Culture and Mustang Trekking..25 Days

Trip Introduction

 

Destination : Kathmandu, Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, Nomobuddha, Panauti, Bardia National Park, Lumbini, Pokhara & Jomsom Trek To Kagbeni, Chhuksang, Samar, Geling, Gekar

DAY 01: ARRIVAL IN KATHMANDU

On arrival at Kathmandu Airport you'll be greeted by your driver and taken away to your authentic Nepalese accommodation. When you've freshened up and recovered from your flight, take a stroll around the area to soak up the typical Nepalese atmosphere and find a good spot to eat. Definitely check out one of the many rooftop restaurants Thamel has to offer. Your hotel, located just outside the centre of Kathmandu is full of character and has a beautiful serene courtyard garden.

DAY 02: KATHMANDU

You'll have plenty of time to see Kathmandu with your guide today. Your sightseeing tour will take you to Durbar Square, Pashupatinath, Bouddhanath and Swayambunath. The easiest way to get around town is to take a taxi cab from place to place or to agree on a set price with your taxi driver for a tour of all the sights. Naturally we can also arrange a guided tour for you with an English-speaking guide. Durbar Square is the ideal starting point from where to explore this ancient city. You'll see quite a few inspiring temples here. Take a seat on the steps of one of the many temples and just watch the locals going about their daily activities. You can also visit the temple complexes Swayambunath and Pashupatinath (comparable to Varanasi in India, the most holy Hindu pilgrimage site in Nepal). The Bouddhanath temple, a Tibetan Buddhist monument, is one today's highlights during this Nepal tour itinerary. It's one of the largest stupas in the world. You may feel all temple-out at the end of the day but you'll definitely have a better idea of significant role; religion has in Nepalese daily life.

 

HIMALAYAN SANGRILA TOUR- 24 Nights 25 Days

Destination : Kathmandu, Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, Nomobuddha, Panauti, Bardia National Park, Lumbini, Pokhara & Jomsom Trek To Kagbeni, Chhuksang, Samar, Geling, Gekar

ITINERARY

DAY 01: ARRIVAL IN KATHMANDU

On arrival at Kathmandu Airport you'll be greeted by your driver and taken away to your authentic Nepalese accommodation. When you've freshened up and recovered from your flight, take a stroll around the area to soak up the typical Nepalese atmosphere and find a good spot to eat. Definitely check out one of the many rooftop restaurants Thamel has to offer. Your hotel, located just outside the centre of Kathmandu is full of character and has a beautiful serene courtyard garden.

DAY 02: KATHMANDU

You'll have plenty of time to see Kathmandu with your guide today. Your sightseeing tour will take you to Durbar Square, Pashupatinath, Bouddhanath and Swayambunath. The easiest way to get around town is to take a taxi cab from place to place or to agree on a set price with your taxi driver for a tour of all the sights. Naturally we can also arrange a guided tour for you with an English-speaking guide. Durbar Square is the ideal starting point from where to explore this ancient city. You'll see quite a few inspiring temples here. Take a seat on the steps of one of the many temples and just watch the locals going about their daily activities. You can also visit the temple complexes Swayambunath and Pashupatinath (comparable to Varanasi in India, the most holy Hindu pilgrimage site in Nepal). The Bouddhanath temple, a Tibetan Buddhist monument, is one today's highlights during this Nepal tour itinerary. It's one of the largest stupas in the world. You may feel all temple-out at the end of the day but you'll definitely have a better idea of significant role; religion has in Nepalese daily life.

DAY 03: KATHMANDU to NAGARKOT VIA CHANGUNARAYAN & BHAKTAPUR CITY.

This morning you'll be collected from your hotel in Kathmandu by our driver. Weaving through heavy traffic in the city's congested streets, it will take you about 2 hours to reach the tranquil village of Panauti. From here you'll continue on foot up to the holy site of Namobuddha, which means 'Hail Buddha'. It's one of the most important pilgrimage locations in the valley, particularly for Tibetan Buddhists. The stupas name is linked to one of the 'Jataka' legends recounting the previous lives of Buddha. The many flags and pilgrims dressed in colourful robes create a very vibrant picture as they surround the white dome of the stupa.

