Solukhumbu Valley Trek — Nepal

Posted in 15th Aug, 2019

My husband Malcolm and I began walking with Keep Walking last year and through them, found out about this small group trek along the Solukhumbu Valley in Nepal. We were joined by 4 others from 3 states. Flights to Kathmandu were booked separately and although we all arrived late at night at different times a few days before the trek officially started, our tour guide was at the airport to greet us and take us to our accommodation. We were off to Kathmandu airport for the flight to Phaplu the day after all had arrived and Ang told us to sit on the left side of the plane so that we could get a view of the mountains on the way. A half an hour later we landed at Phaplu airport to a magnificent view of Numbur/Khatang/Kerolung pictured below. After lunch, we headed to Dhorphu markets down a walking track about three metres wide passing people coming uphill carrying all manner of goods on their backs. That evening we had dinner by candlelight waiting for the shared power to come on, then we were treated to dancing by the local youth group. It was “Bollywood” style and very well done. We all had a good time and joined in the dancing. The next day we headed for Junbesi, following a path alongside a river and stopping near a bridge where we sat in the sun while lunch was prepared for us. After lunch, the walking got tougher, cobbled paths and high narrow steps, but the scenery was beautiful. We discovered that we were not as fit as we thought and found ourselves lagging, so Ang kept us company and looked after us, offering to carry my day pack. After a reasonably comfortable night at the lodge, we spent the next day visiting the medical centre and passed Tashi Kongma Stupa, the highest stupa in the Everest Region on our way to Thuptenchholing Monastery. We watched the nuns all with shaved heads and red robes chanting together in a large room with a European style chandelier and lots of decorations and paintings on the walls. I soaked up the atmosphere while the nuns provided us with afternoon tea consisting of Nak’s (a female Yak) milk tea and biscuits. Then we were off to Phoughmuchi monastery and school where we watched young boys ranging from 8 to 16 years in another very decorative room playing brass instruments and chanting. The students can go to school at the monastery up until 17 or 18 then choose whether to go on to university or become a monk. We spent the night at a Sherpa house where we were entertained with a display of Sherpa dancing and given Chang, a local alcoholic beverage which is an acquired taste. Next day we climbed 800 metres up a steep hill to reach an altitude of 3,470 metres. There is around 25% less available oxygen at that altitude than at sea level, and we huffed and puffed our way to the top while our guides walked up effortlessly chatting to each other in Nepali. It is possible to see Mount Everest from this point but the weather had closed in so we weren’t lucky enough to see it. We stayed overnight at the Everest View Hotel and the next day down to Ringmu where we saw several donkey trains taking supplies to Everest base camp and walked up a hill to see a 400-year-old stupa. The following day we had a pleasant and easy walk back to Phaplu where we celebrated the end of the walk with our guides and porters with a bottle of Moet Champagne (supplied by Ang), beer and another brew made from millet which was quite nice. This was our first overseas holiday and it was very exciting and interesting to experience a different culture. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and it has whetted our appetite to travel more.

Heather Drew

South Australia