Indigenous Peoples Trail

Maximum altitude: 3146 m.
Grade: Moderate
Mode of accommodation: Homestay
Major ethnic groups: Tamang, Sherpa, Thami, Hyolmo, Majhi, Newar.

Explore an area where black and white magic is a part of everyday life together with a knowledgeable shaman of the district. Sailung is an auspicious place for shamans and on the trek we learn the reason for that.
In Dolakha and Ramechhap tourism has not yet been introduced and during the whole trek we use homestay accommodation.
More over the trek also offers wonderful views over several of the worlds highest mountains; Everest, Lhotse, Amadablam, Makalu and many more.

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu.
On the way from airport we visit the Buddhist stupa of Boudha and the Hindu temple of Pashupati before checking in at the hotel for resting after the journey.

Evening time we have welcome dinner and your guide give a detailed briefing for the coming weeks.

(O/N Hotel in Kathmandu)

Day 2: Sightseeing in Kathmandu
After breakfast we take a walk through the local market, through the winding, narrow alleys all the way to Kathmandu Durbar Square which is one of the most impressive world heritage sites in the valley with its old pagoda temples and palace. Afternoon is free for preparation for the trek.

(O/N Hotel in Kathmandu)

Day 3: Drive to Dhunge (2500 m)
After breakfast we start our drive to Dhunge, Dolakha, which takes around 7 hours. We drive along big rivers in a spectacular landscape crossing green hills and valleys. A drive in Nepal is an experience in itself with people using the streets as their backyards and all along the way we see activity.

We drive along the Araniko highway which leads to the Tibetan border until the small town of Khadichaur where we stop for lunch. Khadichaur is a local bazaar where goods imported from Tibet is being sold at cheap prices. From here we turn east and drive towards Everest. From Mude we turn onto a very bad road and it takes us about 3,5 hours to Dhunge where we stay overnight.

(O/N Homestay in Dhunge)

Day 4: Dhunge – Sailung – Khola Kharka / 3.5 hours
In the morning we start with meeting up with our trekking staff and introduce ourselves to each other. Porters and guides, both female and male, are all from Dolakha and each guest walks with their “own” porter who helps on uncomfortable trails and also walks along as a good friend. We eat lunch in Dhunge and from there we begin the trek up to Thulo Sailung, a three-hour ascent to the Sailung Hill. We make a tea break in Kalopani after an hour of walking. From here the uphill will be slightly less steep.

Sailung offers with its 3147 metres above sealevel yet another stunning view over Kalinchowk and on to Annapurna, Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Rowaling, Everest and Kanchenjunga. If we have a look to the south we see the Sun Kosi river and all the way down to Nepals lowland. Thulo Sailung is regarded by the Tamang people as the home of their main deity, Sailung Phoi Sibda Karpo and their ancestors, and thus it is a very fortunate place to stay. It is said that the area is home to as many as 130 different medicinal plants.

After half an hour downhill walk we reach the village Kholakharka (2950 m.) where we will spend the night in “Khola Kharka Community Lodge” run by a local Tamang family. The village of Kholakharka did not yet get electricity and the main income of the people who are staying in the village comes from yak breeding.

Evening time a female shaman visits us to explain what shamanism is and to show how a shaman heals. She stays in Kholakharka overnight to accompany us along the way tomorrow morning.

(O/N Khola Kharka Community Lodge)

Day 5: Khola Kharka – Rajveer Monastery – Surkhe / 5 hours
We continue one hour downhill to a Buddhist monastery named Rajveer (2640 m.) run by three nuns, where we have tea break and a small talk. The temple collapsed in the earthquake, but they are in full swing to build a new one.

In the Tamang village Dadua Palate, 1.5 hours after Rajveer, we stop for lunch. During the day we pass monasteries, temples, mani stones, chortens and prayer flags. The trail is running through a forest with many different species of trees and birds and is fairly steep and we thank our assistant guides for holding our hands on steep descents. From Dadua Palate, we have an hour and 15 minutes to the Patale (2100 m above sea level), which is a nice, large village with two monasteries and rough paths down the hillside. Once down by the river Bhute Khola we cross a suspension bridge (1745 meters above sea level) and the landscape is scenic. From here we have an hour uphill to today’s goal; the village Surkhe. The trail continues along beautiful terraces up to Surkhe which offers home stay with families of the ethnic group Newar, and gives an opportunity for those who want to try the homemade “raksi” spirit.

(O/N Newari homestay)

Day 6: Surkhe – Tinghare – Doramba / 4 hours
In the morning people from ethnic group Thami and welcomes us to their village 25 minutes away. The Thamis, who are about to disappear due to their very small population, are following animistic traditions and speak their own Tibeto-Burmese language. In their village we take part in their culture and when we after about 2 hours leave from there we have received a greater understanding about their very unique traditions.

From Surkhe we again take another road which offers many beautiful views of hills and valleys along our 5 hours hike to Doramba Bazaar (2054 m above sea level), one of Nepal’s largest Tamang settlements with its 995 households. We are crossing slopes covered in rhododendron and we follow the contours of the valley. Before reaching Doramba we pass a large Soviet style monument (2170 m above sea level) in memory of the so-called Doramba massacre in 2003 when the Nepalese army killed 19 people, including 18 suspected members of the Maoist guerilla.

The evening in Doramba will be spent with a wonderfully colorful cultural show was built by locals.

(O/N Tamang homestay)

Day 7: Doramba – Galba – Dongme / 5 hours
We leave Doramba in the morning crossing a pine forest, rich in both birds and other animals. After an hour walk we arrive at a resort where we have tea and peek for the tiger sometimes running between the hills below. We make a short detour from the road to Augleshwori peak to admire the snow-capped peaks and continue to our lunch in Galba Bazaar (1987 m above sea level), a major bazaar with restaurants, hotels and a pharmacy. From here we have about 3 hours to Dongme (1982 m.) where we live in Lamatole with a lama and his wife. Their ancestors came long ago to Ramechhap from Helambu north of Kathmandu to guard a special relic of a great lama. Still today the skull is guarded by our host and stored in their temple.

Upon our arrival the lamas in the village will perform a mask dance, usually performed only in special ceremonies twice a year. We also participate and see how the lamas prepare for a mask dance.

(O/N Homestay next to Dongme Gumba)

Day 8: Dongme – Lubughat / 6 hours
The walk draws to an end and we walk to Lubughat. It’s a long hike but slightly flatter than the previous days. Today we walk on the lower level which means higher temperatures, there is no risk of being cold. We walk for an hour to Sunapati and those who want can climb the Sunapati peak to see the view. From here it takes five hours to Lubughat and we stop in Rupakot for lunch. As we arrive at Lubughat we cross the fields with the help of suspension bridges and narrow paths to the bazaar.

Lubughat is a big bazaar and a few minutes away from the bazaar is a long sandy beach. Just beyond the beach lies the majhi village. The Majhis are traditionally fishermen and in charge of water transports. We go out with them to fish and eat the catch together. The Majhis offers their homemade spirits, for which they are famous. They also show some of their dances and culture. Here we spend our last night together with our trekking staff at the campfire and listen to the river.

(O/N Homestay in Lubughat)

Day 9: Lubughat – Bhaktapur / 1 hour
Today we cross the river in a rubber boat together with our new Majhi friends. The journey on the river is calm and peaceful. From the other side of the beach, in Nepalthok we will be picked up by our bus. On the way we visit a school on the drive to Bhaktapur, about 3.5 hours, where we check into our hotel, refreshes and eat a Western-style dinner than we might have gotten used to during the trek.

(O/N Hotel in Bhaktapur)