Explore Himalaya Organizes FAM Trip for Kipling Travels, Denmark.

FAM trips are exclusive educational trip for travel agents and Sellers It is especially important in the context of a country like Nepal where these trips can impart valuable information regarding the country and what it has to offer for tourists. It gives them a first-hand information of the destination and these trips help them better promote Nepal as a travel destination to potential clients.

Kipling Travel( www.kipling.dk) a prominent travel company based in Denmark has been in the travel business for decades. They have been sending tourists to Nepal for over 20 years and have played a significant part in popularizing Nepal as a destination in Denmark and Europe.

This year, Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure, once again organized a FAM trip for all the staff members of Kipling Travels. The team was headed by Mr. Lars Gundersen, proprietor of Kipling Travels, and consisted of his team members from Sales, Finance and Operations.

Since Spring is also an ideal time to visit Nepal, this year’s FAM trip was organized between May 17- May 21, 2024.

Upon landing at the international airport on May 17, the guests were taken to Hotel Marshyangdi, the host hotel in the heart of the tourist hub of Kathmandu. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Thamel, it is a great location to spend your first evening and getting familiarized with Nepal.

On May 18, the guests took the scenic and adventurous flight from Kathmandu to Lukla in a helicopter. The initial arrangement was to take a flight but due to weather conditions, the helicopter option was taken. Two helicopters- one each from Fishtail Air and Heli Everest flew the guests to Lukla. After spending some time in Lukla it was time for a helicopter ride to Hotel Everest View in Syangboche. Breakfast was served there and then the guests took a short hike to Namche Bazar and enjoyed lunch at Yeti Home. The rest of the afternoon was free and the guests checked into Bodhi for their dinner and nightcap at Namche Bazar.

On May 19, it was a 20-minute walk upto the heli pad in Namche Bazar from where they were first shuttled to Lukla and then to Kathmandu, again in the helicopter from Fishtail Air.

On arrival in Kathmandu, the guests were transferred to the domestic airport for their flight to Pokhara on Buddha Air’s domestic flight. The arrangement was to spend the afternoon and overnight in Begnas Tal at the Annapurna Royal Camp. They were warmly welcomed at the Camp and spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying some local fish and meals. While there, they were also able to take a short tour of the Begnas area and enjoy the evening stroll around the lake. The evening was spent in some good banter around the dining area of the Camp with light snacks, drinks and dinner.

After spending the night at Annapurna Royal Camp, on May 20, the guests were able to walk around the Camp for a bit and were then transferred to Pokhara by van. As this was a FAM tour, the leader of the group- Mr. Lars Gundersen, took time to take visit and inspect some of the hotels that Kipling send their guests to in Pokhara, namely- Barahi, The Pavilions Farm and The Fishtail Lodge. The group was warmly welcomed in all the properties.

After some sightseeing in Pokhara, the group returned to Kathmandu via flight in Buddha Air for their final night’s stay at the Marshyangdi Hotel.

21 May being their final day- the group started off their day with a meeting breakfast in the gardens of Hotel with the entire team of Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure. The meeting provided a wonderful opportunity where members from both teams were able to connect with colleagues they had been in correspondences with but may have not met. It was about those times when one can put a face to a name.

After breakfast, Mr. Gundersen again led his team for few inspections to hotels used by Kipling in Kathmandu- Nepali Ghar, The Malla Hotel and Hyatt Regency.

This wrapped up the FAM tour for 2024. All the members appreciated the fact, that a lot was achieved in terms of places visited and objectives met keeping in mind the time available. The team from Kipling were able to cover and inspect all places and venues they had planned and they will return with renewed vigour and enthusiasm.

FAM Trips are essential and important to Nepal for:

  • Lead Generation: Learnings from FAM trips can generate new leads and potential business opportunities for Nepal.
  • Awareness: FAM trips significantly enhance awareness about Nepal by showcasing the Nepal’s offerings.
  • Feedback: FAM trips are able to provide firsthand feedback about the destination, management, logistics and services

In all this was a well-organized and coordinated FAM trip by Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure and the success of the trip is also due to the support provided by Buddha Air and Fishtail Air. The team at Kipling feels Nepal has a lot to offer- culture, history and adventure. They would definitely be able to utilize the learnings from this trip as this has enhanced their product knowledge of the destination, which in turn enables them to sell the experience that is Nepal. Similar trips for other international agents would be a good marketing tool for promoting Nepal as a destination.

Explore Himalaya at the ATM Dubai 2024

Over the last three decades Arabian Travel Market has become a leading global event enabling growth for the travel and tourism industry. In a world where travel transcends boundaries and business opportunities await, this is a place where global travel and tourism visionaries unite. A platform  where leisure blends seamlessly with business, MICE  and luxury travel.

