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Nepal is not only mountains!

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Author: Pozdnii Taras, 24, Ukraine, Bila Tserkva
Teamleader: Taras Pozdnii
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Namasteee, friends, a greeting that becomes familiar in 20 days of Nepal, a greeting in which you put your soul, really wish the person you meet all the best. Pronounced with a smile on the face and a lofty intonation, it energizes not only the person you meet, but also the person saying it. Much livelier than our "Hello." While the mood is not working I wanted to write about our wonderful trip to Nepal. And indeed there is a lot to write about and there is a lot to write about! So much that I do not even know what I will write about, and only approximately know the structure of the report - it will not be standard, not by day. Ready? Then let's go!

ABOUT KATHMANDU

Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal, where you plunge straight from the plane into life. My first impression is: “AAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!! What is going on around here? How do they all drive here and why are they always honking, and in general, why is there so much of everyone and everything? “. A cab picked us up from the airport and the road to the hotel left me in silent horror! No markings, no obvious rules (only later I realized that they do exist) of the road – who first honked, and he goes (maybe that’s why they are constantly honking?), a lot of scooters on the roads, narrow streets, crowded with people. It was too much for my little head. And I decided for myself that the city was horrible and there was nothing to do there. And how dusty it was. So we arrived in Thamel, the touristy district of Kathmandu where most of the infrastructure for visitors is concentrated. We checked into a hotel and met up with the other part of the group. Today was a free program – we went to change money (the exchange rate was about 1:99 to the dollar, so be sure to haggle) and walked to Durbar square. Natasha was leading us and I could not understand how she ever managed to find her way through these identical streets, thousands and thousands of signs and ever honking drivers. But she was able to do it without much trouble. It’s about a ten minute walk to Durbar and it’s the first sight to walk to. The next day we took a car which took us around all the most famous sights in Kathmandu:

Обезяний палац

Пашупатинат

When I left Kathmandu for the mountains, I was relieved that the horror was finally over.

On our return from the trek we had another half day to walk around Kathmandu – and oh my god, I loved this bustling city and wanted to stay in it. But I didn’t change my plane ticket). It was easier to get my bearings in the streets, I no longer paid attention to the endless beeps, and I felt almost like a local. One of the great things that I discovered was the bars in Kathmandu where rock bands were playing. It was about ecstasy! The Mettalika, Nirvana and ACDC songs were just great and I decided to definitely go to all of these places, the most alive city in the world (according to Messner). I left Kathmandu sad, either from saying goodbye to the band, or goodbye to the city, or goodbye to Nepal, or rather from all of this together…

хозяйка)

About the trek

Originally the trek around Annapurna + Lake Tilicho was planned, but we changed it and didn’t regret it a bit! As a result we did the trek around Annapurna, the trek to the Annapurna base camp and to Chetwan jungle – I will tell you about all stages in details below.

Наша группа

About the Around Annapurna trek

This track is considered the most picturesque and is one of the most popular in the world. It is not strange, the track is really good! Already in the first days we are surrounded by wonderful and unusual nature of Nepal, you seem to understand that the real mountains and the beauty of a couple of days’ journey, but the camera shutter does not stop clicking.  Every day the mountains were getting higher and harsher, the nature around was striking us more and more. The beauty of the trail reaches its climax during the trek from Pisang to Manang on the upper trail – throughout the day you admire the Annapurna massif and the mountain river winding its way to the bottom of the shady gorge. We had a fix idea for the day – force ourselves not to take pictures every second! We even collectively thought about how to do it – but the solution never came. Our brains were completely absorbed in the Annapruna snow, and our hands were involuntarily reaching for the camera. And now here we sit, poring over thousands of photos!

Фотаем

About the fifth day, I got tired of the snow-white mountains and was able to walk quietly without stopping every 10 meters for a photo. It was unusual.

From Manang we began the ascent to Torong La Pass. Very cold evenings, piles of snow, unfamiliar food and altitude were exhausting. Though I should say that the altitude in Nepal is not the same as in the Caucasus! According to my personal feelings we can safely minus 1500 meters. Nevertheless, I spent the night at 4,900m and reached the pass early. The ascent reminded me of the ascent of Elbrus in some places.  Here was a part of the trail similar to “Kosaya” and the sun was shining at the same angle, and here was the pre-top plateau. The trail is very flat, there are no steep ascents and technically difficult sections. The main difficulties that may arise are the altitude, the cold and the weather. Standard set. On the pass there is a teahouse (it’s at an altitude of 5419 meters!) and a great place where you can take a break. The views are usual, nothing special.

