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Trek Kharta Valley & Everest Khangsung Face

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  • Jyatha, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal

Overview

Kharta Valley Trek leads you to the rarely visited eastern face of Mount Everest (also known as Khangsung face).  A visit to the famous North Base Camp of Everest is another highlight of this trip. This fascinating trek requires some stamina but it is amazing. The valleys and ridges below the snowline are richly covered with grasses and thick vegetation nurtured by the monsoon rains that manage to sneak behind these mountains.

The valley of Khangsung allures the trekkers with its grassland and an enchanting bosom of flowers. The Khangsung Valley trek is lead through the Langma La Pass at an altitude of 5320m—the highest pass on the way. The trail passes through alpine meadows, forests filled with wildflowers, glaciated valleys, high mountain passes, traditional Tibetan villages, ancient monasteries, rich barley fields, picturesque yak pastures, Tibetan nomadic land, emerald green lakes and so many other captivating sights, beautiful Himalayan scenery Mt. Makalu , Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse Mt. Shishapangma, Mt.Cho Oyu, Mt. Kanchenjunga Pethangtse, Menlungtse, Gauri Shankar etc.


Trip highlights

  • Tour of Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse
  • The highest spot on the trek, the majestic Langma La at 5332m
  • Trek through the Kharta Valley amidst views of Everest (8,848m), Lhotse (8,501m), Lhotse (8,382m) and Makalu (8,463m)
  • Approach Kangshung Base Camp over Shao La at 4,915m
  • Cross Shao La Pass (4915m) and Langma La Pass (5, 300m)
  • Visit Rongbuk Monastery
  • Approach Everest North Face Base Camp

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Lhasa (3660m.)

Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa from Kathmandu, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian or any nearby hub. Airplane will land at Lhasa Gonggar Airport (96km from the main city). If the weather is clear there are wonderful views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and other peaks en route. Upon arrival, you will be received by our Tibetan guide at the airport. Then transfer to Lhasa. After checking in at your hotel, you are advised to take rest. Drink plenty of fluids and let your body get used to Lhasa’s high altitude.

Day 02: Sightseeing in Lhasa (3660m.)

This day you visit Potala Palace, Sera Monastery and Norbulinka. One of the highlights is the visit to the symbol of Tibet; the Potala Palace set high on Red Hill, the winter home of the Dalai Lama until 1959. The most sacred temple in Lhasa is the Lokhang, where people come from all over Tibet to visit and pray in this spiritual heart of the country. It was used as a military kitchen during the Cultural Revolution but has now been beautifully restored, with many priceless thangkas and statues adorning the chapels, and magnificent gilded roofs.

In the afternoon visit Sera monastery, which was created in 1419, has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. Another great treasure is the Norbulingka – the old summer palace of the Dalai Lama.

Day 03: Sightseeing in Lhasa (3660m.)

This day you are programmed to visit Drepung Monastery, Jorkhang Temple and Barkhor Street. This day you are programmed to visit Drepung monastery, one of the great monasteries of the Gelukpa (yellow hat) sect, just outside Lhasa. There is time to explore Lhasa on your own, perhaps visiting the Tibetan Medical College or the Ramoche temple (one of the oldest religious buildings in Tibet).

In the evening you visit Jorkhang temple, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers where innumerable pilgrims come for worship everyday. The temple, built in 647, is the earliest wood-and-masonry structure still existing in Tibet. Surrounding the Jorkhang Temple is the bustling Barkhor Market place which is the religious and social focus of Lhasa. Around the Barkhor there are numerous stalls selling all sorts of handicrafts: brightly colored boots and fur-lined hats, silver and turquoise jewelry, rosaries, prayer flags and charms, as well as beautiful Tibetan carpets and all manner of ordinary household ware.

Day 04: Drive from Lhasa - Gyantse (3950m.)

In the morning, drive from Lhasa to Gyantse .On the way, drive over the Gampala pass (4790 m), and you will have a glimpse of Yamdrok-tso (4400m) .The Lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and in the distance you can have spectacular views of Holy Mount Nyenchen Khangsar, (7191m) the highest mountain near Lhasa .

