DAY 1.ARRIVAL IN KATHMANDU, TRANSFER TO THE HOTEL.
DAY 2.FREE DAY IN KATHMANDU, HOTEL.
DAY 3.FLIGHT TO BHADRAPUR (93 M ), JEEP TO TAPLEJUNG(1800 M.)6 HRS DRIVE.
Today we fly to Bhadrapur& get a 4 wheel drive to Taplejung, about 6-hour drive. We meet the trekking crew in Taplejung and have a night in Fungling.
DAY 4.DRIVE TO TAPLETHOKAND WALK UP TO TO LELEP, 1715 M, CAMP.
It's about 4 hours of dirt drive to Taplethok. Taplethok (1330 m) is a small village with a few teashops, a small health post, a KCAP checkpoint, a school and a good place for camping near the suspension bridge over the river TamorNadi. There is a sign with Lumbasumba written on it, so you can be sure you are on the right track. In the fields, people grow rice, millet, cardamom. Around the houses, you see kitchen gardens. There is a small temple in the village. Leaving Thaplethok, we cross the suspension bridge and start our trek along the west bank of the mighty TamorNadi. We pass more houses and walk through enormous cardamom gardens. They are huge and there are many. The cardamom is important for the income of the local people. The trek passes through Alnus trees (Uttis), bamboo, rice and millet fields. It is a pleasant walk till Pembu (1486), where you can have a short rest near one of the tea shops. After leaving Pembu, the trail climbs steep uphill for about two hours to the village of Lelep, the destination for today. In Lelep there is the KCAP headquarter, a police station, some grocery and tea shops, a small guesthouse and a place for camping near the boarding school. There is a small, uninhabited monastery. Lelep is a big village, surrounded by rice fields, millet, cardamom, chortens, mani walls, prayer wheels, and prayer flags. From Lelep you can see the trail to the Kanchenjunga area, the SimbawaKhola, de GhunsaKhola, and the TamorNadi.
Ascend 395 m. descend 50 m /3 hours.
DAY 5. WALK FROM LELEP TO ILADANDA, 2045 M, CAMP.
The trek runs along the roaring TamorNadi and through dense forest that offers a good habitat for different wildlife species. Unfortunately, it is hard to spot the animals, but you can be lucky. Cardamom gardens and ferns are around. We ignore the swinging bridge crossing the TamorNadi on our right side and continue our walk till the next bridge crossing a tributary. The trail leads us up and down. We come across mani walls, chortens, prayer flags, small landslides, two big waterfalls of about 100 meters tall. We pass the few houses of Gowatar and continue to Phedi. We cross the TamorNadi by a suspension bridge and start an uphill climb to a resting place known as chautaro in the local dialect. Another 20 minutes walk takes us to the small settlement of Eladanda (Iladanda). The place offers panoramic views of snowcapped peaks, including the Small Kasturi Peak.
Ascend 570 m. descend 255 m /4 hours.
DAY 6. WALK FROM ILADANDA TO JONGIN, 2635 M, CAMP.
Today we walk through a jungle of Ulnus, rhododendron and maple trees. The trail goes up and down and soon we come across dense bamboo groves (spread over around 5 hectares). It is the habitat of the red panda. If you are lucky, you might catch sight of a red panda from the trail itself! The trail today is not so easy since there are steep climbs and you walk up and down all day. Nevertheless, it is an inspiring walk through the complete wilderness, crossing small landslides, beautiful jungle, stones with lichen moss on it, beard moss hanging from the trees. Hearing the continuous noise of the TamorNadi.The place to camp at Jongin is on a piece of flatland with some barns, grazing yaks and a waterfall.
Ascend 850 m. descend 260 m / 5 hours.
DAY 7. WALK FROM JONGIN TO OLANGCHUNGGOLA, 3250 M, CAMP.
The walk today starts with crossing the suspension bridge over the TamorNadi near our camp at Jongin. Soon we see the results of building the dirt road, which leads to OlangchungGola. We pass through deodar trees (Himalayan cedar), pine and rhododendron forest, dense bamboo groves, where we have another chance to see the red panda. In some places, the trail is still there. We come across a few waterfalls. The TamorNadi roars, swirls and gets narrower. At Ramite we see the first glimpse of OlangchungGola and the monastery.
Ascend 555 m, descend 35 m // 2.45 hours.
