TrekkingModerate, Strenuous

Lumba Sumba Trekking Itinerary cost 2024/2025

Based on 5 Reviews
US$ 2060 $2260

The Lumba Sumba Pass Trekking

A trek offers exclusive nature diverse and vivid culture glimpse of indigenous people and crossing high altitude Lumba Sumba Pass. Nepal Trekking Association Nepal and ministry of culture and tourism discovered Lumba Sumba Pass trek is a very new trekking destination in Nepalese Himalayas and it nestles between Kanchenjunga and Makalu base camp trek.

This trek was unknown and undiscovered until 2012   but the local people from Olagchun and Thudam crossing Lumba Sumba pass to visiting their relatives and yak cross the high altitude pass for the pasture. Mainly Thudam people come over the pass to purchase the house needs from the Tibetan market, which is around 20 km far from Olangchun Gola. Lumba Sumba trek were been overshadow by famous Makalu Base Camp trek and Kanchenjunga trek, both Kanchenjunga and Makalu mountains are the world’s third and fifth-highest mountains and popular for mountain climber too. Lumba Sumba passes trek route starting from the beautiful Tamor River valley and alpine climate terrain in Kanchenjunga Conservation and Makalu Barun national park in eastern Nepal. Throughout the trek experiencing various Nepalese culture of Rai, Limbu, Tamang, Bhutai, Sherpa, Gurung, and Chhetri, and mainly three different religions like Hindu, Buddhist, and Kirat, and Christianity in present days in the lower valley. In this trek, we often get a chance to spot some endangered animals (red Panda and Snow Leopard), blue sheep, Mountain goat, Languor monkey, and different species birds both lower and upper valley and in the high altitude. This national according to Kanchenjunga National park is popular for the varied species of wildflowers, variety of rhododendron trees.

Compare with other trekking Lumba Sumba pass trek is strenuous and hard that trekkers need to be ready to explore the unexplored trekking destination in Nepal. Lumba Sumba pass linked with Kanchenjunga and Makalu Base Camp trekking route, if you are interested and want to extend your adventure we can extend it to Milke Danda route.

Lumba Sumba pass trek starts from Kathmandu can be reached to Phungling, Taplejung by drive, or flight to Taplejung and drive to Phungling. We organize jeep to drive to Thapethok/ Sekhathum it’s off dirt bumpy road.

Then physical trek commences and follows the uphill path until Lumba and Sumba pass into the villages and along the mighty Tamor River. Often walking aside from high waterfalls and crossing Mighty Tamor River many times. The tranquility village and their charming culture give a plus point to make a trek lifetime experiences. Upon trek, over adventurous Lumba Sumba pass we follow the downhill path into the forest; abandon villages and varied landscapes along the Arun River valley. We take a jeep from Barun Dovan or Num to Khandbari/Tumlingtar. We stay overnight at the Tumlingtar and fly back to Kathmandu or overland transportation to Kathmandu.

  • Destination:Kanchenjunga Makalu Region
  • Trip Grade:Moderate, Strenuous
  • Max Elevation:5180m
  • Total Duration:16 -18 days
  • Best Time:Oct - Dec & March - May

Outline Itinerary

  • Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel.
  • Day 02: Fly to Bhadrapur and drive to Phungling/ Taplejung altitude 1500m.
  • Day 03:Drive to Thapethok then trek to Lelep altitude 1710m.
  • Day 04: Trek Lelep to Ila Danda altitude 2030m.
  • Day 05: Trek Ila Danda to Olangchun Gola altitude 3190m.
  • Day 06: Rest and acclimatization at Olangchun Gola altitude 3190m.
  • Day 07: Trek Olangchun Gola to Langmale altitude 4030m.
  • Day 08: Trek Langmale to Lumba Sumba Phedi Camp altitude 4,630m.
  • Day 09: Trek to Lumba Pass 5100m alt & Sumba Pass 5180m alt then camp Thudam 3550m alt.
  • Day 10: Trek Thudam to Yak Kharka 2765m alt.
  • Day 11: Trek Yak Kharka to Chyamthang altitude 2340m.
  • Day 12: Trek Chymathang to Hatiya altitude 1560m.
  • Day 13: Trek Hattiya to Gola altitude 1130m.
  • Day 14: Trek Gola to Hedangadi altitude 1180m.
  • Day 15: Trek Hedangagadi to Khandbari altitude 600 m.
  • Day 16: Fly to Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel.
  • Day 17: Extra days in Kathmandu.
  • Day 18: Final departure, airport transfers.

