Bird Watching And Photography Tour with Andy Teasdale

Posted Jul 28th, 2020 under Photo Essay, Special Events, Wildlife & Bird Watching,


This trip offers you a wonderful opportunity to explore the rich bird life in Nepal. You begin your birding journey from Phulchowki Hill that lies on the outskirts of Kathmandu. With some 288 bird species recorded to date, Phulchowki is the most popular bird watching spot in the valley. The hike to verdant Shivapuri National Park will offer you glimpses of the Spiny Babbler and Hoary-throated Barwing. Taudaha Lake located in the southern part of the valley is a favorite nesting site for migratory birds and water fowls. 

You take a drive to the scenic lakeside town of Pokhara and enjoy myriad activities including bird-watching. You further proceed to Chitwan National Park & Hetauda and spot many of the endangered winged creatures while indulging in exciting jungle activities. A total of 540 species of birds has been recorded at Chitwan National Park till date. The park is especially important for grassland species like the Bengal Florican, Grey-Crowned Prinis, Slender-billed Babbler and Lesser Adjutant. Hetauda situated at an altitude of 474m is a stopover point for high altitude birds like the Ibisbill, seeking a warm site in winter. Cattle egrets, swallows, mynah and bulbuls are resident birds. 

Further you drive to the next destination, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve which covers an area of 175 sq km and is in the eastern Terai region of Nepal. It is a beautiful and fascinating aquatic environment and is home to an astonishing variety of water birds that flock to its ponds full of flowering plants. The reserve provides an important habitat for a variety of wildlife but, in particular, water birds, including several migratory species such as the sarus crane from Siberia. In all, a total of 280 different species of birds have been recorded and these include many varieties of ducks, ibis, storks, egrets and herons, as well as the endangered swamp partridges and Bengal floricans. Koshi Tappu is also home to the last surviving population of wild water buffalo and its other inhabitants include blue cows, various species of deer, Gangetic dolphins and gharial crocodiles.

No doubt, this special 2 weeks’ tour provides you wonderful locations with high species count and best sightings. But most importantly, it also offers you an accomplished birding expertise of Andy Teasdale, a brilliant tour leader known for handling such remarkably challenging tasks. 

Andy Teasdale, Team Leader

A passionate photographer, bird expert, qualified Mountain instructor and International Mountain Guides Carnet, Andy Teasdale runs a company based in Snowdonia offering sheltered and joyful guiding service that provides special outdoor adventures including photography, climbing, walking, alpinism and ski touring in Snowdonia and the Alps. An ardent birdwatcher and outdoor adventure enthusiast, Andy spends a lot of time in the mountains of Snowdonia and the European Alps instructing, guiding and leading expeditions year round to the greater ranges.  

Andy’s expertise combines excellent birding knowledge, seamless photography skill and a vast experience of leading outdoor tours. Beside his profound interest on birds, his other photographic interests involve adventure sports and landscape.  Never away from his adventure ingenuity and his loved camera to capture the spirit, Andy feels that photography is the best way to enhance and immortalize stories and experiences. You can visit his Facebook and Insta pages to see an impressive collection of his engagements. Explore Himalaya is really proud to partner with Andy Teasdale for a bird watching photography tour during November 2020, a relief project to uplift Nepali tourism that is severely hit by covid-19 setback.  

Everest Base Camp Trek Distance, Time and Elevation

Posted Feb 26th, 2020 under Blog, Photo Essay, Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking,

It’s a known fact that Everest Base Camp Trek is a very rewarding highland adventure. Flying to thrilling Lukla Airport, walking past quaint Sherpa villages and breathtaking landscape, and finally getting real close to Everest, the highest of all peaks in the world, Everest Base Camp Trek is definitely a whole new level of experience. As expected of any trekking in Nepal, it also involves a lot of walking (continuously for about 11/12 days) in the alpine terrain. So, anyone interested to undertake trekking in Nepal is sure to ask mandatory questions like how high? how far? and how many hours.  However, there is absolutely no reason to get worried – we are making things easier for you! Below we have listed some major facts on distance, time and elevation involved in Everest Base Camp Trek. Please note that we have used a standard itinerary to provide a general overview of the trek, though there can be some side treks and different stopovers depending on individual requirement.

