Hike during day off
While continuously trekking for days might make you dread more hikes, it is always a good idea to hike during your rest days. Most tour groups will include it in their itinerary, but even if they don’t, insist on exploring the surrounding villages. While at Namche Bazaar, hike up to the Everest View Resort, which is perched right at the edge of a hill overlooking the touristy village below. Next to it is Syangboche airstrip. With 130 households, the village reveals itself one charming house at a time, before you finally comprehend its full size and the scale of life there. While heading back to Kathmandu, it is a good idea to take detours if you are following the same trail as before, but always consult your guide if you plan to do so. Pangboche Monastery, along with Tengboche Monastery, is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists, and falls on the way to Tengboche, but you will miss it if you follow the main trail.
Sample local food
The delight of your having your favorite comfort food can be blissful, especially during an arduous trek like this one, but local food of the valley not only tastes great, it gives you more calories per serving than most other food. Local food is available for all three meals. Try Tibetan flatbread for breakfast with a side of eggs made according to your preference. Or, you can try tsampa, a bowl of roasted barley flour in which you can add hot water or tea to turn it into a thick porridge. For lunch or dinner, try potato pancakes with endless servings of butter tea. But a more hearty option is the thick syakpa. More commonly known as Sherpa stew, it is made by using locally available vegetables and meats and freshly made flour noodles.
You will surely be taking a lot of pictures during the trek. While the beauty of the region can be a sensory overload, taking dramatic time-lapse for viewing later can be a rewarding experience. Even for the smartphone-toting photographers, the region is filled with postcard-worthy vistas at literally every turn. Point your camera and frame a shot, and leave it for 10-20 minutes. iOS devices like iPhone and iPad have inbuilt option for taking impressive time-lapse, and most other smartphones can also shoot it. Try action cameras like the GoPro or the cheap Xiaomi Yi that were made for an outing like this. Even if you don’t plan to publish these videos, they can still earn you top bragging rights back home.
Interact with the locals
Try interacting with the locals for a deeper insight of the valley and its socio-economic dynamics. While your guide will disseminate most information to you, locals are always friendly and will almost always stop for a chat if they are not terribly busy. Even asking about your food with the cook at your lodge will give you an idea on the far-stretching impact the region has for the people of the entire district, far beyond Lukla and its bordering villages.
Sharing your Great Himalaya Trails experience with #MyGHT
Great Himalaya Trails (GHT) is a network of extraordinary journeys in the Nepali Himalayas. The GHT acts as a destination, and therefore the goal is to inspire travelers to explore the trails at their own pace and in their own way. In August, this year, the GHT team traveled around the country with six photographers and social media influencers to create awareness for the tourism potential of Nepal. They explored renowned destinations, like Mustang, and shared the experience with millions of their followers, hoping to inspire passionate and adventurous travelers to follow in their footsteps.
By publicizing real-time images of today’s Nepal, tourists and social media influencers can help change the narrative, and hopefully restore consumer confidence in the safety and security of Nepal as a tourism destination. You can contribute to the tourism marketing of the country as well by sharing your trekking experience on social media platforms. The GHT invites everyone to share their GHT experience using #MyGHT.
To see more photos from this journey to Mustang, search for #MyGHT on Instagram, or follow Great Himalaya Trails on Instagram or Facebook. For more stories on amazing trekking destinations in Nepal, head over to www.greathimalayatrails.com