Memorable Journeys through the Highest Passes in the World
At Himalayan Traveller, we organize trekking journeys to exceptional off the beaten path destinations with quality logistics, professional staff and good food to ensure that your trekking journey will remain memorable!
In order to minimise our impacts on the fragile Himalayan ecosystem and to give you the oppoortunity to fully immerse yourself within the cultures and environments that you visit, the expedition groups will always be small.
Mustang Cultural Trek
Duration : 18days
Difficulty : Medium
Max Altitude : Almost 4000m
Accomodation : Hotel/Lodge
Start Date : 31july, 13August 2023
Price per Person: 2485€
Upper Mustang Trek is one of the most beautiful and famous cultural trek in Nepal. Upper Mustang trek in Nepal was officially opened in 1992. Particularly limited numbers of trekkers are only allowed each year. Thus to protect and conserve the local Tibetan tradition and the fragile environment. This trekking offers a very impressive trekking experience with a semi-arid valley. It is located in Mustang district upper corner of deepest gorge Kali Gandaki gorge, Annapurna Circuit. Here, you will trek through a semi- desert landscape with spires and cliff-top villages surrounded by verdant fields. You can enjoy the panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna Dhaulagiri and Damodar mountain range. This region is cold in winter and windy and dusty through the year. Once Upper Mustang known for the Last Forbidden Kingdom because tourists were not allowed to enter this region until 1992. This region is isolated from the rest of the world as it has unique structure of landscapes with traditional Tibetan Buddhism culture and Bon religion at Lubra. On this trek you will explore the hidden world of the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Lo-Manthang and the lifestyle of true mountain residents, who for hundreds of years and little contact with the rest of Nepal. Till 1950, Mustang was a separate kingdom of Buddhist and still recognized as historical capital Lo-Manthang and the Raja, the last king of Mustang has still a home at Lo. Culturally and geographically, Upper Mustang is more similar to Tibet than Nepal and known for desert beauty.
Upper Mustang lying in Leeward side (rain shadow) of Himalayan range, is suitable for trekking even during monsoons and is not so much difficult as the highest approach is almost 4,000mtrs but challenging. Officially, this region is one of Nepal’s restricted area, hence to access into this region, it requires a special trekking permit. Summer, Autumn and Winter are the best seasons to visit Upper Mustang and spending your holiday in upper mustang make your lifetime memorable.
There are some festivals to see in the Upper Mustang. They are:
- Tiji festival and.
- Yartung festival.
- Tiji festival:
This festival is celebrated at Lo-Manthang for three days in the mid-May every year during the full moon. This is a fascinating festival consisting of Tibetan rituals celebrate the myth of a son who had to save the Mustang Kingdom from destruction. This festival is celebrated with performing masked dance dressed on colorful costumes to chase away the evil spirits. Tiji festival is organized by Choedhe Monastery and about 65 monks perform dances.
On the 1st day of the festival, monks perform ‘Tsa Chaam’ dance which tells the story of the birth of ‘Dorje Sonam’-reincarnation of Buddha to a Demon. On second day, the monks perform ‘Ngacham’ dance and Dorje tries to return the Demon to the Buddha realm. And on the third day monks perform ‘Rachham’ dance and banishes the demon from the Mustang.
- Yartung festival:
This festival is celebrated all over Mustang, especially on Lo-Manthang and Muktinath during August and September in every year.This festival is also celebrated for three days with riding horse, drinking and dancing by local Gurung and Thakali people. On the first day, they have the local king’s activities take place, the lamas and monks on second day and local peoples on the third day. Horse riding competition between man and women is the most attractive event on this festival. They use to say Yartung Mela that Yartung means Sumer and Mela means festival and Yartung Mela means to send off the summer. They celebrate this festival at the end of harvesting their crops and stored the cereal at home. The senior respectable priest called Lama, sets the day for celebrating this festival, finding the most auspicious day on their local calendar and keeping in mind the view of completion of the harvesting crops. In fact, this festival for making offerings to Buddha and receive blessings from the village chief as well as senior citizens for an auspicious journey.
