Trek Overview

Kanchenjunga to Makalu trek over Lumba Sumba Pass is a recently discovered amazing isolated trail by Nepal government.

The trek connects the Kanchenjunga region and Makalu region via the Lumba Sumba Pass, and passes through the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area and the Makalu Barun National Park in the eastern part of the country.

The trail is rich in flora and fauna and one can see different birds and wildlife species, including the endangered snow leopard and red panda along the route. 

Through the route, one can also trek to the base camps of Mt Kanchenjunga and Mt Makalu. Apart from natural beauty, trekkers can also explore cultural heritage like monasteries, chhortens, temples and prayer walls.

Kanchenjunga to Makalu Trek is one of the best and amazing trails amongst the Great Himalayan Trails.

Kanchenjunga to Makalu Trek over Lumba Sumba Pass

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Note: below trekking hours, altitudes and distances are approximate, and absolutely for the general idea only.

Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Arrive at Kathmandu airport (1,302m/4,270ft)

    Upon arrival at Tribhuwan International airport, our representative will be awaiting you to welcome with Nepal Sanctuary Treks placard. You will be then escorted and transfer to hotel. Further details and short preliminary briefing will be provided after transferring to the hotel. Stay overnight in Hotel.

  2. Day 2: Optional Kathmandu valley sightseeing and Trek preparation

    Kathmandu is the cultural heart of Nepal and has been a famous destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its borders to visitors. Today after breakfast, we will explore Kathmandu valley, a guided tour will be conducted to major world heritage sites inside the valley. Out city tour expert will take you to Kathmandu Durbar Square, the traditional heart of Kathmandu and an architecturally extraordinary complex of ancient palaces, temples, courtyards and shrines. You are then taken to Swayambhunath (monkey temple) which is the glorious ancient religious architecture and center faith of Hinduism and Buddhism. Further, you will be visiting Buddhist shrine of Boudhanath which is one of the largest stupa in the world and the sacred Pashupatinath temple that lies on the bank of Bagmati River in Kathmandu. After the tour you will have ample of time to prepare for your trek and buy or rent all the required trekking equipment. Overnight at Hotel.

     

  3. Day 3: Kathmandu to Bhadrapur to Ilam

    With an early wake up call, you will get ready and be transferred to the airport from where you will fly to Bhadrapur. Landing at Bhadrapur there will be a vehicle waiting for us which will drive us to Ilam, It is a famous destination for natural scenery and landscapes, tea production, and diverse agricultural economy. We will stay the night at lodge and prepare ourselves for tomorrows trek.

    Trip Highlights:

    ·         Scenic drive to Ilam; i.e. tea cultivated land, landscapes and beautiful natural scene.

    ·         If the weather is clear then you can see Darjeeling bazaar.

    ·         Pass through beautiful tea, cardamom garden and tropical trees.

  4. Day 4: Ilam to Taplejung(5hrs drive) to Mitlung(921m/3,021ft) 4hrs trek

    We leave Ilam early in the morning and drive to Taplejung through cardamom and tea cultivated area. The scenic drive offers you a first glimpse of Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Jannu. In addition, you get to see pasture land and small villages. Then we begin to trek along paved road for one hour and take a gradual steep descent to the Tamor River that takes us to the village of Mitlung. We stay overnight in Mitlung.

    Trip Highlights:

    ·         Drive all the way through cardamom, tea fields and Alnus trees.

    ·         Glimpse of Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Jannu

    ·         Picturesque villages and lush mountain

    ·         Experience Limbu culture and tradition

    ·         You can see terraced fields, cardamom plants along the trail

    ·         Limbu settlement and observe their lifestyle, customs and tradition

    ·         Limbu are well-known for British Gurkhas

    ·         If you are lucky you might encounter with langur monkeys

    ·         Trek along the Tamor River to Mitlung

  5. Day 5: Mitlung to Chirwa (1,246m/4,087ft) 5 – 6hrs trek

     With an early start we continue our trek; the trail will ascend to Chirwa, it is a pleasing trek until Furumba village from where it is more up hills and down hills but you will be able to enjoy the vistas along the trail.  We can trek up to Siwa Bazar for lunch; it is a small market with few of the basic facilities and foremost is probably the best checkpoint to stop for lunch. From here, we trek uphill to Tawa village and then descend until we reach our destination, the village of Chirwa. It is a small village with few lodges and suitable camping sites.                             

