Junbesi Monastery Himalayan Trails :: Big Peaks :: Monasteries Tibetan Monks & Sherpas :: Real Nepal We say "Real Nepal" because most trekkers crowd into a few locations and miss out on seeing the real Nepal, it's people, culture, and of course, some of its great peaks. When you say "I'm going to Nepal” your first thought may be about unbelievably tall mountains, and that would be true. But, while reading about Nepal you've discovered your adventure destination has another "treasure," and that is that for its size Nepal is among the most culturally diverse country on earth. There are 38 separate languages and cultures that include 3 major religions. Nepal includes ridges and valleys that ascend to the snowy summit of Mt. Everest at 29,035 feet, and then descend all the way down to jungle forests only 175 feet above sea level where elephants and tiger reside. Between the jet-stream capped heights and the jungles below are the photogenic terraced fields, rhododendron tree forests, and a very kind and gentle people. Trip Leadership: Nepal will be an extraordinary experience especially so with a great tour leader. Don Messerschmidt, PhD is a Himalayanist, cultural anthropologist, former university professor, prize-winning author, and development specialist. Besides his 40 years of academic and professional background, Don is an exceptional leader of tours and treks. Seemingly around every bend in the trail, Don knows someone; a villager, a monk, or a shop keeper, and this intimate knowledge literally opens doors for your own explorations of Nepal. Check out Dr. Don's Facebook pages (both ‘Don Messerschmidt’ and ‘Don Messerschmidt Publications’) as well as his blogs: ‘Himalayan Snows’, at http://dmesserschmidt.blogspot.com/, and www.LiteraryDogs.com, for more about Don's unique background and life in the Himalayas. The Nepal Himalaya in the fall is the best for experiencing blue "Montana" sky weather. You will find Nepal has high forests and alpine yak and sheep pastures, elaborately terraced fields cascading thousands of feet down the mid-Himalayan hillsides to the lower elevations lush with green jungles with rare and exotic animals and birds. There is so much going on in Nepal that it's a repeatable destination. Kathmandu is both a valley and a city. It's an amazing place where you'll find modern cars moving at 6mph amid cows, bicycles, Hindu sadhu holy men, and children playing in the street. Temples are everywhere, and are intermixed with markets selling fresh vegetables, meats, beetle nut, and flower offerings for the nearby shines. All of these sights are accompanied with a cacophony of sound; cows mooing, honking cars, bicycles dring-dring, kids' laughter, shoppers haggling, and the ring of large brass monastery bells. Kathmandu is an amazing place to visit. Fascinating at first, it's soon time to leave for the quiet and simplicity of walking the time honored trails of the mountains. ~~ Important Detail for Travelers ~~ Arriving into Kathmandu Nepal on Day 1 October 20 may require flying from your home two or more days earlier depending on your choice of flights. You may arrive at any time on ((date)) at the Kathmandu airport (KTM). Travel ends back in Kathmandu on (date), and you may schedule a departure from Kathmandu on that day or any date thereafter. Contact Rusty at Ri Adventure Travel to confirm your dates of travel prior to purchasing your international flights. Let's Go! October 20 Arrive into Kathmandu (4460') The sights and sounds of the Kathmandu Valley will fill your mind and your camera with images to last a lifetime. A saying among those who visit Nepal: "If you drop your camera and the shutter goes off, don't worry, you'll still have a great photo." Pass through immigrations and customs, and you will be met outside the airport building entrance by one of our Sherpa's who will bring you to our hotel in the heart of the city. Freshen up at the hotel and take it easy this afternoon. Let our body-clock and your mind adjust to the new surroundings. We'll have an informal walk this afternoon down through the frequently chaotic winding streets to the heart of Kathmandu to the main market and temple area, or 'durbar'. Photos, sights, and sounds will be bountiful in this old-world city of Hindu's, Buddhists, traders, and hagglers. Bring your camera! We'll reach the King's old Royal Palace surrounded by ancient and medieval temples. The palace and temples are adorned with beautiful wood and stone works in the windows and balconies including the temple of Living Goddess-Kumari. The great festival of Dewali the "Festival of Lights" begins today. There is a bead market, as well as Tibetan carpets, antiques (some are real antiques!), and a trekkers market where you may test your own haggling skills. There is a textile street, a gold street, a pottery and brass