After lunch (not included) in one of the small local restaurants, you'll head off on a hike through the countryside to Dhulikhel. Passing through fields, farmland and small villages, you'll get a pretty good idea of rural life in Nepal. Dhulikhel is a beautifully preserved Newari town, made up of traditional stone houses, some of which 4 - 5 stories high. Traditionally they're home to large families of up to 50 people. You'll spend the night in a small hotel with a lovely view of the surrounding mountain ranges which is particularly stunning at sunrise. This is the most challenging and longest day of the trek, but very exciting and rewarding.

DAY 04: NAGARKOT to DHULIKHEL HIKING

After a night in Dhulikel, this Nepal tour itinerary continues to the village of Nagarkot, the highest point in the Kathmandu Valley. It's a lovely 5-hour walk past fertile terraces, if the weather's clear enough, a fabulous view of the mountain ranges can be viewed. It's a vigorous hike that will have you stopping to catch your breath after particularly steep parts. Nagarkot, which lies to the north-east of Bhaktapur and approximately 30km to the east of Kathmandu was once an army base but is now a popular destination for hikers and cyclists. The village offers visitors a breathtaking panoramic view of the Himalayas. The view is simply idyllic at the end of the day when the sun slowly sets behind the horizon, casting a fiery glow in the evening sky. It's possible to jump on a local bus for just a few rupees to cut out a small section of the trek and your guide might suggest this if you are weary.

DAY 05: DULIKHEL –NOMOBUDDHA - PANAUTI & KATHMANDU.

Today the trek continues downhill towards Bhaktapur. Along the way you'll see local farmers at work in the fields. After about a 4-hour descent, you'll reach Bhaktapur. Have a drink and rest your feet on one of the many rooftop terraces available and look out across Durbar Square before setting out to explore the town. Durbar Square is Bhaktapur's central town square. You'll find museums, temples and galleries selling traditional Tankas on the square. Tankas are colourful paintings depicting the life of Buddha and other religious scenes. After having the lunch (not included), you can head out to explore the area on your own. It almost seems as if time has stood still in Bhaktapur. The city is one large open-air museum, especially since large portions of town are pedestrian areas. Throughout the town you'll find plenty of medieval buildings with beautiful wood carvings. In the centre of the square you'll see the 30m-high Nyatapola Temple, the tallest temple in Nepal. We've deliberately planned an overnight stay on the Nepal tour itinerary in Bhaktapur so that you can explore the town outside of peak hours of 11:00 and 15:00. With most of the tourists gone, the town is blanketed in peace and quiet and you get a feel of what the place was like hundreds of years ago. Wandering through the narrow alleyways, you'll pass local women spinning wool at their spinning wheel and threshing rice by hand. You'll spend the night in a small cozy hotel right on Durbar Square.

After a night of blissful sleep, you'll wake up with a hot cup of coffee and a tasty breakfast on your hotel's rooftop overlooking the square. You'll see old men pushing wooden carts and elderly women knitting on the temple steps. Later on in the morning you'll leave the trek and continue on towards Kathmandu. The afternoon is yours to spend exploring Kathmandu. Visit the lively Thamel district to pick up a few souvenirs and maybe end the day with a yak steak on one of the city's many rooftop restaurants.

DAY 06: KATHMANDU – to BARDIA NATIONAL PARK (BY AIR -1 HR) & JEEP DRIVE 3HRS TO PARK.

Travel time is approximately 3 hours by bus or sprivate transportation and approximately 3 hours of rafting. Today you'll be picked up by your private driver early in the morning and taken to Charaundi, where you'll arrive around 11:30. After you arrive you can grab a bite to eat and change your clothes if necessary. All you'll need are a pair of shorts, a t-shirt and some sunscreen. You'll leave the rest of your belongings behind in the car and the driver will take them to where today's rafting adventure ends.

After a brief instruction on the rafting it's time to hoist yourself into your life vest, hop into the rubber raft and make your way downstream. It'll take a few white water rapids to get the hang of effective paddling, so don't expect to stay dry. The Trisuli has a couple of major class 3 rapids, but there are also plenty of calmer stretches where you can gently float along enjoying the scenery of remote river valleys and canyons. After your rafting adventure you'll head on to Chitwan.

DAY 07: BARDIA NATIONAL PARK FULL DAY EXCURSIONS.

