even if you’re not a snacker. People crave unusual foods at altitude!  Energy bars, ‘GU’ gels, chocolate bars, dried fruit & nuts, beef jerky (or whatever) are important to have along for long days, pre-lunch bonks and passes. Lemonade mix, Emergen-C or similar drink mixes are great to have for hot days in your water bottles, and it is ESSENTIAL to bring electrolytes with you every day.  

Bring something to share in the tent in the evenings if you want. Cheese is great as a treat on a cheese-board before dinner (Blue, Stilton, Yarlsburg, good Cheddar, Brie, etc). If you would like, bring a bit of your favorite and we’ll throw it on a cheese board for appetizers one night.

NOTE: Nothing besides your personal snack food is required, but it’s fun to see what everyone comes up with!  Almost all basics available in Kathmandu, so no need to over-load.

Rentals
We have Western down jackets to rent for $1.50 per day.  We also have good super-down sleeping bags to rent (0 to -10 F) for $2.50 per day.

Duffel Bags
We have North Face-style duffels with Kamzang logos for sale, L & XL. They’re very good quality and come in Yellow (L) for $35, Orange (XL) for $40 or Orange (S) for $30.

Packing & Storage
It’s easiest to pack and unpack from a duffel bag, especially when the temperature drops, and easiest for porters to carry. Inexpensive and decent quality duffels are available in Kathmandu but it’s best to invest in a strong, waterproof duffel such as a North Face. You can store extra gear in Kathmandu at the Kathmandu Guest House storage room free of charge. Valuables can be stored at the Kathmandu Guest House in private safety-deposit boxes for 2 NRP per day.

Shopping
Almost all gear is now available in Kathmandu, from real (North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Sherpa, Marmot shops in Thamel) to inexpensive knock-offs. The real gear shops take credit cards.

Kanchenjunga+Makalu

Kanchenjunga Region
Majestic Kanchenjunga (8598 meters) is the world’s third highest mountain, surpassed only by Everest and K2. It is certainly one of the most spectacular massifs in the Himalayan range, rising majestically from the borders of Nepal and Sikkim (India). The region, inhabited by Tibetans and Limbus living in remote mountain villages, can be approached by both the Nepal and the Indian sides. Our trek along the Great Himalayan Trail to Kanchenjunga begins in Tumlingtar, in the Makalu region of Nepal.

Kanchenjunga is worshiped by the Tibetans in Sikkim as the home of their protector gods so isn't climbed as much as the other Himalayan mountains. The first attempt to climb Kanchenjunga was in 1905 by Aleister Crowley, but the first successful attempt at climbing wasn't until the British expedition of 1955. Located east of the great cleft of the Arun Salpa valley, the Kanchenjunga region receives the heaviest monsoon rains in all of the Himalaya. Its middle hills are lush, green and semi-tropical, full of seasonal flowers and foliage. Opened to trekking 1988, the Kanchenjunga region provides an opportunity to visit Rai and Limbu villages in the lush middle hills, and pristine forests, Himalayan glaciers and far-flung Tibetan villages higher up.

Makalu Barun Region
The Makalu Barun National Park, established in 1992, is the extension of the Sagarmatha National Park. Located in the districts of Solu Khumbu and Sankhuwasabha, it is the world's only protected area with an elevation higher than 8000 meters which encloses tropical forest as well as snow capped peaks - Makalu (8463m), the world’s fifth highest peak, Chamalang (7319m), Baruntse (7129m) and Mera (6654m). To the north, in Tibet, is the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve. The Barun Valley is a stunning region of waterfalls, steep sided gorges, jutting rocks, dense forested hillsides, bright flowers and Himalayan peaks. The Barun River is known as Chukchuwa in the local indigenous Kirat language, and studies have shown that this region was originally inhabited Kulung Kirat Rais centuries ago.

Forests range from tropical, subtropical, temperate and subalpine, and the wide array of trees found in this region range from bamboo, sal, oak, laurel, maple, magnolia, Himalayan birth, Himalayan fir and conifers such as juniper and fir.The alpine regions are carpeted with dwarf rhododendron and many colorful wildflowers, as well as herbs that are collected by amchis (Tibetan doctors) to make medicine. There are said to be 25 of Nepal’s 30 varieties of rhododendrons, 48 varieties of primroses and 47 varieties of orchids.

Inhabiting this diverse topographical region are red panda, snow leopard, Indian leopard, clouded leopard, jungle cat, golden jackel, Himalayan wolf, red fox, black bear, Hanuman langur (monkey), Assam macaque (monkey), Himalayan tahr, Himalayan goral, musk deer, barking deer, wild boar, marmots, weasels, flying squirrel, otters and more. You will also find a wide variety of butterflies, reptiles, many species of birds, from eagles and vultures, white-necked storks and sunbirds to parakeet, varieties of kingfisher, flycatcher and spiny warbler.

"In 1988, the Makalu Barun Conservation Area Project (MBCAP)  was initiated as a joint endeavor of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and TMI. At the time, about 32,000 people resided in the conservation area's 12 Village Development Committees, who are primarily subsistence farmers of Sherpa, Rai, Gurung, Tamang, Magar, Newar, Brahmin and Chhetri ethnic groups. An innovative community-based conservation approach emphasized management of biodiversity together with local communities. Community Forest User Groups were created with legal rights to use designated forested areas on a sustainable basis. Ecotourism was promoted as a way of expanding off-farm employment opportunities for local people while at the same time minimizing negative environmental impact. Hunting and trapping of rare and endangered wild animals is strictly prohibited in the MBNPCA, except in extreme cases of threat to human life. There was also a provision for compensating farmers for crop and livestock depredation caused by endangered species. The inaccessible valleys of the Barun River, the glacier-fed tributary to the Arun River, treasure some of the last remaining pristine forests and alpine meadows. This area has been designated as a Strict Nature Reserve, the first in Nepal, in order to protect natural ecosystems and processes in an undisturbed state for scientific study, environmental monitoring, education and the maintenance of genetic resources.” - Wikipedia

"In the ancient religious Buddhist books, seven Beyul situated in the Himalayan region are described as mystical and spectacularly beautiful evergreen places where no one gets old. It is told that, in case of great cataclysm, life will remain only in these seven areas of the world. In those books one of the Beyul is mentioned to be situated somewhere at this Makalu-Barun region." - Wikipedia

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu 1340m
You'll be met at the airport by a representative from the Kathmandu Guest House, so look out for a Kathmandu guest house sign when you leave the airport. They will bring you back to the Kathmandu Guest House, where your rooms are booked.

