Day 1 (Dec 12, 2016): We flew from KLIA2 to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. The flight took roughly 4.5 hours. Our 18-member team consisted of 10 girls and 8 guys, whose ages range from 21 to 33 years old.
Day 2 (Dec 13, 2016): Spent the whole day shopping for hiking gear. I didn't buy anything though as I had everything I needed and partly because my bargaining skills are non-existent 😅
Day 3 (Dec 14, 2016): We took a bus to go to Dhunche, which took about 8 hours. I'm not sure of the actual distance in kilometres but the narrow, winding roads carved from the hill sides made the journey longer which belied its distance.
|Spot the tiny lorry!|
The width of the unpaved roads could only comfortably fit one vehicle so when another vehicle came from the opposite direction, the gap between both vehicles was mere centimetres. And if you looked out of the window, the space between the tyres and the cliffs was even more terrifying.
Day 4 (Dec 15, 2016): Dhunche (1960 m) to Thulo Syabru (2210 m)
Finally! Our first day of hiking proper. It was nice to exercise our legs after days of relative inactivity. It was a light trek which had us ohhh-and-ahhhh-ing over the magnificent scenery. We were quickly joined by four stray dogs whose story I'll elaborate later on.
Multiple layers of mountains and terraced-hills for plantations formed most of the backdrop on our first day of trekking. We reached Thulo Syabru at about 5.00 p.m., just half an hour before sunset.
Day 5 (Dec 16, 2016): Thulo Syabru to Chandanbari (3330 m)
The second day of trekking afforded us even more spectacular views of snow-capped mountains and alpine trees. Our diet had become strictly vegetarian which was palatable for a few days but after a while, we craved spiciness and our local cuisine. So supplies of sambal and serunding were highly coveted and zealously rationed.
We spotted wild yaks on the way to Chandanbari but our main target, the red pandas, remained elusive until the end.
Again, we reached our lodgings just before dark and were rewarded with the most stunning sunset. On a side note: One of Chandanbari's claims to fame is its yak cheese. So be sure to try it out when you're there!