Expedition with Mzungu to the "Roof of the World": to the Golden Triangle and to the Gurungs on a mountain hunt for hallucinogenic honey


November 2 – 9, 2024
Tour Nepal

Tour to Bhutan, Kingdom of Happiness, Buddhist festival Tsechu, Thimphu, Himalaya

Our expedition to the Golden Triangle of Nepal has the main goal of studying the traditional culture of the Gurungs and hunting with them in the mountains for hallucinogenic wild honey, a special delicacy with healing properties that locals have been using for centuries and extracting through traditional methods, exposing their lives to deadly risks.

We will visit the authentic village of Ghanpokhara, offering stunning views of the Himalayas, and explore historical and cultural sites in the Kathmandu Valley, including Thamel, Patan, and Bhaktapur.

The expedition to the Roof of the World is led by Mzungu.

Welcome to Bhutan, the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon, as the Bhutanese call their country. During our short but eventful expedition, we will be participants in a vibrant festival in Thimphu, ascend to the majestic Tiger's Nest, and admire the green valleys and traditional architecture of this mountainous kingdom. Additionally, we will share a traditional meal with monks in a monastery and learn about the unique teachings of the local Divine Madman. All of this, and much more, awaits us in the Kingdom of Happiness – Bhutan!
Dates: November 2 – 9, 2024

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights

Number of participants: 7 – 12

Cost of participation per person:

• 2 250 USD subject to 11 – 12 participants,
• 2 350 USD subject to 9 – 10 participants,
• 2 450 USD subject to 7 – 8 participants

10% early booking discount (in case you book before June 2, 2024)

Everything included except for:
– international flight to Kathmandu and back,
– international health insurance,
– Nepal visas (visa purchased upon arrival at Kathmandu airport for 25 USD, conditions may change).

Estimated cost of flight Moscow – Kathmandu – Moscow: from 1200 USD.
Estimated cost of flight Dubai – Kathmandu – Dubai: from 500 USD.
Estimated cost of flight Istanbul – Kathmandu – Istanbul: from 900 USD
(participants purchase tickets independently, consultation provided)

Single supplement: 300 USD (single room accommodation throughout the entire itinerary)

tour to Nepal

Day 1. November 2, 2024 (Saturday). KATHMANDU

Meet at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Rest and free time in Kathmandu. In the evening, a city walk and dinner.
In case of an early arrival, there is an opportunity for an additional fee to take the following excursions:

● Everest Mountain Flight with breathtaking views.
An hour flight is scheduled for 6:30 am. Return at 8:30 am. To take the Everest flight, inform us at least 3 days before the flight date.
Cost: 250 USD per person. Available from 1 participant.

● Helicopter tour to Gosaikunda.
Gosaikunda is a sacred Hindu lake in the mountains (4380 m), a popular trekking destination. Starts early in the morning around 6 am. Return by 11:00 am. To take the flight, inform us at least 15 days before the flight date (a group of 5 people can depart at any time).
Cost: $400 USD per person. Available from 1 participant.

● Helicopter tour to Everest from Kathmandu with a landing at Kala Patthar.
Kala Patthar (5164 m) was previously a base camp for Everest expeditions. It offers excellent views of Everest and the seven-thousanders Nuptse and Changtse. Starts early in the morning around 6 am. Return by 11:00 am. To take the flight, inform us at least 15 days before the flight date (a group of 5 people can depart at any time).
Cost: $1200 USD per person. Available from 1 participant.

Meals included: Dinner
Accommodation included: Hotel Lo Mustang

Recommended flights:

- Turkish Airlines, departure from Istanbul on November 2 at 01:10 am, arrival in Kathmandu at 10:55 am,
- FlyDubai, departure from Moscow on November 1 at 15:55, layover in Dubai for 3 hours and 20 minutes, departure from Dubai on November 2 at 2:15 am, arrival in Kathmandu at 8:00 am,
- Another flight from any city arriving in Kathmandu at any time on November 2.

