There’s a place called Ramechaap, east from Kathmandu some 184 km away that had once the unenviable reputation of being a place of largely ignorant folks, despite its proximity to the capital. Of course, times have changed, and it is not true anymore. What’s more, the region is now gaining fame for the increasing popularity of what’s known as the Numbur Cheese Circuit that goes through the area. It is a two-week trek that offers lovely scenes of the mountain landscape and splendid views of fantastic Himalayan peaks, along with pleasing sights of rhododendrons in bloom.
The Numbur Cheese Circuit, which links up the two picturesque valleys of Khimti and Likhu in the well-known Rolwaling region, is so named after the Numburchuli peak (6959 m), a virginal Himalayan peak, and the very first yak cheese factory in the country, which was founded way back in 1957. The topography is diverse, and the terrain is quite varied, with glacial lakes, alpine vegetation, river gorges, and terraced rice fields, besides quite a number of small villages. The trail goes along the shadows of the massive Numburchuli and Bigphera Go Nup peaks, and offers awesome views of the Langtang Himal range, along with Gaurishnaker and Jugal, especially more so from the Gyajo La (4880 m) and Panchpokhari (4605 m) passes, with the panorama extending into Tibet to the north and Pikey Peak to the south. The renowned Thodung Monastery lies on the way, as do some cheese factories, both of which are very much worth visiting. Now, here’s something that should be of special interest: visit the region around March/April for something really splendid, the sight of rolling hills of red due to the abundance of fully-bloomed rhododendron flowers. There’s wildlife, too; Himalayan tahr and musk deer being the prime ones, and snow leopard, as well, though they are highly elusive creatures. The population of the region consists of twenty-one different ethnicities, each with its own culture and lifestyle. Another distinct attraction of this popular trek is the opportunity to get up-close with Sherpa families by staying at one of their homestays and tasting Sherpa cuisine, which includes organic potatoes and high altitude tea. So, how do you start this interesting trek? Okay, first you take the nine-hour drive from the capital to a place called Shivalaya (1790 m), where you bed down for the night in a hotel. The next day, you hike for four hours to arrive at Khahare (2175 m), where you set up camp, and the following morning, you hike again for four hours to reach Panipakha (3105 m). It’s all uphill, so you’ll find the going pretty challenging. You carry on the next morning to Manedanda (3940 m), three hours away from Panipakha. In the coming days, your trek will take you to Panchpokhari (4515 m), a four-hour hike, and then Tare (5 h, 4140 m). You carry on downhill thenceforth to reach Ngeju (2665 m) in about four hours, followed by Lhachhewar (2665 m), Kyama (2380 m), and Gumdel (2255 m). It’s a flat trail till now, but you’ll be going uphill again, reaching Serding (3360 m) in three hours or so, then Lapchane (3150 m) in another five hours. The final part is a descent to Those (3 h, 1755 m), from where a bus takes you back to the capital (9 h).