Trip to Ghandruk, Nepal: part 1

Hello, my virtual friends! I’ve finally found the time to get back to blogging, especially as I now work from home because of the Corona outbreak. I hope all of you are safe and doing well!

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Trekking trails in Annapurna region of Nepal in autumn

This time my blog will be about an old trip, when I did hiking/small trekking in the Annapurna region of Nepal back in autumn 2018 during my visit there. Domestic tourism and especially trekking has been growing tremendously in Nepal over the years, and it seems that the Nepalese people are finally starting to appreciate the abundance of beautiful nature that we have in our own backyard.

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The last sun rays on the mountains

My planned hiking trip with my sister was in the area that’s a part of the famous Annapurna circuit which covers scenic routes around Annapurna mountain and others in the Western part of Nepal. We wanted to do a 3 day circuit in the area covering some of the most beautiful villages.

Having never been a hiker myself, I wasn’t sure if I could handle it well. The planned itinerary was: fly to Pokhara from Kathmandu -> take a bus to Nayapool, base town of the trek -> hike uphill 4-5 hours to Ghandruk, at an altitude of 2000 meters. Our flight got in a bit late and by the time we arrived to Nayapool, it was already 1 in the noon. I wasn’t sure anymore if we would arrive in Ghandruk before dark, and as two women not from the area, we decided to opt for a bus going all the way up to Ghandruk. There went our hiking plans! Cheating on the very first day 😀

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Beautiful Ghandruk

The bus ride was full of adrenaline, to say the least. It was running on a newly opened dirt road with no barriers on the edge and with a sharp plummet on its right. It was so narrow that the unbelievably skilled drivers had to stop, and somehow make room for the oncoming vehicle to pass through. I was on edge (no pun intended!) the whole time and was wondering if I had made the right decision. I noticed that for the locals it was business as usual as they didn’t have a slight sign of worry in their faces. Some local girls even told us that we would have never completed the trek uphill in just 4-5 hours! Haha. Ultimately my dread and fear of walking uphill, and possibly getting lost in the dark won over the fear of getting in a bus crash and we didn’t get off the bus. We reached the beautiful village of Ghandruk just in time for sunset.

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Just in time to catch the sunset

We didn’t have any accommodation booked, so we had to find one as soon as we got there. We quickly realized that the local business owners very much preferred hosting foreign tourists at a much higher rate over Nepalese tourists. Talk about being discriminated in your own country! Luckily it didn’t take too many tries to find a hotel that was willing to provide us a room. It was a room with a balcony and the most serene view:

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View from the balcony. Did you know that palms (bottom right) can grow at 2000m? I didn’t 🙂 

Even though we were exhausted, we couldn’t resist walking around the village and taking some sunset shots. The meal of daal-bhaat (steamed rice with lentil soup and fried veggies/meat and pickle) afterwards tasted better than it ever did in my life 😀

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Heavenly! All the organic, delicious veggies. 

It was then time to fall into a sweet sleep after roughly going over our plans for the next day when we finally did hike! Stay tuned! 🙂


21 thoughts on “Trip to Ghandruk, Nepal: part 1

  1. Welcome back, Pooja. I’m glad you and your sister survived that bus journey! It’s nice to re-live some of our older trips. Nepal looks so beautiful, and your photos also made me hungry for Nepalese food. Fortunately, we have a restaurant called “Little Nepal.” 🙂
    I hope you and your loved ones will stay healthy.
    Best wishes,
    Tanja

    1. Hi Tanja. Thanks for your lovely comment! I am slightly jealous that you have a Nepalese restaurant over there. Here we don’t 😦 This is what I like about America, that there are soo many food options hehe. Stay safe and healthy!

      1. Yes, the choice of ethnic cuisines is something to be very fond of, Pooja. But I’m sure you are able to cook very delicious Nepalese food (although sometimes it’s nice to have all the work, and to get spoiled in a restaurant instead). You could always consider opening the first Nepalese restaurant in Poland! 🙂

  2. This post makes me miss Nepal. My friend and I went to Pokhara and stayed there for around ten days, but we didn’t do any of those treks at all. We chose to just relax and chill, trying a lot of the restaurants near the lake. Maybe next time I come to Nepal I should give the Annapurna circuit a try. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!

    1. Hi Bama. Yes you should give the treks a try the next time you’re in Nepal! There are so many kinds to choose from, especially from Pokhara. I cancelled my trip to Bali planned for the end of April due to Corona, but hopefully in June if things calm down by then. Stay safe and healthy, you too!

      1. I had a trip to a city in Central Java planned for the second week of April, but earlier today I decided to cancel it since that city has been in lockdown for the past few days due to the coronavirus.

  3. The Thali in your post reminds me of how we enjoyed simple food at all the treks. Even this tastes delicious after a full day of the climb. Nepal is blessed with natural beauty.You are lucky, Pooja

  4. I read half of this post yesterday and was yearning to read the rest today to see how the adventure panned out. And how incredibly stunning was the sunset views. I was gobsmacked to read that they preference foreign tourists over their own countrymen. Does that mean they charge them more, or they pay more? I can’t wait to read the next instalment of the trek.
    And a delicious nutritious meal you had too! Just what you needed.

    1. Yes they charge foreigners more! So it isn’t as profitable for them to host Nepalese tourists. So sad. I couldn’t get into a domestic flight to Mustang region (because it was supposedly ‘fully booked’ but only after them asking if it was Nepalese or foreigners traveling). No market control on prices and discriminatory rates are the reason.

      1. How shocking that it is harder for a country’s own citizen to travel and stay in one’s own country. Yet when money is tight, I can understand someone preferring foreign tourist who pay higher rates, but then again they might miss out. The other aspect is a local guest, might become a returning patron, and good referrals/word of mouth in neighbouring regions that bring regular clients, and they have passed that opportunity by – wishing they have foreigners. No market control – that is capitalism at work…. not always the perfect system is it?

  5. I do think it was the right decision too – I can imagine walking along on those roads in the complete darkness. That could only have ended in disaster. I am glad you made it safely. I well remember those treacherous roads up the mountainside. My heart was in my mouth then too, but like you, we made it safely in the end.

  6. Greetings Pooja. I love this blog post. When I went to Ghandruk, we walked all the way from Pokhara Lakeside. It took us two days to get there but we could have done it faster. We stopped in several places on the way for something to eat and some beer (of course).. I loved Ghandruk. The following morning we continued trekking north for one day to a tiny place called Siprong where I was meeting an old ‘friend’ who owed me money. I never got my money but the trip was incredible. I love trekking, Pooja, but now my trekking days are over.

    1. Hi Dai. Long time, no see. How have you been doing? Wow walking all the way from Lakeside to Ghandruk? Sounds tiresome but fun! I don’t think I would do it though. I am going to write about my part II soon! Incredible scenery in that area. You walked all the way to that village to meet that supposed friend? How is the Corona situation in Portugal? Over here in Poland we’re now in a lockdown after it got to around 80 cases. Luckily I can work from home so it’s business as usual.

      1. HI Pooja. I am waiting for part 2. Yes we walked from Lakeside to Siprong but that crook never paid my money. Here we have about 448 infections and the government has asked us to stay at home. So that’s what we’re doing. We’re watching movies and chatting. I’ve just poured a glass of wine and maybe we’ll put on another doggie movie.

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