After your four day stay in the village, it's time to trek through the outstanding natural beauty of Helambu - which is one of the lesser visited Himalayan treks, so you'll get to escape from the well-trodden tourist trails and discover some beautiful scenery.
The small villages we stay in along the way are a real treasure. So too are the ancient monasteries and caves which, hidden over high ridges and within rock folds, have been places of pilgrimage and retreat for Buddhist saints and monks for many, many centuries. This is moderate trekking between altitudes of 1,370m to 3,700m, so we welcome anyone of reasonable fitness. Accommodation is in Nepal's iconic "tea houses", rustic, mountain guesthouses run by hospitable local families.
Day 1: Bhaktapur. Arrive into Kathmandu any time this day. Meet at our start hotel in the old Bhaktapur district. Bhaktapur is a beautifully restored medieval town located in the Kathmandu Valley. That afternoon you will have time to wander around the historic squares with their temples and narrow streets. In the evening we have a full briefing and dinner and if time permits, we will pay a visit to the Great Buddhist Stupa at Bodhnath and the Tibetan community that resides there. Includes: (D).
Day 2: Bhaktapur to community project. This morning we will have a small presentation and general introduction to KEEP. We then take a short drive to Nagarkot, the project location where the group is introduced to the village. This project work is a chance to get involved in working for the local community in a gesture of sharing and giving something back prior to our trek in this amazing country. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: KEEP community project. The Project School: Each year a different school may be chosen dependent on the needs of the community and school in question.In past years we have concentrated on one school to bring successive infrastructure improvements, such as drinking water, toilets and landscaping to the school. Schools are assessed by our our local NGO partner KEEP, who works with the village in question to determine what work would be most suitable.
You will be staying in the village with a host family. The Home-stay Program gives you an opportunity to really get to know the local community and interact with the villagers and learn their culture and language. The type of work we looked at on the last trip included: Construction of a wall which had collapsed due to rain; Renovation work including changing of the roof; Increasing the height of the class room; Painting and whitewashing of the school blocks; Landscaping and leveling of the floors of the school block. Cultural exchange is also a major component of the Community Development Program. Staying with a host family enable you to experience the incredible hospitality of Nepali people and also the opportunity to understand Nepali culture.
At the end of the project a cultural night is held to celebrate the project with singing and local dancing. As a group you should expect to reciprocate with a performance of your own! During the project you will be working alongside local trades people and no building skills are required. There will be a representative of KEEP working with you each day. The materials for the project will be provided including working tools. However, bring a pair of gloves to protect from the paint and blisters. Oh, and don’t forget your sense of humor! The Nepalese laughter is infectious. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: KEEP Community project. Project work commences at 8.30am through to 4.30pm with plenty of breaks and meals. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: KEEP Community project. Project work commences at 8.30am through to 4.30pm with plenty of breaks and meals. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Melamchi Pul Bazaar. Today we’ll leave the KEEP project after 3 days of making friends and making a difference. After lunch we’ll take a 3 hour bus ride to Melamchi Pul Bazaar where we’ll stay for a night before departing the next morning for our Helambu trek. Please note that the final location of the community project and activities undertaken may change dependent on the need assessed by KEEP but will be in the vicinity of the Kathmandu valley and adjacent areas. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Melamchi to Kakani. Our first day of trekking is a serious introduction to the foothills of the Himalayas. We’ll ascend most of the morning to a ridge before a final ascent to 1996m in the village of Kakani. The trail ascends gradually all day through meadows and cultivated fields. On the way, you’ll come across several old villages with their own particular traditions. Walking today is a tough opener but quite pleasant with mountain views and interaction with locals. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Kakani to Sermathang. A shorter day in distance but we continue to ascend through pine forests with views over the Helambu valley Sermathang lies at 2590m and is a quaint little sherpa village. Arriving early in the afternoon, there’s a chance to visit the local monastery and play with children or even learn some Nepalese. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Sermathang to Melamchigoan. A relatively easy morning is spent walking to Ghang Yul where we’ll visit the monastery and take a breather before following a ridge, Tarke Gyang the largest village in Helambu with it’s cultivated Malemchi valley fields, stone houses, tiny alleyways and water driven prayer wheel.After lunch we descend to the river before a final climb to Melamchigoan. A long day but the apple orchard and apple pie awaits us. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Melamchigoan to Mangengoth. Today’s walk is a true adventure with a high pass to cross (3510m), Buddhist monasteries scattered throughout the day and spectacular views. The Tharepati Pass is in fact a great view point from where you can take a glimpse of the breathtaking snow capped mountains such as Dorje Lakpa, Gaurishankar, Langshisa, Jugal, Numbur and many others. The final 3 hours is a gradual ascent to Magengoth through rhododendrons, oak and fur forests. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Mangengoth to Kutumsang. Today’s trek is mostly downhill, as the trail proceeds into alpine meadows used by herders for pasturing Yaks and other livestock and is beautiful walking. The paths on this section can be very eroded and steep at times and care is needed. Following the trail winding steeply through lush Rhododendron and Fir Tree forest and clusters of shepherd’s huts.
Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Kutumsang to Chisopani (Kathmandu). Our final day of trekking winds down the hillside to the scenis village of Chisopani. Chisopani has superb views over the distant Himalayas and farming valleys below. In the afternoon we transfer to Kathmandu. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 13: Kathmandu. A day at leisure. A chance for you to explore around the many historic sights of the Kathmandu valley, such as the "monkey temple" at Swayambunath or the palaces of Durbar Square. Tonight we will have a celebratory dinner to mark the completion of our trek. There will also be an opportunity to take an early morning flight over Mount Everest the next morning (optional extra, approx. $175). Includes: (B).
Day 14: Kathmandu. If you’re leaving today then there is a chance for some last minute shopping before you depart around midday for the airport. Includes: (B).
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