Kim will meet you at the guest house and introduce you to Thamel, the main tourist area of Kathmandu. Thamel is a myriad of banners, signs, music shops, bakeries, internet cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels, shops of all imaginable varieties and eccentrically clad backpackers. Over dinner we'll go over some of the logistics of the trek and get to know each other over a few beers ...

Day 2 - Kathmandu
Morning meeting at 9:30 in the back garden of the Kathmandu Guest House. The day is free to explore Kathmandu, take excursions into the Kathmandu valley, shop, visit the spa, have a massage or just read a book in the lovely Kathmandu Guest House gardens. We'll have time for a bit of gear shopping in Thamel for anyone who needs to, and in the evening will head out for dinner of wood-oven pizza at the Roadhouse Cafe.

Sightseeing in Kathmandu
Kathmandu is filled with World Heritage sites and sacred destinations, crowded with traditional neighborhoods and colorful festivals. Spend a few days exploring Nepal's exotic capital and the history-laden Kathmandu valley. We can arrange sightseeing guide, vehicles and guides as required. See Kathmandu Heritage + Happenings for more details.

We recommend beginning with Pashupatinath in the early morning, and moving on to Boudhanath mid-morning. Hindu Pashupatinath on the sacred Bagmati river and its sacred temple complex is one of Nepal's most important sites, a powerful cremation site and Nepal's most important Hindu temple. Here, monkeys run up and down the steps of the burning ghats, and trident-bearing saddhus draped in burnt-orange and saffron sit serenely meditating, when they’re not posing for photos-for-rupees. Local guides can explain the significance of the complicated ceremonies. Please be respectful when taking photos.

Boudhanath, in the midst of traditional monasteries (gompas) and hung with long strings of multi-colored prayer flags, attracts Sherpas, Tibetans and tourists alike for daily circumambulations (koras) of the iconic stupa. The striking Buddha eyes of Boudhanath Stupa watch over a lively and colorful Tibetan community and attract pilgrims from all over the Himalayan Buddhist realm. There are wonderful spots for lunch at Boudhanath (Roadhouse Cafe has wood-oven pizzas and a breathtaking view of the stupa and colorful Nepals circling it), and it's a good place to learn the technique of thanka painting and purchase a thanka (Buddhist mural). See also Bhaktapur for more options for shopping for thankas.

Wander through the many temples, pagodas, courtyards and the museum at Kathmandu Durbar Square, a timeless gathering spot and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Kathmandu Durbar Square, including the old royal palace, is Kathmandu's 'Palace Square', a showcase for the world renown artisans and craftsmen of Kathmandu and a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist palaces, temples, stupas and statues. The Malla and Shah kings ruled over the Kathmandu Valley during the centuries of the building of the layers of this Durbar Square. Along with their opulent palaces, the square surrounds numerous courtyards and temples, all works of art with intricate and often erotic carvings. Kathmandu Durbar Square is known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, a name derived from a statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, at the entrance of the palace. The social, religious and urban focal point of the city, Durbar Square is often the site of festivals, marriages and other ceremonies such as Teej. Some important structures are Hanuman Dhoka Palace, Kumari Ghar (Abode of the Living Goddess), Taleju Temple, built between the 12th and 18th centuries, the 17th century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages.

In the evening (take the interesting back streets from Durbar Square) climb the many steps to the gilded Swayambhunath stupa (known as the monkey temple) which rises from the Kathmandu valley floor at 1420 meters and is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal. . Swayambunath, the 'self created’  stupa, was founded over 2000 years ago at a time when the Kathmandu valley was filled by a large lake, with a single lotus in the center. Mythology says that Manjusri, a bodhisvatti, drained the lake with one cut of his sword and the lotus flower was transformed into the stupa. From its commanding views of Kathmandu, circumambulate Swayambunath's white-washed stupa, painted with distinctive Buddha eyes, the complex a unique synthesis of Buddhism and Hinduism. Another interesting time to visit Swayambunath is in the mornings, when Nepalis visit the temple dedicated to the God of Smallpox to with colorful offerings for the goddess.

Stop to photograph reflections in Kathmandu's many pokhari's, or ponds, including the beautiful Rani Pokhari (queen's bath) near New Road, and the Naga Pokhari (pond of the snake gods of the underworld) just beyond the palace gates. The many bathing ghats, square enclosures with steps leading down to water spouts, often decorated with naga heads, are also interesting and colorful gathering spots.

Day 3 - Fly Taplejung (Suketar) 1885m. Trek Aangshyanpati or Mitlung 880m
We head to the airport after breakfast for our scenic, hour long flight over green, terraced rice fields, high ridges and past Himalayan peaks to Taplejung (Suketar) Airport in far eastern Nepal, a region of Rai, Lhomi and other Nepali hill people who carry their loads with traditional Nepali dokas, or woven reed baskets. Rural Taplejung is the starting point of our trek to the Arun valley and also east to the remote, Tibetan Kanchenjunga region.

We meet the crew here in Taplejung and begin trekking north, starting with a long descent through a patchwork of terraced villages until we reach the Tamor Nadi, at 900 meters. Passing through green fields of cardamom, we hike past several Chhetri and Bahun (Brahmin) villages, interspersed with neat Limbu and Rai villages, sometimes on stone steps. The small but busy villages are alive with rabbits in cages, squealing piglets, plenty of chickens and other livestock fenced near the traditional houses. The fields are planted with maize and buckwheat, and there are vivid green rice paddies throughout. WE soon pass through Handewar, a lovely, scenic village, and soon afterwards reach the hamlet of Aangshyanpati, where we camp for the night in the green school yard.