Later, we will pass and enjoy the Korola Glacier on the roadside; At Manak Dam Lake, you can hang pray flag at Simila Mountain Pass; then, we will arrive in Gyantse, historically Tibet's third largest city (after Lhasa and Shigatse). In Gyantse, we will visit the famous Pelkor Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum and enjoy the Far view of Gyangtse Fortress.

Day 05: Drive from Gyantse - Shigatse (3900m.)

Drive to Shigase, visit Tashilampo Monastery in Shigatse. Tashilumpo Monastery is the seat of successive Panchen Lamas, also one of the six Gelug monasteries. Founded by the First Dalai Lama in 1447, its name means "all fortune and happiness gathered here" or "heap of glory" in Tibetan. Covering an area of nearly 150,000 square meters, the monastery has more than 57 halls and 3600 rooms. Among them, the Coqen Hall can hold 2000 people chanting at the same time. Featuring an interesting sprawling amalgam of traditional Tibetan monastic style, those halls, chapels and other structures are connected by precipitous steps and narrow cobblestone alleys. The interplay between the golden roofs and the white, red and black exterior walls creates a striking composition.

Day 06: Drive from Shigatse to Shegar (4050m.)

Today you will traverse along the Friendship Highway amidst picturesque landscape driving past small town of Lhatse and Gyamtso La pass at 5220m. As the route opens into plains, many monasteries and camps of nomadic herders become visible en route to Shegar.

Day 07: Drive to Kharta Valley (3690m.) via Pangla Pass (5150m.)

10 kilometers after the town of Shegar, you divert from the main highway and drive south towards the Everest region. From the top of Pang La (5150 meters) you gain views of Everest and the lie of the surrounding country. From the pass you descend to the village of Phadhruchi where the jeep track divides - the track to the west heading to the Rongbuk Valley - the one to the east leading to the (Phung Chu) Arun Valley and the village of Kharta - the administrative headquarters of the region.

Day 08: Acclimatization at Kharta

You can utilize this day for thorough acclimatization. This will prepare you mentally and physically for the real trekking adventure that lies ahead.

Day 09: Trek to Lhundrubling (3990m.)

As you head away from Kharta Valley, you will find a bridge over Lang Chu. On crossing this bridge the trail progresses towards north bank of crystal-clear Kharta Chu westward. Transversing past barley fields, you have to follow the upper trail that ascends to Shao La. Few kilometers ahead the trail opens into Lundrubling.

Day 10: Cross Shao La (4970m.) and trek to Kaamo Tsangpo Valley

Starting early, you have to head along the trail past Shao La Pass at 4,970 metres amid stunning views of Mount Everest [8,848 metres], Makalu [8,475 metres] and Lhotse [8,501 metres]. The trail steeply descends along picturesque yak pastures leading to the KaamoTsangpo Valley (4000m.).

Day 11: Trek to Khangsung Valley (4300m.)

The trail skirts away from KaamoTsangpo Valley through conifer forest and ascends steeply to 300 to 400 meter altitude. Herein, you can savor majestic view of Arun valley and Nepal. Alpine ridges can be viewed along the trail. Yak herders from Kharta village choose these ridges as their summer camps. The trail then ascends crossing emerald green lakes. Along the route, you can view the Kangshung Face of Everest. Camping at lush meadows of Khangsung valley provides an exceptional experience.

Day 12: Trek to Pethang Ringmo (4960m.)

Sacred lake lies to the north from your camp. If you think you can deal with moraines and landslides, then you can right away begin trekking along the trail to this lake for 40 minutes. A sacred cave most popularly renowned as a meditation place of Padmasambhava, the lotus-born Buddha, rests at the end of the lake. This cave has prayer rooms and shelters pilgrims. Few kilometers ahead you will approach a bend, known as Orga, beyond the Kangshung Glacier and at this spot Mt Everest [8848 m] becomes distinctly visible. Then you have to transverse to the right ascending to a 150m ridge that overlooks the Karma River and glacier. 3 hours of trekking will take you to Kangshung Face base camp at 5000m. After few rock-strewn descents, you will enter picturesque alpine camp of Pethang Ringmo at 4,550 metres beneath the impressive peak of Chomo Lonzo [7,790 metres] and Makalu. You may even trek westwards along the glacier to a 5950m ridge. You need to trek along another 5km to reach up to Mt Everest.

Day 13: Trek from Pethang Ringmo to Hoppo (4800m.)

