The far western region of Nepal is a largely unexplored, remote area that was the center of the Maoist insurgency from 1994 to 2006. Now that peace has been achieved in Nepal with the fall of the monarchy and the introduction of a constitutional republic, this trek explores some of the most beautiful places in all of Nepal. Nestled in the shadow of Mt. Dhaulagiri, the 7th highest mountain in the world (8,167 meters), it is also the fifth highest in Nepal.
This trek follows the trails used by the then guerillas (many now members of the New Nepali Constitutional Assembly) who hiked and fought in this rugged, but beautiful terrain. The trail starts in Beni, climbs up to Baglung and passes along the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve. The trail turns upward to Rukum and Rolpa, allowing for spectacular views of the high snowcapped peaks of the Dhaulagiri Range.
The traditional way of living for these mountain people has been subsistence farming. Tourism will help to economically uplift these people who have spent centuries living in poverty. The people are very friendly and enjoy visitors who rarely are seen in their part of Nepal. For those who venture into this region, they will discover friendly people, fascinating village life as well as incredible mountain views. Don't be surprised if you never meet another foreigner while trekking in this remote part of western Nepal. The hospitality and beauty are there for you to enjoy to the fullest.
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu
DAY 2 – Fly to Pokhara
DAY 3 – Drive to Beni
DAY 4 – Trek to Takam
DAY 5 – Trek to Lamsung
DAY 6 – Trek to Gurjaghat
DAY 7 – Trek to Dhorpatan
DAY 8 – Trek to Nisi Dhor
DAY 9 – Trek to Tallo Sera
DAY 10 – Trek to Rujhikhola
DAY 11 – Trek to Thabang
DAY 12 – Trek to Jaljala
DAY 13 – Trek to Jelbang
DAY 14 – Trek to Sulichaur
DAY 15 – Drive to Kathmandu
DAY 16 – Departure
DAY 1 – Arrival: Upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, once you pass through immigration you will be met by your representative of Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition and taken to your Three Star Hotel. There will be time to relax, enjoy a welcome drink and have a short briefing on your upcoming trek.
DAY 2 – Fly to Pokhara: It is only a 35 minute flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, flying along the backbone of the mighty Himalayas. Upon arrival, we will check into our Three Star Hotel in Lakeside district which is next to beautiful Phewa Lake. There will be a short sightseeing excursion in Pokhara as you can explore along the lake. In the evening, enjoy dinner and a rest.
DAY 3 – Drive to Beni (830 m): We will travel by private vehicle to the village of Beni, which is a four hour drive from Pokhara. We will spend the night in a local hotel. Plan to get plenty of rest as tomorrow begins the first day of trekking.
DAY 4 – Trek to Takam (elev. 1665 m): Today is uphill as we follow a gravel road for 24 km to the village of Darbang where we will begin our trek. Our destination is Takam, and we will trek for around three hours. We are walking in the shadow of Gurjal Himal, an impressive mountain that will be our companion today. In the evening, we will stay at a local lodge.
DAY 5 – Trek to Lamsung (elev. 2250 m): This is the start of the remote area and the region is much like what Nepal was 50 years ago when there was no such thing as tourism. There is no doubt that you will attract attention by the locals, who will be curious to see you. There will be many friendly smiles and greetings as you may be invited to join them for a cup of tea. The scenery as we gain in elevation becomes more and more impressive as the snowcapped peaks of the Dhaulagiri range come into view. We will spend the night in a local lodge where you will meet local residents who will have plenty of stories to share with you about life during the insurgency. Trekking time today is around 6 hours.
DAY 6 – Trek to Gurjaghat (elev. 3020 m): The journey today travels through thick pine forests where you will startle musk deer grazing. Along the way, encounter beautiful alpine meadows with wildflowers that offer a 180° panoramic view of the mountains. You can clearly see Mt. Dhaulagiri along with all of the Dhaulagiri range as far west as Mt. Churen Himal. We will trek around seven hours before arriving in Gurjaghat to spend the night at a local lodge.
DAY 7 – Trek to Dhorpatan (elev. 2850 m): Our destination is the only hunting preserve in Nepal where many come to hunt. You can easily see Blue Sheep (Bharal) as well as mountain goats along with other wildlife. We will pass by a former Tibetan refugee camp built in the 1950s by the Swiss. We will spend the night at a local lodge. Trekking time is around 5 hours.
DAY 8 – Trek to Nisi Dhor: For the next five hours, we will be passing through the finest area in Nepal for bird watching. Along the way, we will see danphes pheasants and other migratory birds that are often only seen in bird guide books. The scenery is so incredibly beautiful, that you will have a hard time imagining that this was the heart of the insurgency. The land contains a number of cow sheds for use in monsoon season for herders, but these are high pastures that are desolate during the winter months. We will trek five hours today, spending the night in a local lodge at Nisi Dhor.
