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Great Himalaya Trail

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February 6, 2021
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8 to 25 Days
Availability : Jan 18’ - Dec 18’
Kathmandu
Far Western Region
Min Age : 12+
Max People : 50
Tour Details

Far West Nepal

Trekking in the Far West is authentic as it gets. Trails wind through a land untouched by the hand of time, past ancient orange and lemon groves and flag stoned mediaeval villages. The history of the Malla Kingdom that reigned here from the 12th to the 14th century is not readily visible today. But in a land that history has left behind, the visitor is free to experience a taste of what trekking must have been like when Nepal first opened up to the world beyond its borders. Organised tourism has so far been limited to the gentle hills and pastures of the Swami’s home, Khaptad National Park, with its snowy backdrop of peaks. But the pristine forests host abundant wildlife, including leopards, monkeys, bears and rich birdlife. For those with a sense of adventure, there is still much to uncover here – exploration that is as much cultural as it is natural.

Humla
Humla Raling Gompa 03 (RS)
Humla is the most remote district in Nepal, and one of the poorest. There are few tourists, and those you meet will most likely be headed to the border town of Hilsa, a stepping-stone to Mount Kailash in Tibet. The Great Himalaya Trail follows the old salt trading route to Tibet. The trail threads along towering green cliffs above the roaring Karnali, the longest river in Nepal. You’ll pass clusters of flat-roofed mud houses, encountering Thakuri women wearing heavy gold and silver jewellery, and Thakuri men leading flocks of long-haired goats up and down the muddy trail to Tibet. As you approach Hilsa and the north western border, the landscape becomes drier, and the context, Buddhist. It’s possible to turn southeast into the Limi Valley’s incredible red rockscapes and mediaeval stone villages. Beyond lies a glacial valley below the 5.000m Nyalu pass, with the aquamarine Tshom Tsho Lake providing remarkable contrast with the burnt sienna of the treeless expanses.

Rara & Jumla
The largest lake in Nepal is ensconced within its smallest national park. It’s a beautiful, calm haven surrounded by forests, and a paradise for bird watchers. The Great Himalaya Trail’s lower and upper routes make a crossroads at Rara Lake. From here, trekkers can head along the old salt route to Humla, the royal highway to the plains, or take any of several adventurous paths into neighbouring Dolpa. While facilities are still basic, the area is an adventurer’s dream – authentic culture, a wealth of natural beauty and the trails largely to yourself. As with Dolpa to the east and Humla to the west, it lies in a vast rainshadow zone. It is arid, less intensively farmed and sparsely populated with people of Tibetan origin. 

Dolpa
Until recently, what little the outside world knew of Dolpa was gleaned from artistic and spiritual accounts from early visitors. With more trekking agencies venturing into Inner Dolpo – allowing access beyond Phoksundo Lake to the 800-year-old Shey Gompa – a truly remarkable natural and cultural experience is there for the taking (even in the monsoon!). Look out for views of mighty Dhaulagiri (8.167m), once thought to be the highest mountain in the world. In such barren terrain, the spectacle of Nepal’s deepest lake, Phoksundo, is almost beyond describing. Locals believe Phoksundo was formed when a spiteful demonness flooded a village for revealing her whereabouts to the saint Padmasambhava. The surreal sight of the lake, which hosts no aquatic life and appears to fluctuate between a turquoise and ultramarine hue – appears to substantiate the legend. If you follow in the footsteps of generations of nomads, look out for the remains of the ill-fated village below the lake’s surface.

Annapurna & Mustang See Annapurna Region.
Everest & Rolwaling See  Everest Region.

Makalu Barun
Makalu is a rarely visited gem. It’s considered one of the toughest 8.000m peaks to climb – even the great Edmund Hillary failed twice. But the wilderness around it is just waiting to be explored by the intrepid trekker prepared to forgo the comforts of teahouse treks. Barun Valley ii
The rewards are generous. Makalu shelters 3000 species of flowering plants, 440 species of birds and 75 species of mammals. The towering granite cliffs capped with glaciers in the upper reaches of the Barun Valley have been likened to those of Yosemite – on a bigger scale! As you walk up the river valleys, immense mountain vistas will unfold before you, including the massifs of Makalu, Everest and Lhotse. The Makalu region is known for its heavy rains and snow, so hiking is best done in the autumn months of October and November. But don’t wait too long – with a major hydropower project in the works, trek Makalu now before it changes forever.