    Trip Highlights:

    ·         Walk  through cardamom plants

    ·         Trek passes along the banks of Tamor River

    ·         Enjoy the view of beautiful landscape of sloppy terraced fields and cardamom plants

    ·         You can observe the gigantic rock at campsite area

    ·         You can listen the melodious sound of babbler, dove and many more birds.

  6. Day 6: Chirwa to Lelep (1,687m/5,534ft) 5-6hrs trek

    We rejoin our trail and continue the trail along the beautiful Tamur River until we arrive at Olangchung Gola, the entry point of the Kanchenjunga National Park. We go uphill and downhill again before crossing the Ghunsa Khola. After few more hours from here we reach Tapethok where we can stop for lunch and from there it is a pleasant walk until Pembu.  From Pembu its an uphill for about two and half hours until we reach Lelep. The KCAP headquarters is also in Lelep so if we want we can make a short visit there.

    Highlights:

    • Vibrant Buddhist prayer flags at houses
    • Lelep is the settlement of Tibetan Bhote where you can observe their customs and lifestyle.
    • If you are lucky you might encounter with langur monkeys.
  7. Day 7: Lelep to Ela Danda (2,051m/6,729ft) 5-6hrs trek

    We will wake up early, have breakfast in the camp and continue our trek. The trail follows the banks of Tamor River through a dense forest until we come across a suspension bridge from where there is uphill climb through pine forest. The forest is a good habitat for many types of species in the area so if you’re lucky than you can spot few rare species through the trail. We reach a monastery from where the trek gradually descends and we reach Gowatar, where we stop for lunch. Gowatar is a small settlement with a few houses. Near the village, there is a huge stone and it is said that only the religious people can move them.

    After a walk of around half an hour from Gowatar, we reach a place where we can spot amazing views of two waterfalls which are above 100m tall. We continue passing through Phedi, crossing Tamor River, it is 45 minutes uphill climb until we reach Chautara village. Further 20 minutes trek will lead us to Ela Danda campsite, it offers splendid panoramic views of snowcapped peaks like small Kasturi Peak and Tamor River.

    Highlights:

    • If you are lucky you might encounter with bear, leopard, magpie bird, bulbul
    • Splendid panoramic views of snowcapped peaks like small Kasturi Peak and Tamor river
    • Amazing view of 100m tall waterfall
  8. Day 8: Ela Danda to Selep Kharka (2,525m/8,284ft) 5-6hrs trek

    We will enjoy our breakfast with a splendid view before getting back to the trail; today’s trail will be easy and pleasing as it passes through Ulnus and Rhododendron forest. After crossing a suspension bridge on the way we will come across a dense bamboo groves which is popular habitat of red panda, hope for the best to spot red panda through the trail. For lunch we will stop at Maguwa and continue through maple and Ulnus forest. Before we reach Selep Kharka we also pass by a landslide through the trail and we should be careful while trekking through this landslide trail. Soon after few more hours of trekking we will reach Selep Kharka where we will camp overnight.

    Highlights:

    • If you are lucky you might encounter with bear, red panda, leopard, magpie bird, and bulbul
    • Pleasant walk through rhododendron, ulnus, maple trees
    • Traverse suspension bridge and passes through dense bamboo groves
  9. Day 9: Selep Kharka to Olangchung Gola (3,208m/10,524ft) 5-6hrs trek

    We have an early breakfast and then start to trek to our next destination. Today we trek along the banks of Tamor River before we reach a flat land surrounded by Birdhungu Danda called Jongim from where we will trek further to Ramite (2,685 m). We reach Ramite crossing a suspension bridge and trekking uphill and have our lunch here with a beautiful environment surrounded by mixed forest of Deodar and Rhododendron. After lunch we continue our trek to Olangchung Gola and again we will see views of waterfalls and also might spot red Panda if we are lucky enough. After few more hours of trekking we will arrive at Olangchung Gola and soon to our camping site. The village is an old heritage rich in culture and with only few houses. There is an old monastery which dates back to 465 yrs ago with golden manuscript and KCAP office. The village is also facilitated with sub-health post, a primary school and a border police station. We will camp our tents here in the village.