в пути на перевал

The descent from the pass deserves special attention. We had a lot to descend, about 1800 meters down a very steep slope. Natasha and I went down the way I like – on our asses. It was cool, a lot of adrenaline, but! Think about the steepness of the slope and assess your ability to stop. A broken trekking stick and bruises on the butt – that’s what we got off! But it was worth it!  In general, the descent was fun and fast, and “big sweat lemon ginger teez honey” was waiting for us at the first lodgies.

На перевале Торонг-Ла

The next highlight of the trek is the drive to Tatopani and the hot springs. A true bliss to soak in 40 degree water, after the cold of the highlands! The next day we climbed 1,800 meters of vertical, very beautiful and unique meters. We walked slowly, thoroughly enjoying all the picturesque villages on the way and drinking tea in almost every one of them.

The sunrise at Poon Hill is worthy of an article of its own. It is three times worth it to wake up at 4am and walk the innumerable steps to the small but very panoramic summit! The first rays of the rising sun gently illuminate and paint in a soft orange color such harsh and impregnable peaks Dhualagiri (8167 m), Annapurna South (7 219 m), Annapurna I (8091 m), Machapuchare (6997 m). It is an unforgettable experience!

About the trek to Annapruna Base Camp (ABC)

In Chomrong we divided into two groups – moose who were going to ABC and those who decided to continue their rest in Pokhara. By the way, we also visited Pokhara. In general we managed much more than everyone else during this trip! So, the road to ABC is a trail a little more than entirely made up of steps. There are steps big and small, flat and crooked, high and low, stone and roots, man-made and natural, wet and dry – for every taste and color. You will curse them and make vows to yourself – that there will be no more steps in your life, only elevators and excavators! And your knees will agree with you, rebelling against the 5,000th step passed in a day! And it’s only the middle of the day!

ступеньки..

By the way, on the way back I counted the number of steps from the bridge over the Chomrong Khola River to our gesta in Chomrong. That’s a small part of our journey for the day. And guess how many steps came out? Wrong, it was 2114! Now try to scare us with some 365 steps to some landmark!

на фоне Аннапурны

And so, enough about the steps. The most scenic and steepest part of the track is the ABC itself. We were there for up to two hours, and we should have been there much longer! To describe the panoramas of the mountains that open your eyes is pointless, there are no words that can convey their grandeur and rugged beauty! It is worth, undoubtedly worth this place to go to him and return again. Even knowing how many steps are on the way.

на фоне Мачапучаре

The trek took place during the Happy Holly holiday and already on the approaches to the ABC we were dissolved, for which we said thank you and wished all the best. No irony, we were glad))

кушаем в АВС

About Pokhara.

After ABC we went to Pokhara. Here we had some time – went boating in Feva Lake (and I swam in it as well), and then had a meal in one of the waterfront restaurants. The food took so long to cook for us that all the time we had to spend sightseeing we sat around waiting. But nothing, the sunset was beautiful.

лодочки в Покхаре

About Chetvan

We had the idea to go to Chetvan on the approaches to Pokhara. It was immediately put into practice – we made a deal for the car and Razin (our Nepalese guide) booked a room in one of the best hotels in the village. 1,500 rupees for a double room was a tolerable fee. In Chetwan we had a great time for Katya’s birthday, first on the roof of the hotel and then by the river in the company of crocodiles. Just kidding, I chased the crocodiles away)) Or they crawled away on their own? They didn’t sit at the table with us! It was a great place, I especially liked to sit in a cafe on the river bank – warm air, delicious food, good company. Calmness and silence, which contribute to a state of complete peace.

джип-сафари

But that’s not why people go to Chetwan, but to see the jungle, ride elephants and canoes, and go on jeep safari. Due to our laziness, we chose to go on a jeep safari, leaving the elephants and canoeing for later. Of course it was interesting, but! Four hours of driving in the warm air is very disposed to sleep and at times and kimaril)) We saw a bunch of crocodiles, deer, wild boar and rhino. About elephants I am silent, they roam the streets here and are not a gimmick. There are not many animals and next time I will ride an elephant and a canoe, there are more impressions in the group that chose this program!

It is definitely worth to go to Chetwan, it will make your vacation in Nepal more colorful!

About the participants

There were a lot of us, such a composite of 22 people. Everyone was different, with different desires and different level of physical fitness. We moved along the trail in small groups according to our interests and the rate of our advancement. It was ideal, although there were some complications – the first sometimes had to wait a couple of hours for the laggards. But a bottle of beer would always make up for this wait).

