Nepal
Nepal

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116 travelers at this place:

  • Day202

    Namasté Nepal!

    March 19 in Nepal

    Our arrival to Nepal was quite overwhelming, it felt like entering a new world after such a long time in quasi uninhabited Oman. Flying has probably become a too fast way to change countries for us. It took us three hours then to get our bikes ready - in front of the airport building and under the wide eyes of a throng of rubbernecks :)

    Cycling into the city was intense, chaotic left-hand traffic, so many people, so many colors, colorful women (again at last!) everywhere! There were so many impressions hailing down on us, the social and environmental issues directly jumping into our eyes (and noses). We immediately knew it: A new adventure would begin here, in Kathmandu, and we’re super excited about the next weeks, Namasté!Read more

  • Day211

    Kathmandu!

    March 28 in Nepal

    We stayed at Pushkar Shah’s house (for 10 days) which is full of cyclists throughout the year. He’s been on a mystical journey for peace around the world with his bicycle, promotes cycling and fights for bicycle lanes nowadays. There were many other crazy riders too and it was great to spend time together and share experiences.

    We went around a lot, guided and unguided, and there are temples, stupas and other holy places everywhere and in all sizes, in the trees, in the walls, in the pavement, at the surrounding hills. We watched the cremations taking place at some temples next to the rivers - with very mixed feelings.
    We visited one of the holiest pilgrims sites for Buddhists in the world - the Boudhanath stupa and the holy atmosphere there are mesmerizing.

    It’s easy to notice all the opulent dogs, pigeons and monkeys who love to stay around the temples because the people usually offer sacrifice in form of rice, biscuits and other sweets - and feeding them is positive for the karma :)

    And: Fit in cycling does not mean fit in yoga... We used our lazy time to do some yoga lessons in the mornings. We found an ashram round the corner where the locals go and enjoyed this authentic experience although it was painful during the yoga and painful the days after (every little muscle hurt!). But again and again a perfect start into the day before breakfast.

    There are also some good news for our further journey (and this is also the main reason why we stayed that long in this crazy city): After 4 visits to the Indian embassy we eventually got our visa, yeah!
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  • Day207

    Escaping the valley

    March 24 in Nepal

    It was time for a 2-day-trip to escape the rush and take some fresh air: We wanted to see what’s behind the surrounding mountains of the Kathmandu valley and climbed up on the eastern side to Nagarkot after passing through the royal town of Bhaktapur with its UNESCO heritage site, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The centuries-old ornaments and wood works incorporated into the many beautiful temples, palaces, statues and residential houses are marvelous! And almost 3 years after the disastrous earthquake, the damage is still clearly visible, like everywhere in the valley, and the rebuilding is ongoing, slowly.

    Nagarkot, on the ridge east of the valley, is famous for its views over the Himalaya range. Unfortunately, we weren’t lucky enough to see far enough but the sunrise hike to the view tower in the morning was nice though. Time for breakfast! After that, we wanted to hit a track to Dhulikhel, got lost several times and had to carry our bikes along forgotten, overgrown hiking trails which were shown as jeep tracks on our map. In fact, they were too steep to drive a jeep there and we’re glad that we only carried one pannier :)

    When the thick pine forest cleared, we found ourselves in a peaceful valley with impressing vegetable terraces on the steep slopes. Time for a late lunch, Dal Bhat for sure! The lessons we draw from our first cycling trip in Nepal: There is always a surprise, road conditions change too fast to be documented and there’s so much to discover in between all these mountains here.
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  • Day217

    Chitwan Nationalpark

    April 3 in Nepal

    We didn’t expect a nationalpark in a poor country like Nepal to be so well maintained (although it is world-famous). It was absolutely amazing (and scary!) to hike through the high elephant grass in this beautiful jungle, knowing that there were dangerous, wild animals (the Bengal tiger as well!) around. But in fact we're looking for them, the two of us with two guides, one in the front, one in the back, armed with bamboo sticks. Our safety procedures were a mixture of running zigzag, climbing a tree and punching the rhino's nose with the bamboo :) When we encountered a rhino mummy with its baby in the high grass, we were overwhelmed and felt that our guides were even more scared than us...

    Canoeing in the smooth, sluggish Rapti river, which is the natural border of the park and full with crocodiles wasn’t that scary but great to watch colorful birds like kingfishers, peacocks, herons, storks and many more.

    A half-day jeep safari gave us the chance to see a larger area of the park and the continuous change of vegetation alone would have been absolutely worth it. But we saw more rhinos (grazing and bathing), a black bear, deers, bisons and monkeys and were so happy to see all this wildlife!

