One of my favourite places in Nepal. Medieval Tibetan-style Kagbeni village is weird and wonderful.
… closely packed mud houses, dark tunnels and alleys, imposing chortens and a large, ochre-coloured gompa perched above the town. …
I flew from Pokhara 6:15am. Earlier the better for Himalayan flights. They get cancelled when wind comes up.
I had breakfast and hung around until 10am to see if I could buy an NTC sim card for my phone. It’s the best network for the high Annapurna.
No luck. Only Nepalis can buy those in Jomsom, I was told.
I left immediately as Jomsom is a place you only visit because of the airport.
10am I started the easy walk up to Kagbeni (2840m). You can take the dusty road. Or walk aside barren Kali Gandaki, the river separating Annapurna from Dhaulagiri (8167m).
Another reason to come here in November rather than April is being able to stay off the road more.
It was good to be getting back to Tibet. Kagbeni is far more Tibetan than Nepali.
And Kagbeni looks much the same as it did when I first visited in the 1990s. Aside from Yac donalds.
On arrival I immediately headed for another new business – Cafe Applebees. It’s an upscale, modern coffee shop … but with excellent views to the forbidden kingdom of upper Mustang.
I’m still planning on taking a guided trip to Mustang. One day.
One place in Upper Mustang you ARE allowed to visit without a restricted-area is Tiri village. To get there you cross a bridge over the Kali Gandaki and hike about 45min on the west bank of the valley.
I do love the light in Tibet.
Here’s the view looking back to Kagbeni.
On my return I walked the river.
The other highlight of Kagbeni is Kagchode Thubten Sampheling Gompa, a Buddhist Monastery dating back to 1429.
It was guarded by Ram.
Arriving on the 5th day of a 5-day festival, many monks were in attendance. Throat singing, huge horns, cymbals and percussion. I doubt much has changed here since 1429.
Click PLAY or watch a short video on YouTube.
Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles – day 1 | 2 | 3/4