Gorak Shep to Everest Base CampSummary of distance, time and elevation

  1. Distance in Everest Base Camp: The total distance in Everest Base Camp trek (Lukla-Everest Base Camp-Lukla) is about 130km round trip (65 km each way). Normal number of days to cover the distance is 11/12 days. So, you will be walking roughly about 11 km in about 6 hours a day in average. As the terrain is rocky with switchbacks (gradual ascent and descent), the pace will be slow about 2.5 km an hour. So, distance in Everest Base Camp Trek is achievable for people of all ages. As you need to acclimatize while going up, it takes 9 days to reach the Base Camp (including the 2 acclimatization days) and just 3 days to return to Lukla.
  2. Elevation in Everest Base Camp Trek : Everest Base Camp Trek is not a very technical trekking. However, elevation is a bit of challenge that needs to be considered of. The very starting point of the trek, Lukla Airport itself is at an altitude of 2860m. Lukla Airport, known as Tenzing Hillary Airport, is popularly known as one of the most adventurous airports in the world due to its tricky runway perched on a cliff. The highest point you reach is 5545m (Kala Patthar), an amazing viewpoint to savor the beauty of Everest and her sister peaks. Though the altitude variation looks extreme, the itinerary is planned in such a way that your body gets enough time to acclimatize. An average elevation gain ranges from 400m to 800m per day. When you gain significantly high altitude in a particular day, the next day will usually be the rest day to acclimatize. As a whole, elevation in Everest Base Camp Trek defines both the challenge and joy.

Day to day distance, time and elevation

To get a more comprehensive idea on the distance, time (walking hours) and elevation, here is a day-to-day break down of the standard Everest Base Camp Trek with en-route highlights.

Day 1: Lukla to Phakding 

Phakding

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

9 km

 

4 hours 2860m – 2656m

En-route Highlights: mani walls and boulders, villages like Cheplung, Lhawa and Ghat, suspension bridge (first one of six such bridges in the trail)

Day 2: Phakding to Namche       

Namche

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

12 km

 

6 hours 2656m – 3440m

En-route Highlights: Monjo (National Park Entry point, Entry Permit Check Point), Jorsalle, 4 suspension bridges (3 above Dudh Koshi and 1 above Imja Khola, the iconic one seen in movies), approximately 700m vertical climb before reaching Namche – shouldn’t be taken lightly as you will set off for the climb right after your lunch and when you have to walk uphill in altitude right after meal, it can’t so easy. This uphill climb is the first of the two tough climbs you will have in Everest Base Camp Trek.

Day 3: Rest Day at Namche

Khumjung Village

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

6 km

 

4 hours 3440m – 3880m – 3440m

Activities:

  1. Visit to Sherpa Culture Museum, Sagarmatha National Park Museum ( about 100m above Namche) & Monastery
  2. Hiking to Khumjung/Khunde (3790m- about 2 km from Namche) – about 400m climb from Namche to Syangboche Airport and continue to Khunde and Khumjung
  3. Hiking to Hotel Everest View (3880m – about 2.5 km from Namche) – about 400m climb from Namche to Synagboche Airport and continue to the hotel
  4. Hiking in a loop Namche-Syangboche-Khunde-Khumjung-Hotel Everest View-Namche; you can also choose to stay overnight in Khumjung or Hotel Everest View

En- route Highlights: Views of Everest, Nupste, Lhotse and Ama Dablam; Khunde Hospital, Khumjung School, Khumjung Monastery, Hotel Everest View (one of the highest hotels in the world) etc.

