Top Ten Treks in the Nepalese Himalaya

Dolpo and Mustang

North of Nepal's colossal Dhaulagiri Himal and west of the great Kali Gandaki River, the Dolpo and Mustang regions have only recently been open to access by outsiders, although all treks must still be handled by outfitters. As with the roam to Rara Lake, there are few if any conveniences along the trails in Dolpo and Mustang. Which is a good thing. Trekker tea houses would be unfortunate anachronisms in these barren sweeps and verdant valleys, dotted with villages and etched by the hooves of rice-burdened yaks. Neither Dolpo nor Mustang gives you the intense in-the-midst-of-the-mountains feel that the eastern treks do but nor are they packed with the same kinds of crowds. However, as centers of Tibetan Buddhism, they are richly cultural—you will often come across functioning temples, or pass long mani (prayer) walls of stacked carved stones. Prayer flags in the five elemental colors—blue, green, red, yellow and white—flutter from the roofs of many buildings and at the top of every pass, of which there are a few over 16,000 feet. Juphal is the airstrip from which most people begin. Walking east for two weeks will bring you to Jomsom (another airstrip) on the Annapurna Circuit. For the ambitious, well supplied and properly authorized, it is now also possible to hoof it from Pokhara through southern Dolpo.



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