Brief insight on OlangchungGola: OlangchungGola is a beautiful Sherpa village with around 45 wooden houses, a monastery from around the year 1550, a KCAP office, a sub-health post, a primary school, and a border police station. There are some small shops and a guesthouse with a good campsite. The main attraction of OlangchungGola is the big monastery (DekiChholingGompa) where 9 monks live. The monks are from the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Once a year there is a three day festival at the monastery. The festival is called FutukParva and is organized by the Walung people, an indigenous nationality of Nepal. The Walung people revere the monastery as their shelter from anything untoward. The chief deity at the monastery is Chenrezi. The village was and still is important for trade with Tibet. People trade Chinese articles for cheese and woolen carpets. In the past, it was a place for smugglers (ivory, caterpillar fungus, and animal skins ). Maybe it still is? OlangchungGola is situated on the most direct route between Shigatse in Tibet and Kolkata in India, just a day’s walk from the Tibetan border. The place was known as a place of considerable wealth thanks to its strategic location on this lucrative trade route. Blue sheep, the so-called Naur, can be seen high on the slopes of the mountains. The Walung people (or Walungpa) are the indigenous inhabitants of the region around OlangchungGola. They are descended from Tibetan settlers from the 7th century. Their language is the Walungge language, a dialect of the Central Tibetan language. The primary occupation of the Walungpa is trade and herding yaks and dzos. They practice Nyingmapa Buddhism.
DAY 8. REST DAY IN OLANGCHUNGGOLA, EXPLORE AND ACCLIMATIZE, CAMP.
If you are lucky you can enjoy the FutukParva festival at the monastery which normally happens in Autumn.
DAY 9.WALK FROM OLANGCHUNGGOLA TO A KHARKA NEAR LANGMALE, 4030 M. CAMP.
The trek in the next three days will pass through complete wilderness. The piles of stones along the way show us the right direction. Here and there we will come across local people herding cattle. Today’s trek leads us upstream the TamorNadi through pine and rhododendron forest. We pass Jadak. A good place to camp is beyond the place where three rivers meet: the TamorNadi, the MendolungKhola, and the DingsambaKhola. There is a nice kharka near the river at Langmale. The vegetation changes to small juniper and azaleas. The spicy smell of the azaleas is dominating the surroundings.
Ascend 865 m. descend 80 m / 5.15 hours.
DAY 10. WALK FROM LANGMALE TO PASS CAMP, 4630 M, CAMP.
After breakfast we walk to our highest camp during the Lumbasumba trail. Today’s trek can be interesting as snow leopards have been spotted. The trek runs along the DingsambaKhola. On the other side of the river lies dense rhododendron forest. The slopes are steep. There are some climbs to overcome. We see signposts with Lumbasumba on it. Blue gentians are flowering. Here the world consists of stone, moraines, ice, and blue sheep. It is to recommend to go for a short walk in the afternoon to enjoy the scenery and to acclimatize for tomorrow’s passes.
Ascend 615 m. descend 25 m // 3.30 hours
DAY 11. WALK FROM PASS CAMP TO CAMP ON A KHARKA AFTER CROSSING THE TWO PASSES LUMBA(5080 M.) AND SUMBA (5070 M.), CAMP AT 3940 M
Today's walk will be the most difficult yet most memorable day of this trek. It is better to start early as it will be difficult to cross the passes afternoon when the snow is melting. We cross the river, jumping from stone to stone and climb up a steep zigzag to a kharka with a beautiful mountain lake (Pokhari). The trail goes up and down. There are stunning views in all directions. The Kanchenjunga Himal can be seen. First, we get to the first pass, the Lumba (5080 meters). We continue the very nice trail to the second pass, the Sumba (5070 meters). Prayer flags and Khata’s flutter in the air. From here we can see the Makalu Himal. The descend is not very difficult, the first part can be icy. On the way down there are many places to camp. Piles of stones are our signposts. Depending on the fitness of the crew and the members you can choose a place to camp. The lower, the better.
Ascend 510 m. descend 1205 m / 7 hours.
DAY 12. WALK FROM THE CAMP TO THUDAM, 3550 M, CAMP. ASCEND 5 M, DESCEND 390 M / 1.30 HOURS.
Since we already descended a long way, today’s walk to the village of Thudam is not very far. The trail is downhill and we come across a junction of two roads, one to Lyasha in Tibet and the other toward Thudam. We pass again through beautiful rhododendron forest, juniper, primroses, beard mosses. Thudam is a small Sherpa village with about 30 wooden houses. There are 12 families living all year round. From Thudam there is a fast trail leading to Taplejung. Good to keep in mind if there are any problems. The region is famous for the blooming rhododendrons in springtime.
Ascend 5 m, descend 390 m / 1.30 hours.
DAY 13. WALK FROM THUDAM TO A KHARKA, 2765 M, CAMP.
After breakfast we cross a wooden bridge and walk along the banks of the ChujungKhola. It is an enchanting trail. The dense jungle of rhododendrons, pine, mosses, ferns, red-colored stones, waterfalls, simple wooden bridges, the sound of many birds, primroses. The trail offers panoramic views of the Makalu Himal. After a while, you cross a big landslide. And later you come across many overgrown bamboo groves. It is not an easy day since we go up and down all day long, the trail can be slippery in places and there are not many places to camp.
Ascend 700 m. descend 1500 m /7 hours.
DAY 14. WALK FROM THE CAMP TO CHYAMTHANG, 2340 M, CAMP.
