Sunday, September 6, 2009

Our Nepali wedding

As a surprise, our friends had arranged a special goodbye party for us on our last evening in Nepal...

Hamro Gaun - Sankhu orphanage

Dutch organisation Stichting Veldverk is sponsoring this little 'village' which is managed by Pradeep's uncle Rajendra.

Janakpur and mithila art in Kuwu village

Next stop on the way to Kathmandu was Janakpur in the plains, mainly because we wanted to see the place where the women make the famous mithila paintings.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lachung, Yumtang Valley and Zero Point with hot springs

Click on each photo to view the galleries.

Waking up at 5 in the morning to wander around the village as it's waking up.

Yumtang Valley - first stop north of Lachung. It's 10 o'clock and the mist quickly descends upon us.

End of the road. We walk upstream towards the Tibetan border in this barren but beautiful landscape.

The most incredible bath in my life.

On the way back to Lachung.

Meeting the reincarnation of Rimpoche at Phodong monastery.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Rinjink hot springs

A steep hike off the road back from Lachen to Chungtang. After one and a half hours hard climb through very wet and lush forest we dip into the very hot waters.

Chopta Valley

Near Thanggu we hiked through the green meadows of Chopta Valley, sniffing flowers, incense scrubbery and wet wood.

North Sikkim tour: First stop, Thanggu

As the last thing to do in Sikkim we decided to take a 4-5 day tour to the north. It turned out to be incredible...

In Thanggu, as far as foreign tourist may travel, time stood still...

Rumtek Monastery mask dance

On the first day in Gangtok we got a tip about a buddhist fiesta in nearby Rumtek. It was impressive and still made you yawn at the end...

Catching up on Gangtok

After more than 3 weeks in Gangtok, we have surprisingly few photos from the city.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Miss Kippu's Lepcha Cottage IX

Making body silhouettes and painting with our feet!

In the Zoo

All the children of Miss Kippu's are going to the zoo to see pandas and leopards!

Miss Kippu's Lepcha Cottage VII

We make necklaces for the zoo and run the agility track!

Miss Kippu's Lepcha Cottage VI

Magic with coloured bottles and bowling!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Helena never stops playing

Getting to know the face, the 5 senses, etc.

More from Miss Kippu's

More activities: Mr. Wolf, etc!

Miss Kippu's Lepcha Cottage

Helena has started working with the children of Miss Kippu's Lepcha Cottage, an institution for kids whose parents cannot take care of them.

She goes for a couple of hours every day and make activities, draws, paints, sings and plays.

Gangtok flower exhibition center

All the orchids and lilys of the region in one hall!

More from Yoksum

Images from the main market street and some cooking lessons in Hotel Dragon.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tashiding hike, gompa and stupas

Hike to nearby Tashiding village with a colourful gompa and stupa area.

Beware: Many irresistable flowers on the way!

Kecheopari lake and village

1 day trek from Yoksum to Kecheopari lake and village turned into a 3 nights stay, trapped in the rain.

Pelling, Yoksum and surroundings

With Yoksum as our base we explored the green foothills of West Sikkim. Pelling was to us a horrible tourist trap (we had exceptional troubles with the food), but the excursions were worth it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Singalila trek

A 5-day trek running along the border to Nepal, from Mana Bajyang to Sandakphu. Beautiful varied vegetation, orchids and rhododendrons, mist and mountain views.

Buddha's birthday celebration

In the festivity all the buddhist monastery communities around town picks up their holy scriptures and carries them to Chowrasta square in the middle of Darjeeling.

Ghum loop

A walk around the hilltop of Darjeeling to Ghum, visiting some monasteries and finally dropping all the way down to the Rock Garden.

Observatory Hill

Even with 3 different maps of Darjeeling, this hill was so well hidden, under the name Mahakal Mandir, that it took us over an hour and 3 times of asking directions to find it. In the end it was only 10 minutes from the central square, Chowrasta...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Valley tea estate

Visit to the tea fields and factory to learn more about how to make tea.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tiger Hill, Zoo and something else

Sunrise at Tiger Hill. Visiting Darjeeling Zoo for endagered local animals. Contemplating tea fields. Cheapest momos and alu chat.

Monday, May 4, 2009

"Welcome to Darjeeling, do not spit & litter"

Wow, we've slept a lot. Guess we really needed it.

Great weather today, and we're off to explore the town again. We've been to the botanical gardens and the Tibetan refugee self-help center.

Darjeeling, finally

I think we deserved what we found at our first destination, the lovely hill station of Darjeeling. Yes, that's where the tea comes from.

The photos cannot show enough, but trust me, it's a great escape from everything that is hot and dusty and smelly south of here.

We had a heavy shower on the way up in the jeep, but after checking in to a tiny guest house at the very top of town, we got up onto the roof and watched the hills surrounding us endlessly in all directions and the great 5 peaked mountain of Khangchendzonga hovering way up in the sky on the border to Nepal. It was the clearest views we had had since we were crossing Thorung La, and the host said it was the first time they had had a clear view of the mountain in 6 months.

Sorry, but I forgot my camera on that one...

Arrival in India

Unfortunately, when we came back from out little detour to Dhulikhel and surroundings, the world had not suddenly and unexpectedly solved all its problems.

It had, however, opened up a little corridor to the border of India at Birganj. Which meant that we would have to travel a couple of days through hot Bihar, which made us seriously consider taking a flight to Bangkok instead.

