Altavista Treks & Expedition Pvt.Ltd
 
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Helambu trek and Kathmandu Valley

 
 

Semi tropical valley, Helambu mountains, the magnificent Jugal Himal and the vivid contrast of Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist cultures.

 

The most accessible of all trekking regions, Helambu offers a low altitude, distinctly enjoyable walk. In Tamang and Sherpa villages meet friendly and hospitable people with strong family and cultural ties.

 

It is a region where steeply cut rice terraces and deep green valleys give way to rich forests of oak and rhododendron, all set against a distant horizon of mountain peaks.

 

Where are you going?

Day1: Arrival Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel

Day 2: Following a short drive to Sundarijaal the trail ascends past a waterfall then climbs continuously through forests of pine, oak and rhododendron and Tamang villages to the Borlang Bhanjyang Pass (2438m).

Day 3: From the Tamang village of Gul Bhanjyang the sights of green terraced fields covering the hillsides is fantastic. Trail runs through Brahmin and Chhetri villages and along ridges to the small village of Kutumsang

Day 4: A longish day’s walk through forests and traversing high pastures seldom visited except by shepherds and woodcutters; the solitude and semi-wilderness is rare on a main trail. From the chorten above Tharepati village there are fine views of the Jugal Himal and Rowaling Himal.

Day 5: A steep descent down a ravine leads to a suspension bridge and up to Malemchigaon. Helambu’s finest Sherpa village, is a collection of neat houses fronted by prayer flags and surrounded by orchards and fields. Unlike those of Solu Khumbu Sherpa women here opt for red cotton dresses rather than Tibetan styles; their language also is quite different. From the Malemchi Khola it is a long climb to Tarkeghyang, the largest village in Helambu. This prosperous village has a lovely gompa, huge brass prayer wheel and large, elaborately furnished stone houses.

Days 6-7: From here the path is relatively level passing numerous chorten and villages, streams and waterfalls to Sermathang. Continuing along the ridge, slowly descending, you pass from Buddhist influence back into the Hindu lowlands towards Melamchi Bazaar.

Day 8: Return to Kathmandu by road.

 

 

The Historic Kathmandu Valley


A sightseeing program that includes the major historic, cultural and religious sights of the three Newari cities of the Kathmandu Valley – Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur.

Each city is centered around its Durbar Square where museums, temples, courtyards and squares reveal the best of traditional art, crafts and architecture.

Patan’s museum is particularly impressive whilst in Bhaktapur the essence of the medieval town can still be felt as the city preserves its own unique idenity.

The ancient and enigmatic Swayambhunath Stupa is the most sacred of the Valley’s Buddhist shrines whilst Pashupatinath is the largest temple complex in Nepal and one of the most sacred places dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva in the whole subcontinent.

The stupa of Boudhanath attracts pilgrims, particularly Tibetans, from throughout the Buddhist Himalaya.

 

Where are you going?

 

Day 9: A full day sightseeing program that includes the main historic and religious sights of Kathmandu.

Kathmandu’s Durbar Square is a constant, teeming mass of life. With over 50 monuments, some dating back to the 12th century, the most famous are the remains of the old Royal Palace and the Kumari Bahal, residence of the living goddess.

On a wooded hill to the west stands the incredible golden-topped stupa of Swayambhunath, dating back at least as far as the 5th century. It is the most sacred of Buddhist sites in Kathmandu and Newari Buddhists are the most fervent devotees.

Tibetan Buddhists are mostly found around the great stupa of Boudhanath – making a holy circumambulation or within the maze of temples and stalls surrounding it.

The Valley’s holiest Hindu temple is equally alive with atmosphere and devotees - Pashupatinath is one of the most sacred shrines to Shiva on the entire subcontinent. It is situated on the banks of the Bagmati River, whose waters offer the same guarantee of release from rebirth as the Ganges. The same promise applies to the dead and this is also Nepal’s most important Hindu cremation site.

Day 10: Patan, once an independent Kingdom, lies only a few kilometers south of Kathmandu, but is quite different in atmosphere. Patan’s Durbar Square contains some of the finest Newari urban architecture in all of Nepal as well as Hindu and Buddhist monuments.

Or

Bhaktapur, founded in 889, was once capital of theWhole Valley As well as an impressive Durbar Square and numerous temples, Bhaktapur is famous for its pottery – whole streets are filled with pieces of all shapes and sizes set in the sun to dry. After transfer you to airport or join to another program.

Day 11: The villages of Bungamati and Kokana offer a fascinating glimpse of rural life in the Kathmandu Valley. In both villages life takes place more on the streets than inside with villagers spinning, caring for children, gossiping, processing crops in the sun. Wood carving is a tradition aliv and strong here and it is possible to see beautiful pieces being produced, including doors and window frames.


Bungamati is also one of the two homes of the rain god, Raato Machhendranath. Kokana is particularly renowned as a producer of mustard oil.

