Category Archives: Life

For the Love of Reading

I have a deep appreciation for American culture that nurtures a love of reading. We’ve been reading books to our daughter since she was only a few months old. She reads every day and expects us to read her bedtime stories every single night. It is very endearing to witness her love of reading.

I come from the land of myths and folklore. We grew up on stories of Mahabharata, Ramayana. Being born in a Buddhist family we also invited monks in our home for ‘Paritran’ to share stories of Buddha’s teachings. Storytelling is embedded in our culture. But most of our stories were so soaked in religion, I feel like I never really inculcated the habit of reading, solely because I wanted to stay away from the influence of any religion. Some of my very good friends however, grew up reading and they still are such voracious readers. I remember being curious, but not enough to feed my curious mind. Maybe the kinds of books I wanted to read were not available. Perhaps my options were limited. Perhaps they were too expensive. The reasons are plenty!

I think about how I would possibly tell a tale of Mahabharata to my daughter, a kid’s version would probably do the trick! I doubt it if kids versions of these mythological stories are even available in the market.

But fast forward today, Nepal’s own reading culture is growing immensely. With Nepali authors like Narayan Wagle, Manjushree Thapa, and Buddhisagar stepping into the international market, it is exposing Nepali stories to an ever-growing audience. So the trend in Nepal is very promising. Even the Nepali movies today celebrate authentic Nepali narrative. With globalization, it seems the need to tell our own story is gaining bigger momentum. And I’m all for that!

Oh, the places you'll go
Oh, the places you’ll go

Coming back to America, one of the reasons why the reading habit is an intrinsic part of its cultural fabric, is the way the system works. There are great networks in place to support this reading culture in America. One good example is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Available countrywide (even worldwide to an extent) and bolstered in the community level. They send in free children’s book every month until the child is five. Since we’ve signed up, our daughter has been getting brand new books every month. Some of her most favorite books are from Imagination Library. I hope someday in Nepal, we can have a similar mechanism in place to support young kid’s love of reading.

Check to see if your region qualifies for free books:

Also, you can buy second-hand books for so cheap in thrift stores across America. There is that system of sharing and recycling, which I don’t think is prevalent in Nepal. Our per capita income is so low that our first worry is how to put the food on the table versus what story to read.

Koili ko Katha
Koili ko Katha

But having said all of that, today’s Nepal is so much well-read than the Nepal I grew up in. Some of my daughter’s favorite books are also in Nepali (some of which I have shared on this post). There is now growing support for the illustrators, the writers in Nepal, and I hope this trend only continues to get bigger and better!

Time for a hug
Time for a hug

Here’s to our love of reading!

Pictures shared on this post:

  • Sanu and Andhiberi – written and illustrated by Bandana Tulachan. Translated by Samip Dhungel
  • Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
  • Koili ko Katha – written by Jayashree Deshpandey and illustrated by Kedilaya. Translated by Deependra Bhatta
  • Time for a Hug – written by Phillis Gershator and Mim Green. Illustrated by David Walker

Sanskrit Prayer from My School Days

To the universe, to the unknown that I will never know:

त्वमेव माता पिता त्वमेव
त्वमेव बन्धुश्च सखा त्वमेव
त्वमेव विद्या द्रविणम् त्वमेव
त्वमेव सर्वम् मम देव देव


Here’s to Patan

My 2014 narrative was dominated by upper Mustang. I must have had thought there couldn’t be a bigger high than upper mustang experience, that place – so barren and yet so beautiful.  I was a rare few amongst my peers who’d made it to the Tibetan border; that subsequently turned me into a complete travel snob. But as I recall 2014, Mustang was not the only place I had discovered. Neighboring city next to Kathmandu – Patan, was in fact my very first discovery of the year 2014.

Growing up in Kathmandu, Kathmandu Durbar Square had been an integral part of my childhood days. It was just a few minutes walk from my home in Ason chowk. One of my aunts lived in the Durbar square area and I would go there every possible weekend to hang out with my cousins. I grew up playing hide and seek in Kathmandu Durbar Square, I learnt to ride a bicycle in Kathmandu Durbar Square. My childhood memories are made up of Kathmandu Durbar square. Whereas, Patan, not so much. It barely even crossed my mind.

