Days: 20 / Difficulty: 3 of 5 (Moderate to strenuous)
Rara Lake trek is one of the most popular trekking destinations in Nepal. It lies in the remote Karnali region, northwest of Kathmandu. It is Nepal’s smallest and most scenic National Park which was established in 1976. It protects some of the most beautiful alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems of the Himalaya. The pristine Rara Lake is also known as Mahedra Tal, the largest Lake in Nepal. The Rara region is made-up of long ridges covered with temperate forests and alpine pastures enclosing high valleys. Summer rainfall is low, but winter snow can be heavy and persistent. The Lake is surrounding richly forested hill and snow capped mountain in the background. The route is very much “Off the beaten track” and affords glimpses of cultures and scenery very different from that in the rest of Nepal. The Rara Lake is covering the area of 10.8 Sq, km. at the elevation of 2980m. This trek is offered as an extension to Trek Jumla to Rara, so this will add a further week to your trip. The journey north whilst rewarding in its beauty, is a difficult hike as one travels steeply up and then down from one gorge to another. This is the province of Humla, often referred to as the Hidden Himalayas and ups and down trails, will soon become your mantra. Simikot is situated on an airy spur above the Humla Karnali River and you should take time to explore the town and some of the surrounding villages to discover a way of life that has barely changed in hundreds of years.
Itinerary in detail
Day 1:Arrival in Kathmandu
Arrival in Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport and you will be met at the airport by our representative who will be waiting with a Swiss Family Treks sign outside the terminal and transfer to Hotel by private car. Welcome drink and after you settle into the hotel there will be a group briefing with your tour leader. He will discuss the trek details and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements. Stay overnight at Hotel.
Day 2:Full Day Guided Sightseeing Tour in Kathmandu Valley by private van.
After brekafast in the hotel, Drive to Swayambhunath Stupa which is very close form the centre of Kathmandu. It takes some minutes to be there. This Temple is also known as Monkey Temple which is considered to be self made Stupa. Then visit to Boudhanath Stupa: the biggest stupa in Nepal
and one of the bigger stupa in the world. You can basically experience Tibetan Buddhism, culture and way of life in Boudhanath Area. Boudhanath area is the authentic place to buy Tibetan stuffs. Again you will be visit Pashupatinath Temple and it is one of the most sacred temples in the entire Hindu world. It is a sacred place where Hindus come to die and to be cremated. The temple of Pashupatinath is a large double roofed, gilt pagoda, decorated with brass, the gateway is plated with silver. There are images of Shiva along with other statues, shrines and temples dedicated to other deities in the complex. A circuit of the Pashupati area takes visitors past a sixth-century statue of the Buddha, an eight-century statue of Brahma the creator and numerous other temples. There are rows of Shiva shrines and Hindu pilgrims from all over south Asia offering ceremonies to worship Shiva, the Lord of Destruction. Stay overnight at Hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj
The flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj takes approximately 1.5 hours and is fairly dependable. During the flight we should catch a glimpse of the mountains we will be trekking among in the coming days. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 4: Fly from Nepalgunj to Jumla 2370m.
Early in the morning flight to Jumla (35 minutes), Jumla airport is one of the best Nepal
's remote airstrips-900m long and an easy approach- so flights operate more regularly than at places such as Lukla. This is the gateway to the wild northwest and one of the highest rice-growing areas in the world. The unique red rice is tastier than white rice but scorned by most Nepalis. Jumla Bazzar is 10 minutes more from airport and explores the Jumla Bazzar and surrounding area. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 5: Trek from Jumla to Danphe Langa 3130m/5-6 hours.
Today we start trek after having breakfast, the trail to Rara follows the north bank of Tila Khola, then turn up the other small stream. The Jumla Valley disappears behind the ridge as the trail follows the river, keeping fairly level and passing through fields and pine forests. Now trek begins an ascent up the Padmara Valley and becoming steeper as the climb continues. We have our lunch in proper place. Along the Padmara valley, the canyon becomes very narrow with vertical cliffs on both sides as the trail ascends through a deep forest of pines, spruces and firs. Finally we arrive in the last village of Padmara and we continue the trek until reaching Danphe Langa. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 6: Trek from Danphe Langa to Chautha 2770m/5-6 hours.
