The Tamang Heritage Trail is a non-touristy trek in Nepal that combines beautiful landscapes and fascinating human culture. Here you have the complete trekking guide.
The Tamang Heritage Trail is a beautiful, non-touristy trek in Nepal.
After we finished the Annapurna Circuit Trek (which was amazing), we were looking for something a little different, quite away from all the tourists to get an authentic experience of the real Nepal.
We discovered a trek that is mediocre in its difficulty, with insane views and simply charming people. We connected it with the Langtang Trek, and I recommend you do the same if you do not have time pressure.
The Tamang Heritage Trail is a different trek - it is a cultural trek, aimed at hiking the Tamang villages (an ethnic group in Nepal) north of Kathmandu.
The villages are authentic rather than guest house collections, the residents are welcoming, preserving their traditional cuisine, attire, and rituals.
It is a fascinating cultural experience, and also an opportunity for a not easy trek, with amazing views, but without rising to great heights (relative to Nepal).
The trek starts from SyabruBesi (1300 m), which is also the starting point for the Langtang trek. The journey from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi takes about 7-8 hours.
The trek is circular and lasts 5-6 days. The highest point where you must sleep is at an altitude of 2600 m, but it is possible (and recommended) to sleep at Nagathali at an altitude of 3100 m, and from there ascend to the Taruch observation point at an altitude of 3700 m.
At the end of the trek, you can return to the SyabruBesi or connect to the Langtang Trek.
The trek, whose full route is circular, is not complicated and can be done in several different directions depending on your level of fitness or the amount of time you have.
The Tamang Heritage Trail is excellent as a “warm-up” before a full onslaught on the more familiar trails of Langtang Valley, the Annapurna Circuit Trek, or the Everest Base Camp Trek.
The best time for this trek is between March and May or between September and November. Like in the rest of the treks in Nepal.
In areas above 2,500 meters, the nights are quite cold, but in the tourist seasons, snow is not common.
Nagthali is the only village that rises above the 3,000 lines and has cold nights, and there may even be light snow during the tourist seasons.
As with all trekking in Nepal, the weather may change quickly, so even in the high season, it is highly recommended to arrive with waterproof clothing, a rain cover for the bag, waterproof shoes, and thermal clothing.
Getting to the Tamang Heritage trail, like the Langtang Valley Trek or the Frozen Lakes, is by bus from Kathmandu to SyabruBesi.
This bus has two options - local or express. You can buy a ticket at one of the travel agencies in Kathmandu.
The journey time is between nine and ten hours.
Expect a hard, long, beautiful, and winding ride to the point of nausea - and beyond.
You will stop in Dhunche where all the tourists get off and make a permit (entry permit to the reserve).
There is no need for a TIMS for any of the treks in the Langtang area, the bus is waiting, and there is no need to worry about it escaping you.
The permit costs 3000 rupees. It's necessary to bring a passport with you.
As with any trek in Nepal, the Dal-bhat dominates - the dish consisting of rice, vegetable curry, and lentil soup.
In the local houses, whether offering accommodation or a meal only, you will not be able to order any other dish.
Although you will find in a limited number of guest houses western dishes like pasta do yourself a favor and do not order it.
The Dal-baht is an excellent and nutritious dish and is just what you need when going on a trek.
Those who have the courage will be able to try Tibetan Tea, a salty tea with huge amounts of yak butter. If it does not sound delicious to you, then it is indeed a controversial culinary experience.
Along the trek, in every village, there is an option for accommodation, even if it does not seem to exist.
If you do not find a guesthouse, ask some locals, and they will direct you to Homestay, where you will receive (for a fixed fee that will usually be cheaper than a guesthouse) Nepalese-Tibetan accommodation.
For the most part, such places will not include a real food menu but only a dal-bhat and the rooms will be basic (if you get a separate room at all).
However, the real glimpse into the authentic local lifestyle is rewarding and becomes an unforgettable experience.
Do not bargain on accommodation prices as you sometimes bargain on the famous treks - the people are friendly, unlike in the very touristy villages on the famous treks, mainly because of the low exposure to tourism.
Please help keep the trek authentic and pleasant.
Day 1: SyabruBesi - Gatlang
Day 2: Gatlang - Tatopani
Day 3: Tatopani - Thuman
Day 4: Thuman - Kanjim
Day 5: Kanjim - lama hotel
The first day begins with an ascent to Rongga Bhanjyang, where the landscape changes significantly as you enter the valleys at the foot of the Himal Ganesh ridge.
There are two options to ascend:
1) Get on the road base - the road is longer but easier.
2) Climb on a pedestrian path base - a shorter but more difficult path.
