|Its almost the last frontier in Nepal, tucked up in the remote top western corner of this country, said to be the place where Tibetan Buddhism is preserved better than in Tibet itself, considering that this was the hiding place for Buddhism during the lean periods, much much before the two big revivals that Buddhism enjoyed. This area is also home to the most amazing landscape. This trek is easily one of the most remote treks in Nepal, done best in the summer season between March and September, sometimes even in October.||
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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.
From the district capital ofSimikot, spread across a ridge at 2900m, 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 northwestern 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 aglacial valley below the 5000m Nyalu pass, with the aquamarine Tshom Tsho Lakeproviding remarkable contrast with the burnt sienna of the treeless expanses.
The Humli people, like Nepalis across the country, are incredibly diverse. About 85% of the 56,000 people who live in thissparsely populated district are Hindu. Buddhists, some of whom practice polyandry, occupy the highlands. According to anthropologist Carol Dunham:
“Humla is one of the most culturally fascinating places in all of Nepal, a cultural tapestry woven from ancient Khasa kingdoms, ancestors of the grand Zhangzhung kingdom of the north, with Rajput and Thakuri blended into the mix.”
Day 1: Flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (one hour) - Flight from Nepalgunj to Simikot (45 minutes)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Flights can be delayed because of weather. Simikot’s runway is still not paved so any rain or cloud cover there will postpone flights. You may want to add a couple of days to your trip as buffer days just in case, so that your chances of completing the circuit are greater.
Day 2: Simikot(2950m) to Dharapuri (2270m) Approximately 4 -5 hours walking time.
Begin your trek with roughly a one hour climb away from Simikot to the Lakhna pass. The next hour or so will be a steep descent to the Takuri settlement Majgaon where you can stop for tea. The remaining two hours you walk along the gorgeous Karnali River until you cross a suspension bridge to arrive in Dharapuri. Camp at Dharapuri.
Day 3: Dharapuri(2270m) to Kermi (2670m) Approximately 4-5 hours walking time
This is a relatively easy day of trekking with the majority of the day being Nepali flat (gentle ascents gentle descents) After about two and a half hours of walking you will see the stunning Chya Chhahara waterfalls (3). Enjoy two more hours of Nepali flat until you reach Kermi. From Kermi you can walk thirty minutes to visit one of two local hot springs. There are also two interesting Buddhist monasteries close to Kermi which are rarely seen by tourists: The Laikyo Gompa, a few hundred years old, is about forty-five minutes from the campsite and Lhundrup Choeling Gompa, less than half a century old, is about thirty minutes from the campsite. Camp at Kermi.
Day 4: Kermi(2670m) to Yalbang(3020m) Approximately 6-7 hours walking time.
Begin the day with about two hours easy walking along lush green landscape until you will reach the Salli Lagna Pass (2840m). Take the trail descending down to reach the bank of Salli Khola(river). This is a beautiful stop to have your lunch. Cross the suspension bridge and its approximately three more hours of Nepali flat until you reach Yalbang. Just above the campsite there is the Namkha Khyung Dzong Monastery. This is the largest monastery in the region (over one hundred monks) and has been fantastically renovated. There are puja’s at seven a.m. and four p.m. daily which you are welcome to attend. There is also a children's hostel and school located very close to the campsite. Feel free to interact with the friendly and photogenic students.
Day 5: Yalbang(3020m) to Tumkot(3060m) Approimately 5-6 hours walking time.
As the day begins you’ll notice that you are ascending higher above the Karnali River. The landscape also begins to change, becoming more rocky with trees more scarce. Along the trail you will pass hoards of sheep and goats carrying salt from China. After about four hours you will cross the Karnali river via a suspension bridge to arrive in Muchu. Muchu is a beautiful settlement which is working on developing home stay accommodation. After passing through a check point in Muchu, the Tumkot campsite is only a gradual thirty minute descent away. There is a tea house located next to the campsite if you are in need of any provisions. From the campsite there is the Dhungkar Choezam Monastery which is a short twenty- five minute walk up the hill. The monastery itself is around three hundred years old and is in poor condition. Any small donation made will greatly help its’ Buddhist community. Camp at Tumkot.
Day 6: Tumkot Campsite(3060m) to Yari(3788m) Approximately 5-6 hours walking time.
Today you will leave the Karnali River behind as you continue to climb up into a more desolate environment. As you get closer to Yari you may come across a Chinese Bulldozer which is attempting to form a road which will someday connect to Simikot. Yari itself is located in an astoundingly picturesque location with a great view of the snowcapped Erega mountain. Camp at Yari
Day 7: Yari(3788m) to Hilsa(3720m) Via the Nara la Pass(4580m) Approximately 7-8 hours walking time.
Today will be quite challenging so an early start is essential. After a little over one hour of Nepali flat you reach Thado Dhunga (4043m) which is the base camp for the Nara la pass (4580m). An hour or so into the climb you reach Sip Sip, (4300m) which is a small settlement where you can rest and have tea. From here you have two options for crossing the pass: The first option is to follow the road which is shorter and steeper to get to the top. The second option is to follow the old trail which is longer, and more gradual. The second option enables far grander views into Tibet but will require a little bit of off trail bushwhacking to get back to the road. Which ever path you choose however, there are still four or five hours (depending on your walking speed) remaining to descend to Hilsa.
