It's amazing how time flies. Six months ago, I decided to take a leap of faith and start traveling alone, and in no time, I was in the middle of the Himalayas in Nepal, trekking for the first time in my life.
I have met many people along the way, and many had told me that I was crazy to take on the Himalayas on my first trek alone with no guide or porter. When I come to think of it, I was not crazy but I underestimated the difficulty of trekking the Himalayas. The trail was like a roller coaster. You either go up or go down, making my journey descending as equally tired as ascending.
So, today, I will relive that crazy awesome experience again and show you the beauty of the Himalayas and you will see why I did it and why you should go for it.
Hotel Middle Path is what made my trip smooth. The owner of the hotel managed to get me the climbing permit I needed to trek the Annapurna Base Camp before I arrived at no extra cost. If that does not impress you, how about the fact that he offered free gears for free like trekking poles. I have never seen such a great customer service before. I highly recommended this hotel if you just want to trek the beautiful Himalayan and not worrying about paperwork.
It is very important that you have a travel insurance when you are trying to tackle such a feat and the travel insurance has to cover activities such as hiking in a country like Nepal. I would recommend WorldNomads.com if you are looking to find the right kind of travel insurance for this. They have a simple and flexible search system that allows me to find the exact insurance I need for activities I am doing.
Arriving in Pokhara
Arrived in Kathmandu in the early afternoon, and I had to walk around 10 minutes to get my domestic ticket at the domestic terminal in another building.
Boarded a Yeti's airline plane and headed to Pokhara.
After arriving in Pokhara, I took a taxi to the hotel (Hotel Middle Path), and headed out to grab a few missing gears I needed for the trek. Turns out, buying gears in Nepal will save you a gazillion dollars more, than buying from your home country. Everything is cheap here.
Why am I doing this?
I woke up early in the morning, full of excitement as I prepared all my gears, grab a breakfast and headed out to the entry trail, Khare.
2 hours into my trek and my mind started to regret the decision of coming here. "I had a comfortable bed and a warm shower.. why am I doing this", I thought to myself as I climbed the stairs that seems to have no end. After awhile, I reached the first stop, the Australian camp and had lunch there as clouds started to sweep through mountains.
As it turns out, those clouds carried with them a tremendous amount of rain and it rained on me for 3 hours straight as I shivered. The raincoat was unable to protect me from the heavy shower. At one point, I had to ask for shelter at the local's house nearby because the wind was getting stronger, piercing through my skins into my bones, as I went higher.
The rain did eventually stops (for a moment) and I went on and found myself walking on the first suspension bridge on the trail. Imagine walking on a wet and extremely slippery wooden bridge with a 12kg backpack strapped to your back. It was a thriller.
The rain won't give up easily in the Himalayas. Can this be my worst day of the trip? Easy answer, no. :) I stopped at Tolka trying to power through to Landruk for my first night.
Unfortunately, I was unable to reach my goal as it was getting way too dark to walk alone, so I stayed at the last lodge in Tolka. The view of the mountains is awesome here.
New Day, New Goal
I know I'm a slow walker so I decided to start off early (6 AM) and headed out to Chhomrong. Since I was behind my schedule, I had to push harder.
So close, yet so far..
I walked through Landruk, and saw many trekkers preparing themselves for the climb.
Every time I had to descend down to the river, deep down I know that I will have to ascend all those heights again, not to mention that walking back would be as demanding.
About to cross the New Bridge. Since it's one of the longest suspension bridge in the trail, we had to go 3 at a time, to prevent the bridge from swinging way to hard.
As I walked up and down several times, I arrived at the Jhinu village (hot springs) but this was not my stop so I powered through it, and climbed what seems like a thousands of stairs (I called this ascend to Chhomrong, the Knee Breaker). It was so steep that I spent 2 - 3 hours climbing from the river bank to the top of the mountain. My first day walking in the rain seems like a child play now.
I eventually arrived at Chhomrong, and as I looked back, I realized how ambitious humans are, climbing all those mountains. No matter how slow you are, as long as you arrived, the feeling of accomplishment is still as great as climbing fast. I crashed at the first lodge I found and stayed for the night.
Should I push to Dovan or Stayed in Bamboo?
Another early morning start, I trekked down the heights I came up from yesterday and then up again the same height to Sinuwa. The other night I met a couple from Amsterdam who had the exact same schedule as me and I decided to stick with them. As I arrived at my stop and luckily got an individual room, they encouraged to push to the next stop which is only an hour and a half long. I'm now stuck with a decision to make, power through it with a chance of not getting a room (because it was late), or stay here with a room, and pushed the next day.