But with our economical situation we thought better of it, and off we went in a night bus to the border... which didn't open until 6am so we had to wait two hours... Ah, what lovely last two hours in Nepal. Sigh.

Dhulikhel, Namo Buddha & Panauti hike

Ah, what lovely unpredictable travelling. Better not to get too cosy.

On the day we had reserved for leaving Nepal, after waiting to get the Indian visa for a week, we were notified that all the roads except Kathmandu-Pokhara had been blocked again due to strikes in the Tarai.

So, to make the best of the situation, we took a little detour out in the valley to visit some small towns and villages, hoping that all would return to normal in the world before we got back.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

On elephant back etc.

12 photos from Chitwan.

Tansen, Palpa & Ranighat

14 photos from the hills south of Pokhara.


10 photos.

Bardia National Park

Here are the photos from the safari etc.

We had a great time at Bardia's friendliest guesthouse and we highly recommend Forest Hideaway Hotel & Cottages. Check out their website and book directly.

In the kayak

3 days kayak clinic with camping along the Seti river.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Photos, Annapurna part II

Manang - Kagbeni

Photos, Annapurna part I

Click on the photo to view the first album containing 54 photos (two more albums to come soon) from our trek. Complete with comments in English and Spanish.

Haz click para ver las fotos. Hay comentarios en castellano.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Back in Kathmandu

Since last post we've been both to Tansen and Sauraha in one week and now we have arrived back in the capital. Let's see if I get time and opportunity to transfer, sort and upload the 1.000 photos. Sure I will. Starting now!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lumbini to Tansen

We've been for a short visit to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, which unfortunately wasn't a very charming place. Next stop is Tansen/Palpa a few hours to the north in the hilly region southwest of Pokhara. Let's hope the temperatures are coming down.

The last days few days we've been travelling mostly on top of the busses (or "upside down", as one driver referred to it) which is nice and refreshing.

We are expecting to be back in Kathmandu in one week's time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In the jungle: Bardia National Park

We've been looking for the tiger for two whole days now!
It's great fun to follow the footprints and the warning calls of deer and monkeys. We've been waiting at various river crossing spots for a total of 9 hours but still no luck. Instead we've seen a rhino do an eskimo roll - that was fun!

Now we're on a day trip to Nepalganj to cash more money and update our internet prescence.

Keep cool, (it's getting hot here at midday...)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

19 days of trekking done.

We have finally arrived in Pokhara this morning after an incredible trip. Both are healthy and well, with little leg and back pain and even some money to spare.

After Jomson we walked down to the hot spings in Tatopani in just 2 days. The first day through a sandstorm, the next in the smoke from the fires on the mountains. Since visibility was zero on 1 km distance due to smoke we thought it a good idea to climb over Ghorepani to get the last views of Annapurna range etc., especially the 8000+ m. Annapurna I which we hadn't seen yet. But what a dissapointment. After going up 1800 in two days the haze was not receding one bit and we still haven't seen the highest peak in this range. We went straight down on the other side without even bothering to visit Pun/Poon Hill. The last night was spent in Birethanti, which was lovely full of flowers and lush green bamboos and palm trees by the river stream.

We're in Pokhara, in guest house "Fire on the mountain" -- not because we need to be reminded of the last dissapointing days, but because a trekking aquaintance, and now friend, Wolfgang, recommended it -- trying to catch up with things, the world, find out where Hennie is and plan the next escapade.

Still not sure when I will be able to upload photos, since Jakob's computer is in Kathmandu.
Pheri Betaula / See you again!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

High passed crossed. Now in Jomson.

Hi everybody, just a quick note ot let you know that we crossed the Thorung La (5416m pass) two days ago on the coldest day in history.

It has been some really amazing days with superb views of the Annapurna range, incredible villages and nice company.

We're in Jomson, a major town on the route and on the way to Marpha, where we will sleep toningt. In little more than a week we will be in Pokhara. Perhaps we'll see my mom on the way? She said she was leaving for Gorepani today, but I don't know if they are trekking up or down or both ways. We'll be in Gorepani in 3 or 4 days time.

Good luck to everybody and I can't wait till qwe can show you the 1000+ photos.

Love, Jakob & Helena

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pitstop in Chame

We have reached Chame, the first place with internet access. Actually I didn't think there would be any place with online access, I didn't even think there would be electricity in most places. But it seems every little village has it's own little hydro power supply station.

We have taken it easy and are feeling very well, now that Helena is over her bacterial or amoebic dysentery infection which she brought with her from Kathmandu! There is a health station in every two/three villages and we went to see the 'doctor' who had the right kinds of antibiotics.

In two more days we will reach Manang and from there it's two days to the pass, but we have to plan for days of acclimatisation to the heights.

There are some hot springs here which we will take a look at and perhaps jump in. The weather has been getting colder and colder with overcast the last two days, but today the sun is out and illuminating the Annapurna II peak. Food is good but getting more and more expensive, but it's still off season, so rooms are cheap. We meet max other 6 trekkers per day.

Take care!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Next to come: Trekking the Annapurna Circuit

Sorry for not having uploaded any pics the last month, but due to load shedding we've only had 4 hours of electricity per day, so it has been difficult to find time for all our digital endeavours.

In a few hours we're off to Besisahar, the starting point of the trek around the Annapurna massif which will take us up to 5.400 meters at Thorung La and then down again on the other side to Pokhara.

Hope to have some nice photos for you when we're back to civilisation in 3 weeks!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kirtipur & Chobar

One day trip on the mountain bikes to these villages just South-West of Kathmandu.