Trekking and Stuff in Nepal

Trip Start Oct 01, 2002
1
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Trip End Aug 08, 2005


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Saturday, January 3, 2004

Happy New Year everyone!

Hope you all had an excellent Christmas and New Year. Our Christmas was spent in Pokhara with lights decorating all the restaurants that lined the main streets giving it a festive feel about it. We even found a Christmas menu of sorts and enjoyed turkey on Christmas day as well as spoiling ourselves with lots of red wine. It was a gentle recovery from all our hard trekking. We are now in Kathmandu where we welcomed in the New Year in a local bar. It's freezing cold here making it feel more like home!

Back to our trekking in the Annapurna region. We set off from Pokhara on the 13th December and after a bit of a late start and a two hour bus ride, we trekked the short distance from Nayapol to the tiny village of Syauli Bazar, the start of the Annapurna Santuary trek to Annapurna Base Camp (A.B.C). The track wound along next to the river past orange trees and whitewashed stone buildings and whilst we stumbled along the rocky uneven track, stripping off all the layers we had donned as the sun beat down on us, we tried to remind ourselves that we were "gently ambling". This is the description our book gives for that particular section and we realised just how unfit we had become during our months of travelling. Still, we made it without too much effort to Syauli Bazar and we prepared ourselves for the start of the 'real trekking' the next day. We had decided not to take a guide or a porter with us on the route and this left us with the freedom to warm up gently and take our time.

The next day began harshly with a steep climb up to the next main town of Ghandruk and that's also where it ended! We trekked up to 1940 metres up a rocky steep path. On the way we stopped to rest in a small tea house after climbing for what seemed like ages and up hundreds of steps, we were greeted with a sign which read '4550 steps and 4km to Ghandruk', who wants to read a sign like that anyway??! Well, eventually we made it up to Ghandruk and enjoyed the beautiful views which greeted us at the top. In the distance (and still seeming very far away!) we saw the snowy peaks which encircle A.B.C, and in between, lush green valleys with beautiful, terraced fields, tiny villages and the winding aquamarine blue river far below. It was in Ghandruk that we met the Maoists (the rebel Communist group trying to overthrow the Nepali government and thus starting a civil war), a group of about 15 who were returning after fleeing a few days before when the army arrived. The army had since moved on again, so the Maoists returned. They were strikingly young and each carried a large gun displayed prominently. We were relieved when they didn't ask for any money from us as we knew that they were exploiting the tourists trekking in the region.

Ghandruk was also the place which reminded us of something strange which we discovered in India but happens in Nepal too. It seems to be a common practice to dress up male babies and young boys (below the age of about 5), as girls. Complete with nail varnish, bangles, long hair in bunches, ankle bracelets, pierced ears and girls' clothes. It only becomes apparent that these cute 'girls' are in fact male when they change their clothes as often happens because nappies are non existent. We found this whole thing rather curious and have twice had the opportunity to ask why without appearing rude but we were told it's just for fun even though they are dressed as girls for years until they are 4 or 5!

Our third day's goal was to reach the town of Chhomrong at 2170 metres. This would be a good day's trekking after our gentle start. Unfortunately and quite demoralising, you descend all the way back down to the river and undo all those aching steps of the previous day only to climb all the way back up again and then some! By now we were feeling more fit and it definitely felt easier and the views were worth it. The people we met were full of smiles and were very friendly and the children just run up and down the hills with little effort. Every now and then you hear the clanging of bells as lines of donkeys laden down with everything from kerosene to grain made their way along the narrow path. The fertile, green landscape reminded us very much of Ethiopia. Shortly into our third day, we again met the Maoists. This time they did want money, almost $15 each! There were just 3 of them, a girl who couldn't have been older than 16 and two older males in their early 20s. They were very friendly as they held their guns and asked us for cash but we didn't feel threatened. We told them that we were from New Zealand because they dont like the Brits with their history of training the Gurkhas, but U.S. and Belgian citizens fair worse apparently. We negotiated amicably for a little while and eventually got away with 'just' $15 in total for which they gave us a receipt so that we wouldn't have to pay again should we meet more of them - how thoughtful....

Anyway, we reached Chhomrong in the mid afternoon and were rewarded for our efforts with surprisingly great food and we enjoyed the best luxury the area has to offer - heaters! When it's freezing outside, the guest houses put scorching heaters under the tables which have blankets pinned around the edge which you put over your knees to enjoy the heat. There's even little washing lines under there to dry your towels! A fantastic system for which we were infinitely grateful. It was here that a funny coincidence occurred, we met an Irish girl who we chatted to about travelling and it emerged that she had also been to Africa and had an awful time on an overland tour with a terrible driver/leader who was "too lazy, disorganised and unreliable to do anything" and spoilt their trip completely. It emerged that it was Paul, the same guy we went through Africa with! We were reminded of just what a small world it really is.