Detail Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel.
Our airport representative will be waiting for you at the arrival gate of the Tribhuvan Intl airport with your name on the signboard. Upon receiving you then transfer to your hotel. After room check-in has leisure time until an official meeting in the evening. Include accommodation, airport transfer and soft or hot drinks at the meeting)
Day 02: Fly to Bhadrapur and drive to Phungling/ Taplejung altitude 1500m.
Early morning transfer to Kathmandu domestic airport then take an hour flight to Bhadrapur, Airport located eastern Nepal nearby India. If any team member traveling from India border West Bengal we receive them from the Kakarvitta border about 30 min away from the airport. From Bhadrapur take a jeep and drive to Phungling/Taplejung. Its about a whole day drive in the private jeep. We pass through the beautiful tea garden Kanyam Ilam and reached in the mountain town. Phungling drive offers mesmerizing sceneries of the Himalayas, magnificent landscape of the terrace rice field, and valleys. Including Flight, drive, B|L|D with hot drinks, acc Lodge|guesthouse
Day 03:Drive to Thapethok then trek to Lelep altitude 1710m.
The Trek Lumba Sumba begins with jeep ride on the dirt road to Thapethok, a drive takes through beautiful cardamom and rice farm with a glorious view of cultivated landscapes. The drive passes along the sloppy mountains with capture impressive views of the valley till Thiwa village. From here drive continues along the Tamor Rive to Thapethokvillage. Before proceeding trek from Thepethok we check Lumba Sumba Trek permit and trek follow the west bank of the river to Pemba village. Your trek incessant inside the large cardamom farm and rice field also pass several villages. We continue to trek and follow a wide and stair path between the farm areas to Lelep village. A trail exposes a beautiful view of the Tamor valley and also an observation of a branch trail leading to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp. Time permitted to walk into the Lelep village and short culture excursion inside the indigenous people habitat. Including  3 hrs trek;  B|L|D hot drinks, and acc. guesthouse/teahouse
Day 04: Trek Lelep to Ila Danda altitude 2030m.
From Lelep, the trek started along the wild Tamor beautiful river than after while crossing high vibrate white river and then walking east bank of the river. The path is surrounded by dense cardamom bamboos and tropical trees. Also, the maximum trail is occupied by forest than villages’ high chances to spot beautiful birds and some animals. We take a short break at Gowatar village and look at Kasturi peak sheer of the Tamor River. We also get a stunning view of the mesmerizing waterfall as you have seen in the picture. Trek to our Camp Ela /Ila Danda and today's trek is a gradual ascent through the mixed vegetation. There are very limited Home-stay accommodation is available here in the houses. Including  4-5 hrs trek; B|L|D hot drinks, and acc. guesthouse|teahouse
Day 05: Trek Ila Danda to Olangchun Gola altitude 3190m.
We have a long day trek to Olangchun Gola. There is no village and teahouses between Ila Danda to Olangchun Gola. We have to carry enough drinking water food for the day. Most group breakdown a day, if we decided to go to directly Olangchun Gola we committed for long day trek about 8-9hours. The trail is gradual ascent/uphill, through the dense forest next to the river. Predominantly bamboo forest where a high chance to spot Red Panda. Along the trail, we chance to see stunning views of waterfalls and mixed forest Pine, Rhododendron, Oak trees. Gola offers comfortable accommodation than other teahouse and Buddhist culture. Including  8-9hrs trek, B|L|D with hot drinks, and acc. teahouse
Day 06: Rest and acclimatization at Olangchun Gola altitude 3190m.
We exploring around Olangchun Goal. Olangchun Gola is the Buddhist village also influence of the Tibetan culture. An authentic Nepalese mountain house with wood slab roof also piles of stone and wooden pillar supports the house. The ancient and oldest Buddhist monastery set right above the Diki Chholing Gumba, believed to be one of the ancient among the Buddhist monasteries in Nepal. This mountain village completely influenced by Chinese/Tibetan culture found product in the small shops like soft drinks, noodles, and snacks. Also, the opportunity to take a hot shower before heading to Lumba Shumba passes which much more remote.
Day 07: Trek Olangchun Gola to Langmale altitude 4030m.
