Sunday, December 25, 2016

Hiking the Gosaikunda Trek During the Off Season, Part 1

How it happened

I haven't been anywhere since Mulu (in March) because the 2016 school mid-year break was during Ramadan and the mid-semester 2 break was during Hari Raya Haji. So I was itching to go somewhere - anywhere really - during the year-end break.

I came across Pakatan Bejalan's ad for Gosaikunda and impulsively signed up for it since the dates fit nicely into my schedule.

I wasn't going to go with my usual gang and that made me a bit hesitant but the allure of Nepal was too strong to ignore.

Gosaikunda 101

The Gosaikunda Trek is located in the Langtang National Park. The Trek isn't that well-known compared with the more famous ABC and EBC Trek (Annapurna Base Camp and Everest Base Camp, respectively).

We were probably the first Malaysians in a big group to hike there. Previously, the only Malaysians spotted came in pairs or as solo hikers.

The Gosaikunda Lake is a sacred lake, located at an altitude of 4380 m. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims ascend to this area in the month of August, but in December, we were virtually the only visitors there. We only crossed path with a backpacker from Holland at the Lake and throughout our 100-km hike (from Dunche - Thulo Syabru - Chandanbari - Gosaikunda - Ghopte (via the Lauribina Pass) - Kutumsang - Chisapani), we came across very few other hikers (less than 15 in total).

Though we escaped the crowd, hiking in the off season meant that we had to endure the cold weather. Supposedly, by mid-December the place should have been snowing but due to global warming and the erratic weather patterns, the sky was clear and blue throughout our hike (Dec 15 - 21, 2016). It was still very cold though and coming from a tropical country where the temperature hovers around 30 - 35 degree Celsius, surviving the cold weather was quite a struggle.

Even with thermal wear, fleece, a jacket, socks, a sleeping bag and a blanket, my feet and fingers were still deathly cold and once I returned to Malaysia they began to swell (probably Chillbains or Raynaud's). So make sure you're well-equipped for the cold weather if you do decide to hike sometime in December - March.


Kathmandu is a feast for the senses. It is crowded, busy, chaotic, dusty and full of energy. There are innumerable shops selling hiking gear and trinkets but be prepared to bargain as almost none of the prices are fixed. The streets in Kathmandu are typically narrow so pedestrians, motorists, street vendors and trishaws jostle for space. The drivers there seem to follow their instincts, rather than conventional traffic rules. Their incessant, colourful honking provide background music to the city. On our last day there, Suraya and I took a taxi to go to Swayambhunath. The 15-min ride was a hair-raising experience. On multiple occasions, it felt like we were heading straight towards the oncoming traffic but fortunately, our driver swerved (or the other vehicles did) at the very last moment and all potential accidents were averted.

Part 2 (coming soon!) will detail our hiking adventure. For more pictures, click here, or check out the hashtag #pbgosai on instagram.

1 comment:

saiza said...

Proud of u dear.. Mcm cite Everest
Keep it up girl