GHT Rolwaling Section, Lower Trail
At this section of the GHT you completely leave the tourist trail behind and you hardly find any lodges. You pass through beautiful lush forests, with lots of birds, which makes this section interesting for bird watchers as well. The villages, which have hardly seen any tourists, offer an interesting mix of Buddhist and Hindu cultures. The Himalayas are in view as well and you have especially great views of the Gaurishankar (7135 m). The easy access from Kathmandu is an extra advantage of this section.
Teahouse/homestay/Camping (it is recommended to take a tent)
- Day 1 Kathmandu- Jiri (1930 m) Jiri is a busy market town, with lots of shops and guesthouses. The journey from Kathmandu takes about 7 hours (by bus).
- Day 2 Jiri (1930 m) - Putchar Kharka (2341 m ) via pass at 2736 m 7 hrs Today you leave the tourist trail behind. So no more lodges on the way, only few local restaurants and even fewer local guesthouses. In the villages you can inform where you can stay for the night. A tent is recommended.The day starts with a long climb. At first in the open, but at around 2600 m you enter a rhododendron and pine forests. About 2 ½ hours after leaving Jiri, you reach at the pass (2736 m; no name). You go down through a beautiful trail in the forest, with lots of birds. After an hour you reach at a suspension bridge crossing the Jhyaku Khola (River) and shortly after the village of Sherakapti (2411 m). The village is inhabited by Jirel people, a kind of Sherpa people that live around Jiri. There is one small teashop, where you can stop for lunch (it is recommended to bring your own lunch pack).From Sherakapti you take the trail behind the gomba/monastery (Jhyanku Dolakha Gomba) going up the hill. At the resting places (which are everywhere in Nepal along the trails), you find beautiful and colorful Buddhist paintings. You are walking alternately in a beautiful forest with lots of birds singing, and agricultural fields. You cross the small settlement of Basa (2530 m). From here a trail is going down through the forest to the river, the Kakchapa Khola (2154 m), which you cross stone hopping.The trail goes up again through the forest. After half an hour, you reach a field with a house, where you can ask if they can provide accommodation. Although there are no other houses in sight, the place does have a name: Putchar Kharka (2341 m). It’s a beautiful spot, with a splendid view to the hills around and snowcapped Himalaya, including the impressive Gaurishankar (7135 m).
- Day 3 Putchar Kharka (2341 m )-Laduk (1790 m) 5 ½ hrs Putchar Kharka is the highest point of the trail, from here it descends again for about ½ hr through the forest to another river, the Kaichapa Khola (2020 m). After crossing the small wooden bridge, the trail climbs gradually to the small and spread out village of Suri (2144 m).From Suri, you have to go all the way down to Bare (1005 m) at the Tama Koshi Nadi River. The trail leads through the countryside at first, passing the small settlement of Tileghu/Tingekhu (1607 m), and later through pine forest. Barle is a small bazaar town at the shore of the beautiful, emerald green Tama Koshi Nada. There are a few local restaurants where you can eat dahl bath.After Barle you have to climb steeply again, at first walking through agricultural terraces. The trail enters the forest and climbs up steeply for about 1 ½ hours, till you reach the spread out village of Laduk (at start 1557 m). You arrive at a dirt road, which you follow, slowly going up. Laduk is a charming village, with beautiful white with terracotta color houses. Both Hindu Chhetri and Newari and Buddhist Tamang live here. There are a few local guesthouses and homestays; ask around in the village where you can stay for the night.