Dubai, known for its futuristic skyline, cultural heritage, and luxurious offerings, is serving as the perfect backdrop for the Arabian Travel Mart, 2024.

Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure is proud to represent Nepal as one of the chosen delegates in this prestigious event. At this Mart we can be found at the Inter Tourism Board Stand, Hall 6(EU 6232), with the rest of the Nepalese representatives. So far we have had an excellent opportunity of attending the Arabian Travel Mart Dubai 2024 and to network with industry experts and establish invaluable connections.     

Additionally, the event features panel discussions, workshops, and seminars that cover relevant topics such as sustainable tourism, digital transformation, and emerging travel trends. Day 3 of the Mart was particularly special for the Nepali delegation as it was attended by H.E  Tej Bahadur Chhetri. His presence is invaluable and brings a lot of encouragement to the Nepalese delegation.

After the pandemic Nepal has slowly seen a rise of tourists flowing into the country and with an event like the ATM Dubai, we hope to bring more awareness and tourists into the country.

Outdoor Training for our Mountain Guides at Annapurna Royal Camp, Begnas Lake

Nepal has a challenging terrain. Added to that are the challenges posed by altitude, which most trekkers coming from abroad may not be familiar with.

Similarly mountain guides have a demanding job. Apart from being proficient in technical, navigational and safety skills, they also need to be able to lead and manage groups, especially when groups tend to be large and diverse.

Therefore proper training is essential for a rewarding trip and outcome.

As a Travelife Certified Company and as part of our commitment to keep our Guides up to date with Contemporary methods of guiding our clients, Explore Himalaya Travel& Adventure with the support of Kipling Travel, PUM and TAAN hosted a 3day Outdoor Training on Leadership and Management in and around the Annapurna Royal Camp, Begnas Lake, Nepal.

The training had the following modules:

  1. Leadership for a Group
  2. Managing  in the Group
  3. Individual Counselling/ Storytelling
  4. Case Study

The trainer was Mr. Ben Gosman, a subject expert from PUM, Netherlands who has been in this field for over 35 years.

The expected outcome of the training was to:

  • Learn on how to guide better, adjusted to current times and era.  Also, something that would fit with Western tourists and what they expect.
  • Have better equipped Guides, that guide with more confidence.
  • By knowing their guest and having stories that fit their individual Guest.
  • Guides that fulfill the expectations of the Guest.
  • Guides that are willing to keep on developing themselves and their industry/company.

The training was partly done in a classroom setting and partly in the field- naturally as when they are Guiding their clients.

The training revolved around the theme of – ‘Ask, don’t tell’. What does the Guest want to hear from me? Where should I focus on? Why, what, when, where… are the key questions and not just sharing the Guides knowledge. The emphasis is on listening and implementing rather than the other way around. In a gist it was about making the trip about the clients and not the guides.

Another concept adopted was Storytelling where all Guides shared stories and discussed what are the best practices and what would be the learning? In this the trainer went over the tips and tricks of storytelling like:

  • Should have an opening, middle and end.
  • It should not be complex and easy to remember..
  • Performance matters- Tone, Body Language, Creating Excitement- you have to be like an Actor.

The final elements were based on a real-life case study. Participants were encouraged to advise how they would handle such a situation and what they could have done differently? This gave them an opportunity to express the difficulties they face also when guiding and how to overcome them. The other motivating element was the trainer providing a one-on-one time to all participants towards the end of the training to be able to express themselves as well as ask any questions. It worked as an ice breaker and allowed the participants to open up to the trainer.

In all the participants felt that they have learnt something resourceful, feel more confident and will be able to apply their learnings while guiding.

We also feel the objectives and outcomes of the training were met, which makes us confident for successful seasons in 2024.

Outdoor training can be a vital component of becoming a successful and competent mountain guide in Nepal. Through this training, we believe the guides developed the necessary skills, knowledge, and fitness to lead and manage groups safely and provide a lifetime of memories.

Everest Skydive 2023 concludes on a high note – Shital Mahajan from India claims world record

A lot of us would have pondered- What does skydiving feel like? And why is it in so many people’s bucket list? A leap of faith as many call it, it requires a spirit of adventure dosed with a rush of adrenaline.

To find out more, this year I was lucky to be amongst the extremes of skydiving and skydivers- Everest Skydive, the world’s most adventurous and exciting aerial event has been organized in the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal since 2008. Continuing its successful history this year marked the 16th edition of the event and was held between the 10th and 13th of  November 2023.

