(The Perfect Monsoon Season Holiday)
Deep In the heart of the Annapurna Mountains is an ancient temple where the five elements of fire, water, air, earth and wind unite and are purified as the sacred flame burns constantly. This is a land where an ancient kingdom ruled over the trade route between Nepal and Tibet as black salt and gold move southward along the Kali Gandaki River Valley.
The village of Jomsom was the ancient capital. Surrounded by the stark white snowcapped peaks of the Himalayas, it is a beautiful as well as fascinating place.
Amazingly enough this trek is ideal to do year around, including during the monsoon season! It is far enough north of the monsoon rains that Jomsom gets a minimal amount of rains. There are numerous gumbas (Buddhist monasteries) in the area.
The temple at Muktinath is a synergy of Hinduism and Buddhism, and the place has been sacred long before the introduction of Buddhism over two centuries ago. The ancient Bön religion saw this place as sacred because of its eternal flame that has burned non-stop for thousands of years.
The Kali Gandaki River cuts the world's deepest gorge between the great peaks of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna I. This sacred river flows out of the Annapurnas southward toward India where its waters eventually merge with the sacred Ganges River. There are interesting villages, ancient temples, and old forts. No matter where you are traveling on this trek, the snowcapped peaks keep watch over you. There is breathtaking scenery at every turn as you become steeped in ancient culture spiced deep in the local spirituality.
Day 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu (elev. 1340 m)
Day 2 – Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara (820 m). Spend day sightseeing in Pokhara.
Day 3 – Fly to Jomsom (elev. 2710) and trek to Marpha (elev. 2670 m) via Dhumpha Lake and Thini Village. Trekking time 3 – 4 hours.
Day 4 – Trek to Kagbeni (elev. 2800 m) – 5 – 6 hours.
Day 5 – Trek to Muktinath (elev. 3800 m) – 4 – 5 hours
Day 6 – Trek to Jomsom (2710 m) via Lupra Village (2790 m) 5 -6 hours.
Day 7 – Flight to Pokhara and transfer to hotel.
Day 8 – Buffer day for flight cancellation and bad weather. Use day for sightseeing in Pokhara*
Day 9 – Fly to Kathmandu, and then departure.
*Weather in the mountains can sometimes be unpredictable, so it is best to allow a day of grace for departure in order to maintain schedule.
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu (elev. 1340 m) – Upon your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be greeted by an official representative of Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition who will take you by private vehicle to your Three Star Hotel. Arrive to relax to welcome drinks and receive a short briefing on your upcoming trek.
DAY 2 – Fly to Pokhara (elev. 820 m) – It is an early, but incredibly scenic flight to the lakeside mountain city of Pokhara. The flight literally flies the backbone of the mighty Himalayas, passing the spectacular peaks of the Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Manaslu and Annapurna Ranges. The flight only takes 25 minutes, and gets you to the city with plenty of time to check into your Three Star Hotel and to allow you do some sightseeing. During the flight, try to sit on the right-hand side for the best views of the mountains. In Pokhara, there is plenty to see and do when in Pokhara, so plan to enjoy the day.
DAY 3 – Fly to Jomsom (elev. 2710 m) Trek to Marpha (elev. 2670 m). The day begins early with a 40 minute flight from Pokhara to the ancient trade city of Jomsom. Breakfast will be in Jomsom and then we will begin the trek, passing through the large Thakali village of Thini which takes about one hour. After Thini, we pass the mountain lake of Dhumpha and we will see Catsapterenga Gompa (Buddhist monastery). We will have the opportunity to visit this important monastery before continuing on our trek to the village of Marpha. En route we cross a suspension bridge over the Kali Gandaki River at Syang. Marpha is the apple capital of Nepal, noted for its famously delicious apples as well as a special kind of apple brandy made there. We will have lunch and dinner in Marpha where we will spend the night at a local lodge. During the day, we will visit the ancient monastery at Marpha.
DAY 4 – Trek to Kagbeni (elev. 2800 m) – Today's trek will take us through old growth forests on a semi-level trail for 1 ½ hours until we reach Jomsom. The trail follows along the bank of the Kali Gandaki River with a destination being the village of Ektebatti. The trek takes about 2 ½ hours as you look down at the river which continues to cut its deep gorge. There are great views of the mountains along the way. You can feel the shadows of Mt. Dhaulagiri and Annapurna I along the way. Lunch will be along the trail, and there will be an opportunity to visit a 1000 year old Gompa that is a landmark with its red paint. We will spend the night in Kagbeni village at a local lodge. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 5 – Trek to Muktinath (elev. 3800 m) – It is an easy ascent for the first three hours as we climb upward to Dzong Khola. As we gain elevation, more and more snowcapped peaks appear above us, including Thorong Peak, Yakgawa Khang and others. There are more Buddhist monasteries along the way, including the ancient Sakya-Pa Sect. This area is steeped deeply in traditional Tibetan Buddhism, and you will notice the strong influence of the ancient Bön religion in the religious artwork. After lunch, we trek another two hours until we finally reach the sacred temple of Muktinath. The temple contains 108 sacred brass water spouts and is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, the author of the cycle of life and death. It is believed that by visiting this temple, you are free of the cycle of rebirth. There are several Buddhist monasteries around Muktinath we can visit as well as enjoying the views of Mt. Nilgiri Himal and Dhaulagiri. We will spend the night at a local lodge. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours).
