The Numbur Cheese Circuit is a new trek in the Ramechhap District of Nepal. The starting point of the trek is Shivalaya, also the start of Everest Base Camp trek for those who don't fly to Lukla. This route has a recommended itinerary of 14 days trekking, although at a push it can be completed in up to 10 days by combining some of the shorter days. It can also be extended several days for those who wish to visit some of the nearby glaciers, peaks or lakes. A rest day on the trek is also a good idea. The trek can offer visitors superb views of major Himalayan peaks including Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Gaurishankar and Numburchuili and many more. Walk through deep river gorges, glacial lakes, terraced rice fields, subtropical forests and Sherpa villages to the the Lhiku Khola glacier, watched over by the towering peaks of Pathibarra and Numburchuili. Visit one of Nepal’s first cheese factories, established in 1957 and the famous Thodung Monastery on the way.
Landscape & scenery
In April and May rhododendrons bloom in profusion, you may also see eagles and musk deer as well as Himalayan tahr, a species of goat antelope. If you are lucky you can catch a glimpse of the elusive snow leopard. During the wet season the mountain meadows are very green and lush with flowers and grasses. However trekking at this time is difficult in the wet and clouds will obscure any views.
Shivalaya and Those are the start and finish points of the Numbur Cheese Circuit and are 8-9 hrs drive from Kathmandu. Seasonal Super express bus service goes to/from Kathmandu's Old Bus Park, near the Nepal Tourism Board (6 to 7am Daily). Kathmandu to Jiri/Shivalaya takes 6-8 hours. The winding road is very well paved with fine mountain views. The route follows the Arniko Highway towards Tibet before turning right over the Sun Koshi at Lamosangu for the climb on the Swiss built Lamosangu-Jiri Road, the "gateway to the Solu Khumbu", through Sindupalchowk, Dolahka Districts to Ramechhap. Buses make a lunch stop after 4 hours at Mude Bazaar, famous for the largest potatoes in Nepal. Please note that during the monsoon season (June to mid-September) the road is usually closed to Shivalaya, so it is necessary to walk from Jiri to Shivalya - adding an extra day to the trek. The buses will also not run as far at Those (the end point) so it is necessary to return to Jiri.
The villages of Jiri, Shivalaya, Deurali, Bamti-Bhandar and Gumdel are well-served with trekking lodges,toilets and hot (bucket) showers. In Kharare, Lahaksewar and Kyam accommodation is in an actual home or 'Community-run home stay', so the cross-cultural exchange is more authentic. Although part of the trek is in uninhabited areas, Community-run home stays operate during the trekking season so it's quite suitable for independent trekkers. The area above Khahare to Lahaksewar is uninhabited so camping is the only option at Panipakha, Phokte, Maanedanda, Jatapokhari, Panch pokhari, Thare, and Ngeju. There are some basic stone and timber shelters at the camp sites except for Panch Pokhari. It is possible to sleep in the shelters, however some are open on one side and the roofs are not entirely waterproof. Hence, we; Wilderness Excursion operates only fully supported camping to Numbur Cheese Circuit.
This trek is challenging and should be considered as "demanding" and only suitable for trekkers with a good level of fitness and some trekking experience. The trail route is through a remote wilderness area. Though the trail is quite easily found a guide and porter is strongly recommended. It can be easy to get confused by the multiple paths between villages. The trekking route requires some fairly dramatic gains in altitude. Be aware of the risks of altitude sickness AMS (acute mountain sickness) and allow sufficient time to acclimatize yourself. It is possible to trek from Khare - Panipakha in one day, and then from Panipakha to Jata Pokhari on the next day, however this involves a gain in altitude of 2200 in two days which may cause issues for some people. If you plan to continue along the Everest trail, the 'Numbur Cheese Circuit' provides excellent options for acclimatization.
From Shivalaya there is a bus in the morning to Kathmandu where there is an actual concrete road all the way. The way before Jiri can get very muddy and during the monsoon the bus won't get to Shiralaya, sometimes there are jeeps between some cities. Ask the information center in Shiralaya or the locals for your time period.
A Gaurishankar conservation area entry permit is required and costs 2000 Nepal rupees and TIMS Card (Trekkers Information Management System) U$ 20 is necessary.