Nepal day 22: back to Blighty – Saturday 23rd April

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Up at 5.30am again!  Breakfast in the hotel garden – a real oasis from the chaos of the city.  I would highly recommend the hotel if you ever find yourself in Kathmandu.

A straightforward journey to the airport and an easy check-in. We had about 4 frisks altogether at different times before getting on the flight.

We are now sitting in the airport at Doha waiting for our connection all suffering a little with dodgy stomachs but looking forward to getting back home.

Nepal day 21: back to Kathmandu – Friday 22nd April

After deciding to forgo a lie in as just a gentle “nature walk” was planned before breakfast on our last day, I was horrified to discover we were setting off on yet another nerve shredding foray into the undergrowth.  I was not happy but we returned unscathed for food after about an hour. 

We left the Island Jungle Resort at 8.15 am and its been a good few days.  As we crossed the river we met the group coming back from their bone shaking, back of the truck jungle excursion.  They looked like broken people…

We had made the decision a couple of days earlier to fly back to Kathmandu instead of catching the bus.  What a good decision that was – a 20min flight with Buddha Airways rather 6 hours on the bus. £60 well spent.

Our taxi ride back to the Hotel Ganesh Himal was another experience – a 64 year old (you shouldn’t have a taxi licence over 60) ex-gurkha with parkinsons.

Back at the hotel with sorted out our stuff, had some food, checked in online for the flight and then headed out to catch a few more last minute sights of Kathmandu.  We went to the cremation site by the river first and then to the Budna Stupa.

After that we headed back to Thamel for a drink at Rum Doodle before finding our way to the New Orleans restaurant for a drink and steaks with Ash (who we met at Chitwan) and Rich and Ruth (another mention!) our trekking / rafting chums who we had been stalking since the start of the trek.

Everything shuts down early in Kathmandu and we had a slightly uncomfortable walk back to the hotel along near deserted and almost pitch black streets for our last night in Nepal.

Nepal Day 20: Chitwan (3) – Thursday 21st April

Up at 5:30 again this morning after a slightly disturbed night’s sleep because of Brian and Neil dealing with another spider which was threatening to eat them.

Our early morning activity was bird watching around the camp which was fairly interesting but the light coming through the trees was good for some photos.  Just after the official bird watching finished we spotted two great hornbills flying over the island, apparently they are as rare as tiger sightings so that was a bit of a bonus.

We had another elephant ride after breakfast which wasn’t as good as the first but we saw some deer.  We also witnessed the intelligence of the elephants again – another quiet word and it tried to pull down a branch and later it picked up the stick with the driver had dropped and returned it to him.

We dozed around for most of the morning and at one point we thought we saw a tiger on the other side of the river – turned out to be monkeys but not before we had encouraged lots of people to come rushing over to see the big cat…

At 4pm we went out for another jungle walk.  There were 5 of us and 2 guides, one of the guides Jeet stopped us about 30 mins in and explained that he was attacked by three bears at that point a year earlier.  Two weeks in hospital and 3 months at home to recover from his injuries.  I didn’t really want to continue the walk after that!  We got very close to a rhino in a water hole but I was very nervous the whole time – I’d have much rather have been on top of a big elephant.

Just after the rhino sighting we were walking back through the jungle and there was a big crack in the undergrowth and both guides dropped to their haunches, peering through the undergrowth with their sticks ready.  It turned out to be fighting monkeys but my nerves were in bits by this point.

Back to the urban jungle that is Kathmandu tomorrow.

Nepal Day 19: Chitwan – Island Jungle Resort – Wednesday 20th April

It’s not a resort!  More like a basic camp.  We were expecting some luxury for these few days but the rooms are a bit grim and the food is disappointing.  However, the setting is fantastic and we are very close to some wildlife.

We were woken at 5:30am this morning and after coffee we set off at 6:15 for an Elephant ride.  It lasted about 1.5 hours and we didn’t see any animals but we did spot some fresh tiger tracks.  It was wonderful being out that early in the morning and some of the scenery was fantastic.  The Elephants are really well trained and just a few quiet words from our guide encouraged the elephant to take out a tree that was blocking our path.

After breakfast we had a short jungle walk followed by a boat ride with the aim of spotting some crocodiles.  We saw one Gharial from the opposite bank which was pretty big but nothing while we were in the boat.

