Arun Valley is also known as Arun Salpa Valley. The early Everest climbers heading to the Everest region, have used this enchanting route earlier.
Our journey starts in the bucolic east of Nepal, home of the Rais and other middle-hill Nepalese. Once there, we start our journey from Tumlingtar, landing on a lush grass runway as we hike along the turquoise Arun River through the pastoral terraced hills of the Arun and the Salpa valleys to Solu.
We continue the Arun valley and Gokyo lake trek to descend through the large hills, as we pass the Rai and Sherpa villages and make our way towards Lukla along the old Tibetan trading center of Namche Bazaar. Very few hikers and mountaineers travel past the Arun Valley, but those who do so, marvel at the sheer beauty of the mountain villages and the cultures of the Nepali people along with the adventure ahead.
Here comes the next step of the mesmerizing Arun Valley And Gokyo Lake Trek. On reaching Lukla and the Khumbu region, we are greeted with the festival of peaks. On our way north towards Cho Oyu and the border of Tibet, the 8000 m lofty mountains loom over us as we trek through the Sherpa villages. After a tiring journey through the snow-clad regions, we are offered accommodation in a cozy Gokyo lodge, whilst exploring the stunning Gokyo lake and climbing the Gokyo RI.
As we head down towards the splendid eastern trail back to the old Sherpa villages of Phortse and Pangboche, we are introduced with the many gompas along the way and famous among it is the Tengboche Gompa.
We visit the local people; visit the old Sherpa homes while being offered their salt-butter tea.
All of these breathtaking landscapes with a limited number of hikers until Lukla, a glimpse of traditional Nepalese villages with the Himalayas as a backdrop, is more of a delight for hikers. The amazing stay on the shores of Lake Gokyo in the heart of Sherpa homeland is everything one can expect for a perfect Christmas.
Some Insights on Arun Salpa Valley
We embark on our journey through eastern Nepal, in one of Nepal’s many remote outposts, the Tumlingtar. Arun Valley Trek is a picture of green fertile valleys, delightful snow-peaks, traditional mountain villages, and diverse cultures.
The inhabitants residing in the middle hills below Lukla are mainly the Sherpas, who are the tough devout Tibetan Buddhist mountaineers of international reputation. They live mainly in the upper Solu region and are the main inhabitants of the Khumbu region. Their main occupation consists of farming barley, wheat, and potatoes, tending their livestock, visiting their gompas and celebrating many Buddhist and Tibetan / Sherpa festivals along with trekking and climbing the elevated peaks in the Khumbu region.
However, the lives of the Rai’s are different from that of the Sherpas. The Rai tend to live further south, in an organized, clean, fertile villages with lots of opportunities to farm rice, millet, and corn. Appearance-wise they differ from the Sherpas. They do not seem to consist in one place but tend to travel for work, such as joining the army, with many working as tour guides. They also work as cooks or porters.
The Rai, like the Sherpas, are of Tibetan descent but their language consists of a Tibeto-Burmese dialect. Their religion, called Mundum is an ancient form of animism worshipped at home with shamans and holy men (Dhami) practicing the many rituals and ceremonial rites. They are considered some of the oldest inhabitants of Nepal and are of the Kirat ethnic group.