From Olangchun Gola the trek leads on the wide motor road that connected to Tibet but after while we follow side trail on the west bank of the tumor River. The trek onwards on Lumba Sumba direction that complete wilderness above the Olanchun Gola. We hardly encounter human activities beyond Olangchun except for the Yak Kharka. Lumba Sumba Pass trek trail fully covered by pine and Rhododendron forest, juniper, and shrubs of the Himalayan herbs closed to Langmale. There is plenty of mountain medicinal herbs that can be found along the trail to Lubma Sumba Pass including Picrorhiza Kurroa, Nardostachys Jatamansi, Yaasargumba/Ophiocordyseps Sinensis, and Rhubarb (the family of Polygonaceae). Tent for the night holds and prepare our own food by our staff. Including 5-6hrs trek, B|L|D, and acc. tented camping.
Day 08: Trek Langmale to Lumba Sumba Phedi Camp altitude 4,630m.
The vividly boi-diversity sceneries changed from greeneries to pure alpine terrain, and the dwarf and short mountain herb plant leaving behind and walking on the moraine open landscape. We are trekking in the altitude with gentle it can be the strenuous climb on open environment and valley. We reach the large open ground where we can set up our campsite and possibly sights snow leopard, villager often sees them while coming for yak hunt by snow Leopard. Climb to the ridge provides excellent views of the large meadowland on foot of the mountains with meandering river valley. From here a short level grit path brings us a campsite. Including 4hrs trek, B|L|D and acc. tented camp
Day 09: Trek to Lumba Pass 5100m alt & Sumba Pass 5180m alt then camp Thudam 3550m alt.
The most dramatic day of the Lumba Sumba Pass trek crossing two different passes before reaching Thudam village, the first village after the vivid high altitude Lumba Sumba Pass. Our kitchen crew prepare the breakfast and pack lunch early morning then trek departure with following steep climbing rocky and moraine trail also passes small alpine lakes before reaching first pass Lumba pass (5100m). We start early in the morning around 5:00 AM because of a long walk and want to scape the windstorm at the passes. The summit/pass provides amazing views of mt. Kanchenjunga, Jannu, Mt, Makalu, Chamling, and other several snow-capped peaks. The trail continues to second pass Sumba pass (5180m), which can be much challenging and harder than the first one. The summit is embellished with Buddhist prayer flags and stone cairn. We continue the trek with the long descending along the stream and often passes seasonal yak sheep graze. Soon we reached the lower valley where we can see plenty of rhododendron forest and Himalayan herbs. Thuram villages are a really traditional mountain village with a wooden roof and a pile of stone made the house. It has around 40 houses and its main income sources are animal-like sheep, goat, and Yak. Alternative campsite: 3 hours walk down from Sumba pass at the open meadow and mt. Makalu can be seen clearly from this camp. This campsite is Yak Kharka does not have any houses; Thudam is only 3-4 hours downhill trek. Including 10 -11 hrs trek, B|L|D with hot drinks and acc. Homestay| teahouse.
Day 10: Trek Thudam to Yak Kharka 2765m alt.
We carried on your Lumba Sumba pass trek along the bank of wild Chujung Khola, throughout the day trekking into the wild forest often hears birds and barking deer’s other animals. We leave Thudam with sufficient drinking water for a 5-6hrs a downward trek with pack lunch. We set up camp on the seasonal yak graze meadow probably spot yak around. Our champing crew will set up camp and prepare food for the whole group. Including Trek 5-6 hours, B|L|D, Tented camping
Day 11: Trek Yak Kharka to Chyamthang altitude 2340m.
As we walking down getting into the dense tall forest, mixed forest and trees surround the trail. There are no human settlements all the way to Chyamthang but there are many game trails leading different directions. Most of the trekking would be downhill, accept few small ups while crossing the ridges. From the trail, we can see Arun valley below the village. We start following the Arun River valleys continue downhill. After crossing the River gradual ascent to Chymthang village, a large village of Sherpa and Bhote, recently they become Christian from the Buddhist religion. Some of the Non-profit organizations run the health post and also have small schools and police stations. Including 5 – 6 hours, B|L|D, and  acc. homestay|lodge|teahouse
Day 12: Trek Chymathang to Hatiya altitude 1560m.
