They say you go to Nepal for the mountains, but come back for the people. I agree. My first trip to Nepal was a couple of weeks ago. Such a beautifull, interesting and exotic country. The trekking was really beautiful, but what will really stick with me for ever is the people. All the namaste's when meeting people up in the mountains, the smiles, the attitude.
I spent two weeks in Nepal, an organized trip with Norwegian Ethical Travel Portal and Nepal based Socialtours. It was a combined yoga and hiking trip with some extra time in Kathmandu. I attended the first ever Yoga in the Mountains Festival in Kathmandu and then did yoga outdoors twice a day during the trek - perfect combination!
Here is a summary of my Nepal trip:
Kathmandu and Pokhara
All together I spent about three days in the city of Kathmandu. A very interesting, vibrating and dusty.... city. So much colors, people everywhere, bicycling around with their fruit to sell or whatever big boxes of other stuff to deliver. And off course all the stuff you can buy. From very much fake North Face and trekking guides on every corner to some pretty nice stuff. And the sellers aren't very pushy, that's a good thing about Nepal!
The dust and the traffic was the down side. One full day in the busy district of Thamel was enough, there is so much dust and so much traffic to look out for that you really feel for some calm afterwards. But there is definitely stuff to like around Kathamndu. Like The Garden of Dreams. A quiet beautiful park just a door step away from the busy shoppings streets of Thamel. And Karma coffee and the yoga studio Pranayama in the same very cool building. And off course Swoyambhu - or the Monkey Temple. Beautiful views over the city and an interesting spot!
I also spent half a day in Pokhara. Wouldn't mind spending more! A beautiful little city by the riverside. Nice shops, less fake stuff and a very festive feeling to it all. This is the backpacker spot, where most trekkers go by and it shows.
We did a six day trek in the area of Annapurna, but we did not trek the circuit as many do. Our trail was a eco trail, very quiet and nice. Actually we only met a handful of other trekkers on our way. Our goal was Mohare Danda 3320 masl. We started in Galeswhor and hiked to Bas Kharka the first day, where we stayed at a beautiful home stay. The next day we hiked to Nagi and the third day we hiked from Nagi to Mohare Danda, surprised by a very nice noudle soup lunch in the middle of nowhere.
As Mohare Danda was our goal, a beautiful mountain!, we stayed there for a day. But eager trekkers as our group was, we spent 4 hour of our 'day off' to hike over to the more known Poon Hill. Also a very nice place! The next two days we went down, first from Mohare Danda to the very beautiful village Shikha. And then on the last day to Tatopani, a place with the most beautiful mountain view!
What I liked most about our trek was meeting the people who lived up there in the mountains on our way, so friendly and so interesting to see how they lived. And a bit sad, many people are poor and you can see it. But yet they seem happy. And they had wifi! I like the way they live up there, like in another century, but they still watch the same stuff as us on Youtube and connect with the world.
The whole sherpa culture was also very interesting. Our sherpas was local young boys who did this as a summer job. Together with our guides they was like a second hand to the people who ran the places we slept or where we stopped for lunch. They helped out making the food and they served us the food. It was a good experience with people happy to have this job.
I really liked hiking in Nepal, but because of the weather, a bit foggy and cloudy we didn't see as much of the impressive mountains as we hoped for. It didn't bother me that much, but to be on the safer side for the mountain views, autumn is a better timing. But it comes with more people off course. Being able to trek almost on our own was something I really appreciated!
Namaste Nepal - thank you for showing me your country, your mountains and all your friendly people! Thank you for all the nice talks and the company Katja, Arne, Betina, Silje, Stein Michael, Hildegunn and Anette. Thank you Linda, Ray, Jangbu (and team) for showing us Nepal! And thank you Camilla for beautiful yoga sessions - under the sky (not the roof) and in a sky!