Every year November brings some great news! This year also, in November, continuing its glorious legacy, Pokhara Skydive 2021 took place at its usual dropzone at Pame, 11km west of Phewa Lakeside. The event was organized from 16th to 21st November 2021. The event couldn’t take place in 2020 due to pandemic. But this year, it came back with its same glory and charm, in fact, with some more add-on charisma than before as it had altogether 178 jumpers from India and Nepal, the highest number till date. All the jumps were executed by the expert crew team of Everest Skydive that includes Team Leader Paul-Henry de Baère (France), Nadezda Solovyeva (Russia), Gregory Lee Shelton (USA), Sabina Kotarba (USA), Arnold Camfferman (Netherland), Matthew Larry Yount (USA), Lauren Nicole Weikle (USA), Alberto Avalis (Italy), Peter Piotrowski (USA), Peter Svalo (Denmark), and Christopher Lee Whitley (USA). All heli flights were carried out by the professional team of Fishtail Air. A joint venture of Everest Skydive and Explore Himalaya, Pokhara Skydive 2021 was supported by BEEP – Beautiful Experiences Extraordinary Places, Aloft Kathmandu Hotel, Turkish Airlines, Buddha Air, Fishtail Air and Alma Artes.
Pokhara Skydive started its commercial operation from 2013. Since then, hundreds of adventurers from around the world have enjoyed the ride in the Himalayan sky. Pokhara Skydive is one of the most thrilling ways to experience freefall in which you exit from a helicopter while being among the Himalayan giants Manaslu, Machhapuchhre and Annapurnas before you surf through an ocean of clouds down to the magnificent valley of Pokhara. Due its uniqueness, the event is being one-of-a-kind adventure in the whole South Asia. And most importantly, unlike other skydiving events, it’s an annual event taking place in November only with some occasional special editions in Spring. So, it’s a rare experience that deserves to be in the bucket list of any extreme adventure buffs. This year’s immense success has also proved it right. Well, now who can say no to an epic Himalayan skydiving adventure with legendary skydiving instructors and videographers from around the world? If you want to be a part of this exclusive adventure, Pokhara Skydive awaits you! Please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
If you have trekked in Nepal, chances are pretty high that you have stayed in one of the local teahouses as almost every trekking in Nepal is teahouse trek. In teahouse trek, trekkers stay in teahouses that are strewn along the trail. Teahouses are small hotels found in villages in the Himalaya that offers both bedding and eating facilities for the trekkers. Often run by local families, tea houses are built of local materials and provide required comfort and safety for trekkers.
Teahouses have drastically changed the way of trekking in Nepal. In earlier times, almost all of the trekking used to be camping trekking in which trekkers used to spend nights in tented camps. But the story is different now. Due to easily available teahouses, trekking groups don’t need to carry camping and cooking equipment or plan extensive logistics. Teahouses have considerably lowered down the cost of trekking. They have also helped to reduce the impacts on environment as they are located in villages not in fragile terrain like camping trekking. They also boost the local economy as the teahouse owners and staffs are all local people. Teahouses also offer a wonderful opportunity to interact with locals and experience the local life and culture.
Nowadays, teahouses are ubiquitous in popular trekking areas such as Everest and Annapurna. In less frequented areas like Manaslu, Makalu, Kanchenjungha etc also, teahouses are growing in number. The facilities provided by such teahouses can vary as some can be basic whereas some can be luxurious. But normally all teahouses have basic facilities like western style toilets, hot showers, continental meals and internet connection. So, trekking while staying in local teahouses can be a lifetime experience you wouldn’t want to miss.
Basic facilities in teahouses:
Generally, tea house mostly consists of twin-basis accommodation. You can find a single room that have twin beds with some other furniture like a small table or a chair. The price of room differs according to the size, quality, cleanliness of tea houses and lodges. During the peak seasons, accommodation costs around $5 whereas price can go down up to $2 in off seasons. Some luxury tea houses in Everest Base Camp Trek can charge up to $50 only for accommodation.
Almost every teahouse has clean and basic rooms, but you have to pay a little extra if you want attached bathroom. Some even have single bed room. The beds are comfortable with foam mattresses, pillows and you are provided with a thick blanket. Remember, always bring your own sleeping bag so that you stay warm enough at night. And yes, don’t forget to bring a pair of earplugs for a good sleep if you are a light sleeper.