    Some notes on the elephants: There are many wild elephants in the deeper areas of the park. Unfortunately, we didn’t see one. The elephants we saw were all ranger or government elephants, they are treated well and spend their whole day in the park, eating, bathing and playing, doing what they want, accompanied by a ranger who counts animals or takes care of the park (the elephants allow the ranger to get close to the wild animals without scaring them away). Since this measure was established among with others, they say there has been no poaching anymore although still Chinese people come to pay poor Nepalese to hunt rhinos for their horns.
    Back to the elephants: The ranger elephants are taken back into elephant camps around the park at night where they need to be put in chains, at least in the mating season. Recent projects to keep them in fenced enclosures failed because elephants are just too smart. They learned how to switch off the electricity and overcome the fence, wild elephants came to make them pregnant or they rampaged in the villages. We don’t like animals being captivated but in this case it‘s necessary to preserve the park. Good news: Elephant riding tourism is declining, it’s been banned from the park and is only allowed in the bufferzones around. Several projects are doing a great job in training elephant owners and raising awareness for proper treatment. Some are offering alternatives such as accompanying elephants for a couple of hours to watch them while they’re doing what they want and eventually feeding them.

    By the way: The hygienic conditions in general have not been easy from the first day in Nepal and we can feel that it is the poorest country we’ve ever been to. Not surprisingly, Silke got sick.. However, we went back on the road, going slowly after a couple of rest days. And these days we’re even trekking the Annapurna Circuit, impressions will follow, but connections are quite difficult in the remote area we’re in at the moment :)
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  • Day224

    It all started with us squeezing into a bus fully packed with excited hikers, backpacks and some locals sitting on the lap of the driver. 4 hours in squatting position in the aisle were already kind of proving our endurance, but this shouldn’t stop us :)

    We started trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Besisahar at about 800m through a
    peaceful, green landscape, along a river full of water, rushing waterfalls, over scary suspension bridges into a deep valley with steep slopes, rice paddies, and charming little villages where little more details waited to be discovered. Women working in the fields, doing laundry, cooking; men smashing rocks or processing wood; colorful Tibetan prayer flags, banana trees, piles of firewood.

    We learned that the lodge owners start making their offers in the afternoon, rooms are usually for free if you eat dinner and breakfast there, a fair deal everywhere on the circuit!

    The first days on the trek definitely raised our appetite for more hiking and the following days should become even more beautiful...
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  • Day229

    Ice Lake

    April 15 in Nepal

    Acclimatization is a terrible word but plays an important role if you want to go up as high as we wanted to. So we decided to climb up about 1200m to the Ice Lake which is at 4700m, stay there for a bit and climb back down.

    As we climbed up we could feel how the air became thinner and thinner, headache started, so we went slower and slower, like in slow-motion, but we made it to the lake! We had never been that high before and the scenery up there was just amazing. Climbing back down along the steep slopes wasn’t that much fun then.. but the views were worthwhile :)Read more

  • Day232

    Tilicho Lake

    April 18 in Nepal

    Although the Tilicho lake is not the highest altitude lake in the world as the Nepalese claim it to be, at almost 5000m, it is quite high and for us it was really demanding to get there as we had never been on such a high level. Our first time above 5000m on the way up there, a great preparation for the Thorong La!

    Surrounded by white shimmering glaciers the big icy lake with the Tilicho peak (7134m) is a sheer beauty, so that we took a long rest by the lake, catching our breath, soaking in the stunning views and relaxing our muscles.

    Our muscles were indeed quite stiff, not only because one part was characterized by narrow steep hairpins winding up the mountain, but also because other parts were so-called ‘landslide areas’. As rocks of different sizes were flying down from above along the narrow trekking path which wasn’t always clear, the gaping abyss a step aside, we found this part very frightening and were glad that we didn’t wait until the wind had picked up even more.

    However, we survived with some adrenaline rushes and stayed another night in the Tilicho Base camp at an altitude of 4150m, recharging our batteries with some Yak cheese, yummy! The cheese is absolutely delicious and you can get it everywhere at these heights - because that’s where the cute, woolly Yaks live :)
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  • Day235

    Thorong La

    April 21 in Nepal

    A couple of days of more ‘up and down and up and down’ took us to the Thorong High Camp at about 4900m. Although we arrived there quite early in the morning we decided to not continue to the pass and down on the other side, other than all our fellow trekkers - we were just too exhausted. So for the moment we were the only ones at the camp. But this should change throughout the day and people ended up sleeping on the ground in the packed dining room.

    We started to feel more and more sick because of the altitude. At least when the snowfall started in the afternoon we regretted our decision to stay. But the atmosphere in the camp was so mystic, everyone was so excited about the next day (can we go or do we have to stay?), almost everyone had to fight one’s symptoms of altitude sickness and it felt like being part of a large trekkers community with so many familiar faces and so many stories to tell. And many people in a packed room cause some welcome heat as well :)

    Our decision turned out to be a good one: The next morning was beautiful with a clear sky, a shining sun and fresh snow enchanting the landscape.

    The ascent to the pass was incredibly demanding then, both physically and mentally. It went about our iron will, our concentration and focus on the path, our mutual motivations, our sucking for oxygen, going step by step, no more talking, slowly, slowly, slowly, further and further, higher and higher, pushing our limits. From time to time, dazed trekkers sitting on a horse were passing by.

