• Civilization 7 has been announced. For more info please check the forum here .

[RD] The Everest Basecamp Trek

Beautiful woodworking!
 
Beautiful woodworking!

It really was, and seeing all this amazing work on the ground in pieces like this was a bit disheartening. The damage to the museum (and the city) was apparent as well, which added to this feeling. It's possible that these have been reassembled by now though. I believe the main question was one of cost and the expertise required for reassembly, although I do not know if all the pieces survived.
 
Patan Museum

Here's some more shots from this fascinating museum.



These shots could actually be from just outside the museum, I can't quite remember. It's possible that we were walking from museum building to museum building that were not quite connected. It seems to be enclosed in a sort of courtyard, but I have not been able to locate it on a map.



From what I've been able to figure out these are water buffalo entrails from an animal sacrifice. The red you see in some places is blood from the animal.
 
I went to the museum website and it is mostly empty. they do have some "spare" maps of the grounds. No nice pics like you are posting though.
 
More Photos from the Patan Museum

This museum was quite extensive, even though parts of it were off-limits due to earthquake damage. I'm pretty sure parts of the museum had also been destroyed, but I'm not sure about the details. Here's the last set of photos that are worth sharing from the museum:



As we were walking around the museum and the various building that are a part of the complex we ran across some sort of a movie or documentary being filmed. We weren't really sure what they were filming, as the workers seemed to be focused on their work and we didn't want to distract them. Those passing by were also signalled to be quiet, so we stood there for a bit watching and then moved on.



It was great to see something like this happening, contrasted with all the destruction you could still see from the earthquake. Money to fund this production must have come from somewhere, perhaps outside of the country. It meant that these people had jobs, a lot of them probably locals. It was just one of those things you could smile a bit about, knowing that the local economy suffered quite a bit from the 2015 earthquake. After you get to know what the locals are like you really start feeling for them, or at least I did. The more you walk around Kathmandu, the more you get to know the locals and their way of life, and the more destruction and overall poverty in the country you see.. the more you just want to cheer them on so their lives can improve. It was also quite saddening to see their national treasures destroyed like this, knowing that money to fix all of this up would probably have to come in from the outside of the country.
 
Patan Durbar Square from above

After we were finished with the museum it was just about dinner time, so we found a restaurant with a rooftop patio overlooking a part of the square.



I believe the museum are the structures directly ahead, on the left.

This was our last full day in the country and we wanted to make it count, so after dinner we planned to explore a couple more sights in the area, before heading back to our home base back in Kathmandu proper.
 
Walking around Patan

Patan is known as the city of temples (there are 55 major temples here), monasteries (there are 136 Buddhist monestaries in Patan), but it is also known as the city of artisans. Fine metal workers are specifically what Patan is known for, but walking through random streets here you'll come across all sorts of interesting handmade crafts.



As with the rest of the greater Kathmandu metro area, walking through random streets and alleyways often leads you to interesting looking templesm, stupas, and other religious structures.



 
Last edited:
Hiranya Varna Mahavihar
AKA Kwa Baha
AKA The Golden Temple

Wikipedia says that this temple is famous for "feeding rats". I did not see any rats here, but found this to be one of the more interesting temples that we visited in Nepal.



 
More Photos from the Golden Temple

This temple seemed a bit different from all the other ones we visited in Nepal. There were more assorted statues here, possibly related to Patan's reputation as an artisan hotspot.





Unfortunately this is where our journey ends. The photo above is the very last photograph I have in the folder. After this we took a cab back to our hotel, went out for drinks somewhere, and then got ready to pack up and get ready to wake up early in the morning so that we could catch our flight back to Canada. On the way out of the hotel (in the morning) we were able to to negotiate our hotel room rate down to almost the same rate that Jeff paid. Thanks Jeff! For those of you who don't remember, Jeff sent us a screenshot of the exact rate he paid, and this is what we used to haggle down our rate as well. Haggling is a part of the culture here, and you sort of have to get used to it if you don't want to always overpay. It can be a tedious process, but an interesting one nevertheless. I've been honing my haggling skills on my various trips and I'm not amazing at it, but there is a certain art to it that I feel like I have an okay grasp of.

I am going to go through the videos I have, as well as my phone folder, which contains anything I would have photographed or taken a video of using my phone. There's probably some things there that I missed that are worth posting here, so you can expect a couple more posts to trickle in.

In the meantime, thanks for following our adventure! I quite liked Nepal and would love to return here, but the question, as always is.. when?

If you have any questions about anything I've posted here feel free to ask. I'm going to be a bit busy over the next couple days but I'll try to wrap this up as quick as I can, and to respond to any posts here during that time.

Namaste!
 