While heading away from PethangRingmo towards Hoppo, the trail crosses lush verdant meadows and then follows several ascents. Thereafter, Kangshung Face of Everest zooms into picture showcasing towering Chomo Lonzo with its glistening glaciers. Few hours of more trekking bring you close to Hoppo at 4800 metres. Hoppo lies surrounded by rich yak pastures. It makes a perfect campsite.

Day 14: Trek to Khangshung Base Camp

Kangshung Base Camp lies few kilometers away from Hoppo at an elevation of 5050 meters. En route, you ascend grass-strewn ridges along magnificent Kangshung Glacier. While journeying along this trail, you will not only get enlightened on the topological features of the surrounding places but will also bond with the nature on spiritual level. Along the way you get plenty of opportunity to witness North East Ridge of Everest.

Day 15: Trek to Base of Langma La

On this day you trek along the trail that leads to a valley from Pathang Ringmo and then skirts northwards to Langma La pass. Savoring the majestic sights of Himalayan range, you walk past yak pastures. Shortly after hours of adventurous and fun-filled transverse, you will spot an ideal campsite at Shurimo [4,800 metres] located at the base of Langma La.

Day 16: Cross Langma La (5390m.) and trek to Lundrubling

It is advisable to make an early start while ascending to Langma La for about two hours. Traversing amidst mesmerizing vistas of Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu, you will descend steeply from Langma La pass to the valley. On entering the valley, you may encounter yak herders from Kharta at their camps. Several pristine villages are beautifully landscaped in the vicinity. Along the trail, you will meet up with the confluence of the Kharta Valley. You can also view Kanchenjunga massif nestled above the ridges beyond Kharta on the Nepal- Sikkim border. Further ahead, the trail advances towards village of Lundrubling.

Day 17: Trek to Kharta

You trek along the trail turning away from Lundrubling towards Kharta for about 3 hrs and board the vehicle to drive back to Tashidzong.

Day 18: Drive to Rongbuk

Less than an hour after leaving Tashidzong you reenter the Chomolungma Nature Preserve and have to change eco-bus for reasons the authorities cannot satisfactorily explain. So a local eco-bus takes us up to Rongbuk Monastery, which is the highest monastery in Tibet.    Enjoy the unique view of Mt. Everest (MountQuomolangma ), you can have a face to face experience of Mt. Everest.

Day 19: Drive to Kerung

After catching the sunrise in the morning, you will drive crossing two high passes of Lalung La (5,124m) and Tong La at (5,120m) and have the last views of the towering Mount Everest, Sishapangma and Cho Oyu. These views are possible only if the weather is clear.

Day 20: Kerung – Rasuwa Border (1800m.) – Kathmandu

After Breakfast, you will drive to Rasuwa Border which is one hour driving then cross the border and drive continuously to Kathmandu that takes another 8 hours.

  • Trip facts

  • Trip duration : 20 days
  • Grade : Moderate to Strenuous
  • Activity : Sightseeing Tour & Trekking in Tibet
  • Starts in : Lhasa
  • End in : Kerung
  • Max Altitude : 5200m
  • Location Covered: Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Kharta Valley, Khangsung Valley, Rongbuk, Kerung
  • Best Season: Spring / Autumn

Cost Includes

  • Airport pick-up and drop off services by private A/C vehicle
  • Flight tickets from Kathmandu to Lhasa
  • Transfer back to Kathmandu by private vehicle
  • Sightseeing tour in Tibet
  • Monasteries entry fees
  • Accommodation in 3 star hotels with breakfast on twin sharing basis in Lhasa & Tsedang
  • Guesthouse/Tented camp accommodations during the trek
  • All meals during the trek
  • English speaking Tibetan Guide
  • All ground transportation throughout the Tibet trek/tour by private vehicle
  • Travel Permits
  • China/Tibet visa
  • All trekking equipments
  • Yak & Yak Men required during trek

Cost Excludes

  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips, drinks and expense due to unforeseen circumstance
  • Service other than mentioned above
  • Meals and hotel accommodation in Kathmandu


Extension Tours

Paragliding
Jungle Safari
Pokhara Tour
Rafting

Necessary Information

1. Arrival in Lhasa

Tibet is connected by railway line from Chengdu, Beijing, Xian, Xining and Shanghai. Air China and Sichuan Airlines operate regular flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa. This flight offers spectacular views of Mt. Everest, Makalu and many other Himalayan giants. We will organize your pick up once you reach Lhasa and drive you to your hotel.