In the morning after breakfast, the trail descent becomes steep, through forests of firs, birches, walnuts and bamboo and some a short level stretch the trail zigzags down to the Sinja Khola, crossing it on a log bridge and follow the river downstream to Nyawre. Then we continue the serious climb, passing through marijuana fields and over a ridge into a side valley. Now the steep climbs continues for a while and the trail makes a turn into a big valley then descends until reaching Chautha. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 7: Trek from Chautha to Dhotu 2380m/4-5 hours.
In this day, the rocky trail follows the stream uphill, crossing it as the wooded valley becomes narrower. The climb continues to the Bhulbule where entry our permit and above Bhulbule the trail emerges into an immense treeless meadow and climbs gently but steadily to an assortment of Chhortens, cairns and prayer flags atop the Ghurchi Lagna. From here, there are views of the Mugu Karnali River and snowy peaks bordering Tibet
. The route descends gently on a broad path to a hut, and then drops precipitously down a rough trail through spruces forests. Follow the direct trail to Rara Lake, which stays more or less level through pine forests, and then descend to the Jhyari Khola and another stretch of easy walking leads to Dhotu. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 8: Trek from Dhotu to Rara Lake 3040m/3-4 hours.
This day, cross s stream and make a steep climb to Thakuri Village of jhyari, in a picturesque grove of giant cedars. Then continue climbing through cedar forests to a huge meadow a top ridge with a great view of Rara Lake. Descends on the northern side of the lake where camping ground is available. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 9: Exploring the Rara Lake
Today we are exploring the largest lake of Nepal
. It is almost 13km around the lake and a day devoted to making this circuit is well spent. There is a few parks wardens’ house, and the remnants of the now-deserted villages of Rara and Chapra on the northern side of the lake, but otherwise it is an isolated region where birds, flowers and wildlife thrive. Rara is Nepal
’s largest lake and is surrounded by the protected forests of Rara National Park in the Karnali district. There is an abundance of wildlife in this area including musk deer, leopard, ghoral, tahr, Himalayan black bear, and the rare red panda. The water of the lake is crystal clear and the area is a stunning place of natural beauty. We will spend a rest and acclimatisation day here. The Great Himalaya Trail has 2 options in the far west - 1) From Gamgadhi to Simikot and the Yari Valley 2) Cross country from Rara Lake to Kolti and Chainpur and on to the Mahakali Nadi (river) in India. We will travel the Gamgadhi to Simikot and Yari route, as this route travels closer to the centre of the Great Himalaya Range. There is yet to be a crossing found to the Mahakali Nadi, which is further to the west, therefore our finishing point for the GHT is currently Simikot after trekking north to Yari. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 10: Trek from Rara Lake to Karnali Riverside Camp, walk approx. 4hrs.
Leaving our idyllic rest stop at Rara Lake we descend to Gamgadhi, taking a left turn in the bazaar before continuing another 40 minutes to the Karnali bridge. Another 4 hours brings us to Bala and then a further 1.5 hours to Karnali. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 11: Trek from Riverside Camp to Bam (2700m), walk approx. 5-6hrs.
We cross the suspension bridge from Karnali and climb a steep, rocky trail, trending left until we crest a ridge at 2180 metres. We descend to a small river and then another climb brings us through fields and pine forest to a ridge and then a traverse to Bam village. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 12: Trek from Bam gto Jogimara (3005m), walk approx. 6hrs.
We follow a trail which contours around hillsides until we reach a stream at Ghachaur. Here we begin a climb to the pass which should take approximately 3.5 hours, from the top it is an easy descent to a pretty campsite by a stream. There is a tea-shop close by which is 15 minutes before reaching Jogimara. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 13: Trek from Jogimara to Piplan (1700m), walk approx. 7hrs.
We make an easy short ascent from Jogimara to a ridge at 3120 metres before a longer descent of 500 metres to a small stream before climbing again, crossing a landslide area. From here we have views of the lower valley and the village of Rimi. We make a long traverse to Deuri, passing by a school before descending to Darma village. Continuing through the village we drop down through a series of steep switchbacks to the main trail by the riverside, and then crossing a suspension bridge over the Humla Karnali and finally a short climb to Piplan. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 14: Trek from Piplan to Apsia Lekh (3200m), walk approx. 7-8hrs.
