Seeking a new adventure to end my year of living and working in Nepal, I set out to find a trek which would give me an authentic cultural experience.
I first looked into some of the more popular treks in the Annapurna Region, such as Annapurna Basecamp or Mardi Himal. However, after my experience a few months doing the awe inspiring but highly commercial Everest Basecamp and Gokyo Lakes trek, I was keen to do something different and go off the beaten track.
After failing to find any treks that really peaked my interest, I asked Lost in the Himalaya to recommend a trek which would fit my criteria, and was lucky enough to have my own personal trek designed for me!
The trek I ended up doing ended up allowing me to experience the best of what the Annapurna Region had to offer. A mish mash of the Poon Hill and Annapurna Community Trek, the trek took me through beautiful rhodendron forests, fields of tall grass, past jagged rock cliffs, across beautiful rivers and to an amazing viewpoint with spectacular views of over 20 mountains in the Himalaya!
But best of all, I was able to gain a glimpse into the daily lives of Nepali people. Observing the villagers doing their household chores, rearing their animals, tending to their crops, and looking after their children with limited resources, gave me a newfound appreciation of the resilience and hardworking nature of Nepali people.
Luckily enough, I also had the opportunity to stay overnight in homestays and community run guesthouses in Lespar and Nagi on the first two nights of the trek. Unlike the Everest region in which all the tea houses are quite commercialised, it was refreshing to stay in a town where I was the only foreigner. I was touched by the generosity and hospitality of the local people and the warm welcome I received.
The first few days involved a hard uphill slog, having to journey up about 2500 metres into the mountains but the views from the top were well worth it.
When we arrived at our destination, Moharedanda, on the third night. I was blown away by the amazing unobstructed view of the mountains in the Annapurna Range plus all mountains even further east up to Manaslu. You name it, you could see them all!
Just a short walk down through a rhodedendron forest you could also get to a viewpoint with a breathtaking view of the entire Dhaulagiri range. I was amazed that there were hardly any other people at this amazing viewpoint, definitely one of the Annapurna Region’s best kept secrets!
The views kept on coming from there on in, the final couple of days took us up and down rolling hills to Poon Hill, one of the most popular view points in Nepal, then through beautiful rhodedendron forests to Ghorepani and then to Mulde, another stunning viewpoint in the heart of the mountains.
At the end of the trek, I was lucky enough to be able to continue my cultural experience by celebrating one of Nepal’s most popular Hindu festivals in Pokhara.
The Holi festival definitely was an unforgettable experience- hundreds and hundreds of people throwing colourful powder into the air and on each other in a celebration of colour and friendship. Everyone, young and old, Nepali and foreign, got into the spirit of it. Dancing with strangers during a massive street party, dodging cheeky kids firing water guns, and being saturated from head to toe in colour was the perfect way to end an amazing trekking and cultural experience in the Annapurna Region.
"Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell not stuff to show."