Foods and Beverages
Meals at teahouses are often cooked in their kitchens by owners. The foods are fresh and delicious. You can find a set of menu of momo, pizza, sandwiches, pasta, and other noodle dishes at almost every teahouse. Normally, trekkers choose the typical Nepali Dhal Bhat as it is fresh, healthy, filling and easily available everywhere you go. The higher you go on the trek the more you have to pay for the same food. The Dal Bhat at the starting of the trek can cost around $2. And the same Dal Bhat can cost up to $5 as you trek higher. For beverage you can find tea, coffee, hot chocolate, juice etc. which is quite similar in every trekking region. Staying hydrated is a must for every trekker. But trekkers don’t need to worry. Bottled water is easily available throughout the trail in teahouses. One bottle of mineral water can cost from $0.50 to $4 depending upon the altitude of the trek.
Wi-Fi and Electricity
Most of the teahouses in Nepal are run by solar power, therefore you can find internet and electricity facility. However, internet and network connections can be slow. Many teahouses have their charging outlets in the dining room but you have to pay a certain amount in order to charge your electronics and use the internet. An hour charge of an electronic devices cost from $2 to $5 whereas using of a Wi-Fi hourly cost up to $1 -$2. If it is cloudy during the day, then there is a chance of power shortage, so make sure you carry an extra battery pack or power bank for your gadgets.
Hot Showers and Laundry
Most of the tea houses provide hot showers from a solar hot water system to the trekkers. You can get a bucket of warm water if there is no solar power. Using this facility can charge you up from $2 to $5. For laundry, you can get your laundry done in main villages of your trek which can take from $1 to $5 depending upon your clothes. In smaller areas, you can bring your own laundry detergent and wash your clothes as soon as you arrive and make sure to put them by the fire at night.
Always try to reach the teahouse on time before 7 pm if you have not booked one.
Don’t forget to bring your sleeping bag and liner to get extra warmth at night.
On the higher altitude of the trek, the communal toilets can sometimes be outside the tea house. So, its better to bring a flashlight for midnight toilet breaks.
Since there are no waters in toilet at high altitudes, bring enough toilet (tissue) paper and hand sanitizers. You can get toilet paper in teahouses but it costs extra charge.
Always choose to stay and eat the meals at the same teahouse. Owners of the teahouse expect trekkers to eat all their meals where they choose to stay for the night.
Always research or ask other trekkers for a good teahouse which are reliable, safe and provides good services.
Nepal, a highly diverse country rich in beautiful destinations and multitudinous gift of nature, is a dream of any trekking and mountain lovers. While most of the tourist destinations of Nepal get busy during the peak seasons, it’s always a good idea to travel to the places that are less explored if you love solitude and want to have more relaxed holidays. There are numerous unique trekking destinations in Nepal that are quieter, yet equally beautiful. Manaslu region is one of them.
Tucked away from civilization, Manaslu region, the home of Mt. Manaslu (8163 m) – the eighth highest mountain in the world, is extremely beautiful snuggled amid snowcapped mountains where you can find beautiful landscapes and feel at home with the typical culture of Tsum and Nubri people. Trekking in Manaslu region takes you through the diverse and impressive sceneries, snowcapped mountains, pristine glacier lakes and rich flora and faunas. Starting right from the green paddy fields and subtropical forests, the trail slowly meanders through higher landscape to reach mountain passes and arid cliffs surrounded by breathtaking views of Mt. Manaslu (8163 m), Mt. Himlung (7126 m), Mt. Kanguru (6981 m), Mt. Annapurna South (7937 m), Himlung Himal (7126 m) and Cheo Himal (6820 m). Not just nature, you can also get insightful cultural experiences that include Tibetan Buddhist traditions, exquisite Buddhist art, monasteries and festivals of different ethnic groups.
Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of the popular treks in this region. This trek encircles Mt. Manaslu. The trek normally begins through the rugged path across the hilltop of Dhading towards the green terraces, lush hillsides and heads up to Budi Gandaki Valley. The trail passes through several small villages, widened valleys, terraced cultivated fields, steamy lowlands, and amazing waterfalls. At Lokpa, you also have the option to go towards Tsum Valley, one of the remotest Himalayan Valleys. The Valley is especially known for its rugged inner terrain and authentic trans-Himalayan culture. Some travelers combine this trek with Manaslu Circuit trek. After completing Tsum Valley trek, they join the Manaslu main trail again, from where the path descends down across the wide sandy river bed and go after steep, craggy valley side and eventually crosses the Tharo khola to reach the beautiful settlement at Namrung. Furthermore, you pass through lovely monasteries, beautiful chortens, manis and get the opportunity to enjoy the stunning landscapes of many mountains such as Himlung Himal (7126 m), Cheo Himal (6820 m) and Annapurna II (7937 m) as soon as you reach Samagaon. The trail then circumvents gigantic Manaslu peak (8163m) and crosses Larkya-La pass at 5106m which follows the narrow path that finally emerges into Marshyangdi Valley along the main trail of Annapurna circuit. The trek traces towards Tilche along the pasture of Sangure Kharka through rhododendron, oak and pine forest and finally concludes at Jagat. So, trekking in Manaslu region is a complete Himalayan adventure that offers not just a regular trekking but also a life changing experience infused with diverse natural and cultural insights.