What makes Everest Skydive unique and a very sought after for skydiving enthusiasts is that it requires more precision and finesse. Known as HALO( High Altitude Low Opening) jumps, they are a testament of a skydiver’s abilities. Since it is also attempted at some of the world’s highest altitude’s there is also the added challenge of extreme low temperatures and very low oxygen levels.

Everest Skydiving also means you trek to the location of the jump- this is for familiarization and also to gain acclimatization to low oxygen and prevailing weather conditions. Puja is also done gain favour from the Gods above.

With all this done, this year’s jumps with high altitude landings were conducted at Ama Dablam Base Camp, Kala Patthar and Syangboche air strip. The three days event had solo jumpers from all over the world and highlighting this year’s jumps was an Indian National Ms. Shital Mahajan vying for multiple records. Like previous years it was backed up by the core crew team of  Wendy Smith, Paul Henry, Nadia Solovyeva and Omar Alhegelan who have been doing this since 2008.

On the next day, November 11, the weather was ideal. With the Capt. Kiran Pun on the helm, the jumps were initiated first with a Hop & Pop jump to check weather and wind conditions and on this load were the daredevils-Alberto, Shittal, Laurent and Wendy . Once affirmed that it was okay 2 loads were concluded on November 11 by Omar Alhegelan, Nadia Solovyeva and Alberto.

November 12th was yet another day of history making .Captain Francois Favart took over flying duties and the load of the day itself was historic as it consisted entirely of women- Wendy Smith, Shittal Mahajan and Nadia Solovyeva. The history was added with Shital successfully completing a  Flag jump with the Indian Flag. Shital took her first leap from 5000ft AGL (Above Ground Level) at a staggering 17500ft altitude, successfully landing at 12500ft at Syangboche airport with legendary skydiver Wendy Smith from New Zealand serving as her instructor within the aircraft. November 13 was the day for the history books. Shital again created multiple records by being the first woman to skydive in front of Mt. Everest and land in some of the highest drop zones- Ama Dablam and Kala Patthar.

Mahajan continued her extraordinary journey as she made an audacious leap from and landed at Ama Dablam mountain base camp front at an astonishing 23,000 ft altitude, landing at 4600m (15091ft). For this high-altitude jump, she was guided by the renowned skydiver from France, Paul-Henry de Baère, known as the “oxygen man” in high altitude jumps.

But the ultimate of Shittal’s exceptional feats was when she performed a breathtaking jump from 23000ft in the presence of Mount Everest, landing at the highest altitude at Kala Patthar, 17444ft (5317m). In this jump, Paul Henry de Baère again served as her HALO instructor. This jump not only marked the Highest altitude skydiving landing done by a woman but also established two additional National records for an Indian – First Indian woman to skydive in front of Mount Everest at Kala Patthar and Highest altitude skydiving landing done by a woman. These records are more remarkable considering Shital has no military or defence background- she has been able to achieve all this as a civilian.

All these were possible with the vision and years of  meticulous planning of Mr. Suman Pandey, President and Mr. Anuj Pandey, MD of Everest Skydive along with the expert crew of some of the world’s best skydivers, cameramen and camerawomen.

After watching Tom Cruise do his own stunt in Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning- riding his motorcycle off a cliff and landing safely after opening his suit, I’d thought I’d seen it all when it came to stunts. Shital proved me otherwise. So what does skydiving feel like? Unlike anything you have ever imagined, Shital told me. Transcending and meditative, it will teach you- it is not the years in your life but the life in those years, so go live it! I couldn’t agree more!

How to reach Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp Trek
It may sound like a cliché but we don’t mind repeating it! Yes, Mount Everest is more than a mountain and the trip to its base is more than just a trek. Reaching to the base of this world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest (8848 m) is the dream of every adventurer. Many Himalayan adventure seekers have already ticked it off in their bucket list and some are yet to do so. As, this trip is one of the most talked about and sought after adventures, travelers and would-be travelers are well versed about the information related to Everest Base Camp. However, many are not fully aware about all the routes and corresponding time required to reach Everest Base Camp.

There are actually two base camps on Mount Everest, on the either sides of the mountains: South Base Camp which is situated  in Nepal at an altitude of 5364 m, and North Base Camp which is situated in Tibet, China at an altitude of 5150 m. Most of the Base Camp trekking or Everest expeditions are operated on the Nepal side, i.e the South face of the Everest. In fact, when people say Everest Base Camp Trek, they normally mean Base Camp trekking on the Nepal side of the mountain. However, there are many ways to reach the Base Camp from both sides.  

Everest Base Camp from Nepal
Everest Base Camp from Nepal is a popular trekking trail and easier to access than other routes. Reaching the Base Camp from Nepal gives you a chance to challenge yourself, discover the majesty of mountains, walk among the Himalayan giants and explore the highland cultures.