NEXT CAMP: If time permits, we continue to trek through more lush fields of cardamom, often watered by small sprinklers which shoot sprays of water over the trail, to Mitlung, at the intersection of the Tamor Nadi (River), another 2 1/2 hours of trekking from Aangshyanpati. Camp is above a great swimming river, right below a long suspension bridge, in the camping fields of one of our local contacts, who happens to own a shop. Beers are be available, perfect for our first afternoon's sundowners at this low altitude camp. If you have a good stomach, sample some traditional Nepali snacks at the bhattis, or Nepali tea houses. At camp you will meet the full Kamzang Journeys team! Chai is brewing, and we'll introduce you to our 'Kamzang style' dining tent and your personal Marmot Thor 2 person tents (3 person tents for couples). Enjoy! (2 or 4 1/2 hrs)

Day 4 - Trek Chiruwa (Chirwa) 1230m
Waking to a misty middle hills Nepali morning, we continue to trek following the Tamor Nadi for an hour along the riverside, crossing a suspension bridge over the Sisne Khola, to the hamlet of Sinwa (Siwan) (970m), where Muscovi ducks waddle through town, a long, hot and dusty bazaar with a police post, rice paddies and many Nepali bhattis (tea shops). One year in Sinwa we watched the fascinating art of aluminum smelting and local pot making by traveling blacksmiths, timeless Nepal.

Just past Sinwa and before Pithun is a trail leading northeast, following the Ima Khola and leading directly to Tokpegola in the Makalu Barun region. We trek above the Tamor Nadi on the right side of the trail, a rough, lush track through more cardomom plants, descending to an intersecting stream which we cross on a bamboo bridge. A short ascent past buffalo paddocks to the tiny hamlet of Tawa, where one rainy year we were forced to spend the night in a local tea house. Thank God for tongba, the local millet beer! Note the Limbu gravestone, resembling a long, small house, just before the tea house on the left of the trail.

From Tawa, we pass the remnants of old, boulder strewn slides and debris as the trail worsens and the valley narrows. After undulating trekking on a high jungle trail with many stone steps and rounded boulders, we reach Thiwa, another small hamlet. Another 45 minutes of high contouring brings us to the intersection of the Nuwa Khola and the small hamlet of Chiruwa (Chirwa), a lively bazaar village of bamboo houses built amongst beautiful river rocks, with wooden enclosures for their many pigs, a lovely setting. Camp is five minutes past the village, at a nice campsite. It will be a short day, so take advantage of the free afternoon to do some laundry or explore this traditional village. (5 hrs)

Day 5 - Trek Sukethum (Japantar) 1565m
Continuing to following the Tamor Nadi, we hike along the east bank of the river as we head along the classic Kanchenjunga Base Camp route. After breakfast, we trek through yet more cardamom, past stone resting spots, crossing two intersecting streams on small bridges. We pass a Tamang memorial chorten and Rai resting spots (chatauras) as we trek for 1 1/2 hours to the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area (KCAP) check post, from where we cross the river to Tapletok (1495m), a large village with 120 houses on one side of the river, 200 houses on the other hill side, and a lively weekly meat market. There is even a Christian church in this Chhetri village, Tapletok having been visited by missionaries!

KCAP was created in 1998 'to preserve 2035 sq km of sub-tropical evergreen forest, temperate forests, sub-alpine pine forests and high alpine meadows. The preserve provides a haven for many rare Himalayan species, including snow leopards, red pandas, and bharals. The park is also home to 250 species of birds, and more than 3000 species of plants.' - Lonely Planet Trekking the Nepal Himalaya.

From Tapletok we trek along a magical trail on slate steps, through a flat area of cardamom and open woods, before we start a hot, one hour climb to Phembu where we collapse at the small tea house, shaded by a large, leafy tree, and have some water! From here we trek along a beautiful, open trail, staying high and enjoying the wide views. We drop just a bit after an hour of hiking, passing through forest to a long suspension bridge. Crossing the bridge, we climb steeply for five minutes to camp at a Tibetan house, amongst vivid red Hippeastrum (Amarillas). The local family often dries stinging nettle (shishnu) for the winter, to make nettle soup for much needed vitamins.

There is another camp at Sukethum right on the Tamor River about 10 minutes below us, and a trail leading directly north to Olangchun Gola. We may get lucky and see our first glimpse of Jannu (7710m) if the skies are clear. (5 hrs)

Day 6 - Trek Amjilosa 2390m
From Sukethum camp we descend to the lower camp and follow the trek northeast following the Ghunsa Khola, typical riverside hiking on an undulating trail with mossy stones at the moist riverside, crossing the river three times on suspension bridges. The cliffs on the left of the trail are steep, with clinging plants hanging on the slick sides. We begin climbing on sun baked steps high above the river, spotting our first rhododendrons along the trail and gaining altitude as we head towards Kanchenjunga North Base camp and the remote Tibetan villages of the Kanchenjunga region, the altitude gain marked by shist stones.

Contouring around the high ridges, we have fantastic views on our route north and possibly pass mule caravans transporting the locally grown cardamoms to markets further south. We reach the hamlet of Lamatar (or Jaubari) after 2 1/2 hours of hiking, the local inhabitants of the small village of thatched huts brewing lots of chang and raksi in large, copper pots. Climbing on steep stone steps to a waterfall and the small hamlet of Ghaiyabari (2150m), we continue to ascend on a slightly exposed trail, soon reaching a grassy saddle at 2530m from where we drop down slightly to the Tibetan settlement of Amijlosa, a 300 meter climb. We camp on a grassy plateau with views, and the inhabitants of this small tea house brew delicious corn tongba. (4 1/2 - 5 hrs)