DAY 9 – Trek to Tallo Sera: This is the place of a former Maoist camp. These are dense forests, which made it difficult for helicopter patrols to spot the insurgents. This is a land of the Magar people and often we can come across a special Magar festival that is happening. The villages and scenery are incredibly beautiful and make for great picture opportunities with the high snowcapped peaks in the background. At Tallo Sera, we will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is around 7 hours.
DAY 10 – Trek to Rujhikhola: This region is inhabited by poor Magars and Dalit (untouchables). These were the people who were attracted to the insurgency as they sought to overthrow the caste system that had kept them economically downcast for centuries. The scenery is beautiful even though the land is very hard to farm. We will trek for around six hours today, spending our night in a local lodge in the village of Rujhikhola.
DAY 11 – Trek to Thabang: This village was flattened by bombs dropped by the government as this place is called "the cradle of the insurgency". Thabang is starting to rebuild following the intense bombing it received. The people are very friendly and welcome visitors to their remote village. We will spend the night in a local lodge in Thabang. Trekking time is 5 hours.
DAY 12 – Trek to Jaljala (elev. 3900 m): Today we reach the highest point in our trek, which is the village of Dharapani at 3900 m/12,795 ft. The views of Mt. Dhaulagiri and the mountain range are incredible from up here as the white peaks pierce the cobalt blue skies of the Himalayas. We will be able to see from Api and Saipal in the west to Dhaulagiri in the east. We will trek for about five hours until we reach our lodge in Jaljala.
DAY 13 – Trek to Jelbang: We begin to drop in elevation today as our journey starts to take us into more small villages. The villages here are composed of mix ethnicity, where you will see a myriad of cultures and traditions. Today's journey is around six hours, and we will stay at a local lodge in Jelbang.
DAY 14 – Trek to Sulichaur: This is the last day of our trek as we make our way toward our destination of Sulichaur. It is a six hour trek through the very heart of the rebel country. These were rebel bases that were under control of the Maoists for most of the 10 year insurgency. We will have the opportunity to eat at commune restaurants that are run by Maoist Cooperatives. The staff is all relatives of those Maoists soldiers killed in the fighting in the mountains. They will have many interesting stories to tell. We will trek today for about six hours before spending the night in a lodge in Sulichaur.
DAY 15 – Drive to Kathmandu: We will drive by private vehicle from Sulichaur to Kathmandu, which takes around 9 – 10 hours. Here we will pass by canyons and mighty rivers as we ascend to Kathmandu. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner and a good hot shower at your three star hotel.
DAY 16 – Departure: All good things must come to an end, and today, it is time to travel to your next destination. Your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can help you to plan your future trip as well as to other destinations around South Asia. Be sure to talk to your representative before leaving Kathmandu about a return trip to this great country. As they say, a lifetime is never enough to explore all that Nepal and the Himalayas have to offer.
Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling to remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health conditions of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc, can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.
THE TREKKING GROUP
For this trek, there will be one leader, an assistant leader (4 trekkers = 1 assistant leader) and Sherpa porters for carrying luggage (2 trekkers = 1 porter). This arrangement ensures that if anyone in the group is sick, the trip can still go ahead as planned. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can run this trek for groups of any size. But, we generally includes maximum of twelve (12) visitors as this company has found this to be the optimum size for a successful trip. However, if you would like to make a group booking for more than twelve people, Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can arrange this, too.
All accommodations for the Guerilla Trek are on a twin sharing basis with inclusive trip costs and based on standard of hygiene, standard of service and food, location, etc. There are two styles of accommodations on this trip. In Kathmandu, we will stay two nights in Three Star Hotels and in Pokhara one night. On the trek, we will stay twelve nights at local lodges and tea houses which do vary in quality. Most contain unheated rooms with wood beds and foam mattresses. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition provides attached rooms in some major towns; however tea houses or lodges in some places only have shared facilities as well as shared toilet. If we are a solo traveler, we may have to share the room with someone else of the same sex. However, some places in Tsum Valley have just one big room where everyone sleeps. Please understand that we will try to provide single rooms if at possible for an additional supplemental fee.
During our trek, we can enjoy typical Nepali food as well as some basic foods from different types of cuisines. While in Kathmandu, we can enjoy a great selection of foods from a variety of ethnic cultures. In the larger villages, we will have good selections, but some of the small villages may only feature a single item for dinner. Lunch will be served as a picnic lunch. There will be a farewell dinner that will feature a cultural show in Kathmandu.