Off the beaten trek in the far west wilderness of Nepal offers something unusual - Jumla - Rara Lake Trek
This trek through the remote wilderness of western Nepal offers a superb experience of nature and a visit to Rara Lake, Nepal’s Largest Lake at 3062 meters. Beginning the trek from the mountain airstrip of Jumla after flying from Kathmandu via Nepalgunj, the trail passes through green countryside. Jumla – Rara Lake Trek throughout caters unusual glimpses of a culture and scenery quite different from that found elsewhere in Nepal and eventually culminates to the Rara Lake inside Rara National Park. This beautiful high altitude lake is surrounded by alpine meadows and forests of pine, juniper and spruce, whilst in the background you can view the magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas.
The entire route is ‘off the beaten trail’ which involves the crossing of Ghurchi Lagna pass at 3450m on the way to Rara Lake and a few ridges at around 3000 meters when hiking on the way back.
Any physically fit person can do this moderate trek anytime in March to May and October to early December.
Day 1 Arrival Kathmandu
Day 2 Sightseeing tour of Boudhanath, Pashupatinath & Patan
Day 3 Fly Kathmandu to Nepalgunj
Day 4 Fly Nepalgunj to Jumla & trek to Chala Chaur [2900m]
Day 5 Cross a Pass
Day 6 Trek via Sinja [2440m] to Botan [2600m]
Day 7 Trek to Rara Park border
Day 8 Trek to Rara Lake [3062m]
Day 9-10 Rest days at Rara
Day 11 Trek via Jhyari [2630m] to River camp
Day 12 Across Ghurchi Lagna Pass [3450m] to Chautha [2770m]
Day 13 Trek to Tharamara [3280m]
Day 14 Trek to Jumla
Day 15 Fly to Kathmandu.
Day 16 Depart Kathmandu
Fully Catered Camping Trek (FOT)
National park fees
All domestic airfare
Airport transfers and escort
All guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with entry fees.
3 nights’ accommodation at 3 star hotel in Kathmandu on double sharing with breakfast
Transfers as per the itinerary in private vehicle
Lunch & dinner in Kathmandu
Tips, any expenses of personal nature,
Arrival in Kathmandu
It is a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities..
Sightseeing tour of Boudhanath, Pashupatinath & Patan
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence.
There will be a guided tour to the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal Boudhanath and after that to the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva- Pashupatinath. We take a tour to Patan or Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. We walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square..
Fly Kathmandu to Nepalgunj
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Nepalgunj, which lies close to the Indian border in the western Terai. .
Fly Nepalgunj to Jumla & trek to Chala Chaur [2900m]
We take a thirty-minute scenic flight from Nepalgunj to Jumla. On reaching Jumla, we interact with the trekking crew and begin our trekking after lunch. We traverse northwards out of the Jumla Valley. Soon after trekking for an hour, we encounter a small village of Micha bearing a small walled enclosure and a number of Buddhist stupas. These stupas were erected at around late 15th century, in the memory of important dignitaries of the region. The trail further leads to rock-strewn path and at last ends at Chala Chaur. .
Cross a Pass
We leave Chala Chaur and follow a trail moving along path of steep stones. While ascending, we cross through birch, pine forests and grassy pass at approx 3500m. From this point Kanjiroba becomes visible in the east with its twin peaks towering over the adjacent area. Further on, we descend as the trail opens into lush forests. After trekking for a couple of hours, we finally stop at a suitable campsite in the meadows nearby some shepherd's huts. .
Trek via Sinja [2440m] to Botan [2600m]
We walk along the Jaljala Khola through pine forests of and terraced farmland. En route the trail passes the 300 year old Kanaksundari Temple. The temple holds immense religious significance for Hindus. The route further bends along the main river. Crossing a thick plank bridge, we finally descend to reach Sinja village. Sinja village rests upon a small alluvial plain on the west bank of the clear Lah Gad River, also called the Sinja Khola. Sinja was once the ancient capital of the Malla kings. There are stones lying along the trail that foretell the history of Malla dynasty. After lunch, we head to Botan. On the way, we pass through a spectacular gorge and finally reach the village of Botan. .