Day 7 - Trek Kyapra 2705m
Gaining altitude as we trek along the Ghunsa Khola, we trek through a bamboo, oak and rhododendron forest, with mossy stone steps, past waterfalls and pasture lands interspersed with strawberry plants, with a large variety of birds singing and darting through the trees. The trail is again undulating, and we soon reach a steep and strenuous climb on scree. The last section of this climb is on an old slide, the trail either straight up through the rocks or on a muddy trail to the right. We trek along the side of the river heading towards a large waterfall, the river far below us, and soon reach the beautiful Sherpa village of Kyapra (Gyabla) with an old monastery and ancient Buddhist chortens. Camp has been set up on a lovely, grassy campsite next to a stone tea house owned by Tashi Phuti, with its own resident cat that loves the kitchen stove. We'll take the afternoon to explore Kyapra village, 150 meters above camp, looking for a cup of salt-butter tea. This is Red panda territory, so keep your eyes open. (4 1/2 hrs)

NOTE: This was our trekking day during the 2015 Nepal Earthquake; we reached Kyapra camp just after the 7.9 magnitude quake hit, a scary time throughout Nepal.

Day 8 - Trek Phale (Phole) 3255m
A lovely day of trekking through the forested river valley, with groves of bamboo, fir, rhododendron and jasmine flowers, which Himalayan black bear are said to inhabit. We descend steeply into a deep, narrow gorge and follow the river valley for several hours to the summer stone settlement of the Tibetan village of Phale, with an ancient (and active) gompa filled with colorful thankas and statues. Phale is located on a historic trade route with Tibet so has been an important stop for traders transporting their goods by yak and horse between Tibet and Nepal.

After lunch we can wander through this village to visit the locals, perhaps stopping in some of the local homes to look for Tibetan blankets or saddle bags. Enjoy the afternoon in this traditional Tibetan village, with yaks grazing in the green pastures and checkered with potato fields, perhaps having a chance to visit some of the houses for a cup of salt-butter tea, some tsampa (roasted barley flour) and perhaps some churpi (dried, slightly sour cheese) and a cup of chang (locally-brewed barley beer). 

Our local guide Phuntsok and his wife are from Phale, and we camp in the yard of their local tea house. Tongba, as always, is on offer in the warm kitchen of the lodge. (3 hrs)

Day 9 - Trek Ghunsa 3430m
We have a short day today, trekking on a good trail through a wide valley, past the intersection of the Yangma Samba Khola which leads to the Nango La, through forests of larch. We'll stop at the WWF chorten in memory of the tragic helicopter crash in 2006. The helicopter disappeared while carrying Nepal's forestry minister and 23 other people, including foreign officials, aid workers and journalists, many of them working with WWF and some of Nepal's most influential naturalists. Just after this memorial, we will take a slight detour heading to the left up to Tashi Choding Gompa, a beautiful site and an ancient monastery.

Afterwards, we drop to the square chorten marking the start of the Tibetan village of Ghunsa, fluttering with prayer flags, situated in a deep valley of forested hillsides. Take advantage of this day to acclimatize and get out to explore the lively Tibetan village of Ghunsa, translated as 'winter settlement' although it is occupied throughout the year. Gunsa was one of Joel's favorite villages in the Kanchenjunga region; he would pick up a variety of Tibetan treasures including leather belts with silver medallions along the belt, silver spoons which Tibetan women hang from their belts and bamboo tongba pots.

Ghunsa was severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake which had its epicenter in Sikkim, and is a typical Tibetan village with a few Sherpa families residing there, five-colored prayer flags on tall wooden poles and wooden houses with flat, slate roofs. There are two gompas on either side of the trail, a police check post, and a few lodges and shops in Ghunsa where it's possible to get a hot shower, make a phone call, and stock up on a few cold beers. Don't miss the opportunity to sample the local tongba, a traditional Tibetan fermented beer which is found all over the mountain regions of Nepal but is a specialty of the Kanchenjunga region. Tongba is fermented millet filled with hot water, drunk from a straw out of a bamboo container, and refilled at leisure. Be careful, one is plenty! There is also a hydro-electric plant providing electricity to Ghunsa, the last chance to charge for a few days. (2 1/2 hrs)

Day 10 - Trek Kambachen 4100m
Heading north along the east banks of the Ghunsa Khola on the GHT high route, we gain altitude as we trek, cresting the 4000 meter threshold as we ascend through more larch forests, now sprinkled with juniper bushes and dwarf rhododendrons. Both of these plant are ground by locals, and used (and sold) as incense in the villages. We cross a wide, rocky flood plain and then a shaky wood and slab bridge to the north banks of the river at Rampuk Kharka at 3720 meters (kharka is a seasonal grazing settlement Nepali, and the Tibetan word is doksa). The trail deteriorates as we ascend, passing a small waterfall, and hiking carefully high above the river below us. Another climb and we descend to Kambachen at the confluence of the Nupchu Khola, a remote Tibetan outpost of stone huts where the inhabitants exist on a simple diet of potatoes and rice, supplemented by chang and rakshi (distilled vodka-like alcohol).

Camp is set up on a flat area beside a stream, with views of Tanga 1, 2 + 3 to the west of camp. The nights will start to get colder from now on, and the views more and more spectacular.

NOTE: If the trail on the west of the river isn't improved, we will hike on the newer trail on the east of the river and cross the river on a small bridge before Kambachen to reach camp. (5 - 6 hrs)

Day 11 - Kambachen (Jannu Viewpoint Hike)
We'll take advantage of this acclimatization day at Kambachen Doksa and enjoy a beautiful three hour round trip hike to Jannu viewpoint (4400m) to the east of camp, along the northern ridges of the Kumbhakarna Glacier. Leaving camp, we descend to the river, cross on a small, wooden stream, and then hike along the northern side of Kumbhakarna Glacier through a valley of dwarf rhododenrons and scrub, staying close to the edge of the moraine.

Jannu (7711m), also called Kumbhakarna and a formidable climbing peak, is the 32nd highest mountain in the world, a Western part of the Kanchenjunga massif. It is called Phoktanglungma in native Limbu language, Phoktang meaning shoulder and Lungma meaning mountain ('mountain with shoulder'), and it is sacred in the Kirant (Rai and Limbu) religion.