- Day 4 Laduk (1790 m)-Bigu Gompa (2500 m) 8 hrs This is quite a tough day, in which you cover 20,5 km, and with a hard climb from 1650 m to Bigu Gompa at 2500 m at the end. However you can break the day into 2 parts and stay overnight in Chilanka (1866 m), where you can find a community lodge from Eco Himal with a campsite (developed by the Austrian Development Co-operation; for more info see: http://www.ecohimal.org) . The trail goes through agricultural terraces which change into forest, climbing slowly in northern direction, following the river which is (very) far below you. After a bit over an hour you arrive at the highest point (1912 m), after which the trail becomes more of less Nepali Flat (flat with ups and downs). You pass 2 stupas and the small settlement of Soysan (1912 m). The trail goes down, leading to a small river, (1872 m), and up again, going through a rough landscape with bushes and rocks, with the river at your left far below you. At the horizon you can see the snowcapped Himalaya. You arrive at a dirt road which brings you into Chilankha (1866 m). There is a small restaurant here, which makes this a good lunch stop. From here you can already see the school from Loting, which you have to pass and, high on the slope, Bigu Gompa.You keep on following the main road to the school of Loting (1770 m; 1 hr). Just after the school, there is a path that goes left of the road. The path passes an Eco Himal Community lodge with a campsite.From Loting it takes about 1 hour to the Singati Khola (River). There are a few points where you can cross the river (in Feb 2012 over a bit scary, small bridge; 1650 m). From here the long climb to Bigu Gompa (2500 m; 2 ½ hr) starts. You pass the beautiful spread out village of Alampu (1870-1950 m), where Thami people live. On the way you pass several stupa’s and mani walls.Bigu Gompa is a small village, with a beautiful Buddhist monastery which in fact is a nunnery. Every morning around 6 am they have a puja (prayer ceremony) of about 1 ½ hours which you can attend.In Bigu Gompa there is another community lodge of Eco Himal, with 2 so called rooms and a dormitory, but in fact all are dormitories. You can camp here as well.
- Day 5 Bigu Gompa (2505 m)-Durumthali (1970 m) via Tinsang La (3310 m) 9 hrs Today is again a long stretch, crossing the Tinsang La (3310 m) and covering a distance of 20 km. You can choose to stay overnight in Dolangsa (2598 m), about 2 hours before Durumthali. There is another Eco Himal Community Lodge here.From Bigu Gompa the trail is going up through the forest at first, but soon starts to descend and brings you in about 1 hour to a wooden bridge (2282 m). You arrive at a dirtroad, which you follow going up (you pass a small lodge). The road goes all the way to the pass, but there are many shortcuts which takes you away from the road completely. Climbing up, you see the landscape changing around you, from bamboo forests to a more grassy and rocky landscape, changing into rhododendron and pine forests. Besides, when you get higher you suddenly get stunning views over the Himalayas, including the Gaurishankar (7135 m), Mount Chekigo (6257 m), and Mount Bamongo (6400 m).From the bridge and lodge, it takes about 3 hours to a spot with 2 restaurants just before the Tinsang La (3260 m), from where it takes about 15 minutes more to the Tinsang La (3310 m). The trees are blocking the view to the Himalaya a bit, but you do have a splendid view over the new valley you are entering.After about 1 ½ hours you reach a few small huts with yak pastures, from which it is another half hour to the village of Dolangsa (2600 m). You can find a community lodge of Eco Himal here, with camping facilities. In the village is a gompa which you can visit.The trail goes further down past the gompa, going through agricultural fields, and passing the village of Photeng (2360 m; 3 hrs from the pass), from which it is about 45 minutes to the small village of Durumthali (1969 m). Durumthali has 1 lodge, from which every morning a bus leaves to Barabise, from where you can go to Kathmandu, so you can choose to stop your walk here.
- Day 6 Durumthali (1970 m)-Barabise (870 m ) 3 hrs It takes you about 3 hours easy walking to Barabise. The last hour is quite steep down.From Durumthali you follow the dirt road, which leads you in about 45 min to the village of to Khartali (1798 m). A small trail going down, leads in 5-10 min to the Khartali Eco Himal community lodge (1687 m), which, as the other Eco Himal lodges, has a few dormitories and place to camp.Follow the trail in front of the lodge. You arrive back at the road, which you keep on following. After about an hour you reach the small village of Okreni/Chematang (1380 m). From here stairs lead you in 1 hr all the way down to Barabise (870 m).Barabise is a bustling bazaar town, which has a couple of basic hotels and restaurants. From here it is 78 km to Kathmandu, which takes about 3-4 hours by bus.