Trek to Rara Park border
Leaving Sinja Khola, we follow the trail along Ghatta Khola amid the unparallel beauty of nature. The sinuous route winds up into terraced farmland and beautiful valley. Soon we find ourselves within the territory of Rara Lake National Park. We come across primitive flour mills and police post on the way. Rara Lake National Park houses unique and rich ecosystem. We can spend half an hour exploring the beauty of the park or simply doing whatever we feel like. We spend the night in Gorosingha..
Trek to Rara Lake [3062m]
We walk away from Gorosingha and ascend to the Ghurchi Mara ridge [3710m] for one and half hour. The trail is not as strenuous as it looks. On reaching the crest of the ridge, we get to experience an excellent panorama to the north, flaunting irresistible beauty and charm. As the trail descends, Rara Lake becomes visible on the northeast. The trail further passes through bamboo and birch forests before crossing the Khatyar Khola. We then follow the river upstream to Rara Lake, where we savor the most fascinating trekking experience amid the beauty of nature. .
Rest days at Rara
We now have 2 days set aside to explore the area, including the old village of Rara. We can also climb up to the wooden observation tower behind the post office for fine views of the lake and surrounding hills. We can even visit the National Park Headquarters. Swimming is allowed in the lake and it is piercingly refreshing. This can be a perfect way for acclimatization. .
Trek via Jhyari [2630m] to River camp
We depart from Rara Lake and continue skirting along the target destination. On crossing a ridge, we enter the village of Jhyari. Strolling by the Jhyari Khola, the trail further follows terraced farmlands. As we approach Dhauligar Khola valley, we find a suitable camp site near the river bank. We also get to witness an exotic charisma of nature and outstanding panorama of snow-capped mountain peaks. .
Across Ghurchi Lagna pass [3450m] to Chautha [2770m]
As Dhauligar Khola blurs out of our trekking route, we pass through farmland and then enter the village of Pina. Pina has a police post and some hotels. We continue climbing to the Ghurchi Lagna Pass and come across several small chortens, alpine-like pastures, walnut groves and a narrow valley. Finally, the steep slope guides us into the village of Chautha where we conclude the trek of the day. .
Trek to Tharamara [3280m]
From Chautha, the trail follows the northern bank of the Sinja Khola past the hotel and health clinic under the massive overhanging rock at Kabra. Silaji found in this area is the source of the important medicinal mineral which is believed to cure almost anything. The route then passes through the villages of Bumra and Nyawre, before climbing to the pasture at Tharamara. .
Trek to Jumla
Following the trail gently sloping upwards, we march towards Jumla. We meet tall birch trees on our way to the Khali Lagna and Danphe Lekh. From atop the ridge, we can have the most spectacular views of the mountain ridges to the south and Jumla below. Further on, we descend steeply to the first night's campsite. Utmost caution is required while trekking along this trail. We then follow the same route back to Jumla. After reaching Jumla, we can spend our afternoon exploring the busy market town or simply pursuing whatever we feel like .
Fly to Kathmandu
We take a flight from Jumla to Nepalgunj. On reaching Nepalgunj, we return to Kathmandu on the next available flight. You can spend the rest of the day shopping and general sightseeing..
Our Nepalese support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. On the other hand, if you prefer to stay longer, you can go for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, mountain biking, etc. – ask us..
TRIP GRADE- Moderate to fairly challenging
This is a long trek that goes right into remotest corner of high mountain country and over high pass. Physically quite tiring, it involves approx 6-8 hours trekking along rocky ridges. No previous experience is required, you should be moderately fit, used to some regular exercise and enjoy walking in the high altitude conditions.
Camping trek (no lodge available)
Includes: Guide, Porters, Cook, All meals and tents
Camping trek means sleeping in tents. On a camping trek, the tents provided are ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped. Foam mattress with insulation underneath is provided for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection to this itinerary, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a special choice. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website.