Fast forward to 2014, when I was home – my parents had moved to a different neighborhood, except this time it was closer to Patan. When I needed to hang out with my friends, Thamel seemed too far. Lo and behold – it was the right time to discover Jhamsikhel – or more popularly known as ‘Jhamel’. A combination of ‘Thamel’ and ‘Jhamsikhel’, mockingly coined as new Thamel. It was up and coming, hip neighborhood of Patan where all the cool kids hung out. I presumed I was one of those cool kids. My quest to discover Patan, began by exploring Jhamsikhel. The clean and cool neighborhood, decent eateries and the hypnotic musical ambience attracted me all the more toward this quaint community.


Jhamsikhel has many options, you can pick and choose from. Some of my favorite places to go eat are:


This is the spot for hot and spicy mouth watering Jhol momo. That’s it. I go there just for Jhol momo, best in town. If you are adventurous, try chicken wings. It was great the last time I tried. Their veg menu is good too.

A photo posted by Shailiza Manandhar (@shailza) on


The first time I was here on a Friday night, had tried Salmon Medallion, I loved it. I thought this place could fulfill my craving for American food. As the clock was about to strike 7 p.m., I heard this guy sing, his music, loved it even more than the food. Music seems to be the only reason I keep going back to this place. I must admit though, every time I went in; the quality of food seems to deteriorate a notch. Nonetheless, still not too bad to try at least once. But MUSIC! music is always 100%. This musician, Dharmendra Sewan has a great personality. I believe he performs every Friday night in Tamarind. That man nails every song he sings – be it Nepali folks, contemporary English or my most favorite hindi movie songs.  He is genuinely a good singer and a great entertainer. Check out this place every Friday nights. You won’t be disappointed, thanks to Dharmendra Sewan.

  A video posted by Shailiza Manandhar (@shailza) on


Thakkhola is a hidden gem. My dad introduced me to this place. It’s a great spot to have authentic Thakali food. Most importantly, you get great food, that is within your budget, in squeaky clean cozy atmosphere. The reason it costs less as compared to the others in Jhamsikhel is because; restaurants offering 100% traditional Nepali food do not need to pay value added tax (VAT). Therefore, it gets a lot cheaper for the owners to run the restaurant and subsequently gets lighter on our pocket too. If you are more into Nepali food, I highly recommend this spot than any other places in Jhamel.

Thakkhola, Veg Thali

Thakkhola, Veg Thali

Patan Durbar Square

From the narrow streets of Jhamsikhel to the main attraction of Patan, one of the world heritage sites of Kathmandu valley; Patan Durbar Square. In order to understand this place you have to immerse yourself in its surrounding. You have to get it from every angle. Spend time and learn about this piece of history through the most well preserved museum in Nepal, inside the durbar square. Also get a good bird’s eye view, from any one of the tall restaurants of the neighborhood. Gaze at Patan in all its glory. Go with friends that you can have a conversation with just about anything and everything, and don’t forget a chilled glass of beer – I recommend, Gorkha or Tuborg.

A 1000-year-old heritage mixed with hustle and bustle of everyday people – that’s Patan for you. I’ve seen Patan Durbar Square in all its shape and form. In the most bright sunny day, to monsoon weather, I’ve seen it drenched in rain and form a mini river. I’ve seen that place illuminating underneath a starry night and street lights. I truly feel like I have seen it all, all of Patan, inside and out.

Patan Durbar Square in all its glory

Patan Durbar Square in all its glory

Patan Heritage

My admiration for this city didn’t just end with gazing at everyday Patan. I was lucky enough to take a heritage walk with Anil Chitrakar in and around various tiers of Patan. The science behind the architecture of the main Patan square and its periphery is simply mind blowing. What you see today is just a glimpse of what’s to come in next few years. In next 5 years or so, Patan will get a complete facelift. Wait and watch. I highly recommend you to sign up for the Patan Heritage Walk with Anil Chitrakar, and allow him to blow your mind.

A photo posted by Shailiza Manandhar (@shailza) on

Almost all through 2014, I also took a dance class in the heart of Pulchok, again that was in Patan. I have ventured all the way to Patan Durbar Square from my parents’ house and located all possible nooks and crannies and short cuts to Patan. May be I haven’t yet fully uncovered Patan’s gallies as Ason chowk but I know – one day I will get there. Through this post I want to acknowledge the greatness that is Patan. The place that remained unexplored for so long. When finally the moment arrived, I discovered it in such a way that I felt like I was a part of Patan all long. Here’s to the city that helped expand my horizon, to the city I fell in love, to the city that will forever remain etched in my heart.

