Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    There once upon a time...
    Torbek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Last Online
    02-08-2014 @ 05:14 AM
    Posts
    1,184

    Nepal - A Short Trek

    I know this has nothing to do with touring Thailand, but I just got back from a brief trek to Nepal and given Nepal's proximity to Thailand and the relatively cheap cost of a 10 day holiday there, I thought I would share my experiences in case others have considered venturing there. Plus a lot of people might be hesitant due to the political situation there.

    My wife and I tend to be more "historical" or "comfort" travellers than "outdoor adventure" travellers but we had always wanted to get to the Himalayas. Both in our 40s now, we decided we better get it out of the way sooner rather than later, so October 2006 it was.

    We only had a week off work so had to limit our time there to 11 days. I searched a heap of websites and discovered that restricted our trekking options somewhat. We could do a short trek in the Annapurna district or in the lower mountains of the Everest district. We chose Everest...'cos it was there.

    People suggested we just book it all when we get there but as time was so limited I booked a trip on the web leaving the morning after we arrived in Kathmandu. As it was a small operation and he wanted me to Western Union him a 25% deposit, I checked a number of references that all stacked up well. We booked a 7 night trek for my wife and myself. Total cost including all meals, accommodation, one guide, one porter, and the internal flights in Nepal was USD600 each.

    Day 1

    Arrived in Kathmandu around lunchtime. Much colder than we expected, so spent the afternoon buying sleeping bags, jackets, walking sticks (essential!), etc., all MUCH cheaper than anything we saw in Bangkok. Met the guide and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening drinking in the Thamel area. Food dirt cheap. Beer not so cheap but still only THB 100 a large bottle. Thamel area is not much different to KSR, although Kathmandu itself is considerably poorer than Bangkok...or Phnom Penh for that matter...

    Day 2

    Got to the domestic airport (a dump) at 7-00 am to fly to Lukla, the starting point of the trek. (The alternative is a 10 hour bus ride and three day walk) All flights were cancelled due to bad weather the day before so we were pushed back as they were cleared first. The shit airline we were on (Agni Airlines) only had one plane we were on the fifth shuttle...so didn't get out of Kathmandu until after 1 pm, by which time the weather was again closing in. (All flights on all airlines cost USD97 each way, so if ever going, try the much more professional Yeti Airlines!)

    The plane was about 40 years old and looked in very poor repair...but after 6 hours of waiting I wasn't going to change airlines.



    The flight lasted about 30 very bumpy minutes before landing poorly. It had barely landed and was still rocking from side to side when the pilot made a hard right at some speed. Looking out my window, I realised the pilot had to turn sharply...or run into the mountain. The airstrip is just over 220 metres long, uphill (to help slow the plane) at about a 15 - 20 degree angle, and straight into the mountain face...



    Oh well...savely arrived and death cheated.

    Most villages up there pretty much look the same. (Their outlooks are where they differ!) They are mostly made up of two storey brick-and-timber building. Most are shops or guesthouses, with guest houses having eating and kitchen on one floor and small bedrooms on the other. Showers (if they have any) and toilets are usually shared and sometimes outdoors. Big blankets are essential.



    We stayed only a few minutes in Lukla...long enough to realise it was even colder still than we expected...so rugged up and started the 3 hour walk to Phakding, our first overnight stop. The walk was mostly downhill, from 2800m to 2400m before rising again to 2600m at Phakding. Hard to estimate distances due to continual up-and-down but probably about 8 kilometres. Dinner was hot soup and a thing called Dahl Baht, a Sherpa specialty which is almost a staple - rice, dahl soup, vegetables and pickles.

    Day 3

    Rose about 7 am next day. Day started pleasantly enough. Crystal clear sky. Stopped briefly by Maoist rebels who insisted on a THB 1,000 donation. Pissed me off a little, really, as the rebels didn't even bother carrying guns. Pussies. (This was our only encounter with any political trouble, and the checkpoint had more of a carnival atmosphere, anyway...so no concerns about safety in Nepal despite what western government travel warnings say).

    Walked about 8 kilometres in a leisurely 3 hours stopping for hot tea and soup along the way. A bit of up-and-down but nothing too severe.



    Then came our first encounter with hell...a 600m climb up to the town of Namche Bazaar. My wife and I do not conisder ourselves fit, but nor are we unfit. But this climb knocked us about! Like most afternoons, the clouds were closing in. We were rising to about 3500m so breathing was becoming difficult and we got to the stage where we had to stop every 15 minutes for a break. Meanwhile young Scandanavians and Austrians, who considered this little more than a morning stroll, raced past us making us feel even worse...