From the ridge to the north of the seasonal village are breathtaking views of Kambachen (7802m), Khabur (6332m), Phole (6645m) and Jannu (7711m) at the end of the long valley to the east. Kanchenjunga Glacier, backed by snow peaks, is to the north of us, and Mera Peak to the south. Nupchu Peak (6044m) is one more that we'll see. There is a Ngimgma gompa about 100 meters above camp, a perfect afternoon climb. The staff will hunt for some local vegetables, which grow close to the ground in the grazing pastures behind camp.

Day 12 - Trek Lhonak 4780m
We trek further north along the Ghunsa Chu, fed by the Kanchenjunga Glacier, and enter a glacial environment as we gain altitude and get closer to the border of Tibet. We trek past two grazing pastures (doksas), followed by the 'great balancing rock' at Ramtang Doksa (4620m) about 3 hours from Kambachen. We stay on the left side of the lateral moraine of the Kanchenjunga Glacier as we approach the source of the Ghunsa Khola, and will be treated to vies of Kampachen (7802m). Just past Ramtang Doksa, look to the right up Mera Glacier for views of snow capped Mera Peak (5354m). We hike through tundra, often on scree, passing through rock slides with a bit of rocky scrambling, frozen waterfalls on the frozen rock faces across the river.

We continue hiking past a frozen waterfall, along a high, tundra-like plateau strewn with boulders, past the intersecting Lhonak Glacier to our left and reach the high, flat campsite at the seasonal village of Lhonak. Bharal (blue sheep) roam this plateau, and we've seen plenty of snow leopard and wolf scat, so keep your eyes open for blue sheep hillsides, often peering down from rocky ledges with their distinct horns silhouetted against the blue Tibetan skies. There are a few exposed trails before we reach Lhonak, a beautiful high campsite with a wooden hut on the side of the Kanchenjunga Glacier moraine. Lhonak, another seasonal settlement, is a cold but generally sunny campsite which we share with Himalayan Snowcocks and pikas. The afternoon views are sublime, surrounded by some of the highest snow-peaks on the planet.

Day 13 - Lhonak (Pang Pema - Kanchenjunga North Base Camp - Day Hike) 5145m
A spectacular day as we trek northeast towards Kanchenjunga North Base Camp, a 7 hour round trip journey. The morning is icy, the morning clouds often not yet burned off, as we trek over rough terrain, more slides, tundra, plateau and a few exposed trails to Pang Pema. We trek for about ten kilometers, following the lateral moraine of the Kanchenjunga Glacier on the northern ridges to the doksa of Pang Pema. Today is one of the highlights of the trek, a spectacular setting, worth a climb a bit higher to gaze at the northwest face of Kanchenjunga.

The peaks are Kanchenjunga, Taple Shikhar (6510m) and Gimmigela Chuli (The Twins, 7350m). To the east from the border of Sikkim rise Patibhara Khas (Pyramid Peak, 7168m) and Kirat Chuli (Tent Peak, 7365m). To the west, Chang Himal with its knife-edged ridge looms over Kanchenjunga Glacier.

Day 14 - Trek Kambachen
Retracing our steps to Kambachen, the views are absolutely different on the way back. Enjoy the walk! (6 hrs)

Day 15 - Trek Ghunsa
Back to Ghunsa along the eastern route, slightly undulating, a lovely walk which we might share with Gunsa yaks and their herders who are heading north, with yellow primrose and lavender brightening the landscape. There are some odd plants that small like sesame, as well as many rhododendron trees, and blue sheep often grazing on the hillsides. We'll pass fluttering, five colored Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags along the way, sending out their prayers through the winds.

We have the rest of the afternoon in Ghunsa to relax. We camp at Tashi's campsite, and can spend the chilly evening in Tashi's warm lodge sampling the local tongba around the wood and dung stove. (6 hrs)

Day 16 - Trek Phale Kharka (High Camp) 4160m
Leaving Gunsa, we recross the bridge and hike down past the gompa to the WWF memorial, turning up to the right on a very small trail just past this landmark, and eventually following the Yangma Samba Khola on a rocky but scenic trail through the narrow valley. We gain altitude for about four hours, trekking through a world of rhododendrons and firs, crossing a small river and more old slides before finally reaching the local Phale kharka where the staff is starting to set up camp. This is another cold campsite, often covered in snow and requiring some clearing before the tents are put up. Have a good sleep, and pack your day packs for our beautiful pass crossing tomorrow. (3 1/2 hrs)

Day 17 - Langyung Kharka 3745m (cross Nango La 4775m)
Our first Himalayan pass day! We'll be up early with a mug of steaming coffee before ascending somewhat steeply on a rocky trail towards the Nango La (4775m), a two hour climb from camp. Nearing the pass we will probably trek through snow, the views increasingly more spectacular. From the narrow crest of the Tibetan Buddhist prayer flag decorated Nango La we wil be treated to a panorama of Himalayan peaks, a perfect photo opportunity. 

We trek steeply down the pass, often through deep snowdrifts, potholing our way down the first snowy section of the pass. The porters often have trouble descending through the snow with their loads, so we will all trek together and help when needed. We'll pass the small dharamsala, a stone hut where the porters will stop for lunch, from where we turn left (west) and follow the green Thasa Khola valley on a rocky, snow free and (as usual) undulating trail to our green campsite at Langyung Kharka. (6 1/2 - 7 hrs)

Day 18 - Trek Olangchung Gola 3190m
Staying on the west of the Yangma Khola, we descend steeply through a magical forest of large, leafy rhododenrons with flowers of pink and crimson red, mossy rocks, hanging lichen and tangled roots. The trail is muddy, rocky and there are a few slides to maneuver around, so we will hike carefully.
We finally reach the bottom of the steep valley where we cross a smalls stream to a lovely campsite amongst the rocks at 3340m, and the intersection of the Yangma Khola. We cross the small river on a wooden bridge, pass another campsite and hike along the the right banks of the Yangma Khola through several more slide sections of trail for an hour and a half. These slides were caused by the 2011 earthquake, locals have told us. Passing a ruined hut, we trek along a green plateau before starting a 1 1/2 hour climb through a forest of bamboo on a slightly exposed trail, staying high above the river. We turn right, lunch at a small clearing and then have another hour of steep climbing on a less exposed trail along the Tamor River, crossing still more slides. Finally we reach grassy trails, with stone 'chhataras', mani stones and views up and down this scenic valley. The village of Olangchun Gola and its ochre monastery are visible above us, reached via more Tibetan prayer flags.