  1. Classic Everest Base Camp Trek : 8 days of trekking from Lukla to EBC

Everest Base Camp Trek
This is the commonly used route to reach the Base Camp. It is a spectacular high altitude trek that starts at Lukla, the gateway of Everest region and winds through the floral and faunal richness of Sagarmatha National Park. You gradually hike through some of the beautiful places of Khumbu region such as Phakding, Namche Bazar, Tengboche, Dingboche, and Lobuche and return the same way.

  1. Alternate treks: 13 –22 days

Everest Base Camp Gokyo Trek

As Everest Base Camp route from Lukla is popular and most favored one, the trail and accommodation get crowded during the peak seasons i.e. spring and autumn. So, if you want to avoid the crowd, then you can consider alternative trekking routes. However, if you choose alternate routes also, you are likely to meet the main trail at some points.  

  • The route from Jiri is also a well-known Everest Base Camp trekking route. This is the same route used by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa to reach Lukla for the Everest summit before airport was built in Lukla during 1950s. This trail adds several days in the itinerary as you have to trek around 6 days from Jiri to reach Lukla/Phakding from where you join the main Everest Base Camp trail.
  • You can reach Everest Base Camp through the trail of Three Passes Trek as well. One of the most challenging and thrilling treks in Everest region, Three Passes Trek offers an amazingly scenic circular route that includes crossing of challenging Renjo la (5360 m), Cho la (5420 m) and Kongma la (5540m) passes connecting at Lobuche to advance towards Everest Base Camp. The order of the Passes can be any depending on where you start from. The duration of this trek is quite lengthy (at least about 17/18 days) and only the trekkers who seek for more challenging adventure choose this trail.
  • Gokyo Lake trek can also be a better alternative to reach Everest Base Camp as this trek skirts Everest Base Camp and continues to the beautiful Gokyo Lake (or vice versa), one of the world’s highest freshwater systems. You can combine this trek with Three Passes trek. The views during this trek worth cherishing for the rest of your life.
  1. By Helicopter

Everest Heli Tour

Everest Heli Tour: Duration – Half day

Heli Tour is the easiest way for the travelers who wish to reach to the lap of this stunning mountain but have very limited time. It is a luxurious way to reach Kala Patthar (5545 m) and Everest Base Camp without trekking. The trip makes you marvel at the panoramic aerial views of astonishing mountains, tranquil valleys, quaint villages, glittering snow peaks, Khumbu glacier and many more. It not only gives you the thrill and makes your adrenaline rush but also offers you the next level perspective of the region which is not possible when you walk. Everest Heli tour starts from Kathmandu or Lukla and stops midway for breakfast with wonderful view.

Everest Base Camp from Tibet

Everest Base Camp on the northern side of Everest lies in Tibet. An easier way to get to the Base Camp is by car or tour vehicle. You can travel from Lhasa to the Base Camp along the highways having well paved roads. This is one of the fastest and luxurious ways to reach the Base Camp and visit the various attractions of Tibetan plateau. Some travelers also prefer trekking from Tingri over driving to the Base Camp.

  1. By car: Duration – 2 days from Lhasa

Many visitors who visit the Base Camp on north side usually get there by car. It is a two-day drive from Lhasa. However most travelers stop along the way in the locations such as Gyantse, Shigatse or Shekar (new Tingri) and Rongbuk that makes this tour longer and more exciting. There are very good roads which make the journey comfortable for almost everyone. The landscape that you can see is breath taking! If you wish, you can drive all the way up to the Base Camp but many of the travelers prefer to walk the last mile which is a bit off road. One needs to be acclimatized properly prior to the journey because of the time frame. Remember Lhasa itself is at an altitude of 3,656 m! And you will gain about 2000m + altitude within 2 days.

  1. By Trek from Tingri: Duration – 5 days

The trip starts with a drive to Tingri from Lhasa, which will be followed by a trek to the Base Camp. The adventure gives you an amazing experience of Tibetan plateau, small village communities and nomadic herders. This trip takes you to Lungtang which takes around five hours from Tingri and heads due south, by crossing the Tingri plain and on to the Ra-chu valley and so on. This trail is not commonly used and only attempted by the experienced well-acclimatized trekkers.

 

 

 

 

 

Shey Phoksundo Trek, a magical journey to the land of tranquil lake

phoksundo lake trek
Every time we share stories about Phoksundo Trek, Dolpo trail and Ringmo village, we can’t help going back to the memory lane when we were first awestruck by Peter Matthiessen’s Snow Leopard. Yes, today we are talking about the same trail to Shey Phoksundo Matthiessen took some 40 years ago – the trail that has turned many of us into a mystic!