Chitwan is at its most beauty at dawn when the golden early morning light seeps across the plains giving it a mystical atmosphere. The river is particularly magical. Working elephants stride through the river, rickety ferries glide to the other side and rhinos graze in the grass. After breakfast you and your guide will hop into a wooden canoe and together you'll sail across the Rapti River past banks lined with sunbathing crocs. After about 30 minutes you'll leave the canoe behind for a jungle walk with your guide. You'll hike along narrow paths through the forests and across plains where the shoulder-high grass seems almost impenetrable. It's a little scary knowing that this grass could be a hiding spot for rhinos, leopards and tigers, but our professional guides know what they're doing. As sweet and harmless as those rhinos may seem, don't underestimate them. Because they have very poor eyesight, they tend to storm into any noise or smell they're not familiar with so it's best to follow your guide's instructions very closely. This afternoon you'll go on safari, perched high on the back of an elephant. You'll share the seat a basket on top of the elephant with a maximum of 3 other travelers. You'll be safe from any large predators hiding away in the bushes. If a rhino dares approach the elephant, it won't be long before the elephant shows him who the boss is with a loud bellowing sound is. It's just the subtle way the gentle grey giant lets the rhinos know he's a little too big for them to mess around with.

DAY 08: BARDIA NATIONAL PARK INCLUDING RAFTING IN KARNALI RIVER.

It's also an important employment project for the locals. You'll also find several tiny workshops where the indigenous and poorest part of the population, the Tharus, make and sell their arts and crafts. There are also plans to build a library, a school and a medical post here. We're therefore very excited to have joined forces with Sapana Village in order to help them make these plans a reality. We run this very special section of the Nepal tour itinerary in partnership with the Tharus, and it's one of our favorite Nepal experiences. You'll start with a relaxing 'elephant bath’, armed with a brush you'll get to work scrubbing off all the dirt. The elephants clearly love all the pampering and rest assured they'll give you a thorough rinse-off with their trunks. Once you've dried off you'll head into the jungle with your guide. You're guaranteed a very warm welcome in the local Tharu village. The Tharus are the indigenous people of this jungle and they are also Buddhist. The Tharu will tell you all about the jungle and their way of life. The fact that you really get the time to get to know these wonderful people is what makes this module so enjoyable. Together you'll prepare the dinner and as the sun sets the fire will be lit, drums and rice wine appear and the party will continue until the early hours.

You'll spend the night in a 'Tharu jungle tower' on the edge of the village (see images at the bottom of the page). The house is built on stilts so don't worry about any jungle wildlife paying you an unexpected visit in the middle of the night. The room we've arranged for this Nepal tour itinerary is basic but comfortable enough and you will soon find yourself lulled to sleep by the sounds of the jungle.

DAY 09: BARDIA NATIONAL PARK TO LUMBINI (BIRTH PLACE OF LORD BUDDHA)

Rise and shine early today so that you don't miss one of Nepal's mesmerizing sunrises. Watch the jungle awaken from shrouds of mist as an orchestra of birds serenade you good morning. You'll have a pretty good chance of seeing wild animals early in the morning. After you say goodbye to the Tharu, you'll hike back to Sapana Village where breakfast will be waiting for you.

You'll arrive in this charming village early in the afternoon. Immediately you'll feel as if you've stepped into a time machine. The streets are narrow and cobbled and lined on both sides with the traditional wooden Newari houses. Curious faces will peek out and as you drive past and the first smiles appear. You'll be dropped off at a warm and inviting mountain hotel where you'll spend 2 nights. The hotel has a colonial atmosphere, a spectacular view and great food to boot. It's surrounded by a wonderfully aromatic pine forest and somewhere among the trees you'll find a pool. Unfortunately it wasn't filled up during our visit, but perhaps you'll have better luck.  

DAY 10: LUMBINI TO PALPA

The following morning you'll be collected from your hotel by an English-speaking guide for a hike to the village of Ramkot. As soon as you leave Bandipur, the hills will become greener and more rugged with patches of steep rocks, cliffs and beautiful terraces. Village children will run after you cheerfully calling out "Namaste". They enjoy having their picture taken with you and giggle when they see their image on the screen of a digital camera. Two hours later you'll arrive in Ramkot. Hiking through the great outdoors guaranteed to create an appetite. Together with your guide you'll search for the perfect picnic spot and your guide will set out a spread of treats for you to eat as you lounge on the grass. As you enjoy your tasty lunch, you'll hear birdsong and the sounds of rural Nepal around you.

