Oct 092016
 

Charikot before the town was devastated by the earthquake in 2015

Charikot before the town was devastated by the earthquake in 2015

Charikot, the capital of Dolakha, was devastated by the earthquake in 2015, but it’s coming back to life – also when it comes to the local tourism sector. Situated just five kilometres from the epicentre of the second massive tremor, most hotels and guesthouses in this scenic town collapsed and were turned into rubbles. Indeed, the massive destruction left many locals with little hope to rebuild. But tourism entrepreneurs have started to pick up the pieces and to again turn Charikot into a growing tourist destination. Continue reading »

Sep 142016
 

Best white water in Nepal: map of the rivers to raft.

Best white water in Nepal: map of the rivers to raft.

Interested in going white-water rafting, maybe just at beginner’s level, looking forward to cosy-glide down a calm stretch of Himalayan glacier water, or as an adrenalin-hungry paddler eager to wrestle head first with one of the fantastic rivers out there? Well, here’s a map of the best white-water in the country plus a great, easily read intoduction to rafting in Nepal: “The world’s best white water”…

Sep 102015
 

View from the trek  (credits: Buna Trek and Expeditions)

View from the trek (credits: Buna Trek and Expeditions)

The beaten track up to Everest is amazing. But here’s a less known trail to follow into these one-of-a-kind alpine heights. Buna Trek and Expeditions run a 21 days organised trek up along Arun River, through medieval and rarely visited villages, and higher still up to pristine yak pastures below Mount Makulu – the fifth tallest peak in the world. The view of not only Makulu but also Everest and additional peaks should be one of a kind along this route. In short, this is off the beaten track. We still have to go, and hope to get a chance in future. Until then, Buna Trek and Expeditions has details and directions!

Sep 102015
 

Tsum valley (by Mountain Travel Sobek)

Tsum valley (by Mountain Travel Sobek)

Mountain Travel Sobek organises a unique trek to Tsum valley in northern Gorkha. Here’s the intro:
“Visit the hidden valley of Tsum and experience a unique Himalayan sanctuary!
“Only opened to tourists since 2008, the Tsum Valley is a unique Himalayan sanctuary nestled within the rim of majestic snow-capped mountains—Baudha Himal, Himalchuli, Ganesh Himal, and Sringi Himal. The region has a long history of Buddhism, and its people of Tibetan origin have successfully preserved their ancient art, culture and religion. And because hunting is not allowed in this valley, flora and fauna abound.”
Check it out here if an organised trip has interest – and do leave a comment if you already went!

Sep 102015
 

Activity at the pace of the river: heading home

Activity at the pace of the river: heading home

Koshi Thappu – one of the great rivers of Nepal – travels slowly south as it bends its way east of Janakpur towards the Ganges and ultimately the great Bay of Bengal. Hiking along its sandy shores a dozen miles before the Indian border is like visiting a world of its own. Quiet while huge..only the sound of water moving…a paddle in the current somewhere…yes, a distant engine, perhaps, but otherwise…a place where anyone could fall into meditation. But it’s also one where “river life” can pull you along!

Indeed, Koshi Tappu valley is not only about quiet and relaxation. Human activity runs at a different pace – no doubt – as though tuned to the lazy flow of the river. But it’s still a place of human activity every day. Locals walk or bicycle to the next village carrying goods along the wide sandy banks. Some take the “ferry” across navigated by boatsmen with long poles just like centuries ago. You’ll still find fishermen in tents on the banks too, waiting to head back out on the slow currents with their nets. Want to explore Koshi Tappu and meet the locals? Email us for more info!

Sep 102015
 

Along the railway track: meeting the locals

Along the railway track: meeting the locals

The old railway track in the Janakpur area – built in the 1950s (now undergoing renovation) – leads like a vein into the heart of Terai communities in this region. A ride on the old train – a steam engine going no more than ten-fifteen km. an hour – is an experience of its own. Hiking along the railway is a journey of its own altogether. Stay at temples along the trail; pause at the small train stations, mingling with the locals; and be prepared to hear shamans’ drumming at night. Also, in November through December there is a good chance of meeting small tribes of bird hunters – the Kurorias – who still try to uphold a century-old hunter’s lifestyle. Want to try the trek? Contact us for more info!