Day 4: Namche to Deboche

Tengboche Monastery

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

11 km

 

6 hours 3440m-3734m

En-route Highlights:  Views of Everest, Nupste, Lhotse and Ama Dablam; a suspension bridge over Imja Khola , after about 300m downhill walk to Punki Tenga; about 500m of climb to Tengboche (second of the two vertical climbs after Namche climb), Tengboche Monastery (3867m – 10 km, 5 hours)

Day 5: Deboche to Dingboche

Lower Pangboche Village

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

11 km

 

6 hours 3734m – 4410m

En-route Highlights: Views of towering Amadablam and Nuptse; Everest starts to hide behind the Nuptse wall; Pangboche Village (3985m- about 3 km, 2 hours) combination of 2 settlements lower and upper; Pangboche Monastery with its famed yeti skull; Pangboche is also the last village for Amadablam expedition – climbers go to Amadablam Base Camp via Pangboche; consistently flat trail throughout; crossroad one leading to Pheriche and other leading to Dingboche

Day 6: Rest Day at Dingboche

Dingboche Village

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

 

i. 1.5 km (if Nangkar Tshang Hill)

ii. 11 km (if Chhukung Village & Chukkung Ri)

 

i. 3 hours (includes steep climb)

ii. 6 hours

 

i. 4410m – 5083m

ii. 4410m –  4730m – 5550m

 

Amadablam View from Nangkar Tshang

Activities:

  1. Hiking to Nangkar Tshang Hill (5083m, about 700m high from Dingboche, 2.5 hours) which sounds like Nagarjun (Nepali word of Sanskrit origin), at first steady climb and later on steep. Nangkar Tshang hill is right behind Dingboche village.
  2. Hiking to Chhukung Village (4730m, about 5km, 1.5 hours) – the last village before Island Peak, can continue to Chhukung Ri (5550m, about 820m high from Chhukung Village, 3 hours) if you want to push yourself a bit harder –  in this case an early start from Dingboche is required.

En-route Highlights:  From Nangkar Tshang Hill 360 degree views of Mt. Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Island peak, Amadablam, Kangtega , Thamserku , Taboche, and Cholatse ; From Chhukung Ri impressive view of Imja Tse (Island Peak), Imja Glacier, Ama Dablam, Makalu and Nuptse

Day 7: Dingboche to Lobuche

Lobuche

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

8.5 km

 

5 hours

 

4410m – 4910m

 

En-route Highlights: Views of Amadablam, Taboche and Cholatse;  Thukla – a riverside lunch stopover, A Memorial Park at Thukla Pass  – has about 100 memorials (called chhortens in local language) of those who died while climbing Everest  and other mountains including legendary climber Babu Chhiri Sherpa; Khumbu Glacier moraine

Day 8: Lobuche to Gorakshep (Base Camp hike)

 

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

i. 4.3 km (Lobuche – Gorakshep)

ii. 3.5 km (Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp)

 

i. 2.5 hours

ii. 5 hours for round trip (3 hours + 2 hours)

i. 4910m – 5140m

ii. 5140m – 5364m – 5140m

En-route Highlights: Khumbu Glacier, close up views of Pumori, Nuptse, Khumbutse, Lhola, Everest Base Camp, Tip of Everest (highlight of the whole trek)

Day 9: Morning Kala Pathhar hike; Gorakshep to Pheriche

Gorak Shep

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Loss

i. 1.2 km (Gorakshep – Kala Pathhar)

ii. 10 km (Gorak Shep – Pheriche)

i. 3.5 hours for round trip

ii. 5 hours

i. 5140m – 5545m – 5140m

ii. 5140m – 4371m

En-route Highlights: Spectacular sunrise view of Everest, Nuptse, Changtse, Lhotse etc.  from Kala Pathhar

Day 10: Pheriche to Namche

Pheriche with a backdrop of Amadablam

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Loss

 

14 km

 

7 hours 4371m – 3440m

En-route Highlights: Pangboche monastery; Tengboche monastery; Suspension bridge at Phunki

Tenga; views of Nupste, Everest, Amadablam, Kangtega Thamserku, Kongde Ri etc.