After lunch you'll return to Bandipur; you'll arrive at the end of the afternoon. You'll have enough time to go back into the village and explore, but you may just want to curl up on a balcony seat with a good book to enjoy the peace and the view from your guesthouse.

DAY 11: PALPA TO POKHARA

Today you'll travel Bandipur to Pokhara. As you follow the winding road up through the mountains, you'll notice the air getting cooler. Pokhara stands at 885m and you can see the White Mountain peaks getting closer. The scenery gets ever more stunning so stop off to take some pictures - it's a good moment to enjoy a hot cup of tea served by the cheerful local women in the small tea houses along the road. While in Pokhara, you'll enjoy the lovely view of the lake. On a clear day you can see the high mountain peaks glistening in the sun in the distance. There are plenty of options today on the Nepal tour itinerary: rent a boat and paddle out onto the lake, visit a temple or just chill out and enjoy the atmosphere in one of the many local restaurants in this charming lakeside town.   

DAY 12: POKHARA –TO JOMSOM (FLY TO JOMSOM & TREK TO KAGBENI -2780M)

We take the spectacular early morning flight to Jomsom (famous for its apples) where we will meet at the tiny airstrip by our trek crew. After some initial Preparation of loads, we begin our trek to the pretty village of Kagbeni. Just Out, of Jomsom we cross a small suspension bridge and then walk along the Riverbank of the Kali Gandaki. The trail is flat and quite barren, with craggy rocks and sand littering the trail. This makes it very easy going. We will get magnificent views of huge peaks such as Dhaulagiri, Tukuche and Nilgiri, whilst to the south can be seen the entire Annapurna massif. Kagbeni with its narrow alleyways and tunnels, irrigation canals, fields of wheat and barley and large red Gompa, give us a preview of scenes that we would come across in Upper Mustang. At the north end of the village is the police check-post were we will complete our paperwork before entering this long forbidden region of Nepal.

DAY 13: TREK TO CHHUKSANG (2920M)

It is possible to trek right up the river valley, but we use a combination of the High trail and the riverbank pathways. The trail then widens significantly revealing an endless stretch of sand but the path is kept interesting by the Passing of mule trains bearing goods from Mustang and Tibet. On the west Bank of the river are some caves and Gompa Kang. Unlike most monasteries in Upper Mustang which are of the Sakyapa sect, Gompa Kang is of the Nyingmapa sect. We stop for lunch at the village of Tangbe, where we come across the first black, white and red Chortens that typify Upper Mustang. The little town is a labyrinth of narrow alleys among white washed houses, fields of Buck wheat and barley and apple orchards. Nilgiri Peak continues to dominate the southern skyline. Chhuksang village is only about 2hrs walk beyond Tangbe at the confluence of the Narshing Khola and the Kali Gandaki. There are three separate parts to this village and some ruined castle walls on the Surrounding cliffs. Across the river from Chhuksang are some spectacular red eroded cliffs above the mouths of some inaccessible caves.

DAY 14: TREK TO SAMAR (3290M)

There is a distinct change here, not only in the topography, but also in the culture, lifestyle and people, and the settlements become more scattered, smaller and more basic. The people of Lo or Mustang practice agriculture. But due to lack of rain and fertile soil, cultivation is limited to sheltered plots of land. This spots the brown landscape with patches of green. Continuing north, we reach the river. A steel bridge spans the river just in front of a tunnel and north from here the Kali Gandaki becomes impassable by foot. The trek now leaves the valley and climbs steeply up a rocky gully to the village of Chele. Watch out for the ferocious Tibetan mastiffs here, which are chained to many of the houses. From Chele you climb a steep spur and then continue ascending along the side of a spectacular steep canyon to a pass. Beyond the pass we descend on a pleasant trail to Samar, situated in a grove of popular trees. This is a major place to stop for horse and mule caravans.

