In 2011 a new trekking trail was inaugurated in Nepal; the “Indigenous People’s Trail”. It displays the traditional lives of the different ethnic groups in the area through homestays as well as through presentations by the local people in the villages, showing their everyday life which contains shamanism, mask dances, and magic. It was hoped that the visitors’ interest in the culture would stimulate the maintenance of the heritage and preservation of the local traditions. Unfortunately, tourism never really took off on the trail. Today we are happy to invite you to participate in this extraordinary experience, and we hope that you would like to join us! During 17 days we meet many ethnic groups, like Thami, Tamang, Newar, and Majhi, and we cross beautiful green areas, as well as arid landscapes above the tree line.
- Day 1: Bhaktapur and Nala monastery - Decorated temples and ceremonies.
- Day 2: Namobuddha - a permaculture homestay
- Day 3: Namobuddha - One of Nepal’s most important pilgrimage sites
- Day 4: Mirge - your home in Nepal!
- Day 5: Full day in Mirge, visit a school and get to know your staff.
- Day 6: Holy pilgrimage site of Hinduism and views over Himalaya.
- Day 7: Dhunge - the starting point of our trek.
- Day 8: Kholakharka and Sailung - a hundred hills.
- Day 9: Surkhe - stay with a Newari family.
- Day 10: Tinghare - Thami culture and shamanism.
- Day 11: Doramba - a reminder from the civil war.
- Day 12: Dhongma - Buddhist mask dance by the village lamas
- Day 13: Lubughat – a fisherman village by the river
- Day 14: Boudha - the Tibetan Buddhism area of Kathmandu
- Day 15: Rituals and religion in Kathmandu
- Day 16: Departure
Day 1: Bhaktapur and Nala monastery - Decorated temples and ceremonies.
We start our journey by car from Kathmandu to the old city of Bhaktapur where we make a city walk to admire the four squares which today are world heritage sites. Bhaktapur is famous for its pottery art and its beautiful architecture. We stay for the night at a guesthouse with a view over the old city. (L/D)
Day 2: Namobuddha - a permaculture homestay
In the morning we visit the richly decorated Dhagpo Sheydrub Ling Buddhist monastery in Nala to see the temple and have lunch together with the 150 lamas living here. We continue to drive for another 3 hours to a homestay in Namobuddha. It is run by a Brahmin family who are working to develop permaculture in Nepal. They have an amazing garden and the food is organic, home cooked and really great! We spend the evening relaxing in the beautiful surroundings. (B/L/D)
Day 3: Namobuddha - One of Nepal’s most important pilgrimage sites
After breakfast we go to explore the area. Namobuddha is one of Nepal’s most important pilgrimage sites, and it is said that Buddha in an earlier incarnation fed his own body to a starving tigress and her cubs here. We visit the square with the stupa said to contain the relics from him, as well as the large beautiful monastery on top of the hill, Thrangu Tashi Yangtse. We also have lunch at the square by the stupa. In the afternoon we walk back to our homestay to stay yet another night before continuing our journey. (B/L/D)
Day 4: Mirge - your home in Nepal!
Early morning we start our drive to Mirge. This is the start of our journey into “real Nepal”. The drive takes around 6 hours. We drive 2 hours along the Araniko highway, which continues all the way to the Tibetan border, crossing local bazaars where goods imported from Tibet are being sold at cheap prices. After that we turn eastwards, towards the Everest region. We cross big rivers in a spectacular landscape of green hills and valleys. A drive in Nepal is an experience in itself with people using the streets as their backyards and along the way we can observe various activities. Mirge is a Tamang village and the home village of Beyond Borders Ethical Adventures’ staff and founders. They are all eager to show their village to you! Foreigners are a rare sight in the village and people will be very happy to see you! We stay in the homes of our staff who will come with you on your upcoming trek. (B/L/D)
Day 5: Full day in Mirge, visit a school and get to know your staff.
Today we visit both the private and the government schools of the village to get an idea of the education system of rural Nepal, and we make a 3-4 hours long walk around the area. We will see people working in their fields and with their animals. It is a green area and people live a traditional lifestyle. You will visit during the rice harvest season, which is a happy occasion. The Tamang ethnic group origins from Tibet and practice a mix of Buddhism and shamanism. (B/L/D)
Day 6: Kalinchowk - Holy pilgrimage site of Hinduism and views over Himalaya.