Sep 102015
 

On the ridge above the clouds: towards Tibet

On the ridge above the clouds: towards Tibet

Above the guesthouse at Kalinchok – next to the temple on the mountain ridge a one hour hike up – runs an old trade route. It’s been used for centuries by merchants between Nepal and Tibet. Just a narrow trail, it zig-zags along the ridge all the way into the mountains of the northern neighbor. Steep slopes on the southern side; seemingly endless pinewood on the northern side; as well as deer, eagles and the Nepalese pheasant – those are among the ingredients making this trek breathtaking. Few hike the trail, so you’ll likely have it alone, save the random local on the way between villages. The mountain view on a clear day is among the best. Want to try it? Contact us for more info!

Sep 102015
 

Classic Irish style in a village atmosphere: the Castle

Classic Irish style in a village atmosphere: the Castle

The Castle is a village hide-away like no others in this catalogue. It’s located close to Pokhara – and so it’s not that remote or isolated – but it’s situated in a village and the atmosphere is worthy of any village hide-away. Walk or drive to the outskirts of the city along the lakeside, take a small path up the hill, and after fifteen minutes you’ll see the red walls of the Castle. Indeed, a true castle it is. Joe is an Irishman and decided some ten years ago to built his own small castle there in the style of his home country.

Book your own cabin – it’s with hot shower at all times – and you’re in for true relaxation. Have the tea brought up to the roof terrace where the view of the lake is amazing, or enjoy a pint down in Joe’s Irish bar. The cuisine is delicious too with both local and foreign dishes on the menu. Oh, and did we mention there is heated swimmingpool! Visit Joe’s website for more information on activities, photos and the exact directions.

Sep 102015
 

Guiding rhino watching trip before dawn: Jib

Guiding rhino watching trip before dawn: Jib

Chital Lodge is run by one of Nepal’s great but little known bird experts. His name is Jib and he knows most of the local wildlife, too. Jib has spent most of his youth on the heels of nature guides and elephant drivers in the nearby Chitwan National Park and in that way got to know his way around the reserve. Want to see a rhino up close on a “walking safari” along the river, or hike through five meter tall elephant grass, well Jib is the best guide we have met.

Or if you’re just into birds or simply want a relaxing time in the shade, no need to go further than under the canopy at Chital Lodge. The lodge is located in the village of Meghauli, next to a clear-water stream in between trees hundreds of years old. It’s like a patch of jungle of its own. Jib offers simple, cosy accommodation in four thatched huts, a shower, and delicious local cuisine on the porch. Getting there is easy: just follow the road ten kilometres from Narajanghat. Read more at Jib’s own website.

Sep 102015
 

View from the temple above Kuri Village

View from the ridge

Kalinchok is so far off the beaten track that it’s barely on the map. Go east from Kathmandu towards Last Resort, then take a right up to Charikot, and from there it’s a six hour hike up into alpine heights. Or if you have a four-wheel drive, take the gravel road for two hours. Once the terrain flattens into a green meadow, you’ll reach the only settlement for miles: Kuri Village. It’s a cluster of old stone houses and home to a wonderful family who’s lived there for decades.

Kuri Village offers basic, traditional accommodation, and the family cuisine is delicious the way only village food can be. It’s first of all a great place to relax, breath fresh mountain air and read a couple of books. On most days, you’ll have this hide-away all to yourself! But the hikes are also amazing. The valleys on either side of the meadow are a mile deep, on the ridge above lies the famous Kalinchok temple, and from there is a 200 degrees view of the Himalayan mountains. Here are photos with more information and directions to the hide-away.

Sep 102015
 

View of the valley below

View of the valley below

On a ridge just a stone-through from the famous Sathighar Bhagawati temple lies Sunkoshi Adventure Retreat. We know it as “Ram’s resort” simply because it’s Ram Thapaliya who’s running it – and he’s done so for two decades. Ram knows the area in and out – he grew up there – and he’s organising rafting on the nearby river, amazing village walks through different ethnic communities, and cosy evening bonfires. Enjoy a local tea on the roof terrace with a view of the Himalayan mountains and deep valleys on either side – it is breath-taking.

Ram has a dozen rooms for rent, furnished in traditional wooden style, and a cosy restaurant, bar as well as a conference hall. His always attentive chef, Prem, offers delicious cuisine and homemade snacks! It’s just a two hour ride from Kathmandu and yet you’ll feel like light-years away from the buzz of the city. Visit Ram’s website and facebook for more information and a first glimpse of beautiful Sathighar.

“Also visit: Tsum, the hidden valley, is a unique Himalayan sanctuary located in the northern Gorkha…” From a site less known.