We've reached the sprawling village of Olangchung Gola (Walunchung Gola), partly cobbled with local stones, peppered with chortens, mani walls and whitewashed stupas, one of the most remote Tibetan villages in the Kanchenjunga region. There is lots to explore within the maze of traditional houses of wood and stone that comprise the village, great shopping (woven Tiger and Dragon rugs are their specialty) and lots to explore. We camp in the back of Pema and Tashi's lodge, their adorable young son (two daughters are at school elsewhere) keeping us company in the afternoon. Pema makes great tongba, and as always provides a wonderful opportunity to mix with the locals, experience traditional village life and stay warm by the fire. (7 hrs)

Day 19 - Olangchung Gola
Olanchung Gola is the largest village of the Walung people, who speak a language derived from Tibetan and share many cultural similarities, foods and of course their religion with Sherpas and Tibetans. We have a free day to wander through this remote village, once restricted to tourism, do some shopping, take photos and do some carpet shopping, a craft at which the women of Olangchun Gola excel. There are small shops in the village, so stock up on snacks as you explore this traditional village.

We will hike up to the 466 year old Deki Choling Gompa, of the Nyingmapa tradition, which contains many old and priceless statues from Tibet. The path up is lined with colorful prayer flags, and the view down to the village beautiful. Perhaps we'll be invited to a game of volleyball in the afternoon by the Nepali police in this remote post!

Day 20 - Trek Sanjung Camp (Tamor Sumdo Camp) 4020m
Leaving wonderful Olangchung Gola, we hike northwest towards one of the high points of our trek, the remote Lumbha Sambha pass (5160m) on the Great Himalayan Trail, connecting Kanchenjunga with Makalu Barun. Ascending on a good trail after crossing a small wooden bridge marked by a sign, we pass several wooden kharkas marked with yak tracks as we trek through more rhododendrons, with yellow primroses scattered everywhere along the trail, an abundance of bird life and might perhaps even spot blood pheasants en route. We will be trekking along the Tamor River through landscape that looks much like the Kharta Valley in Tibet not far north from here, gaining altitude slowly as we trek past the intersections of the Dingsamba and Tamor Rivers to Sangjung camp by the river. (4 hrs)

Day 21 - Trek Lumba Sumba High Camp 4455m
A sublimely beautiful half day's trek as we head towards the Lumba Sumba pass, on Nepal's Great Himalayan Trail. We cross the small river near camp to avoid hiking on slippery rocks on the right side of the river. The left side of the river has a good trail, and we pass four doksas, all of which could be Yangetar. We passed a dead Red fox along the trail in 2015. Ascending, we hike straight up a steep trail and trek along a rolling plateau, following the snaking river. Snow often sticks at this point, and we might break through the soft snow if Nepal has had a big winter, hiking through a beautiful, white Himalayan landscape. We have another steep climb to reach a big S turn in the river, a stunning high altitude plateau, and then yet another steep climb followed by a descent to our otherworldly campsite right on the river. We had to shovel out campsites in 2015, wet but stunning at the base of tomorrow's Lumba Sumba pass. (4 hrs)

Day 22 - Trek Sumba Yak Kharka 4550m or Langtang Camp 4200m (cross Lumba Sumba Pass 5160m)
A dawn start for our Himalayan crossing of the remote Lumba Sumba pass, an epic double-pass crossing. After a short walk on snow, we have a very steep climb to reach an open, snow baked plateau reflecting the morning's first rays. Crossing this expanse of white, crusted and frozen snow, leaving shallow footprints, we trek along a rolling plateau, past hidden mountain lakes, with expansive views opening of Kanchenjunga looming mightily in back of us, to the east. After about two hours we reach the first pass, the Lumba La, from where Makalu is finally visible, as well as Jannu to the east, an incredible panorama. There are few passes in the Himalaya where one is able to see two 8000 meter peaks rising so massivly on either side!

The next pass, after a somewhat exposed traverse, is the Sumba La, where we will stop for more photos, and to absorb the mind-boggling Himalayan vista. Possibilities to 'sled' down the pass, first relatively gradually and later more steeply following the bank of the river on a rocky trail, staying high. The river becomes the Lapsi Khola, and the banks are soon covered in juniper and dwarf rhododendrons, the later which blooms with papery delicate white flowers in June. We soon reach the first grassy doksa where we stop for a rest, a snack and to dry wet socks. We continue along the riverside for an hour to Langtang Doksa, en route passing through more yellow primroses, and camp at a lovely spot peppered with large, lichen covered rocks. In 2015 our Tamang porters stopped to collect medicinal herbs along the way, and we met a Tibetan woman and her daughter at a lone doksa, drying more medicinal roots with red glacier flowers.

The descent will take us about as long as the descent as we trek as we will possibly be descending in snow to reach our camp at Chaurikharka in the Lapsi Khola valley far below, possibly at the next sumdo near Lasa and Samne summer settlements. Her daughter spends five months of each year alone with the animals in even higher doksas, an incredibly lonely existence in an extremely harsh environment. (6 hrs)

Day 23 - Trek Thudam 3555m
We'll hope for clear views of Makalu in the morning from our lovely campsite, and then set off on a short hike to Thudam. We trek through more mossy, lichen filled landscape, the floor carpeted wtih primrose, rhododendrons, purple and yellow pea flowers, something in the rose family which looks like a buttercup, and still more juniper; a world of flowers! Birds fill the air with their singing, a magical approach to Thudam. We pass several doksas as we follow the river on a rocky trail, often right on the river through a beautiful, green valley. Makalu stays looming in front of us as we hike along the Lapsi Khola; it's hard to put the camera away on this wonderful day!