Trail to Phoksundo Lake can still be called as off the beaten path. Traversing into the remote and wilder Himalayan area towards the beautiful holy turquoise lake Phoksundo, indulging in the majestic views of Kanjirowa massif, surrounding glaciers, dense forest around the Lake, and unspoiled beauty of Western Nepal, this beautiful adventure offers everything a visitor would  expect in his wildest dreams. The trek, however, is not just about the rugged wilderness, but also a blend of wonderful cultural spectrum of rich Bonpo heritage set against the most dramatic biodiversity of Shey Phoksundo National Park, Nepal’s largest National Park.   

Phoksundo Lake Trek

This extraordinary trek starts from Juphal, a small hill town at an altitude of 2475m. The trail descends down the motorable road and goes southeast up the valley of Thulo Bheri before winding to the village of Kalagaunda through the terraced fields and following the south bank of the Bheri River towards Dunai. The trail then follows the northern bank of the river and crosses the big suspension bridge to reach a tiny beautiful village, Sulighat, followed by Shey Phoksundo National Park check post from where it ascends along the rock-strewn route and goes further through a series of fluttering prayer flags, waterfalls, and lush greenery until it reaches Kageni. Furthermore, the trail ascends up to a winter settlement used by the people of Ringmo village through a forested path filled with big cedar and climbs up through wide meadows situated above the gorge of Phoksundo River, from where the astonishing view of high waterfall can be seen.

The route becomes easy and flat and continues through the dense forest of birch and coniferous trees until it reaches Ringmo, the settlement of flat stone houses at the foot of a big rocky cliff. As the journey moves ahead, the trail then crosses a bridge and follows the north ranger station of Phoksundo river which leads to the beautiful alpine turquoise colored freshwater lake, Phoksundo Lake at 3660m. This strikingly beautiful lake is the deepest lake of Nepal. After exploring the lake and its magnificent surrounding including Tshowa Gompa, a 900-year-old Bon monastery on a ridge above the lake, the trail retraces back to Juphal through beautiful forests, fields, and villages.

If this appeals you, maybe you should plan your next adventure to this magical land! We assure you that you will return home a happy soul. 

Suligad Waterfall Phoksundo Trek

TRIP PROFILE:

Trip days – 11 days

Trip Grade – Moderate

Max. Altitude – 3660m

Trek Type – Teahouse

Start/End – Juphal/Juphal

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Enchanting turquoise colored lake Phoksundo, the deepest lake of Nepal (145m deep)
  • Rich biodiversity of Shey Phoskundo National Park, Nepal’s biggest and the only trans-Himalayan region National Park (3555 sq. km.)
  • Unique culture of Bon-po, an ancient religion with roots in Animism and Buddhism
  • Rewarding views of mountains, monasteries, hamlets, waterfalls etc.

ITINERARY:

Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu           

Day 02: Fly to Nepalgunj (1 hr)

Day 03: Fly to Juphal (2475m) – 30min and trek to Dunai (2140m) – 30min

Day 04: Trek to Chhepka village (2720m) – 5/6 hrs

Day 05: Trek to Jharana Waterfall (3040m) – 4/5 hrs           

Day 06: Trek to the Tibetan village of Ringmo (3640m) – 2/3hrs    

Day 07: Explore sacred Phoksundo Lake and Tshowa Gompa (3611m)

Day 08: Trek to Chhepka village (2720m) – 5/6 hrs

Day 09: Trek to Juphal (2475m) – 5/6 hrs

Day 10: Fly to Nepalgunj, Fly to Kathmandu

Day 11: Depart Kathmandu

 SOME HELPFUL INFO:

Accommodation

Shey Phoksundo trek is a wilderness trekking in remote region of Nepal. You can find tea houses in the trail but they are very basic with modest facilities. You will get twin sharing room consisting of beds with pillow and blankets. There won’t be attached bathroom with hot shower, but they will provide hot water with some extra charge.

Communication

There will be network of NCELL and NTC in lower altitude but after reaching higher altitude the network doesn’t work properly. If you want to get connected throughout your trek, we recommend you to get rental satellite phone.

Food

You will have your meals at the teahouses. They offer nutritious and hygienic food with limited variety of dishes. Normally, they serve Nepali food (Daal Bhaat – rice, lentil and curry), noodles, pasta, chapattis, omelets, bread, porridge etc. Since, the food option is limited, it’s better to carry instant food/drink like soup, instant noodles, dry fruits and nuts, coffee, juice, herbal tea etc.

Water

Water is important while trekking. You should probably drink 3-4 liters per day for hydration. But there is no need to worry as you will be provided enough filtered water. You can also buy bottled water in lower altitude but it’s a good idea to bring your own bottles and refill it.

