It is of no wonder that most of the glacier lakes are located above 4,000 meters. But have you ever imagined a glacier lake that is situated at an elevation almost half of the world’s biggest and the highest altitude lake (Tilicho Lake- 4,919 meters)? Yes, you heard it right. Beautifully hidden at an unbelievable altitude of just 2,450 meters, Kahphuche Lake is Nepal’s lowest altitude glacier lake.
About Kahphuche Lake
Kahphuche Lake is a two-day trek from Sikles. This lake was given a local Gurung name as “Kahphuche” in which “Kah” means ice; “Phu” means breakdown of ice and “Che” means the corner. Formed from the continuous avalanche from Mt. Annapurna II, it is Nepal’s lowest altitude glacier Virgin Ice Lake. Prior to 2063 B.S.(2005/06 A.D.), there used to be three small glacier lakes, which later merged together to form the present sized lake.
Less popular than the most visited Gurung villages like Dhampus and Ghandruk, Sikles is another beautiful Gurung village near Pokhara. Lying at an elevation of 2,000 meters, Sikles is just 4 hours’ drive from Pokhara. Gateway to Nepal’s lowest altitude glacier lake (Kahphuche Lake) and Kori Trek (Kori is a hill where locals collect “Yaarshaagumba”), there is quite an interesting story behind its present name. The locals believe that the present name of Sikles has been derived from “Sick Less” which was named by the foreigner who found the atmosphere of this place favorable for health. The actual name of Sikles is “Chili Naasaa”. In Gurung language, “Chili” means a bird called “Gauthali” (Swallow) and “Naasaa” means a village. Back then, these birds used to inhabit in this village.
No. of days: 7 (total 3 days of trekking; we travelled from 17th March-23rd March, 2019)
Best time to travel: Anytime except extreme rainy season
Route: Kathmandu-Pokhara-Sikles-Huku-Kahphuche Lake-Huku-Sikles-Pokhara-Kathmandu
Guide needed: Yes (Most of the guest houses at Sikles provide guide facility. But please ensure the availability of the guide while booking your rooms.)
Is it ok for beginners? YES!!!
Money check: NPR 13,000/- per person (We were 3 of us and did not hurry to reach our destination. Also, did not skip our twice a day “Daal Bhaat” not even once. It was a relaxed trek. You can cut your cost if you reach Sikles on Day 1 and also stay at Huku for just one night. But we recommend you not to rush so that you can enjoy your trek to the fullest.)
Note: Please be informed that all the mentioned prices were as of March 2019 and are subject to change.
DAY 1- Kathmandu to Pokhara (7-8 hours drive or 25 minutes flight)
Reach Pokhara this day either via a tourist bus or a micro bus. Tourist bus leaves Kathmandu at 07:00 while micros leave till afternoon. You can stroll around lakeside and at least go for boating (at Phewa Lake) on this day. If you choose to fly to Pokhara, you can either do a city tour or reach Sikles the same day.
Where to stay: There are plenty hotels (of different stars), lodges and B&B at Lakeside. Depending on your budget, you can choose your accommodation. We stayed at Hotel Romantica (Day 1) and Hotel Cosy (Day 6).
Must try food: If you have been to Pokhara but still have not eaten “Thakali” at Maaili Thakali Bhaanchha Ghar and Airport Thakali, then you have not actually been to Pokhara. Maaili Thakaali is inside the 5th Street (Lakeside) and Airport Thakali is just at the opposite lane of Pokhara Airport. Even if you are not a rice lover, you can still enjoy Continental, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and any other cuisines.
You can indulge in: City sightseeing (Lakeside, Boating, World Peace Stupa, Gupteshwor Mahadev, Davis Fall, Sarangkot, Mahendra Cave, Bat Cave, Bindabaashini Temple, Seti Gorge, International Mountain Museum, Old Pokhara City) and Adventurous activities (Bungee, Zip Line, Paragliding, Ultra Flight).
DAY 2- Pokhara to Sikles (2,000 mtrs/ 4 hours drive)
Take a taxi from Lakeside to Kahu Khola (30 minutes ride) via Amar Singh Chowk. From Kahu Khola, you can get both local bus and jeep (sharing basis or reserved) to Sikles. Sikles is 4 hours’ off road bumpy ride from Kahu Khola. If you intend to do the village tour on this day, then, catch the bus as early as possible. The first bus leaves at 07:30 and the last one at 15:00.
On the way, you can catch the first glimpse of Mt. Annapurna II. You will cross beautiful villages and waterfalls until you finally reach Sikles Bus Stop.
Once you make your way towards the village area, you will be tempted to take out your camera to capture beautiful Gurung houses and Kori Hill (do not mistaken it for Mt. Annapurna or Mt. Lamjung) just in front of you. Also, be prepared to feel special as you will be welcomed by the locals with “Namastey” and smiles on their faces (despite being busy in their chores).
Where to stay: You will find plenty of guest houses and homestays. We stayed at Namastey Guest House (barely 10 minutes’ walk from the bus stop).
What to eat: You can enjoy the most popular Daal Bhaat as well as other continental food in guest houses.
You can indulge in: Village tour, Sikles Eco Museum (you can try on Gurung outfit and take snaps), Sikles View Tower, Maudu Kyufi Temple, ACAP office. If you are lucky, then, you will also be invited by the locals to participate in birthday events or any festive events. We were honored to be the part of “Chauraasi” (84th Birthday) of an elderly Gurung man.