Day 2. November 3, 2024 (Sunday). KATHMANDU

After breakfast at the hotel, at 10 am, we will begin our tour by exploring the attractions of Kathmandu in Durbar Square. The former royal palace will enchant us with its intricate architectural designs and the fascinating myths and history associated with it. Next, we will visit the Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple.
To reach the top of the monument, you need to climb a hundred steps. From here you can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding area of the temple.
Then, we will head to the famous Pashupatinath Temple, dedicated to Shiva, known for its remarkable pagoda architecture.
The final stop of our Kathmandu tour is the Boudhanath Stupa, where we will be enveloped in the aroma of incense.
In the evening, we will meet for a welcome dinner at a restaurant. Dinner will include a traditional Thakali meal, followed by a cultural program featuring traditional songs and performances.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Hotel Lo Mustang

Day 3. November 4, 2024 (Monday). KATHMANDU – LAMJUNG – GHANPOKHARA (200 km, 6-7 hours)

After breakfast, we head to Lamjung, which is located 170 km from Kathmandu. The estimated travel time for this distance is 6-7 hours, depending on traffic density and weather conditions. There may be some off-road sections along the way. On the route, we will pass through Dumre and Besisahar.
We continue our journey to the village of Ghanpokhara. It is one of the most beautiful traditional villages in Nepal, located near the Himalayan range. The village offers breathtaking views of the sunset. It is the gateway to an amazing hunt for "mad" honey.
During our stay, we will have the opportunity to live with the local residents, the Gurungs, and learn from them. We will join them in the honey hunting, using their traditional methods and skills.
The Gurungs are mountain people living on the southern slopes of the Himalayas in central Nepal. In their language, they call themselves "Tamu," where "Ta" means thunder, and "Mu '' means sky. The Gurungs living in the mountains are pastoralists, they mainly breed sheep, but they also have another craft - warfare.
Traditionally, the Gurungs were peasant-farmers cultivating hardy crops on terraced fields on the hillsides. Millet and corn are their main grains. In the highlands, they raise sheep. Each Gurung family has several sheep, and their owners hire shepherds who graze village flocks. In the summer, shepherds migrate with the herds to alpine pastures.
Additionally, the Gurungs are renowned hunters of hallucinogenic wild honey.
In the evening, we will have dinner with the Gurungs and taste delicious local cuisine.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Local Community Home Stay


Today, we have the opportunity to learn and prepare for the important day ahead with experienced honey hunters. For honey hunting, local residents use traditional equipment such as handmade ropes, ladders, baskets, and other tools. All these items are crafted manually by the local residents.
We prepare and acquire valuable skills from experienced local hunters. We can observe how the Gurungs make traditional ropes and ladders. We will also have time to explore the surroundings and immerse ourselves in the local culture.
In the evening there will be a cultural show featuring traditional Gurung dance.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Local Community Home Stay

Day 5. November 6, 2024 (Wednesday). GHANPOKHARA. "MAD" HONEY HUNTING

After breakfast, we join the honey hunters in the nearby area.The site is usually located near water resources, allowing you to be close to waterfalls and rivers. To get to the place, you need to walk from 15 minutes to 1 hour.
Local honey hunters have years of experience. This activity typically takes 5-6 hours, depending on the complexity and quantity of honey. Once the honeycombs are collected, the locals ensure that they don't take all the honey, leaving a portion for the bees.
The honey hunted by the Gurungs is not ordinary honey, and it's not produced by regular bees. The Himalayan rock bee (Apis laboriosa) is the world's largest honeybee, measuring over 3 centimeters. These bees inhabit only the Himalayas and build their hives at high altitudes (from 2500 to 4000 meters). Hives can contain up to 60 kilograms of honey, and different types of honey can be found at various altitudes. Himalayan rock bees produce "spring," "red," and "autumn" honey. Red honey, found only at the highest altitudes, is highly prized for its intoxicating and relaxing effects.
Hunters go for honey collection twice a year, using rope ladders and bamboo sticks to cut the honeycombs.
Collecting honey is a risky venture, as hunters must climb down a rope ladder and protect themselves from bees.
The technique of collecting honeycombs is passed down from generation to generation. Honey hunters go for honey twice a year, descending ladders and ropes from the top of cliffs to the base, where fires are lit to smoke out the bees. Then the hunter climbs down the rope ladder and cuts pieces of comb using long bamboo sticks. The combs are gathered in a bamboo basket covered with goat skin.When the basket is full, it is passed upstairs to the assistants. This is a risky business – the Gurungs have no insurance, the cliffs are immense, and angry bees swarm around. Brave hunters rely on nothing but long trousers and a shawl for protection from the bees.
After collecting the honey, we return to the village and extract it from the combs using a traditional handmade basket. Here, we have the opportunity to taste the honey. Note: Honey can induce hallucinations and intoxication, so it's essential to consume it in moderate amounts to avoid any potentially life-threatening consequences.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Local Community Home Stay

