“A distance of 15 kilometres, 6 hours of walking and 2,200 meters high”. That is the best way to describe our second day in Nepal. After arriving in Pokhara only a day before, we were ready for the ‘main dish’ of our trip – the 3-day Ghandruk Loop Trekking adventure.
Ghandruk Loop trekking is one of the easiest trek in the Annapurna Region, Nepal. A typical trek on the Ghandruk Loop takes about three to four days but since we had a tight schedule, we decided to push ourselves to complete the loop in 2.5 days. As shown on the map below, our journey for day 1 is highlighted in blue colour, from Nayapul to Ghandruk.
With a flight booked on the third day of our trek, we had no choice but to reach every checkpoint within the scheduled timeframe. A major delay will cost us our flight to Kathmandu and possibly our flight home to KL as well.
If you missed any of my earlier #NepalAkuDatang stories, click here to check it out.
Our second day in Nepal (day 1 of Ghandruk Loop trekking), begins with a nice heavy breakfast at our hotel in Pokhara. Sort of like the last real food before going back to basics for 2.5 days.
“Can we really do this? Can 2 guys who seldom exercise and only train for 1.5 months survive this trek? Can we survive the cold weather?” With all of these questions playing in my mind, my friend and I met up with our trekking guide from Trekking Team Prvt Ltd, Mr. Madhu and Mr Durrba, our awesome porter.
The four of us cramped into a small taxi (equivalent to a Perodua Kelisa in Malaysia) for a short 40-minutes hop from our hotel to Naya Pul, the start of our trek.
A dose of Chai at the starting point.
The walk begins.
Birethanthi – entering the Annapurna Conservation Area.
We were lucky on that day to be accompanied by about 100 school kids on a camping trip heading to Ghandruk as well. We enjoyed talking to them at certain parts of the journey as much as they enjoyed practising their English speaking skills on us.
About an hour after leaving Naya Pul, we started to see the beautiful sights along the trail.
The first 90 minutes was quite fun with uphill walking that was not difficult. Perfect for warming up.
A small waterfall – a good place to take five.
Durbar carrying our 20kg luggage. He makes it look so easy but I’m sure it’s not at all easy.
The first glance of Machapuchare or Fishtail peak!
A river parallel to our trek.
Up, up, and more up!
Plenty of tea houses along the trek for trekkers to take a break.
Along the way, we stopped and distributed some souvenirs from Malaysia to the local kids. They seem to enjoy the Malaysia Airlines salted peanuts I took from the flight from KL.
Toilet with a view!
After a couple of hours, we could see our lunch stop not so far away.
Lunch break. Vegetarian fried rice.
Finding suitable food for Muslim is quite easy. Although there is no halal meat available and no seafood in this part of Nepal, there is always a choice of vegetarian options such as vegetarian fried rice, egg curry or even vege Dhal Bhat!
After lunch, it was the toughest part of the day 1 trek. Stairs, lots of stairs.
These stone steps are not only steep but at every point it feels like it is endless.
Remember the river earlier?
It was tough. We had trained on steps for this trip but we were never really had to go through it for multiple hours. We literally took one step at a time and seemed to make a good progress after a while. Motivation was of course the magnificent views and the friendly locals.
Azrul (Twitter: @AzrulRA) giving away an “I love Malaysia” pencil.
Anywhere I look, I could see a nice view to capture on my camera. The only problem was having to stop to take photos and slowing everybody down. Still I managed to snap some nice views on the Sony Nex.
At one point, we walked in front of a small school building with nice wall murals of flags around the world. I was excited thinking that we have reached Ghandruk. I swear that I almost cry when I saw the writing on the wall. 3.75km – 1.5 to 2 hours to go.
Like it or not, we continued to push forward. Somehow our guide made it look so easy!
With a collection of random mp3s on my phone (from running songs to jiwang karat), we somehow made it to the final kilometre for the day.
The river is now quite a distance away!
The trek on the left and the beautiful mountains on the right.
Just a little bit more.
We reached our destination for day 1 the Annapurna Guest House after about 6.5 hours leaving Nayapul.
The mountains were playing hide and seek with us so we decided to just enjoy the view the next morning when there’s less clouds.
Right after sunset and a nice well-deserved dinner, it was time for a good 8-hour sleep in the comfort of our sleeping bags as the temperature drops to zero degrees and no heater in the guest house.
Day 2 of the trekking offers us more challenges, magnificent views and surprises… to be continued.
If you missed any of my earlier #NepalAkuDatang stories, click here to check it out. Interested to try out trekking? I strongly recommend Trekking Team Prvt Ltd. Leave a comment below and I’ll hook you up with them. Also if you enjoy this story and the photos, do leave some feedback below as well.