We trek downhill passing many different villages of different ethnic groups also rapidly trek along the different crops field. We sight one of the roads leading to Kimathang, Tibet border, and another small trail lead to Makalu Base Camp. We descending through the large colorful village then contrast cultivated farm, forest also crossing the suspension bridge over the streams. You will also get a magnificent view of the mountains above human settlement and dense forest. After a long time getting back to subtropical temperature and walking side of the rice terrace field. There is a trekking checkpoint for both Makalu and Lumba Sumba trek permits before proceeding trek to the next destination. Including 5 – 6 hours, B|L|D, and acc. Homestay|lodge|teahouse
Day 13: Trek Hattiya to Gola altitude 1130m.
We walking through the main-wall, and also see the Tibetan word inscription on the rock. Our trail led into the steamy valley where the two giant rivers Arun & Barun. A lunch break at the Barun Dovan provides breathtaking sceneries of the green valley. From here we can experience a mixed culture glimpse of Rai, Limbu, Gurung, Tamang, Bhote, and Sherpa. The sceneries also dramatic changes in the culture and merge valley than the mountains. A remaining trek to the campsite endures above the Arun valley into the villages and farming land to Gola village. The jeep track constructed to connect the remote village and Tibet in the future. Including 5 - 6 hrs, B|L|D, and acc. Lodge|teahouse accommodation.
Day 14: Trek Gola to Hedangadi altitude 1180m.
Our trek goes above the enormous river, the trek continues on the paddy field, small jungle and the villages to our camp Gadhi. It’s about 5-6 hours trek from beginning to end. Including 5-6 hours, B| L|D with hot drinks, and acc. Lodge|teahouse.
Day 15: Trek Hedangagadi to Khandbari altitude 600 m.
After 30 minutes trek brings us east bank of the river, where possible to hire a jeep to Khadbari. If we missed the jeep then we to trek Num village, it is about an hour and a half to two hours to uphill gaining bout 400m altitude to Num village. From Num we arrange a jeep to Khandbari it will take around 4 hours to drive on bumpy off-road. It’s an absolutely great off-road drive passing through hills and beautiful sceneries. We spent overnight at Khandbari the district headquarters of Sakhawashbha and celebrate our Lumba Sumba pass trek. Including 2hrs trek, B|L|D with hot drinks, 4 hours drive, and acc. guesthouse acc.
Day 16: Fly to Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel.
After collecting a lifetime experience in the Lumba Sumba trekking in the eastern Himalayas we fly back to Kathmandu 45 minutes and transfer to the hotel. in short flight you feel like flying over the garden of the Himalayas and breathtaking mountain views, you might see the tallest mountain the world mt. Everest. We are hosting farewell dinner at an authentic Nepalese restaurant with traditional foods as well as the live cultural shows. Including Breakfast and farewell dinner, Accommodation in Kathmandu hotel.
Day 17: Extra days in Kathmandu.
This one extra day: optional cooking class, visit the local Newari village in Kathmandu valley and test Newari food or full day sightseeing in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. Our cooking class takes about 3-4 hours with local people, teaching you Nepali food preparation like how to make Mo Mo, Newari food, and Daal Bhat The popular food of Nepalese culture. In the class, hands-on prep food and eat lunch with locals. Newari Cultural experiences: We’ll take to the Kritipur town where you can get to see Newari culture up-close and test some Newari lunch at the local restaurant. Sightseeing full day starts right after the breakfast around 8:30 AM drive to Soyanbhunath Temple 1 hour, Patan Durbar Square 1 hour and drive to Bhaktapur 2-3 hours and lunch at the heart of the Bhaktapur Durbar square at the Nyatpola temple and way back to Kathmandu visit Pashupatinath and drop you in your hotel around early evening. Or just rests in your hotel organizes your personal stuff and enjoy the day in your hotel/ shopping in Thamel. Included: Breakfast, and accommodation.
Day 18: Final departure, airport transfers.
The fascinating adventure and cultural exploration in Nepal and Lumba Sumba trek end here y today. We hope you had a fantastic lifetime adventure experience with us in the Himalayas. Transfer to the airport 3hours before the flight. Including  Breakfast and Airport transfer 30 minutes.