The starting and ending point of this trek is Jomsom. On the first day and second day of your arrival in Nepal, you will visit Kathmandu city and prepare for trek. Next day you will fly/drive to Pokhara and roam out around Fewa lake. And the next day, you will fly to Jomsom and start trekking from the following day heading towards Upper Mustang region. Fly between Pokhara and Jomsom saves your time and avoid the arduous bus or jeep journey by land.
- Visit a small Buddhist kingdom that until relatively recently was closed to the outside world.
- Attractive Tibetan-style villages with a strong, well preserved Tibetan culture and intriguing long-abandoned cliff dwellings and ancient cave monasteries.
- A dramatic desert landscape with incredible ‘organ-pipe’ cliffs, set against a backdrop of the mighty snow-capped Himalaya.
- While on trek stay in charming teahouses, small hotels and lodges.
- hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara and a combination of teahouses and lodges on trek.
WHY WAS THE UPPER MUSTANG REGION RESTRICTED?
Upper Mustang Permit Cost in Summary:
Minimum of two trekkers (2clients) is compulsory for any restricted area in Nepal for issuing the special permits. A company and a local staff is must and in no way you can organize any restricted area trek through independent guide or a porter.
- Restricted Permit Cost: $500 per person for 10 days. If longer is required, an additional $50 per day is charged.
- ACAP Permit: $20 per person.
lower and Upper Dolpo trek
Duration : 4 weeks
Difficulty : Medium
Altitude : 5500m if you cross mustang
Accomodation : Camping
Start Date : 31st July/14thAug2023
Price: depends of Lower or upper.€
Dolpo Trek takes you into one of the isolated remote area and restricted region of Nepal which lies in the mid-western region between Dhaulagiri range and the Tibetan Plateau. Stunning massif views of Kanjirowa mountains and beautiful glaciers, rich in Tibetan Buddhism culture that characterized by semi-arid topography with deep canyons. This trekking trail is adventurous in off-the beaten path with amazing landscapes and beautiful sceneries. Dolpo trek was opened in 1989 for foreign visitors for the purpose of trekking tour. Once, the entire district was closed for trekkers when the southern part of Dolpo was opened to organized trekking groups. Due to inaccessible and its isolation, this mystical valley where long forbidden to foreigners. Trek to this region offers a variety of landscapes, traverse through beautiful villages with “Bon po”and Buddhism culture and great people. Majority of people are still practicing ‘Bon Po’ religion and their language are closer to Tibet. This region is also known as “Ba Yul” or the hidden valley. This trek also take us across the old trans Himalayan trade route and offers a Nepal’s crown jewels Shey Phoksundo National Park with the spectacularly beautiful Phoksundo lake, a serene body of water ringed by abrupt mountains and forests that home to some of the Himalayan rare animal species including snow leopard.
Dolpo trek route goes through various traverses of fast flowing rivers, roaring waterfalls, deep river gorges, monasteries, prayer flags, stupas, chortens, mani-walls etc. Lodges and guest houses are still not available so you must arrange for all camping accommodation through registered trekking company. Among many beautiful places in Nepal, Shey Phoksundo Lake (deepest lake) is one of the most beautiful and exotic tourist destination located in Dolpo. Beside this, we will also visit Shey-Gompa (crystal mountain monastery). Expedition into Upper Dolpo is a challenging as the tourism infrastructure is almost non-existent and the organized tour is essential.
We can access into this trip via two different ways. One is flying from Kathmandu- Nepalgunj to a small airstrip Jhuphal another is flying to Pokhara and Jomsom. Trip from Jomsom is more challenging as we have to pass through higher altitudes then from Jhuphal. On this trek, we continue our trip to Upper Dolpo through Lower Dolpo. In Dolpo, we get some opportunities to observe some of the Nepal’s rare animals. Shey Phoksundo National Park is the largest National Park in Nepal. Majority of people in Dolpo rely on agriculture, they grow potatos, wheat, millet, buckwheat, Tibetan barley and their native crops like chino and kagumo. They also involve in animal husbandry as traditional economic activity that signifies the financial status of the family based on the number of animals they own. Yaks, sheeps and goats are the major animals they own. They take all the animals to the highlands for grazing during the summer and bring back to lowlands during the winter.