street, a spice market, and even a 'dentists' street. Hustle-bustle is going on around you in the streets and temples, and voices in a dozen languages. Kathmandu streets are a chaotic whirl of activity that has an ebb and flow we can enjoy ... for a time. We have chosen a famous restaurant tonight for dinner with a storied history tonight for dinner. At dinner we'll have an orientation about tomorrow and the coming days. ~ airport transfer included for arriving members flights, dinner is included October 21 Kathmandu (4460') Today is a 'flex day', but we're quite busy exploring. Today allows for our body-clocks, (and maybe some lost luggage to catch-up). After a restful night we'll start easy with a great breakfast and then head out for some sightseeing of the Valley and the nearby city of Patan. Patan was a Kingdom in the past and we'll see it's palace and temples. But the real fun is in the alleyways and side streets. This is where we see a thriving Newari life style; the coppersmith masters, the sweets makers, craftsmen, and culture. And a visit to the remarkable Patan Museum where we have a great lunch planned, very special. This afternoon there will be time to sort your gear for the coming adventure and do some personal exploration. ~ half day sightseeing, entrance fees, B, L are included October 22 Kathmandu to Bhandar (7185') We have a full day's drive to reach our remote starting point, so we'll begin with an early breakfast. We'll maneuver through the already busy streets of Kathmandu, past the Newar town of Bhaktapur (a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you may wish to visit after our trek) to our road heading east to Jiri. Along the way we will pass terraces ascending thousands of feet to farms and villages above you, accessible only by small winding trails. As we are travelling west to east to reach Jiri, we cross ridges that descend from the Himalaya south to India. Our driving route follows the Bhote Koshi River up past Tamang ethnic villages, and then alongside the Tama Koshi River to Jiri, where we'll stop for lunch. Jiri has splendid views of the Himalayas and is often called the "Switzerland of Nepal." It is still the starting point for many expeditions into the Mt. Everest region. We'll continue on to the small stone house village of Bhandar where our trek will begin. This evening we'll have panoramic views of the eastern Himalaya including the Gauri-shankar Himalaya and Conservation Area. Travel time about 7 hours. ~ included: transfers, lodging, permits, B,L,D, travel time about 7 hours. * all meals are included through breakfast on Day 12 October 23 Bhandar to Sete (8448') This morning begins, as each morning does, with a wash basin of hot water, hot tea or coffee, and then breakfast. Our Sherpas will soon load up our duffels and gear, and we'll all hit the trail with day packs. Much of today will include forests with a variety of trees, farms, terraces, and small villages. We'll descend from Bhandar through deep forests of pine, oak, and rhododendron trees. We've find a few streams to cross while passing the settlements of Dokharpa and then Baranda. Again, our trail will lead us through quiet forests while winding down to the Surma Khola (khola means river), and then into the Likhu Khola Valley. Along the way we'll find lunch waiting for us either stream side or with a mountain view, or both. After lunch, we ascend up to the small settlement of Kenja. We've another steep ascent to Chimbu, and continuing further we finally reach Sete. ~ lodging at Sete, hiking time 7 hours October 24 Sete to Junbesi (8759') At these moderately high elevations we all sleep well in sleeping bags so when awakened by the call for "Dudh chia memsahib?" we're ready for another day of clean air and bright skies. Today we have a significant uphill hike to Lamjura La pass at 11,581 feet. On the way we'll pass through rich forests of pine, magnolia, maple, birch, and rhododendrons trees (rhode's are more than bushes here, they're trees!). We'll pass by the mountain villages of Dagchu and Goyem. One of the highpoints (literally and figuratively) is Lamjura La pass. The pass is the highest point between Jiri and the Solu-Khumba region, home of the Sherpas. The pass offers a panoramic view of the surrounding green mountains and high snowy peaks. From the pass, and from openings in the forest, you'll enjoy the splendid views of the impressive white south face of Numbur Himal (19,849') and its sister peaks. Numbur Himal is the sacred guardian of the Solu region. In the Sherpa language it is called Shorung Yul Lha – "God of Solu." All around Lamjura La pass is a magnificent old growth rhododendron forest, with thick trees taller than telephone poles. We'll stop at the pass for rest, water, the view, and photography. Descending down the pass we'll reach Traktor Khola