We traveled back to Delhi to make our flight to Nepal the next day. Due to flight prices it was cheaper to go to Nepal then back to India to go to Leh in Jammu and Kashmir. On the train we made friends with a family from Delhi and played hangman for much of the 7 hours making a very squashed train more bearable!
We arrived in Kathmandu and instantly loved it!! It wasn’t like a capital and almost quite quaint! Full of walking shops and shops selling warm wool clothes for the hikes many people were here for including ourselves. We spent the first day going round numerous tour operators to find a trek that we could do in the 8 days we had here. We settled on the 4 day Poon Hill trek which is part of the Annapurna circuit with Himalaya Adventure Trekking tours. We knew there was no camping involved and that you stayed in teahouses which Lucy was very happy with!
The next day at 6.30am our guide Bim (pronounced like beam) picked us up from our hotel and took us to the bus which was to take us to Pokhara where we were to start our trek. Pokhara was a lovely town based around a huge beautiful lake and had a Lake District-esque feel about it! It was full of walkers and bars aimed at walkers, there were also many other activities you could do from here such as paragliding, white water rafting and many cable cars to mountain tops.
The trek started the day after, another early start as we caught the public bus to Nayapul where the trek officially started. Bim had told us it was 5 hours of trekking so we were ready for a long day! The walk started by a river with high mountains and tea plantations on either side which we slowly started climbing higher and higher. After 2 hours we stopped for lunch and a further hour after that we arrived where we were meant to be staying! We had the choice of staying here or continuing our trek to conquer 3,000 steps to 1,900m. We could see the tea house where we were to be staying up very very high and decided to do the climb today! 40 minutes of climbing with no rest up uneven stairs with many donkeys as obstacles took us to the guesthouse. We arrived by 3.30pm so got first choice of the best room which had a beautiful mountain view. We also got to use the shower whilst the water was still hot! (This turned out to be Lucys only shower during the trek as the rest of the water was so cold! Turning her hair almost into dreadlocks! Tom braved the cold showers in the name of hygiene!) We had tea at the guesthouse before having a relatively early night! The nights were cold but the massive duvets kept us very warm!
The second day was very cold and misty as we climbed up to 2,800m. It gave the mountains an eery feel as we walked through forests with sheer drops on one side, but we couldn’t see what was down there, or see how far down it went. Along the way were many tea houses for water breaks and drink stops. However we ploughed on and arrived at the next tea house in Ghorepani by 11.30am after only 3 hours of walking! We had overtaken many groups that set off earlier than us at the last guesthouse so we felt very smug! Again our room here was amazing and apparently looked out on to the mountain range, but due to the mist we currently couldn’t see anything! We had a nap and upon waking up we saw the mist slowly lifting to reveal an amazing white peaked mountain range! All of 7,000-8,000m high! We sat in front of the window in the dining hall all evening mesmerised by the view! We were looking at the 7th biggest mountain in the world, and the mist reveal had made the whole unveiling all the more dramatic. That night got very very cold! And even the many blankets and layers we had packed it took a long time to get warm. Lucy spent the night suffering from food poisoning so the 4am start to climb Poon Hill was not appreciated (the highest peak on our trek at 3,200m). We both did the climb, but with no water and Lucy feeling very faint we got to 3,100m to see the sunrise.The view was still spectacular and Tom was to climb to the top at 7am when the sky was completely clear to see the real view from Poon Hill. Lucy was still feeling terrible and weighing up the options of giving up and heading back the way we had come, but decided to carry on fuelled with a bottle of coke and some biscuits. The first half of the day was a large climb to 3,180m before we started our descent back down to 2,000m. The weather had now cleared so we could admire the view which was incredible! A mixture of climbing high into the Forrest and walking next to streams and rivers. After a long 6 hours of walking we arrived at our last tea house. We were both shattered and were asleep by 8pm! Having had a relatively clear day, our arrival in Ghandruk was greeted with further mist making the impressive mountainous views disappear.
Again Lucy’s stomach had not settled so was up most of the night. The last day was a beautiful walk down many steps to the finishing point. Lucy was feeling very weak by this point so the end couldn’t come soon enough!
The trek as a whole was amazing and actually easier than we had thought! We were very proud of ourselves and ready to trek again in South America.
Back in Kathmandu we continued to explore the town and many beautiful monuments. There were many prayer flags lining the streets which gave the whole city a lovely feel. The people were also very kind. We found a Tibetan restaurant and ate Thukpa (a noodle soup) every night! We also tried Dyedo which is a buckwheat dough the Ghurkas eat whilst training! The dough replaces rice in a thali and whilst looking suspect is delicious.
We really loved Nepal and our 8 days here went far too quickly! Another place that we’ll have to return to for a further explore. Maybe Everest base camp one year?