Kanchenjunga
In Tibetan, ‘Kanchenjunga’ means ‘the five treasure houses of snow’, which gives you some idea of what to expect should you visit this area. At 8.586 m, massive Kanchenjunga is the world’s third highest mountain, and marks the eastern border of Nepal with the Indian state of Sikkim. The conservation area that surrounds it extends into protected areas in Sikkim and Tibet, and comprises a beautiful, unspoilt wilderness. Cascading waterfalls, lush vegetation and thousands of species of plants await those who take the long trail to Kanchenjunga Base Camp, the main route which has been described as ‘untrekked’. Unabashedly wild, Kanchenjunga is for the true adventurer within you. The remoteness of this terrain, its rugged trails, scattered human habitation, and monsoonal downpours make for a perfectly challenging beginning to the Great Himalaya Trail. Along the way, you will walk along paths used mostly by locals, as very few trekkers make their way to the wild east of Nepal. For those who do, the reward lies in more than just the breathtaking views of Kanchenjunga and its companions. Over 2000 different flowering plants have been recorded here, and you’ll see some of the richest rhododendron forests in Nepal. New species are still being discovered in the pristine forests!

 

Departure & Return Location

Tribhuwan International Airport (Google Map)

Departure Time

3 Hours Before Flight Time

Price Includes

  • Air fares
  • 3 Nights Hotel Accomodation
  • Tour Guide
  • Entrance Fees
  • All transportation in destination location

Price Excludes

  • Guide Service Fee
  • Driver Service Fee
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Room Service Fees

Complementaries

  • Umbrella
  • Sunscreen
  • Guide Map
  • Entrance Fees
What to Expect

GHT Upper Trail, Full Traverse
GHT Lower Trail, Full Traverse

Far West Nepal | Far West Section
Humla | Humla Nyinba Valley Trek to Raling Gompa
Rara & Jumla | Rara, Jumla & Mugu Section
Dolpa | Dolpa Circuit Trek
Annapurna & Mustang | Annapurna Dhaulagiri Community Trek (see Annapurna Region)
Everest & Rolwaling | Rolwaling Section (see Everest Region)
Makalu Barun | Makalu Barun Section
Kanchenjunga | Kachenjunga Base Camp Trek

GHT Trekking - FAR WEST NEPAL

Far West Section, Lower Trail

Far West IIThe GHT Far West Section trek brings you to the border with India. The trail goes through a landscape of contrast: barren and desolate hills with bright green fields of wheat or other crops in the valleys alongside the rivers. The arid, barren landscape, the heath, the cactuses, and the shepherds with their goats or cows, give you the feeling you are not only walking in the Far West, but also in the Wild West. The Far West has many fertile valleys, and you pass many villages. Most people living here are Hindu Chhetri. Especially in the small villages tourists, be it foreign or Nepali, are a real attraction!
                                                                      Time: 15 days | Difficulty: Moderate

GHT Trekking - FAR WEST NEPAL Itinerary
GHT Trekking - HUMLA

Humla Nyinba Valley Trek to Raling Gompa

DSC_0057While Humla is Northwest Nepal and it is quite famous as the gateway to Mount Kailash in Tibet, very few people know that very close to Simikot (the headquarters of Humla) lies a beautiful hidden valley, the Nyinba Valley. Entering the Nyiba Valley seems like stepping back in time. In the small villages century old Tibetan Buddhist traditions are still an important part of daily life. The trek brings you to the Buddhist monastery of Raling Gompa, which is spectacularly located at the bottom of Cristal Mountain. Leaving from Kathmandu, it’s an 8-day trip, but it can be shorter or longer, depending on the length of your walking days.
Time: 8 days | Difficulty: Moderate

GHT Trekking - HUMLA Itinerary
GHT Trekking - RARA & JUMLA

Rara, Jumla & Mugu Section, Lower Trail

Rara LakeThis is a very interesting section. You walk through barren landscapes, alternated with beautiful forests. You have to cross many passes and pass remote mountain villages, where time seems to have stood still. Both Hindu Chhetri and Buddhist are living in this part of Nepal. You end this section in Rara Lake. The crystal clear lake is surrounded by forests and mountains. Especially when there is no wind and the mountains and clouds are reflected in the lake, it is a stunning sight. Still very few tourists find their way to West-Nepal and most of the time you have the trail completely to yourself, with some nice encounters with the friendly locals.
Time: 6 – 9 days | Difficulty: Moderate

GHT Trekking - RARA & JUMLA Itinerary
GHT Trekking - DOLPA

Dolpa Circuit Trek

Dolpa Phoksundo Lake (RS)Hiking the Dolpa Circuit is an experience you will never forget. It gives you the opportunity to experience life in the remote highlands. You walk through a variety of landscapes, ranging from green pastures, reminding to the European Alps, to barren rocks, reminding to the Tibetan plateay. The Phoksundo Lake is of an incomparable beauty, with its deep blue and emerald colours, surrounded by steep bold rocks. Dolpa is still an “off the beaten track” destination due to its remote location. Especially in spring and summer you see very few other tourists. The Dolpa Circuit is a quite strenuous trekking, with some steep climbs. But the scenery on the way, the views from the passes and the encounters you will have with the Dolpa people will make it all worth it.
Time: 19 days | Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

