Once is not enough for Nepal

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Nepalese usually called it Sagarmatha or head of the sky or head of the world. The world’s highest peak named after Surveyor General of India, Sir George Everest. Yes, it is not the name of the first person who reached the top of this mountain, Sir Edmund Hillary. That perfect triangle lies on Himalayan mountain range and perhaps it become an ultimate goal for most climbers and mountaineers.

To see this majestic mountain listed on my bucket list. I’m fully aware that I will never ever touch the peak. However, I do believe that nothing in this world is impossible. It’s not about you can’t do it but it’s more about you don’t want to do it. If I can reach the top of Fox Glacier in New Zealand using helicopter, I bet Nepal has the same thing for Sagarmatha. And here I am, seeing Sagarmatha at 8500 meters above sea level from my seat of Everest mountain flight.

It took at least 3 hours for immigration and waiting for luggage in Kathmandu airport. Not because the queue is too long, but more about the process and how the ground crew handle the luggage. I was lucky the electricity is not shut down at that time so I still can proceed my visa on arrival thru e-visa counter. So please make sure your stomach is full enough before landing, you need energy (and patience) though!

Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and lies on the valley. Theoretically, you can see the mountain range from this city. However, there is a fire forest in India and the wind goes to north. As there is no rain for almost a month, so Kathmandu (and perhaps entire country) covered with haze. Since this city just suffered from massive earthquake last year, Kathmandu also covered with dust due to construction work. Dust and haze will not going anywhere as this city shaped as bowl.

We do hope to see Annapurna mountain range when we are in Pokhara. After 7 hours driving to the west, finally we can see blue sky. But the mountain still hiding from us. God, all I ask is to see one of the majestic peaks in this world. After two days of waiting, God finally answered our praise. The Fish tail finally revealed.

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Visiting Nepal without doing a trekking is like incomplete mission. It takes least 7 days to reach Annapurna base camp. The shorter version will be 3 days trekking to Poon hill. Since we only have one week in this country, we took 2 days 1 night trekking to Australian base camp. It the same trekking path to Annapurna base camp and Poon hill. Due to haze from India, we can only see mountain from certain level, at least 3000m above sea level, our guide said. Well, Australian base camp is only +/- 2000m a.s.l..but who knows! We start to hike at 10 AM and it took us 2-3 hours to reach the base camp. The track to the base camp was amazing and the camp itself was so lovely. And it was raining when we arrived. The first rain after 2 weeks. So, are we a rain whisperers or what? And because of that, we can see the Annapurna mountain range for about 15 minutes in the afternoon.

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We hiked down in the next morning with a stop by at Dhampus village. If the yesterday hike was bit challenging, this hike down is much more. In theory, hike down is harder but the track with steps is much harder. I feels like having a fire drill from 50-storey building. I can’t even feel my leg when arriving at the car shelter.

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Nepal tourism tagline is Once is not enough and I completely agree with that. Not only because most scenery covered with haze when I went there, but also Nepal has so many beautiful and amazing trekking path. Wise man said traveling will give you an open mind as well as help you to find out what you want to do in this life. Hence, I set another dream, that someday, I don’t know how, I will reach Annapurna or Everest base camp. This dream may sound ambitious, but like I said earlier, nothing is impossible in this world. I’ll come back, Insya Allah!

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