AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Nepal – Supremely beautiful, extraordinarily chaotic!

Nepal has been the first country on our travels we want to return to. It wasn’t always like this with our first days in Kathmandu filled with rain and shopping. We then trekked the Langtang Valley and were underwhelmed by the vistas. But then we went to the Annapurna region. Stupendously stunning! Where else in the world can you walk without ropes to an amphitheatre of 7 and 8 thousand metre peaks? Our time walking in the Himalayas has been fantastic with Circuit being the highlight of our time here; valleys, one mile high solid stone mountains, pastures, snow, mountains, desert and rhododendron forests making each day different and memorable.

Another reason we have enjoyed our time here is the people. In this case the people we met on the treks. Sitting in lodges on an evening with like-minded people was a good experience. We have met some fantastic people such as Kitty from Australia who met us in a shop in Thamel. We ended up spending the day together. Then we met Marco from Germany on the bus and we spent 11days trekking with after meeting on the bus to the start of Annapurna Circuit. We also met Madeline and Nina from Germany whilst trekking. We met Marc from the Netherlands in Manang and Aldo also from the Netherlands whilst at Annapurna base camp then again on the Circuit. Talking to different people of different ages is what makes travelling fun and interesting. The best parts of this trip have always been in situations where we have met others such as Tiger Leaping Gorge, the Thai cookery school, Elephant camp and trekking in Nepal.

I have found some sites to allow us to mingle further as sharing experiences, taxis and meals with others is so good.

Nepal really does stand out as the country of extremes. With high pollution and chaos in the cities there is also the beauty of the natural landscape. I sincerely hope that Nepal does all it can to keep this natural beauty and we as tourists are responsible and set an example. Returning back to Kathmandu is to return to a scene of insane confusion. Thamel is the heart of the tourist area. It’s narrow streets are lined with trekking shops, singing bowl shops and Tibetan tat shops. To get anywhere you must walk in the road, just about wide enough for two vehicles but not wide enough for vehicles plus humans. Street lights do not exist so at night you have to plunge into the traffic and hope you can cross the road without dying. Motorbikes, pedalos and cars constantly press the horn to say ‘I’m here so move’. I’m pretty sure they have made the horns ear-piercingly louder than other countries. Then there is the dirt and dust in the streets along with the obligatory piles of rubbish. In Thamel the rubbish is not quite as prevalent. It is usually taken by the refuse collection lorry to the side of a hill and then tipped off the edge of a once pristine green hillside. The same problem exists in the rural areas and as tourists we contribute to this, especially by purchasing plastic bottles. The locals just dump it off the hillside, blighting the landscape. As you can see, Nepal is the land of extremes with the magnificence and serentity of the Himalayas, in contrast to the pollution and craze of the cities. Despite not enjoying our time in Kathmandu we will come back. Nepal is changing and it will be interesting to see this. Plus we want to walk to Everest Base Camp from Jiri, visit Gokyo Lake and complete the 3 passes ( all above 5,000m). Then visit Upper Mustang and the Dolpo region. There’s lots more to see in the Himalaya region!

Posted from Kathmandu, Central Region, Nepal.

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