Out-of-bounds trekking in Nepal

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Nepal trek (Photo: Steve Razzetti)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on October 8, 2007. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: adventure travel, arts and culture, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chile and Easter Island, eco travel, Greenland, Jordan, Laos, Molly Feltner, mountain, Nepal, Peru, Tanzania, Thailand, Utah, wildlife.

Provider: Wilderness Trekking
Length: 22 days
Price: $2,750

With the political climate in Nepal finally settling down after years of unrest, trekkers have returned to popular hiking routes like the spectacular Mt. Everest Base Camp and Annapurna treks. However, during Nepal's troubles, other regions of the country previously closed to outsiders quietly opened, inviting intrepid trekkers to experience little-known corners of the Himalayas where the views and culture are also stunning and still largely unchanged by tourism.

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This spring, Mick Bromley, renowned Himalayan guide and owner of Wilderness Trekking, will lead a trek through the recently opened Nar and Phu Valleys of Nepal, home to rarely visited Tibetan Buddhist villages. "The Nar and Phu Valley trek offers people a much wilder feel [than more popular Nepal treks], a sense of real exploration, and a much greater personal experience," says Bromley. "The landscape is truly bizarre, combining amazing rock formations and canyons, while still offering the massive mountain views of Himalayan giants people expect from a trek in Nepal." Further, says Bromley, "The villages and people of this region have not changed under the pressure of tourism."

On this trip, you'll spend 18 days on the trail, walking up to eight hours a day, and reaching elevations of up to 17,192 feet. The first few days start on the traditional Annapurna trek, but then you'll turn off into the Nar and Phu Valleys, areas where life for inhabitants remains has changed little since they migrated there from Tibet nearly 600 years ago. Conditions permitting, you'll also venture to one of the highest lakes on earth, Tilicho Lake. "Like the Valleys of Nar and Phu, the Tilicho region was restricted until recent times and few trekkers have experienced the magic of its landscape," says Bromley.

Trip planning

This trip departs April 26. Bromely is also offering a similar extended-length trip in the fall, departing on October 12. In addition to the Nar and Phu valleys, this 34-day trip journeys around remote Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world. Trip costs are all-inclusive, covering accommodations, meals, guides and porters, trekking and sightseeing, and ground transportation. Part of the price also covers carbon offsets and a donation to nonprofit groups working in the area. Flights are not included. Round-trip fares from Los Angeles to Kathmandu this coming spring start at $1,115 on Singapore Airlines, excluding taxes.

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