The staff will have set up a lovely camp near Thudam, a traditional village of Tibetans (called 'Bhotias' by Nepalis) who only trade with Tibet over the Umbak La (5230m), having very little interactions with Nepal although they settled in this remote spot three generations ago Thudam is a village of wooden houses with decks, which used to house 25 familes but now has only 10 families. The others moved to more populated settlements, finding life just too challenging in this remote outpost of Tibetan culture. Some of the children are at school in India, in TCV schools, and others are in Taplejung (there is a trail from Thudam leading directly to Taplejung, a 2 day journey).

Camp is set up just across the river from Thudam, in a perfect, grassy campsite where we'll be visited by the village children. We'll enjoy a relaxing afternoon, and wander up through town after lunch. (2 hrs)

Day 24 - Trek Forest Kharka Camp 2775m
From Thudam we hike along the Modek Chheju Khola through a mixed oak and pine forested gorge with steep walls, the trail deteriorating as we trek further from the Kanchenjunga region. We continue along this rough trail for 1 1/2 hours, twice along the riverbed over fallen tree trunks, winding our way through rocks, before contouring away from the river above an old doksa, a very small trail. We climb for half an hour through dense forest, contouring several times around steep valleys on sketch trails, and eventually reach what we've named the Kharka La (3370m), an outcropping of rock in the middle of nowhere, looking out over broad valleys, way down to the river below.

We descend on a tricky, steep and muddy trail and through the equally densely forested Himalosa Danda, often crossing paths with local herders. We have a few climbs and descents to negotiate with a often slippery few small river crossings on 'local' bridges, but the walking is lovely as bamboo lightens the forest, and we soon reach our next campsite at a one family kharka, where Nisha, Dorji's daughter, tends to the dzobkios. Wild country! (8 hrs)

Day 25 - Trek Chyamthang 2185m
Leaving our forested kharka camp, we hike along a barely visible trail to a ridge sticking out from the mountainside, finally broad views of the Makalu region ahead. We have the Arun River in sight as we head further west, descending, often steeply, through a thick and tangled rhododendron forest on trails that have seen better days. The later part of the morning is spent climbing again on a somewhat steep, green trail and then contouring around a hillside to reach the sprawling village of Chyamthang.

Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring this fascinating and picturesque Tibetan village, its crops drying on terraces next to the houses, the local Sherpa women wearing beautiful 'tribal' silver jewelry and traditional, flat wool hats. The trails are lined with bamboo fences, many sheds stacked with wood for the winter, stone houses are often roofed with wooden shingles, ancient mani walls and poles with Buddhist prayer flags line the trails, goats are tethered in small sheds, chickens sit on rooftops and the green and golden fields of ripening barley and millet billow in the wind. The children will return from school early afternoon from Linggam, a small village which we pass through tomorrow. (4 1/2 hrs)

NOTE: Chyamthang was where we experienced the second 2015 Nepal Earthquake.

Day 26 - Trek Hatiya 1560m
The character of the trek changes as we head towards more populated parts of Makalu Barun, villages hugging steep mountainsides, locals eeking a living from fields built into steep hillsides. Leaving Chyamthang, we take a beautiful trail high above the river, past many lichen covered mani walls, trekking southwest through more forests of flowering rhododendrons and bamboo. We climb gradually on slate steps for broad views of this incredibly mountainous region. We soon reach the village of Linggam from where a major trail leads up to the border of Tibet to the Kharta Valley and Kangshung Face of Everest region (the eastern part of this trek). Previously we met Tibetan traders who have used this pass when in the Kharta valley and the Kangshung Face of Everest, on the Tibet side of the Makalu Barun region.

Linggam is a lively, green village with a new school which contours around the hillside, with village taps, bamboo fences, vegetable gardens and a patchwork of fields of barley, millet and other crops. The trails are again undulating, often stone steps, and we constantly share the trail with horse and mule trails supplying the villages.

Another hour brings us to beautiful Chepuwa (2040m), followed by an old, grassy chorten, some slightly exposed trail and the the very small hamlet of Gimbar as the trail hooks upwards to the northwest, and we soon pass near the village of Hongan, a possible campsite. Just past Hongan the trail forks and leads either northwest to Makalu and Makalu Base Camp or southwest towards Tumlingtar. We pass flocks of goats and sheep on the trail as we contour around a hillside and climb past a stone hut on a lovely trail to high viewpoints, resting at the stone benches before continuing the trek. We've seen Golden eagles and black snakes while on these trails, more wild country through mountainsides dotted with impossibly situated villages. From the Hongan turnoff we have almost 3 full hours of trekking on relatively flat trail, stopping to pick wild yellow rasberries, strawberries and local berries on creeping vines.

Finally, we look across the last valley and see the large village of Haitya, where we camp at the school grounds at the end of the village. This remote village is worth a wander through even though it's been a long day. (8 hrs)

Day 27 - Trek Barun 1150m
Leaving Hatiya, we either take the old trail below the large hill above the village, or, like in 2015 when the trail was destroyed, we climb the approximately 550 meters through dense forest (with leeches) to a small pass with a mossy chorten which we named Hitiya Jungle La (2100m), and then descend steeply to the interesting Sherpa village of Sembung (1835m), where the local 'Bhotias' wear a distinct sort of flat, green hat, with coins sewn into them. Continuing this beautiful descent, we pass through more hillsides of cardamom, terraced fields, bamboo huts and stone resting spots, the entire landscape peppered with beautiful boulders. 

We pass the intersection of the Barun River, which feeds from the Barun Glacier and Makalu, one of Nepal's most important water sources. Eventually we reach the small settlement of Barun, where we set up camp on the green school grounds and then go to the river for a swim, as it's a hot campsite at just above 1000m!