DAY 15: TREK TO GELING (3440M)

We climb above Samar to a ridge and then descend into a large gorge past a Chorten before entering another valley filled with juniper trees. We then cross a stream and after climbing to a pass, we descend along a ridge to Shyangmochen, a tiny settlement with a few tea shops. Nearby is Rangbyung, a cave containing stalagmites which have formed in the shape of Chorten and one of the holiest places in Mustang. The trail climbs gently from Shyangmochen and we enter another huge valley before descending to Geling, with its extensive fields of barley. Like in all settlements of Mustang, the white and ochre-painted houses in Geling are constructed using mud and stones. The roofs are made of twigs, straw and a mixture of mud and pebbles.

DAY 16: TREK TO GHAMI (3460M)

From Geling, the trail climbs gently through fields, up the center of the valley, passing above the settlement of Tama Gun and an imposing Chorten. We then begin a challenging climb across the head of the valley to the Nyi La [3840m]. The descent from the pass is quite gentle and about half an hour further on we come to a trail junction; the right trail is the direct route to Charang, the left Trail leads to Ghami. Ghami is a large white-washed village sheltered by overhanging cliffs.

DAY 17: TREK TO CHARANG (3490M)

Today’s walk is perhaps through the driest part of Mustang, and much of our energy will be spent negotiating the loose, dry soil. However, the magnificent views of the countryside, from the gentle contours of the north to the rugged mountains in the east and west, more than compensates for the hard climb. Finally, we come to Charang, a large spread-out village at the top of the Charang Chu canyon. At the eastern end of the village are a huge dzong [fortress] and a red gompa which houses an excellent collection of statues and thangkas.

DAY 18: TREK TO LO MANTHANG (3730M)

We will spend part of the morning exploring the interesting village of Charang and its large monastery, before setting out for Lo Manthang. We will climb gently above the valley to a large isolated Chorten that marks the boundary between Charang and Lo Manthang. The trail then broadens and eventually we get our first view of the walled city of Lo Manthang. The city has only one entrance so we circumambulate the wall to the gate on the north-east corner.

DAY 19: IN & AROUND LO MANTHANG

 Today, you are free to explore the fascinating city of Lo Manthang. The city contains about 150 houses, as well as residences for its many lamas. There are four major temples within the city and one of these, Champa Lhakang, contains a huge clay statue of Buddha as well as has elaborate mandalas painted on the walls. The king's palace is an imposing building in the center of the city and is occupied by the current King and Queen. Although his duties are largely ceremonial, the King is respected by the people. Throughout the kingdom, the

villagers continue to seek his advice regarding many issues. It is possible to hire horses to visit these valleys, but this short tour will incur extra costs.

DAY 20: TREK TO LO GEKAR

We begin our return journey from Lo Manthang, taking the upper highland route. This highland route offers dramatic views of Lo Manthang and the Charang Valley, with snow clad peaks in the background. Just past the settlement of Lo Gekar, we reach the oldest monastery in Mustang, the Ghare Gompa.

DAY 21: TREK TO GHAMI (3460M)

We continue our journey on the highland route, crossing alpine meadows before dropping down a steep eroded gully to Dhakmar for lunch. After lunch, we walk through the pretty valley, climb to a ridge and descend from there back to Ghami.

DAY 22: TREK TO CHHUKSANG (2920M)

Now we must retrace our route back over the Nyi La to Chhuksang.

DAY 23: TREK TO JOMSOM (2710M)

It's a long and sad final day, passing back through Kagbeni to Jomsom where we end our trek. It's now time for us to take a nice hot shower. In the evening, we celebrate with the Sherpas and porters, whom we have come to know so well over the last 2 weeks.

 

DAY24: FLY TO KATHMANDU VIA POKHARA

We take a spectacular early morning flight to Kathmandu.

DAY 25: KATHMANDU DEPARTURE

Morning is free for shopping or visits to close by areas. In the noon check out from the hotel & proceed to Kathmandu Airport for the back home journey with sweet memories of your holiday. We will wait for you again and promise to deliver dreams to destinations.

Tour ends... Sweet memories remain!

 

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Personal Details

Trip Information

Price start from : $ 2900

Activities:

`Culture and Trekking

Accommodation:

Tented Camp & Hotel

Trip Duration:

3-4 Weeks

Trip Grade:

Moderate

Altitude:

4500 Meters

Meals:

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Transportation:

Air, Local/Private Transport

Group Size:

2-16 Pax

Best Month:

April to October

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