Pangboche village with monastery

 Day 11: Namche to Lukla

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Loss

 

18 km

 

7 hours 3440m – 2860m

En-route Highlights: 5 Suspension bridges, Dudh Koshi River; and of course trees (you might have almost forgotten about them)

 

 

Why to Visit Nepal in 2020

Posted Dec 13th, 2019 under Blog, Photo Essay, Tourism News, Travel Guide,

Mardi Himal TrekWhy to Visit Nepal in 2020? The answer is simple! The Shangri-la, Himalayan jewel, trekkers’ paradise – Nepal boasts a long list of eulogies in its name. Indeed Nepal, a tiny country tucked between two Asian giants China and India, defines what it means to be “Small is beautiful”. The land of contrasts and diversity, the country has world’s 8 highest mountains and world’s deepest gorge; roaring Himalayan rivers and tranquil freshwater lakes; evergreen tropical forests of Bengal Tiger and the home of Snow Leopard! The culture is as diverse as its landscape –   more than 100 ethnic groups with their own religion and language coexist in this deceptively small country. You can also witness the incredible fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism, which is one of its kind, not to be found elsewhere. So, the land is simply a replica of heaven if there exists any. Now, this land of wonders is all set to welcome 20 million visitors in “Visit Nepal 2020” campaign. 

The campaign is launched by Nepal Government as a part of its promotional initiative to develop Nepal as a premier destination among international travelling community. However, this is not the first time Nepal Government is promoting the country.  It all began in 1998, when the country launched its first promotional campaign as Visit Nepal 1998, followed by another one in 2011 as Nepal Tourism Year. Following these years’ successes, Nepal is now anticipating the 2020 campaign with much hope and excitement.  Though, Nepal has always lured travellers but Visit Nepal Year 2020 is going to be extra delightful. So, if you are new to the country, the time is not to be missed to make your debut Himalayan adventure. Or, if you have already been here, be prepared to make your trip more eventful. We have listed some of the amazing things you can do while you are in Nepal in 2020.

Trekking:

Visit Nepal 2020 Trekking in Everest Region

Though it may sound like a cliché to say that Nepal is a trekkers’ paradise, it is in fact a big truth!  Mountains are dreamlike, Hills are mystifying, Valleys are enchanting, and most importantly options are plenty! What else do hungry feet need?  Trekking in Nepal normally means walking from low elevated mid-hill towns, passing through lush green rolling hills and gradually gaining elevation to the Himalayan landmarks where the natural vistas are matchless. Depending on your wish and fitness level, trekking adventure of any grade and any length can be done. All you need is your willingness to meet the mountains.

Mountaineering:

Visit Nepal 2020 Mountaineering in Nepal

If mountains bring out the best in you, or you crave for some serious alpine adventure, Nepal is by default the best destination.  The wide section of 800 kilometer long Nepali Himalayan section that includes world’s 8 highest mountains offers world class mountaineering adventures. Either you are a beginner or an old hand at mountains, you have a wide range of choices from less technical 5/6000m+ (trekking peaks)  to highly technical eight thousanders (expedition peaks).  There are more than 300 mountains in Nepal that are open for climbing with more than 100 virgin peaks. So, the choices are endless.

Cultural tours:

Cultural Tours in Nepal

It’s quite understandable that Nepal always conjures up the world of towering mountains and distant valleys in everyone’s mind. However, Nepal is not just about meeting mountains only. Beside its natural wonders, the country is also a home to more than 100 ethnic groups resulting in diverse cultural displays. The country is a proud owner of various languages, religions including the unique fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism, multiple festivals, colorful celebrations, age-old folklores and unique practices. It’s not for nothing that Nepal is called a cultural trove of South Asia! Cultural tours of ancient towns and heritage sites are a great way to experience the cultural wonders of Nepal.

