Greetings from married life!
This will be the first post of a series sharing the images and experiences of our honeymoon in Nepal. Mostly because I took about a thousand pictures and will need to break up the uploading. Strap yourself in.
Our transport to Nepal was a marathon of course. When we were researching flights we noticed some flew east through Europe and others went west over the Pacific, and the flight time was about the same! We had a day after the wedding to pack our bags and we needed every bit of it. Then we drove to DC and parked the car at my apartment. Then the Metro out of the city. Then a bus to the airport. Then a 15 hour flight to Seoul, South Korea (God bless those headrest media players, we probably watch 5 movies). Then a 12 hour layover. Then an 8.5 hour flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. Whew! THEN 2 hours waiting in line to enter the country. THEN a 40 minute taxi ride to our hotel! I’ve been on whole vacations that took less time than just getting to the beginning of this one.
Kathmandu is ALIVE! Cars everywhere, honking constantly. People everywhere. Motorcycles weaving around the people and cars. Bicycles swerving in and out. Rickshaws sitting in the middle of the road, causing the cars to honk more. And all this is packed into narrow streets with no sidewalks, no traffic lights or signs, and a never ending string of small shops all trying desperately to sell identical things to any white face that walks by. We quickly decided we couldn’t get out of the city fast enough.
After a day of securing trekking permits, entry fees, and bus tickets we loaded on the early morning bus and departed for the mountains. Four hours later we arrived in Dombre and changed to a “minibus” – a rickety and well decorated 12 passenger bus with 25 people in it – then 3 more hours ride to Besi Sahar, the last town before the road turned into a lightly traveled jeep trail. From here we walked.
The walking was our favorite part of the honeymoon. The trail followed the valley of a raging river up into the mountains and was shared equally by mules, herds of sheep, trekkers, and locals. The landscape started out lush and vegetated and as the days passed and we climbed higher transformed to alpine forest, then high desert scrub, then tundra and finally rock and scree. All the while we could see the 20,000-24,000ft snow covered peaks of the Annapurna range across the valley.
We passed through small and medium sized villages every hour or two for the most part. Most had several basic guesthouses with simple rooms and full service kitchens. When we would arrive in the town where we were to spend the night we would just wander into guesthouses and inquire about rooms until we found one we liked. Most of the time the mattresses were a little thin and the bathrooms were a little stinky, but we couldn’t much complain as the rates were only a few dollars a night and we knew first hand that all the materials had been carried in on someone’s back.
Our trekking itinerary went like this:
- Day 1: Bus to Besi Sahar, walk to Bhulbule.
- Day 2: Bhulbule to Jagat.
- Day 3: Jagat to Dharapani.
- Day 4: Dharapani to Chame.
- Day 5: Chame to Lower Pisang.
- Day 6: Lower Pisang to Bragha.
- Day 7: Bragha to Manang.
- Day 8: Manang to Yak Kahara.
- Day 9: Yak Kahara to Thorung Phedi.
- Day 10: Thorung Phedi, over Thorung La Pass, to Muktinath.
- Day 11: Muktinath to Jomsom.
- Day 12: Flight from Jomsom to Pokhara.
This route took us from 2,592ft above sea level up to 17,769ft at Thorung La Pass and down to 8,924ft at Jomsom. Quite a bit of challenging climbing and huffing and puffing in the thin air, then a challenge of the knees down to the finish. We had an amazing time.
Below is a photo album of some of the scenic views we took in on the trek. I will follow up with posts picturing and describing some of the people we encountered and also some entertaining snaps of us. Stay tuned…