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Trek report one–The Arun Valley Trek

Planning

Most of the “Bones” of the trek were put together before leaving UK, using the same agent that I have used for all my treks in Nepal (Now 9 over the last 18 years)

The trek starts at Tumlingtar & usually people fly there, but I really wanted to travel overland (In Comfort) so to be able to see some of Nepal that I hadn’t yet visited. Nirmal found the solution, an almost new Toyota Landcruiser, this took us as far as Hille where we spent the night in a nice hotel, then continued to Tumlingtar the next day in a Landrover.
Nirmal also organised our trekking staff, there were 4 trekkers in our group so the staff comprised One “Guide/Cook” who also carried around 10k of supplementary food (Tinned Tuna and Sardines, Dried meat, salami, Papad, noodles, cheese, muesli, peanut butter, tang, salt & sweet biscuits etc) and 2 porter/guides
Please Click Here to see the accommodation that we chose in Hille
Please Click Here to see the accommodation that we chose in Tumlingtar

The Arun Valley Trek
Day 1 – Tumlingtar (Aprox 450m) to Marduna (Aprox 1200m)– Leaving Tumlingtar on a little used dirt track (We met one tractor in 2 hours trekking) we followed the Arun River north, crossing it on a long suspension bridge at Balwa Besi which was our lunch stop (Simple accommodation also available). Then we started quite a long climb through forest to our overnight destination at Marduna. The Lodge was called the Sagarmatha” It was a recommended lodge (Internet) but was a little run down – Never-the-les it served its purpose and was run by a nice old man and his granddaughter
Walking time, Aprox 6 hours
Please Click Here to see the days Video Diary

Day 2 – Marduna to Dobani (975m)
First of all we continued uphill until we crested the ridge near Charlissay & then it was down until we reached the Chikhuwa Khola (Tributary to the run river) which we followed to our overnight destination of Dobani. Our lunch stop was Ghote Bazaar (Simple accommodation also available. Our lodge in Dobani (Nepali for where river divides) was unnamed and set high above the river, simple but adequate.
Walking time, Aprox 5 hours
Please Click Here to see the days Video Diary

Day 3 Dobani to Salpa Phedi (17000m)(Phedi in Nepali means bottom of hill / below pass)
This day is all uphill, undulating up at first to Tallophedi (Very bottom of hill) – This was our lunch stop & again simple accommodation is available here. Then more uphill to Salpa Phedi. The teahouse in Salpa Phedi was the best yet, “Irkhowa”, they have one very nice room with 3 beds designed for trekkers & vacate one family room when necessary to accommodate more trekkers
Walking time, Aprox 4 hours
Please Click Here to see the days Video Diary

Day 4 Salpa Phedi to Guranse (2920m)
This is quite a tough day, Uphill all day mainly on stone steps so an early start is a good idea so you get at least so far up before the sun gets too hot. There are a few small villages en-route so plenty of opportunities for tea and lunch. Jara Bari also has simple accommodation available. Guranse is just a cluster of shacks, there was a new teahouse just before the start of the village but it wasn’t really finished & only had 2 beds so we made our way up to the village proper where there is another very simple teahouse, only one room with about 8 beds, very draughty but at least a bed for the night.
Walking time, Aprox 5 hours
Please Click Here to see the days Video Diary

Day 5 Guranse to Sanam (2650m)
From Guranse is not so far to the top of Salpa La pass (3350m) & then downhill through forest, at first on stone steps, then slowly levelling out at Dhaka (Also known as Orkobug) where there is a teahouse for lunch, but no accommodation currently available , from here it is undulating and then slightly up to Sanam where there is an excellent lodge just to the left of the Gompa (Lodge owner also has the key of the Gompa which is worth visiting) The lodge is un-named and has several nice rooms overlooking the valley, This was also where we met our first other trekkers, two Americans coming the other way.
Walking time, Aprox 5 hours
Please Click Here to see the days Video Diary

Day 6 Sanam to Bung (1700m)
Great days trekking - Downhill at first to Guidel (Lunch stop, simple accommodation also available) then steeply downhill to cross Hongu Khola & then up a little and through terraces into Bung. Bung is a Rai large village - Bung in Rai means “Beautiful Flower)
Simple lodges in the centre of the village called “Pumori Lodge” – Two rooms with two beds so we take them both, simple but adequate.
Bung is also the point that you are officially supposed to pay the Makalu National Park entry fee – My own personal views are that as The Arun Valley route only passes through the very edge of The Makalu National Park then if no one directly asks for the permit then why pay – As no one directly asked us, we didn’t pay – Whether other trekkers choose to pay is entirely their own affair but purely for info this fee can either be paid in Bung or in advance in Kathmandu
We were also fortunate enough to be there the same day as the local market, so as we had arrived reasonably early we had the opportunity to have a look around and all of us found it very interesting seeing the local people going about their shopping
Walking time, Aprox 5 hours
Please Click Here to see the days Video Diary