Trip Highlights of Dolpo trek.
- Adventurous trek to the remote Himalayan region of Nepal.
- Insight into unique Bon and Buddhism culture.
- Visit to the majestic Phoksundo Lake and pristine mountain views.
Phoksumdo (Phug gsum mdo).
Phoksumdo ( Phug gsum mdo ) “the hollow where three rivers meet” refers to the turquoise-colored lake, surrounded by cliffs on three of its sides, whose water flows into the valley through a 150 m high waterfall.
Phoksumdo, a story of communities.
The inhabitants of Phoksumdo belong to a small community, speaking Tibetan and of Bon religion; the two main villages being Tsho (t sho yul ) and Pugmo ( spung mo ). These two communities form the administrative unit called the Phoksumdo Village Development Committee (VDC).
Tsho or Tsho Yul, the “village of the lake” is the local name of the village called Ringmo or Reng on Nepalese maps.
The two villages also form a cultural unit called Reng spung mo whose inhabitants only marry each other, practicing a strict endogamy which notably excludes the inhabitants of Tibetan culture from the villages of the upper Dolpo. This restriction is surprising because, historically, it is possible to trace the origin of some clans of Reng spung mo to scions of Tibetan clans of Dolpo. Likewise the böns gompas of Pugmo, Tsho but also Dho / Tarap and Tsharka are secondary creations of the monastery of Samling, itself a secondary foundation of the Bön monastery of Lubra in Mustang.
Despite the fact that, according to legend, a Bon sage: Drenpa Namkha pacified the region of Pugmo and a Buddhist saint Padmasmabhava did the same in Tsho, the inhabitants of the two villages now follow the rites of the Bon faith.
The belief in gods of the territory ( yul lha) is common and the existing relations between these gods help to unite the two communities.
This unity is reflected in marriage practices but also in the joint participation in festivals intended to honor the yul lha , in pilgrimages (Lama Chumik and Jagdul), in the existence of a specific dialect (Phoksumdo-ke) differing largely dialects spoken in the villages of upper Dolpo, further north.
Initially this area was populated successively by members of several Tibetan clans from Tibet, Mustang and western Nepal. These different migrations gradually united to form a religious, economic entity differentiating itself from the neighboring populations.
According to oral tradition, the valley where Pugmo is located was visited for the first time by the sage Bönpo Drenpa Namkha . Riding a ray of sunshine, he applied himself to defeating the local gods, demons and spirits ( yul sa, sadak, gzhi bdak etc.) inhabiting the mountains, valleys, rivers and forests of the region by transforming them into protectors of the Bönpo doctrine.
Bon or Buddhism, Matri or Mani, from the right or from the left?
This text by Etienne Principaud “enlightens” us on the complexity of a striking element of the sacred landscape of the Tibetan cultural sphere, the walls of Mani (which can therefore be walls of Matri )
Bon and Buddhism at Dolpo.
The coexistence between Bonpos and Buddhists in Dolpo is reflected in the sacred landscape of the villages.
The chörtens and matri walls built by the bönpos must thus be bypassed on the right, while the mani walls belonging to the Buddhist religion must be bypassed on the left .
Beware of errors of meaning when crossing the villages!
If one wants to look carefully at the mantras engraved on the stones of the walls, it is possible to define their belonging.
The most important mantra of the Buddhist religion is the famous “Om mani pèmé hung”
This is the six syllable mantra of the boddhisatva of compassion Avalokitesvara (Chenrezi) .
It is easily recognizable.
Its translation roughly means “homage to the jewel of the lotus” and more precisely “the jewel in the lotus” .
Each of its six syllables called bija, symbolizes one of the domains or kingdoms of existence, from the paradises of the devas to the hell. It is therefore to the entire universe that the practitioner sends his compassion.
The most famous mantra of the Bon religion is ” om ma tri mu ye sa le dhu “.
Om represents Tonpa Shenrab, the founder of Bön.
In Bonpo representations, the syllable Om is five colors corresponding to the five wisdoms and the five elements.
Ma represents Sherab Chamma, the loving mother, female counterpart of Tonpa Shenrab. Ma also symbolizes clarity and wisdom and Om symbolizes emptiness and method.
