The Sailung Valley

A day’s drive north-east of Kathmandu takes you into the Sailung Valley, its Himalayan landscapes dotted with tiny stone temples and charming hill villages set on terraced fields, overlooked by the awe-inspiring Himalayan peaks. The villages are scattered across the borders of two Nepalese districts; Kavrepalanchowk and Ramechaap, with Sailung itself sitting on the border of Ramechaap and Dolakha, at an altitude of 3,146m.

Header image with thanks to guest Matthew Stuttard

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Hillside Villages

The villages in the Sailung region - Solambu (1,650m), Tek Singh (1,450m) and Pasiban (2,400m) - are pleasantly undeveloped and charming, each with its distinctive character. Farming is the mainstay of these communities, with terraced fields of cereals, vegetables, wheat and fruit trees -  there are abundant potato and maize crops - while Tek Singh village boasts a splendid orange harvest. Goats, buffalo and chickens are kept. There are also persimmon orchards and coffee plantations. As the land is so fertile, produce is in abundance, but with no proper road infrastructure, the people have been unable to sell their produce in the markets, denying the villagers of extra income.

Buddhism is the main faith in the region, with villagers from Solambu and Teksingh being predominantly of the Tamang tribe, while the people of Pasiban are Magars. In the bazaar comprised of about ten huts at Kholakharka, the community is a mix of Tamangs, Magars and Sherpas.

Charming villages, sweeping panoramas

The level of walking here is similar to that in the Saryu and Pindar Valleys of India, along well-trodden paths and terraced fields dotted with tiny stone temples, with some steep ascents. On average you will walk between 4-5 hours each day, across dramatic hillsides through forest, open pastures, past scattered villages and yak sheds, climbing from village to village. You may cross a magnificent rope suspension bridge at the crossing point of the main Sunkoshi river valley between Solambu and Tek Singh, climb to the delightful cave temple at Sailung, visit the historic 600 year old monastery at Taar and spot barking deer flitting through the trees - all to a backdrop of the towering peaks. The mountain vistas are truly spectacular, with extensive views across the Himalayan peaks, including the magnificent Annapurna range. 

Sailung peak itself is a mystical place, and a holy area for both Hindus and Buddhists. Deserted all year apart from one pilgrimage day, it stands at an altitude of 3,146 metres, with open rolling hills and hundreds of small hillocks. Famed for having the best sunrise in Nepal, with a 180 degree panoramic view of the mountains and a 360 degree view of the surrounding area, it is truly breathtaking. Mount Gaurishankar and Ganesh Himal are the prominent mountains. Our camp site at Kholakharka lies just below the Sailung peak, around a 25 minute walk away.

Your stay in Sailung

Each village hosts you in a comfortable guesthouse; in Solambu and Tek Singh these are renovated from traditional two story stone and wood buildings with beautiful outside balconies, while in Pasiban the guesthouse has been carefully constructed in traditional style, using local stone and wood and demonstrating the fine level of craftsmanship and carpentry of the area. Each guesthouse has three twin bedrooms, simple and comfortable. Tek Singh and Pasiban villages have en-suite shower and toilet facilities, Solambu has separate washing facilities. The villages do have electricity, although power cuts are not infrequent - and solar lanterns are in place.

Expect some delicious, locally-grown vegetarian food; delicately spiced dishes with rice, daal and the local speciality of buffalo cheese.

You climb gently each day as you walk from village to village in the company of your own guide, keen to share local tales and point out the flora and fauna. You receive a warm welcome, and a cup of sweet tea, at each village.The guesthouse at Pasiban village sits proud amid terraced fields, with spectacular mountain vistas. Waking to this wall of peaks in the morning is truly memorable.

Travelling to Sailung

Your Village Ways holiday includes return road transfers from Kathmandu: taxi transfer to Dhulikhel and onward road transfer to the villages. We can arrange to meet you at Kathmandu Airport, to fit in with your flight arrival and departure times, or if you are already in Nepal we can arrange for you to be met in Kathmandu, at the place of your choosing, to start on your journey to the mountains. We arrange road transfers from Dhulikhel to the Sailung Valley, using taxis that are suitable for the road conditions and with local drivers who know the route well. You will travel through river valleys and wide agricultural areas, winding gently up into the hills.

We ask our guests to make their own arrangements for international travel to Nepal. We offer some general advice and useful links regarding travel, visas, insurance, health requirements.

Information on travel in Nepal 

 

Climate and Seasons

The weather varies markedly by season, so you need to choose the time that suits your preferences. Mountainous areas such as the region around Sailung have unpredictable weather, rain showers may develop with little warning, with snowfalls at higher levels. Moreover, temperatures at the higher altitudes can fall quite suddenly, so carry a sweater with you, even during the summer months. Always seek advice from your guide before venturing into the higher areas and always be prepared for changes in the weather.

June to September

The weather becomes increasingly hot and humid in June, with temperatures reaching 30 degrees C, steadily building before the monsoon rains hit in July. The SW Monsoon rains clothe the hills and Himalayan peaks in cloud. The air is humid but delightfully fresh. The rain storms are often localised and tend to be in the evenings, allowing time to walk during the days. Temperatures are around 20 degrees C during the day but fall back to 10 degrees C or even 5 degrees at night. The rains clear the dust, allowing crisp views over the mountains.

October to November

This is reckoned to be the best time for views of the Himalayan snow-capped peaks. The landscape is green and lush after the rains. The days are warm and sunny but the air temperatures start to drop as the winter progresses, with maxima of 15-18 degrees C and minima of less than 5 degrees, with frost at higher elevations, such as Jakuni Bhugiyal. There is very little rain from mid-October onwards. Bring layers of warm clothes for the evenings.

December to February

During the real winter, daytime maximum temperatures are cool but comfortable at 5 – 12 degrees C but mean night temperatures sink to 0 to -5 degrees C. The days are usually sunny, with good mountain views. Extensive snow cover occurs above 2,500 m, and the tented camp is closed during this period. Bring plenty of warm clothes, woolly hat, gloves, scarf and a padded jacket.

March to May

From March onwards the temperatures rise steadily from 15 degrees C to a peak of around 25 degrees in May. But the nights remain comfortable (0-10 degree C). This is the dry, hot season when villagers harvest the dry season crops prepare the land for the monsoon crops. This is a very pleasant time to visit, with rhododendrom in full bloom, although the air can become hazy, and views of the Himalayan peaks may be limited to the early mornings and evenings. A couple of sweaters and a small umbrella are recommended.