Day Hikes in Lower Mustang

Day Hikes in Lower Mustang

I’d been wanting to travel to the Mustang region of Nepal for a long time. It’s an ethnically and culturally Tibetan region of Nepal, north of Pokhara and the Annapurnas, that sits in the rain-shadow of the Himalayas. This last year I’ve really gotten my fill of Tibet and little-Tibets, with my trips to Ladakh in India and Tibet itself in China, but Mustang and its $500 permit still eluded me. However, it’s only Upper Mustang for which you have to pay the pricey permit. Lower Mustang (the area around Jomsom, Kagbeni and Muktinath) is accessible and, while not completely permit free, much much cheaper. Thanks to Inside Himalayas and Redhouse Lodge Kagbeni, I travelled to Lower Mustang in February. I flew from Pokhara to Jomsom, an easy 30 minutes through the mountains, rather than go overland via Beni, a trip that would’ve taken around 10 hours. Most people visit Lower Mustang on the way through to Upper Mustang, while on the Muktinath trek/pilgrimage or as part of the Annapurna Circuit trek. But, as I found out, it’s a worthy destination in its own right. I wrote about day hikes around Lower Mustang for Kimkim.com. Check out the full article here, or read on for an extract. Day hikes in Lower Mustang “The Lower Mustang region of Nepal sits on both the classic Annapurna Circuit and is on the way to mysterious Upper Mustang, but it deserves more attention as a destination in its own right. Spending four days to…

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Pakistan on My Mind

Pakistan on My Mind

Pakistan has been on my mind rather a lot today. First, I helped publish (edit) a great article over at Inside Himalayas on a solo woman’s motorbike trip along the Karakoram Highway. Then I got listening to some Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Then, I discovered that Himal Southasian, my dear old employer, republished an article of mine from 2014 that had originally appeared in print. Now you can read it online, for free. It’s called “Of Shadows, Skins and Stones“, and is a literary essay on Pakistani women’s literature. I’ve been saying for years that I will make it to Pakistan soon, but it hasn’t happened yet. I know, I do actually have to make it happen, but I’ve been very busy making all sorts of other things happen. So, the closest I’ve still been to Pakistan is the Wagah Border Crossing in Indian Punjab, in 2008. Although Pakistan is near Nepal, this part of the world isn’t very well connected, transport-wise, and I don’t trust Pakistani or Nepali airlines all that much. Plus, getting a Pakistan visa in Nepal seems like rather a headache. But, these are just excuses. I don’t think this year will be my Pakistan year, but next might be. You can read an extract of my Himal Southasian article below, or the full article on the site. ‘For a few years, Pakistani English literature has been on the verge of a ‘boom’; not quite an explosion, but what scholar of contemporary Pakistani literature Claire Chambers…

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Manila Survival Tips

Manila Survival Tips

Here I am writing about what is probably my least favourite Asian city, again–Manila. I think many of these tips are common sense, but it would still pay to keep them in mind for a first-time visit to the capital city of the Philippines. Read my article ‘6 Manila Survival Tips You Must Know Before Visiting‘ on Travioor; an extract is reproduced below. “The capital city of the Philippines is a seriously big city with some seriously big-city annoyances. Many travellers get out as soon as possible to enjoy the beaches, jungles and more relaxed towns elsewhere in this beautiful Southeast Asian country. However, Filipinos are friendly people, including those in Manila, and there’s lots to enjoy here too. In case you have a few days to spend in the city, Elen Turner has some advice and tips to make your stay more enjoyable. 1. Traffic is Hectic in Manila This is always the first thing anyone will tell you about Manila, and will likely be an enduring memory of the city. Even those who have travelled high and low in Asia are shocked by how terrible the Manila traffic is. It’s not uncommon to sit in a traffic jam for two hours and only travel a kilometre down the road. The one saving grace is that Filipinos aren’t overly enthusiastic with the horn (a la India), so at least it’ll only be the car fumes giving you a headache, not the noise. Survival tips for when (not if) you get stuck…

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The Best Things to Do in Manila

The Best Things to Do in Manila

I must admit that I really didn’t like Manila, the capital of the Philippines, when I visited in 2016. And that’s really saying something, as I live in what is probably one of the most polluted, corrupt and unsightly Asian cities. So why did I write an article titled ‘The Best Things to Do in Manila, Philippines‘? Because there are some great things to see and do. It’s an enormous city (almost 13 million in the greater Metro Manila area), so I’m certain that if I’d been forced to stay a bit longer, I would have warmed to it in some way. The Philippines is also a beautiful and diverse country with fascinating history and cultures, so some of that is reflected in Manila, too. And finally, I wrote this article because I know Manila’s a city that travellers either love or hate. My personal favourite city, Delhi, is also one of them. I love it, but thousands of others hate it. So, I think Manila does deserve a chance. I just wouldn’t hurry back. From the old walled Spanish city to the shopping malls, here are some suggestions for the best things to do in Manila. Read an extract below, or the full article on Travioor. “The capital of the Philippines is not a city that makes it onto many travellers’ top-10 lists. Manila is huge and choked with traffic, and there are so many spectacular natural spots elsewhere in the country beckoning. However, as many travellers to the…

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Nepal Insider Guides on World Nomads

Nepal Insider Guides on World Nomads

A few months ago I wrote a series of articles for World Nomads. While World Nomads is a travel insurance company (which I have used quite a lot in the past), they also have a growing travel website, with useful articles on a wide range of destinations. While they do have a lot of articles on staying safe while travelling (so you don’t have to claim on that insurance!) there’s also a lot more practical destination info there too. They specialise in ‘insider guides’ to destinations, and have just published their Nepal insider guides. I am one of their insiders! Here’s a list of the articles I wrote for them, so you can check out whichever may be of interest. 10 Temples and Cultural Landscapes You Must See in Nepal 7 Whitewater Rafting Trips in Nepal for Every Level 8 Incredible Safari Adventures You Must See in Nepal Top National Parks for Adventure Travelers in Nepal 6 Day Trips from Pokhara You Won’t Regret 8 Nepali Festivals Every Traveler Should Experience Why Nepal is the Next Ecotourism Hotspot  

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