Wildlife and Bird Watching Tours:

Visit Nepal 2020 One Horned Rhino in Nepal

Nepal’s unique topography and extreme altitudinal range from 67m in the south to 8848 m (Mt Everest) in the north caters 11 bio-climatic zones resulting in one of the world’s most treasured biodiversity. Though Nepal occupies about 0.1 % of the world’s landmass, it harbors 3.2 % and 1.1 % of the world’s known flora and fauna. This rich natural heritage is preserved in country’s 20 protected areas (10 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves, 6 conservation areas and 1 hunting reserve).  So, Nepal is a paradise for wildlife lovers and bird watchers. You can do ample of activities from thrilling jungle safaris to tranquil bird watching sessions in the exotic wilderness of Nepal.

Adventure Sports:

Everest Skydive

As if mountaineering, trekking, cultural tours, wildlife tours aren’t just enough! Nepal also hosts a wide variety of adventure sports ranging from extreme aerial sport like Everest Skydive to more traditional sport like mountain biking. The winding Himalayan rivers, extreme terrains, deep gorges and stupendous waterfalls just make perfect spots for adrenaline junkies and outdoor adventurers to unleash their mad monkeys. Skydiving, Bunjee Jumping, Paragliding, Ultra light flight, White Water Rafting, Mountain Biking, Canyoning, Zip Flying and Rock Climbing are very  popular among adventure lovers. So, either you are a soft adventurer or an intrepid soul, Nepal has brilliant things for you!

Special Tours:

Visit Nepal in 2020 Honey Hunter at Work (pic credit: The Guardian) https://webinfotech.com.np/

Honey Hunter at Work (pic credit: The Guardian)

Nepal is full of surprises! You might have already seen half of the mountains but the country still has so many things to show you. There are many unique things, definitely not as bizarre as going for yeti hunting, but are still not less interesting than any trendy activities. Honey Hunting, Shamanism Tour, Photography Tour, Culinary Tour, Motor Bike Tour, Volunteering, Visiting off the beaten places, Learning Buddhism, and Yoga and Meditation Tour are just some of the unique things you can do here. It is as if you spend your entire life here and you would never be able to see everything.

 

 

 

Pokhara Skydive 2019 Made a History with 147 Jumpers

Posted Dec 4th, 2019 under Blog, Photo Essay, Skydive, Special Events, Trip Report,
Pokhara Skydive 2019

Pokhara Skydive 2019 Bollywood TV Star Parth Samthaan

Flying next to Machhapuchhre and Annapurna range, floating above magnificent Phewa Lake, relishing the sweeping view of Pokhara Valley – Pokhara Skydive is indeed one of its kind! And, this year a total of 147 adventure seekers, the highest number so far in the history of Pokhara Skydive 2019, achieved this heavenly experience. Pokhara Skydive 2019 took place from 19th to 24th November at Pame, 11 km away from Pokhara Lakeside. The event was successfully organized by Everest Skydive that comprises of an expert crew members of 13 including Paul-Henry de Baère, Wendy Elizabeth Smith, Omar Alhegelan, Nadezda Solovyeva, Anton Gilev, Jean-Philippe Audhuy, Kim Bo Larsen, Mariojulio Hoyosvargas, Gregory Lee Shelton, Sabina Kotarba, Carolyn Goldman, Robert Goldman, Ed Luciarno; and the team of Summit Helicopters and Explore Himalaya.

