Trekking from Pokhara: At the foot of the giants
Trekking from Pokhara: At the foot of the giants

Trekking from Pokhara: At the foot of the giants

If you start trekking from Pokhara, you won’t be disappointed. Perched at the foot of the Himalayas, Pokhara is a beautiful town that feeds into many treks and tramps, including the Annapurna Circuit.

There are two ways to get to Pokhara. A $120 flight (which may or may not be cancelled, as it’s a dangerous airport and can get very foggy), or a $20 bus ride. The bus leaves Kathmandu at 7am… it’s an 8-10 hr ride, depending on the roads/ traffic. It was a long journey and a little bit scary at times, barrelling along a rutted dirt road with a sheer cliff face about 1m from the bus… but, we arrived in one piece.

After finding my accommodation, I walked two blocks into town. It’s a picturesque tourist town, nestled on the shores of Lake Pokhara. Lots of tourists, lots of restaurants, but still a laid-back peaceful atmosphere. I would guess that a lot of people here were either going on a trek, or just returned from one. Activewear was the choice of clothing. There was a variety of people here, which I saw reflected in the groups I saw in the hills. Families, couples, lots of single people, and elderly walking groups.

Lake Pokhara

trekking from Pokhara
Lake Pokhara

Had a lovely evening in Pokhara. Was picked up the next day at 8am by my guide. At this point, I’m going to do something I haven’t done before- I recommend my tour company. I emailed Mr Happy about two weeks before I flew in, and told him where I was going to be and for how many days. He suggested an itinerary and it fitted perfectly. The cost was very good value for money- included all accommodation,┬ámy guide, and food. He arranged all the relevant passes and all I had to do was show up. My guide was a guy called Ram. You’ll see a lot of photos of his back, or him standing and patiently waiting for me. That’s because he’s a cross between a mountain goat and a long-legged giraffe, bounding along mountain paths without even┬ábreaking a sweat or puffing. As a single woman, I’d been warned about male guides- I had nothing to worry about. Seriously, awesome guy, lovely gentle nature, excellent at his job. Basically we spent three days within metres of each other, and he was a delight.

trekking from Pokhara breakfast
Breakfast as I left my hotel; this warm cinnamon roll literally walked past me in a basket. Irresistible.

Anyway- I’ll tell the story here in pictures. Because the place is STUNNING. So much like NZ. As I walked, I kept thinking how incredible it was, and how good the paths were. I could see my big brother and his eldest daughter doing treks here (she’s 6).

We set off from here- a small town near Modi Khola

Day one, Trekking from Pokhara to Ghandruk

trekking from Pokhara to ghandruk
The hills are sculpted with rows of terraces. They have one rice season here a year, the rest of the produce includes whatever is seasonal. Because there aren’t many roads up here, you eat what you grow. Corn, potatoes, and spinach are common.
trekking from Pokhara to ghandruk
The roads, such as they are, could be a little terrifying…
trekking from Pokhara to ghandruk
Nepalese bridge
trekking from Pokhara to ghandruk
The path… the steps were all different heights. The big chunky ones certainly posed challenges for my quads and calves!
trekking from Pokhara to ghandruk
Flutter-by
trekking from Pokhara to ghandruk
This pic is for my father- look at all the firewood, Dad!
trekking from Pokhara to ghandruk
The traditional way to carry things- the straps loop over the forehead and this goes on your back.
trekking from Pokhara to ghandruk
A tiny village, perched on the hillside.
trekking from Pokhara to ghandruk
The road ran out at this point, so donkeys are used as transport. This flock of donkeys was transporting concrete bricks….
trekking from Pokhara to ghandruk
Donkey carrying concrete blocks up the Himalayas
trekking from Pokhara to ghandruk
oh look, more steps. As Ram said, Nepal is a little bit up, a little bit down… ha ha
trekking from Pokhara to ghandruk
Our home for the night- Ghandruk.

Day two- walk to Australian camp

trekking from Pokhara ghandruk to australia camp
we walked down the mountain (my knee died at this point, thank you Voltarin) and then back up the other side of the valley- equally as steep. The roads here are under construction, hence the fresh scarring/ landslides.
trekking from Pokhara ghandruk to australia camp
Today, the clouds parted so we could see the Himalayas- Finally!
trekking from Pokhara ghandruk to australia camp
Village life as Grandma minds the baby
trekking from Pokhara ghandruk to australia camp
Small village life Dogs here are a slightly different build/ breed mix to the ones in India. Definitely more husky/ german-shepherd looking.
trekking from Pokhara ghandruk to australia camp
Ram, and another slightly terrifying bridge (I’m not a big fan of bridges)
trekking from Pokhara ghandruk to australia camp
And then we walked into fog. Or rather, the fog enveloped us. Almost at Australian Camp, our home for the night.
trekking from Pokhara ghandruk to australia camp
Health and safety- this is a swing. And this is a guy ‘fixing’ the swing.
trekking from Pokhara ghandruk to australia camp
This cat appeared when I went to bed. Meowing at the door, so I let her in. She made herself quite at home, and spent the night curled up under the covers, purring loudly. A very bossy cat, delightful company

Day three – Australia Camp to Pokhara

trekking from Pokhara from australia camp
Day three dawned white. This is a rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal.
trekking from Pokhara from australia camp
Days of fog meant everything was delicately wet. Drip, drip, drip
trekking from Pokhara from australia camp
Our guide dog… this guy randomly joined us for a few hours of trekking.
trekking from Pokhara from australia camp
Ram, disappearing into the fog.
trekking from Pokhara from australia camp
Ram dropping me back off at my ‘hotel’. What an amazing adventure- sad to say goodbye.

I wont put a photo here, but as we were sitting waiting for our transport back to Pokhara, my ankle felt a bit wet. I had a look, and to my concern, my ankle- and shoe- were awash in blood. Awash. As in, a bloodbath. I tried to clean it up, with little success. Ram, after a moment of concern, concluded it was a leech bite (two days of heavy fog had brought them out of the forest) and we taped it up. Leeches inject you with an anticoagulant. This tiny wounds simply pump blood, for hours. It turned out I found another one on my other ankle soon thereafter… They don’t hurt, just a mess to clean up.

And so ended my adventure. We walked fast- apparently I’m quite fit (although did not feel it) and did things a couple of hours faster than normal. The families I spoke to along the way stretched the same distance out over 4-5 days, more suitable for children. I would recommend trekking in Nepal for anyone of reasonable fitness. You don’t have to be ultra fit- if you’re life-fit, you’ll be fine. If you spend your days running around after your kids, or go for a walk most days, you will survive. When booking, do be honest about your fitness level though to ensure you get the best outcome for your legs!

I want to go back to do Everest Base Camp trek. That will need a bit of training… But, I will be back.

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