GHT Trekking - DOLPA Itinerary
GHT Trekking - MAKALU BARUN

Makalu Barun Section, Lower Trail

barun ValleyThis is quite a special section of the GHT, as you are walking at relatively low altitudes up till around 400m. This gives the section a subtropical touch, with villages reminding to Southeast Asia. You have beautiful views of the Kanchenjunga Range and Makalu Barun. It is yet completely unexplored by tourism, partly due to the far distance from Kathmandu. This makes this section a beautiful encounter with authentic Nepali village life.
Time: 7 days | Difficulty: Easy

GHT Trekking - MAKALU BARUN Itinerary
GHT Trekking - KANCHENJUNGA

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek

KanchenjungaKanchenjunga (8.586m), the world’s third highest mountain, forms Nepal’s eastern border with India’s Sikkim. The trek is a circuit and includes a visit to the Pathibara Temple, which is an important religious site for many Indian and Nepali pilgrims. The trail goes northwards to Ghumsa, where it touches the GHT Upper Trail. It climbs to the Kanchenjunga Base Camp (5.143m) going through a spectacular high alpine landscape. The trek goes through the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, managed by local communities in partnership with WWF, which is one of the least densely populated in Nepal. Pristine forests, alpine meadows and high altitude wetlands are home to the endangered snow leopard and red panda, the vulnerable Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard and Assamese macaque.
Time: 26 days | Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

GHT Trekking - KANCHENJUNGA Itinerary
GHT Upper Trail

 

Picture11The complete traverse of the GHT Upper Trail through Nepal is the ultimate adventure. The trail stretches over a distance of about 1.700 km and passes through spectacular, high altitude mountain landscapes, visiting some of the most remote villages on earth, where life remains as it was century’s back.

Trekking along the entire Upper Trail is for the fit and adventurous. It requires crossing high passes with altitudes up to above 6.100m. Proper trekking gear and mountaineering equipment is needed and anyone attempting this trek should be physically fit and have trekking and ideally mountaineering experience. For safety, a local mountain guide who knows the terrain is essential, especially in high altitudes. Due to the remoteness of the trek, camping is required for most parts of the adventure and it is necessary to take a tent, food and cooking equipment. But what could be better than pitching your tent surrounded by the mighty snow-capped Himalayas and sleeping under the star lit sky?

IMG_0976

Nepal’s Upper Trail starts east, north of the Kanchenjunga Base Camp and ends in Hilsa at Nepal’s Tibetan border in the Western district of Humla. The trekking itinerary takes 156 days from East to West. It should be taken into account that there is not one official GHT route. At many points you can choose to take another trail. Besides, you can choose to make a combination of the Lower and Upper Trail, for example to avoid the high and challenging passes of the Everest Section.

Time: 156 days | Difficulty: Strenuous

GHT Upper Trail Itinerary
GHT Lower Trail

 

Father and child, Humla, NepalNepal’s Lower GHT – also called the cultural route – goes mostly through the country’s mid hills with an average altitude of 2.000m. However, there are still a couple of passes to cross with the highest being the Jang La at 4.519m between Dhorpatan and Dolpa in West-Nepal. Trekking along the lower GHT means walking through beautiful lush forests, pastures, green rice terraces and fertile agricultural land, providing the basis for Nepal’s rich culture and civilisation. You will come across local settlements of many different cultural groups, giving you the change to see what authentic Nepali village life is all about.

For most parts of the trek, you’ll be able to stay in small guesthouses or home stays, but make sure to still take your tent for some of the more remote sections of the route. With lots of local restaurants around, you’ll find a place to eat almost everywhere and so you don’t necessarily need to carry large amounts of food. Shorter then the Upper Trail, the Lower GHT stretches over a distance of 1.500 km and the whole trek will roughly take around 95 days.

Picture7Nepal’s Lower Trail starts at the eastern border with Sikkim at Simhalila Bhanjyang, close to the famous viewpoint of the Kanchenjunga Range in Phalut, and ends in Darchula at Nepal’s Indian border in the Far West. The trekking itinerary takes 92 days from East to West. It should be taken into account that there is not one official Lower GHT route. At many points you can choose to take another trial than the one described below. Besides, you can choose to make a combination of the Lower and Upper trail, if you want to add some high mountain landscape experience to your trek.

Time: 92 days | Difficulty: Moderate
GHT Lower Trail Itinerary
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