Cost Includes

What’s including?

  • Trekking permits and Conservation entry fees.
  • Three nights hotel accommodation in Kathmandu on BB plan.
  • Domestic flight Ktm – Bhadrapur, and Tumlingtar to Kathmandu.
  • Private jeep to Phungling from Bhadrapur and Num to Khandbari.
  • Airport transfer as needed.
  • Experienced guide and assistance for the trekking.
  • Three meals a day during the trek (B|L|D with hot drinks)
  • Camping essential equipment tents, Matts and food during the camping.
  • Twin sharing accommodation (lodge/home-stay) during the trek.
  • Guides and assistance’s salary, insurance, food, and other stuff.
  • Gear for guide and assistance like jackets, boots, etc.
  • Group first aid and medical kits.
  • Extra hygiene stuff gloves, masks, hand wash soap, hand sanitizer.
  • Two or three times local desert and fruits.
  • Three times a hot shower.
  • Farewell dinner in Kathmandu before leaving.

Cost Excludes

What’s not including?

  • Your personal medical and adventure insurance.
  • International flights, Visa fee, Luggage fees.
  • Meals in Kathmandu Lunch, Dinner, and snacks.
  • Personal expenses extra hot shower, Internet, battery charges, laundry.
  • Emergency evacuation fee and hospital charges.
  • Trip insurance.
  • Guide & assistance Gratitude.

Cost and Dates

Trip Start Date Trip End Date Price Availability Book
18th April, 2024 6th May, 2024 US$2160 Available Book Now
7th October, 2024 24th October, 2024 US$2260 Available Book Now

The main attractions of Lumba Sumba Pass Trekking

  • Trekking into the most pristine and remote area of eastern Nepal with crossing Lumba Sumba Pass (5180m)
  • The oldest Buddhist monasteries in the region, Diki Chholing Gumba.
  • Explore the most abandon Nepalese village Thundam who supports their life from animals and seasonal mountain herb harvesting.
  • Get panoramic mountain vista of the mt. Kanchenjunga and mt. Makalu from the Lumba Sumba Passes.
  • The bio-diverse trek scenery dramatic changes from the low valley to the Trans- Himalayan region.
  • Enjoy with a close glance at the high waterfalls, animals, birds, and vegetation.
  • Multiple accommodation experience camping, teahouse, homestay, and monasteries stay.

Additional Information

Please be ready and keep in mind that adventure in the Himalayan Mountains requires an open & emphatic mind. During your trek, you are lacking some of the basic needs like the attached bath, hot shower, and electricity. Due to weather conditions, health issues, and other general issues of the group members or sudden natural disasters like landslide, snowstorms, and other natural aspects we may change your route. We try our best to follow our original plan when you booked your expedition, but your safety is our primary concern. In case the trip needs reroute of your trek is necessary, our group leader/ guide makes the final call or decision. Essential Gear

  • Camera, water bottle, extra money, sunscreen, sunglasses, sunhat, hiking loose-fitting shorts/ synthetic T-shirts, etc.
  • Hiking boots, sports shoe, 3 to 4 pairs woolen socks, 1 pairs gloves, warm hat,
  • Day backpack 35ltr to 50ltr, and a duffel bag for your clothing.
  • Warm layers, down or synthetic jackets, fleece, hiking pants, Thermals.
Create your dream trips together customize your holiday particular interest or wishes. Please do not hesitate to contact us for details and additional information about the area. We will provide a comprehensive gear list on booking.

