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Nepal

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One of the most common questions we hear among serious hikers is how these two iconic long-distance treks compare. The Tour du Mont Blanc or Everest Base Camp? The Tour du Mont Blanc is probably the most famous trek in Europe and a rite of passage for intrepid walkers. But Nepal’s Everest Base Camp trek is potentially the most famous trek on the planet. Which to choose? Well, as with any worthy comparison, there are no easy answers. While both are strenuous endeavors that offer some of the best scenery in the world, they also have many significant differences. A number of factors such as location, fitness, comfort requirements, season and available time need to be considered when deciding between these two awesome trips. Timing and Weather TMB: Located in the European Alps, the TMB is very much a summer trek. Some people manage it in June but usually have…

In our case, “other stuff” essentially means Kathmandu, to prepare for our Gokyo Lakes trek and again afterward to soak up the heat and food binge, and Bhaktapur, to unwind for a day or two before our flight out of the country. This has been our pattern since the beginning and we’ve seen little cause to deviate. Kathmandu First off, even though Kathmandu is very famous and sounds really exotic and everything, make no mistake, it’s a pretty rough place. The air pollution is horrendous, and it gets worse every time we return. Traffic is absurd to the point that the 15 km journey out to Bhaktapur – basically a suburb – takes around an hour. Everything in Kathmandu feels chaotic, dirty and loud. There is also a ton of history, vivid crowds and fascinating street life. And way, way too many smells. However, what Kathmandu does really well, and…

Trekking to Gokyo Lakes in the Everest region – the second pillar of this rather extensive fall trip that has us meandering from Western Europe (Tour du Mont Blanc and Lake Bled, just to pick two) all the way to south Asia (interested in some beautiful Sri Lanka beaches?) . Regular followers will be familiar with how much we enjoy hiking in Nepal so, with 4 years having passed since our last visit, it was high time for a return visit. This time around we were planning a bastardized version of the challenging Three Passes Trek, with the exact itinerary to be determined as went, but definitely including Renjo La, Gokyo Ri and Ama Dablam, and contingent on weather, health, exhaustion and our overall interest level in the food available high up in the mountains. Our Everest Route Last time we were in Nepal we did the standard Everest Base…

Our first order of business upon arriving in Nepal was to prepare for our two-week Everest Base Camp adventure. During past trips to Nepal we had hiked the Annapurna Circuit and to Annapurna Base Camp, with Everest each time losing out mainly over concerns about just how busy it gets, especially during high season (i.e. October). But as people who love hiking, and love hiking in Nepal in particular, the highest mountain in the world simply had to get its turn sometime, crowds or no. Here is a point by point Everest Base Camp FAQ with all the details, logistics and highlights of our 2 weeks up in the high Himalaya, hopefully answering all the questions you have to plan your own Nepal adventure. How much does the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla add to the adventure? While the scene at the domestic terminal was a touch on the dystopian…

Tibetan Layover Marred By Girl’s Inconvenient Collapse A couple travelling from Chengdu, China to Kathmandu, Nepal were surprised to learn they would actually be exiting the plane in Lhasa, Tibet (China), giving them a brief opportunity to set foot on Tibetan soil, or at least some Tibetan all-purpose tile and a few Tibetan decorative carpets. Their overall enjoyment of this unexpected treat was soon derailed, however, when they encountered a Chinese girl standing in the passageway just outside the door of the plane. According to the husband, Dean Johnston, he first noticed her because she was leaning her head against the window, looking “kind of weird”, and he found himself very curious to know what it was she was looking at so intently. As he moved toward her, however, suddenly her suitcase toppled over, surprising him, then immediately she began to collapse toward the floor. Instinctively he caught her and…

Knowing we would be pretty low in the energy department following our big mountain hike we had made little to no plans for our last week in Nepal aside from maybe visiting a couple lakes (Rupa Tal and Begnas Tal) and, of course, eating copious amounts of home-type foods (lasagna, steak, pizza, ice cream) and sitting around as motionless as possible commenting every now and then how nice it is to be warm, and burping. Pokhara, I’ll have you know, is quite an excellent place to accomplish both of these goals. It also just so happened that we made our grand return to civilization on Nepali New Year’s Eve – leaving us with really no choice but to drink a few too many beers with the British guys we met on the trek, not that we made it to midnight or anything, although that actually made it feel even a…

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