We set off from Chhomrong on our 4th day of trekking and started by once again descending all the way back down to the river so we could climb right back up the hill on the other side. This time we didn't mind so much as it was to be the last complete descent and from here on in it was up all the way to A.B.C. On the way we saw Langur monkeys swinging in the trees and on the opposite side of the narrow valley, a whole tree full of them, their bright, white, long, shaggy hair on their heads making them look like Christmas decorations on each branch. Also we saw that along the Annapurna Sanctuary route is one of the few places where cannabis plants still grow wild. We spent the night at a tiny place called Dovan at 2510 metres and set off quite early the next day, heading for Machapuchre Base Camp (M.B.C.)which still seemed so far away in the seemingly endless valley ahead of us. M.B.C. is a bit of a misnomer because Machapuchre or Fishtail mountain as it's also known , has never actually been climbed. The base camp is however, the point from which a failed expedition set off in the 1950s to try to conquer it. The mountain is sacred and attempts to climb it are not allowed. This mountain is really beautiful and the fact it has never been climbed made it even more special. M.B.C. afforded great views of Machapuchre at sunset, turning the snowy, rugged peak orange and then bright red. It was also absolutely freezing there, about -13C we were told, but then we were at 3700 meters adjusting to the altitude before our final trek to A.B.C. the next day.

It only took us just over an hour to reach A.B.C at 4130 metres and the effort of the past few days had been worth it. Almost 360 views of the jagged, snowy peaks of the Annapurna Himalayas towering right above us. We walked up, past the base camp, and could hear the thunder of avalanches all around. The landscape was barren and a huge glacier dropped away from us as we perched on the ridge above. It was really spectacular. The rolling mist and freezing cold temperatures drew us back to the cosy dining room of our guest house where we celebrated with a Mars roll (mars bar cooked and melted in a pastry thing) with custard! The mist prevented any sort of sunset but we were up at 5.15a.m. to watch dawn and sunrise. The views were clear and changed by the minute from stark white peaks silhouetted against the dark blue sky, to bright red glowing peaks at sunrise. After that it was just the steady walk back down over the course of a few days via some not so hot springs where we bathed to soothe our aching muscles. We took a different route back to Nayapol which had been our starting point and walked along a little used path through the terraced fields. Our friends from A.B.C. joined us for part of the walk and then kayaked the rest of the way, we wished we could have too!

We arrived back in Pokhara in plenty of time for Christmas and spoilt ourselves by going to the mini supermarket to buy plenty of red wine, chocolate, biscuits and snacks to celebrate Christmas with. The hotel we had stayed in previously was quite full so they gave us a 'luxury' room complete with T.V. and bath for about 3 pounds per night. We relaxed for a few days and then headed to Royal Chitwan National Park where we based ourselves in Saurauha, a really nice little village with a curious mixture of safari type hotels for the tourists and the traditional mud huts of the villagers, each with a hand pumped well at the front and women cooking in the yards on wood fires whilst kids, goats and chickens ran everywhere. We stayed at a tiny, 4 roomed, family run guest house and enjoyed music around the fire by the guy that owned it. There was also lashings of Dal Bhat on offer, an all you can eat meal of rice, veg curry and lentil soup, really cheap and home made.

Chitwan must be one of the only parks in the world where you can only do walking safaris and where tigers and vicious Sloth bears roam freely in the areas in which you walk. It's okay though because you have to take a guide and he's suitably armed with.......a big stick! We were joined by an Aussie guy Phil and after a gentle ride down the river in a flat bottomed canoe (in the rain - nevermind!), we arrived at the spot from which we would begin our walk into the jungle. The grass was more than a metre high but we soon discovered 2 rhinos, a mother and calf, grazing quite close by. We were ushered to a 'safe' distance by our guide and we watched them for a while. Apart from many birds and some monkeys we saw little else except the white fluffy tails of deer as they bounded deeper into the long grass. As we walked back to the hotel on the edge of the park at the end of the day, we came upon a trail of dugout termite nests signalling the presence of a bear sometime earlier. We were very surprised when we heard it in the forest very close by, just a short time later. Sloth bears are usually very elusive and it's not that common to see one so we were very lucky. That said, they are also extremely dangerous and we each armed ourselves with a large stick. We watched it feeding and then it looked up, straight at us. Time to go! We quickly crossed the river and made our way to the guesthouse for the night. The next morning we began another day's walk in the jungle and made our way slowly back to Saurauha. Apart from the endangered Gharial crocodile, we saw little else, but the walk in the jungle was really nice. The closest we got to a tiger was a fresh pawprint in the mud, but then we didn't expect anything more. Before leaving Saurauha we went on an elephant back ride into the forest and enjoyed the wildlife up close as they do not run away for the elephants. We saw many more rhinos, grazing, bathing and a mother with calf and also many deer, and not just their tails! It was really good although a little uncomfortable after more than 2 hours.

