To the east of Everest, the area between Kangchenjunga and Makalu contains the two most important conservation areas in the Nepal Himalya, home to an amazing variety of birds and to the endangered red panda and snow leopard. Very few trekkers visit this area which is also populated by several of Nepal’s ethnic groups including Limbu, Sherpa (Bhotia), Rai, Gurung, Magar, Newar and Tamang peoples. This is a simply superb trek from Kangchenjunga across to to Makalu, following part of the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) and crossing several high and remote passes.
Throughout the trek there is a tremendous variety of spectacular scenery. After a short flight to Bhadrapur on the plains of the Terai we drive through Himalayan foothills to Taplejung. Here, we begin trekking through a landscape of deep folded river valleys containing sub tropical forests and hillsides dotted with small villages and emerald lines of rice terracing. Gaining height, we progress through zones of barley and forests of rhododendron, juniper and pines to enter an alpine world of rough yak pastures where we are surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Himalaya. After spending a day at the otherworldly settlement of Olangchung Gola, we cross the Lumba Sumba Himal, the watershed between the Tamur and Arun river valleys, with sensational mountain views from the several high passes which have to be negotiated. We end the trek with a gradual descent of the Arun Valley, returning to warmer climes and an agricultural landscape. Finally, from Tumlingtar, we fly back to Kathmandu. This is an uplifting trek, perfect for those who wonder what trekking in Nepal was like 30 years ago.