The last time I was in Manang was 10 years ago. Although it was just a one-day visit, the Manang I remember was remarkably different from the bustling city I experienced this year. Just a decade ago there was no proper road access to the secluded village, and to get there, I had to board a small Twin Otter aircraft, which landed on a grassy clearing that passed as the airport. This time around, I was able to make a full 20-hour road trip from Besisahar directly into the buzz of hotels and backpackers. Once seemingly cut off from the outside world, the city today is full of local youngsters flaunting styles of the Nepali actors who make frequent appearances in the region to film movies. Also to my surprise, popular coffee chains based in Kathmandu have also started expanding their franchises into the region.

However, despite all the changes, what remains unaltered is the beauty of this place. Manang is as stunning as it was ten years ago — stretched across a beautiful landscape adorned with waterfalls and beautiful mountains.

In the three days I spent within its confines, I realized that there’s nothing like waking up to and being surrounded by snow-capped peaks, that nothing compares to being able to walk to a glacial lake shimmering with glorious sunshine. And, most importantly, nothing comes close to traveling to a distant land and feeling instantly welcomed by the people of a faraway place.