Just back from a very enjoyable trip as part of a party of six friends / acquaintances (age range 58 - 72, but noticeably not the oldest people on trek: grey power rules the hills !). I used the same Nepali company that I've been using since 1996, and the arrangements were as ever impeccable.
Day 1 - tour of Swayambunath, Kathmandu Dhurbar Square, Bodnath with an excellent, intelligent and informed guide
Day 2 - fly to Pokhara for trek. By road to Khande, then ascend to Autralian Camp for lunch (and a very heavy rain shower) before ending the day at Pothana. Views limited by clouds
Day 3 - one of my favourite days walking anywhere - along the side of the Modi Khola valley via Pittam Deorali ('Nice View' tea house lived up to its name) and Tolka to end at Landung
Day 4 - swift descent to cross the Modi Khola, then a long, steep drag up to Ghandruk. I was chased up (slowly) by a delightful 77 year old Aussie lady. My first ever visit to Ghandruk - a pleasant village well worth an afternoon's exploration
Day 5 - to Tadapani for lunch, then on to Banthanti where the quite basic 'Hungry Eye Lodge' provided a delightful welcome, hot showers for all, and an entertaining 'Ama Party' after dinner
Day 6 - to Ghorepani, arriving on the ridge above Deorali in time for great views (which then slowly disappeared into the cloud). The rhododenrons were superb !
Day 7 - the other five ascended Poon Hill before dawn. I stayed in bed watching the endless stream of head-torches going past, as I don't want to share my hill with a thousand others, particularly when they are waving national flags ! Then down, via Ulleri and the 3000 stone steps to Tirkedungha, to Hile
Day 8 - Stroll along the road (with very little traffic) to Birethanti and then Nyapul. Minibus back to Pokhara, and the luxury of the Hotel Barahi.
Day 9 - in Pokhara
Day 10 - to Chitwan for the clever illusion that is a 'jungle resort' surrounded by settled farmland ! Fortunately sitting on a terrace above the Rapti River with an evening gin and tonic is very pleasant.
Day 11 - Elephant safari: it's almost as though the Government is trying to make life ever mre difficult for Chitwan resorts, as not only were the resorts IN the park closed down, but now their elephants are no longer allowed over the river and into the Park. No tiger, no cheetah, no python, not even a rhino ! Still, Chitwan is an enjoyable place to chill out after a trek (and temperatures were in the high 30s)
Day 12 - drive to Bhaktapur (including the depressing crossing of Kathmandu), to arrive during Bisket Jatra - the manic New Year celebrations. Bhaktapur is fascinating at any time - this was just mind-blowing !
Day 13 - drive to Panauti, then jeep to the Balthali Village resort. The total antidote to the chaos of Bhaktapur. No great mountain views, but the surrounding area is beautiful
Day 14 - back to the kathmandu Guest House, and the luxury of rooms in the new wing !
The itinerary was slightly hectic, but introduced first-time visitors to some of the range of experiences that Nepal can offer
The ascents seem to get longer and steeper each time I visit !
This was my first visit in spring (all the others have been post-monsoon). The visibility was much poorer than previously, so that the mountains only appeared sporadically.
Following the 'Nepalis treat tourists as dummies' thread, of course they do when we throw money about. Comparatively all visitors are well off, and if we continue to tip luggage-porter touts $5 for carrying a bag fifty metres at the airport, or $1000 for a guide for a ten-day trek we only reinforce that perception. I still find that almost all Nepalis are cheerful, friendly, and honest. Spend time talking with local people beyond those in the tourist trade.
I'm still in love with the place and the people !