Day12: Departure and transfer to the airport

 

Note

Please note that the published itinerary is a statement of intent and to be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail conditions. The guide in charge of your trip will alter the schedule as necessary and any/all such alterations are at the discretion of Altavista Treks & Expedition Pvt.Ltdand your guide.

 

Itinerary

Day

Altitude

Time

1

Arrive Kathmandu

1300m

2

Kathmandu city sight seeing

3

Fly to Lukla
Phakding

2800m
2600m

¾ hr
5 hrs

4

Namche Bazaar

3450m

5 hrs

5

Rest day (Thame Valley)

6

Tangboche

3860m 6 hrs

7

Dingboche

4400m

4 hrs

8

Rest day (Chhukung Valley)

9

Lobuche

4900m

5 hrs

10

Gorakshep

5150m

4 hrs

11

Everest Base Camp
Lobuche

5337m
4900m


8 hrs

12

Pangboche

3950m

3 hrs

13

Namche Bazaar

3450m

6 hrs

14

Phakding

2600m

4 hrs

15

Lukla

2800m

4 hrs

16

Fly to Kathmandu

1300m

¾ hr

17

Depart

Trek Grade: 4
Duration: 17 Days
Trek style: Tea House Trek
Best time to go: March - June / September-November
Your interested date:
Flight Cost: USD 242.00
Tour cost: USD

Cost of trek: USD

1 PAX

980

2 PAX

606

3 PAX

648

4 PAX

549

5 PAX

570

6 PAX

517

Best time to go: March - June / September - November

 

The Trekking Day

Some people have the idea that trekking is all sweat and hard work with no fun. This is far from the truth. Days are designed to be challenging, but not exhausting.

Obviously each day is different depending on terrain, distance to be covered, trail conditions and the pace of the group. However, as a guide, most days begin with breakfast at 7am. You will then need to pack up your duffle bags before breakfast, as porters will set off early. Most days you will be on the trail by 8am to take advantage of the cool morning. Stop for a leisurely lunch around noon. This is generally about 2 hours, allowing plenty of time to explore the village or relax. The afternoon walk is shorter and you usually arrive around 4pm leaving time for excursions to nearby sites, exploration of the village or simply relaxing with a book and catching up on your diary. Dinner is generally around 7pm after which relax by the fire.

 

What you carry

Your dufflebag is restricted to 15kgs. The duffle bag is carried by porters and is not available to you during the day. Your daypack should contain all that you need during the day. This generally consists of warm clothing, water bottle, camera gear, sunscreen, lip salve etc. Your guide will let you know each evening of any extra items you will need for the following day. If you have a comfortable daypack you load will only be a few kilograms and hardly noticeable.

 

Food

No meals are included.

In Kathmandu restaurants of every style and price-range abound.

On the trek meals are available in tea houses, lodges and bhattis with limited menus. Meals are generally simple, but filling, but you may wish to stock up on ‘trail munchies’ before leaving Kathmandu.

 

Accommodation

Accommodation in Kathmandu is on a twin share basis with private facilities.

Whilst trekking accommodation is in lodges and teahouses and is of a basic standard. Rooms may be twin or multi share with basic shared toilet facilities. Showers are available in some places for a small charge.

 

Trekking Staff

The Guide is in overall charge of the trek and looking after you. This is the person you should go to with all problems, concerns and questions. All our guides are highly trained in all aspects of trekking, conservation, high altitude medicine, first-aid and emergency procedures. They are professionals selected for their knowledge and passion for Nepal and its peoples, remember they are local guides and their English may be basic and limited to trek-related topics.

Porters transport your dufflebags – one porter for every two trekkers.

 

Trek Grading

It is impossible to have a ‘foolproof’ grading system as everyone has different expectations and perceptions of their own fitness level. Remember that no trek in the Himalaya is a stroll as all involve going up and down at altitude and that altitude affects everyone differently. Regardless of age or fitness, preparation before you arrive is essential. Aerobic activity, swimming, cycling or brisk walking is recommended or, at the very least, walk up and down stairs in your trekking boots.

Helambu is a Grade 2 trek involving altitudes of around 3000m and days of 4-6 hours walking.

 

What is Included

  • Accommodation in Kathmandu

  • Accommodation on trek. Twin or multi share.

  • All domestic transport as listed in itinerary

  • All National Park entrance fees

  • All Trekking Permits and fees

  • Porters to carry personal gear

  • 15kg luggage allowance while on trek

  • Duffle Bag for your gear

  • Sleeping Bag

  • Trek guide

  • Comprehensive medical kit

  • 3 days sightseeing in Kathmandu valley.

  • English speaking guide

  • Arrival and departure transfer

What is not Included

  • Personal expenses such as drinks, postage, laundry

  • Meals

  • International flights and departure taxes

  • Visa and passport fees

  • Travel insurance

  • Emergency evacuation

  • Tips and gratuities

  • Costs arising from unforeseen events outside the control of Altavista Treks & Expedition Pvt.Ltd

  • Entrance fees while you are in City sightseeing.