"What's my limit?" I asked myself this, and decided to test my strength and power through for another hour and a half. I arrived in Dovan, drained and severely dehydrated. I tried begging for a room and the lodge and most of them said it was full, until I met a lodge owner that decided to shove into into a shared room. At that point, I no longer care where I sleep, as long that I don't have to walk further.
The Worst Day Has Yet To Come
This is the hardest day on the trek, as I reached the highest altitude I have ever been at 3000m, I had a difficult time breathing and I had to stop more often and rest longer.
My planned was to go through the Himalaya and Deurali and then rest there but since many people I met are pushing through Deurali and stop at MBC, I decided to stick with them and trekked up to MBC. A trek that was suppose to be 2 hours, took me almost 4 as I struggled to breath. There were many porters (sherpas) who offered me to help carrying my bag for free, but I insisted that I can do it.
I eventually arrived and I did not regret my decision. The view was magnificent! I was like walking into the entrance of heaven. The landscapes here made me feel like insects. These mountains are magnificently humongous!
My first sight of the Annapurna South.
Without any pollution and lights coming from cities, the beauty of the stars and skies at night returns to us.. This is my first time seeing the milky way with my own eyes. It was an awe-inspiring moment.
To the Base Camp!
The next morning, I woke up at 4 to catch the sunrise at the Annapurna Base Camp. The tortures I went through had finally paid off. The view is breathtaking, but not as great as the feeling of accomplishment that swept though my body as I reached the base camp. I can proudly say, I have trekked the Himalayas alone and survived.
Like one big family! :)
Saying goodbye to the mountains and all the friends I met during the trek. It was a hell of an experience!
One last look back at the Annapurna South, I missed this place already. :(
And it was time to go.. The mountains had taught me so much about life. It was a life changing experience. I now look at our surplus societies in a different way now.
I decided to take it slow going down so that I could absorb everything in before I leave.
The Himalayas has left me wanting more..
This is my way out of the mountains. I took a 3 hours ride on a jeep out of Kimche near Landruk right back to Pokhara, rest and prepared to go home. Goodbye, and I'll be back for the Everest next time in Nepal!
That concluded our fifth entry to the Solo Traveler's Journal by BucketListly. I hope you enjoy the visual trip into the heart of the Himalayas. It was not a vacation for me, but it was worth every single sweat. The honest people you meet along the way, the transition between jungles to mountains to snow, the hardship that went into it, the limit that you pushed every day, and the feeling of accomplishing something much bigger than yourself is what counts. You have to try this at least once in your lifetime.
If you are looking to visit Nepal or trek the Himalayas and would like to know more, feel free to tweet me or leave a comment below.
Again, If you have any suggestion or recommendation on places we should visit, let us know in the comment.
- Day 0: I arrived in Pokhara, went out and bought a map, a cheap sleeping bag, and a trekking pole to prepare myself for the trek.
- Day 1: I took a taxi to Khare (1200 rupees from Lake Side) and start climbing.
- 5 hours in, I passed through Australian camp (where I had lunch), Pothana and arrived at Tolka. Stayed in Tolka for a night.
- Day 2: I woke up early, walk through Landruk, New Bridge, Jhinu and climbed super steep stairs (I called this the Knee Destroyer stairs) to Chhomrong. Rest there for a day.
- Day 3: Again, I started out early in the morning, walking down mountain from Chhomrong, cross a suspension bridge and go up again through lower and upper Sinuwa. five hours in and I arrived at Bamboo for lunch and then walk for another 2 hours to Dovan and stayed there for a night.
- Day 4: I started out early as usual and walk to the Himalaya. Rest for a coffee and proceed to Deurali and to MBC. From the Himalaya, it’s all up and up for 5 hours so be prepared. I slept early at MBC.
- Day 5: I woke up at 4 and start trekking to ABC (Annapurna base camp) to witness a sunrise. Stayed for a few hours and walked down to MBC for lunch and power through Deurali, Himalaya and eventually arrived in Dovan at 6:00PM. Rested there for a night because the forest at night is scary.
- Day 6: I continued down the same route until I reached Chhomrong and rest there for another day.
- Day 7: This time, I went down the other way to Khola and up again to Kimrong Danda, had lunch and walk down to Ghandruk (beautiful village) and eventually took a jeep out (2500 rupees and 3 hours drive) from Kimche to Pokhara.
Gears to Prepare
I know you hate boring list, so I made a video of all my gears. Noted that, there are a few items that were unnecessary such as Diamox, Buff, and coffee, so don't make the same mistake and brought that up like me.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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