    Mercifully, after arriving at about 4 pm, our guide got us a room with an attached shower. So hot shower, hot soup, dahl baht, and potatoes...then in bed by about 7 pm...absolutely rooted.

    Day 4

    Woke to another crystal clear morning. Temperature probably 4 or 5 celsius. Our room looked straight at snow capped Mount Kwangde (about 6,200m). This day was for acclimatisation, so just wandered around Namche Bazaar...interesting place with a lot of shops, a couple of museums, and a monastery, set in a saddle of a mountain.



    Felt well enough to find a bar and have a few beers. Went back to the guesthouse about 8 pm, surprised to find that every business in town was now shut and the streets were pitch black. Seems few people get on the piss while trekking...probably smart, too...

    Day 5

    Another crystal clear morning. Set off for Tengboche, about 10 kilometres away. The trip is gentle for a couple of hours then falls from about 3500m to 2900m to cross a river on yet another flimsy bridge. All bridges are suspension, supported by seemingly strong steel cables. Just the flooring on some is steel, which is OK, but others are timber, which is frequently rotting or loose.

    After lunch of hot soup, started another 600m climb. Fortunately, this was much easier handled than the climb to Namche Bazaar, as we already had that climb under our belts and the altitudes were much the same. The danger here was the number of yaks, who frequently dislodged sizeable rocks that fell down to the zigzagging paths below.



    Arrived at the furthest point of our trek, Tengboche (3800m I think...), about 3 pm. A solid 6 hour walk but feeling reasonable comfortable now. We are supposed to see Everest from here but like most afternoons, everything was clouded in. The village has a monastery which we looked at, but little else. A handful of basic guesthouses. So hot soup, dahl baht and potatoes and in bed by 8 pm again.

    Day 6

    Woke at 6 am and opened the window to our room to a view that made all the pain worthwhile...



    The peak on the left is Mount Numptse (7,000+ m). The one on the right is Mount Lohtse (also about 7,000 m) and the higher point just left of centre, peaking out over Numptse, is Mount Everest. Breathtaking, really...

    Walked around the village a bit. Freezing cold now and the ground was covered in a think frost. The ridge on which Tengboche sits is surrounded on all sides by 6,000 m + mountains. As the sun slowly rose, each became clearer and we did begin to feel we were on top of the world, even if we had finished well short of the altitude the longer treks take you (Everest Base Camp, for example, is a bit over 5,000m).

    After walking around Tengboche for a while and climbing about 100m to get a view down on the monastery...



    ...we retraced our steps back to the river before breaking off to climb another 600m to the village of Khumding. Only about a five hour walk all up, with climbs broken into three distinct stages, so not particularly difficult. By the time we got to Khumding (3800 m), the weather closed in considerably and it was bloody cold.

    Most guesthouses will not light the pot belly stoves until 6 pm (a conservation move, apparently) so we had to warm up with hot teas and chocolates again. More dahl baht and soups then again in bed by 8 pm.



    Day 7

    Woke to yet another magnificent morning, with views to mountains in all directions. Headed off to the Everest View Hotel (4,000 m) an expensive but largely failed Japanese resort hotel that flies in guests by helicopter and houses them in 5 star luxury including oxgen. Slightly surprised to discover it had snowed overnight, much of which lasted on the ground until about 9 am.

    Had breakfast in bright sunshine on the terrace of the hotel. Although about 3 kilometres further (as the crow flies) from Everest than Tengboche, the view of Everest is probably better from here.



    That is Everest sticking up over Numptse on centre left. The mountain on the right is Ama Dablam (5500m).

    We then slowly headed back toward Lukla, dropping 500m to Namche Bazaar then another 600 m to Jorsalle, a walk of about 6 hours...

    ...where I realised I had done the stupidest thing I have ever done while travelling...I left our passports in Khumding, about 10 kilometres (and 1200 m) away...

    The guide offered to "race back" but at this stage some stupid nobility crept into me. I couldn't let him go alone, so I said I would go with him. After hasty preparations, I left my wife in a guesthouse, the name of which I didn't know, with a porter who's name I didn't know, in a village without telephone, police, other tourists, whatever...and "raced" up the mountain trying to beat the sunset.

    Amazing what the human body can do when pushed.