Looking for an opportunity to savour the rich cultural heritage in the Himalaya? Nepal can be your dream destination. After all, Nepal is not just about mountains. Nepal, country of long history, fascinating art, distinctive and varied architecture is highly diverse in its cultural representation. Nepal is a home to about 101 ethnic groups with more than 129 dialects living from southern plains of Terai region to the foothills of the world’s highest peaks. Unique culture and tradition are the parts of everyday life of Nepali that will surely make you bedazzled. So, cultural tours in Nepal can be the best opportunity to explore the hidden gems of the country that offers unforgettable experiences of cultural bequest. These cultural tours do not only take you to the holy pilgrimage sites, historical monuments, UNESCO world heritage sites but also rejuvenate your mind, body, soul and makes your trip memorable one.
Nepal, especially Kathmandu Valley is one of the rarest places on Earth that showcases the exemplary fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism. This makes Nepal rich in cultural diversity with variety of gods and goddess, numerous temples of different styles, stupas, monasteries portraying the deep faith of people. The cultural tours provide you with the most satisfying experience of guided excursion and roaming in the old historic towns like Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan providing live display of medieval art and architecture in its wonderful durbar squares. The insight of eye catching design of durbar squares glorifies the miraculous relation of Gods and humans that adds excitement and rejuvenate you spiritually. Also, the 3rd century Boudhnath Stupa, Swoyambhunath temple and the biggest Hindu temple in the world- Pashupatinath Temple allure you towards their pristine beauty.
Not just in Kathmandu Valley, wherever you travel in Nepal, you with encounter with various groups of people with different culture and lifestyles. Nearby places along the rim of Kathmandu Valley like Nagarkot, Dhulikhel and Namo Buddha, offer insights on the mid-hill life of Nepal with the eye catching views of the Himalayas. In the eastern and central parts of Terai, resides a Mithila culture center, which is related to the great Hindu epic, Ramayana. The capital of ancient Mithila kingdom is present in heart of Mithila, Janakpurdham, where you can experience the touch of Mithila culture through different temples, ponds, foods, art, architecture, and cultural monuments there. The famous and only Hindu-Mughal style temple ‘Janaki Mandir’ is really mesmerizing and the numerous sacred and beautiful ponds there crown it as “City of Ponds”. Lumbini, Birth place of Lord Gautam Buddha is an important spiritual site and attracts thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from around the world. Other destinations to experience both natural beauty and cultural magnificence are Pokhara, Bandipur, Palpa, Nuwakot and Gorkha as well as Chitwan where you can also enjoy wildlife experiences.
Nuwakot Seven Stored Palace (Sattale Durbar)
Well, the list is long and choice endless. A wide variety of ethnic groups, all speaking their own language and practicing their own way of life is what makes Nepal unique from rest of the world. You can be rest assured that these places is tantamount to invaluable insight, unspoiled beauty through the enriched culture, charming people with varied lifestyle and valued customs and traditions. So, why wait?
If you are thinking of some great Himalayan adventure, Mera Peak climbing can be a wonderful start. Situated in the Makalu Barun Valley next to Khumbu Valley, Mera Peak (6476m) is the highest trekking peak of Nepal. You can see the awe-inspiring views of majestic mountains like Cho Oyu (8201m), Lhotse (8516m), Makalu (8463m), Kanchenjunga (8586m), and Mount Everest (8848m) from the top of Mera Peak. The adventure can be done in relatively shorter period of time and is less strenuous compared to serious mountain climbing as Mera Peak is not a technical mountain. Nevertheless, its 6000m+ Himalayan peak and it comes with some challenges. So, here is some information that will help you if you want to embark on this amazing adventure.
Why climb Mera Peak ?
Climbing Mera Peak doesn’t just come with a sense of achievement but also with the amazing experience of stunning mountain views, picturesque villages, wonderful forests, diverse culture, beautiful landscapes and many more. It’s a full package that offers all aspects of a Himalayan encounter. Although this trip is physically demanding, it requires relatively little climbing technique and can be climbed by beginner who is physically fit.
Is it difficult to climb Mera Peak?