2014 – The Year That Was

2014 could arguably be the best year of my life. This is the year I wrote most number of my blog posts compared to any other year. The year I travelled to various parts of Nepal, albeit didn’t manage to get to all districts as had planned but sure did spread my wings across the border to India, West Bengal and Sikkim to be specific. Come to think of it, I actually made it to China as well, at least the border town of Khasa. I still hope to travel, still want to make it to all the districts of Nepal. Continue working on 100s of other things that I have started but not yet completed.

This year-end review would be incomplete without Kathmandu. I need to be honest about the realities of living in the capital city. It is not so easy to live here, not that I imagined otherwise. Food prices are through the roof, the usual power cuts, the perpetual water crisis, what else am I missing? But I was able to live fairly comfortably in Kathmandu. However, not as comfortable as it is in the US. Internal heating system is still the first thing I miss during winter. I work from home and the constant/intermittent internet interruption, power cuts, significantly affected my work hours during an earlier part of 2014. Although looking at the brighter side, since my day one in Kathmandu – till today I only see things getting better and I am not fabricating. In the first few weeks, if the internet was out for 3 hrs every day, now it’s down to let’s say 3 hrs twice a week. Comparatively, it’s gotten much better. Since I was the one who chose to take this step, I guess I have to suffer the consequences as well. At the same time I know I am a very lucky few who can say that they were able to live comfortably in Kathmandu. For many who comes to this city in hopes of making it big, can’t imagine how they survive in this beautiful ancient place that can be cruel to them at times.  As an honest citizen of this nation, yes, I have had the lowest of lows but every day I see better things happening from the citizens’ standpoint. Government on the other hand continues to disappoint me. But that’s beside the point, we don’t stop living just cause government fails to do its job.

While traveling across few parts of the country, I did get a glimpse of politics here and there, mainly relating to the constitution writing process, printed on the walls of abandoned, dilapidated buildings, or gigantic rocks. But I don’t think general public gives a shit about constitution. They are worried about bigger problems like how to put food on the table.
I don’t believe Nepalis have faith in the government and I think they moved on long ago. Cause had they been waiting for proactive governance, they would be waiting forever. But I know how integral constitution is for a stronger foundation of this nation. But guess what, life hasn’t stopped because of incomplete constitution. Constitution, by default should be a work in progress. However, having said all that, it is not as bleak as I may have sounded. There are a few good things happening too, even if they are far and few between.

This year I met some old friends, made some new friends. We had a great conversation, out of which came great ideas. Those ideas are something I am still working on. 2014 gave me a head start, hope to give continuity to all the work that I’ve been doing in the years to come. My best days are surely ahead of me.

As Rumi once said, destroy your reputation, be notorious, I hope you’ll do your best to chase your dreams, and not be limited by class or caste or political ideologies or any other social norms, I hope you break some rules in 2015. Here’s wishing you and I an adventurous year ahead!

2014 Collage

2014 Collage

  1. 2014 kick started with attending a lot of weddings, of my own cousins. Hence, I had to post at least one of the photos of the wedding parties.
  2. As I travelled to a few parts of this country, I flew as well to certain areas. This is just one of the perks of being on board.
  3. I find Pokhara highly overrated. But when I was there this past May, this street took me back to my childhood days and I couldn’t stop myself from clicking a photo. I’ve spent significant amount of my growing up days in Pokhara, this is just one of the streets I associate my childhood days with.
  4. My upper Mustang trek was definitely a highlight of 2014. A great shot of a beautiful landscape that is upper Mustang.
  5. Illustrating my point above, political slogan relating to constitution. You’ll come across plenty of those while traveling across Nepal.
  6. Witnessing Tibetan kitchen was a cultural experience in itself.  The kitchen of those who in live in upper Mustang area is so rich and sophisticated, in fact the entire household speaks all things ancient Tibet.
  7. That’s me with my short hair. I’m just posting it here cause I wanted to make a big deal of the fact that I chopped off my long beautiful hair.
  8. The office of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC). I had the opportunity to visit the KMC office this year. It was such a beautiful ancient palace, that’s slowly turning into a ruin. This palace should be turned into a hotel or a museum. It’s too precious to be left around in the hands of people who can’t take well care of it.
  9. I thought this was the best invention of the year. For the first time in my life (in Nepal) I didn’t have to ask for an opener! Tuborg beer bottle it is!
  10. Our house is full of dogs, two more are missing in the picture. They are all stray dogs. These two have really grown up since then. You gotta love stray dogs, if you love Kathmandu, adopt a few of them.
  11. I guess, the most important part of 2014 is the fact that I set up my own company. No, it’s not an auditing company. It’s just a picture of my company’s audit report. There’s much more I want to do before I reveal it all. But yes, I did set up my own company. That feels like an accomplishment on its own.