2. Visa & Entry Procedure

Via Kathmandu

For Tibet, we organize a group visa, and in order to do this we will need a copy of your passport at least 30 days prior to the commencement of your trip. Tourism regulations in Tibet are subject to change without prior notice. As per current regulation Chinese Embassy issues visa from Monday to Friday (9am – 11am) in Kathmandu, and it takes 4 days for visa processing. We will need your original passport 1 day before the visa processing day.

Via Mainland China

Those entering Tibet from mainland China (Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xian, Guilin etc) have to get Chinese visa from their country (please ask us for the best way of doing it).

3. Group Size

We bring together a small group of like-minded people. During the trip, not only do they gain a memorable and insightful travel experience but also get an invaluable opportunity to interact with each other. On our fixed scheduled departures, group comprises of maximum 12 & minimum 2 persons. You are likely to join a group from different countries. Average age ranges from early 20s to mid 50s. For private trips, no minimum and maximum number apply.

If you would like to travel independently or with your friends, families and colleagues you are invited to choose any of our trips at your convenient time frame for any number of people (min 1 to max 100 at a time).

4. Accommodation

In Lhasa, accommodation will be at 3 star hotel. Elsewhere along the route, accommodation will be at the available hotels. If you would like to book a single room, please do inform us. A supplement charge will incur in that case.

We shall try our best to provide the best accommodation available but please do keep in mind that you are taking an adventure tour, and sometimes the arrangement may be basic. Traveling in Tibet is a fantastic experience but sometimes you have to put up with a bit of discomfort. To enjoy this trip you need to have an adventurous spirit and the ability to adapt to minor discomforts.

Tented camps supported and catered by Nepali Sherpa crews shall be provided during the trek.

5. Guide & Trekking Crew

For your sightseeing tour in the cities, a knowledgeable English speaking guide will accompany you.

On your trek, you will be accompanied by either Nepalese or Tibetan trekking crew. Their aim is to make the trek as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. They all speak some English and, although it may not be perfect, communication won't be a problem. Under the leadership of the sirdar, the crew consists of several assistants depending on group size who will ensure you don't take the wrong path. There will also be a cook and kitchen crew to keep you well fed with delicious and nutritious meals. To transport all the gear from camp to camp, we use yaks in Tibet.

A typical trekking crew consists of one guide and one cook and the kitchen crew, porters and yaks. The ratio of trekking crew to group members is generally 1:4. At the end of the trek, it is customary to tip the crew as a sign of your appreciation for the work they've done.

6. Food

All breakfasts are included in our package. Your guide will help you find good restaurants with reasonable price. You can try ethnic Tibetan cuisine. Have some momos or gyantok, and wash it down with a cup of salted Tibetan butter tea. Meals will either be in the hotel or at a restaurant of your choice (where available). While on the road, lunch will be at one of the many Chinese tea shops along the way which generally serve a variety of noodle and vegetable dishes and meat where available.  Expect to spend around 25-30 US$ per day for meals.

Apart from when you are staying in hotels, during the trek, your cook will provide 3 tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelette, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads. After a long day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetables, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals.

We use as much fresh products as possible and our cooks and kitchen crew maintain exceptional standards of cleanliness and food preparation hygiene. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for.

7. Transportation

The roads in Tibet can at times become quite rough and impassable for many vehicles. It can at times become quite rough and impassable for many vehicles, so for this reason we use best Land cruiser 4WDs. These vehicles are extremely reliable and will make the journey as comfortable as possible. As for the trekking and climbing there will be a truck for carrying luggage and trek equipments. We’ll drive for several hours, stopping along the way for photographs or places of special interest, before stopping for lunch at around midday. After lunch we continue our journey, generally arriving at our destination by 3 or 4pm.

8. Communication

Communication facilities in Tibet have been improved over the past few years. All the hotels we use in Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse have international IDD phone and fax services. Phone calls can also be made from public booth in bigger towns. Internet cafes are also available at bigger towns, check with your guide for the best cyber cafes in each town.