I got on the pedestrian path which took two hours to get to the top. It's recommended to stop here for a rest to drink. From this point, there is a yellow circle trail marking Gatlang village.
At the end of the ascent, there is a beautiful view of a snowy mountain range, and there is a place to drink tea and eat.
After the ascent, there is a flat walk of two hours on the route to the village of Gatlang, route marking will lead you along the way.
Accommodation: Tamang Home.
The guest house is located at the entrance to the village and overlooks the entire village.
There is no Wi-Fi in the guest house, and the shower is a bucket shower (better than it sounds).
In the village, you can see tin roofs and stone roofs. All the gray or blue tin roofs are new houses that were rebuilt after the 2015 earthquake.
The day begins with a comfortable descent of an hour and a half until you cross a bridge and reach a village adjacent to Chilime where you can stop for a drink and eat.
We made a long stop of an hour.
Chilime is a stunning village located in a valley with wide fields and charming people.
These kinds of stops are the beauty of this trek after experiencing the touristy Annapurna Circuit Trek, getting to these small places and villages, and seeing the local life shows you that sometimes the human landscape is more powerful than anything.
After the stop, there is a steep ascent of 500 meters to another village called Gonggang, where you can also stop for rest.
From Gonggang, an ascent of another two hours to Tatopani.
Tatopani is a beautiful village.
Accommodation: Eco Guest House is located at the entrance to the village with kind owners, has a gas shower and no Wifi.
In Tatopani, there is an observation point in the west of the village, about a ten-minute walk to the outskirts of the village after the guesthouse area to a beautiful observation point from which you can see at a glance the peaks of the Langtang ridge, the Ganesh Himal and several peaks in Tibet.
This day was one of the highlights of the trek for me, not only because of the spectacular scenery but because of the authentic encounter with the locals in the perfect and tiny village of Nagathali.
A climb of about 500 meters, 4-5 hours, to the tiny and scenic village of Nagathali will bring you to the peak of the trek (3,165 m).
Nagthali is a simply magical place. In my opinion, the most beautiful village on the trek has 4 houses. Each of these houses also functions as a guesthouse, and the people are very kind.
We spent lunch there (the freshest lunch ever, for our curry, the kids took carrots out of the ground!).
For those who are interested, you can stay overnight in the village to go out the next morning to Taruche - an observation point at an altitude of 3,800 m from which views of the depths of Tibet.
The trip to Taruche and back takes 5-6 hours on a not easy walking route, and to get to the lookout point in time of good visibility you should leave early in the morning.
Whoever decides to continue will be able to skip the village (and "just" enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the Himalayas) and continue straight up to Thuman as we did.
After lunch in Nagathali, we descended towards Thuman, an amazing descent that along the way you can see the huge Langtang Mountain (peak - 7,542 meters) and the whole ridge.
The descent is about two hours (900 meters).
Accommodation: We arrived in Thuman at a guest house called Village view hotel & lodge.
The owners were very nice, entertained us nicely and told us about the culture and traditions of the village.
Thuman has a spectacular view. My recommendation is to take your breakfast, sit outside and enjoy the view. You can see the second-highest mountain in the reserve which rises to an altitude of 6596 meters, and from the north, you can see Tibet.
Do not miss, and whoever rises to sunrise wins.
Briddim is in front of Thuman only there is a stream that separates, an hour and a half down towards the creek, cross a bridge and ascend to a village called Lingling it is possible to stop to eat and drink.
Continuing up for another hour and a half and arriving at Briddhim, I stopped there for lunch.
Briddim is a large village with lots of accommodation due to the conversion of 40 houses in the village to Homestay options. On the way, there are lookout points and some waterfalls.
From Briddim, there is an hour's walk on a level road with short ascents and descents until you reach Kanjim.
Accommodation: Tibet Guest House. No Wifi and only a bucket shower.
For this day, there are two options - the first is to return to SyabruBesi in a few hours of easy walking, and the second is to connect to the Langtang Trek via a trail that goes about a mile over the main route.
Thus the views are pleasant and varied, the walk is easier than on the first day of the Langtang Valley, and you can sleep in the Sherpagon, a pleasant and quiet village (2563 m), or stop there for lunch.
I chose to continue for about an hour until I arrived at Lama Hotel. The village is part of the Langtang Trek.
You will already notice a larger number of people, the guest houses are fuller, and people are stopping there on the way back on the trek, and always convenient to ask and consult.
Accommodation: Hikers Inn Lukla
1/ The road from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi is very difficult. Also on the bus, also in the jeep. The road is partially paved, and the rest is a ride on powder with stones and potholes. Cover the nose and mouth and line up well.
There are two to three stops on the way to food and toilets.