Day 6. November 7, 2024 (Thursday). GHANPOKHARA – KATHMANDU (200 km, 6-7 hours)

Today at 8 AM, we return to Kathmandu. We will cover approximately 200 km on the road, which may take 6-7 hours due to some off-road sections. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, we check into the hotel and enjoy the evening. There will be time to explore the lively nightlife of Thamel and enjoy dinner after such an exciting journey.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Hotel Lo Mustang

Day 7. November 8, 2024 (Friday). KATHMANDU – PATAN – BHAKTAPUR – KATHMANDU

Today, we depart around 9 am for an opportunity to visit two historical landmarks in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.
Patan Durbar Square is located approximately 7 km south of Thamel, making it easily accessible from the Thamel area.
Patan is an ancient city built by King Siddhi Narasimha Malla. During our visit, we will see a wide range of fascinating artifacts, including bronze statues, religious items, an impressive collection of metal crafts, and intricate wood carvings (a unique art form known as Newar art). Additionally, we will see the Malla-era throne, which has significant historical importance. We'll also see some incredible architectural wonders of Nepal including the Krishna Mandir (Temple), Vishwanath Temple, Patan Museum, Taleju Bhawani Temple, and many more.
Next, we will head to Bhaktapur to admire its historical landmarks, wooden columns with intricate carvings, majestic palaces, and temples adorned with exquisite carvings and gilded roofs. Bhaktapur is located approximately 12 km west of Patan. In Bhaktapur, we will see the Badrinath Temple, Golden Gate, 55 Window Palace, Vatsala Durga Temple, Siddhi Lakshmi Temple, and many other attractions.
After lunch at a restaurant with a breathtaking view of Durbar Square, we will return to Kathmandu.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Hotel Lo Mustang

Day 8. November 9, 2024 (Saturday). KATHMANDU – RETURN FLIGHT

Transfer to the airport for your return home.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation included: None

Recommended flights:

– Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, departing from Kathmandu on November 9 at 12:25 pm, arriving in Istanbul at 18:25.
– FlyDubai to Moscow on November 1, departing from Kathmandu at 15:00, with a 1-hour layover in Dubai, departing from Dubai on November 9 at 19:40, arriving in Moscow at 00:25 am on November 10.
– Another flight departing from Kathmandu at any time on November 9.

Cost includes:

  • Accommodation in hotels and a guesthouse with the Gurungs along the route in twin or double rooms.
  • Three meals a day throughout the entire itinerary.
  • Drinking water throughout the journey.
  • All ground transportation as per the program in all cities, including 4WD vehicles for the expedition part of the route (3 people per car, two in the back seat), and minibusses in Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur.
  • All airport transfers.
  • Participation fee for the honey hunting.
  • Nepali dinner with a cultural program and folk songs upon arrival.
  • All activities and excursions as per the program.
  • Processing of all necessary documents, including permits for the Annapurna Conservation Area.
  • All government and local taxes.
  • Professional English-speaking guide (regional specialist) throughout the entire journey.
  • Russian and English-speaking team leader (Mzungu) throughout the trip.

Costs excludes (additionally paid):

  • International flight to and from Kathmandu.
  • International medical insurance.
  • Nepalese visa (obtained at Kathmandu airport for $25 USD).
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Tips/gifts to the locals
  • Single accommodation.

To take with:

  • 3 sets of clothing (pants, long-sleeved shirt, t-shirt, underwear, socks).
  • Sun hat.
  • Light trekking jacket.
  • Warm jacket with windstopper for mountainous areas.
  • Light gloves and a light hat (it can be cool in the mountains).
  • Comfortable trekking shoes, lightweight shoes (sneakers).
  • Raincoat.
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Various repellents for skin and clothing.
  • Personal first aid kit (analgesics, antiseptics, antibiotics, antivirals, multivitamins, rehydrone, gastrointestinal medications, your personal medications).
  • Personal hygiene items (including a towel, wet wipes, soap).
  • Headlamp.
  • Trekking poles (optional).
  • Backpack for luggage (either a duffel bag or a small suitcase).
  • Small backpack for personal items.
  • Photo and video equipment.
  • For photo and video equipment, bring an extra set of batteries and a power bank.
  • Waterproof cover for photographic equipment (optional).
  • No specific COVID requirements (requirements may change).
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