    Landing in Nepal’s only International airport Kathmandu walk two minutes to immigration get ready for your online  visa application, having Passport, Passport size picture, change US Dollar saves your time in visa processing in the immigration. A long flight journey arriving in Nepal, keeping low expectations some delay in the baggage handling and a long line make your journey a little bit curious  want to get out of the crowd, and have a good rest in the hotel. While you walking outside of immigration, baggage claim don’t forget to buy (Nepal Telecom & Ncell) prepaid Sim card  takes a few minutes to sign approve, it makes your tour & travel vacation easier and stress free. Kathmandu valley is very small mountain valley surrounded by mountains, have interesting history, culture, diverse human culture in small area. Prepaid taxi makes your life easier no need to deal with taxi driver at the arrival, provide your information where you staying how many people are sharing transport they’ll easily accommodate your interest.       Booking Luxurious Hotel, Budge Hotels, and guesthouses you can book online or ask your agency they will book and simply add in your tour budget. Popular tourist destination is Thamel, you can get all the above accommodation options, world’s test, and fun evening walk, check local handicraft shops, small local restaurant and Nepalese cuisine. Kathmandu is worth to spend 2-3 days historic sites tour vacation would gives you glimpse of Nepalese culture, tradition and diversify of people. Bhaktapur is smallest district in Nepal with many beautiful historic places in the planet, Bhaktapur Durbar Square area, Changu Narayan, Nagarkot mountain view point short hike to Changu Narayan Temple. Staying overnight at Bhaktapur Durbar Square area great way to see night life of local people peace and Boddhanath Temple, Soyambhunath temple, Baantapur Durbar Square, Patna Durbar Square, and Pashupatinath temple all of them are UNESCO heritage sites, you can easily spent day or two even more time to check and take piture and learn Nepali culture and tradition with local guide at the sites. You can easily arrange tour guide from your hotel, and travel agency, worth to have a licensed tour leader with agency cost around $35 - $50 per day.       After your few days tour vacation, day hiking in Kathmandu valley your journey makes a lot easier to travel other part of Nepal. Your budget and time available there are many different adventure activities can do around Kathmandu, hiking Shivpuri National Forest a minute away from your hotel, climber can easily spent a few days climb limestone natural, bolted rock climbing, and indoor climbing in Thamel Kathmandu. For rafter, water adventure lover you can easily do day whitewater rafting two hours away from Kathmandu and enjoy the Himalayan Rivers and local outfit. There are many options in the close by extreme adventure, luxurious overnight stay in the resort, cultural tour and journey in Kathmandu. Nepal’s is most popular destination for trekking, mountain climbing along with whitewater expedition, cultural city tour and world heritage sightseeing. Have a great tour vacation and adventure journey in Nepal. Chura Mani Aryal

Sam & Jenn Nicholson Montana USA

Mani; Clearly you are chosen & Choose across the globe to make a lasting impact on our children. Your strength, calmness, guidance/wisdom, and patience are so evident. We will forever be grateful for the effort + Impact that you have made on our son. Thank you from our bottom of our hearts for this. It’s unbelievable. Peace & love to you forever. Sam & Jenn Nicholson Montana USA 2018.

Journeying a river: Jai Karnali, January 2020

How did river Ganga come to be?

Mythology says that there was a noble King who requested that Ganga descend from heaven to bless humanity and quench the thirst of the land and its people.
Pleased to shower the world with blessings, Ganga rushed down with such gusto that people feared that all that came in the way would be washed away. The God Shiva came to the rescue and stopped the momentum of the water with his long thick long hair. Because of this, Ganga flowed smoothly and satiated the thirst of all beings and showered blessings on the land with each drop of precious water.
Ecologists interpret this myth as a metaphor- Shiva’s thick long hair is synonymous with dense jungles that help check the floods and stop the land from washing away as the river accelerates down the slopes from the melting glaciers.

Rafting down the river Karnali in Western Nepal last month, it felt as if the myth was true! In our group of 11 people were some seasoned sailors, kayakers, river guides, and rafting experts, but a few like me had never been on a raft. I am also not a strong swimmer; so, it was an act of faith and surrender to the river and expertise of our leader Mani, and river rafting expert Manu to go on the trip.
We put the rafts in the river after about 4 hours drive up the town of Surkhet at an altitude of about 800 m. The rafts and the equipment, including the tents and rations, were supplied with the generous support of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) in the States.

This expedition was conceptualized and planned by Ravi, NOLS India Programmed Director, and Mani ( #navigateoutdoor Nepal) NOLS senior Instructor and who co-led the expedition. The two kayakers, Ganesh and Nanu Kayaks and were in the tumultuous waters of Karnali watching and guiding our rafts at each and every rapid that came along. They were plenty of challenges to varying degrees!