    These 4 hours were probably the most intense of our lives, we had never breathed so thin air and we made it to the Thorong La on our own, followed by tears of joy and goose bumps. 5416m and it’s such an incredible feeling to be up there but so worth it!
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  • Day248

    We wanted to give it another chance to see a wild Bengal tiger and stopped by at the Bardia Nationalpark to do a 12 hours walking safari. The park is famous for its large population of tigers but only a few tourists make it to this remote area.

    Accompanied by Prem, our friendly guide, and Santosh, a brave bamboo fighter, we spent a whole day in the jungle, walking through deep bush, crossing crocodile rivers, watching out for wildlife - and waiting almost five hours for the tiger, at a spot by the river, silent and hidden in the bush, endurance and patience were essential...

    We were lucky: 2 wild Rhinos, a wild elephant (our first one!), herds of deer, monkeys and crocodiles. But not too lucky: No tiger. 30 minutes more at the spot by the river and we would have seen it, a group which stayed there longer saw it, damn!
    Anyway, it was an amazing day in an amazing jungle.

    The next day was full of surprises then: Someone had stolen our speedometers, our tent sticks, one of our cyclists‘ wallets and a drinking bottle over night. We had our bicycles in front of the door of Prem‘s homestay and left some things on them. Luckily, our tent and the sleeping pads were still there. How could that happen in a remote village with less than 50 homes? Must have been a kid or youth. The whole family and neighbors helped searching and we could find some things in the fields. But the tools, our speedometers and our repair kit was gone, and one tent stick broken. Not a perfect start into a new day...

    For good luck, the family put the red color on our forehead, called 'Tika'. And this should help: When we left the park cycling along the road that goes through the bufferzone, a safari jeep suddenly stopped a hundred meters in front of us and we heard the Indian tourists screaming. There was a tunnel for water underneath the road and 3(!!!) tigers had just crossed the road through it! When we got there, we could only hear the alarm sounds of the birds and the rustling as the tigers disappeared in the forest. So we stood there, listening and waiting. And then suddenly another tiger came through the tunnel! We couldn’t believe our fortune, we had just seen a wild Bengal tiger, a few meters from us, incredible, what a powerful animal! The following 15 kilometers to the next town became the most scary ones we cycled so far because we knew we were in real danger now. Before, it was just roadsigns saying that there were tigers... but there are, we saw it!

    The rest of this exciting day offered us another puncture and a nice, grassy camp spot with many kids around :)
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  • Day214

    Cycling continues

    March 31 in Nepal

    There is only one road leaving the Kathmandu valley in western direction so we had to cope with heavy traffic on this narrow road without a shoulder. The colorful painted trucks labeled with 'Road King', 'Risky Rider' or 'Street Killer' are followed by ramshackle buses labeled with 'VIP', 'Super Deluxe' or 'Tourist Only' in the hierarchy. The law of the street is the low of the strongest.
    And no matter how old and in which condition these vehicles are, they are usually fully packed. Tourists tend to use microbusses, whose drivers overtake even more careless. Overturned buses or trucks plunging into ruin are not uncommon.

    Luckily, there are only trucks, buses, motorbikes and very few private cars. What would happen if the Nepalese start having their own cars? Indeterminable..

    And luckily, we chose a quiet side road south into the Terai then. We could even camp for the first time in Nepal! High up in the mountains and with some visitors (great Nepalese kids, always playing outside and excited to see people like us). Followed by the heaviest thunderstorm we’ve ever experienced. The ground was shaking and our tent was lit up for hours. But it kept us dry. What a scary night! The scariest we recall...

    The next day, we reached a view tower in Daman at 2321m. We stayed there overnight but again we couldn’t see the Himalaya - and again there was a heavy thunderstorm, still in the morning. We’re still used to Omani sunshine, damn!

    After a second breakfast at the pass (2488m), the downhill run (2000m down into the Terai) was stunning. The vegetation changed rapidly, from pine forest to a tropical forest, to broad-leaved forest (back in autumn), to rice paddies in the fertile valley.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Nepal, Nɛpɔl, ኔፓል, نيبال, Непал, नेपाल, Nepali, নেপাল, བར་ཡུལ་, Nepál, ނޭޕާލް, བལ་ཡུལ, Nepal nutome, Νεπάλ, Nepalo, Nepaal, نپال, Népal, Nèpal, Neipeal, નેપાળ, Nefal, נפאל, Նեպալ, ネパール王国, nepal, ნეპალი, នេប៉ាល់, ನೇಪಾಳ, 네팔, نیپال, Nepalia, Nepálɛ, ເນປານ, Nepalas, Nepāla, Nepala, നേപ്പാൾ, नेपाळ, နီပေါ, Nephali, Sańghīya Loktāntrik Gaṇatantra Nepāl, ନେପାଳ, Nipal, नेपालदेशः, Nëpâli, නේපාලය, Nebaal, நேபாளம், నేపాల్, ประเทศเนปาล, نېپال, Nê-pan (Nepal), Nepalän, Orílẹ́ède Nepa, 尼泊尔, i-Nepal

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