Electricity and charging

Electricity and charging facility can’t be very reliable in remote areas. Some teahouses have charging facilities and you need to pay extra for it. So, having a power bank is handy.

Clothing and equipment

Shey Phoksundo trek is an adventurous trek in the Dolpo region which lies in the higher altitude. So, you need to be properly geared with warm and comfortable clothes, and support equipment. Trekking gears include hiking boots, thermals, down jacket, hiking pants, caps, wind cheater, gloves etc. Since, this is not a technical trekking, you will need some basic accessories and equipment only like trekking poles, sunglasses, torchlight, water bottles etc. All gears can be purchased or rented in Kathmandu at reasonable price. You can get both branded as well as imitation items. Even the imitation items are good to go.

Permits:

As you trek in the protected area, you need to get some permits.

  • Shey Phoksundo National Park: Approx. $30 (Per Person)
  • Upper Dolpo restricted area permit: $500 (per person for 10 days )
  • Lower Dolpo special permit : $20 (per person per week)

Best time to travel:

The best time for traveling is Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to May). The weather is clear and you can get the best views. During Spring, the trail gets filled with rhododendron bloom and wild flowers, making it a piece of heaven. And autumn is always marked with great visibility. It’s cold during winter (December to February), but traveling is possible as the trail doesn’t go beyond 3600m. Traveling during summer and monsoon (June to August) is possible as Shey Phoksundo lies in the Trans Himalayan region meaning it receives very less rainfall and also it is less humid. But the chance of flight cancellation and delay is common during this time due to rain in the rest of the part of the country. So, be prepared with contingency days. 

Trek Difficulty Level

Shey Phoksundo trek is a moderately challenging trek. The trails are well defined, making it quite easy. But there is less accessibility in the region due to its remoteness and some days are in complete wilderness. So, being prepared for the uncertainty is a good decision. The maximum altitude you gain in this trek is 3611m, which means you are less prone to high altitude harsh weather conditions, and there is very minimal chance of altitude sickness.

If you think this is the adventure you are looking for, let us help you. Please contact us at sales@explorehimalaya.com

 

 

Government of Nepal eases travel restrictions with no PCR Report requirement for fully vaccinated travelers

Nepal Travel Update No PCR Test required

Government of Nepal has recently waived the mandatory requirement of negative PCR Test Report for fully vaccinated passengers traveling to Nepal. So, now onwards, fully vaccinated passengers are not required to submit negative PCR report at the immigration desk to get entry in the country. However, the passengers should carry their vaccination card that verifies full dose vaccination with validity of having 15 days lapsed after both doses. The passengers who do not have the vaccination certificate have to submit the negative report of Covid-19 Test (RTPCR, True NAAT, Gene Xpert) within 72 hours of starting their journey.  The passengers travelling from Nepal are required to have health related documents as per the rules of the destination country. This new rule of PCR Test waiving is taken as a welcoming gesture by the tourism community.  

Following the third wave of COVID-19 that started from January 2022, Nepal Government had imposed restrictions for travelers to minimize the spread of the virus. With the infected cases dropping down significantly to two digits with no death cases, Government of Nepal has eased restrictions in many sectors, including the travel sector. This recent step is taken with an objective to revive the tourism industry in Nepal, which is the most hard-hit sector during the two years of pandemic. To uplift the industry, the Government also formed National Tourism Revival Committee in collaboration with private and public sectors in February. The Committee, together with the government, is now working for destination promotion, marketing, policy reforms, infrastructure upgrade and skills development.

Since, things are slowly turning hopeful, we are also optimistic that the initiatives from both public and private sectors will help for the rapid and responsible recovery of the travelling industry. Hope to see you soon!

 

 

 

Lumba Sumba Trek, an adventure to the treasured land of eastern Nepal

Lumba Sumba Trek
Lumba Sumba Trek, commonly known as recently-opened trek, is one of the best kept secrets of Eastern Nepal. It’s opened to trekkers in April 2012.The trek traverses through naturally and culturally gifted landscapes of world’s two highest Himalayan giants Kanchenjunga (8,586 m) – the third highest mountain and Makalu (8,463 m) – the fifth highest mountain. A home to rarely trodden trails, pristine landscape and rich cultural heritage of highlanders, Lumba Sumba region offers you the experience that takes you back to the Himalayan trekking of 80s and 90s. So, if you want an authentic trekking adventure among the lofty mountains that both inspire and intrigue you at the same time, think no further – Lumba Sumba Trek is just for you.

