Day 6: Nuntala - Bupsa
Leaving Nuntala on a clear morning you'll notice the surrounding hills filled with tea bushes. You almost immediately begin a 2 hour descent from 2350 to 1700 meters with spectacular views of the surrounding country side, passing houses and large gardens growing various vegetables and peppers (some drying on the roofs). The landscape really start to open up and on a clear day you can begin to see large Himalayan peaks over 18,000 ft. Passing a bridge, hike uphill about 20-30 minutes before coming to the tiny Rai village of Jubing, where we ate the best Dal Bhat the entire trip. Unfortunately we did not write down the name of the restaurant/lodge however it was the largest lodge in the tiny village and has a separate kitchen across from the main building on the trail. Dining outside you are surrounded by flowers and cats for entertainment. About 15 minutes up from Jubing is Churkha where we sampled fresh Nepali Cucumber before heading over a pass towards Kharikola, about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours from Jubing. The hike towards Kharikola can be quite steep and can be slow going if stuck behind donkey trains but pass them carefully. Looking back you can see plenty of views of the trail in the distance as well as forested mountains. Eventually you reach Kharikola at 2030 meters, a lovely village similar in size to Nuntala but with a friendlier atmosphere. There are several lodging options however you may want to consider pressing on to Bupsa to avoid an extremely steep ascent in the morning. The last part of this stage from Kharikola (2030 meters) to Bupsa (2340 meters) climbs almost 1000 ft in about 1 hour and you will be soaked in sweat by the time you reach Bupsa. Believe me, it is worth the climb at the end of a long day.
Bupsa sits on top of a ridge and has several lodges and tea houses in addition to a Gompa you can visit.