In spite of the differences in personality, the group was excellent and everyone found a comfortable social circle. I would like to say a special thanks to the people with whom I communicated most of all on the track. Natasha, for all her stories about Nepal, for her smile, colors and company; Roma, for the plans for the future treks and solving all the questions; Katya, for her energy and for the “crocodile”; Dima, for the company during the starry sky shooting, Andrey, for a lot of interesting stories; Vlad, for the neighborhood in the first nights and coca kanhvetka; Lena, for her emotions and eloquent description of the route (especially the climb to Torong La and the stairs); Jaroslav and Julia – for the Ukrainian language, for the sausage and the expired energy packets; Seryozha – for sincerity; Lena – for simplicity; Luda – for spontaneity and for the 10,000 photos, which I will not look at; Lyuda and Denis – for what an interesting couple they are; Dima-Chen – for their silent patience and recharging; Vladimir – for brief but interesting conversations; Olga – for her subtle trolling; Lena and Vova – for what they could and did; Tata and Razim – for their work. If I forgot to mention anyone, I’m sorry, my memory is a bit spotty.

мы с Разином и Тата

About the Porters

Razin was our guide, and Tata was our porter. Tata turned out to be so quick and enterprising that he immediately took over the duties of a guide, and took an assistant – who carried a heavy bag instead of him. But at the same time, he always found us the best mestos, spoke good English and tried to learn Russian. Very amused when I gave him a small flag of Ukraine, with which he walked half the route (until he lost somewhere). Razin is also a great young guy, learned the catchphrase “davay, davay” and repeated it wherever he could.

About the villages.

Chet I’m tired to write, and you already read. Yes, probably not many people will read here anymore. But still about the villages need to tell – they made an impression on me, no less than the mountains. I liked very much their terraced gardens, colorful houses, narrow streets and views. Almost every village I wanted to stay at least a day.

типичное село

About the mountains.

Well, what can I say about them? At first you look with your mouth wide open, then you get used to them. From the eight-thousand meters we saw Dhualagiri, Annapurna I and the small Manaslu. During the entire trek we were accompanied by the Annapurna massif, one of the toughest in the Himalayas. But it wasn’t them that conquered my heart, it was the relatively low peak Machapuchar, 6,993. It is very impregnable and beautiful. The second name of the mountain – Fish Tail (fish tail), because it has two tops about the same height (the difference in 4 meters) and really resembles a fish tail. And from these tops was very difficult to tear off the admiring look.

About the food

Nepalese cuisine is peculiar. It takes some getting used to. By the middle of the trail I was literally sick of all their spices, but by the end of the trail I got used to it and again ate with pleasure. From the popular dishes – mochi (dumplings), Dal Bat (good thing is that you can ask for more as much as you want). But I liked the mixed fried rice and pasta the most. And, of course, the yak packs. The local soups sucked – they were made from a bag and were not very pleasant. I really liked the mars/snickers roll and other desserts. I love sweets))

The food costs a shitload of money, but for about 10-20 bucks a day you can eat normally – depending on prices and appetite.

на фоне массива Аннапурны

About loggies

Rooms in the lodges are very unpretentious, 2-3-bed. Sometimes there is a shower in the room. No soundproofing at all, because the rooms are partitioned off from each other with simple plywood. A funny thing is that it’s usually colder in the rooms than it is outside. At least until you breathe in there.

About the weather

The weather is standard for the mountains – sun in the morning, close to evening clouds gather and rain is possible. We had rain twice on the trail, once in Kathmandu and once we waited it out, bathing in the hot springs. Once it snowed heavily.

The temperature also varies and very much depends on the altitude. But in general, the days are hot and the evenings are cold. Only in Chetvan there was no such difference.

About the roads

The roads they have are strenuous, you can sit down. The descent to Tatopani was the scariest part of the trip for me. But don’t worry, the drivers ride them with confidence. Or they don’t care.

About the thermal springs

Two times we enjoyed the warm waters of the thermal springs – in Tatopani and in Jinudanda. Both times we steamed for a few hours and both times it didn’t seem to be enough.  In Tatopani, the water is hotter and more civilized, and in Jinu we watched a large flock of monkeys climbing 30-50 meters away from us, on the other side of the river. Hot springs, after hiking days, are just what you dreamed of!

на Хай Кемпе

About my love for Nepal

It’s not often that I declare my love for anyone or anything, but I fell in love with Nepal. Definitely, I will visit it many, many times and I’ll go all over it. Definitely will be a trip of a few months as well – this is the best format to travel in Nepal – no time limit.

If you have the slightest opportunity to go trekking in Nepal, go for it.

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