DAY 6 – Trek to Jomsom (elev. 2710 m) – The morning takes us gently uphill as we make our way to the village of Lupra (elev. 2790 m) which will afford us some of the finest views of the Annapurna Mountains. From here, the snowcapped peaks will stand in brilliant contrast to the indigo blue skies. Here we can see the snowcapped peaks of Mt. Dhaulagiri (7th highest mountain in the world), Tukuche Peak, Nilgiri Peak, Tilicho Peak along with many more mountains. From here the trail descends down toward the Panda Khola, walking along the riverbank. Lupra village is one of the oldest settlements in the region and its monastery is said to have been founded in the 11th century by Lupragpa, a famous Bön Master. We will be one of the few tourists that will be visiting this place as it is considered "off the beaten path". Even the local people rarely visit this famous place. It is one of the oldest Bön-Po monasteries in the region. Here we have lunch in the village. Following lunch, we trek along the river for an hour. Our path then joins up with the Kali Gandaki River as we wind our way back to Jomsom. We will spend the night in Jomsom, with total trekking time around 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 7 – Jomsom to Pokhara by flight – We plan to leave early morning for Pokhara via our 25 minute flight. Once we arrive in Pokhara, we will take you to your 3-Star Hotel where you can relax or do some sightseeing. There is plenty to see and do in Pokhara, including visiting the World Peace Pagoda that overlooks the city, Phewa Lake and the Annapurna Mountains. This would be a great time to do some boating on Phewa Lake where the snowcapped peaks reflect in its blue waters.
DAY 8 – Buffer Day – Weather can sometimes be unpredictable around Jomsom, and this day is set aside as an alternative day to return from Jomsom to Pokhara. If all goes according to schedule, plan to spend the day continuing to sight-see and relax. There is Devi Falls, caves and more to explore. There is great shopping in Lakeside, which is popular with visitors. Whatever you do today, you will find Pokhara a great place to stop and enjoy.
DAY 9 – Departure to Kathmandu and Beyond – Today, fly back to Kathmandu. Be sure to get a seat on the left hand side of the plane in order to see the mountains as you return to Nepal's capital. From here, you can either choose to spend some time in the Kathmandu Valley or connect to your next destination. Whatever you choose, be sure to talk to your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Treks & Expeditions about other vacation possibilities in Nepal. Your representative can give you a wide choice to choose from, including jungle safaris and more.
Your safety is of paramount importance 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 in remote mountain regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not be forced to make last minute changes due to weather conditions, health conditions or any member of the group, unexpected natural disasters, etc. The team leader will do everything possible to ensure that the trip runs according to plan. Be prepared for any last minute changes. The Himalayas are big and wild, and worthy of your respect.
For the Jomsom-Muktinath Family Lodge Trek, there will be a trek 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 on as planned. However, Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can run this trek for groups of any size. Usually, we have found that the maximum number of trekkers in any group is 12 people.
All accommodations for the Jomsom-Muktinath Family Lodge Trek are on twin-sharing basis. The lodges and tea houses have been selected by Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition after personal inspection. We look at the conditions of the inns, local hygiene, quality of food, type of service and more.
We offer two types of accommodations on this trek. In Kathmandu you will stay one night at a Three Star Hotel and three nights on Pokhara. As there are no Three Star Hotels available on the trek, you will spend four nights in standard tea houses. These places have pleasant, unheated rooms and wooden beds with foam mattresses.
All rooms are double occupancy, but you can request a single occupancy room for an additional fee, which will be available only during the trekking. However, sometimes single rooms are not available in some places, depending upon local conditions. We do work to provide the best possible options when trekking in the High Himalayas.
Food will vary between typical Nepali in the mountains. In Kathmandu and Pokhara, there are far more choices, which include Indian, Continental, Italian, Tibetan and more. The city areas offer everything from good steaks and burgers to apple pie and pizza.
Nepali food is nutritious, and ranges from our traditional dal/bhat and momo to fantastic breads, fruits and more. The cooking is wholesome and the food is tasty.
The trek does include a farewell dinner where you will experience a cultural show with music, dance and the finest of local foods. There is also a daily breakfast in hotels and on the trail.
Dear Ashta and Kishan Currently waiting at Kathmandu airport for my delayed flight to Dhaka so thought I would use the time and free Wi-Fi to send m..2011-08-20 more