february 22, 2009 - march 08, 2009

couple weeks in nepal

I was desperate for holiday, I have been sick of daily life in Singapore. So, ended up buying tickets to Kathmandu - Nepal, with hope of travelling to Tibet from there. Finally the holiday came and we flew 5 hours to Kathmandu, during the flight we picked one hotel name from Lonely Planet, then we went there straight from the airport.

Next thing we did was searching for travel agency to arrange our trip to Lhasa - Tibet via Himalayan passes. To our dissappointment, we found out that Tibet was closed for foreigners (damn it !#@%). Finally we decided to go for short trekking, we took Ghandruk-Ghorepani Trek (7 days) in ACA (Annapurna Conservation Area).

We hired Highlander Nepal as our trekking agency, and we are quite satisfied with their services; reliable, friendly, and not being pushy trying to sell anything. We ended up being friends with our porters & guide, also with the manager & owner.

Our trekking itinerary:

Day 01 (24 Feb):
Kathmandu-drive to Pokhara (7 hours, by tourist bus) and overnight in hotel.

Day 02 (25 Feb):
Pokhara-drive to Nayapul (1 hours, by van) and trek to Tikedhunga (4 hrs) and overnight in teahouse.

in front of 'hyatt' hotel, the morning before leaving to Nayapul

on the way to Tikedhunga, our first day of trekking, i was still fresh and smiling...

Day 03 (26 Feb):
Tikedhunga trek to Ghorepani (7 hours) and overnight in teahouse.

Day 04 (27 Feb):
Ghorepani early morning hike to Poon hill (View point) (1 hrs), trek down to Ghorepani and trek to Tadapani (6 hrs) and overnight in teahouse

Although this trek is rated 'easy', it was tough for us, especially on day 3; which started at 1400m above sea level and ended at 2800m - climbing 1400m up in 7-8 hours was really tough. And it didn't end there; following morning (27 Feb), around 5 AM, we climbed 400m up in about 90 minutes in the dark, even before we had any breakfast. But it was the highlight of our journey.

five of us on top of the hill
left to right: wey, lina, me, ram, komal

me, with annapurna mountains as backdrop

- The 27th February's Sunrise -

We reached frozen grass field of Poon Hill Summit (3200m) just in time to watch the sun rises, shining its warm light to the magnificent Himalaya Mountains. The view was just amazing - beyond any words could describe. I couldn't express my feeling with any word either, all that I can say is that All the suffering (body aching, panting, swearing etc) while climbing up was all worth it.

ram, me, komal were having a chat over hot chocolate and cigarettes

And that day was my birthday, it was celebrated over tin cups of hot chocolate. Indeed, it was my plan to have my birthday on a country that I had never been before, but I had never imagine it turned up to be one of the best I have ever had!

my 'birthday cake' and annapurna south at my back

me and lina, and her gift

on the way to Tadapani over vast grass field

Day 05 (28 Feb):
Tadapani trek to Ghandruk (4 hrs) and overnight in teahouse.

morning chore before start trekking; me fixing my buff, while komal was watching the clouds

Day 06 (01 Mar):
Ghandruk trek to Nayapul (4 hrs) and drive to Pokhara (1 hrs) overnight in hotel.

resting our legs on the way down to Nayapul

Day 07 (02 Mar):
Pokhara-drive to Kathmandu (7 hours, by tourist bus).

The rest of the days we spent them exploring in Kathmandu; SwayambhuNath, BoudhaNath, Pashupati, Durbar Square, then also around; Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur, Nagarkot.

We were also exploring local dishes and restaurants, and we found that we like the 'Dal Bhat'; rice served with vegetable curry / beans, Tibetan thukpa & thentuk (both are noodle soup), and momo (dumpling).
Recommended restaurant for Tibetan food: YangLing located at 7corners in Thamel, Kathmandu. Third Eye (for chinese cuisine), Helena (western food; i love their 'pork stroganoff'... yummy), Krua Thai (obviously for Thai food). These three restaurant are also located in Thamel.
YangLing is the best for budget food with good taste and quick serving time.

it is common in Kathmandu to wait for more than 30 minutes for food to be served. all those restaurants mentioned above have reasonable serving time, with Krua Thai the quickest.

Another fact in Kathmandu that is crucial to be noted: electricity is a luxury; there is a schedule everyday stating electricity will not available for certain period and vice versa.

Then finally it was our time going back to reality... Until our next holiday; Cambodia, in April.