Money

It is best to bring a mixture of cash and travelers checks in major currencies - USD, CAD, EUR, AUD - and ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations.

Everyone’s spending is different, but as a guide we suggest USD5-7 per meal in Kathmandu and USD 10 per day whilst trekking (if you drink or smoke this could be higher). Shopping is difficult to predict, but most people buy more than they intended.

You should exchange enough money into Nepalese Rupees to last the entire time of your trek before leaving Kathmandu, as there are no exchange facilities in villages along the way.

 

Tipping

Tipping is a personal and voluntary matter and tips are not included in the trip price. If you wish to reward the efforts of those who have worked to make your trek the best they can we suggest the following: USD2 per day for groups of 8+, USD3 per day for smaller groups - this will be shared amongst the whole staff, including porters.

 

Insurance

It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your trek. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation (including helicopter evacuation) and personal liability. We also recommend that it cover cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

 

Health

There are no specific health requirements for entry into Nepal. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date information regarding vaccinations, high altitude medication and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Nepal.

Be aware that some drugs, including anti-malarials, have side effects at altitude. Please discuss this carefully with your doctor.

Please be aware that we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal First Aid kit as well as sufficient quantities of any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses).

 

Altitude

AMS (acute mountain sickness) is a serious issue. It is the result of the failure of the body to adapt to high altitude and can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness. It usually occurs above 1,800 meters and the likelihood of being affected increases as you ascend. The way to reduce the affects of altitude is to ascend slowly, 300 meters per day above 3,000 meters until you have acclimatized. Poor acclimatization results in headache, nausea, sleeplessness, difficulty breathing and swelling of fingers and glands. The only cure for AMS is to descend to lower altitude and your guide’s decision on this matter is final.

Although our routes are carefully planned to allow for proper acclimatization you may feel some effects of altitude for the first few days or at higher altitudes. Breathlessness, lethargy and mild headaches are not uncommon and generally decrease as your body adjusts. Maintaining adequate fluid intake is essential. Please advise your guide if you feel more severe symptoms and do not medicate yourself without discussing it with them first.

 

Climate

Nepal has a generally temperate climate, however altitude makes distinct variations. The monsoon sweeps up from India each summer, making mid June to mid September humid and wet. The three other distinct seasons are all suitable for trekking and each has its own advantages.

Changing global weather patterns have had their effect on the Himalayan climate and mountain weather is notoriously changeable. Always be prepared for a change in conditions and note that if severe or dangerous weather conditions occur your guide’s decision on any course of action is final.

Winter (December-February) It is cold and you will need to be prepared, but the air is very clear providing the best mountain views.

Spring (March-May) Days are increasingly warm and the rhododendrons are in bloom. Mist and clouds are not uncommon.

Summer (June-August) The monsoon season. It will rain every day, although generally in the evening and night. The hills turn lush and green and at higher elevations the alpine plants will bloom.

Autumn (September-November) The most pleasant trekking season where days are warm, but not hot; there is little chance of snow and skies are clear.

 

Visas and Permits

Single entry visas are available on arrival at Kathmandu airport and all land borders. The visa is valid for 60 days and costs USD30. One photo is required. The visa may then be extended up to 90 days.

Trekking permits are not required for this trek. The required National Park permit be obtained on your behalf by Altavista Treks & Expedition Pvt.Ltdwhen you arrive. Full name, nationality, passport number, sex, date of birth and 1 photograph are needed for the application.

 

Packing for your Trek

Altavista Treks & Expedition Pvt.Ltdsupply a duffle bag to transport your gear during the trip.

You will need to bring a comfortable medium sized daypack to carry the things you will need during the day. This should have a waist strap or (better) a padded waist belt.

  • Rain jacket or poncho

  • Water bottle - minimum 1 liter, aluminum or Nalgene polypropylene are best.

  • Walking boots - lightweight, waterproof and well worn in.

  • Socks: thick wool/blend and thin cotton to be worn in combination - ensure boots fit such combinations.

  • Running shoes or sandals for evening

  • Lightweight wool sweater

  • Fleece jacket

  • T-shirts - 2 or 3

  • Shirt - longsleeved

  • Pants: lightweight long trousers (jeans are unsuitable)

  • Hats - beanie with ear flaps or balaclava for nights (winter only) / peaked ‘French Legionnaire’ style sun hat that will give neck protection during the day

  • Gloves - wool or fleece (winter only)

  • Scarf

  • Underwear

  • Thermal Underwear (winter only)

  • Swimsuit (summer)

  • Sarong - a multitude of uses

  • Sunglasses

  • Bag liners - large, thick garbage bags to line and water/dust proof your duffle bag.

  • Sewing kit

  • Money belt

  • Toiletries

  • Towel

  • Torch / flashlight - headlamp style is ideal

  • Lighter - for burning toilet paper and rubbish

  • Swiss Army Knife

  • First Aid Kit

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