Our first glorious trip to Nepal and a happy memories…
We never thought about traveling to Nepal until April 2015 when we received an invitation from our Nepali friends to attend their wedding in Kathmandu in January of 2016. A great opportunity to experience a traditional Nepali wedding, meet local people, see the historic sites, and take in the beauty of the Himalayas with a trek. So we purchased our airline tickets, and we were psyched!
Then on 25th April 2016 the BIG earthquake hit Nepal! We were very concerned. Is it going to be possible or safe to travel to Kathmandu only 8 months after the earthquake? Very quickly our Nepali friends assured us that the Nepali people will re-build, and now more than ever they need tourism. Their Wedding was still on.
We then received contact from Basant Adventure, a travel and tour company in Kathmandu that was recommended to us by our friends. Since organized travel is not our vacation style, we weren’t sure if a tour company was for us. But because we wanted to see so much in only two weeks, we were going to need some help.
We were also a little skeptical about the quality of service we might receive in this poor country paralyzed by the earthquake, and how the fuel embargo imposed on Nepal from India might impact our activities. We’re not spoiled rotten tourists carrying backpacks and expecting classy accommodations, superior service, and two weeks of trouble free vacation, but we are realistic.
There were many emails with Basant, making numerous changes to our itinerary until he and his staff created a schedule that was absolutely perfect. It included seeing many of the historic sites, a three day trek in the foothills of the Himalayas, two days of wedding activities with our friends, and some free time for ourselves. And without even mentioning Yaro’s dream to see Mt. Everest, Basant included an optional helicopter ride there!
We are pretty skilled backpackers, as we’ve traveled the world over the past 15 years together. But, being 54 and 61, we wondered about high elevations and strenuous climbs of the Himalayas. But Basant Adventures planned a perfect trek for us in the foothills of the Annapurna’s with great views of Himalayas, and it fit our skills and abilities.
We received three private tours of the historical sites in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan. Our tour guide, Ushnik, was a true scholar with knowledge of the history of both the Buddhist and Hindu religions. He answered all of our questions, and seemed to know everything about each temple we visited. As he practiced his Buddhist faith at the temples, we observed and learned by his example. A memory card in my camera was quickly filling up with pictures of monuments, temples and also pictures of busy life around Kathmandu. Each morning prior to our day tour, Basant gave Ushnik short instructions regarding his expectations. Even the most unique place to have a lunch that day was on Basant’s list. And the rest of the day was pleasant and well organized. A transport car picked us up at our hotel, and was always waiting for us at the end of the tour. They made getting around so easy for us.
On the morning of New Years Day a call came from Basant Adventure to inform it was a perfect day for our helicopter flight to the Mt. Everest region! It was absolutely clear and sunny, almost no wind, and the views were too impossible to describe. Another Basant Adventure employee Gyaltsen, our trekking guide with warm smile, also went with us. After the first landing at Tengboche, at 3870 m (12700 feet), I surprised DeeDee with an engagement ring and asked her to marry me. She said YES! With happy tears in her eyes. Then Gilson arranged for a blessing for us from the local Lama. What a day! It was the flight of a lifetime and money well spent.
The next day we left on our 3 day trek with Gilson. We took a flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara where we met our porter, and at Dhampus we started our trek to the Annapurna region. Again, the entire schedule was well planned. We stayed in tea houses each night. They reserved the best rooms for us, provided sleeping bags, and the local food at the on-site restaurants was good. Each evening we enjoyed chatting with other trekkers from around the world. The views of the mountains were incredible as we walked thru villages and forest. Basant Adventures is blessed to have Gyaltsen and our porter Ngadi on their team. They were the best. Each day, Basant was in contact with Gilson via cell phone. He wanted to be sure everything and everyone was ok. Gilson always watched for our safety and comfort in his very unique and un-intrusive way.
The last stop after our descend from the mountains was at a small resort Brigand`s Bend, part of Everest Summit Lodge located about half the way between Pokhara and Kathmandu. It’s a very quiet, tranquil place, with upscale cabins and restaurant surrounded by flowers, and a river curving way below. Like a grand finale, it was an amazing place to relax, and “lick our wounds” after trekking in the Annapurnas.
Travel around this country can be challenging if you only have a short time, we were lucky to have Basant Adventures. They took away all our worries with their professionalism and warm friendship; we could fully concentrate on the NEPALI EXPERIENCE.
For us, it was not easy to leave Nepal. Basant Adventures provided us with so much more than we ever expected. Please travel to Nepal. Lately people of Nepal were so misfortunate. Your money is now more important to them than ever before. Travel there can be so easy if you have the right travel company to help you.
Thank you very much Basant, and many thanks to all your employees. Job well done!
You’ll stay in our hearts and memories forever.
Yaro and DeeDee