Ramblers Walking Holidays have recently completely revamped our Nepal programme introducing 4 new holidays to suit just about every taste.
We are working with new partners in Nepal. We have worked through every aspect of the holidays to make sure everything is as good as it can be. To complete this process, I recently travelled to Nepal to talk with our partners and check as much of the programme as possible in a week.
I flew on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. Both flights were a pleasure. Full catering including a glass of wine with lunch and seat back screen with huge choice of films smoothed the ride. I arrived Kathmandu early morning but even then queues at Immigration took some time. I was delighted I had got my visa in the UK as Visa on Arrival looks like it takes a very long time.
First impressions were very favourable. I was last visited Nepal in 2012. The country was dealing with amongst other things power supply issues at the time. That is all fixed now. Everybody seems to have a mobile phone and there is a signal just about everywhere from downtown Kathmandu to high in the mountains.
I headed straight off to have a look at the hotels on our new Himalayan Vistas holiday. Heading west I arrived at Bandipur. Beautifully situated on a ridge with great views of the Himalayan range it is a lovely place to stay. Alas as I travelled at the end of the monsoon season the clouds obscured the Himalayas most of the time, but I got the occasional glimpse. As ever the glimpse is well worth waiting for.
Our hotel, the Durbar Himalaya, is a lovely place. New built in classic style with lots of carved wood. My rooms was huge and comfortable. I had wifi, air conditioning, a fridge and two towels laid out on the bed in the shape of kissing swans. What more could a man ask for.
We drove from Bandipur to Karde for the start of the trek. With only two of us we covered the ground a good bit faster than a group might. First Australian Camp where we stayed in the Angel Guesthouse. The standard of tea houses has improved immeasurable since I last visited. I had a comfortable bed with sheets and duvet, some are even en suite though we cannot guarantee anything. I sat in the dinning room in the evening with a beer and a plate of ‘Dahl Bhat’, just about my favourite dish in all the world. What a treat.
We walked on through Landruk, stopping for lunch, eaten whilst enjoying a stupendous view across the valley to Ghandruk, our destination for the evening. Our teahouse here, the Hungry Eye, was equally welcoming and produced another fine dahl bhat for lunch.
It is a hard walk down from Landruk to the bottom of the valley and up to Ghandruk. My advice is take your time and enjoy the views, there aren’t many better in the world. On all our Nepal holidays we include a Water to Go bottle. These have filters making it safe to drink water from streams through the filter. This meant I did not use any single use plastic bottles, which is obviously good for the environment but also means I didn’t have to carry huge quantities of water with me as I could fill up regularly. Walking up that hill I got through plenty of water.
Ghandruk, our final night on trek is the highlight. We stayed in the Gurung Cottage with great views of the Annapurna range from the terrace, great food and a cold beer.
Sitting out on the terrace after dark watching the mountains and the stars was a magical experience.
At the end of the trek we stopped on the way back to Pokhara at Sarankot. Famed as an ideal location for paragliding, it also offers unrivalled views over Pokhara city.
Pokhara is a complete change of scenery from the mountains, a bustling city full of life. Our hotel, the Barahi, is in the heart of the Lakeside area. It a great hotel with all the facilities. The highlight of the time in Pokhara is a boat ride across Fewa lake and walk up to the Peace Pagoda. The views back are worth climbing up for. On the picture of the paraglider if you look just to the right of the parachute the peace pagoda is the white dot on the ridge.
Heading back toward Kathmandu we stopped at Kurintar to see the River Fun Beach Resort. It is an odd name for a hotel but a lovely place to stay. A notable aspect of staying here is walking across a suspension bride to get to the hotel. Don’t worry about the luggage, this is moved for you.
Finally, we made a detour to Chitwan National Park. Whilst here I heard one of the more inspirational stories, I have come across working in tourism. I was told this by Dhurba Giri, the guy who runs the Sapana Lodge where we stay on our Annapurnas and Chitwan holiday. ‘Sapana’ is the Nepali word for dream. As a teenager Dhurba was working as a waiter in a local restaurant. He got talking one night to a Dutch couple who asked him what his dream was. He replied he would like to build a hotel that would work with the local community to improve lives for everybody. The Dutch couple asked him what this would cost, having no idea he said 9,000 guilders (pre euro) which is about £3600. He got a letter some months later from the couple with a cheque for 9,000 guilders and a request he followed his dream. From this Dhurba has built up the Sapana Lodge.
It is a lovely hotel but more importantly they do great work with the local community, providing education, skills training, environmental improvements and stable jobs. It is a project Ramblers Walking Holidays is delighted to support.
Browse all of our holidays to Nepal here and if you book, you will receive a Water to Go bottle - stay hydrated on your walks by filling up from natural water sources!