How to Get Nepali Machine Readable Passport (MRP)?

(Updated: Feb 21, 2016) When I had applied for passport, government website didn’t have any relevant information. Since then Department of Passport’s website has improved leaps and bounds. I recommend you to visit their site for the most accurate information:

However, information given below is still relevant to get an idea on how to apply for passport in general.

This page has information on all your general inquiries.
If above link doesn’t work, access the same document here [Latest version: Jan 19, 2016] .

(Information below was posted Nov 6, 2014)

* This blog post contains information relevant to those born in Kathmandu district. If you were born outside of this district, this information may not be valid for you.

Office: Baneshwor/Anamnagar (The same office where we get our Citizenship card)
Office operation hours:
Sunday to Thursday: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Pre-requisites (Required Documents/Items – applies to Kathmandu office) :

  • Rs 5000 – this is for a regular processing fee, this will get you the passport in about 2 months (or less).
    Rs 15 thousand to get it the same day.
    Rs 12 thousand to get it the next day after the submission of the application.
    Rs 10 thousand to get it in 3 days.
  • Special MRP photos: at least 3 [Please keep in mind this is not your traditional passport size photo. Make sure you get this taken from true professionals and save yourself some time and money]
  • Original Citizenship card and its copy: 2
  • Old passport copy (of the page that has your personal contact information): 2
  • Print out of Passport application with all the required fields filled.
    Citizenship verification document (Although I had this document printed out, it wasn’t used)

While I was researching about the process I realized, there are people who help you fill up the form as well outside the passport office in return for a couple 100 bucks. I didn’t do any of that. I filled out the form all by myself and printed it appropriately. They have this information for you on how to printIt didn’t apply to my OS. Regardless of whatever option you see, the point is to print 100% with no modification to the layout.

First of all make sure to fill up the form provided here and print it out.
They’ve also provided the link to a sample form if you need help.

Before you head to Baneshwor/Anamnagar office make sure you have a copy of all the documents mentioned in the Pre-requisites section above (keep multiple copies just in case). Please keep in mind the steps given below may not match precisely. I’m just giving you an idea of the process and what I went through:

Step 1: Get to Baneshwor/Anamnagar office of the DOP with all the required documents.

Step 2: Citizenship verification: room no. 105. Located on the extreme right-hand-side area of the compound.
The actual process begins by submitting your original citizenship card and its copy to room no. 105. Funny thing was on this site , it says we need to print out this document as well.
And submit it to the concerned person/department along with an original and a  copy of your citizenship card. But that document was never used. I don’t know why.
Depending on the volume of requests, you will have to queue up.

By god’s grace if your citizenship information is still available in their office and the person manages to find it. Your document will be verified. The concerned officer will sign a copy of the citizenship card. Then you go to room no. 107

Step 3: Take all your documents to room no. 107 and get those signed from the concerned officer.

Step 4: Take all your documents to room no. 106 and get those signed from the concerned officer.

Step 5: Take those documents to room no. 303. This is a different building within the same compound. Get your document(s) signed again.

Step 6: Go to the bank right next to the DOP office (on the left). You need to fill out the voucher with required information then pay Rs 5000 to the bank. If you’re lost, asks the guard for the voucher. Bank will give you one of three vouchers you fill out.

Step 7: Keep that voucher with you, you will need that to collect your machine readable passport. Now go to room no. 107. They’ll ask you for one more photo, make sure you give copies of all the required documents incase they forget. They’ll then tell you to come after 50 days (or 2 months).