From the union of the two emanates the following six seed syllables symbolizing the Buddhas of the six realms of existence. Together also defined under the name of the six teachers of the discipline Dulwa Shen Drug represented in the center of the “wheels of life” bönpos.
Lower and Upper Dolpo, Means of transport used in Nepal.
Dolpo is a difficult region to access, unless you have several extra weeks to travel on foot from Darbang to Dunai via Dhorpatan and the Jangla Pass. And despite the progress of the Nepalese road network which is progressing slowly towards Dunai and towards Dho.
But the road (in reality, a more or less rough track depending on the season!) Will only make the organization of the logistics a little easier for the Nepalese team.
For us, the duration of the journey but especially the discomfort of the bus trip, causes too much fatigue for a start to a stay at altitude. Which is incompatible with good acclimatization.
And I’m not even talking about the anguish when the bus wheel passes 10 cm from a precipice, on an unstable shoulder.
The use of domestic air flights remains the most relevant solution ( not to say compulsory ).
Obviously there are meteorological hazards because these are small mountain airfields requiring visual flight, and for that we have planned extra days, “of safety”.
Manaslu Circuit Trek
Duration : 3 weeks
Difficulty : Medium
Max Altitude: 5160m
Start Date: 7th May 2023
Price per Person: 1985 €
Manaslu circuit is located in Central of Nepal and was opened to trekkers only in 1991. But lots of mountaineering expedition teams had access for long time. In 1950 a group headed by H.W. Tilman trekked this area for the first time and ever since then this area has been quite popular. This area is still restricted to a limited number of groups. this Trek is one of the most enjoyable and energetic trek in the Himalayan region. It ranges in the remote area of Nepal and has endless stunning mountain views, hills, waterfalls forests and landscapes. This area is less crowded than other well known trekking routes like Khumbu (Everest side) or Annapurna region.
Manaslu Circuit Trek starts from very low altitude around 675m Sotikhola along the Budhi Gandaki River gorge and slowly ascend up till the Larkya La pass and Larkya La pass is the highest point in this trek (5160m) with excellent penoramic views of Himlung Himal, Kangaru Himal, Annapurna 2 and Cheo Himal and more. After Larkya La pass you will trek in descent way till Kathmandu city. On this trek you will experience amazing Tibetan culture with different casts, ethnic groups and tradition.
In this trek you will get an opportunity to see some endangered wild animals like Thar, Blue sheep, Himalayan Musk deer and more. And experience the eight highest mountain in the world.
It requires compulsory three of permit, Manaslu, Annapurna and special Permit to do this trek because it lies in the restricted region of Nepal.
Accmodation on this trek will be in teahouses and lodges run by local people . Most of the tea houses and lodges are of basic standards but comfortable having two single beds in each room.
Some Tips to make this trek more enjoyable:
- Start your trek as early as you can so that you can enjoy cloudless views.
- Walk for 5/6 hours and relax after lunch onwards.
- Starting early in the morning creates more time on your hand and you will have the time to wander around villages, write your diary, chit-chat with locals as well as do smaller trips .
Tsum Valley Trek is situated in the northen Gorkha close to Manaslu region. This trek leads to the remote and restricted area of Nepal. Tsum vally trek was restricted until 2008 but still requires a special permit from government to enter this area. This valley is one of the Buddhist pilgrimage sites having different ancient art, culture and religion filled with full of natural beauties, landscapes and cultural values. Most of the local people are originated from Tibetan and speaks their own dialects. You can experience amazing view of Ganesh Himal, Shringi Himal, Boudha Himal and other himalayan ranges. This area is rich in biodiversity. You can see some endangered wild animals like blue sheep, Thar, deer and more.
This trek starts 7 hours drive to Arughat from Kathmandu and trek along the Budi Gandaki River exploring beautiful sceneries on the way with stunning mountain views. We can see many Buddhist monastries, prayer flags and Manis on the wall which indicates the Buddhist culture. We will also cross many villages and suspension bridge on the way. We will visit some monasteries like Rachen Gumpa, Mu Gumpa and Dephyudonma Gumpa etc. And on the following day, we reach Arughat and drive back to Kathmandu.