Skydive 2019 2

Puja Ceremony before the event

Skydive 2019 3Pokhara Skydive4On the first day, 11 Nepali and 8 Indian jumpers achieved their dream of flying in the Himalayan sky. The first jump was done by Subin Limbu, Miss Nepal 2014 at 9:50 am. On the second day, a total of 22 jumpers that includes 21 Indians and 1 Nepali made their “once in a lifetime jump” in the sky of Pokhara. Third day had just 4 Indian jumpers only as the event had to be wrapped up early due to poor visibility. The fourth day’s morning brought nice weather with blue skies. The event started at about 8 o’ clock and continued till 2 in the afternoon with altogether 23 skydivers (20 Indians, 2 Egyptians & 1 American) making their jumps. The fifth day proved to be one of the most incredible days in the history of Pokhara Skydive with a total of 48 jumpers (45 Indians, 1 Nepali, 1 French and 1 Srilankan) breaking last year’s record of 45 in a single day. Bollywood TV Star Parth Samthaan also did his first ever skydive on this day as the 18th jumper of the day. The final day concluded with 31 jumpers (29 Indians and 2 Nepali) making a total of 147 jumpers in this year’s event.Pokhara Skydive 4 2019 5 Pokhara Skydive4 2019 6 Pokhara Skydive1 2019 7This year’s event, which is the 7th edition of Pokhara Skydive, has been a phenomenal success as it hasn’t just got the highest number of participants but also broken the single day jump record of last year. Since the event’s commercial operation in 2013, the event has been increasingly popular among both domestic and foreign adventurers alike. This year’s historic number of jumpers showed the growing craze of the Himalayan adventure. On its huge success, we congratulate everyone – the super-spirited crew team from around the world, the professional team of Explore Himalaya and Summit Helicopters who gave their best to make it a success, and the jumpers who brought excitement and energy to the whole team! May Pokhara Skydive reach new heights in days to come!PokharaSkydivPokharaSkydive 2020Pokhara Skydive new Pokhara 2019 b Pokhara Skydive c

Chef in Cycling around Annapurna

Posted Jul 23rd, 2019 under Photo Essay, Special Events, Tourism News, Trip Report,

Cycling around Annapurna, Just do it, Nepal has something for everyone – Heinz Egli

Cycling around Annapurna 1

Cycling around Annapurna

Cycling around Annapurna Nepal is not a new place for Heinz Egli, a Tourism Goodwill Ambassador for Visit Nepal 2020, a master chef, a role model hotelier and a person of global influence! He has been here not once, not twice or not even thrice but a whopping 7th time. So, Nepal does qualify to be his second home, or at least the place where he feels at home. But this time’s visit was extraordinary. He along with his 6 friends didn’t just hike but also biked around Annapurna beyond the Himalayan frontiers – totally immersing in the beauty of the Himalayas! And the most interesting part of the trip was, not only did they ride the bike, but the bikes also rode them quite often!

Cycling around Annapurna2

Chef in Cycling around Annapurna3

From Jagat to Dharapani

You might have gauzed the level of adventure involved in the trip by now. His team included Urs Besmer, Fritz Gross, Marco Foehn, Johhny Mathis, Stefan Herzog and Heinz Fischerall – all of them senior Hoteliers and Restaurateurs with more than 30 years’ experience in Hong Kong and China. As mentioned earlier, they were not here for their day in and day out job, but for the Himalayan adventure that would help them to meet mountains and people, build friendship and of course burn few calories! Chef in Cycling around Annapurna5

The one and half week’s adventure started on 19th April – through snaky highway, continued towards the villages nestled on the lap of the Annapurnas, followed Marshyangdi River from the subtropical lowlands to the Manang basin and then crossed the Thorong La Pass (5416m- the highest point of the trip, which is also Heinz’s one of the favorite parts) before descending down to the deepest gorge in the world, the Kali Gandaki. From the lush greenery to the formidable expanse of land sculpted by the raw forces of nature manifested in its eroded cliffs and moraine valleys, from the snaky highways to impenetrable gorges and high passes – so to cut a long story short, the journey was just enough to turn anyone into a mystic, let alone Heinz and his team!

Chef in Cycling around Annapurna6

At Thorong-La Pass 5416m, the highest point of the trip

For Heinz, not a single moment or day was the best, but the whole trip!  “Every day a new highlight, starting with the charity dinner at GATE School, coming out of the valley and seeing the majestic peaks, reaching the summit, relaxing in Pokhara and ending hours before going to the airport when receiving the Ambassador certificate!”