Passport collection:

Office: The same office in Baneshwor/Anamnagar
Sunday to Thursday: 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Friday: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

— Post 50 days —

Must carry: Your old passport if you have one, citizenship card (or driver’s license would work too)

  1. Head back to Baneshwor/Anamnagar office.
  2. Before you queue up, you need to first find your serial no. It will be on a sheet of paper littered on the table. You find the no. based on the date you submitted your application. Refer to your voucher for information.
  3. Get the no. Queue-up.
  4. Give your voucher, also your old passport if you have one, so they can cancel the crap out of it. Get your brand new passport.
  5. Go to room no. 106 to get your passport signed and you are officially done!

Now you can go wherever you want in this world provided you have valid visas.

Happy Travels! 🙂

Best Shot

I’m a really bad photographer. I own Canon T5i but I haven’t yet learnt to use it to its fullest potential. Just too lazy. I bought T5i with an intention to capture motion pictures.
Although I am interested in photography in general, I am more interested in capturing moving objects. As an explorer every shot I take I think is interesting. However, when I come home and check pictures, out of 1000s perhaps only 5 manage to be good enough to be showcased. Similarly, in my most recent trip to India as always took 1000s of photos. But it was the shot I took in Nepal that I think turned out to be the best.

Wanted to share the very best shot from the lot. This is one of the curious goats I met, right across Chandragadhi airport main gate.

Chandragadhi goat

Chandragadhi goat

Dreams are made of….

One of my cousins wanted my guidance on how to apply to universities abroad for her MBA. As I was talking to her, I realized I was sharing my own experiences and what I learnt from my time abroad. I thought I might as well share this online, if you ever wish to go through my two cents.

I think every human being should leave their native nation and explore the foreign land. Not because it’s cool to do so, not cause you want to show off, not cause you want to waste your time and money. Because the kind of experience you gain in a foreign setting is something you will never gain in your native environment. It is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons.

Before you go anywhere these are the golden rules you must be acquainted with:

Know Thyself
Ask yourself why you truly want to go abroad. Remember, university is just a medium. While you are pursuing your degree, you would be living completely on your own, away from your family. The life you would be leading, itself, would be an education of a lifetime. And that education will count more than the degree you gain in your field.

Go with an Open Mind
Don’t go with a specific set of goals that society has laid out for you. I have met a lot of people in my time abroad, who came to the US with an intention to make money, support family or get an education, find a job, get married, have children and settle down abroad. I’m not saying any of that is bad. In fact it could be great, if you can make it work. I have my own very good friends making that way of life, work for them. If that’s what you want, please go for it by all means. But keep in mind, these are the rules that your society imposed upon you. Nobody in this world, but you, only you, know how to live your life. Listen to your heart, follow your intuition and go for what you want.

Don’t be afraid to follow your desires. As the very famous saying goes, in life you’ll regret the things you didn’t do than those you did. If you are afraid of something, like talking to new people. Go ahead and do exactly that. Also, learn to enjoy your own company. When you are abroad, if you find yourself alone, just be your own best friend. Do not limit yourself to certain kinds of people, ethnicity or any kinds of boundaries. Learn to enjoy every aspect of whatever life throws at you and just go with the flow.

Change Your Mind, Change it All Over Again
Human beings by nature are meant to explore new things. We are born here to find our purpose. To discover ourselves. Enroll into all kinds of different classes and see if your interest lies elsewhere. This would apply more to those going for undergraduate studies in America. American universities require you to take classes relating to your major as well as those that are general. To tell you the truth, I learnt more from my non-major classes than from my concentration.

My advisor had advised me to take theatre class. I thought he was crazy, but I enrolled anyway. I discovered something I never thought was in me. We wrote our own plays, conceptualized stage designs, also got an opportunity to hide behind a character. It was the most liberating class ever. In the course of time, if you discover that you are in fact passionate about something else. Go ahead and do it.

