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Sacred Corners of Nepal’s Himalayas

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Where better to gain a taste of true freedom than venturing into the clouds in search of the ultimate Shangri-la hideaway, sleeping under the stars at over 4,000m altitude and exploring the wonders of the vast Himalayas. Ang and his team of expert guides will introduce you to the trails least travelled, discovering eastern Nepal with a solitude that many Everest Base Camp trekkers never experience.

About the Author

About the Author

I wanted to work in travel after a stint working in a lodge in Zimbabwe. Once discovering Asia I feel in love, and have kept going back for the huge range that the continent has to offer.

ASIA & AUSTRALASIA SPECIALIST

Katie

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Talking of the monumental Himalayas conjures up images of towering snow-capped peaks, expansive vistas and crisp mountain air. Where better to experience true freedom than high above civilization, following the footsteps of history’s greatest explorers. The Nepali mountains have long been drawing travellers with an ultimate sense of adventure and the desire to visit the iconic Everest Base Camp, yet even this famously beautiful trail can appear as more of a hiker’s highway than a secluded pathway of discovery during peak periods.

For those looking for complete seclusion, we prefer to send our guests to experience the delights of the Solu Khumbu area of eastern Nepal – a region now commonly bypassed by international visitors who instead fly straight over and into Lukla airport. Before Sir Edmund Hillary supervised the construction of Lukla’s airstrip, the Solu Khumbu region was the stomping ground of many of the first western summiteers, en route to Everest for many explorers. Yet now, the vast majority of visitors skip over this stunning location of rich cultural significance. Not only does this mountainous sanctuary offer the dramatic landscapes and natural beauty of the Himalayas, but also the opportunity to explore the local culture and delve into Nepal’s heritage.

Forgive us the cliché use of the phrase ‘off-the-beaten-track’, as you’d struggle to find any other location in the world where this description was more apt. Your destination is within an identified Beyul – a Tibetan phrase for hidden valleys that were blessed by the founder of Buddism. There doesn’t seem a more appropriate time than the present to escape to this ultimate Shangri-la hideaway, originally named as a refuge to be used when the rest of the world was deemed too ‘corrupt’!

With the perfect setup for small private groups (adapted for families of all ages or the ultra-fit adventurers alike), your base for your time in the mountains will be the Happy House. The traditional Nepali bolthole is run truly as a house rather than a hotel, with every single corner open to guests, whether you’d like to join the chefs in the kitchen or the masseur in the spa.

From here, the surrounding mountain scenery is your ultimate playground. Joining Ang and his team means much more than just a walking holiday, but instead combines the pleasure of hikes, mountain biking, horseriding, helicopter trips and more. As an identified area of significance in Buddhism, you’ll find a plentiful number of monasteries, monuments and spiritual caves to explore. And in our eyes, a trip wouldn’t be complete without a night or two (or more!) under canvas in one of the spectacular Beyul camps, trekking to remote ridges to find peace under the stars.

Pikey Peak, at 4,100 metres altitude, offers a hike for those feeling courageous, with three days of trekking and two nights under the stars. From here you’ll soak up one of the most astounding panoramas of the Himalayas, with both the eastern and western peaks – and considered Sir Edmund Hillary’s favourite viewpoint. Or follow a pilgrimage hike to a wish-fulfilling lake, sacred for Hindus and Buddhists, passing through the lush springtime forests of rhododendrons, alpine villages, monasteries and endless spiritual hotspots. You’ll arrive to camps prepared in advance – your own haven at the end of a day’s climbing – for meals under the expansive sky or nestled in the comfort of a Mongolian style ger tent. The key element to remember is that the team of expert guides, with years of experience under their belts, will tailor the activities on offer completely to your every desire. You can be joined by anyone from yoga teachers to Buddhist scholars to artists specialising in Tibetan artwork, or take part in the highest Easter egg hunt in the world! And for those who want to tick Everest Base Camp off their bucket lists, travel there in style with a 15-minute helicopter trip to arrive there in time for breakfast.

As we look to the future, there’s no doubt about the appeal of this isolation of a different kind to that we’ve experienced during the pandemic – one where you’re surrounded by those dearest to you on an adventure of a lifetime in your own private haven. Nothing beats waking up on a clear morning on your own private ridge, surrounded by towering peaks of over 8,000 metres, and complete silence. This secret corner can offer you freedom in all senses of the word.

The main season to allow camping and excursions in Eastern Nepal is from October to May. Trips typically last five to seven nights on this experience, and each programme is custom-designed to the travellers, often including two or three nights camping as well as a stay in the Happy House.

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