“The climb speaks to our character, but the view, I think, to our souls.” – Lori Lansens
The trailhead of one of Nepal's best-kept secrets, the Helambu Trek, is tucked away in an unusual position about an hour from Kathmandu's city center. This little-known path, which winds through the highlands of the Langtang Valley, is ideal for trekkers looking for real cultural experiences away from the well-trodden tourist circuit.
The Hyolmo people, an ethnic group affiliated with Sherpa culture, gave their name to the Helambu region. Trekking through Helambu's lush green hills, large river basins, and magnificent mountain passes will lead you to a number of villages inhabited by these friendly people. This is your chance to learn about their unique customs and ways of life, which have mostly remained unaffected by modern commerce and tourists. Helambu is also known for its sweet-tasting apples and old Buddhist monasteries, making it a great location for those interested in learning more about Himalayan Buddhism while also helping to support local communities.
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Day 03: Drive to Sundarijal and trek to Chisapani (2300m/7545ft) Duration: 4 hours. After fortifying yourself with a hearty breakfast, you’ll leave your hotel this morning to transfer by private vehicle to the town of Sundarijal. The route takes just an hour and is essentially contiguous with Kathmandu. It’s all on foot from Sundarijal, where your path rises steeply near a small hydroelectric plant. You’re now approaching the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, a formally protected watershed and wildlife reserve. As you leave the urban environment of Kathmandu behind, you’ll be amazed by how quickly you find yourself surrounded by lush greenery and rural fields.
The first settlement we’ll come across is called Mulkharka; its residents are mostly of Tamang background, and the village is a popular destination for day hikers who want to spend an afternoon away from the city. There are also some trickling waterfalls coursing through large boulders in the forest here that are sure to please nature lovers. Continuing past Mulkharka, you’ll traverse a wooded ridge of oak and rhododendron and arrive at Chisapani after about four hours on the trail.
You’ll spend the night here in comfortable guesthouse accommodations; today’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included.
Day 04: Chisapani to Kutumsang (2446m/8022ft) Duration: 5 hours. Wake up early to enjoy the sunrise; on a clear day, you can take in a gorgeous panorama of the Langtang Himal range from here in Chisapani. After breakfast, we’ll begin the trek to Kutumsang. Our route today should take about seven hours, descending to cross scenic meadows and fields on the approach to the little villages of Pathi Bhanjyang and Gul Bhanjyang. Then it’s back to climbing: you’ll ascend along a ridge leading to today’s high point, a pass situated at approximately 2,620 meters. As you hike, keep a lookout for intricately carved mani stones along the path.
These carvings represent sacred Buddhist mantras, and it’s considered appropriate to pass them on the left. Today’s hike ends when we reach the town of Kutumsang, a village of traditionally built homes and hillsides shrouded in mist. You can obtain exceptional views of Dorje Lhakpa’s pyramidal summit from here.
You’ll overnight in one of Kutumsang’s guesthouses, and today’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included.
Day 05: Kutumsang to Tharipati (3650m/11972ft) Duration: 5 hours. After breakfast this morning, you’ll embark on one of the most pleasant days of hiking on the Helambu Trek. This is the five-hour route to Tharepati, which passes through a forest of fir and rhododendron as it climbs to the Yurin Danda ridge. From this excellent viewpoint, you’ll enjoy remarkable panoramas of the Langtang Himal and the high-altitude Gosaikunda Pass.
After you’ve taken some photographs, you’ll descend gradually to pass by an army checkpoint near the densely wooded region of Magen Goth. This is an exceptionally beautiful part of the trail, and it’s a good place to take a break before making the final ascent to Tharepati. A clear day in Tharepati will reward you with a good look at the distant peaks of Dorje Lhakpa, Gaurishankar, and several other Himalayan giants.
You’ll overnight here in one of Tharepati’s guesthouses; today’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included.
Day 06: Tharipati to Tarkeghyang (2743m/8997ft) Duration: 5 hours. Today’s trek will take you through two major villages of the Helambu region, and you can expect to spend about six hours on the trail. After breakfast, you’ll begin a long, steep descent to the first village: Melamchi Gaon. This is a sprawling community with lots of houses draped with prayer flags, wide pastures with the occasional grazing horse, and a colorful gompa, or monastery. Some trekkers stop here for the night, but we’ll push on to reach the larger town of Tarkegyang.
The path ascends through scattered Sherpa settlements as it approaches this village, which is also called Helambu. You’ll find several large stupas and an important monastery in Tarkegyang, and it’s here that the cultural elements of the Helambu Trek really shine. You’ll spend the night at a guesthouse owned by friendly locals. Your breakfast, lunch, and dinner today are included.
Note: From Tarkegyang, you can also take a side trip to climb the nearby mountain of Ama Yangri, where you’ll achieve superlative views of the Langtang range. You may need to build an additional day into your itinerary to make this possible—please don’t hesitate to let us know if you’re interested in this rewarding add-on.
Day 07: Tarkeghyang to Shermathang (2621m/8596ft) Duration: 4 hours. After the steep ups and downs of the last few days, today’s easier trekking may come as a pleasant surprise. You’ll be hiking for about four hours to reach the town of Shermathang, but the path is largely flat and passes through some unusually beautiful forest.
Keep an eye out for a few interesting mani walls and chortens along this route as you hike through the smaller villages of Parachin and Gangal. You’ll also cross some small streams along the way, before catching a glimpse of the Melamchi Khola river valley to the south. Shermathang itself is known for its apple orchards, widely spaced homes, and ancient monasteries. After strolling around town and taking in good views of the Jugal Himal and Ganesh Himal ranges, you’ll spend the night in a guesthouse here.
Today’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included.
Day 08: Shermathang- Melamchi Pul Bazaar –Kathmandu, 3-4 hrs hike and 2 hrs drive. After enjoying a leisurely breakfast in Shermathang, you’ll begin hiking by descending past fields of rice and wide, grassy meadows. You’ll cross a few bridges and pass through small villages dotted with chortens and mani walls as you approach the Sherpa village of Melamchi Pul Bazaar.
There are a number of guesthouses here which are sometimes used by trekkers who are doing the Helambu Trek in reverse. Melamchi Pul Bazaar is also connected to the road, so we’ll link up with our transportation from this point forward.
The drive back to Kathmandu will serve as your chance to savor a final glimpse of the rolling hills and terraced agricultural fields of Nepal’s green countryside. When you arrive back in the city, take some time to check back into your hotel and relax: you’ve successfully completed the Helambu Trek!
You’ll have plenty of time tonight to enjoy a hearty meal and do any last-minute souvenir shopping before returning to your hotel.
Today’s breakfast and lunch are included.
Day 09: Farewell.Your trekking adventure with MountainMate Team has come to its end, and it’s time to bid a fond farewell to Kathmandu.We’ll take you back to Tribhuvan International Airport about three hours before the scheduled departure of your outgoing flight.
We trust that you’ve enjoyed your holiday in Nepal, and we can’t wait to welcome you back next time!
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