We start off from Mirge early morning to drive to the famous Hindu pilgrimage site Kalinchowk. We make a stop in the nunnery Dechhen Chöeling monastery where we have tea and biscuits with the nuns and see their small temple. From here we continue uphill to the small village of Kuri. From here there is a new cable car bringing visitors up to the holiest place in the area, the Kalinchowk Bhagawati temple, situated 3790 meters above sea level. From here we have a wonderful view over Dorje Lakhpa, Jugal Himal, Ama Dablam, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Gaurishankar, and many other mountains. People come to worship the goddess Kali and the temple is visited by many pilgrims every day. However, very few non-Hindu visitors find their way here.
We stay overnight at the nicest hotel in Kuri and we spend the evening preparing for the trek which is starting tomorrow. (B/L/D)
Day 7: Dhunge - the starting point of our trek.
We go by local 4×4 jeeps to Mude Deurali, the starting point of our trek, a drive of about 2 hours. From here we start our walk which today is not too long. We make a relatively easy walk for around 3 hours in the forest to Dhunge. In Dhunge we stay in a simple homestay and we spend the evening seeing the village and resting for tomorrow. (B/L/D)
Day 8: Kholakharka and Sailung - a hundred hills.
We eat breakfast in Dhunge and begin the trek up to Thulo Sailung, a three-hour ascent. We make a tea break in Kalopani after an hour. From here the uphill will be slightly less steep. Sailung means “100 hills” in the Tamang language, and it does really live up to its name. It consists of many grassy rolling hillocks, a very special landscape.
Sailung offers with its 3147 meters above sea level, yet another stunning view over Kalinchowk and on to Annapurna, Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Rolwaling, Everest, and Kanchenjunga. If we have a look to our south, we see the Sun Koshi river, and further all the way down to Nepal’s lowlands. Thulo Sailung is regarded by the Tamang people as the home of their main deity, Sailung Phoi Sibda Karpo, and of their ancestors, and thus it is a very fortunate place to stay. It is said that the area is home to as many as 130 different medicinal plants.
After walking half an hour downhill, we reach the village Kholakharka (2950 m.) where we spend the night in the “Khola Kharka Community Lodge” run by a local Tamang family. The village of Kholakharka did not yet get electricity and the main income comes from yak breeding. (B/L/D)
Day 9: Surkhe - stay with a Newari family.
We continue one hour downhill to a Buddhist monastery named Rajveer (2640 m.) run by three nuns, where we have a tea break and small talk. The temple collapsed in the earthquake, but they are in full swing to build a new one. After 1.5 hours we stop for lunch in the Tamang village Dadua Palate. During the day we pass monasteries, temples, mani stones, chortens, and prayer flags. The trail is running through a forest with many different species of trees and birds and is fairly steep and we thank our assistant guides for holding our hands on steep descents. From Dadua Palate, we have an hour and 15 minutes to Patale (2100 m above sea level), which is a nice, large village with two monasteries and rough paths down the hillside. Once down by the river Bhute Khola, we cross a suspension bridge (1745 meters above sea level) and the landscape is scenic. From here we have an hour uphill along beautiful terrace farms, to today’s goal; the village of Surkhe. Here we stay with families of the ethnic group Newar, which offers an opportunity for those who want to try the homemade “raksi” spirit. (B/L/D)
Day 10: Tinghare - Thami culture and shamanism.
In the morning people from Thami ethnic group welcome us to their village, Tinghare, some 25 minutes away from Surkhe. The Thami people, who are about to disappear due to their small population, are following animistic traditions and speak their own Tibeto-Burmese language. They are proud of their traditions and very happy when people are interested in knowing about them. When we leave the village, we will have received a great understanding of their very unique traditions. (B/L/D)
Day 11: Doramba - a reminder from the civil war.
