Helambu Trek

Posted by Andy on Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This trek is a relatively low altitude one and because it is close to Kathmandu, it is convenient yet surprisingly free of trekkers. The trek passes through some beautiful forests and very interesting villages on route. Along the way, we visit the homes of Brahmins, Tamangs and Sherpa people of Nepal. In the Helambu region, the Sherpas are quite distinct from the Sherpas of the Everest region in both language and customs. The ranges of mountains that rise above us match the diversity of the people we meet. From low altitudes, we have excellent views of mountains that include the Langtang range, the Annapurnas, Manaslu and even Everest on a clear day.

Highlights of the trek
Beautiful forests, interesting Sherpa villages.

Trek dates
September to late December and February to late June

Check list
Read our helpful check list before booking

Detailed itinerary
Itinerary can be customized according to your needs and length of stay.

Day 01 – Arrival In Kathmandu
Upon arrival at Kathmandu International Airport transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu or Bhaktapur. Short briefing will follow concerning the necessary formalities and your trekking itinerary. Depending upon your arrival time you may spend free time visiting nearby sanctuaries or resting.

Day 02 – Sightseeing / Cultural Day In Kathmandu Valley
Half day sightseeing around UNESCO Bhaktapur / Kathmandu where your guide will escort you on a tour of Buddhist and Hindu temples and shrines reflecting ancient local traditions. There is time to explore the city’s many places of interest on your own or take a rest while trekking permits are finalized. In the evening sample a delicious traditional Nepali dinner. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 03 – Kathmandu to Chisopani (2140m)
Drive from Kathmandu to the Sundarijal northern edge of the Kathmandu valley for about 1 hour by private transport and start to hike up to Mulkharka, the sprawling Tamang settlement. The trail continues on a gentle climb through the forests ridges before it drops down to Chisopani (cold water) (2300m). situated on the ridge from where you can see countless snow peaks. The sunrise on the Himalaya, from Annapurna to Everest, is particulary outstanding from this point. Stay overnight there (4 hrs).

Day 04 – Chisopani to Gul Bhanjyang (2140m)
The trail continues to drop down on a good, sometimes level and crosses meadows and fields to Pati Bhanjyang. This is a Brahman and Chhetri village on a saddle at the bottom of the ridge at 1860 meter. From here the trail starts climbing up again on a series of steep switchbacks to Chipling (2170m) where we can stop for lunch. At the upper end of this village the trail makes another steep, 200 meter, climb on a stone staircase to the top of the Jhogin Danda ridge. From the ridge the trail descends through forest to a large chorten (round Buddhist monument) overlooking the Tamang village of Gul Bhanjyang, which is a delightfull, classic hill village with a pleasant main street (5-6 hrs).

Day 05 – Gul Bhanjyang to Tharepati (3640m)
From Gul Bhanjyang the first part of the trail climbs up a steep, eroded trail through rhododendron forest passing only a few shepherd’s huts to a pass at 2580 meter. The treks proceeds north up the Yurin Danda ridge and affords views of Langtang and Gosaikund Peaks. We will cross the pass at 3510 meter before we descent to Magen Goth where we stop for lunch. Afterwards, we pick up the ascending/descending trail again, passing through forests, across flower-strewn meadows and crossing streams till we reach Tharepati (3640m) (6 hrs).

Day 06 – Tharepati to Melamchigaon (2530m)
From the northeren end of the village the trail turns east and drops steeply into a ravine. Here the vegetation changes to large firs, then oaks and rhododendrons, as we rapidly loos altitude. After crossing the Chhyadi Khola on a suspension bridge, the trail makes a short final ascent to the prosperous Sherpa village of Malamchigaon at 2530m. We will arrive here early and the rest of today’s time can be spent strolling around the village. Melamchigaon is a large prosperous Sherpa village with extensive fields of barley, corn and potatoes. The gompa (Tibetan Buddhist temple) here has a line of prayer flags at the front, brightly painted walls and statues of Guru Rimpoche and his consorts. It is local believe that Guru Rimpoche mediated in a cave above the village and wore robes made by dakinis (female angels) (5 hrs).

Day 07 – Melamchigaon to Tarke Gyang (2590m)
From the Melamchigaon gompa, the trail descends through jungle to a bamboo teashop at 2360 meter, then drops steeply through fields to the Malemchi Khola river. After crossing the
suspension bridge at 1890m the trail begins its long climb towards Tarke Gyang, which is the
largest village in the Helambu region. The stone house here are build close together with narrow alleyways separating them. The gompa of this village has a large brass prayer wheel (6 hrs).

Day 08 – Tarke Gyan to Sermathang (2610m)
The trail leaves the village and makes a sweep around the wide valley to the pretty Sherpa village of Ganyul at 2520 meter. The people in this village practice Drukpa Kagyu Buddhism, the same as the national religion of Buthan. From here the trail drops over a ridge but soon starts climbing up again through deep forests, crossing a number of stream to a crest at 2620 meter. We continue our way passing the large gompa at Chumnik, before another gentle climb leads as to the village of Sermathang. In the afternoon we can visit the gompa here (4 hrs).

Day 09 – Sermathang to Kathmandu via Melamchi Pul Bazaar
From Sermathang the trail follows the ridge all the way down to Malemchi Pul Bazaar, making a drop of 1730 meter. The trail passes chorten after chorten in the settlements of Nigale, Gyalsha and Raithani Gyang. From here we descent through chir pine forest to yet another chorten at Kakani, which is the last Sherpa village on the trek, and we now enter the lowlands inhabited by Brahmans and Chhetris. From Kakani the trail drops steeply to the attractive village of Dubhachaur in a saddle at 1610 meter. Continuing firther down the ridge our trail will eventually bring us to a large suspension bridge which crosses the Indrawati river and brings us into Malemchi Pul Bazaar. From here we will take private transportation back to Kathmandu (6 hrs walking time, 3-4 hrs to Kathmandu). Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 10 – Kathmandu
Departure from Kathmandu.

(click to enlarge image) Photo by Himalayan MapHouse

The trek program is – because of weather or unforeseen events – subject to change.

Services and costs included in the price

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Three nights hotel accommodation and breakfast in Kathmandu
  • Licensed and trained trekking guides
  • Porters for carrying goods and supplies
  • All accommodation during trek
  • All meals and hot beverages whilst trekking
  • Transportation to and from trailhead
  • All necessary documents and permits for trekking (where applicable)
  • National Park/Conservation Area entry permit
  • Equipment such as sleeping bag, tents, mattresses
  • Cooking equipment
  • Camp-site charges
  • Insurance, medication, and equipment for staff
  • Coordination of Quick Rescue service (costs covered by your insurance plan)

Services and costs NOT included in price

  • International airfares
  • Travel/trekking insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Airport departure tax
  • Rescue charge
  • Drinks (cold and alcoholic)
  • Expenses of personal nature
  • Permit and liaison officer fee (where applicable)
  • Lunches and dinners whilst not trekking