Chef in Cycling around Annapurna8

Heinz Egli receiving Certificate of Tourism Goodwill Ambassador for Visit Nepal 2020; Next to him Mr. Suman Pandey, President of Explore Himalaya

Chef in Cycling around Annapurna9

If you want to relive what Heinz and his team experienced, you can go through https://1drv.ms/f/s!AkLUjDw1n6gNguN4sWWmaP48fu6mOg  for some of the greatest adventure pictures you can ever find. For now, let’s have a peek on the day to day account of their trip prepared by Heinz himself.

Day 1, 17th April 2019: Arrival in Kathmandu

The tour representative picked us up at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, and escorted us to the Hotel Marshyangdi in Kathmandu.

Day 2, 18th April 2019: Kathmandu

On our first day we all went to the GATE Hotel School where we were welcomed by Khem Lakai, the CEO of the school. Each one of us prepared a course for a gala dinner which was served to celebrities and friends from Nepal.

Day 3, 19th April 2019: Kathmandu to Jagat 1,300m

Early in the morning, we drove 170km westwards to the starting point of our trekking and biking in Jagat. Here we were joined by Laxman Sunar, the biking guide. The road was curvy and passed through the hills that connected us to countryside villages and farming lands. The drive moved along and crossed several main rivers flowing from the glacial mountains to the north; including the Trishuli River, a popular rafting point. At Dumre, we turned north towards Marshyangdi River to reach Besi Sahar.

The drive followed Marshyangdi River towards Syange (with a high waterfall), and we drove on to Jagat (a previous toll place on the ancient salt-trade way to Tibet).

Day 4, 20th April 2019: Trek from Jagat to Dharapani 1,860m

Moving along the east bank of Marshyangdi River, the track ascended slowly, before the valley opened into a large highland at Tal (1511m), the first village of Manang district. After crossing the broad flat gorge and the barley and potato fields, the trail climbs sharply on a stone stairway high above the stream. There were some sudden ups and downs on this section passing through jungles of blue pine to Dharapani (1,946m).

Day 5, 21st April 2019: Trek from Dharapani to Chame 2,670m

From Dharapani, the track passes a school, ascends, and again descends gently to Bagarchhap. Bagarchhap is a small village with distinctive Tibetan houses and peaceful vibes of Buddhist culture. The trail ascends to the mule track through pine and fir forests and then follows the stream for some time amongst the higher oak and maple trees. We passed through dispersed small villages before arriving in Chame (2,670m).

Day 6, 22nd April 2019: Trek from Chame to Pisang 3,200m

We followed the trails of Marshyangdi to Brathang from where we got a spectacular close-up view of Annapurna II (7,937m). Afterwards, we continued the trek via the forest with the amazing Paungda Danda rock face escalating more than 5,000 feet from the stream.

Passing a suspension bridge, we ascended for some time and then walked and rode downhill to the valley floor. Finally, we walk and biked across dry grazing land dwelling at Dhukur Pokhari. After moving for around half an hour from Dhukur Pokhari, we reached Pisang (3,190m). There we had great views of the Annapurna range and Pisang Peak (6,091m) seen from the village of Pisang.

Day 7, 23rd April 2019: Trek from Pisang to Manang 3,540m Upper trail

We followed on a difficult road onto the dry Nyesyang region that started from Upper Pisang and offered some of the best landscapes. Ghyaru is a captivating cluster-village with attractively built stone houses enclosed by meadows of wheat, barley, buckwheat, potatoes, and beans.

Then, along high cross with great landscape, up and down the valley, to Ngawal–an exciting village with Gompa and age-old juniper trees. The trail then slowly descends to Mungji from where we head to reach the renowned Thakali village of Manang. Here we enjoyed the best view of Annapurna range.

Day 8, 24th April 2019: Acclimatization Day: Hike to Chhunker viewpoint

Today it was acclimatizing/rest day. We hiked to Chhunker viewpoint where we got to relish the view of the pristine Gangapurna Lake with a backdrop of the Annapurna Range, Tilicho Peak (7,134m), Pisang Peak (6,091m), Chulo Peak (6,584m), Thorong Peak (5416m), and so on.Then we retraced back to our lodge for lunch, a typical Thakali meal. After some card games in the afternoon, we return back to the lodge for the overnight stay.