A pleasant day through rhododendron and bamboo forest. Here are blackfaced langur monkeys and you can hear barking deer. A trail is full of waterfalls, ferns, fingerprints, primroses. A steep descent leads to the ArunNadi. After crossing this river a steep climb follows and leads to the village of Chyamthang. We exchange the wilderness for rice fields, cows, goats, and the habited world. Chyamthang is a big village with stone houses, kitchen gardens, chickens, mani walls, chortens, teashops, grocery stores, a small guesthouse. Sherpas are the dominant population of the village. In Chyamthang there is a small Christian Church at the end of the village. There are services once a month for the 20 or so Christians living in the village. Opposite the Church is a good place to camp.
Ascend 625 m. descend 1055 m / 4 hours.
Note: It's also a good idea to have lunch in Chyamthang and proceed to Linggan. This makes the walk for tomorrow a little bit shorter.
DAY 15. WALK FROM CHYAMTHANG TO HATIYA, 1560 M, CAMP.
Today's walk is beautiful, but not that easy. It is a long way to Hatiya. After leaving Chyamthang we climb a short stretch to the dirt road. We follow the road some time and take the trail to Linggan, a very nice village. We continue through fields full of rice, millet, potatoes, vegetables. Many local people go somewhere. We see caravans of donkeys to transport rice, shoes, Chinese beer and many more articles. Everywhere we see long mani walls and chortens. They look very, very old. The trail goes up and down with nice views. We pass many tributaries, wooden bridges, waterfalls, ferns, bamboo, rhododendrons, cardamom and are accompanied by the chirping of birds. The trail is one of the popular places for birding as we are entering Arun Valley, which is a home for several bird species. We arrive at Gimber Village for lunch. This place offers very nice views of the Makalu Himal. The trail to Hatiya is strenuous as well. There is a steep descend to ArunNadi. Hatiya is a small village of Bhote people and it is the entry point to the Makalu National Park. There is a primary school, a small hospital and there are some shops. Throughout the village runs a long mani wall with many chortens, prayer wheels, and prayer flags. Bhote people or Ngalops are Himalayan people who are believed to have migrated southward from Tibet in the 8th or 9th century. Most Bhote people practice a form of Tibetan Buddhism, a Central Asian-Himalayan version of Vajrayana.
Ascend 805 m. descend 1450 m / 8.30 hours.
Note : In December 2019, we were not allowed to camp near the school and there was no other place to be found for camping. Maybe this will change because this part of the trek is included in the Great Himalayan Trail. So being a small group, We found a place for the night with a local family. A solution can be to go to the village of Hongon ( 2323 meters) and walk the next day from Hongon to Gola.
DAY 16. WALK FROM HATI YA TO GOLA, 1130 M, CAMP.
The trail runs along the banks of the ArunNadi. Sometimes high above, sometimes close to the river. Till the confluence of Arun and Barun rivers, the path leads once more through the dense jungle of ferns, bamboo, waterfalls, wooden bridges, the chirping of many birds. A fairy tale. …..Up and down. After about two hours walk, the valley widens and rice fields show up. Somewhat later we arrive at the bridge crossing the BarunNadi. The river comes bulging down in the shape of a waterfall, fascinating to see and hear. After crossing the bridge is the hamlet of BarunDovan. Here the dirt road starts and leads to the village of Gola. Jeeps can be hired. Gola is a small village with a bazaar, a primary school, some tea shops, a military camp, and a checkpoint. Sherpa, Rai and Tamang people reside in Gola.
Ascend 280 m. descend 715 m / 4.45 hours.
DAY 17. WALK FROM GOLA TO HEDANGAGADI, 1180 M, CAMP.
Note: It is not a good idea to walk from Gola to Hedangi Gadi since there is only a dirt road. The trail has disappeared and hard to find. In 2019 we walked all the way in 5.50 hours, but it is horrible. So take a jeep to HedangaGadi.
Anyways, the road passes through paddy fields and small villages. A sign that we are at lowlands now. HedangaGadi : Gadhi means fort in Nepali language. It is a place of great historical significance as the Nepali Army fought bravely with the invading the Tibetan Army at this place and chased them away. Gadhi is a small village with a health post, a school, a police station, and a few shops. There is a good campsite near the school.
Ascend 685 m. descend 540 m / 5.50 hours.
DAY 18. WALK FROM HEDANGAGADI TO NUM, 1570 M.
Jeep from Num to Tumlingtar, 405 m // 3 hours, camp or hotel. After breakfast, we descend the 725 meters to the ArunNadi. There is a narrow trail. Down in the valley near the river, an Indian project is constructing a big electricity central. Roads are under construction, tunnels are made. Fortunately, there is an ascending, winding trail to Num after about 20 minutes walk on the dirt road. It is a surprise to continue on a beautiful trail like this after the dust and the noise of the construction site. After arriving in Num and having lunch we get into jeeps to reach Tumlingtar. There is a good place for camping at the end of the town, near a military base.
Ascend 725 m. descend 435 m / 2.45 hours.
DAY 19. FLIGHT FROM TUMLINGTAR TO KATHMANDU, HOTEL.
DAY 20. FREE DAY IN KATHMANDU, HOTEL.
DAY 21. FLY BACK HOME.