Explore the real heart of rural Nepal on this exclusive trip that comes at the invitation of the dZi community village partners. Their region, in the foothills of Everest, is steep, rocky, and difficult to get to but so worth the effort to get to know a side of Nepal that few Westerners ever experience.
After exploring the ancient alleyways and sacred sites of Kathmandu, you set off in jeeps along rugged ‘roads’ to be greeted by an entirely different world – one where tight-knit communities continue to survive through intimate connections to one another and their surroundings. Be amazed by the warm Nepali welcome into their farms, homes and hearths.
Traveling on foot, you will cross high passes with neck-straining views of the Himalayas and descend through forests with flowering rhododendron trees. In the early part of the trail trekkers will sleep in tents and share meals together prepared from fresh local ingredients by expert cooking staff. As you head out of the dZi region into more well-known trails and villages accommodation will switch to local tea houses, hiking big ups and downs through the ethereal Pangom village with its eagles’ perch gompa (monastery), over grassy ridges and wooded spurs onto Lukla, the bustling gateway to the renowned Everest, Khumbu, region made famous by the Everest Base Camp trail. From here it’s a spectacular mountain flight back to Kathmandu.
Exploring Nepal, the dZi Way!
- 15 days / 14 nights including 10 day’s trekking
- Small group, friends of dZi by invitation only
- Super experienced team packed with practical wisdom
- Camping and local lodge accommodation on trek
- Meals, drinking water, mountain gear all included
‘At-a-Glance’ Illustrative Itinerary
DAY 1: Welcome to Kathmandu! You’ll be met at the airport by our transport team and brought to the group hotel. We all meet at the group hotel around 4pm for the trip briefing then move on for drinks and dinner.
DAY 2: After an early breakfast we set off in our jeeps picking our way out of the ancient capital, up over the valley rim for some first views of snowy peaks. Onward and outward we drive along the Sun Kosi river and climb up to the small outpost of Haleshi, famous for the sacred Mahadev cave systems that are believed to have been a hide-out of Lord Shiva and the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche.
Around 7-8 hours driving. Local lodge (BLD)
DAY 3: After an early breakfast you get back into the jeeps for the final section of the drive to the end of the road near Jalpa, where the kitchen crew will be waiting with lunch. From here it’s boots and backpacks on and a gentle, steady ascent up the long ridge (2000m) to the tight-knit community of Rakha. dZi has been working with the community in Rakha for over a decade, and we have many friends here. People here are from the Rai and Brahmin Chhetri ethnic groups – all with distinct languages and cultures. Tents will already be set up and ready, with refreshments and snacks – possibly even a beer or two. This evening we’re privileged to be invited to the homes of our local hosts for a tasty traditional dinner.
DAY 4: Today the local villagers are the hosts and guides showing you around the many, many small scale developments and innovations the partnership with dZi has catalysed and enabled. We will have a chance to explore and get beneath the surface of village life and culture with an openness and trust grown from the many years of working and being together - a rare and precious offer. We hope you’ll find the experience fascinating and enriching. Overnight Camp.
DAY 5: Today you get the chance to relax into the rhythm of hill life. The morning starts with a hearty breakfast and saying farewell to our hosts. The trek is a gentle start and you journey onwards and upwards with a steady, gentle climb up through the rhododendron glades breaking the climb at a small sacred lake. The trek ends today at the village of Bahane where you camp in the grounds of the local Buddhist monastery (gompa) next to the dZi funded school. We’re now in the heart of Sherpa country and this place really is adorable! The kids learn in local language and will be super keen to say ‘TashiDelek!’ to welcome us. Tent overnight (Sleep height - 2900m)
DAY 6: The villagers will give us a behind the scenes look at village life this morning including a visit to the gompa and school, and perhaps a cup of salt and butter tea for those more adventurous! The trail weaves through a magical forest of old-growth rhododendron trees, home to an abundance of bird life and even red pandas. After a packed lunch the trail continues up the ridge to the camp site at GyanKharka. Kharka means ‘meadow’ so expect a beautiful open vista surrounded by ancient walls of carved ‘mani’ stones, blessing us as we walk past. After some tea there is the chance to head up to the summit of this small peak, for stunning views across the entire Eastern Himalaya from Kanchenjunga (3rd highest mountain in the world) to Makalu (also over 8000m)), Chamlang and Gaurishankar. Tent overnight (Sleep height 3500m)
DAY 7: Starting early to catch the clear views today is the last day on the trail and from here it is down, down and down through wild and rugged terrain. The path falls away steeply through the rhododendron glades and pine forest weaving in and out of ancient mani walls in this very spiritual place. A final drop off the ridge line into the charming small town of Dimbul. There’s time to look round the dZi supported school and celebrate a good day out! Tent overnight (Sleep height -2500m).
DAY 8: This is a long day starting with a long descent (approx 1700m) to the Hongu River, crossing the bridge ready for a long steady sustained climb (approx 700m) up the opposite banks. Eventually reaching our high point the trail traverses round through the mountain to the village of Bung, in Kulung Rai territory – the land of honey hunters and shamans! dZi has recently started working with the Bung community so there’s an extra opportunity to find out about their work and the difference they are making there. Tent overnight (Sleep height – 1500m)
DAY 9: Today is another steep uphill start (approx 1500m) though it eases out as the trail tracks back into pine forests and the Sherpa homelands. After lunch there is a chance to visit some more dZi programme areas around the overnight stay point at the small settlement of Kariylung. Here we are starting to enter the word of trekkers and travellers and so there are tea houses to stay in and it will be farewell to the cook crew and some of the porters, who now head back to their families. Local lodge (Sleep height - 3000m).
DAY 10: A shorter day of ups and downs through rhododendron forest, crossing rivers and through the occasional meadow. Shortly after departing the lodge the trail crosses a small pass and drops down to the beautiful Hinku river. An exciting suspension bridge crossing (!!) and a steep climb, takes the trail into anther small Sherpa settlement that is gloriously peaceful with the surrounding mountains. Local lodge.
DAY 11: Another ridge to climb before dropping down into the picturesque village of Pangom. This is a very special place, with an amzing gompa, perched high on the hill and is definitely worth a visit. And if you’re feeling weary a glass of local tongba (fermented millet) will definitely cheer you up! Local lodge (Sleep height – 2670m)
DAY 12: The trek today brings you upon a beautiful high contouring trail that winds its way around and in and out of the mountain sides with great views of Tabuche and Cholatse across the way, finishing in the small town of Piyau on the slightly more popular Jiri-Lukla trekking route. Local lodge
DAY 13: The snowy mountain peaks feel much closer now as the trail rounds into the popular Khumbu region and the start of the Everest trails. Kongde, Thamserku, KusumKungri … the peaks roll on across the nearby Tibet border. The trail finishes in the thriving hillside town of Lukla in time for a celebratory end of trek meal. Local lodge (2850m)
DAY 14: A short flight back to Kathmandu. Check in at our hotel. Free afternoon then dinner at one of the city’s restaurants.
DAY 15: A half day of sightseeing and visit to our partner NGO to find out more about their good work. There’s some time to shop, relax at a spa or explore on your own. A final farewell dinner at Le Sherpa, our acclaimed Lazimpat restaurant.
DAY 16: Departure from Kathmandu. We transfer you to the international airport.