Day 9, 25th April 2019: Trek from Manang to Yak Kharka 4,018m

From Manang, we ascended alongside Thorung Khola in the main Annapurna Circuit trekking and biking trail. The trail ascends steeply to the village of Tenki, which was the last permanent settlement, around Thorung La. We headed a little further and then slowly outlined the meadows to Yak Kharka (3,900m).

Day 10, 26th April 2019: Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi 4,450m

It was a difficult trek to Thorang Phedi. After walking and riding further, we passed a suspension bridge and reached Ledar village. We climbed furthermore the pass via immense cliffs before reaching Thorang Phedi. On this trip, we were are able to witness one of the finest views of peaks like Gundang (5,312m), Syagang (6,026m), Thorung (6,144m), and Khatungkang (6,484). The word “Phedi” in Nepali denotes the foot of a mountain.

Day 11, 27th April 2019: Trek from Thorong Phedi to Thorong-La Pass 5,416m to Muktinath 3,800m

We had an even tougher ride today than that of yesterday. The bikers had to push our bikes on a steep trail till we passed Thorung-La Pass (5,416m), which is the highest mountain pass in Nepal. The panorama of the Himalayas looked stunning from the top of Thorong-La Pass. We then descended to the holy temple of Muktinath, the God of Salvation. This is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Holy water flows from the 108 carved taps surrounding the temple.

Day 12, 28th April 2019: Biking trip from Muktinath to Jomsom 2,710m via Lupra valley

An early morning visit to Muktinath Temple where we also could bathe under the 108 water sprouts, which is supposed to wash our sins away. After spending some time at the temple, we continued our bike ride and headed towards Marpha.

We had a relatively easy journey. Riding on rocky trails, we passed many walls and chhortens before we entered Lupra Valley. Chasing the stunning view of the Himalayas, we rode through Kali Gandaki Valley to reach the Apple Capital of Nepal: Jomsom. Jomsom is famous for its apple orchards and the apple by-products. Overnight we stayed at Om’s Home in Jomsom, which certainly was one of the most luxurious Hotels in the area.

Day 13, 29th April 2019: Jomsom to Pokhara by flight

Early in the morning, we boarded a flight back to Pokhara enjoying the scenic landscape. We decided to stay one night at the Pavilion Himalayas, which must be one of the most beautiful Hotels in the country, if not in the whole of Asia. The town of Pokhara offers splendid views of Annapurna (8,091m), Machhapuchhre (6,993m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m), and Manaslu (8,156m). Before checking in to the Hotel we visited the FAB Hotel School which trains children of underprivileged background. This was a very impressive and memorable visit.

Day 14, 30th April 2019 Full day in Pokhara

On our last day we enjoyed the Lakeside Village of Pokhara for shopping and relaxing. Overnight we stayed at the beautiful Temple Tree Hotel. I was able to invite my student, Yam for dinner at the world class Roadhouse Pizzeria.

Day 15, 1st May 2019: Flying from Pokhara to Kathmandu for 25 minutes and final Departure from Kathmandu

Relishing the astonishing panorama of Annapurna range, Lamjung Himal, Manaslu range, Ganesh Himal range, and Langtang Himal, we flew back to the capital. After a 25-minute flight, we reached Kathmandu and headed to Thamel. Here we met Suman Ji who showed us the way to a Palace nearby where I was awarded Tourism Ambassador Visit Nepal 2020. This was indeed a big honour for me and a great surprise too.  After visiting Suman Pandey’s new restaurant, we were dropped off at Tribhuvan International Airport for our final departure.

Happy Explorers

I really enjoyed this trek, especially thanks to Explore Himalaya and their staff for making a stress free trek.

- Lauren McGuire, USA Read Testimonials | Submit Your Testimonial

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