Helambu is a Middle Hill region north east of Kathmandu: populated by Brahman and Chhetri Hindus in the south; Sherpa and Tamang Yolmo Buddhists further north and east. This moderately easy trek is ideal for anyone who wants to experience Nepal trekking, at comfortable altitudes and in a region that is both near the city and also warmer than many of the trekking destinations closer to the High Himalaya.
It begins with a walk through the Shivapuri National Park (Kathmandu’s water catchment area) just an hour’s drive from the city. The route takes you through lush oak and rhododendron forests (that flower in April-May) and terraced farmlands. From high ground there are magnificent panoramic views of the Langtang Himalaya to the north. Many of the peaks are over 6 000m, crowned by Langtang Lirung (7 227m) – and distant Shisha Pangma, China’s only 8 000m peak in the north east.
This quieter trekking trail offers ample opportunities to explore the culture and lifestyle of these friendly and welcoming people; and gain insights into their religious beliefs. The Tarkeghyang Monastery is built in the Bhutanese style.
With roads being pushed further and further north, the last day requires only a short downward trek followed by a bus drive back to your hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 01: Kathmandu – Sundarijal – Chisopani (2 140m/7 020ft), 1 hr drive, 5-6 hrs trek
Day 02: Chisopani – Kutumsang (2 450m/8 080ft), 6-7 hrs
Day 03: Kutumsang – Tharepati (3 640m/11 940ft), 5-6 hrs
Day 04: Tharepati – Tarkeghyang (2 590m/8 550ft), 6-7 hrs
Day 05: Tarkeghyang – Thimbu (1 580m/5 180ft) – Kathmandu (1 300m/4 260m), 2-3 hrs, 4 hrs drive
Final Departure: Transfer to Tribhuvan International Airport and fly to your next destination.
Day 01: Kathmandu – Sundarijal (1 350m/4 430ft) – Chisopani (2 160m/7 130ft), 1 hr drive, 5-6 hrs trek
From your hotel, drive 15km north-eastward to Sundarijal: entrance to the Shivapuri National Park; and Kathmandu’s water catchment region. At first the trail follows a pipeline to a military check point then gradually climbs to the Tamang village of Mulkharka (1 800m). Continue through oak, rhododendron and pine forests to Borlang Bhanjyang (2 460m, ridge). Then descend gently to Chisopani on the park’s northern border: with distant mountain views. Overnight in Chisopani.
Day 02: Chisopani – Kutumsang (2 450m/8 080ft), 6-7 hrs
We now enter the Helambu District with typical Middle Hill scenery. Descend to cross rivers and ascend to ridge top villages: showcasing the way the Nepalese work land to maximise its use. Forest and steep terraced paddies intermingle: water ingeniously directed to feed crops. You will be welcomed by several different groups along the trail: Brahmin and Chhetris in Pati Bhanjyang (1 770m), Yolmo at Thakuni (1 750m) and Chipling (2 170m) and Tamangs in Thotong (2 260m). From Golphu Bhanjyang (2 140m) tackle a 1½ hr ridge climb to fine scenery on the Thodang Danda (2 580m). The trail then winds below granite cliffs before dropping gradually (¾ hr) to Kutumsang. Overnight in Kutumsang.
Day 03: Kutumsang – Mangin Goth (3 290m/1 080ft) – Tharepati (3 650m/12 045ft), 5-6 hrs
Tharepati is the trail’s highest point: and its northern views are the reward for today’s 1 200m climb. The trail rises gradually (3 hrs) through farmland and a mix of rhododendron and fir forest to the Mera Danda (3 510m). From high points, the northern peaks gradually come into view. Below the ridge is a forested valley, attractive Mangin Goth: and lunch. After lunch, set out towards the impressive Thare Danda: through dense stands of pine along a steep (2 hrs) rocky trail to Tharepati. The ribbon village spreads along a meadow. A hillock above the village offers uninterrupted views of the ranges to the north and east. Overnight in Tharepati.
Day 04: Tharepati – Melamchi Gaon (2 530m/8 300ft) – Tarkeghyang (2 590m/8 550ft), 6-7 hrs
Catch the sunrise on camera from the hillock before breakfast. The sweep of the border ranges with Langtang Lirung (7 227m/23 712ft) takes centre stage: the Tserko Group (5 749m), Langshisha Ri (6 427m), Dorje Lakpa (6 9 66m) and the border Jugal Himal are further to the east.
Today’s trail scribes a large (sideways) S and loses, ultimately, 1 000m in altitude. Head east, dropping through dense pine forest and seasonal kharkas (grazing lands), then down a ridge spine to tiny Bolgang beyond a wooden tributary crossing. The trail turns north, descending through rhododendrons and kharkas. A final steep descent ends at a bridge; and industrious Melamchi Gaon: for lunch.
Descend, on a roughly SE trail passed numerous chortens and a fork. Keep left and drop to cross the Melamchi Khola; then a gradual 600m climb up the east flank of the Valley through several Buddhist villages. Nakote (1 980m) has a notable Gompa. Beyond a yellow chorten, turn left up to Dozum (2 320m); and finally up to the clustered homes of the Tarke Ghyang (Tarke Monastery). The village’s Yolmo people left Tibet ~500 years ago, settling in this region: their monastery is the oldest in Helambu and, unusually, is built in the Bhutanese style. Explore the village and overnight in Tarkeghyang.
Day 05: Tarkeghyang – Thimbu (1 580/5 180ft) – Kathmandu (1 300m/4 260ft), 2-3 hrs, 4 hrs bus trip
Today’s trail continues down the east bank of the Melamchi Khola Valley, high above the river. Descend gradually to Setighyang (2 600m) and a fork in the path: take the western trail (past a hydro electric plant), through patches of rhododendron forest as it gradually descends to Kakani (2 070m). A steeper trail then descends to Thimbu from where we will take a bus back to Kathmandu. Transfer to your hotel. Rest of day free.
Trip Name: Helambu trek
Duration: 5 days
Trek Days: 5 days
Region: Langtang Region
Altitude: 3640m (Tharepati)
Highlights: Mountain Views of all the Langtang and Ganesh Hemal, Tamang and Sherpa Culture
Accommodation: Guest House
Transportation: Private Car/ Van/ Bus all the ground Transport
Best month: February-May/ September- December
Cost: USD 375 per person
Group Member Min: 2 Maximum -10
Note: If you are single, we can manage this trekking for you with additional USD 150 cost.