These days, mobile phones work fine up to the Everest Base Camp. You can also have a roaming facility added to your mobile phone. If you buy a Chinese SIM card at the border, you could stay in touch with your family and friends most of the time. Please ask us for the latest facilities and schemes on Chinese mobile phones.

9. Best time to do this Trek

Despite the high altitude of the Tibetan Plateau, the daytime temperatures are actually quite mild. Between April and November the average temperature ranges form 15-25 degrees Celsius and the skies are generally clear and blue. From July to August though there can be the odd shower during the day. The nights, however, can be very cold and temperatures can drop below 0 degrees Celsius. During the day a light shirt or jumper and lightweight pants will be suitable, but a warm fleece or down jacket is recommended for the evenings.

The best time of year for overland tours in Tibet is from April to November and for treks and Mt. Kailash tour from April to the beginning of October.

10. Clothing & Equipment

During the day a light shirt or jumper and lightweight pants will be suitable, but     a warm fleece or down jacket is recommended for the evenings. For trekking you will need walking boots, sleeping bags (3 seasons), waterproof jackets and trousers, fleece jackets, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, suns cream and day pack. Comprehensive list of equipments will be provided once you book your trip.

11. Personal Expenses

Besides Chinese Yuan, only US dollars can be accepted in Tibet. Also shops that accept American currency are very limited and you might not be able to get a good deal for an exchange rate. Credit cards can only be used at some hotels. The Bank of China also accepts credit cards. ATM is not widely available. Exchanging your money to Chinese currency will be the best option for you, which can be done at the Bank of China. While changing money at the local money exchange centers, please make sure that you are accompanied by your guide and do consult him as you may easily be duped with counterfeit notes.

Tibet is becoming more expensive every year. There are many shops in Lhasa, Shigatse and Gyantse that sell traditional Tibetan handicrafts. We recommend you to bring extra money to spend on souvenirs.

Tips are appreciated by your support team, after completion of the trip. The amount you give depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. For this you can allocate around 5% of your total tour cost.

12. Health

Vaccination requirements change frequently, so we suggest you consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to your trip. The main health consideration in high altitude is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor. A supply of bottled oxygen is carried in the vehicle at all times. Chinese doctors will also be available at places like Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, and Shegar. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate. We have been organizing trips in Tibet since 1998, and only negligible numbers have suffered from severe AMS.

13. Rescue and Evacuation

In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we hope will not happen; you shall be transferred to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu.

14. Itinerary Changes

One should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip that takes you into one of the remotest corners of the Tibetan plateau, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in the itinerary. Depending on the prevailing situation, the itinerary can be modified to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of tour completion should always coincide with the original itinerary.

15. People and Culture

The Tibetans are classified as belonging to the Mongoloid family of people. They are probably descendents of a variety of nomadic tribes who migrated from the north and settled along sedentary cultivation of Tibet’s river valleys.

The Tibetans living within the borders of present day Tibet are easily identified by their distinctive dialects, social customs and dress. The Topas live in the highland regions (Lato and Ngari), the Tsangpas in the West Tibet (Tsang), the Upas live in central Tibet, the Horpas comes from the north (Nagchu/Jangtang), the Kongpowas from the south, the Khampas live in the east, the Amdowa in the northeast, and the Gyarongwa in the extreme east.

Travelers to Tibet inevitably find Tibetans to be friendly and possessing a great sense of humor. It is appreciated when you try and use Tibetan language when communicating with Tibetans. The further from Lhasa you travel, the more often is Tibetan used.

Religion is extremely important to the majority of Tibetans, and travelers should endeavor to respect their customs and beliefs. Always circumambulate Buddhist religious sites or monastery in a clockwise direction, and when in a monastery do not wear a hat, smoke or touch frescoes. In addition, refrain from climbing onto statues, mani stones or other sacred objects. Tibetans are warm and friendly people. Some speak a bit of English and are happy to have a chat with you. Don't photograph people without permission, and be aware that some locations prohibit photography.

Travel With Rajbala

Since we began in the early 90s we have always strived to keep our environmental footprint as small as possible and to give back to the many villages we pass through on our trekking itineraries. Today we still embrace this responsible travel approach when devising and operating our small group travel holiday experiences in Nepal. We invite you to trek in Nepal with the Himalayan trekking specialists Raj Bala Treks and Expeditions.