NEPAL IS INEXTRICABLY LINKED TO THE HIMALAYAS AND STUNNING MOUNTAIN LANDSCAPES AND, AS MIGHT BE EXPECTED, ON ARRIVING IN THE COUNTRY I WAS AWESTRUCK BY ITS INCREDIBLE BEAUTY.
I planned to trek the Annapurna Circuit, which leads to the base camp of the world’s 11th highest mountain but, before setting out, I basked in the glory that Nepal has to offer with luxury hotels, vibrant streets, kind locals and as many ‘momos’ as I could eat.
Before heading out to the mountains, I explored Kathmandu and its enthralling street markets where I stocked up on some warm gear for the trek. While spending time looking through Nepalese trinkets and clothing, it is a good idea to stop in at any of the small restaurants for some dal-bhat-tarkaril, a famous Nepalese dish of lentil soup, boiled grains, rice and vegetable curry.
Having “done” Katmandu it was off to Nepal’s second largest city, Pokhara. Here we find quaint hostels and boarding houses along the base of the Himalayas ready to accommodate those preparing for their treks. Lakeside Pokhara is the perfect place to take in magnificent views and enjoy some delicious food. You can chose from any range of hotels in the area, but my favourite is the Pavilions Himalayas resort. Nestled in a natural paradise of lush forest it is a place that inspires you to get up early and explore Nepal’s natural beauty.
Travel groups make trekking easy as they offer bag assistance, accommodation and a local guide to take you through the whole experience. Hikes can be split into as many days as you would like, with most lasting around 17 days. My time was spent taking in the scenery and enjoying the unexpectedly delicious food offered throughout the circuit. It is easy find high-quality Nepalese meals or international delights to satisfy the mountain cravings. The trek can be challenging in places, but rest assured that there will always be a warm cup of tea or a cold beer to greet you around the next corner. At night, you can regain your strength at one of the many locally run, comfortable guesthouses or teahouses.