We continue trekking through the traditional villages of Nimagaon and Korka climbing a series of switchbacks and crossing a basin between ridges before halting at a stream for our lunch break. Climbing once again to the village of Puma we take a right fork and and ascend more switchbacks in pine forest to Apsia Lekh. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 15: Trek from Apsia Lekh to Punkha Khola, walk approx. 6hrs.
Today we have magnificent views of Saipal and surrounding valleys as we follow a contouring trail to Kallas. From here we descend to the river and then climb an easy trail to a ridge and descend once more to the Rodikot Khola. A further east climb of 1.5 hours brings us to our campsite beside the Punkha Khola. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 16: Trek from Punkha Khola to River Camp, walk approx. 5.5hrs.
We start with a big climb of 500 metres through steep switchbacks to a kharka at 3512 metres. From here we continue climbing, gaining views north to Simikot and also to the south. We climb to over 4000 metres today before a very steep descent to the Yanchu Khola. We have a few camping options today, and there will more than likely be some livestock grazing in the valley. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 17: Trek from River Camp to Simikot (2900m), walk approx. 6.5hrs.
Depending on weather conditions today may be a very warm day as there is little shade along the trail. We descend for 15 minutes or so alongside the river before an easy gradient climb to Durpa village and a further descent to the pilgrimage site of Kharpunath. Continuing on another 30 minutes we turn into the Kudila Kola valley. from here we ascend to some teashops and cross a metal bridge before the final set of switchbacks which lead us to Simikot. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 18: Fly from Simikot to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj by Air (1330m)
This morning we fly to Nepalgunj and to Kathmandu, a thrilling flight over forests, fields and villages, with the Himalaya in the background. On arrival, we transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 19: Buffer day for flight delays or cancellation due to bad weather just for in case and overnight in Hotel.
Day 20:Final Departure from Kathmandu
Your trip will come to an end today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements and transfer to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport by our private van around 3 hours before your flight schedule and flight back to your home/other travel destination.
Our Trek Package Cost Includes:
- Airport / Hotel / Airport pick up & transfer by car / Van.
- All domestic flights and domestic airport taxes.
- 5 nights accommodation with breakfast at 3***hotel in Kathmandu and Standard hotel in Nepalgunj.
- Kathmandu city tour and all entry fees as per the above itinerary.
- Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with Tea & coffee and hot/cold filter water during the trek.
- Tented camp accommodation during the trek.
- 1 experienced helpful and friendly guide, 1 cook and necessary porters (1 porter for 2 peoples), their food & accommodation, salary, equipment and insurance.
- Trekking Equipment (Tent, mattress, dining tent, kitchen tent, toilet tent, kitchen utensils etc.)
- All ground transportation by private car.
- Humla and Rara National Park Permit.
- All necessary permits.
- First Aid Medical kit box.
- Office Service charge.
- All Government Tax.
Our Trek Package doesn't include:
- Any meals (Lunch and Dinner) in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj other than breakfast.
- Your private Travel insurance.
- International air fare to and from Nepal
Tourist Visa fee.
- Items and expenses of personal nature.
- Any kind of alcoholic drinks, cold drinks, laundry, phone call, internet.
- Personal Trekking Equipment like sleeping bags, jackets (can be hired in KTM) etc.
- Emergency Evacuation (Helicopter Rescue).
- Any costs which arise due to a change of the itinerary, because of landslides, political disturbance, and strikes etc.
- Any other costs whatsoever, that is not mentioned in the cost included.
- Horse renting and additional porters renting on the way due to natural calamities.
- Tips for guide, porters, driver...
Tipping is expected but it is not mandatory.
Customize Your Trek: This is a general itinerary, which can always individually be “tailormade”. The trek package can be redesigned or redeveloped as per your taste, For more information please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Important: In case of emergency during the trip, Helicopter will be arranged by Swiss Family Treks & Expedition GmbH. The charges must be paid by the clients themselves.