Lumba Sumba Trek, commonly known as recently-opened trek, is one of the best kept secrets of Eastern Nepal. It’s opened to trekkers in April 2012.The trek traverses through naturally and culturally gifted landscapes of world’s two highest Himalayan giants Kanchenjunga (8,586 m) – the third highest mountain and Makalu (8,463 m) – the fifth highest mountain. A home to rarely trodden trails, pristine landscape and rich cultural heritage of highlanders, Lumba Sumba region offers you the experience that takes you back to the Himalayan trekking of 80s and 90s. So, if you want an authentic trekking adventure among the lofty mountains that both inspire and intrigue you at the same time, think no further – Lumba Sumba Trek is just for you.
Lumba Sumba Trek starts with a flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur (91m), a town in the tropical belt of southern Nepal. Then after, the trip continues overland through sinuous hilly road towards Ilam, a picturesque hill station with stunning views of lush tea gardens. By the time you reach Ilam, you will have already gained more than 1000m. Ilam, though not a very familiar destination for western travelers, is a popular hub for domestic tourists after Pokhara for its kaleidoscopic beauty of tea gardens complimented by the magnificent vistas of mountain in the backdrop. After leaving this beautiful town, the trip still continues with a drive to Chiruwa via Taplejung. Finally on day 4, from Chiruwa, your trek to the wonder region starts.
Passing through the beautiful cardamom gardens initially and following the Tamor river later on, the trek continues through the rich flora and fauna of Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. As you proceed through villages like Lelep, Ila Danda and Selep Kharka, and enter deeper into the region, human settlements start getting thinner and landscape much wilder. However, in the remote outpost also, you can get the opportunity to explore rich highland culture in village like Olangchung Gola, a typical Sherpa village, where you normally have a day of rest for acclimatization. Now onwards, the trek starts getting much trickier as you have to traverse through snowy trails. After negotiating with the challenging snow fields, soon the glacial walk culminates at Lumba Sumba Pass (5177m), the ultimate point of the whole trip. In the Pass crossing day, an early start is necessary around 5 am (from High Camp) as the weather after noon can get nasty with strong winds. The views from the Pass, which is actually the combination of two Passes Lumba and Sumba, worth every step you have taken so far. As, the Pass joins Kanchenjunga and Makalu regions , the Pass allows one to savor the rarest views of eastern Himalayan ranges that include Kanchenjunga to the east and Makalu to the west.
After the exhausting yet worthwhile climb, the trek slowly makes its way down to Arun valley. Further down, you pass through dense forests of pine and rhododendron along with more populated villages to enter Makalu Barun National Park, the only protected area in the world with an elevation gain of 8,000m. You also get to see the confluence of Arun and Barun River en-route, both major tributaries of mighty Sapta Koshi. As the trek descends towards Num village following the changing landscape from conifers to rich paddy terraces, you reach Tumlingtar to catch a scenic flight back to Kathmandu.
All in all, the trip is much recommended for two reasons; first the obvious one – it gives you a much needed break after being confined at home for such a long time due to pandemic, and next it offers you a rewarding experience of hidden treasures of Nepal which are lesser known yet equally mystifying as Everest and Annapurna regions, or even more, who knows?
TRIP PROFILE: Trip days – 23 days
Trip Grade – Strenuous
Max. Altitude – 5177 m / 16634 ft
Trek Type – Camping
Lumba Sumba Pass
Spectacular panorama of Maklau and Kanchenjunga ranges
Rich biodiversity of two protected areas: Makalu Barun National Park and Kanchenjunga Conservation Area (chances of spotting endangered species Red Panda and Snow Leopard)
Nepal’s two big river systems Arun and Tamor
Cultural mix of highland ethnic groups including Rai, Limbu and Sherpas
Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to hotel
Day 02: Fly to Bhadrapur (91m) – 45 mins and drive to Ilam (1206m) – 2 hrs
Day 03: Drive to Chiruwa (1246m) via Taplejung – 8 hrs
Day 04: Trek to Taplechowk (1456m) – 5 hrs
Day 05: Trek to Lelep (1687m) – 7 hrs
Day 06: Trek to Ila Danda (2051m) – 5 hrs
Day 07: Trek to Selep Kharka (2525m) – 5 hrs
Day 08: Trek to Olangchung Gola (3208m) – 5 hrs
Day 09: Rest day at Olangchung Gola
Day 10: Trek to Langmale (3893m) – 6 hrs
Day 11: Trek to Tangcher (4203m) – 4 hrs
Day 12: Trek to Phedi – 3 hrs
Day 13: Cross Lumba Sumba (5177m) and trek to Chaunri Kharka (4595m) – 9 hrs
Day 14: Trek to Thudam (3500m) – 7 hrs
Day 15: Trek to Khimbuche, Yak Kharka (2877m) – 6 hrs
Day 16: Trek to Chyamthang (2229m) – 6 hrs
Day 17: Chyamthang buffer day
Day 18: Trek to Hatiya (1595m) – 7 hrs
Day 19: Trek to Gola (1128m) – 6 hrs
Day 20: Trek to Hedangna (1179m) – 5 hrs
Day 21: Trek to Num (1572m) – 6 hrs, and drive to Tumlingtar (405m) – 5 hrs
Day 22: Fly to Kathmandu – 45 mins
Day 23: Depart from Kathmandu
SOME HELPFUL INFO:
Accommodation Lumba Sumba Trek is a trekking in Himalayan wilderness. In lower trails, you can find some local teahouses but they are basic. In higher altitudes, there is no accommodation facility. So, Lumba Sumba trek is normally organized as camping trek to ensure comfort and safety of the trekkers. Normally ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped tents with foam mattress underneath for insulation are used. Trekkers need to bring their own sleeping bags (can be rented). Bags or cloth packs can be used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’. And if you accommodate in the teahouses (in lower altitudes), you get basic rooms consisting of beds with pillow and blankets. (Make sure to bring your own sleeping bag as the blanket may not be warm enough). You can’t find rooms with attached bath and hot shower. However, if you request, they will provide bucket full of hot water with extra charges (approx $2 – $4). Majority of teahouses have rooms in twin sharing basis and dormitory rooms.