Lumba Sumba Trek starts with a flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur (91m), a town in the tropical belt of southern Nepal. Then after, the trip continues overland through sinuous hilly road towards Ilam, a picturesque hill station with stunning views of lush tea gardens. By the time you reach Ilam, you will have already gained more than 1000m. Ilam, though not a very familiar destination for western travelers, is a popular hub for domestic tourists after Pokhara for its kaleidoscopic beauty of tea gardens complimented by the magnificent vistas of mountain in the backdrop. After leaving this beautiful town, the trip still continues with a drive to Chiruwa via Taplejung. Finally on day 4, from Chiruwa, your trek to the wonder region starts.

Taplejung Bazaar, on the way to Lumba Sumba Trek

Passing through the beautiful cardamom gardens initially and following the Tamor river later on, the trek continues through the rich flora and fauna of Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. As you proceed through villages like Lelep, Ila Danda and Selep Kharka, and enter deeper into the region, human settlements start getting thinner and landscape much wilder. However, in the remote outpost also, you can get the opportunity to explore rich highland culture in village like Olangchung Gola, a typical Sherpa village, where you normally have a day of rest for acclimatization. Now onwards, the trek starts getting much trickier as you have to traverse through snowy trails. After negotiating with the challenging snow fields, soon the glacial walk culminates at Lumba Sumba Pass (5177m), the ultimate point of the whole trip. In the Pass crossing day, an early start is necessary around 5 am (from High Camp) as the weather after noon can get nasty with strong winds. The views from the Pass, which is actually the combination of two Passes Lumba and Sumba, worth every step you have taken so far. As, the Pass joins Kanchenjunga and Makalu regions , the Pass allows one to savor the rarest views of eastern Himalayan ranges that include Kanchenjunga to the east and Makalu to the west.

Lumba Sumba Trek

After the exhausting yet worthwhile climb, the trek slowly makes its way down to Arun valley. Further down, you pass through dense forests of pine and rhododendron along with more populated villages to enter Makalu Barun National Park, the only protected area in the world with an elevation gain of 8,000m. You also get to see the confluence of Arun and Barun River en-route, both major tributaries of mighty Sapta Koshi. As the trek descends towards Num village following the changing landscape from conifers to rich paddy terraces, you reach Tumlingtar to catch a scenic flight back to Kathmandu.

All in all, the trip is much recommended for two reasons; first the obvious one – it gives you a much needed break after being confined at home for such a long time due to pandemic, and next it offers you a rewarding experience of hidden treasures of Nepal which are lesser known yet equally mystifying as Everest and Annapurna regions, or even more, who knows?   

Lumba Sumba Trek

TRIP PROFILE:
Trip days – 23 days
Trip Grade – Strenuous
Max. Altitude – 5177 m / 16634 ft
Trek Type – Camping

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Lumba Sumba Pass
  • Spectacular panorama of Maklau and Kanchenjunga ranges
  • Rich biodiversity of two protected areas: Makalu Barun National Park and Kanchenjunga Conservation Area (chances of spotting endangered species Red Panda and Snow Leopard)
  • Nepal’s two big river systems Arun and Tamor
  • Cultural mix of highland ethnic groups including Rai, Limbu and Sherpas 

OUTLINE ITINERARY:

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to hotel
Day 02: Fly to Bhadrapur (91m) – 45 mins and drive to Ilam (1206m) – 2 hrs
Day 03: Drive to Chiruwa (1246m) via Taplejung – 8 hrs
Day 04: Trek to Taplechowk (1456m) – 5 hrs
Day 05: Trek to Lelep (1687m) – 7 hrs
Day 06: Trek to Ila Danda (2051m) – 5 hrs
Day 07: Trek to Selep Kharka (2525m) – 5 hrs
Day 08: Trek to Olangchung Gola (3208m) – 5 hrs
Day 09: Rest day at Olangchung Gola
Day 10: Trek to Langmale (3893m) – 6 hrs
Day 11: Trek to Tangcher (4203m) – 4 hrs
Day 12: Trek to Phedi – 3 hrs
Day 13: Cross Lumba Sumba (5177m) and trek to Chaunri Kharka (4595m) – 9 hrs
Day 14: Trek to Thudam (3500m) – 7 hrs
Day 15: Trek to Khimbuche, Yak Kharka (2877m) – 6 hrs
Day 16: Trek to Chyamthang (2229m) – 6 hrs
Day 17: Chyamthang buffer day
Day 18: Trek to Hatiya (1595m) – 7 hrs
Day 19: Trek to Gola (1128m) – 6 hrs
Day 20: Trek to Hedangna (1179m) – 5 hrs
Day 21: Trek to Num (1572m) – 6 hrs, and drive to Tumlingtar (405m) – 5 hrs
Day 22: Fly to Kathmandu – 45 mins
Day 23: Depart from Kathmandu