If for example, you suffer from back problems and therefore take a porter, this is not a regular bus that travels on a smooth path and arrives comfortably and quickly. For close to 10 hours (with traffic jams) you will jump from side to side, so try to avoid eating long before this experiential ride.
2/ The whole trek is one big climb with a few descents. There is no easy moment. The route is long and winding. It's necessary to make multiple stops to ventilate clothes and rest. In these minutes of changing clothes, a cold wind will blow and you will cool down without noticing so do it fast.
3/ You can trek without a guide but not without locals. The pathways between the local villages, So the people will explain to you where to continue and where the next village is. It's hard to get lost on the trek.
I managed almost all the way only with the help of locals who passed me. Always make sure you are on the right path, say briefly the name of the place you are going to in the form of a question, for example: "Tatopani?", Say "Namaste" and so on.
If you do not do this, you will find yourself on shortcuts to the wrong place. And there are many shortcuts, up and down, so the online map can be misleading.
Without a map, it is still possible to get by, but without the guidance from locals, it is difficult.
Check several times if necessary if you are not comfortable.
Did not understand where to go? Stop and wait a few minutes.
Even though you will hardly see a living soul, someone will already come and then ask.
4/ The third day of the trek from Gatalang to Tatopani is difficult.
The day starts with a long descent and continues with a tough climb.
From our experience, Gatlang, which is the largest village in the trek area, is also the village where the locals, the culture, and the local community feel the most.
If you have time, stay in the village and not rush out of it. The other villages on the trek are not like it. We heard about a village ceremony taking place in the evening, but we could not see, so we tried to find out.
5/ The first guesthouse on the way up to Gongang belongs to a cute and welcoming couple.
We recommend stopping there at least for lunch. This guesthouse is a magical place where they grow all the vegetables they use and cook delicious food! You can also buy honey that they make on the spot.
6/ Electricity - All the villages in the trek have electricity, but sometimes it comes and goes as desired.
In all the rooms, we had a socket for charging.
7/ Wifi- There's a Cybrobesi only. After that, there is no village with wifi.
As for the reception of a local sim, I do not know because we have not tried.
8/ Shopping - Do not count on it. In CyberBesi, the selection is not large and certainly later in the trek.
If you fancy snacks or something else specific, buy in Kathmandu.
9/ Drink plenty of water.
Without a guide, without a porter, without eating, you can somehow still trek, but water is the most essential thing.
Yes, it is possible to fill water from one of the rivers or waterfalls. And if not? How much do you think you can do without water? Do not be heroes when it comes to water.
You should always have between a liter and a half to three liters and no less. Buy water or fill a reusable bottle which is better.
10/ Eat and fill yourself with energy. You will burn calories at a high rate, and for that, you need food and lots of it.
The trek is not a place for steaks or pizza, and you will not find it anyway.
The trek is the place to be completely vegan or at least vegetarian, and even then, to maintain your health you should stay away from animal foods and eat mostly the local dish Dal-bath, a great dish.
11/ If you have reached a point where you are completely exhausted, your back, legs, shoulders, and body ache, do not keep walking.
Stay one day in the same place and then decide if you continue, even at the cost of canceling the trek and returning to Kathmandu.
It is better to stay and rest to enjoy the small villages from the locals and continue the next day.
The difference between the Tamang Heritage Trek and the other famous treks in Nepal is the focus on the human landscape at the expense of the Himalayan landscape.
But do not worry, this does not mean that the view is not impressive!
The peaceful and remote villages along the route are light years away from those in the touristy areas.
In these villages, tourism is a new business, and you will not come across dozens of hawkers and guesthouse speculators upon your arrival in the village.
Even the most touristy villages have, at most, a few guest houses surrounded by fascinating daily life.
Accordingly, the conditions offered to tourists are more basic: in most villages, there are no hot showers or it will be a bucket shower, and the menus are relatively limited, but on the other hand, since these are areas where local life (and not just tourist attractions) all guest houses enjoy free in-room electricity, including charging devices.
Be kind to the locals, this area has been damaged by the severe earthquake, and people need a livelihood.
In conclusion, this is an amazing trek with a fascinating human experience.
The views are amazing, especially from the village of Nagathali, in my opinion no less beautiful there than the "famous" treks.
The people are kind and happy to meet tourists.
The trek is quiet. We were almost alone on the path during the day and almost every night we were the only guests at the guesthouse.
You can do short days and even do a whole day without walking and stay in the village you loved, no need to run and it is not a shame to take the time in the mountains without rushing to the next destination.
I hope this trekking guide to the Tamang Heritage Trail will help you and inspire you to discover the real side of Nepal, experience this unspoiled and beautiful area that the trek passes through, and enjoy the kind hospitality of the locals in Nepal!
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