From Saurauha, we endured a very dusty, bumpy ride of 6 hours to Kathmandu. The road wound and bumped along, often it was just a rough, rocky, narrow path after the many land and rock slides had long since demolished the original tarmaced road. Often you could just look down from the precipice and watch the rocks fall away as the edge of the road came closer as cars and heavy lorries passed. It's a bit of a shock to be back in a hectic and very polluted city but it has plenty of good places to eat (lots of steak!) and we've visited some of the city's many temples and sights, including a twisted bit of wood with coins nailed to it, dedicated to the goddess of toothaches where the locals go to soothe their dental pains! We have booked our flights to Bangkok and leave next Wednesday so we have plenty of time for more sight seeing.

Anyway, we hope 2004 is a happy one for all of you, who knows, we may even come home this year! I think we've updated you on just about everything, except one thing, we got engaged just before Christmas at A.B.C!

Take Care all,

S & K.
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Comments

Sabine& Silvana on

Recently we returned from a four-day trek with a friend in the Annapurna Himalayan range. Boasting spectacular scenery, rugged terrain and extremely welcoming locals, I've never visited another place on earth like Annapurna.
Helping us get the most out of our trek was our friendly and knowledgeable guide Sanjib Adhikari, a specialist trekking guide and expedition organizer based in Thamel, the bustling heart of Kathmandu. He skillfully guided us across treacherous mountain passes, pointed out the rich variety of flora we passed and, in the evening after hiking, served our meals and played cards with us.
Knowing that there are quite a few other less capable and experienced guides than Sanjib, I'd certainly recommend him to other trekkers. His website is: www.nepalguideinfo.com
sanjib-adhikari@hotmail.com
977+9841613822
Written Oct 26, 2011
Address: Annapurna Range
Phone: 977+98416138822
Website: www.nepalguideinfo.com


Sanjib Adikhari ist recomended 2011 by German trekkers Sabine and Frank from Berlin
The ultimate compliment for Sanjib came from fellow trekkers we met along the way who remarked how lucky we were to have a guide so personable, knowledgeable and dedicated to us and our experience. We could not have agreed with them more. *We did a 21 day Annapurna circuit, Annapurna base camp trek and Langtang Valley trek and having never trekked this length before, we were both novices. It is without a doubt, that had our guide been anyone other than Sanjib, we would not have had nearly the rich, authentic and thoroughly enjoyable experience we did. When trekking
with Sanjib we enjoyed:
* honest, knowledgeable and sincere discussions regarding anything from Nepal's history and current politics, local religions and culture history, to geography natural landscape and all Mountains Name
* a sensitivity and sensibility to allow a good balance between conversation and respecting an individual or couple’s need for privacy * over 9 years of trekking guide experience
* a respect for an individual’s desired pace and physical condition
* an intimate knowledge of the best accommodations, tea stops and places of interest along the way, according to our own individual budget
We would highly recommend any potential trekker in Nepal to enlist the services of Sanjib Adhikari. It is without a doubt that you will be richly rewarded if you do so Trek in Nepal his contact address is: sanjib-adhikari@hotmail.com and his website : www.nepalguideinfo.com

Silvana Pagani from Italy wrote in 2011: "My friend Sanjib Adhikari, Nepalse Guide

Silvana Pagani from Italy wrote in 2011 about my experience in Nepal and recommends as guide, Sanjib Adhikari.
This year at the end of february i went in Nepal for 18 days for the second time and i did a small trekking in the Annapurna region, I went to visit Pokhara, Kathmandu, Bakthapur and Nagarkot and I saw the National Park of Chitwan and in this trip I had the pleasure to meet Sanjib Adhikari.
He is an independent trekking guide and tour operator in Nepal and he has already obtained trekking guide license from the ministry of tourism, government of Nepal.
In his work Sanjib is a person very responsible and serious, very helpful and attentive to his customers, he knows very well the mountain because he has many years of experience and is also an excellent guide for visiting the cities.
He is someone very competent in his work and always ready to find the best solution, if necessary and speaks English very well.During the trekking and the tours he will tell you many interesting things about culture, about life in the villages, mountains, history and traditions in Nepal.
The best thing is that Sanjib loves his country very much and loves his work and always manages to convey all his enthusiasm with simple ways and always with the smile. He is a very nice person and is always attentive to the needs of his customers. Sanjib is also very funny and after this experience we became a very good friend. Next year at the end of January I will return for the third time in Nepal and Sanjib will be again my guide. 
For these reasons I am very glad to report all references of Sanjib
He Is cantact adress www.nepalguideinfo.comemail-sanjib-adhikari@hotamil.com mobile No= +9779841613822

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