    3 hours and 45 minutes and a brief snow storm later, about 20 minutes after sunset, we arrived at Khumding to find the passport and spare cash intact. But after having been very careful to avoid altitutde sickness through over-exertion for many days, I had now pushed myself to the limit. I collapsed in bed, throwing up and unable to eat.

    Damn, was I regretting my stupidity...and, having survived the trip and retrieved my passport, I had a sleepless night worrying about my wife.

    Day 8

    Woken by the guide in the dark at 5 am and headed back down. Amazing morning. Clear sky and bright, albeit quarter, moon meant visibility was fine. Could see Everest again, lit by stars and moon...then glowing as the sun slowly rose...me without my camera of course!

    Basically ran down the mountain, using two walking sticks to prevent falls, arriving at 7-45 am to a much relieved wife. Tried to sleep for a couple of hours but still feeling very sick. At 10 am we headed off toward Lukla from we were to fly out next morning.

    A very difficult walk of 6 hours, at the finish of which I was completely done in. (The walk would have been reasonably comfortable in normal circumstances.)

    Hot shower, hot soup and something they claimed was pizza then yet another early night.

    Day 9 10 and 11

    No problems getting out of Lukla, despite a low cloud cover, but a hairy flight nevertheless. Death cheated again, arrived in Kathmandu around 11 am.

    Spent a couple of days there sightseeing and shopping...an interesting enough town well worth the time. Had a pretty good steak while watching Man U - Liverpool. Not sure what exactly the steak was, but at about THB 160, it certainly wasn't prime grain fed Angus...but after the previous 48 hours, it was well enjoyed.



    Highlights

    1. The scenery. Absolutely stunning and unforgetably.
    2. Sherpa people. All friendly.

    Lowlights

    1. Agni Airlines.
    2. Much colder than I was led to believe by various people.
    3. Much more difficult walking than I expected. Sweated profusely which didn't help much once it did cool down in the afternoons. We both arrived in kathmandu with no dry clothes at all. Not sure how old and fat people do it...

    (Obviously my stupidity with the passport didn't help comfort levels!)

    Costs

    Airfares from Bangkok THB 15,000 each
    Trek USD 600 each.
    Spending (excluding shopping) about USD 200 each, mostly in Kathmandu.
    Spemding on "equipment" (jackets, boots, sticks, sleeping bags) about USD 200 total.

    Conclusion

    Certainly worthwhile! As stated, my wife and I are not "outdoorsy" people, but still found this great! Not tempted to undertake alonger trek, though. I've seen Everest. I've taken my photos. That will do me.
    Last edited by Torbek; 25-10-2006 at 11:35 AM.

  2. #2
    punk douche bag
    ChiangMai noon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    o dan y bryn
    Posts
    29,256
    Wow.
    Excellent report and pictures.
    it looks fantastic.
    My wife and i have been thinking about doing this sometime next year.
    What's the best time of year to go on a trek?

  3. #3
    There once upon a time...
    Torbek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Last Online
    02-08-2014 @ 05:14 AM
    Posts
    1,184
    Quote Originally Posted by ChiangMai noon View Post
    What's the best time of year to go on a trek?
    Late September/early October or else March/April when a number of trees/plants begin to flower...

    Too cold from November to February.

    Too wet from May to early September.

    Apparently...

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    60,017
    Quote Originally Posted by Torbek View Post
    I
    Conclusion

    Certainly worthwhile! As stated, my wife and I are not "outdoorsy" people, but still found this great! Not tempted to undertake alonger trek, though. I've seen Everest. I've taken my photos. That will do me.
    awesome mate, i certainly agree with everything you've said here.

    i wanna go back - just never got around to it yet!

    also the entire country is hurting tourist wise with the Maoist thing - which one generally sees nothing much of.. but means that there is not hordes of tourists around...
    Last edited by kingwilly; 25-10-2006 at 12:07 PM. Reason: torbers answered CMN b4 i did

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat
    MeMock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Baan Nok Ubon / outback Australia
    Posts
    11,118
    Torbek: An awesome read. Many many thanks.

    DD: Straight to the famous travel threads.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    60,017
    heres some of my old ones i managed to dig up...


  7. #7
    Thailand Expat
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    60,017

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    60,017

  9. #9
    RIP
    klongmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Nonthaburi
    Posts
    4,382
    Certainly on-topic here...

    excellent reporting...you're obviously not doing this reporting gig for a living...you're much too honest....passport etc...

    a great read and the time writing it is well appreciated...

    hope the body has recovered ...

  10. #10
    Knows fok all
    daveboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    5,222
    Really enjoyed reading this Torbek well done to the pair of you on your trek.