Lumba Sumba Trek

SOME HELPFUL INFO:

 Accommodation
Lumba Sumba Trek is a trekking in Himalayan wilderness. In lower trails, you can find some local teahouses but they are basic. In higher altitudes, there is no accommodation facility. So, Lumba Sumba trek is normally organized as camping trek to ensure comfort and safety of the trekkers. Normally ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped tents with foam mattress underneath for insulation are used. Trekkers need to bring their own sleeping bags (can be rented). Bags or cloth packs can be used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’. And if you accommodate in the teahouses (in lower altitudes), you get basic rooms consisting of beds with pillow and blankets. (Make sure to bring your own sleeping bag as the blanket may not be warm enough). You can’t find rooms with attached bath and hot shower. However, if you request, they will provide bucket full of hot water with extra charges (approx $2 – $4). Majority of teahouses have rooms in twin sharing basis and dormitory rooms.

Communication
While trekking in Lumba Sumba region, you may not have an access to telephone or internet facility for some days or weeks especially in higher altitude. You can get the communication facility up to Lelep only (but very limited network).  If you want to get connected with your family and friends throughout the trip, you can get rental satellite phone.  

Food
During camping trek, you can get three plentiful, nutritious and hygienically prepared meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes.

Breakfast – porridge, muesli /cereal, omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread Lunch – salad, vegetables, pasta and traditional breads
Dinner (3 course) – soup, vegetables, meat, rice and pasta dishes, simple dessert, tea, coffee, hot chocolate etc.

Teahouses in Lumba Sumba region are very basic, and their food menu is also very simple, consisting of local Nepali food (Daal Bhaat – rice, lentil and curry), noodles and chapatis. It’s always a good idea to carry supplementary food which you can prepare easily like soup, instant noodles, dry fruits and nuts, coffee, juice, herbal tea etc. Since you don’t have many food options, it’s better to have Daal Bhaat as they are always freshly made and good for calorie replenishment

Water
It’s really important to stay hydrated while trekking but water is not something to worry about while trekking in Nepal. Normally you will be provided with filtered water about 3-4 liters per person per day. You can also buy bottled water (approx. $1) in tea houses in lower altitudes but it’s better to minimize the use of plastic bottles. So, the best thing is to bring own water bottle and refill it. You can also bring water purification pills in case you want to drink water from local taps.

Electricity and Charging
This trek takes you through the isolated valley. So, electricity is a problem in the area. You can get the facility till Lelep. Beyond that only in few places like Gola and Thudam, you can have charging facility (approx $2 – $4) powered by solar energy. So, it is better to carry fully charged power bank.

Clothing and Equipment
Lumba Sumba Trek is an adventurous trek in the Himalaya. So, you need best trekking clothing and gears like boots, hiking pants, winter caps, down jackets, Poncho, wind cheater etc. Thermals and layers are really important to keep you warm and comfortable. Trekking poles and crampons (while crossing pass) are essential during this trek as you follow snowy and steep trails. The gears that you need during the trek can be purchased in Kathmandu. The items can be genuine branded items or imitation depending on your choice and price. The imitated items might not be best but they are good enough for the trek considering the price.

Permits
You need some permits in order to trek in Lumba Sumba region.

  • Makalu Barun National Park permit: Approx. $30 (per person)
  • Kanchenjunga Conservation Area: Approx. $30 (per person)
  • Makalu Barun Special Permit : Approx. $20 for 4 weeks (per person)
  • Kanchenjunga Special Permit : Approx. $20 for 4 weeks (per person)

Best Time to Travel
Autumn (from mid-September till November end) and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May) are considered to be best for Lumba Sumba Trek. The weather in these months is likely to be stable with clear skies. As Spring in Nepal is marked with abundant rhododendron blooms in hills and low mountains, some consider Spring as a better option for Lumba Sumba Trek as the kaleidoscopic beauty of snowy peaks and red blooms is simply the best. Trekking during monsoon is not recommended as the visibility is poor during rainy days. Winter is extremely cold with heavy snow in trails but trekking in this region is possible for those who want some extra dose of adventure. You can also get exceptional visibility during winter.

Trek Difficulty Level
Lumba Sumba Trek is a fairly challenging trek as the trail is less frequented and marked with raw wilderness, glacier fields and high altitude passes with less availability of travel amenities. Unlike the popular routes, the trail is not well-marked. The highest point of the trek is Lumba Sumba Pass (5177m). Despite being a challenging trek, with right attitude and preparation the adventure is achievable.

(If you have any query regarding this trip, please let us know at enquiry@explorehimalaya.com . We would be more than happy to help you!)