Day 7 Bung to Boskam Gompa (Also known as Karauni Gompa) Aprox 2500m
Very short days trekking (Only ½ day as we arrive at 11.30) but all uphill – Steep at first then more gently – There was a government school en-route so I stopped here to leave some school supplies that I had brought with me as a gift, I gave these to the head teacher who was very pleased and introduced me to the rest of his teaching staff)
The lodge at Boskam Gompa is very good if a little expensive in Nepali terms compared to the previous ones that we had stayed – But it is very nice. The actual Gompa is only a few metres away so we visited and chatted to a man from Bhutan who was painting the images of the Gods – He was very skilled, in fact his next job was going to be in southern India so he was certainly in great demand !!
Walking time, Aprox 3 ½ hours
Please Click Here to see the days Video Diary

Day 8 Boskam Gompa to a small lodge next to The Imhuku Khola (1850m)
Another excellent days trekking, steeply up at first to the stupa overlooking the Gompa, then more gently for a while to a cluster of teahouses where the route splits, we took the left turn and this was again steep up to the summit of Surkie La (3085m)
From the summit the route goes down some Very steep vertigo inducing stone steps, then eventually levels out a little as we lost height, then levelling out as we approached Najindingma where simple teahouse accommodation is also available. I found the people here very hard and took a bit of a dislike to the place, this partly because we were charged 750NPR for a large pot of black tea – That’s more than I would expect to pay at Gorak Shep !! So we kept on trekking steeply downhill to the Imhuku Khola which we crossed on a long and impressive suspension bridge. Just after this bridge is a small simple teahouse/lodge where we stayed – Tragedy had struck this lodge 6 weeks earlier when the lodge owners wife had died in childbirth leaving him with a 6 week old daughter to look after on his own, he seemed to be coping surprisingly well but the grief of losing his wife was still fresh – So it had been a good decision to continue there as the money we spent would be very useful to him – We also considerably rounded our bill up so as to help as much as we could.
Walking time, Aprox 6 hours
Please Click Here to see the days Video Diary

Day 9 Lodge next to The Imhuku Khola to Pangom (2850m)
Yet another wonderful days trekking, very steeply up at first, narrow path through forest but sometime exposed so some care is needed, the trail then levels off and widens and we soon arrived in Shibuche (lunch stop where simple accommodation is also available)
From Shibuche the route is again steep for a while then levels off a little before reaching the summit of Pangkoma La (3173m) then it’s a fairly short walk down to Pangom where we chose “The Himalayan Trekkers Lodge”, a superb lodge offering all facilities, nice dining room with fire, good food from the first menu we saw on the trek and bucket shower available.
Walking time, Aprox 5 hours
Please Click Here to see the days Video Diary

Day 10 Pangom to Paiya (2730m) (This is where the Arun Valley route joins the route from Jiri)
Final days trekking before joining the main route from Jiri – Also crossing the final La of the Arun valley trek. Downhill at first & then up and over Kari La (3145m) – There is a small teahouse on the top of the pass where we took lunch – Then downhill, quite steeply in the end to where the Arun Valley path joins the route from Jiri just before Paiya.
Paiya is a nice village overlooking a small tributary of the Dhud Kosi. We chose “The Beehive Lodge” which can only be described as delightful – Here I took my first proper hot shower since leaving Kathmandu (100NPR and worth every rupee) – OK – I Really needed it ;-)
Please Click Here to see the days Video Diary

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jul 17, 2012
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Comments (2)

  • Jun 23, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    Rob - Thanks for all of the excellent information you have posted. It has been a huge help planning our trip.

    For the Arun Valley trek which guidebook did you use.?
    Thanks!

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Jun 23, 2013 at 7:36 AM

      No Problem – Pleased to be of help
      I was unable to find a decent guidebook on The Arun Valley (Although it is mentioned in “Trekking in Nepal” by Stephen Bezruchka, my trekking bible)
      So most of the pre-trek info I managed to obtain was gleaned from the net and backed up by Nirmal’s senior trekking guide, Suba.
      Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking in Nepal
      Rob

    • Jun 23, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      Great! Thanks for your help.

  • LadakhCynthia's Profile Photo
    Feb 19, 2013 at 5:08 AM

    Rob - Thanks for a great trip summary. The details are really important to help me avoid mistakes in going out to areas like this where most VT folks don't tread. I've copied it and will take it with me.

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Feb 19, 2013 at 5:14 AM

      Pleased that you found this trek report useful and if you need any more info then feel free to drop me a line and I will do my best to answer – When are you heading to Nepal ? – I will be back there myself in 2 weeks and can hardly wait :-)

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