Day 8: Hilsa(3720m) to Manepeme Campsite(3990m) Approximately 4-5 hours walking time.
There are no tea houses available today and running water is scarce, so acquiring necessary provisions in Hilsa before leaving is vital. The day begins with a treacherous one hour climb away from Hilsa in order to rejoin the trail and the Karnali River. The next three/four hours are Nepali flat and give you time to enjoy the new stunning and barren landscape. Make camp at Manempeme.
Day 9: Manepeme(3990m) to Til Campsite(3700m) Approximatley 7-8 hours walking time.
This day of trekking can be long and fairly challenging with two small passes. The Chukrangma Pass (4145m) roughly three hours into the day and the Namka Lagma (4340m) around hour five. About one hour before reaching the Namka Lagma pass you will encounter some Buddhist meditation caves which have incredibly gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. After the Namka Lagma pass there are about two more hours of walking until you reach Til. This traditional Tibetan settlement has striking stone architecture and is nestled in a gorgeous valley along the Til Khola (river). Depending on time you may want to pay a visit to the monastery there. Bare in mind the campsite is still an hour away from Til.
Day 10: Til Campsite(3700m) to Halji(3680m) Approximately 2 hours walking time.
Walk along the Limi River and gorgeous rock formations for about two hours and you will come to the Tibetan settlement Halji. Halji has similar stone architecture as Til and is also tucked away in a gorgeous valley. The streams of the Halji Khola flow elegantly through the town streets. You have plenty of time here to visit the Drikung Kagyu Waltse Rincheling Monastery. This amazing monastery was built in the 10th century and is the oldest in Humla. Take the rest of the day to explore and relax in Halji. Camp at Halji.
Day 11: Halji(3680m) to Tatopani Campsite(4093m) Approximately 4 hours walking time.
The traditional Tibetan settlement Jang is roughly a 3 hour walk from Halji. The architecture and placement of Jang resembles that of Til and Halji. Take time to visit Jang’s Falgeling Monastery. The Tatopani campsite is about a 45 minute walk from Jang. Tatopani (literally hot water) has a small spring which two people can bathe in at a time. The money used to pay for the campsite goes to Jang’s youth club who use the money for community projects. Camp at Tatopani.
Day 12: Tatopani(4093m) to Talung Campsite(4370m) Approximately 6-7 hours walking
Walk along the Tankche Khola for about two hours until you reach the Tungling tea house. This is the last tea house for the next two days so buy any necessary provisions. Another hour or so and we must take a small detour in order to cross a suspension bridge safely across the river. Roughly forty minutes after crossing the bridge you will have to pass over a fairly large sand dune. Immediately following the dune you will have to remove your boots in order to cross three short sections of the Tankche Khola. The water is quite cold so be prepared. Upon crossing the river you will encounter the Tshom Tso lake. The lake is mesmerizing and two and a half kilometers in length. From the lake walk along Nepali flat for about two hours until you reach Tungling camp.
Day 13: Talung Campsite(4370m) to Shinjungma(3850m) Via the Nyalu La Pass(4988m) Approximately 7-8 hours walking time.
This day will be challenging with the high pass of the trek. The first hour of the day is flat and requires two river crossings. Removing boots will be unnecessary because there are stones in place to cross. Be careful these stones may have become iced over during the night! The next two - three hours you will spend climbing until you reach the top of the pass. The climb is relatively challenging but the views at the top are magnificent. After descending for about thirty minutes you find the exquisite Selima Tso lake. During the remaining four hours of the descent you will discover the Sung sa waterfall, fabulous views of Saipal, and a sudden re-submergence back into lush green forest. Make camp at Shinjungma.
Day 14: Shinjungma(3850m) to Dhad Kermi(2690m) Approximately 6-7 hours walking time.
Today is a relatively easy day walking along the Salli Khola. Shortly into the day you complete the circuit by returning to the Salli Lagna Pass (2840m). From there rejoin the Karnali River and its roughly 4 hours of Nepali flat to Dhad Kermi. Camp at Dhad Kermi.
Day 15: Dhad Kermi(2690m) to Simikot(2950m) Approximately 6-7 hours walking time.
Today can be a fairly tough day if it is not timed efficiently. From Dhad Kermi its about three or four hours to Majgaon depending on walking speed. The next two or three hours will consist of a pretty steep ascent to reach the Lakhna pass. By having a late start in Dhad Kermi or taking a late lunch in Majgaon you’ll avoid the hot sun as you climb. After reaching the pass its just a short thirty minute walk down the mountain to Simikot. Lodge stay in Simikot.
Day 16: Fly from Simikot to Nepalgunj.
Flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu.
The tour itinerary starts in Kathmandu, but we recommend at least two pre-trek days in Kathmandu for arrival and briefings and two days after the tour for transfers.
The stated price includes the trek only. Any additional overnights, domestic flights, tour extensions and airport transfers can be booked with us. Send us a message and we arrange a customized full tour according to your wishes!
Included (during trek)