Sketch 29: Life Around the Himalayas, Khopra Ridge Trek
Day 3: Pokhara - Ghandruk
...It is time to leave civilization and get going. But don't expect deserted plains, as you can see, there is a vibrant culture in the Himalayas...
For our Nepalese trekking experience, we chose the Khopra Ridge Trek. It is a new, relatively unknown trek, and with so many positives that I shall be praising over the upcoming posts.
The first ten days of my Life Around the Himalayas series are going to summarise the Khopra Ridge trek. I will take you through the mountains, show you the views, introduce its people, and everyday situations. If you plan on going yourself, I will do my best to offer guidance and help to prepare you for your own Khopra Ridge experience.
But first things first...
Sketch of the day: iPhones and Geese
Just outside Nayapul, I encountered this cool young teenager, being online on his iPhone and all. Resting on a pile of mud with geese surrounding him from all sides, he has inspired this sketch full of contrasts. Being on a trek in Nepal, you often see the effort to make things modern and progressive, but you cannot (yet) escape the natural, raw environment surrounding you.
The ITINERARY for our first ten days in Nepal:
(Day 1: Kathmandu)
(Day 2: Kathmandu - minivan to Pokhara)
today's post is the Day 3: Pokhara (850 m) - taxi to Nayapul (1070 m) - Jeep to Kimche - walking up to Ghandruk (1940 m)
Day 4: Ghandruk (1940 m) - Meshar (2940 m)
Day 5: Meshar (2940 m) - Dobato (3420 m)
Day 6: Dobato (3420 m) - Muldai viewpoint (3640 m) - Chistibung (2975 m)- Khopra (3660 m)
Day 7: Khopra community lodge (3660 m) - Khayar Lake (4665 m) - Khopra community lodge (3660 m)
Day 8: Khopra (3660 m) - Chistibung (2975 m) - Swanta village (2200 m)
Day 9: Swanta village (2200 m) - Tatopani (1190 m)
Day 10: Tatopani (1190 m) - bus to Pokhara (850 m)
Day 11: Pokhara - bus to Kathmandu
...A glimpse of Nayapul's architecture.
Now, let me briefly introduce some necessary know-how for this trek:
On this trek, you will sleep in teahouses, meaning no tents necessary. However, I strongly recommend bringing a sleeping bag. The beds won't have the freshest sheets, and you will want to sleep in a sleeping bag of your own.
Many teahouses promise Wifi, but it never worked, leaving us for days without any means of contacting the outer world for days. Prepare your loved once, and enjoy the exceptional experience of being disconnected!
You will need warm clothing for the nights and sturdy hiking boots for the days!
You also need a water bottle, the whole trek is plastic bottle-free. Teahouses will refill your bottle for around 100 NPR (perfectly safe to drink) or give you non-drinkable water for free (in case you prefer using water tablets or lifestraws to save money)
There is plenty of food on the trek. Prices are higher than usual, with about 600 NPR per Dal Bhat (the food you will be living on throughout your Nepalese adventures). On this trek, each teahouse has a set menu, meaning you know what to expect as you go through. It sounds boring, but the variety of flavours is wide, and it is very convenient to know you can get your porridge, coffee, eggs, or noodles everywhere on the trek. Dal Bhat and Momos were fantastic every time, and on this trek, we especially recommend trying apple pies. Every teahouse makes its own version, usually some sort of fried dough filled with fresh apple filling with spices.
As we move through the days, I will recommend some AMAZING places to stay, focusing on the homely feel, hosts and owners, fresh, homemade food and veggie gardens, views, sunsets, and little details that made our stay special. And oh boy, do I have some special places to recommend.
The sceneries of the first day went something like this. Rice fields, locals, fresh, healthy greenery. It was an ever so needed change to the congested urban areas. However, the first part of the trip, up to Kimche, was accessible to jeeps, making it quite dusty and difficult to walk. To save us from such experience, we took a jeep as well, followed by a steep walk from Kimche up to Ghandruk.
Unlike the rest of the Khopra trek, the first two days were part of a more mainstream path. People would still be kind but would treat you as tourists, and you could encounter quite a lot of fellow trekkers. In Ghandruk, we slept in a hotel-like accommodation, hotel Annapurna, an unforeseen luxury in up in the Himalayas. It was a clean, comfortable, and warm room, compared to the conditions higher up. Their Dal Bhat was a disappointment, but the owner and his wife were really kind. Ghandruk is full of all sorts of accommodation types and prepared for tourists with traditional Nepalese German bakeries and pizzas.
On the 4th day, we left the crowds behind and went on to indulge in the most beautiful and authentic trekking experience.