Financial Woes
Everything I mentioned above may sound like a very utopian concept. I know, being an average Nepali will most certainly not allow you to have the luxury to take classes except the ones you need or change fields for that matter. It’s entirely up to you. You always know what you want to do. You can always work harder, pay the bills doing what you love doing. Or work less and continue doing what you don’t want to do. You are the choices you make.  Look for colleges that will give you the best scholarship offers. Build a relationship with admission office members, faculty members. Try to get to the university that will offer you the maximum scholarship. Great! if you are accepted in Harvard, but if a lesser known college offers you better scholarship options. Go for it!


This is one life you have and the best time to take risks is when you are young. The application process itself will make you cry, will make you want to throw up, but then once you’re done. You will thank yourself for going through the ordeal. Looking for universities, writing countless SOPs, these will all be part of your learning curve. It won’t be easy, but doesn’t mean it’s not possible either.

Life is hard no matter where you are. Learn to take a leap of faith and see where life takes you! I wish you all the very best.

My Life Changing Journey to Upper Mustang

I’ve traveled to many parts of the world, but nothing quite like what I experienced in upper Mustang. As I progressed towards Lo-manthang from day one – leaving behind lower Mustang, my journey transformed into all the more emotional and spiritual joyride. I still cannot fully fathom how these landscapes changed me. All I know is; it affected me, to the point I would almost burst into tears. It was unlike anything I had ever seen or experienced in my life.

My stops and their elevation

My Stops

Planning to visit upper Mustang? my friends have built this awesome map, please do check it out! 

As I left for Chele from Kagbeni, that’s when it slowly began to dawn on me, this journey was going to be one of a kind. Just a few minutes walk towards Chele in the break of dawn – I find myself all alone. If an alien abducted me, or if I fell off the cliff and died, my body would remain untraceable. Nobody would know where I took my last breath. The isolated nature of this place was terrifying, at the same time deeply moving. Turns out, it was just a beginning, the best and the most thrilling part had yet to come.

I took the last flight to Pokhara from Kathmandu on May 16, 2014. Stayed overnight and flew to Jomsom the next day. I cannot talk about this trip without mentioning the Jomsom flight, cause it was mind-blowing. The airplane literally flies in between the hills. You can see the trees so up close, it is ridiculous!. It was the very first flight to Jomsom and I started trekking pretty much right after I landed.

Jomsom Flight

Jomsom Flight

Jomsom Airport

Jomsom Airport


At Jomsom Airport Runway

At Jomsom Airport Runway


Outside the Airport - Jomsom

Outside the Airport – Jomsom

Given below is a synopsis of all my stops:

The hours mentioned is the time it took me to get to the destination. Depending on your pace, it may take you shorter or longer. On top of that, I also got lost on the way so, if you know where you are going, it shouldn’t take you that long.

Jomsom – Kagbeni:  3 hours
This was the shortest walk and still one of the most tiring ones for me. I got the taste of what the trek would be like on the way to Kagbeni. This was still a busy route with a lot of people going back and forth. So, it felt pretty normal. The first hotel I went asking for room said they were full. I freaked out and I immediately agreed to stay at the second hotel I checked; with a fear that I may not get a place to stay. There was an old lady – when I asked about the wifi, she showed me the router. So, I thought it would be cool. But nobody knew the password. In the entire trip it was the worst hotel I stayed at. Clogged toilet/bathroom. Didn’t get to shower. They were having some puja. I was so hungry – but didn’t get to eat until the Lamas did. Still having said that, it was relatively cheaper.





Kagbeni – Chele: 6 hours
The moment I left Kagbeni – that’s when I started getting lost. I got lost almost everyday, then on. But Chele wasn’t too bad, considering there were other people near by as well. After walking for hours I was glad I was very close to Chele. But then, I realized it was on a top of a hill. I took the longer route that jeep takes cause I did not think I could conquer the hill. I asked this guy about the path to follow, who was washing his jeep. He said- I was taking a longer route obviously (pointing at the sheeps grazing) he continued, “just follow the sheeps.” Those sheeps were walking uphill almost on a 90 degree angle. I was like, are you serious? After a lot of fuss, I managed to conquer my fear and got all the way to the hotel called Bishal Guest House. By then I was so hungry, I ate a plateful of rice. And it was the best food I had tasted in the entire journey.