For the next seven days we were out on the river, and camping at some of the most beautiful banks. We witnessed a vast expanse of pristine natural habitats along the way both on land and in the waters. We parked the rafts often to take a walk over to beautiful villages and bought fresh vegetables, fish, milk and yogurt, etc. from the villagers. We savored some delicious meals in cottage eateries that you can find along the traditional walking routes of the shepherds, traders, and village folk, that connect the plains with the high Himal region in the kingdom of Nepal and beyond on the Tibetan plateau. The river crisscrossed some of the most wonderfully crafted hanging bridges on these routes as well.

We saw how the simple and rich life of fishing communities sustainably harvest the bounty of fish from the river. They fish in their dug up canoes made from tree trunks. The fish from Karnali is famous across the region and fetches amongst the highest price in Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu. High value and low volume seem to be the guiding factor – it can be 2-4 days walk to sell and transport the fish, so, the fish is dried or smoked creating a very special, niche type of produce from the villages along Karnali.
Agriculture and livestock rearing is still flourishing in the villages. It was amazing to see some of the most appropriately designed dehusking, pounding, and winnowing equipment still in use – that has perhaps not changed in the last thousand years.

It is indeed a living culture that uses and maintains the landscape, in harmony with nature, using indigenous knowledge to enhance biodiversity and what we call ecosystem services. Our faith in the concept of the Gross National Happiness index was further strengthened. The common Human Development indices merely emphasize infrastructure and access to institutions such as hospitals and schools- but there is so much to be taken into account for true sustainability. While the intent is not to romanticize the old, biocultural heritage, the wisdom of the old seems to be working harmoniously and should well complement human development in a more meaningful way.
Some of the big questions being discussed in conferences and seminars across the world could be answered in a much more eco-friendly and happy way by experiencing the life and values of the community here and of other indigenous peoples across the world.

The modern idea of development as highly individualistic has become increasingly crippled with outdated notions of competition, rather than collaboration, also creating massive disparities in income and consumption of natural resources.
We could learn from the communities here, and take lessons from the past into the future: the dignity of physical work, interdependence, and interconnectedness are three principles that need to be central to human endeavor- there is no sustainability without equity and dignity.

Gradually, we descended down with the flow of the river, as it slowly calmed down in the Terai region. It’s a rich habitat for tigers, rhinoceroses, elephants, and another charismatic megafauna. The very sight of these deep jungles invokes awe. We got off the banks of the mighty Karnali at the little town of Chiso Pani.

We deflated the rafts, packed the gear, washed, and rushed to one of the many restaurants in this little town. Some of us relished the delicious fish from Karnali to their heart's content! For others like me, the restaurant served fabulous fresh greens with dal-bhat; as they say in Nepal “Dal Bhat power, 24 hours!”

May the river Karnali have a long life and continue to bless humanity as the King had anticipated in the ancient times. May present-day leaders start to wake up to the wisdom in conservation and sustainable utilization of the river, rather than damning it and threatening the sheer existence of these communities. May we all learn from the life of the people here; all the wonderful ways to weave a close-knit community and flourish together with nature.

Thanks for the whole team Chura Mani Aryal, Manohar, Nanu and Ganesh river experts, and beautiful Karnali River, and people from the river corridor.

Ajay Rastogi

Majkhali India

Ajay Rastogi,Majhkhali India

"I want to thank you and your guides and employees again for the wonderful memories I have of the Manaslu trek and the lovely side trip into the Tsum Valley. The scenery and experiences were great and I especially loved the variety of forests, the wildlife, and of course the incomparable mountain scenery. I want to add a special thank you to you for the special care you gave me when my foot and leg became very swollen. Your help and knowledge allowed me to complete the trek with minimal discomfort. I still experience the problem to a minor degree but still, look forward to further adventurous travel when the situation allows in the future. Conversations with you about Nepalese history were also an enjoyable and informative aspect of the trek".

I would like to thank Navigate Outdoor for organizing such a joyful and safe trip to the Tsum and Manaslu region. I'd like to thank Mani and his entire team to make our trip such memorable and extra care to all of us on the trekking. I really enjoyed having my own personal time exploring the side valley taking pictures and interact with local people on the trail. Mani is an experienced leader who allows space while trekking. He helped, and always available for other trekkers they need medical attention. I saw him support others and interact with them in a really professional way. I appreciated and enjoyed the 24 days trekking in the Tsum valley and Manaslu round trekking.