and the Sherpa village of Junbesi. By now you will know that when coming upon rock walls of piled mani-stones intricately carved with figures and prayers you'll keep them on your right, as well as when passing the large white chorten shrines, they too stay on your right as per local custom as a sign of respect. The Junbesi Monastery was established in 1635. It is an active teaching/ learning and religious center. We’ll enjoy a great nights dinner; maybe take a hot shower, too! We'll stay three nights in Junbesi to get a feel for local Sherpa village life. Our three nights here will be in a Sherpa-run guesthouse/hotel. ~ hiking time 6 to 7 hours; lodging two nights in Junbesi, meals. October 25 Junbesi (8759') After several days of hiking, we're going to take it easy. After breakfast we'll visit Junbesi and its very impressive Gompa or Monastery. The local monastery is not just a place of worship for Buddhist Sherpa, but it's a learning center for young and older monks. It's also the oldest in Nepal. We will also visit the 16th century Tashi Thongmon Gompa and its spectacular beautiful thankas (Buddhist paintings that tell a parable or story about the Buddha). We'll have a special guide here to take us through the monastery to explain what the rooms are used for as well as the sacred texts we'll be seeing. Nearby is the Hillary School and library (built by Sir Edmund Hillary and his Himalayan Trust). Today and tomorrow you'll learn a lot about Himalayan Buddhism. Today will include free time for "washing socks, enjoying the views, and personal exploration of Junbesi and the surrounding forests. ~ lodging in Junbesi, meals, entrance fees, local guides. October 26 Walk to Mopung Valley and Thubten Chöling Monastery (A longish day, an interesting day and a highlight day not to be missed.) Today we're going walking as there is more of Sherpa life and culture to see and explore. After morning tea and breakfast let's put on daypacks with water, camera, some munchies and go exploring. Nearby is the Mopung Valley, where we find typical Sherpa farms and villages, and great scenery. The Mopung Valley raises barley, wheat, and very tasty potatoes during spring and summer months. Many of the local men also work in tourism, and as climbing guides. This leaves wives and children behind to tend the fields. We'll have a chance to meet Sherpas, visit homes, and observe their agrarian life style. In 1959, Trulshik Rimpoche (a rimpoche is a reincarnated high lama) left Tibet as the Chinese military advanced. His Holiness Trulshik Rimpoche is one of the teachers of the Dalai Lama, and is greatly revered. Escaping Tibet, he came here and established the Thubten Chöling Monastery. Thubten Chöling Monastery (9580') is a traditional Tibetan Buddhist monastery with as many as 700 monks, many of whom are Tibetan refugees. Due to the continuing situation in Tibet, and because Thubten Chöling is the home of His Holiness Trulshik Rinpoche, the monastery community is now an important destination for Tibetans. We have plenty of time this afternoon to visit the monastery, the traditional Sherpa art centre, the nearby Phungboche monastery, and the meditation caves in the valley. ~ lodging in Junbesi, meals, hiking time a few hours October 27 Trek to Taksindu (12,696') It's time to move on, and up into the pine and rhododendron forests. This morning it's prudent for your camera to receive a fresh battery and memory card. After an hour's hiking time, to the north, there will be mesmerizing views of the glaciated Himalaya. (Yes, the weather needs to cooperate, but it's a good bet we'll have some great views.) With Sherpa guides around to lend a hand or point out features along the way we'll continue up the trail to the Sherpa village of Salung down to the Ringmo Khola. Our goal is to follow the route up and across the small pass called Taksindo La before dropping down to Taksindo village. Typically surrounded by Tibetan prayer flags and mani-stones, the monastery is at an elevation of 12696 feet. The trail today is not steep, but is wide and intermixed with forest, farms and many great views. There are teahouses here at Taksindu and we'll be staying the night in one. ~ lodging in Taksindu, meals, hiking time 5 to 6 hours October 28 Taksindu to Chiwang Phedi (9905') From Taksindo, the trail winds down through forest where there is a good chance of seeing wildlife and birds. (Sherpa are Buddhists, and by and large don't kill things.) Descending you may notice the air becoming a bit thicker as you walk through a forest of Chir Pine, oak and rhododendron. The forest will give way occasionally to a farm or extended family village where you may find dudh chia (traditional milk tea) available for the passing traveler. Highland herders bring their cattle by this trail down to Chiwang Phedi during the winter in order