    Highlights:

    • Tibetan Bhotia settlement
    • If you hike to Tiptala, you will reach at Tibetan border
    • Splendid views of waterfall
    • If you are lucky , you might encounter with red panda
    • Traverse suspension bridge
    • Catch the first glimpse of Olangchung Gola from the waterfall as we trek higher.
    • Camping at beautiful Sherpa village
  10. Day 10: Olangchung Gola to Yangetar (4,203 m) 6-7 hrs trek

    After breakfast, we start to walk levelled path through forested area for one hour and cross the suspension bridge. After that we follow the Dingsamaba Khola, passing beautiful pasture land and bushes all the way to Yangetar.

    Highlights:

    • You can observe yaks grazing at meadow.
    • You can see the black rock from the campsite
    • Enjoy the view Lumba Sumba peak
    • Cross the suspension bridge
  11. Day 11: Yangetar to Pass Camp (4,747m/15,574ft) 4-5 hrs trek

    Today with an early breakfast, we follow Dingsamba River crossing the small streams and take a gradual ascend to pasture land.  Further take steep climb from Langmale Kharka all the way to pass camp.

    Highlights:

    • You can view the glacier of Lumba Sumba Himal
    • Pass camp is a huge pasture area
  12. Day 12: Pass Camp to Yak kharka (4,595m/15,075ft) via Lumba Sumba La (5,177m/16,984 ft.) 7-8 hrs. trek

    Today we pass through the Lumba Sumba La (5,177m/16,984ft), It is the most challenging and memorable trail of the trek. We will start off early as in the noon it can be a problem and much more difficult to cross the pass due to change in weather. The trail ascends in the starting phase until we reach at Lumba Sumba La. Before reaching at Lumba Sumba La, you will pass three small ponds. In local language, Lumba Sumba means three passes, where we cross 3 ridges in Z shape. 

    Highlights:

    • When you cross first ridge you can see the ducks on the pond and other wetlands birds.
    • Lumba Sumba La for mesmerizing panoramic views of Kanchenjunga, Baruntse, Khambachen, Jannu himal and Makalu ranges
    • You might cross the snow sometimes along the trail
    • Enjoy the moments at Lumba-Sumba Pass and slide down steeply to Yak Kharka.
  13. Day 13: Yak kharka to Thudam (3,500m/11,482ft) 5-6hrs trek

    After an early breakfast we descend downhill from Yak kharka, finally today we come back to civilization after 3 days into wilderness. After two to three hours of trek we will come to a point that will have two roads one to Lasa that takes you to Tibet (north side). If you follow Modek Chheju Khola and the other toward Thudam. Thudam is a small Tibetan village with few houses where we will camp our tent in a suitable area and rest the night.

    Highlights:

    • The main occupation of Tibetan people are animal husbandry
    • People of Thudam migrate to lowland during winter
    • Only few male speak Nepali language.
    • Campsite at beautiful forest side.
    • You might encounter with bear and yaks
    • Thudam is a Sherpa (Bhotia) village of around 30 wooden houses which has strong trade and cultural relations with villages across the border in Tibet.
    • Witness very much authentic Tibetan culture at Thudam.
  14. Day 14: Thudam to Kharka (2,877m/9,438ft) 6-7hrs trek

    Today we descend one hour following the Chujung Khola. Further we take ascend through the forest of bamboo where you will get at the top of ridge. You can see bird-eye view of Chyamthang village. We take steep descent along the narrow trails, passing landslide area as one have to be careful while trekking along the trail. Further we cross river and arrive at Kharka where we will camp overnight. You can see the yak shelter and bamboo forest surrounded at campsite.

    Highlights:

    ·         Trek through beautiful shaded bamboo forest

    ·         Bird-eye view of Chyamthang village

    ·         The trail offers panoramic vistas of Makalu range.

