December 20, 2017
Papua New Guinea, Bhutan, Nepal, Siberia, Mongolia, Tajikistan
Mountaineering in Tajikistan, exploring Nepal by chopper, and discovering the tribal wonders of Papua New Guinea – there’s nowhere quite like Asia to get lost with your mates. Whether it’s a father and son trek to hook baramundi or an unforgettable bachelor party to the snows of Siberia, these trips combine adventure and excitement in Asia’s most interesting destinations.
Trekking in Bhutan
There’s no better way to bond than on the trail. On the Bhutan border with China, this journey begins with Paro, and here at 7,410 feet above sea level, the hiking begins. After exploring the 7th-century Kyichu Lhakhang Temple and Dzongdrakha in Bondey Valley, travelers can make their way to Shana for a drive up the Pa Chu to Drukyel (8,202 ft). It’s here that Mount Chomolhari finally heaves into view.
But, basecamp is further than one might think. The next hike is an 11.8-mile trek across uneven terrain up the river valley of the bucolic Paro Chu River that trekkers will follow to Soi Thangthanka at 11,745 feet above sea level. On to Jangothang, intrepid hikers will embark on a 10-mile journey through the small village Jangothang to the basecamp of the mighty Chomolhari for rewarding views in Bhutan.
It’s a short but challenging hike to Tso Phu for views of Jitchu Drake and Chomolhari, but the highest point of the journey hits 15,600 feet at Bang Tue La. As the journey winds down through 600 foot climbs and a 4,500-foot descent down a switchback trail and an unforgettable journey through Thimpu, the guys can begin to relax and rest their bones in the Amankora Thimphu for drinks and a sauna.
Fishing and Wildlife in Papua New Guinea
Far from the usual boys’ weekend, Papua New Guinea offers adventurous groups an opportunity to fish and explore one of the world’s last wild frontiers. With exotic wildlife, rugged hiking trails, and waters teeming with rare fish worth the fight, this trip is for the group that wants to take on Asia at its wildest.
The best time to visit Papua New Guinea is in August next year, when the Mount Hagen Cultural Show – a time of dancing, culture, and wild tribal thrills. It’s two weeks of terrifying mudmen masks, sing-sing celebrations, and traditions that date back tens of thousands of years.
Sturdy hiking boots and a sense of adventure are a must for exploratory forays into the Kiunga swamps and rainforests which shelter an impressive range of rare birds such as the Victoria crowned pigeon, the flame bowerbird, and the large fig parrot.
But the real draw here are the Baramundi of Bensbach. Baramundi are prized by anglers as one of the world’s best fighting fish pound for pound (and not bad eating, either); the area around Bensbach is renowned as a fisherman’s paradise. Above the water there are herds of deer, wallabies, snakes, and monitor lizards
Exploring in Nepal
The tension is palpable as the plane skids to a stop at the base of a sheer cliff face in the small mountain village of Lukla. This is the start of a different kind of boy’s adventure: exploring the ancient way of life and pristine natural beauty of Nepal.
Lukla is a hopping off point for those groups looking to witness some of the world’s tallest mountains, including the mighty Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) looming at 29,000 feet. At Namche Bazaar, the guys can marvel at the Himalayas from the Yeti Mountain Home and browse the panoramic views of Nepal’s most impressive mountains.
For the more spiritual group of guys, the journey moves on to the largest Buddhist monastery in the region and the mighty Ama-Dablam. At Pangboche, travelers can visit the nunnery and maybe party a little bit at the Everest Summit Lodge before heading onto the switchback trails of the Dudh Kosi River. Then it’s on to Everest View Lodge and back to Kathmandu.
Weather permitting, a private helicopter is available from Kathmandu to Kalapathar for one last glimpse of Everest. Breakfast is had at the Yeti Mountain Lodge after only a few minutes on Kalapathar due to the altitude sickness.
Siberia to Mongolia
The Altai Mountain range that divides Siberia and Mongolia remains one of the most undiscovered areas of Central Asia, ensuring some serious bragging rights for any group of intrepid fellas who choose this region as their adventurous getaway.
At Khoton Lake, guys can test their angling prowess with an afternoon of fishing for Mongolian graylings, a member of the salmon family. A few swigs of the local beverage tarason (fermented mare’s milk) will keep the chill of alpine winds at bay.
Hiking the secluded peaks of complex mountain systems in search of 5,000-year-old petroglyphs will bring out the Indiana Jones in every daring lad. Sparse desert mountains reveal archaeological treasures from the Bronze Age and invasions by both the Huns and Turks.
Families of traditional eagle hunters open their Kazakh-style felt gers to provide visitors a memorable overnight stay and unique insight into the eagle-hunting tradition and the people who thrive in this surreal landscape.
Mountaineering in Tajikistan
A journey into the mountains of Tajikistan reveals one of the least-visited parts of the world. Trekking for five to six hours per day and then camping under the stars at high altitudes is not for the fainthearted. But for those intrepid souls who venture into the rugged Fann mountains and the surrounding valleys, scenic rewards and personal fulfillment await, providing the perfect excuse for a lads-only escape.
Starting from Karakul, to reach Dugdone Glacier, 17,000 feet above sea level, hikers will need to crest an even higher pass. Substantial effort is required to reach the top, but the high fives from friends and the breathtaking views of the glaciers and flocks of sheep on the mountainside make it worthwhile.
The region is bubbling with cultural and natural sites. There’s a four hour trek to Lake Ptchikoul, found 8,000 feet above sea level and onto Archa Maidan Valley. From there, arduous climbs and hikes lead travelers through Gointan Village and all the way to Tchoukourak lake and Artoutch mountain basecamp.
The key to this adventure is challenging but rewarding hikes through the best of nature Tajikistan has on offer: The Bodkhona Gorge, the glacial Lake Moutnoye at the foot of Mount Chimtarga – the highest peak in the Fanskiye Mountains – the Pasruddaria River and more.