to escape the cold, and sometimes the December/January snows high above. ~ lodging in Chiwang Phedi, meals, hiking time 5 hours October 29 Chiwong Monastery and Trek To Phaplu A well deserved sleep-in is in order this morning. We've a three hour walk to reach Phaplu. This is an important district village that has grown into a small town. It is famous for apples and apple based products, as well as it is a well known medical center, with a hospital available to villagers from far and wide. We will have arrived in time for lunch and we've some options depending on weather and conditions. We'll likely visit the famous Phaplu hospital. There is also a nearby ridge top that can afford views of snowy peaks like Numbur, Khatang, and Kerolung himal. It's also not far to reach Saleri village which has a Sherpa market bazaar where haggling is the name of the game. We've come to Phaplu as this is where we'll find both a dirt road and a mountain airstrip. A vehicle reaches Kathmandu in 14 or so hours, and the plane takes about 35 minutes. We're taking the plane. ~ lodging in Phaplu, meals, hiking time about 3 hours October 30 Phaplu to Kathmandu (8100') After a remarkable experience among the Sherpas, inside the monasteries, along the trails and among the Buddhists of the Solu, it’s now time to catch our flight from Phaplu back to Kathmandu. We'll be met in Kathmandu by ground staff and transferred to the hotel. ~ lodging in Kathmandu, transfers, B, D fond farewell dinner, hiking time 5 to 6 hours October 31 Homeward bound or continue your travels You may choose to begin your journey home, or stay in Asia. Optional Fun: See suggestions below. ~ airport transfer for your flight today only, breakfast is included Namaste Important Details :: The Fine Print Nepal is a developing country and though we will do our best to follow the itinerary, there are many reasons why alterations beyond our control may occur. You will find Reservation Form Materials on the Ri Adventure Travel website. Among these materials is your trips Terms And Conditions And Release Of Liability Form for Ri Adventure Travel LLC, please read through them, and ask questions when you have them. Your signature is required for participation in this adventure. Trip Date: October 20 -- October 31 Land Cost: $2750 (4 to 12 travelers) per person double occupancy Single Traveler: $360 Requesting a single is available for the first two travelers Please see Single Option below Your reservation deposit: $400 per person Reserving your adventure Your reservation deposit: $400 per person. Please print the Reservation Application Form; fill it in and mail the form with your deposit. at 888.460.4404 pst Visa, Master/Charge are accepted. If you would like to use a credit card, then we'll add 3% to your deposit and/or balance due. Make your check payable to: Ri Adventure Travel LLC 5700 100th St Sw #330 - 256 Lakewood, WA 98499 Trip balance is due at 70 days prior to departure. If you prefer to use a major credit card, please call us Cancellation Schedule 91 or more days prior to departure, no fee 61 to 90 days prior, the deposit is forfeited. 60 to 31 days prior, 50% of Land Cost is forfeited. 30 days or less, 100% of Land Cost is forfeited. Cancellation notice is based on when it is received in writing by mail or email. What Is Included Experienced trek and cultural leadership of Dr Don Messerschmidt; 4 Kathmandu Airport transfers; 4 hotel nights in Kathmandu. Tourist class private van transfer from Kathmandu to the trailhead. All meals as noted in the itinerary, trekking permits, local government taxes and entry fees, kitchen staff, all entrance fees for monasteries, and museums. Cooking and eating cutlery, local community guest lodging, services of local guides, and portage of your and group gear. What Is Not Included Transportation to and from Nepal; overnight hotels enroute to Nepal, passport and visa requirements, meals not noted in the itinerary, return flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu. Guides’ gratuities; medical immunizations, personal gear (on making your reservation, a PrepToGo information package will be sent to you and includes a suggested gear list, and other documents to aid in your adventure); airport departure taxes, trip evacuation and/or cancellation insurance, items of a personal nature including but not limited to internet cafes, liquor, or laundry fees. Single Traveler If you would like to be a single traveler there is an additional charge of $360. If you are single, but would like to have a roommate, we will assign a same gender roommate, first come, first serve. If there is no roommate available at 60 days of departure we will contact you for the single fee. Should we later find a roommate, we will return those funds to you. There is usually a limit of two singles. If you wish to be a