Marpha Village just south of Jomsom offers a calm and pleasant place to rest and recover from Pokhara's or Kathmandu's hustle and bustle. Or, take it as a precursor to trekking. Check out if trekking is something for you by coming here first, stay in relative comfort and take easy day hikes in the surroundings.Marpha is located deep in the canyon...more
Kagbeni is worth a stop for more than just a transit to Muktinath or Upper Mustang. The place and the immediate surroundings are certainly worth a stopover.Short hikes of interest can be had in the immediate surroundings, with good photo opportunities and good learning. Be aware that the no-go-zone/Upper Mustang border is right on the northern edge...more
Across the valley in Jomsom, on the slope on ther "other" side of the airport runway, are the fields and village of Thinigaun. It's on the way to Tilicho and Mesokanto la. The best trail is via Old Jomsom above the army camp and accessed by the main bridge over Kali Gandaki. The main trail eventually reaches just above the fields and to the...more
McYac's for yakburgers!Hey, not kidding, McYac is better than the rightsholder to the original name with the big M soaring into the sky.There are also other tasty bits here and a funny atmosphere. Worth a stop for lunch, snack or even a dinner if you fancy the copycat western food with a twist. Got to be McYac's yakburger, no?more
Given the long transportation distance, fresh juices come as a surprise on the menues in Mustang. Partly assisted by ACAP, bith apple and seabuckthorn are now regularly availalbe to trekkers. How the seabuckthorn (a high-altitude desert bush) juice is made I am not so sure, but the apple juice is made literally by hand, by peeling and grinding...more
Mustang has its disproportionate share of liquor. As a big fruit producer, destillates and wines have been produced from just about anything organic. What remains as successes are the apple and apricot brandies and wines. Both Mustang, Marpha and Tukuche destilleries have their own brands, but the taste is very similar. Marpha is the big town for...more
In most towns and places in Mustang you can rent a horse or mule for your onward journey. The horse can carry you or your baggage. Ther horses in use here are incredibly sure-footed and quite used to novices. A horse comes with a helper of driver. Cost varies, but count on 5-800 per normal walking day routine.Some hotels keep prices of such...more
The flight to and from Jomson (-Pokhara) lasts only 20 minutes or so, bust surely is in the top league of the world's most spectacular flights. You fly in from Pokhara early in the morning. After the strong northerly winds pick up at Jomsom airport about 11-12 pm no flights will take off from Pokhara.The flights cross near the Poon Hill area just...more
If you are planning to go to Jomsom in the Kali Gandaki - for the Muktinath pilgrimage trail or as part of the Circle Annapurna or Upper Mustang treks - ensure you add a buffer day to accomodate delays.Delays are very common, and cancellations are mainly due to unfavourable weather. There may be fog in Pokhara or cloudy or windy in Jomsom. After...more
Mount Kailash Tibetan Souvenir shop deals in - exactly - Tibetan goods. Some newly-made, some apparently a bit old.
The Lady bought an apron and sitting apron and a belt clip for a chuba here and went through an intricate process to get it made in the colors and patterns she wanted. It was all understood and done according to wishes despite limited shared language and time. Good communicators, those Tibetans!
Tamding Tsedup and Mrs. Tseten Lhamo betweeen them run this shop and the White Tara handicraft shop in Marpha.
What to buy: Tibetan art seems to come out of four main sources: the gomba, the clothing, the neck and the kitchen.
Opposed to the sari/saree, the chuba/ Bhakku looks great on clumsy non-South Asian women: Tibetan, Manangi, Mustangi, Sherpa and Lama ladies walk in great strides, too. And it's useful in colder climes and comes in a variety of colors, patterns and fabrics according to your interest. Best place to buy is probably not Jomsom, but Boudhanath in Kathmandu. But this Jomsom shop has some good accessories to the chuba.
The religious stuff is nice if you have an interest, especially in its deeper meaning. A few good items available at the Mount Kailash shop.
Tibetan jewelry is available all over, the turquoise and coral and zi stones in various combinations available also at Mount Kailash.
Kitchenware and implements were much in evidence and some good quality pieces, too; containers and the like.
What to pay: Tibetan goods are generally quite expensive to start with, and not knowing the quality judgement criteria, it's easy to be somewhat fooled. But as long as you like what you got, never mind, there is no need to regret the price. Do some "market research" beforehand if you are looking for something special. Expect the first offer to be a overpriced by a third, generally, and settle for something between.
From at least Jharkot and up there is no meat on the menus and in principle also not served due to the holy site of Muktinath. But you will not miss it either, as the local food served in restaurants, homes and simple eateries is very good and varied. And wholesome, too.
Don't get upset if your flight from Pokhara to Jomsom gets cancelled - or the Jomsom-Pokhara one. Always calculate a buffer day or even two. Don't ever try to fly Jomsom-Pokhara-Kathmandu the same day, or even worse Jomsom-Pokhara-Kathmandu-out of Nepal. I know people who did it by default, but for your own sake, don't.The weather changes...more
When in Mustang do as the following: Don't buy "mineral water", i.e. bottled water, which is discouraged by ACAP. Also the bottled water may not be entirely clean either, even if not tampered with...In lodges and restaurants ask for boiled water ("umaleko paani"); not merely hot water ("taato paani") as it may be warmed up to luke warm only, not...more
If using pack animals and also for the flight into Jomsom, and indeed if you suspect your luggage might be roughly handled, use a strong protective bag to stuff it in. There are various qualities bags, look out for good quality ones. I am using a "Backpacker" "Pro-tective" lockable bag with absolute confidence.more
Bring sturdy hiking shoes or boots. Not the huge, stiff glacier/climbing stuff unless you are keen on this, but fairly lightweight. In this terrain it is necessary to have a bit of a stiff outer sole with a grip such as the vibram make or similar. For hotel/guest house use a pair of chappals will do, or lightweight trainers.more
Once you have decided that you are going to trek in Upper Mustang, The Most Important thing is to pick a good and Reliable Agent to organise your Trek.The temptation is often to go for the cheapest option, But as you have already splashed out $700 for your trekking permit, Therefore in my opinion it makes No Sense to save a few $$ and cut corners...more
Overnight destination – kagbeni (Elevation 2800m)Estimated walking time 4 ½ hoursOur last day was a simple walk back down the Mustang Khola, a reverse of the morning of the 1st day. We were both sad that our Upper Mustang Trek was at a close but both agreed that it had been an Awesome trek and well worth all the money that we had spent to achieve...more
Overnight destination –Chhuksang (Elevation 2950m)Estimated walking time 10 1/2 hoursThe penultimate day of our upper Mustang trek and the one that turned out to be the hardest of all with our final three La’s to cross to the village Chhuksang, This took us over 10 1/2 hours walking so it was dusk when we arrived !! However the path was bye and...more
The Best way to organise an Upper Mustang Trek is through a Local Kathmandu Agent – But pick your agent with Great Care as there are Bad ones out there as well as Good ones !! For my own recommendation of a Trusted and Reliable agent please see the travelogue entitled A Very Important Decision on my Nepal pageBut before you contact an agent you...more
Once you have decided that Upper Mustang is the trek for you, you then have to decide on which “Style” of trekking to choose. This will mainly be dependant on your budget, but also your expectations, fitness levels and experience.No matter which style of trekking you opt for you need a minimum group size of 2 (You can actually go with a group size...more