MEALS & DRINKING WATER
We provide three tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads.
After a long day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetable, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain remarkably high standards of health over many years of trek organization - and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for.
LUGGAGE WHILE TREKKING
During trek your main luggage will be carried by porters. You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket, etc. - a small load that allows full enjoyment of the trek. A trek bag is ideal for your main luggage, plus a small lockable bag for travel clothes or anything that you do not need during trek which you can leave at hotel’s locker room/safe deposit box in Kathmandu for free of charge. Weight allowance at Nepal’s domestic airlines is 15 Kgs, excess weight is chargeable at USD 1 or more per Kilo depending on sectors.
GROUP LEADER AND CREW
We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements:
1) Western leader
2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable)
3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)
The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. On camping trek, there will be 2/3 porters for each members.
JOIN A GROUP OR PRIVATE TRIP
Our trips are available on both fixed departure and private basis. If you are looking for a group to join this trip please check our ‘2015/16 departures’ link for availability, dates and price. If you would like to travel independently, or with your friends, families & colleagues you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient timeframe for any number of people (minimum 1 & maximum 100 at a time).
If you want to do something that is not included in our trip list we are ready to tailor a trip to suit your exact requirements. In short, we will make every effort to get you on the trip you want, when you want.
GROUP SIZE ON FIXED DEPARTURE TRIP
If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies, minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 3 the maximum is 12 people.
On this trek all meals will be provided. You only need money for table drinks (alcoholic/non alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking (a few smaller shops are available along the trail in some areas) tips, souvenirs, hot shower (available in some places).
Tips are appreciated by your support team after the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise you to allocate 5 - 10% of the total tour cost as tips.
FLIGHT AND LAND TRANSFERS
First you fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and then you take another flight from Nepalgunj to Jumla. The starting point of the trek is Jumla. On your return, you shall fly from Jumla to Kathmandu. We will arrange the transportation from your hotel to the airport (Kathmandu).
Note: There is a high probability of cancellation of internal flights in remote areas due to bad weather conditions. Hence, we advise you to keep at least one or two day extra in Kathmandu before your flight home.
While trekking in the remote parts, you may not have an access to telephone facility for some days or weeks. However, en route there may be few places where telephone facilities may be available and likely to be working.
If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, EXPLORE HIMALAYA can provide you a mobile satellite phone (rental charge on request).
TREKKING GEARS & EQUIPMENT
You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sun-screen and day pack.
GEARS AVAILABLE IN KATHMANDU
It's not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu. Explore Himalaya will thoroughly help you to buy or rent trekking gears in the outlets of Thamel, which sell or rent both international and local gears.
TYPICAL DAY ON TREK
Your typical day begins with a hot cup of tea brought to the tent at about 6 am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. After packing all your bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the morning’s walk. All you need to carry is a small day pack containing water bottle, camera, sun cream, hat, rain jacket and a warm jumper, just in case. The porters will carry the rest of your gear for you. After walking for 3-4 hours, we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon’s walk is generally shorter and we arrive at camp in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the nearby villages, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days, we will arrive at camp by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free.
Dinner is usually served between 6 and 7 pm. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and talking with the crew, or perhaps even joining in some singing and dancing, before heading off to the tent for a well-earned sleep.
MEETING AND GREETING IN KATHMANDU
You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass on the Customs and come out of the Terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland.
CLIMATE AND BEST TIME TO GO
The best seasons to trek in the Jumla region are Autumn (from mid-September till November end) and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher everyday. The nights are cold (between -10 C to 5C) but the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 20C). The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. Trekking during the monsoon is not recommended, as the visibility during monsoon is limited. Trekking during the winter is possible; however, it is much colder than Autumn and Spring.
March, April, October and November are the most popular and favored months for traveling. Please choose the time that is convenient for you.
Jumla Rara region being located in rain shadow area it may be possible to trek during monsoon but domestic flights are often disrupted by heavy monsoon cloud and rain.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
The main ethnic group in this region is the Thakuri Chhettri. The Thakuris have been residing in the area for many years. In the north part close to the border of Tibet, there are some Sherpas and Tibetans as well. The people of this region are generally open-hearted and friendly.
