Monthly Archives: Sep 2015

NEPAL – Gosaikunda Lake Trek – day 2

Dunche (2200m) to Sing Gompa (3300m):

(Written by Steph)

We got to the guest house of a couple of Nepalese guys we had met on the bus at 6.45am. They were scientists called Mokti and Santosh, heading up the mountain as far as Laurebina to analyse the plant life for their PHD. It was evident that the negotiations with their porter had not yet been concluded, and when we saw the bag they wanted him to carry, I thought maybe this was the reason – it was a bag of epic proportions, and by the way it was lifted, it seemed to have a weight to match! We were told by Mokti that it had scientific equipment inside. When pressed further, this apparently amounted to a measuring tape and a camera. Something had to have been lost in translation!

Nick testing how heavy the porter's bags really were. (Insanely heavy!)

Anyway, having set off on our trek adorned in fleeces and jackets, it soon became apparent that we weren’t going to need them for this first part of the trek. Mokti laughed as he told us of a woman he had been with on this same hike once before, and how after only one hour, the exertion and the sweat had brought her to tears. There may have been some part of me that was that girl; although pride kept me going strong, inside I was my former 5 year old, stamping my feet and saying “I don’t wanna!”

Steph crossing the river

Six tough hours later, we had ascended almost all of the 1000m from Dunche, up impressive stone steps and through some forest, though there was still not much of a view to distract from the hard slog. Our noses, however, did teach us one important fact about the flora of the forest. Weed – there was loads of it growing freely, a bit like that scene in “The Beach,” but with less people yielding guns. This made sense, as about every second person in the centre of Kathmandu had tried to sell it to us. Either we looked like easy targets, or it was in massive supply.

Growing like weeds

The forest was also full of bamboo. Though we failed to spot living red panda, which apparently reside there, we were even more excited (and relieved!) when we finally reached Sing Gompa, and our own “Red Panda” guest house. It actually looked pretty nice from the outside, and we were doubly impressed to find they had Western toilets, and that much coveted hot water! Since Nick had taken “packing light” to the extremes, and not wanting to seem like I couldn’t slum it with the best of them, I had agreed to leave my deodorant behind in Kathmandu, along with the majority of my clean clothes and a towel. This was the first of several packing mistakes, and one that would lead us to get to know each other better than we ever really needed, or wanted.

Sing Gompa in the middle, buddist stupas on the left and our hotel on the right

NEPAL – Gosaikunda Lake Trek – day 1

Kathmandu, 12 September 2015

(Written by Nick)

It appears close to Kathmandu but is about a 7h drive
The trekking route. The stars are where you stay the night

Two days after arriving in Kathmandu we were heading out of the city on our way into the Himalayas.
The 16h flight from London via Delhi had been stress-free with decent veggie curry, a few beers and a couple of invitations to the houses of our co-passengers. We were flying with an Indian airline so none of this was a surprise of course. Perhaps the only thing that caught us off-guard was that Jet Airways hadn’t made us throw away a suitcase like they had last time.

In our somewhat frantic mission to get our trekking permits, book the bus, buy some essentials and have a beer with fellow travellers we had successfully missed every one of the must-see sights of the city. We saw one of the pagodas of Durbar square looming behind a row of buildings before being asked for a 700 rupees (£5) “entry ticket” to what looked like just the second half of the street we were already on. More interested in food at that point we gave it a miss. I was fairly sure I’d seen news footage showing most of the buildings reduced to rubble from the earthquakes in April 2015 so figured I had missed the opportunity to see it in its glory.

Durbar square, Kathmandu

Our first journey was a fairly gentle 8 hour affair that got us into the swing of things to come on our half-year honeymoon. We were headed for Dunche in the Langtang national park for some trekking.

Well, the journey was ok for me but Steph had apparently drunk a little more vodka than me the night before and didn’t fully appreciate the bumpy, windy roads or the high-pitched Nepalese pop screeching out of the broken speakers. Unsure of when, or if, there would be a toilet break, drinking lots of water wasn’t the obvious cure it normally is.

Spinning yarn I think


“It’ll all be alright when we find a hotel. We can have a shower and go out for a meal.”
That was to be the first of many lies I was to inadvertently make in an attempt to be optimistic. Every hotel in town was full and panic set in as night fell. Eventually a hero stepped up and offered us a room for 300 rupees (£1.90) above what looked like a tea shop in a concrete lock-up. All I can say is that the room was beautiful compared to the shared bathroom down the hall. With no light in the corridor, finding your way in the dark may have been tricky if it weren’t for the smell. You just had to follow your nose.

Traditional Tamang dress i think. We liked the tassles on her pony tail

There was no shower, no bath and no toilet you could sit on, so perhaps the term bathroom is overstating it. Having being appalled when hearing of the kind of accommodation I had frequented when travelling in India & Bangladesh 3 years ago, I had made a promise to avoid the particularly grim. Another promise shattered and only 3 days into our trip. “Happy honeymoon darling.”

Why call the owner of such an establishment a hero? He was a porter from the nearby village of Thulu Syabru in the Langtang Valley which was near the epicentre of the recent earthquakes. 148 out of the 158 homes in his village were either damaged or destroyed. His wasn’t one of the lucky ones. He showed us a photo of the pile of rubble with a roof a metre high that used to be his house. Even though his wife, his young son and he were displaced people they were still willing to take in others looking for a temporary roof over their head.

Our hero in Dunche
A dragonfly