It was an exciting trip even if I only experienced it from my comfy chair without any struggle breathing. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 
It was an exciting trip even if I only experienced it from my comfy chair without any struggle breathing. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Here's the thing, most people would be able to complete this hike, even though it is a challenge. It is a mental challenge and not really a physical one, even though in many ways your body is affected more than your mind is. If you have a good guide, acclimatize properly along the way, and alter the itinerary if/as needed, then it's "simply" a matter of performing the required number of steps, one step at a time. Once you land in Lukla and start walking, only extreme circumstances will set you back enough to warrant you to abandon the hike and turn back: significant high altitude sickness symptoms, a twisted ankle (or something similar), or some (unrelated to high altitudes) medical condition such as a stomach viral infection (this is why most hikers will not touch meat on the trail). Yes, almost every single step you take feels like it's your last one, but you learn to get through that. Nobody turns around because they get "too tired to finish". You just keep going. It doesn't matter if you're the world's top athlete or an extreme couch potato, this is not a technically challenging trail. You do it one step at a time, you acclimatize properly along the way and pay attention to symptoms, you take care of yourself and getting to Base Camp is not a problem. Yes, you'll feel like you walked through hell to get there, but everybody on the trail feels the same way (except the Sherpa)

I saw people of all shapes and sizes on the trail, from the very old to the surprisingly young.. from slightly oversized hikers to overly thin to people with all sorts of expensive gear, to hippy looking people hiking with the bare essentials. You see everybody on the trail, although everybody there does have one thing in common: they went out of their way to plan such a trip.

I am saying all this in case anybody looks at this thread, thinks of maybe doing a hike like this.. but gets discouraged since it seems like it's something that only crazy or athletic people do. Not the case at all! I would bet you $100 that at least 75% of all posters here would be able to complete this hike. I assume that some people might have underlying medical conditions, some might have knee problems and can't do long hikes, there's hip issues,there could be high blood pressure problems (raises hand), etc. But if you can walk and aren't obese - you can probably do this hike. There are people who want to go there but only walk to Namche Bazaar.. They look at the itinerary and think "Wow, 2 weeks, that's nuts! But 4 days, why not? Namche Bazaar seems close to the trailhead". But each one of those people will always be overwhelmingly told - If you get to Namche Bazaar - you keep going. It makes zero sense to turn around and head back to the airport at that point. When you're in Namche Bazaar you will no doubt climb to that acclimatization point @ 4,000m, because that's a great spot to spot Mt. Everest from. If you do that.. You keep going. In some ways you are already halfway there, as weird as that might sound. Yes, there's still 6 days of hiking to get to base camp, but you've already completed 1 of the 2 (pretty much required) acclimatization/rest days. You don't stop there, it makes no sense!

All that is meant to say - if you can walk 2 days to Namche Bazaar the you will be able to keep going and walk to Base Camp. And most people will be able to walk to Namche Bazaar. The high altitudes really kicked my butt during the approach to Namche Bazaar, which is uphill walking for the last hour IIRC... but you power through that. Along the way you'll learn that your mind and body are far more resiliant than you've ever given them credit for. It's a phenomenon we couldn't stop talking about on the trail. Every day, you just go.. step by step.. you power through it and you'll get to the next teahouse. Step by step and eventually you'll be at Base Camp.

Admittedly we deviated from the classic Base Camp Route on the way back - and crossed that alpine pass so that we could return a different way. This alpine crossing is technically demanding to a small degree. It was the sketchiest part of the whole route from our pov. It's slippery, you're walking on ice and snow, and there's a drop down to a glacier on your right, for a while. Then the descent is fairly steep and you have to always make sure to properly plant your crampons. There's rocks and snow and it's just tedious to walk in the crampons, especially as the lower you go the more rocks become a part of the terrain.

What I said about almost anybody being able to finish this route, I am talking about the classic Base Camp route. Throwing the Cho La pass into the mix gets a bit more tricky. The classic route is basically very.. pedestrian. The alpine crossing feels a lot more raw and dangerous. It's not really that bad, but we didn't have high altitude alpine crossing experience at all, it was all new to us. Our Sherpa friends found the crossing rather pedestrian. But that's their pov.

I guess I wrote this wall of text to try to encourage people to think of doing this hike. Almost anybody can do it, it doesn't have to be expensive, you end up seeing some amazing scenery, and the local culture and the local people will leave a lasting impression on you. The one thing I would make a note of is your medical state of being. If you have high blood pressure or heart problems I would consult a doctor before going.
 
Odds and Ends

I am not sure if I mentioned this, but the zipper on my bag that the porter was carrying every day ended up busting. Every morning I had to basically sit on it and zip it shut, as I repackaged everything and made sure I had what I needed for that day's hike (in my daypack). Every day I needed slightly different things with me, but that bag was always bulging. On the 4th day I think the zipper busted and I had to work overtime to fix it before breakfast.. Every day after that was a struggle and a couple days after that it got worse. We ended up fixing it somehow and over time the bag got lighter as I threw things out or left them behind..

When I checked in this bag at the airport in Kathmandu I was hoping that the zipper would hold... and it did! but one of the handles was somehow ripped right off while in transit. This is what my bag looked like when it arrived in Canada.