Communication While trekking in Lumba Sumba region, you may not have an access to telephone or internet facility for some days or weeks especially in higher altitude. You can get the communication facility up to Lelep only (but very limited network). If you want to get connected with your family and friends throughout the trip, you can get rental satellite phone.
Food During camping trek, you can get three plentiful, nutritious and hygienically prepared meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes.
Breakfast – porridge, muesli /cereal, omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread Lunch – salad, vegetables, pasta and traditional breads
Dinner (3 course) – soup, vegetables, meat, rice and pasta dishes, simple dessert, tea, coffee, hot chocolate etc.
Teahouses in Lumba Sumba region are very basic, and their food menu is also very simple, consisting of local Nepali food (Daal Bhaat – rice, lentil and curry), noodles and chapatis. It’s always a good idea to carry supplementary food which you can prepare easily like soup, instant noodles, dry fruits and nuts, coffee, juice, herbal tea etc. Since you don’t have many food options, it’s better to have Daal Bhaat as they are always freshly made and good for calorie replenishment
Water It’s really important to stay hydrated while trekking but water is not something to worry about while trekking in Nepal. Normally you will be provided with filtered water about 3-4 liters per person per day. You can also buy bottled water (approx. $1) in tea houses in lower altitudes but it’s better to minimize the use of plastic bottles. So, the best thing is to bring own water bottle and refill it. You can also bring water purification pills in case you want to drink water from local taps.
Electricity and Charging This trek takes you through the isolated valley. So, electricity is a problem in the area. You can get the facility till Lelep. Beyond that only in few places like Gola and Thudam, you can have charging facility (approx $2 – $4) powered by solar energy. So, it is better to carry fully charged power bank.
Clothing and Equipment Lumba Sumba Trek is an adventurous trek in the Himalaya. So, you need best trekking clothing and gears like boots, hiking pants, winter caps, down jackets, Poncho, wind cheater etc. Thermals and layers are really important to keep you warm and comfortable. Trekking poles and crampons (while crossing pass) are essential during this trek as you follow snowy and steep trails. The gears that you need during the trek can be purchased in Kathmandu. The items can be genuine branded items or imitation depending on your choice and price. The imitated items might not be best but they are good enough for the trek considering the price.
Permits You need some permits in order to trek in Lumba Sumba region.
Makalu Barun National Park permit: Approx. $30 (per person)
Makalu Barun Special Permit : Approx. $20 for 4 weeks (per person)
Kanchenjunga Special Permit : Approx. $20 for 4 weeks (per person)
Best Time to Travel Autumn (from mid-September till November end) and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May) are considered to be best for Lumba Sumba Trek. The weather in these months is likely to be stable with clear skies. As Spring in Nepal is marked with abundant rhododendron blooms in hills and low mountains, some consider Spring as a better option for Lumba Sumba Trek as the kaleidoscopic beauty of snowy peaks and red blooms is simply the best. Trekking during monsoon is not recommended as the visibility is poor during rainy days. Winter is extremely cold with heavy snow in trails but trekking in this region is possible for those who want some extra dose of adventure. You can also get exceptional visibility during winter.
Trek Difficulty Level Lumba Sumba Trek is a fairly challenging trek as the trail is less frequented and marked with raw wilderness, glacier fields and high altitude passes with less availability of travel amenities. Unlike the popular routes, the trail is not well-marked. The highest point of the trek is Lumba Sumba Pass (5177m). Despite being a challenging trek, with right attitude and preparation the adventure is achievable.
(If you have any query regarding this trip, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org . We would be more than happy to help you!)
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