Nick Green Australia 2018

Nick Green,Australia


I appreciate your attitude "Anyway life comes first and business comes second and other things." I can see you are really living that motto when you tell us of the wonderful time you are having with your family.

Dane, and I really enjoyed the trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary. While I have been trekking in the Himalayas a number of times it was nice to do a trek with my son. Dane was very impressed to see the high mountains. Thanks for organizing Annapurna Base Camp trekking for me and my son Dane. Mani, I really appreciated sharing your previous experiences and telling stories about your own life and adventure career. We'll do another trip in the future. We'll share our experiences with our friends and recommended Navigate Outdoor. I can't express the joyful moment I had on the Annapurna Base camp trip you with, and felt 100% safe, thanks for taking care of us in the trekking.

Malcolm and Dane Dwyer Australia 2019

Mal & Dane,Australia

Karnali River Experience.

They say that the journey is better than the destination. That all the experiences along the way are like an accumulation of rocks along a riverbed. This story is another stone in a river.

I have known Mani Aryal for several years, meeting him in the United States, in the state of Utah. Mani and I were both on a work contract to take a group of students down Desolation & Gray Canyon on the Green River. After spending three weeks with Mani I knew that I made a paddling adventure buddy and that he would be a person that I actively stay in contact with. The years have a way of floating by with adventure and intentions. Every time I spoke to Mani he persistently invited me to Kathmandu to see his home and to float the rivers. Three years after saying “no”, I finally could say “maybe”.

Kathmandu is large in legend and small in structure. The shuttle ride from the airport is an example of whitewater: dodging potholes, must-make moves, and pure adrenaline. It’s best not to watch.

There are two options to get to the river when signing up for a Karnali River Expedition trip: 1) take the plane or 2) ride with the guides and gear on public transport. I was on a tight budget, so option #2 was the only way to go. Putting together a multiday river trip is always difficult, especially when you start combining buses, shuttles, and rendezvous. The first leg of the journey was via public transportation to Koholpur. The guides and I, hanging out at the main bus depot, loading all of the gear we would need for the next 12 days was a new experience indeed.

You see a lot of different people and livestock on the long-distance buses. Chickens and goats are not uncommon. If a woman is standing with a baby, it’s a norm to hand a baby to you, a seated passenger, to hold the child in order to give her a break.

The second half of the shuttle was a private bus to the put-in, the small village of Dungeshor that is located straight down a canyon. The route our bus driver picked was shorter to save fuel but longer because of road conditions. Our bus rocked, creaked and moaned down the road for 8 hours only to cover 85km. “Singletrack” may be a better description than “road” as there were only inches to spare between rock walls and open air.

 Sideswiping other buses, scouting rock gardens, and pushing our transport were common occurrences that quickly become norms. We reached Dungeshor after 10 pm to hastily inhale some food and beer from a generous restaurant owner who opened his doors after hours. Afterward, we set up our tents on the riverbank to welcome a solid, unwavering piece of ground to usher in some sleep.

The next morning, the guides were in their prime, having already started getting breakfast ready for everyone. Mani was no exception, greeting me with a great, white smile and a coffee to help orient my mind back to my body. The biggest surprise was all of the children hanging about camp. We were all warned not to leave our gear unattended. Later that day, I realized a carabineer walked off to hang out with the children. The guides seemed to include me that much more by laughing and sharing stories of gear gone lost.

Throughout the six days, Mani and his guides were exceptional hosts. It seemed as if they never stopped moving. Always quick to put a coffee in your hand, help you set up your campsite, or to offer a meal. Every morning they would barter with local fishermen to add an extra flair to the menu. On the water, I felt safe and involved in risk management. All ideas were heard until a plan formed to be implemented with everyone on board. The standard followed by Mani was professional.

Six months after this trip, the strongest memories I have are of traveling to and from the river. Once I had oars in my hand and a blue sky above me I knew who I was and how I got there.

The total trip duration from Kathmandu to Kathmandu was 10 days included the bus journey.

 Dan Colorado USA.

Thank you, Mani. I look forward to our next adventure.

Daniel Ives

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