Kagbeni is as far north a non-Nepali with an ACAP permit can go. Beyond
Kagbeni requires a special permit for Upper Mustang. That being said this
rustic settlement of Kagbeni is relatively new as history suggests the older
settlement was a bit further south called Kak Nyingba. In fact, the local
Tibetan name for Kagbeni is "Kak" which means 'block'. Kak Nyingba, on the
other hand, is called Eklebhatti now. More on that later. The reason this area
is called 'Kak' or blockade is because this is where four trails meet and it
was from here that lords of yesterday would control and tax all the salt trade
traffic from Dolpa, Tibet, Manang and India.
The suffix 'beni' in Kagbeni is the Nepali word for 'confluence of rivers' and
at Kagbeni the Jhong and Kali Gandaki rivers meet.
Staying at Kagbeni might just be one of your best experiences in the Annapurna
circuit. Walking through the narrow alleys of Kagbeni between old mud houses
will feel like the medieval times are passing by right in front of your eyes.
Every morning you will see herds of sheep, goats, and yaks clog the narrow
alleys heading down towards the river to quench their thirst and then onto the
hills to graze. There is the Thupten Samphel Ling gompa here which is
considered very important in the whole Baragaon (12 villages) region. Monks,
young and old can be seen walking back and forth from the gompa. Also, this is
the best place to witness crane migration from October to November. Honestly
speaking, the rustic feel of this town is best experienced rather than talked
Since Kagbeni is a favored destination for many travellers, this town has seen
remarkable changes throughout the years. There are quality lodges with great
food and service. The two lodges that stand out are Yak Donalds and The Red
House.And they are completely different in terms of the experience they
deliver. Yak Donalds fantasizes about competing with Mcdonald's someday and
hence its selling point has been good food and the name of course. On the
other hand, The Redhouse lodge is the oldest lodge in Kagbeni (it claims to be
355 years old) and hence its selling point has been the experience of living
in a lodge with a rich history which also happens to be part monastery.
Other facilities like safe drinking water, post office, and police station are
also available. This town has many other attractions like the Kag Kher ruins
(ruined palace of the kings of Kagbeni) and Khenis (animistic statue guards).
Make sure you check out all the attractions in our placecards so you don't
miss out on any one of them when you are finally there. Some of the awesome
side trips you can do from Kagbeni are Phalyak village, Dangardzong village,
Kak Nyingba, Tiri Gompa, and Phudzeling cave settlements. All of these sites
can be reached under 1.5 hours if you are a normal person. However, if you are
Mira Rai consider them a 30 minutes stroll.