Nepal Trek Day 1: Pokhara -> Phedi -> Dhampus -> Pothana

It’s our 3rd day in Nepal, but for the next 12 days we’ll be on the trek so the time is easier thought of in this fashion.

We woke at 0630 and had a leisurely breakfast on the roof of Sacred Valley Inn, looking far away at the mountains we’d be approaching. After paying for breakfast and the room, we met our porter-guide (whom we’d met the day before) and porters (Rek & Yek) downstairs and piled into a small van for an hour’s ride to Phedi where we’d begin our trek. (many people start from Nayapul and end at Phedi. more on this after Trek Day 12)

At Phedi, ignoring the attempts of the shopowners to sell us wooden sticks or water, we stared up at the intimidating stairs facing us. Not having climbed many stairs just prior to the trip (the 6 storeys to the Med-Science library don’t count).

Tip: The first thing I did was to observe the way the Nepalese porter-guide walked up the stairs. Slightly bent forward, using the glutes, quads, and never putting maintaining muscle contracture for too long. A very efficient, ‘old-person-like’ gait. It’s worth using. And breathe!

Along the 1.5 hour way upwards, we met a couple of friendly Nepalese ladies who eventually tried to sell us souvenirs. As her first customers, she claimed it was an important sale and sold my friend and I two bracelets for Rs300. I’m not sure if we were fleeced, but it was a far cry from the 500 she was demanding previously.

The first view from the top was spectacular and fortunately, the first of many.

Going onwards, we wandered past crops and houses and hit a flat stretch of land, wondering about the paucity of fellow trekkers seen thus far. There were adorable Nepalese children having lunch and we cajoled them into taking photographs with us. Soon afterwards, we arrived at our lunch point, Dhampus at a restaurant overlooking a half-completed secondary school. Hurrah for education!

That was where we had our first taste of cheap and filling food on the trek: Egg Veg Fried Rice/Fried Noodle/Noodle Soup. Variants of the last dish (we usually ordered food) included Tibetan momos as pictured, spring roll, spaghetti, pizza, daal bhat (the mention of which gives my companions the shudders) and so on.

Tip: Eat like a fiend! You’ll still lose weight.

After lunch, it was walking up and down through varied terrain, accompanied by a brown dog from Dhampus. Dogs in Nepal on the trail seem to really enjoy travelling with trekkers, bounding across long distances with glee. We arrived in Pothana at 1400 (yes, it’s quite early, but we start off slowly to get fit and get acclimatised), washed up with icy cold water (i can hear the screams…) and played cards.

Afterwards, though, it started pouring and the rickety wooden walls of the guest house did nothing to keep out the chill wind. Despite it being at a fairly low altitude compared with our ultimate destination of Annapurna Base Camp (4100m), we busted out the sleeping bags and windbreakers, interrupting our card game of bridge to huddle in bed… until I got bored and went to the restaurant, leaving the 3 to doze off in warm comfort.

It was when the rain stopped when I first saw the beautiful rainbow that had appeared. Such was its clarity that we could see both sides of it as well a reflected image of it just beside. Simply unbelievable.

Later on at dinner, we ordered a dish of daal bhat. Daal bhat is the staple food of the Nepalese, consisting of rice and lentil soup +/- potatoes, vegetables. I like it… but I’m not so sure about my companions.

Tip: Dal bhat is an all-you-can-eat meal, with constant refills. A great way to carbo-load if you’ve a huge appetite. Costs for tourists are usually slightly above Rs200. There’s one price for tourists and another for locals, so don’t worry about your guides.

After the storm, the sky was beautifully clear and without the light of skyscrapers, allowed the viewing of the constellations. Very nice.

It was a chilly night, the first of many.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by yun on April 25, 2008 at 9:22 am

    haha reading ur blog during OTM training =p
    dahl baat is quite nice! I like too! =)
    I actually miss EVNS…


  2. Let’s build up together Dhampus’s first kindergarten !

    1 € 1 € 1 € We are raising 1 EURO’s funds for the kindergarten! 1 € 1 € 1 € 1 €

    Join us and take part of establishing a kindergarten in one of the poorest country of the world!


  3. Let’s build up together Dhampus’s first kindergarten !

    1 € 1 € 1 € We are raising 1 EURO’s funds for the kindergarten! 1 € 1 € 1 € 1 €

    Join us and take part of establishing a kindergarten in one of the poorest country of the world!


  4. Annapurna trekking photos.


  5. Just stumbled across your blog and I’m delighted to see that we had the same itinerary! I just finished two weeks ago. Those steps up from Phedi intimidated me initially but the rest of the trek is breathtaking (in a good way, of course). Also loved filling up on daal bhat and I, too, bought a bracelet near the first stop/Phedi (for 100, which I initially balked at, but really the exchange rate is so much in our favor that I don’t mind supporting the local economy). Can’t wait to read the rest of your trek posts and relive my trek as well!


  6. Posted by Mary on December 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    how long did it take to finish the intimated steps?


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