Everything You Need to Know About Humla Chang La Valley

Jan 14, 2022

Isn't it worth meeting the happiest people in the most beautiful and remote valley in Nepal? We guess your answer is clearly 'Yes', because Chang La Valley in Humla is impossible to ignore.

Humla Chang La Valley, in the westernmost district of Nepal, is one of the most unspoiled and picturesque places in the country. It approaches Tibet from the north and is considered an "off the beaten path" destination due to its isolation and remote location.

Chang La is a Tibetan word meaning "those who live in the land between the two rivers", with "Chang" meaning "land" and "La" meaning "people".

It was first opened as a hiking trail only in 2002, but only a limited number of permits are allowed to walk and visit the area in order to maintain the area's biodiversity, making it a unique place to visit and experience. .

The valley has strong ties to Tibet and is therefore highly affected by the Tibetan way of life. Genuine Buddhist traditions and culture can be found throughout the world. The locals in this area have established a trade route to Tibet.

Culture and lifestyle

Til, Halji and Jhang are the three settlements that make up the Chang La Valley. Khas (ethnicity) live in the south, while the Tibetans live in the north. Khas practice Hinduism while the Tibetans practice Buddhism. The residents of the town speak their own language, with Tibetan and Nepalese as a second language.

Small Hindu and Buddhist villages can be found at lower elevations. Travelers come to the region for spiritual reasons, as it draws heavily from Tibetan Bon culture. Throughout your journey, you will gain an understanding of these diverse cultures.

Visit Monasteries

After their entry into the Kermi area in Humla, the Buddhists have taken over most of the small communities. Taking a look at the boiling prayer flags waving in the breeze, the chortens and the mani stone walls will give you a feeling of powerful Tibetan Buddhism. This tour will also take you to some of the oldest and best known monasteries in Nepal.

You will go to Chang La Rinchenling Monastery, which has been protected since the 14th century. This Dhungkar Choezom monastery, which is vital to the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, can be properly seen around the Tumkot settlement.

The surroundings of the monastery are magnificent, calm and immaculate, and the sweet Buddhist mantras fill you with concentration and progressive muscle relaxation.

Then, in Kermi village, you will see Laikyo Monastery and Lhundrup Choling Monastery, both of which have been preserved for generations. In the village of Til, the Kunzum Do-Nag Monastery is worth visiting.

Similarly, the Namkha Khyung Dzong site of Yalbang village is another noteworthy monastery on our trip. Around 130 monks, in particular, are delighted and ready to welcome you to their monastery. The monastery also has a school and clinic, and later in the evening, you can join the Buddhist prayer sessions.

Mountain view

As you may know, Nepal is the home of mountains, and most visitors go on arduous treks just to see these high peaks that touch the sky.

Byas, Api Himal, Saipal, Mt Kanjirowa (6883 m), Rishi and Kanti are some of the possible possibilities that you will see on your tour.

From the Yak Kharka settlement, Mount Kailash (6,638 m) can be seen, which would be located beyond the Tibetan border (4,900 m). Buddhist, Hindu and Bon believers regard Mount Kailash as a holy peak.

Beautiful scenery

The up and down slope of the Chang La valley adds to its visual charm. The general structure of the terrain in this area is ideal for hiking trails that take you up and down. This hike has some rough and dry sections. You will occasionally walk over rough terrain and onto solid ground.

Walking down to Chang La Valley should definitely be on your bucket list, with verdant pastures and a wild waterfall flowing down to bare cliffs.

Flora and Fauna

The region is home to a wide range of green areas.

Himalayan blue sheep, wolf, barking deer, wild horse, elk, marmot, Himalayan black bear, Tibetan wild ass and snow leopard are some of the animals that live in the wild .

The most visible among several on your hiking trip are the pine trees and the blooming rhododendron flowers.

The background is lit up by the sight of yaks, cows, and a herd of sheep heading from the border with large trade items. In this region, yak and sheep are mainly used for commercial purposes.

Rivers and lakes

Humla has many water resources. It would be invading the banks of the Karnali river during its journey. You will notice the beautiful emerald green Karnali below the wooden suspension bridge as you cross it. 

Apart from Karnali River, other small but well-known rivers in the region include Takhor River, Sali River, Nyingchhu River, Tagtsi Khola, Tshongsa River, Chumsa River and others. Aside from making your hike completely amazing, several of these rivers are in fact the key reasons.

In addition to these rivers, visitors will also have the opportunity to see Tibet's sacred Lake Manasarovar from two places: Lapcha Syar (4,900m) and Nyalu Lu Pass (4,949m).

In Lapcha Syar, you can also rent a truck to see the panorama of Manasarovar. Other lakes to see on this hike are Lake Sheliman, Lake Tshom Tsho, and others.

High attitude pass

Hiking with stunning views and steep passes has always been a popular choice among hikers. The valley created at Chang La offers a challenging journey that involves crossing two high-altitude visits: Nyalu La Pass and Nara La Pass.

From this vantage point, you can see dense forests, high mountain ranges, flowing lakes and rivers, remarkable waterfalls, various local walks in their daily lives, etc.

Natural hot water

Walking through Tatopani, visitors can relax inside the natural hot spring bath. Also, the Chagzur Steam Sauna is a popular hiking destination. The aches and pains of a rough ride are eliminated in this naturalistic bath.

Permits for Chang La Valley

Because Chang La Valley is in fact a restricted area, visitors must obtain a Specialized Trekking Permit (SPT) from the Immigration department.

Permits to enter this area are only issued to groups of two or more people, and only through a Nepalese trekking organization.

As stated above, permits are required and prices are subject to change at the discretion of the Government of Nepal.

Route to the Valley

It is a long drive to the road to Chang La valley. A beautiful 45 minute flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj will start your journey. Then it's a 50 minute flight to Nepalgunj at Simikot (2950m).

Simikot is only easily accessible from Nepalgunj. Your trek begins in Simikot and follows a historic pilgrimage and salt trade trail to the borders of Nepal and China.

Simikot is the start and end point of your journey. From there, you will have to walk for 6 hours per day. It takes 14-25 days to complete the expedition.

Food and accommodation

Chang La is a Humla valley that is rural and remote. There are no hotels and cafes as expensive as in modern cities due to their remoteness and detachment. As a result, it has become popular for camping. However, a number of teahouses have recently been opened for the convenience of visitors.

So during the trek you will sleep inside a tent or a tea house. You will be able to taste the simple food that the villagers prepare using firewood. This region offers you a delicious mix of ethnic foods from the Nepali and Tibetan culture.

Best time to travel

Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the best times to visit Humla Chang La Valley (September to November). The atmosphere is clear, warm, and pleasant during these times, which makes it much easier to climb the high passes in vibrant surroundings.

The rainy season (June - August) and winter hikes (December - February) to the Humla Valley present beauty viewing challenges as well as slippery trails with snow and other hazards, so we do not recommend traveling during these times .

Conclusion

The Humla Chang La valley trip is a unique opportunity for people who seek adventure travel, who are content to accept a simple lifestyle and who enjoy exploring the hidden villages of Nepal.

So if you possess all these features, then your Chang La trekking trail will become the most attractive for you.

Due to the high altitude, limited area and camping trip, trekking in this place needs to be carefully planned. In order to get permission and walk nicely and freely during the days, you need to work with a competent and registered professional travel agency.

Nepal Tourism Board
Nepal Mountaineering Association
Trip Advisor
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