In this region, both Hinduism and Buddhism are in practice, however, the Hindus dominate the community composition. Here, people dress up similar to the middle hill-inhabitants of Nepal, the culture is same though.
The local economy of this region is based on agriculture, primarily rice, potatoes, buckwheat, beans, barley and wheat. Jumla is one of the highest rice- growing areas in Nepal.
Depending on the prevailing situation, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary.
You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. Sometimes due to bad weather conditions, the flights may be cancelled. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative depending on circumstances.
We ensure liability as per indicated itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay extra for Hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases.
All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. Visa is also issued at the entry points. It can be extended at the Department of Immigration, Kalikasthan, Kathmandu. Children under 10 years need not pay any visa fee. People willing to get entry Visa at the air port or any of the land entry points are required to fill a visa form with passport photograph. So, please download form from the link below (visa form) and get ready while you are passing through the immigration Point.
Visa application form
Gratis visa for 30 days available only for tourists of SAARC countries
Multiple entry 15 days - US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 30 days - US$ 40 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 90 days - US$ 100 or equivalent convertible currency
Tourist Visa Extension
* Visa extension fee for 15 days or less is US $ 30 or equivalent convertible currency and visa extension fee for more than 15 days is US$ 2 per day
* Tourist visa can be extended for a maximum period of 150 days in a single visa year (January – December).
As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you to consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.
The main health consideration in high altitude is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor and purchase them in Kathmandu. For your safety, we also carry the ‘Portable Altitude Chamber’ or ‘Gamow Bag’. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate.
For your service, we carry a medical kit with standard prescribed medicines along with a users’ manual which you can use upon your own risk. We do not take any medical liability since our staffs are not qualified to prescribe medicines.
If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you consult your doctor about your suitability for trekking in high altitude area before booking. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly be of help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions.
RESCUE / EVACUATIONS
In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we believe will not happen; we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu.
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation.
Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible.
As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have camp fires and use kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far more eco-friendly alternative.
Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strew with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. We carry out all our garbage, apart from that which can be safely and easily burnt at the campsite. Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.
In addition to your trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal and other neighboring countries. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet, India or Bhutan, whichever appeals more to you.
Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) was conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal.
Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agriculture, culture preservation and fund raising. Explore Himalaya encourages its clients to contribute for the development of Nepal.
CARE FOR PORTERS AND STAFF
We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. We are the first ever company to supply high-altitude porters with crampons.
We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG - www.ippg.net).
1) It is fundamental you acknowledge that this is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We can not be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which could be decided upon mutual agreement. If an agreement cannot be made, Explore Himalaya shall only be responsible for refunds after deducting the expenses already incurred.
2) Your booking will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of USD 500 and the signed copy of booking form and contract.
The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.
3) If you cancel, the following scale of charges will apply:
2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 500)
29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost
10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost
Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost
If you still have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours. If you want to book a trip, you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us directly by phone: 977-1-4418100.
Apart from a small organizational difficulty on the way, we had a fantastic trek. The problem was, it was difficult to get a flight from Nepalgunj to Jumla. We had a wonderful guide, Sudan Tamang, and we enjoyed trekking with him very much. As we had lost two days waiting for the flight to Jumla, we had to make it up by walking farther each day. The first day was a bit difficult as it involved a long walk with a lot of climbing, but we managed it fine. From the second day onwards, the trek proved not too difficult.
Apart from a little bit of rain and snow on the first two days of the trek, the weather remained fine. Big blue sky, clear air and sunny during the day and as soon as the sun set it became very cold. Every morning there was frost on the ground. We camped at villages and sometimes in open fields. The scenery was beautiful and the people we met on the way were very friendly and warm. When we camped at a village, the family with whom our porters were staying, invited us to their home. We were offered some local wine chhang. We really enjoyed interacting with them. They were very warm and hospitable. Read trip report on our blog.