From Surkhe we again take another road that offers many beautiful views of hills and valleys along our 5 hours hike to Doramba Bazaar (2054 m above sea level). It is one of Nepal’s largest Tamang settlements with 995 households. We crossing slopes covered inrhododendron and we follow the contours of the valley. Before reaching Doramba we pass a large Soviet style monument (2170 m above sea level) in memory of the so-called Doramba massacre in 2003 when the Nepalese army killed 19 people, including 18 suspected members of the Maoist guerilla. (B/L/D)
Day 12: Dhongma - Buddhist mask dance by the village lamas
We leave Doramba in the morning crossing a pine forest, rich in both birds and other animals. After an hour of walking, we arrive at a resort where we have tea and peek at the tiger sometimes running between the hills below. From there we continue to our lunch in Galba Bazaar (1987 m above sea level), a major bazaar with restaurants, hotels, and even a pharmacy. From here we have about 3 hours to Dongme (1982 m above sea level) where we live in Lamatole with a lama and his wife. Their ancestors came long ago to Ramechhap from Helambu, north of Kathmandu, to guard a special relic of a great lama. Still today the relic is guarded by our host.
When we are there, the lamas in the village will perform a mask dance, usually performed only in special ceremonies twice a year. We also participate and see how the lamas prepare for the mask dance. (B/L/D)
Day 13: Lubughat – a fisherman village by the river
The walk draws to an end and we walk to Lubughat. It’s a long hike but slightly flatter than the previous days. Today we walk on the lower level which means higher temperatures, there is no risk of feeling cold. We walk for an hour to Sunapati and those who want can climb the Sunapati peak to see the view. From here it takes five hours to Lubughat and we stop in Rupakot for lunch. As we arrive at Lubughat we cross the fields with the help of suspension bridges and narrow paths to the bazaar.
Lubughat is a big bazaar and a few minutes away from the bazaar is a long sandy beach. Just beyond the beach is the majhi village. The Majhis are traditionally fishermen and are in charge of water transport. We go out with them to fish. The Majhis offer their homemade spirits, for which they are famous. Here we spend our last night together with our trekking staff and listen to the river. (B/L/D)
Day 14: Boudha - the Tibetan Buddhism area of Kathmandu
We cross the river and from the other side, in Nepalthok, we will be picked up by our car which will drive us to the best place to stay in Kathmandu, the Tibetan Buddhism area! Nepal’s largest stupa is in the center and the eyes on it are guarding over us. The last two nights of our tour we stay here and are able to explore the many shops, Tibetan healers, and artisans of the area. The journey from Nepalthok takes around 5 hours and once we reach, we make a short walk to help you find your way around. In the afternoon you have time to walk around on your own. Tonight, we have dinner in a local home in Boudha. (B/L/D)
Day 15: Rituals and religion in Kathmandu
Your last full day in Kathmandu. We visit the local market and the main Palace square. We also visit Swayambhu stupa, which is located on top of a hill. To reach we climb the 365 steps up, and once up we get a good view over Kathmandu.
If there is interest, we are also welcome to visit the Nepal Shaman Society. Here we can see shamans work on a larger scale than what we have seen on our journey so far. They are very knowledgeable and they meet a great number of patients.
In the evening we visit the main Hindu temple of Kathmandu, Pashupatinath, and participate in their wonderful evening ceremony, Sandhya Aarati. It is an extraordinary experience containing life, death, joy, and sorrow at the same time, a microcosmos. Your visit to Nepal is not complete without it! (B)
Day 16: Departure
We will drop you at the airport according to your flight time. At the airport, we say goodbye and wish you a fast return to Nepal! (B)
Dates & Cost
– Please bring a water filter (Life Straw or similar) as mineral water is not sold in all areas, and besides, it’s reducing the hazardous use of plastic!
– During the trek and the time in the countryside, the living standard will be low, with common toilets and bathrooms. Our hope is that the beautiful scenery and smiling, friendly people will make up for that!
– 15 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 14 dinners and tea breaks during the trek,
– 11 nights at simple standard tea house or homestay,
– 4 nights at 2-3 star hotel in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Kuri,
– All ground transports mentioned in the program, by jeep or by van,
– Trained English/Swedish speaking guides during all trip,
– 1 porter for 2 guests during all trek,
– Assistant guides during the trek will be provided if the group exceeds 4 guests.
– All entrance fees and permits to all sights mentioned in the program,
– Cultural programs in Thinghare and Dongma,
– Shaman visit in Kathmandu,
– Cable car to Kalinchowk (2-way ticket),
– Drinks (non-alcoholic/alcoholic),
– Visa to Nepal,
– International flight ticket,
– Laundry or other optional charges,
– Tips for staff and hotels.