    ·         Along the trail you can see several small bushes and bamboo groves

  15. Day 15: Kharka to Chyamtang (2,229m/7,312ft) 6-7hrs trek

    We have an early breakfast and start trekking towards our next destination. We pass through dense rhododendron forest and take ascend to minor pass. Further, we take descent through muddy trails. After that you reach at Hikchu, as you can see the one house, terraced fields, Chyamtang and Ridak village. Further the trail drops down to Arun River where we stop for the lunch. Arun River, the main source from China is one of the longest river of Nepal.  After crossing suspension bridge over Arun River take ascend all the way to Chyamtang where we camp overnight.

    Highlights:

    ·         Settlement of Tibetan people

    ·         Chyamthang is a way to Kimathangka border

     

  16. Day 16: Chyamtang to Hatiya (1,595m/5,232ft) 7-8 hrs. trek

    We start off early and trek through rhododendron forest up to the village of Gimber where we will have lunch. If the weather is clear, an amazing views of Makalu range can be seen from Gimber. Trekking further, cross small bridge and ascend to small ridge and take descend to Hatiya. Hatiya, a small village of Bhotia people and is the entry point to the Makalu Barun National Park. There are few health posts and hospitals at Hatiya.

    Highlights:

    • You can see babbler, warbler and many more.
    • If you are lucky you might encounter with monkeys
    • View of Makalu range from Gimber
  17. Day 17: Hatiya to Gola (1,128m/3,700ft) 5-6hrs trek

    After breakfast we trek along the Arun River and after few hours of trekking we will reach the confluence of Arun and Barun River. We can stop to enjoy our lunch here in this beautiful spot and after lunch few more hours from here will take us to our camping site in Gola. It is a very small village of Sherpa, Rai and Tamang people only with 12 houses.

    Highlights:

    • Trek along the banks of Arun river
    • Lunch near the river confluence
    • Camp at small village, Gola
  18. Day 18: Gola to Hedanga Gadi (1,179m/3,868ft) 6-7hrs trek

    After breakfast, we trek down to lowlands as we pass through paddy fields – a sign that we are at lowland. Further one and half hour, we trek through flat trails and cross the river ascend to ridge .After walking through flat trail we come across Pathibhara village where we will have our lunch, it is a small village where Tamang and Rai people reside there. The trail after lunch passes through cultivated land and we can find amply of water sources and small settlements along the way. Hedanga Gadi is a second potential place for paddy fields of Sankhuwasaba district

    Highlights:

    • Trek through beautiful forest, paddy fields and villages to Hedanga Gadi.
  19. Day 19: Hedangna Gadi to Num (1,500m/4,921ft) 4hrs trek and drive to Tumlingtar (1,500m/4,921ft) 3-4 hrs. drive

    After breakfast, we trek downhill till the Arun River. After traversing the river, take steep climb all the way to Num. Num village used to be the trading point of upper and lower land and this village is linked with the roadways so a transportation will be organized that will drive us to Tumlingtar through the dirt road.

    Highlights:

    • Num is a bazaar where local villagers come to purchase their necessary items.
    • Mixed community of Rai, Chhetri, Sherpa, Limbu, Tamang
    • Num is also the way to Makalu Base camp.
  20. Day 20: Tumlingtar to Kathmandu 35mins flight

    We will have an early breakfast and walk up to the airport nearby the lodge in Tumlingtar.  After a short flight we reach Kathmandu and will have free leisure time either to rest or explore Kathmandu Valley.

  21. Day 21: Back home

    It is time to fly back to home keeping all the terrifying experiences of Nepal in mind.

    The representative from Nepal Sanctuary Treks will transfer you to TIA airport where you should check-in 3 hours prior your scheduled flight.

Fast Facts

  1. Max altitude: pass camp (4,747m/15,574ft)
  2. Suitably designed itinerary for acclimatization
  3. Accommodation in the best selected lodges and tea houses along the trail and in Kathmandu
  4. Kanchenjunga is the world’s 3rd highest mountain where are Makalu is the 5th highest
  5. A challenging as well as a off the beaten track
  6. Beautiful views of Mt. Chamlang, Baruntse, Makalu and Kanchenjunga etc
  7. Both the region are rich in biodiversity especially the butterflies in the upper Arun valley and other rare species in Makalu Barun National Park; rare animals like snow leopard and red panda

Opportunity to experience cultures and warm hospitality of Sherpa, Rai, Gurung, Limbu and Lhomi communities

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