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Last Online
    27-11-2006 @ 09:00 AM
    Posts
    2,894
    Great stuff. I'm amazed you call this a "short" trek....

    Thank-you!

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat
    a. boozer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Last Online
    23-06-2017 @ 01:47 PM
    Location
    Ban Chang, Rayong
    Posts
    1,628
    Great report! Something I would love to do if 20 years younger and 20 Kg lighter. Look forward to the history of your next trip.

  13. #13
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Mousehole
    Posts
    20,902
    Quote Originally Posted by a. boozer
    Great report!
    About time you stopped lurking and posted something

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    60,017
    a friend of mine used the same porter that i used - he organised everything - plane tix, accomodation, additional porters, food, permits, etc etc.

    they had a 13 or 15 year old son (cant quite remember his age) but dad was a big fella, reminded me of russell crowe and this son was a chip off the old block....

    anyways - the porter wanted to know did they need another porter to carry their baby....?

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat
    dirtydog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Pattaya Jomtien
    Posts
    58,775
    Quote Originally Posted by MeMock
    DD: Straight to the famous travel threads.
    Yep, as soon as it hits page 2 that's where it is going

    I got to admit Torbers that aint something I would do as I really hate the cold, But I am glad other people are willing to do these sort of things

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    60,017
    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MeMock
    DD: Straight to the famous travel threads.
    Yep, as soon as it hits page 2 that's where it is going

    I got to admit Torbers that aint something I would do as I really hate the cold, But I am glad other people are willing to do these sort of things
    but its not cold when u are walking and many of the villages had this marvelous thing, a charcoal brazieour (spelling crap i know) under the table which was covered in a thick wool rug, so u had to put you legs under the rug and table which was toasty warm....

  17. #17
    There once upon a time...
    Torbek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Last Online
    02-08-2014 @ 05:14 AM
    Posts
    1,184
    Quote Originally Posted by kingwillyhggtb View Post
    but its not cold when u are walking and many of the villages had this marvelous thing, a charcoal brazieour (spelling crap i know) under the table which was covered in a thick wool rug, so u had to put you legs under the rug and table which was toasty warm....
    Beg to differ...it was bloody cold climbing 600 m up the exposed ridge north of Namche in wind and light snow!

    Besides, bloody Sherpas wouldn't light the braziers until after 6-00 pm in most tea houses and even then barely put three sticks into it. Friggin' tight-arses.

    Said it was something to do with ecology and saving the forests, or some crap like that.

    'Wood doesn't grow on trees, you know!'

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    60,017
    i guess wind exposure would make it rather coolish, depends a little on the sort of clothes your wearing i guess, you did use layers didnt u ?

    maybe you stayed in the wrong tea houses, I tekked around Annapurna, and the towns there had teahouses that also happened to be family homes, and thus were heated as soon as we got there.....

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat
    dirtydog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Pattaya Jomtien
    Posts
    58,775

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 02:46 PM
    Posts
    26,069
    ^ Very interesting DD. I spent 6 weeks in Nepal in the 90's and trekked the Annapurna region basing myself in Pokara.

    Bloody wonderful place but been dodgy over the last few years because of the political situation, All is sorted now and the word is out that Nepal is open for business.

    I'll be going back for the trekking season in October November 2010 and once again do the Annapurna region.

    This is a lot easier than the OP's trek as its at lower altitude, below the snow line, warmer and a nice tea house to sleep in every night. Fok that hard core trekking as its not much fun at all unless ones a mountain goat.

    You get 4 litres of hot water to wash ones sweaty ball bag and then have a lovely little drink before bed. Very civilised considering one is in the middle of nowhere banged up on a mountain.

    Every person that loves to travel should go have a gander at Nepal.

    Good interesting thread this one.
    Stroller is a Yerman faggot.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Chiang Mai
    Posts
    29,317
    What a great trip. Nepal is a great place and your pictures make me want to return there soon. You give me hope that I can still walk up to Namchee Bazaar! Domestic flights in Nepal really make one feel queasy though. A couple of Nepalese people I know have died in helicopter crashes there.

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat
    billy the kid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Last Online
    19-11-2016 @ 07:57 PM
    Posts
    7,639
    Ye beautiful country and very hospititable and tough people. A must to visit.

  23. #23
    Special member
    jizzybloke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    7,874
    Quote Originally Posted by misskit
    You give me hope that I can still walk up to Namchee Bazaar
    Did you look at the date this thread was posted?

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •