Helambu Trek

Helambu Trek is the perfect trekking option to those who have minimal time in the Himalayas. In spite of being close to the urban Kathmandu, Helambu has been able to retain its natural beauty. Helambu region of highland villages begins at the Lauribina La Pass and descends to the Melamchi valley. The trek provides one the opportunity to immerse in the local customs and traditions while experiencing the real wilderness. Helambu Trek is considered one of the best cultural journeys comprising of mind-blowing vistas of majestic Himalayas. Since the trek requires little experience and the trails are smooth ranging from 800 meters to 3600 meters, it has been the ultimate trek route for beginners. This very same reason creates a further advantage for the trek, which is that other trekkers sparsely populate the trek route.

The lush green vegetation supported by grand monasteries makes Helambu Trek further enthralling experience. You will get to know about the way of life in the Himalayan Region and their old and deep relationship with such extreme nature of their surroundings. The trek beginning at Sundarijal takes you to Chisopani, Hyolmo, Tharepati, and Tarke Gyang etc. The trail ends at Melamchi Bazaar. The maximum height you will have reached by the time you finish your trek is approximately 3650 meters. 

Highlights of Helambu Trek 

⇒ Rich in culture, Helambu offers a beautiful natural flora and fauna in the Langtang National Park of Nepal. 

One of the closest National Park from the capital which runs through a lap of the Himalayas Offers splendid views of the snow-capped Mountain. 

⇒ Tamang Village and Buddhist culture can be observed in their daily life. 

⇒ Easy access to a local transportation and private jeep to the trailhead. 

⇒ Easy and short hike, compear to another hiking trail in Nepal. It only required one week time.
 
⇒ The highest point "Tharepati" is only at 3,600m and starts from Kathmandu at 1,300m.  On average each day you will gain 300-400 m of altitude and 6-7 hours of hike. 

Where to start 

Helambu trek makes a mini loop and follows the circuit trails.  The ideal trek begins from Kathmandu and ends in Kathmandu. The first leg of your journey to the trailhead starts from Sundarijal, which is about 30 km from the tourist town. The easiest way to get there is via Private car or a local bus. And then you will hike to Chisapani. 

Read more: How to reach Sundarijal from Kathmandu. 

End of the trail: Melamchi is where you will end this trek. After making a loop following a circuit trail, you will connect Melamchi on your last day. Similarly, there is a regular local bus to Kathmandu leaves every hour. An alternatively If you wish to rent a private jeep is also available. 

How Difficult is Helambu Trek 

It is a moderate hike in Nepal, rates 10 out of 6 difficulty grade. It is not a high altitude trek means higher chances you will be safe from the mountain sickness. However, the trek requires a lot of up and downhill. On average you need to hike 6-7 hours gaining 300-400m on an average elevation daily. For someone with no prior high altitude experience but a high level of fitness could complete this trek without any issue. 

Permit and Documentation 

Before starting an actual hike, you have to make sure you hold the right permits. Helambu Trek requires Three different types of permit.  The first one is from Langtang National Park, and the other one is a TIMS card. Since you also pass through Shivapuri National Park, You have to make sure you will have all those permits. National Park ticket could be collected at the entry point of each national park. However, you have to issue TIMS card in Kathmandu before departure. For individual hikers, you have to file your permit by yourself from the Tourism Department of Nepal. If you are trekking alone, please make sure you will bring all of the permits as required below. On your way to the permit office, please make sure you have at least two copies of a photo ID. You are also required to fill out the form. You can either download in advance or just walk in and fill out. It is available in the tourism office. Here is the total cost breakdown for the permits. 

Langtang National Park - USD 27-28 per person 
Shivapuri National Park - USD 10 per person 
Independent TIMS Card - USD 10 per person 
Group join TIMS Card - USD 20 per person 

Best Time 

Autumn and Spring is the best time for a hike in Nepal. It is common practice to wait for the right window if you are especially travelling to the high altitude trek or If the trek involves a local flight to the trailhead.  However, Helambu trek is not part of any of those. Weather is only mattered here if the sky is clear or not? Or is it going to be rainy or snowfall?   If you are travelling to Nepal during the busy month but looking forward to avoiding the crowds, then Helambu Trek is a perfect choice. It's because Helambu trek is of the off the beaten trail in Nepal. You can trek Helambu any time of the year. But here is the best time by month and season so you can make up your mind based on your holiday. 

Food and Accommodation 

You don't have to camp in Helambu Trek, and the necessary accommodation in the tea house is available throughout the trek.  Tourist standard continental menu available in the tea houses and you will eat where you sleep. The accommodations are basic shared toilet and hot water also accessible in some camp. However, you may need to pack toiletries but also available to purchase in the camp. 

 What to Bring 

Have you experienced hiking or trekking before this trip? If yes, our list below may give you a headstart on what to prepare for the trek.  These are simple lists and assuming you are not going for the high-altitude trek or on an Everest expedition! It is just a rough idea we wanted to provide for Helambu Trek, but you might have your own list depending on what you feel would be a necessity item for you.  

⇒ 2 -3 pairs of light trousers (including what you plan to wear on the first day)  
⇒ 1 pair of sports shoes in good condition (better to have a hiking or trekking shoes)
⇒ 2 -3 light shirts if the weather is warm (including what you plan to wear on the first day).  During wintertime, we also recommend bringing some warm clothing.
⇒ 1 jacket (preferably windproof and waterproof)
⇒ few pairs of trekking socks
⇒ sunglass
⇒ sunblock
⇒ lightweight backpack
⇒ water bottle
⇒ headlamp
⇒ trekking pole (If you are used to with)
⇒ hat or cap
⇒ light snacks 

Can I trek on my own without a guide?

 While it is recommended to trek with a local guide, who knows the trail but by law it is not compulsory that you should take a guide in this region. You can trek independently as well. In my opinion, trekking on this route, alone or without a guide might be difficult compared to trekking alone in the Everest or Annapurna.  It is not entirely impossible to trek on your own as long as you prepare in advance, know the route, etc.  If you have experiences of trekking alone, then we would highly recommend studying the map very well. It might be challenging to be on your own because of these reasons: 
 
⇒ Multiple trails are leading to your destination through the local village.
⇒ The hiking routes is comparatively narrow, and there are many small subdivided trails.
⇒ It is not a busy trail, meaning, there are not a lot of trekkers along the way to ask for directions or to follow.  There are also not a lot of local people.
⇒ Most of the time, you should expect to walk alone and inside some jungle.

Itinerary 

You can combine this trek with Langtang Gosaikunda or some other trek. But it requires more time. However, if you follow six days, Helambu Trek here is the Itinerary. 

Day 01: Kathmandu to Chisapani (6-7 hour) 2,300m 
Day 02: Chisapani to Kutumsang (5-6 hour) 2,400m
Day 03: Kutumsang to Tharepati (7-8 hour) 3,600m 
Day 04: Tharepati to Tarke Ghyang (6-7 hour) 2,740m 
Day 05: Tarke Ghyang to Sermanthang (5-6 hour) 2,620m
Day 06 Sermanthang to Melamchi and Kathmandu 

How much is the actual cost for this trip?

 This trip is way cheaper than you think.  The cost will depend on which company and what is included in the package you would take.  If you have been searching for a similar trip around in different website.  However, if you choose international third-party travel agent companies, then they are relatively more expensive than a local trekking agency in Nepal.
 
To give you an idea, if you book directly through a local company, Or with us your cost will probably be between USD 400 and USD 450 for the six days trip including transportation, permit, guide, food and accommodation etc. (contact us).  There are no such things in Mountain like a superior hotel or low categories hotel, etc. Everyone would share the same toilet, eat the same food as they served. 

About Rajendra Khanal (Raj)

Rajendra Khanal (Raj) Born and raised in Gorkha, Nepal, I am proud to call the Manaslu region my home! I have been in the travel business for over a decade from being assistance guide to being a guide/leader to being a manager and finally a founder of NEST Adventure. So you could say, I know my way well enough in the Himalayas especially in some of the off-the-beaten trails in Nepal like Manaslu, Kanchenjunga or Mustang

I am passionate about travelling and I strongly believe that seeing the world shouldn't break the bank (at least not too much!).  I have backpacked to over 15 countries in Asia, Central Americas USA and Canada, one-third of Europe, Caribbean Island and  Latin America.

I studied in the UK and moved to the United States. During that period, I had an opportunity working with multinational companies which taught me, how to deliver quality customer service in the business? As a world travelling backpacker myself, and travel expert of Nepal Himalayas, I started writing about my own country.  Incase, If you required free information about Nepal, please do not hesitate to visit my office in Thamel. We are located in the centre of Kathmandu Thamel. I am happy to share a cup of Nepali tea and free information.  Our team at NEST has earned 5/5 star ratings on TripAdvisor from about 200 satisfied customers. Don't forget to visit our customer feedback page on TripAdvisor.
If you believe our expert team can be helpful in planning your next trip to Nepal, then please do not hesitate to contact me. at nestadventure@gmail.com. I am also available 24x7 on WhatsApp  +977- 9851052042. If you are interested to know more about my travel journey follow me on  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  
 
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