Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Trek to Poon Hill (Day 2) - Tikhedhunga - Ulleri - Ghorepani

Click here for Trek to Poon Hill (Day 1): Pokhara to Tikhedhunga

Day 2 began early with a delicious breakfast set:

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially before a tough climb! The odd shape bread is Tibetan bread which I like!

The first part of the trek was a steep climb up a never ending flight of stone steps. I nearly died in the 2 hours of steep climb.

Along the way we met many herds of goats that were walking to Pokhara to be sold and slaughtered for the Dashain festival. I've never seen so many goats on one trek and we had to make way for them whenever we bumped into them along the trek. Unity is strength :-)

The white goat in the front looks as if though it's smiling for Angie's camera.

This herd of goats got stuck in this spot and their shepherd was trying to get them back onto the right path.

Some shepherds paint their goats in bright colours to identify who the goat belongs to, or which herd it comes from.

Whenever it was time to move aside for the goats to pass, we took the opportunity to rest our legs.

After 2 hours of steep climb, we reached Ulleri:

This guy whose arse I snapped had a problem with this leg, yet he had the energy to climb the rocky hills of the Annapurna region. Admirable indeed!

Lunch time was my favourite part of the trek, for obvious reasons :-) We had lunch in this cosy restaurant:

After lunch we continued our trek and after 4 hours we reached Ghorepani, which is the base for climbing to the peak of Poon Hill: 

Arch to welcome tired hikers to Ghorepani.

I think blue must have been the official colour of Ghorepani as all the houses and guesthouses are painted blue. 

We stayed at Hotel See You Lodge & Restaurant which is also painted in a nice shade of blue.

It was freezing in Ghorepani, especially at night. We huddled by the fireplace in the dining area and chatted with Sit and On from Thailand who is one of the loveliest couples I've met.

Unlike Laxmi Lodge & Restaurant where we stayed the night before, Hotel See You Lodge & Restaurant had hot water and a good hot shower at the end of a tiring day felt really good. 

Unfortunately there was a leak in the pipes and they had to cut off the hot water supply later in the evening. The next morning before climbing to Poon Hill, we didn't shower because the water was freezing. But we were not bothered because we were going to sweat like pigs anyway :-)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Trek to Poon Hill (Day 1): Pokhara to Tikhedhunga

We left Hotel Himalayan Inn in Pokhara at 9.00am and headed to Nayapul, which is about 1.5 hours away by car.

Rooms at Hotel Himalayan Inn were clean and comfortable. Each room has ensuite bathroom with hot water.

Along the way to Nayapul, I was excited to see the Annapurna Range that loomed in the distance:

The peak sticking out on the right is called Machhapuchhre (6,998m) or Fish Tail mountain. It's a sacred mountain and not open to trekkers. You will see more beautiful pics of it in my next posts.

Upon arrival at Nayapul (1,070m), we immediately began our trek.   

I was excited and worried at the same time - excited to see what lies ahead and worried I may not make it to the top of Poon Hill, despite training on Bukit Gasing.

The trek began by passing muddy roads lined with little houses and shops.

Soon we passed the Birethani checkpoint where Kapil our guide produced our trekking permits to the officer there. 

All trekkers need to be get a permit to trek in the main regions in Nepal. Your hostel or guesthouse would be able to help you apply for it. 

 Costs 2,000 Nepalese Rupee to apply for a trekking permit. Apparently the permit to climb Mount Everest is a whopping USD 15,000 for 10 people!

We continued our journey, and along the way we saw valleys like this:

... and rushing rivers like this:

Soon the weather became so hot that we stopped at one of the streams to soak our face towel and cover our faces with it. The cool mountain water was refreshing indeed!

At approximately 12.30pm, we stopped for lunch at this teahouse in Sudame:

This was my lunch:

A simple lunch of instant noodles and fried egg. Some of you may say, "What?! No rice? Especially after all that trek?" :-)

As we were eating, we saw a herd of mountain goats approaching:

These goats were on their way to Pokhara to be sold for the upcoming Dashain festival. Apparently the goats could fetch about 18,000 Nepalese Rupee each. 

I rushed out to see the herd and couldn't help it but inched my way to the middle to see whether any goat would bump into me :-)

 View from my camera as I stood in the middle of the herd. For the record, no goat bumped into me :-) But little did I know that these goats would be the highlight of our trek the next day.

Soon we reached Tikhedhunga Hile (1,500m) and put up the night at Laxmi Lodge & Restaurant.

This was our room in Laxmi Lodge. It was so small we had to be careful not to bump into each other.

 Don't expect luxurious rooms and amenities when trekking in Nepal. 

Laxmi Lodge had only one bathroom with no hot water and no lights. So we had to take turns to shower in the freezing water and in the daytime. It's not a wonder some trekkers and guide choose not to shower at all!

Since it was only 4.00pm and too early for bed, Kapil and Siva our porter brought us to a river nearby to soak our tired feet in the freezing waters.

Kapil trying to outdo Angie's smaller pile of rocks. 

When we arrived back at Laxmi Lodge, one of the girls rushed out to inform that one of the cows had just given birth.

We went to the stable to see this wonder of nature and I managed to snap a photo of the newborn calf:

 Welcome to the world, little calf. I know you're shy, that's why you're hiding behind mummy who is being protective of you. 

After all that trekking, playing in the river and witnessing the birth of a calf (well, technically we were not there when the little fella came into the world), it was time to retire for the day.

Next Post - Trek to Poon Hill (Day 2): Tikhedhunga - Ulleri - Ghorepani

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Fridge Magnets from Nepal

During my recent trip to Nepal, I got myself a few magnets: 

 Durbar Square in Kathmandu is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We were there during the Dasain festival and witnessed the slaughtering of a cow and two goats. After that, I swore off mutton and beef and am sticking to good old chicken meat.

 Poon Hill (3,200m) in the Annapurna Region is relatively one of the easiest treks to do. It took us 3 nights and 4 days to hike there and back. The journey was tiring, but the views were worth it. 

More magnets of the Annapurna Region and Nepal map. 

Fridge Magnets from Australia and Vietnam

Celia was in the Land Down Under recently, about the same time I was in Nepal. And she got me these lovely fridge magnets:

 The orang asli of Australia.

 Celia bought this lovely teapot magnet from the Treasured Teapot Museum in the Blue Mountain region. After seeing the photos she took at the museum, I'm so tempted to start a teapot collection from the countries I've been to. But I lack space in my apartment to display the teapots.

The iconic Sydney Opera House.

More magnets from Sydney.

And to detour from the Australian magnets, a colleague who was in Vietnam recently for work got me this couple magnet:

Cute, huh?

My collection of fridge magnets have grown tremendously thanks to wonderful friends and colleagues who think about me whenever they travel.

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