Highlights ranged from crossing my third 4000 meter pass of the day and feeling like I could do another to walking the ancient streets of Lo Monthang and visiting its monasteries filled with 13th century Buddhist art - we even got to meet the guy in charge of all the restorations and had a private, impromtu tour. Also loved the peaceful night we camped at the 8th century Ghar Gompa (monastery) and woke up in awe of the Annapurna range laid out in front of us.
How was your Explore Tour Leader?
Kiran was a true pro. He never overlooked a detail, was always thinking 2 steps ahead,and had a genuine concern for everyone in his group as well as his trek staff. He was a wealth of knowledge and a lot of fun to be with too. Our trek staff was amazing - tents set up for us and taken down; the cooks kept us really well-fed and the food was delicious - pizza, apple pie, cinnamon buns - all fresh from a two-burner camp stove!
What tips would you give to someone else booking this tour?
Be prepared to be flexible - because the internal flights are weather dependent, the day to day itinerary could change like ours did. Regardless we didn't miss out on any highlights and one of the nightstop substitutions ended up being a favorite. You will get dirty, you will fall into your sleeping bag exhausted at night, but you'll be having a real adventure and loving it.
Do you have anything else to add?
This is a great trip for those interested in a strenuous trek in Nepal but want something a little different. The high desert plateau scenery is spectacular with the backdrop of the Annapurnas. You camp in little green oasis villages fed by glacier streams that have barely changed in hundreds of years. Traditional Buddhist culture abounds - it's probably more Tibetan than Tibet. In fact, some of the history here pre-dates Tibet. This trip has it all - great mountain trekking and fascinating culture.