Day 28 - Trek Gadidandha 1120
A contouring day of trekking as we cross the river on a suspension bridge, and then climb on several steep, somewhat exposed trails and contouring around terraced rice paddies with villages peppering the landscape. We pass through the Rai and Sherpa villages of Gola, a long bazaar town with a check post at the end of it, followed by a climb and a slightly destroyed trail. Sting high, we pass through the small, colorful Rai hamlets of Simma and Hedangna, walk along a beautiful trail built into the rock, passing more loaded mule caravans, and eventually our camp at Gadhidanda, another long, bazaar. There was a health post set up here in 2015, many shops, and even TV (where we caught up on our earthquake news). Our campsite was also flooded by extremely heavy rains, turning the waterfall across the river into a deluge of mud, quite a sight.Tonight is our last night with the crew, so we will celebrate the trip with beers for all, and hand out their well deserved tips!

Day 29 - Trek Num 1560m. Drive Khadbari 1040m
Our lats day of trekking, leaving Gadidanda and descending through villages with flooded, muddy rice paddies plowed by water buffaloes, past reflective ponds and drying stacks of hay, through Hindu and Rai villages. We descend steeply down to the Arun River on a new road, cross on a metal suspension bridge and pass through a dusty bazaar before starting our dusty and hot climb to Num. We'll meet our jeep, say goodbye to our crew and drive to Khadbari (or possibly another place with a hotel, possibly camping). We might stay at Lhamo and Lhakpa's hotel in Num.

Day 30 - Drive Tumlingtar 410m
Love Nepali roads! It's a rough ride on a slightly exposed dirt track to the larger road which leads to Tumlingtar. We'll stay at one of Tumlingtar's lovely, 'rustic' hotels, a real Nepali experience!

Day 31 - Fly Kathmandu
We'll board our plane leaving Tumlingtar Airport, a beautiful and scenic flight over the patchwork of Nepal's middle hills back to Kathmandu. We head directly back to the Kathmandu Guest House, where hot showers await, and later meet for a celebratory dinner and drinks at Yak + Yeti!

Day 32 - Trip Ends
Transfer to the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) for your flight home. Namaste!

NOTE: We strongly suggest keeping an extra 'free' day in Kathmandu in case of flight delays or cancellations out of Tumlingar. Or just to enjoy some of Kathmandu's many sites and adventures!

Kathmandu | Optional Sightseeing Tour Bhaktapur
One more day in Kathmandu, with an optional sightseeing excursion by private vehicle to Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur which translates as 'Place of Devotees’ and is also known as Bhadgaon, is an ancient Newar city approximately 15 kilometers east of the Kathmandu Valley. Bhaktapur is one of three ancient capitals of the Kathmandu valley, the capital of the Newar Kingdom and a city of artisans and craftspeople famous for its art and architecture: intricate carvings, sculptures, paintings, thankas, pottery, statues and temples, or pagodas. Bhaktapur has a well-preserved ‘durbar square’, or palace square, and has been named a World Heritage site by UNESCO because of its incredible temples, pagodas, wood carvings, stone carvings and metalwork. Bhaktapur is also famous for its yogurt, called curd in Asia, a taste which hasn’t been duplicated anywhere.

Spend a full day exploring Bhaktapur and its rich cultural heritage, where a majority of enthnic Newaris live in traditional ways, and life seems to stand still. There are many great restaurants and cafes to rejuvenate, and it's possibly the best spot in Kathmandu for purchasing a thanka after watching the technique, as well as shopping for endless other locally produced crafts. Bhaktapur is home to countless local festivals, so if you are lucky and arrive on a festival day, enjoy the timeless and colorful events unfold.

+ Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Bhaktapur (+$100)
+ Entrance Fees not Included for Single Person

Kathmandu | Optional Sightseeing Tour Patan
Visit the third of Kathmandu's ancient capitals, known as 'The City of Fine Arts', best if you have an extra day in hand as Patan is also rich in cultural heritage, has many lovely roof-top cafes for lunch and world-class museums. Some of the highlights of Patan are its Durbar Square, the Krishna Temple within the palace complex of Patan (entirely made of stone, with 21 distinctive spires), and Hiranya Varna Mahavir, or the Golden Buddha Temple.

+ Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Patan (+$50)
+ Entrance Fees not Included for Single Person

Kathmandu | Optional Everest Sightseeing Flight
An hour long extravaganza of the world's 8000 meter peaks, including airport transfers. (+$270)

Kathmandu | Optional Extra Days at Shivapuri Heights Cottages
A wonderful get away 20 km north of Kathmandu, Shivapuri Heights Cottages are stylishly designed and personal cottages built around a 'common house', where you can breakfast overlooking the stunningly beautiful Kathmandu valley. Massages available on request. (+Inquire for Price)

Kathmandu | Optional Cycling Trip in Kathmandu Valley
Many options for day trips, or extended trips, in the Kathmandu Valley. We can customize a cycling trip for you in partnership with one of our knowledgeable partners in Kathmandu. (+Inquire for Price)

Extra Days in Kathmandu | Customize your Journey!
We have plenty of great suggestions for extra days, or weeks, in Nepal! See our Nepal & Kathmandu Modules | Customize Your Trip! to put together the perfect journey.

Mountain biking, rafting, vespa tours or yoga retreats around the Kathmandu valley or Pokhara, trips to Bhaktapur or Patan (Kathmandu Valley's other historic capital cities), a visit to the Newari temple of Changu Narayan and a night at the Fort Hotel in Nagarkot for sublime Himalayan panoramas, an Everest sightseeing flight, a luxurious stay at Temple Tree Resort & Spa, paragliding, hiking or zip-lining in Pokhara, a spa & wellness getaway at Dwarikas Resort in Dhulikhel, a relaxing excursion to Chitwan National Park Wildlife Safari & Tharu Villages (staying at Maruni Sanctuary Lodge) or Bardia National Park, a weekend of adventure, sauna and pampering at The Last Resort or five-star treatment in historic Dwarika's in Kathmandu.

Kamzang Journeys can customize any of these excursions for you, just inquire!

Namaste & Tashi Delek!

© Kim Bannister

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