For many the idea of a holiday usually conjures up images of relaxing beaches and crystal clear sea, but if you have a sense of adventure and feel more like you need a challenge there are lots of stimulating alternatives. After searching for companies who specialised in adventure holidays on the internet, I came up with a thrilling option, a trip combining sightseeing, trekking, rafting and jungle safari in Nepal.
The trip started in Kathmandu, a fantastically colourful vibrant city which at 4400 ft above sea level, feels like it is on top of the world. The mountains surrounding Kathmandu are incredible and the views from the many stunning temples are a sight to behold. The temples Swayambhu and Pashupati are definitely worth a visit and are both World Heritage Sites.
Our next step was an overnight stay in Bhahtapur before travelling west 198 km west to the lakeside village of Pokara. This was quite a bus journey and the amazing scenery made up for the lack of comfort. Pokara is very popular with tourists and travellers; it boasts impressive falls, caves and the stunning ranges of Annapurna, Manaslu and Dhaulagiri with peaks over 800 m. The Lake Phewa gives the village a peaceful feel; lots of artists are drawn to this area for the magnificent scenery. From Pokara we embarked upon our 7 day trip to the foothills of the Himalayas.
A trek in Nepal enables you to directly experience the Nepalese culture, way of life and different ethnic mixes. Our Sherpa, Chok-pa, was very helpful and I personally felt that this trekking was not too arduous. Although you do need a certain level of fitness, we got just the right balance of rest and exercise, walking between 4 and 6 hours a day.
To keep us on out toes, our next adventure involved a couple days white water rafting on the Seti River. In brief, this involves negotiating river rapids and obstacles in a rubber boat with a team of up to 8 people. By this point I had made some firm friends who I still keep in touch with now. The Rivers are graded from easy to practically impossible depending on the size and the intensity of the rapids. The Seti runs through a wonderfully isolated area, with beautiful jungle and many easy rapids.
It was great fun and an adrenalin fuelled team challenge to stay in your boat whilst encountering the rapids. I loved the songs around the camp fires in the evenings, once a village tribe joined us and danced, it was a unique experience.
Our last stop was the Chitwan National Park, for a spot of jungle safari. This is the oldest national park in Nepal, established in 1973, and granted status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. Rich in Flora and fauna, the park is home to the Bengal tiger and one of the last populations of single horned Indian Rhino. The jungle walks were exhilarating especially riding elephants and we were lucky enough to see the famous Rhino. It is certainly a breath of fresh air to take an adventure holiday, I would recommend it to all my friends and arrived back at my London desk feeling physically sated and mentally refreshed.