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Mountain Adventure in Nepal!

Nestled between the snowy caps of the Himalaya and the jungles of the Indian plains, Nepal is a wonderful country that is just perfect for independent travel, so much so that it’s difficult to fit everything in! We decided a mountain adventure in the Annapurna Circuit would be our main reason for this trip and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

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Timeframe:

10 Days

Route:

3 Nights: Kathmandu

7 Nights: Pokhara area to include hike

On Arrival into Nepal

To save time – print off and fill in visa form (available online) as you will be stuck in line for over an hour on arrival. It’s $25 for less than 15 days and they need passport picture to process. They accept other currencies too plus there is a currency exchange & an ATM in the arrival hall.

Transport:

Taxis are cheap in Nepal but avoid arguments by arranging a price before getting in. Getting from Kathmandu – Pokhara, we decided to book an internal flight to save time and we were happy to have done so from speaking with other travellers and their bus trip amounted to 9 horrible hours one way. It’s not cheap at $82 each way but as we were short on time, we felt it was well worth our dollars. The tickets were booked in advance with a local agency in Pokhara and all we had to do was print off and turn up an hour before departure. Straightforward, until we saw the Domestic Airport in Kathmandu (beside International) – never seen anything like it but it was organised madness so we didn’t have any delays. The flight itself was in a tiny 30 seater plane and while we had excellent mountain views, it wasn’t the smoothest flight and I was thankful to touch the ground after 30mins in the air.

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Kathmandu

Decided to stay in a well-established B&B – Tings – 15/20min walk from Thamel and while it was nice to get away from crazy Thamel, we found it was a little far out for us especially having to walk home in the dark due to power loads, don’t forget to pack a head torch!

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Crazy Thamel!

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Daily Life in Kathmandu

We packed the latest lonely planet book which had some pretty good walking tours of Kathmandu and just set out ourselves with the map – it was good fun wandering the back streets of Thamel to Durbar Square.  It’s easy to spend hours wandering around the square and watching the world go by – it’s a wonderful way to get a feel for the city.

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Taking in the sights of Durbar Square

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A well earned beer overlooking Durbar Square

We also loved Garden of Dreams and spend a whole afternoon – sitting out on the grass with a book.

The markets were an excellent source for gifts and we spent our last few days gleefully spending the end of our rupees – knitted cosy socks, hats and gloves were our main purchases. We didn’t really bother with any of the trekking shops as we felt that discount shops back home had as good a quality as what we’d buy from these shops but we did purchase poles and rented sleeping bags in Pokhara.

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No shortage of rickshaws!

Pokhara

Certainly not as manic as Kathmandu and a place that we loved hanging out – whether it was walking along the lakeside at sunset or chilling out on a rooftop with a cocktail, it certainly felt like we were on holiday. Our first day was spent hiking to see the Peace Temple (boat to island) which is hard work but great views across Pokhara – I think it took around 40mins each way – up and down, worth the effort.

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Pokhara at sunset is a must!

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Enroute to Peace Temple

We spend one night in Pokhara and then embarked on our hike. Due to our short time frame, we decided on Poon Hike which took us 3.5 days. The hike was a great mix of rice fields, jungle, mountain views and we greatly enjoyed it. The only negative was the crowds on Poon Hill for sunset! It took away a little from the experience. We had a local guide who carried our bag – around 10kg – while we both carried day packs. He was excellent and we really got along with him.

Accommodation was in teahouses along the way which were comfortable but we were glad that we had our own sleeping bags as blankets were a little grubby.  Our route was pretty busy and we spoke to many larger groups of hikers who had found getting accommodation together difficult but due to our helpful guide (and his phone), we didn’t have this issue.

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We had two nights in Pokhara after our hike before flying back to Kathmandu and decided to treat ourselves with a stay in Temple Tree – amazing hotel and it was lovely relaxing by the pool after the hike. Our room was beautiful too and had nice view of the mountains.  We went for a massage at the Helping Hands Spa and for aprox: $22 had an excellent trekkers massage – just what our sore bodies needed!

We also went paragliding and while the idea was scary – it was very enjoyable! And a great way to see even more of the beautiful countryside!

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Paragliding!

End of the Trip

We arrived back in Kathmandu 24 hours before our international flight to give ourselves enough time in case we got delayed. As a final goodbye to our fabulous holiday, we booked ourselves a table at Dwarika Hotel for a 12 course traditional Nepal menu. A great experience but make sure to be extra hungry dining before arriving.

Weather

Our trip book place at the start of October and we were extremely lucky with the weather. It was sunny and dry most days with only rain our first morning and last day.

Overall Experience

Greatly enjoyed our trip and would love to re-visit for a longer hike. The people were extremely friendly and the countryside beautiful. For such a busy holiday, we came home refreshed and energised – looking forward to our next trip back to Nepal!

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Don’t forget to pack

  • Day Pack
  • Head torch
  • Good walking boots/shoes – I purchased Lowe Reginators and I love them
  • Light Rain Jacket
  • Warm clothes to wear in evening while on hike – we just bought extra thin layers and layered up!
  • Small First Aid Kit (dodgy stomach, blistered feet etc)
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Sunrise on Poon Hill

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