Mera Peak (6476m) is the highest trekking peak of Nepal. But it doesn’t consist of steep technical climb like other expedition peaks. So, even if you are a beginner then climbing this peak isn’t that strenuous for you. But, due to altitude, snowy condition and geographical extremities, it’s not a piece of cake. You still need some basic alpine skills and be able to use gears such as climbing boots, crampons, climbing helmet, ice axe etc. You don’t need to worry about this as you will have enough time at the Base Camp to learn these skills. Just make sure that you hike gradually, hydrate well, and eat healthy food to reach the summit in best physical condition.
What are the trainings required for Mera Peak?
It all depends on how often do you hike and trek in the Himalaya or high altitude conditions. If you are a regular trekker, then climbing Mera Peak isn’t that strenuous for you. However, it doesn’t mean that it is all easy to reach the summit. In order to ascend Mera Peak, you need to build good core and length strength along with endurance power. You have to put in the right training schedule and follow it every day before the trip. Lunges, squats, step aerobics, cardio vascular trainings are some of the physical activity that you can include in your daily practice. It is also equally important to have prior experience of altitudes. And yes! Always remember mental preparation is a must which keeps you focused and confident to achieve whatever your goal is.
On the way to Mera Peak
What to eat and where to stay during the trip?
You need comfortable accommodation and healthy food to stay fit and energized during the trip. For that, you can find lodges or teahouses strewn along the trail. Camping can also be a good option for overnight stay if you want to unplug and enjoy the simplicity of nature. But, it is not preferred much nowadays due to the availability of teahouses. You can find many options of foods like potato dishes, noodle dishes, rice dishes, dal bhat, egg dishes that are perfect for the hungry trekkers who need calorie replenishment.
Clothing and Gears
It is mandatory that you have the required gear and equipment for the trip. You have to seek advice for climbing equipment, boots, harness etc. from the company that’s helping you for the trip. You can either buy or rent them. Not just climbing gears, you also need to have proper clothes for trekking and climbing. You need to have clothes and sleeping bag that can keep you warm in a -30-degree centigrade weather. A comfortable footwear is a must both for climbing and trekking. Make sure that you have worn them both prior to your trip.
Which is the best season to climb Mera Peak?
Well, each trekking season has its own excitement and atmosphere, but if you want to have some assurance about the weather conditions during the trek, be sure to stick to high seasons. Among the four seasons, Spring ( March – May ) and Autumn (Sep – Nov) can be considered as the best seasons to ascend Mera Peak as the skies are clear and temperature is favorable during these months. It is very difficult to climb in summer as the temperature is high and there is a high risk of falling of stones and melting glacier. And you can’t also be able to see the expansive views due to fog and rainfall in this season. In winter, temperature goes below -15 degree celsius which leads to the heavy snowfall and risk of avalanche in the trip.
What permits do you need to climb Mera Peak ?
If you want to trek in Nepal, permit is compulsory for you. Following permits are needed in order to climb Mera peak.
TIMS ( Trekking Information Management System ): Every trekker trekking in Nepal requires TIMS card. Tims card is for the safety and security of the trekkers.
Makalu Barun National Park entry fee: Since Mera peak lies in Makalu Barun National Park, you need to pay park entry fee before trekking in the area.
Mera Peak climbing permit: You need to pay certain amount in order to climb Mera Peak. Mera Peak permit is different in each season. Since Spring and Autumn are considered as high trekking seasons, the charge for climbing the peak during is about USD 250 and USD 125 respectively. Whereas in low Season i.e. Summer and Winter, the permit for climbing the peak is around USD 70. Nepal Mountaineering Association issues the permit to ascend Mera Peak.
How to avoid altitude sickness?
It doesn’t matter where you go in the Himalayas of Nepal, you are likely to encounter serious altitude. During Mera Peak climbing also, altitude sickness is a concerning matter due to thin air and less oxygen. So, in this condition if you don’t take the right precautions. it can ruin your trekking experience. Better be prepared than feel sorry! Here are some of the tips to avoid altitude sickness while you climb Mera Peak.
Climb slowly: Always remember, climb slowly while you ascend Mera Peak. Climbing slowly can help you adjust the level of oxygen in your body and there is a less chance that you gain altitude sickness.
Acclimatize properly: You should consider rest for 1 or 2 days if you are trekking in high altitude areas. Acclimatization helps you to adapt to the high altitude environment and assist you to avoid altitude sickness.
Drink enough water: If you stay hydrated, it may prevent you from altitude sickness. But don’t drink too much water as it dilutes your body’s sodium level that may lead to weakness or nausea which is similar to AMS.
Be psychologically prepared: If you are too worried that you might get altitude sickness while trekking in high altitude then sometimes the psychological factor may lead you to get altitude sickness. Always stay positive and enjoy the great views during the trip.