single, we will accommodate you if at all possible. Trip Cancellation Insurance This is a fantastic trip, and it takes place in an exciting and interesting destination, but it's also a significant investment. We highly recommend that all travelers purchase trip cancellation insurance. You have a choice of either simple emergency evacuation and medical coverage or full trip cancellation coverage which also includes emergency evacuation medical coverage. Ri Adventure Travel LLC will be happy to provide advice or get you signed up for your insurance choice. You may purchase trip insurance at RiAdventureTravel.com, click on Reservations, and you may link to the TravelEx Trip Insurance site from there. The Travelex website is user friendly, though if you have questions please call us or Travelex. Trip Rating and Caloric Burn : Level 3 What is an "active adventure?" We enjoy hiking trails, and going into the back-country so as to experience the best features of Nepal. That means the adventure is going to be physically active and medical facilities may be many hours or days away. This adventure in Nepal takes place between 2000 and 11,000 feet with the option of a scramble even higher. There is quality time allowed for most travelers’ bodies to acclimatize. Further information about being at moderate to higher elevations will be sent with your PrepToGo departure information. The CDC is also an excellent resource, as is consulting with your physician. Physical conditioning and consistent exercise prior to the trip is essential. You will be burning calories while exploring temples, negotiating stone trail steps, walking trails that are muddy, and hiking over hilly or uneven terrain, while covering perhaps as much as or more than 8 miles in a day. For a description of Trip Levels and Qualifications, please refer to our website and Reservations page on RiAdventureTravel.com. Options convenient to this trip include 3 days visit to Chitwan National Park and Elephant Safari, dbl: $480 pp Explore Kathmandu at a quiet retreat just 30 minutes from and above the city. $65 per person per day. Call Rusty and we can discuss the options, suggestions and costs. Dr Don Messerschmidt Don is an experienced trip leader with decades of experience. He has literally walked thousands of miles in the Himalaya for work, the Peace Corps, research and fun. You may learn more about Don by visiting his Ri Adventure Travel LLC RiAdventureTravel.com email: [email protected] 888.460.4404 pst RustyHints: http://riadventuretravel.com/rustyblog/ Ri is Tibetan for "high place", a place where prayer flags flutter, a place with a view, a place you would like to sit and enjoy. website http://dmesserschmidt.blogspot.com/, and Don's FB page for finding out more about Nepal and what's happening in the Himalaya today. You've Made Your Reservation, What Happens Next When you reserve your trip with a deposit, we'll promptly send to you an invoice confirming your reservation as well as PrepToGo planning information package that includes; suggested travel logistics, a complete gear list, visa and health information as well as a suggested reading list. Thirty days prior to departure you will receive trip Final Departure documents, last minute hints and common "horse sense" reminders about travel, emergency contact numbers in Nepal, and a trip roster of other travelers joining you on your adventure in the Kingdom of Bhutan. General Information : Traveler Terms and Conditions Once you have made a deposit for a trip, you agree to be bound by all our Terms and Conditions included in the Traveler Terms and Conditions and Release of Liability Form. Please read this information carefully. You will find this form on our website in Reservation Form Materials. Your participation in this active adventure tour is contingent on your signature on the full list of terms and conditions specified in the Reservation Application Form Materials. (RiAdventureTravel.com/forms.pdf). Ready To Go? Asking questions or reserving your tour is easy; just give a ring to Ri Adventure Travel LLC, 888.460.4404. Or fill out the online trip application and mail or email it to [email protected] to confirm availability and your reservation. Ask for Rusty. With 34 years experience throughout Asia and most especially in Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet; he is sure to be an asset to your great adventure. We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today. Welcome to the Solu District of Nepal and the Sherpas Namaste Ri Adventure Travel LLC RiAdventureTravel.com email: [email protected] 888.460.4404 pst RustyHints: http://riadventuretravel.com/rustyblog/ Ri is Tibetan for "high place", a place where prayer flags flutter, a place with a view, a place you would like to sit and enjoy.
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