Chele – Syanboche: 6 hours Syanboche – Ghilling: 2 hours
Chele to Syanboche is an absolute thrill, this is where you get the most awe inspiring views but not so easily, you’ll have to first cross a few hills to get the best views. This was the hardest one for me. As I had to climb up and get down multiple hills, it seemed like an unending journey. But the views were just amazing! Syanboche has just about 10 houses. Only stopped there for lunch, then trekked another 2 hrs or so to Ghilling.
Spent a night at New Kunga hotel.

Way to Syanboche leaving behind Bhena

Way to Syanboche leaving behind Bhena

Ghilling – Ghami: 4 hours
I was extremely tired by the time I got to Ghami and the fact that I got lost (again!) and had to climb one extra hill, wasn’t very happy about it. It was from here that my back started bothering me quite significantly. But all that changed when I got to Royal Mustang Hotel. The weather was perfect. If I could show the world what happiness means, it was that moment. When I was sitting on the chair, with the sunlight on my face. Feeling relieved that there was no more walking to do, no more back pain, soaking in the beautiful scenery, accompanied with great food, a total bliss!



Ghami – Tsarang: 5 hours
The way I got lost on the way to Tsarang; it was truly into-the-wild kind. I was supposed to get to Tsarang in three hours. But I had already crossed 4-hr timeframe and I wasn’t seeing a single settlement. Then it hit me, I am royally lost.
Funny thing is, at a time like this your brain works both ways. It tells you, now you will die. Also, it triggers survival instinct- gives you all kinds of ideas to find a way to survive. Thankfully my survival instinct overcame my fear and of course, like every day with a little sobbing and still with a lingering thought of death – I kept walking and walking and walking and saw a few houses miles away. Turns out it was another small village called Tarang, I kept walking straight up the cliff – then I spotted a bigger village on the right. That was Tsarang. Saw an old man listening to a radio. He confirmed, the one on the right is Tsarang. Now, all that I had to do was keep walking. Here I stayed at Maya’s Inn.

On the way to Tsarang

On the way to Tsarang

Tsarang – Lo-Manthang: 4 hours
Finally after walking for hours I got the glimpse of Lo-Manthang. Picture below shows the very last leg of the journey. In Lo-Manthang I stayed for two days at Himalayan Guest House, before heading back to Kagbeni-Muktinath.

Overlooking Lo-Manthang

Overlooking Lo-Manthang

This was technically a solo journey; hence I cannot emphasize enough how safe this place is, considering I came back alive and well. I didn’t have a guide. If you are going on your own I would recommend you to hire a guide. It’s only been a few months that road was introduced to upper Mustang. It is still at an early stage. Only jeep runs on the traditional trekking route. The bus or trucks take the path of Kali Gandaki, away from the trekking route. If you want to enjoy the view, trekking is still the best way to get to Lo-Manthang. I took the jeep on my way back to Chuksang/Kagbeni/Jomsom, cost me Rs 1200. What took me days, took only 5 hours on jeep. From Chuksang, you have to walk about half-an-hour, take either private jeep or public bus to Kagbeni/Jomsom (If you are traveling close to Monsoon season, as you have to cross Kali Gandaki). Public bus leaves two times a day at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. from Chuksang. Transportation would not be an issue on your way back.

Mustang is a kind of place that can either change you or not. Its landscape can fill you with awe or leave you feeling empty. No matter where you go in Nepal, each place has the potential to change you internally. But I’m pretty sure, Mustang experience is one of a kind. If you open yourself up to this place, it will embrace you. It will take you inside-out and leave you so bare, exposed – with just you, allowing the truest part of you to experience the magnificent beauty of this barren landscape. Its vast dessert mountain, sparse vegetation, its wild animals, birds, everything I saw affected me. It was a kind of place where I just wanted to quietly sit and be awed by the surroundings; as barren as it was, it was equally breathtaking. If you plan to visit a part of the world next year, make it upper Mustang. You will not be disappointed.

Get a glimpse of my trip:

Upper Mustang Trek from Shailiza Manandhar on Vimeo.

Having issues with Vimeo? The same video is also available on Youtube.

Top 10 Things to Pack for Upper Mustang Trek:

Hiking in Style

Of all the explorations that I have been doing lately; from hiking to traveling to recording people, places, and moments. I thought I must dedicate a post on this blog as well as on my tumblr exclusively about hiking in style.

Then, I created one!

Hiking in Style

Hiking in Style

Visit my style for more.