In the afternoon we had the opportunity to bathe with the elephants and to try hanging onto their ears while they tried to throw you off – not easy when they put their mind to it.  To finish the day we had a really long ride on the back of a truck which was a bit grim but we did see a rhino pretty close.

Food, beer and bed followed plus more spiders but thankfully not in my room….

Nepal day 18: to Chitwan – Tuesday 19th April

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Well, last night was a real highlight of the trip so far.  After our meal on the river bank we watched the moon rise,  we then decided to sleep outside and the moon was a constant feature throughout the night.

We set off again the next morning after a great breakfast in the middle of a thunderstorm.  The water was more exciting today and there were some big waves at times.  We finished after a couple of hours and then had lunch – our rafting guide spotted the bus we needed, flagged it down and it waited (along with the other passengers) until we had finished eating!

After about an hours journey we arrived at Baratpor height which is where the sister hotel for the island jungle resort is situated.  We had more lunch and then wandered into the garden.  When we went back in we found that the other guests and our bags were already on the way to the jungle island resort so the bus had to be stopped and we were put in a taxi to catch it up!

The bus ride took about an hour and the last bit was really remote.  We were dropped off, took a small punt across the river and then had about a 10 minute walk to the buildings.

Our first acivity was a jungle walk which started about 20 mins after we aririved.  Our guides explained what to do if we came across bears, tigers or rhinos.  I was pretty scared when we set off! We walked for over an hour and then spotted a rhino in the distance.  Our guide took us closer and we all climed onto a fallen tree to get a better look – it came much closer and I think I got some good photos.

I am now tucked up and quite nervous as the man in the room next to me showed me the massive spider on his bathroom wall.

6.15 elephant ride tomorrow.

Nepal day 17: First day of rafting – Monday 18th April

Another early breakfast and then we were picked up by taxi and taken to the tourist bus station in Pokhara to catch a bus to Damauli where we would pick up the raft.  We thought that Rich and Ruth might be on the same bus but we watched them get onto another one at the bus station.

We were greeted by our raft guide Asso at the Damauli bridge when we got off the bus.  We had to empty our bags and cram everything inside waterproof bags – there were 7 of us altogether on the raft; the three of us, a Dutch couple and two guides plus all our gear.  It was starting to rain as the raft was packed up and sure enough, not long after we arrived Rich and Ruth appeared coming down the path from the bridge to pick up their raft.

So we set off in miserable weather but it wasn’t too long before the sun came out and it became a beautifully sunny day.  The water was a bit tame but it was a very relaxing ride as we glided down the river.  We stopped for lunch and the two guides produced some great food for us to eat.  We set off again and encountered a little bit of white water from time to time but it was more about enjoying the surroundings and sunshine than experiencing some ferocious water.

It wasn’t too long before we stopped again and set up camp for the night.  We were welcomed by a very excited puppy who seemed to know that a big, blue inflatable boat brings in new friends to play with.  We helped pitch three tents and a toilet tent and then Asso and his friend went to work once more.  After a quick swim we were presented with a makeshift table, tea, coffee and a huge bowl of popcorn.  A fire was lit and as we lost the last light of the day we were treated to a feast of chips, rice, noodles, lentils and veg curry – quality food cooked over open fires which put some of the other food we had to shame.

As it was a dry night we decided to sleep outside on the beach rather than in the tents.

Nepal day 16: In Pokhara (4) – Sunday 17th April

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Up early again this morning but no joy in regards to a clear sky so back to bed.  Back to mikes for breakfast – we sat outside watching the early morning activity on the lake.

Wandered back to the hotel for a mid-morning snooze and then back out for a cheese and tomato sandwich at Busy Bees for lunch. Stopped for a shave on the way back but having learnt from previous experience I called proceedings to a halt when he started rubbing my shoulders – only 70 rupees, bargain.

Back to the hotel to watch the grand prix and then we experienced a big storm, at one point the lightening almost hit the hotel – scary stuff.

However, it was nothing compared to the hail storm we witnessed when eating our dinner at Moondance (no steak).  Hopefully the videos give some idea of what was going on.

Pokhara has been great, our hotel has been £7 a night, the views of the mountains and across the lake have been spectacular and the food at Moondance has gone down very well. I’d be happy to come back.

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