We spent our first 3 days in Bangkok catching up with a friend of mine before arriving in Kathmandu.
Talk about Kathmandu being a definite “gringo” hangout here in Nepal. There’s everything that you could possibly think of needing, plus more for all your activities, and they are all for great prices. Kathmandu is a rather hectic place, but, also very easy to slot into in no time. The main attraction in Kathmandu is all the temples, but after a couple of days you have to escape to the mountains for the fresh air and relaxed pace of life, which we did.
To get there we used the local transport - always a bit dodgey, especially given the number of buses leaving the road and lying in the valleys below!! The most comfortable way to travel is on the roof rack. You have uninterupted views and can jump clear if the bus leaves the road!(which it didn’t)
Our Treking adventure “The Annapurna Curcuit” began in a village below 1000mtrs surrounded by terraced rice paddy fields. For the first 5 days it rained on and off. We walked an average of 5 hours a day - taking it easy!! Upon reaching the Manang valley the clouds finally lifted and our views were spectacular, taking in the Annapurna mountains between 7000- 8000mtrs. Throughout the trek the villages have guesthouses where trekkers “crash” for the night with “dal bhat” being the common meal(made up of rice lentils, soup, curry veg).
Electricity is only a recent luxury - it has been there for only 6yrs. Plus, they now have solar showers so trekers can get a”hot”, mostly luke warm shower!! Our sights during the trek varied from one place to the next - Majestic waterfalls, hot springs(to soothe those aching muscles), raging rapids, & multicoloured buterflies and birds. You are constantly sharing the trail with locals, cows, sheep, yaks, and the many donkey convoys which supply goods to the villages, not to mention the porters who carry supplies on many occasions over one and a half their bodyweight!!!
Before attempting to cross Thorung La(5416mtrs)we spent a few days acclimatising to the altitude. This was done in the Manang valley above 3800mtrs. Otherwise we could have ended up with altitude sickness, a very common problem when ascending too quickly(at 5000mtr there is only 50% oxygen that you have at sea level)
There is a huge Tibetan influence here, which can be seen in the type of house - flat roofs, mud bricks etc. The valley along with the next valley we crossed into(Manang and the Mustang valley) are both in the rain shadow to the north of the Annapurna Range so they are very dry and baron. Not like the rest of our time in the Mountains.
We had no problems conquering Thorung La(La means Pass) at 5416mtrs. Yes, metres above sea level!! So from there onwards it was down hill most of the way. We certainly enjoyed descending quickly but is was very hard on the legs!! I was in heaven in a small village where he found a pub with satelite TV showing the World Cup Rugby!! And to make it even better they were serving cheap potent apple cider plus apricot brandy!!
As we decended further the vegetation changed from very little to pine forests to tropical forests. Before we reached Pokhara, the end of the trek, we had one final climb to get one final look at the amazing views of the Himalayan Mountains. Well as we had started the hike in the rain it decided to rain for us on our last day !!
So after 18 days of treking we made it to Pokhara, a town beside a lovely lake with a view of the mountains we had just hiked around. It was heaven to be able to have hot showers, western food and of course satelite TV for me to watch the World Cup Rugby!! So I hope that this wasn’t too long a read and we will both look forward to hearing what you are all up to at the moment!!