The handle that ripped off had the slip attached to it that tied the bag to me.. It looked like they tied it back onto the bag after this happened.. In the end I was very happy to get my bag back, with some souvenirs from the trip inside, as well as all my toiletries and other personal artefacts.

Here's a couple other photos from the trip that did not make it into the posts, but are worth posting here. All of them were taken with my phone:



I found the symbols on this election poster a bit fascinating. This was posted on a building in one of the villages we were walking through.



Sherpa women doing work in the field. I believe they are harvesting cabbage (but it could be some other vegetable that's similar to a cabbage). This was on the trail somewhere closer to Namche Bazaar IIRC.



Kids will be kids, no matter where they are.



I am not sure what this dish is exactly, but I remember the restaurant (in Kathmandu). It was a dimly lit room in a sort of maze of rooms, with seats and couches in various of the rooms where patrons were sitting. We were sitting in the main chamber where the bar was. It was a very interesting restaurant from that perspective. I ordered a couple local dishes, including a sort of Nepali pizza (that wasn't really like pizza at all). This was one of the local dishes I wanted to sample. I remember the food being alright. The ambiance was definitely more memorable than that, although that is not to say that the food was bad.



We found a French bakery of sorts that also served breakfast (in Kathmandu). We tried the eggs benny here one day and they were incredible. This photo was taken on our second visit there. We ordered a double order of eggs benedict for both of us. So essentially a quadruple order of eggs benny. The waiter came back to our table twice to confirm what we were really ordering. "Yes, that is exactly right, you have really good eggs benedict and we want to eat a lot of them"



Standard fried rice lunch option on the trail. Chocolate milk on the side.



Cheesy potatoes with egg and veggies. Lunch option on the trail.



I sent this photo to Steve & Jeff from my office at work, the first day back from Nepal. These two items were valued highly on the trail, if you remember, getting more and more expensive the closer we got to Base Camp. To this day whenever I see that green pringle sour cream & onion container I can't help it but smile and think back to our experiences on and off the trail in Nepal.
 
Thanks for your above explanation. :)
 
One Last Story involving Souvenirs

We found Pilgrim's Book Store on one of our walks through Thamel, Kathmandu. We came back here multiple times, just to browse around, look around, kill some time, and/or buy some souvenirs. It was a wonderfully pleasant & quiet place to be and it quickly became a favourite of ours. There were multiple stories of interesting books in various languages on display, as well as assorted souvenirs like incense, carvings, dolls, and so on.

Friends and family had asked me to bring back some souvenirs from Nepal, but I don't really enjoy shopping so much. A lot of shops targeted at tourists that sell souvenirs sell all same the same stuff as well, so I try to stay clear of those to begin with, opting for more interesting souvenirs instead.

Pilgrim's Book Store had a whole bunch of stuff i ended up buying for this purpose. I bought a whole bunch of Indian incense in various scents, but I also bought a whole bunch of these little Kama Sutra books. They were these smaller in size curiously illustrated books that told some of the stories from the Kama Sutra. The translation seemed a bit off at times.. and together with the sexual nature of the book and the amusing drawings within I became convinced that I had found the perfect souvenir to bring back for my friends and family.

The first time there I bought all the small Kama Sutra books they seemed to have. It wasn't enough to cover all the people I wanted to get gifts for, but I was able to find about 5-7 of them. I thought that was a great start to my souvenir shopping and moved on. The next time we visited Pilgrim's I noticed that several new copies of the Kama Sutra booklets were now on display. I quickly grabbed all of them and when checking out asked if they had more in stock (not at the time). It was still not enough to cover everyone on my list, but things were looking up. We stopped here again, and again I bought more Kama Sutra books.. and over the next couple days I ended up buying a couple other souvenirs elsewhere as well, and finally I had enough amazing gifts for everyone!

On our last day in the country we came back to Pilgrim's just to hang out. We decided not to buy anything during this visit, but just as I was in the process of opening the door and walking out of the book store, I heard somebody shouting after me.

"Sir!! Wait!! We have more Kama Sutra books in stock!".

The entire line of tourists that was lined up to pay for the books and souvenirs they had selected turned to the left and stared right at me.

"I.. uhh.. I have all of the Kama Sutra books I now need, but thanks!"

"Are you sure? We noticed that you really like them! We have a lot more!"

The people in line, clearly amused by the unfolding situation, now had something to distract them from the monotony of waiting in line.

"Yeah, I'm good, but thanks! Have a good one!"

I walked out of there feeling like I was just judged by about 16 eyeballs and imagined to be some sort of a sex degenerate. But it was also very amusing to me and I will never forget this memory. Unfortunately I could not post photos from this book on this forum, although the cover would have been fair game (IIRC). I can't find the couple copies I thought I had left though. They gotta be somewhere, but for now I'm going to call this thread.. over! (unless there are any more questions or comments or)
 
Top Bottom