Important phone numbers:
- Kahu Khola Bus Stop: 9846069629 (NPR 300/- per person to Sikles)
- Namaste Guest House: Dhan Gurung aka Maailaa Dai (9846222487)
- Dudhpokhari Restaurant and Lodge: Chet Bahadur Gurung (9846323796)
- Annapurna Guest House: 9846288180
- Purnima Homestay: 9816157692
DAY 3- Sikles to Huku/Hugu/Goth Ghar (2,100 mtrs/ 7 hours trek)
Begin your trek latest by 09:00 so that you can reach today’s stop before dark. Since there is not a single tea house in between, it is highly advised to either have a contented breakfast or “Daal Bhaat”. It is necessary to take a guide along with you because this is a new trekking trail and the trails are confusing and narrow, some of which are landslide areas as well.
Move ahead crossing this beautiful Gurung village and you will reach forest trail from where now there is no human settlement. The first few hours of trek is pretty easy as the trails are straight and wide (neither steep uphill nor steep downhill) and you will find water sources as well. Almost after an hour, you will cross the first and the only suspension bridge (from Sikles to Huku) above Tudi Khola.
Continue your journey until you reach “Khar Baari”, which is an uphill trail and reach the windy place popular among the locals as “Selfie Hill”. The thatches at Kharbaari used to be so tall that previously the trekkers had to cut all those thatches to make their way. Thankfully, the villagers had cut those thatches to ease the trekkers. Still, this is one of the challenging trails as while descending it’s quite a downhill and a wrong step could end you up just below at Madi Khola (almost impossible to rescue immediately). But do not worry. Just believe in yourself and take your steps carefully following your guide. I am sure if I did it, you can also do it.
Almost after two hours from Sikles, you will reach Aedi waterfall and is the last water source. So, make sure to fill your water bottles as for the next 5 hours, you will neither come across any shops nor a water source. Move ahead the landslide area which is another demanding trail because of narrow steep uphill and downhill stairs.
Towards the end of today’s trek, you will be exhausted and you will badly want to reach Huku as fast as possbile. Then, you will be excited to see small huts on the other side of the trail. But you need to pass the third and the final wooden bridge to finally reach Huku. At Huku, there is neither a tea house nor a lodge (and not even a toilet). There is only one “Goth Ghar” (Shepherd’s house) and 3 “Dharmashaalaa” (rest house) where you will spend your nights.
You will enjoy the stunning evening view of Mt. Annapurna II, Mt. Lamjung and Mt. Machhapuchhre. Staying at Huku with minimum amenities is the highlight of this trek. It will give you a lifetime opportunity to experience the real “wild” side of the trek which is entirely outside your comfort zone.
Where to stay: There is only one option i.e., stay at Goth Ghar.
What to eat: You can enjoy the most popular and the most needed “Daal Bhaat” and of course “noodles” for a change. Take some sips of “Kodo ko Raksi” (alcoholic beverage made of millet).
Things to do: Stroll around, bonfire, chit-chat with “Maailaa Dai” and other key persons of Goth Ghar, play with 3 fury friends (guards of 300 goats).
- Accommodation at Huku: NPR 100/- to 250/- per person per day (depends upon either you are just using a space or using tent and sleeping bags)
- Guide facility: NPR 1,500/- per day (to be paid later once you reach Sikles)
DAY 4- Huku to Kahphuche Lake (2,450 mtrs/ 2 hours) to Huku
Begin your trek by 07:00 in order to escape rain on your way back to Huku. After half an hour, you will pass a narrow landslide area (initially you will feel there is no trail at all but as you proceed you will find your way). Even though it is just a few minutes’ walk, be careful when you cross this part.
Now, get some rest at Tower Daandaa (named by the local as it is the only place between Huku and the Lake where there is a phone connection; ps smart phone does not work; only feature phone catches the tower).
The entire trek is through the forest trail comprising uphill (the first half), downhill and narrow paths. Finally, almost after 2 hours, you will reach the stunning lake. You will feel as if the lake was hidden by a dense forest from the rest of the world. You will be astonished and bewitched to find an ice lake in the periphery of the forest area which you have never imagined in your life.
You will be captivated and will feel out of the world by the greenish blue color of the lake in the lap of Mt. Annapurna II. You will feel neither the words nor your lens are enough to explain and capture the beauty of this place. If you are fortunate, then, you will be able to view avalanche and ice blocks floating on the lake.
DAY 5- Huku to Sikles (7 hours)
Use the same route back to Sikles. The route is equally strenuous because of two steep downhill trails (Kharbaari and narrow stairs stated earlier) which will be nerve-wracking for you if you have a height phobia. Be calm and descend slowly. Trust me, you will get through this.
DAY 6- Sikles to Pokhara (4 hours)
You can go for sightseeing (as mentioned in Day 1) or just stroll around Lakeside.
DAY 7- Pokhara to Kathmandu
Even though you are super nostalgic, you will return Kathmandu with wonderful and thrilling memories. I must say this trek is the perfect blend to experience Gurung culture and at the same time off-beaten “wild” forest trail, thrilling landslide routes, and finally, a mesmerizing view of the stunning lake in the lap of gigantic mountain. If time and budget is your major concern but still do not want to compromise on your adventure level, then, GO FOR THIS TREK.