Tuesday, February 19, 2013

MOVED FORWARD TO 2014: Writing Trek to Nepal

Dates To Be Announced (October 2014)

Remember that the Earlybird Discount expires at the end of February 2014!

Day 1: Kathmandu 
Arrive in Kathmandu. Transfer to hotel. Rest. You will be staying in the heart of the tourist area of bustling Kathmandu in an eco-guest house decorated in traditional style. Walk out the front door and into atmospheric Thamel, where you can shop for presents, or just soak up the atmosphere. There will be a brief orientation session and introductions.  

Day 2: Kathmandu
We will begin the day with our first workshop session, and preparations for the trek, followed by a tour of some of the famous Kathmandu World Heritage Sites.  There is so much to see in Kathmandu, and you won’t have time to see it all. However, Day 2 gives you a chance to whet your appetite and visit some of the sacred and world heritage sites; to look, take photos or write.

     Options include: 
  • Patan Durbar Square –world heritage site, with ancient temples and well laid out museum
  • Monkey Temple (Swayambhunath) or Boudhanath Stupa—two soaring Buddhist stupas, pilgrimage sites for Buddhists, especially the Tibetan Community
  • Pashupatinath Temple—world heritage site, one of the 4 top pilgrimage sites for Hindu Pilgrims around the world

Day 3: Kathmandu to Lukla to Phakdin
       In the early morning, step onto the twin otter plane at Kathmandu, and be transported as if in a time capsule to the village of Lukla in the Khumbu region (2827m). Here you will begin the acclimatization process and the first mountain session while you enjoy breakfast and plenty of hydrating liquids.

--> Even if your mind is still racing at city pace, your body will remind you that it is time to slow down –particularly when you find yourself puffing more than usual when climbing stairs, as you become aware of the first effects of the altitude.

After breakfast in Lukla and a recap on mountain safety, the trek begins with a 3 to 4 hour walk to Phakdin. Sometimes you will be sharing the trail with yak trains, other trekkers, and local traders on their way up to Namche Bazaar.  Such rich material for your photos, writing and memories. You will also get your first close up glimpses of the mountains, weather permitting. We will spend the night at a lodge situated in a valley right on the Dudh Koshi River. 

Please Note, Lukla’s weather is variable, and planes can’t land in the mist (when you get there you’ll see why). So be prepared for potential delays in the flight, sometimes even cancellations due to the weather.  This applies for the return journey from Lukla to Kathmandu also.

Day 4: Phakdin to Monjo
A couple of hours walk through lush vegetation, past agricultural fields and Buddhist monuments takes us to Monjo, a Sherpa village bordering Sagarmatha National Park. Opportunities for word pictures.  You’ll want to capture every blink of your eyes. 

Day 5: Monjo to Namche Bazaar

Namche Bazaar is situated approximately 3440 metres from sea level. At this point you will definitely start feeling the altitude, although most people acclimatise within a day or so.  Nestled at the top of a cliff, Namche is a traditional trading place, with traders coming from Tibet, India and Nepal to the small hill top village.  

When the clouds part, views of Mount Everest, and several other 8000m peaks are visible.

There is a steep climb into Namche Bazaar—and this section of the trip will be dependent on the health and fitness of our group.  The alternative will be day trips and writing sessions in and around Monjo and Phakdin

Day 6 - 9: Namche Bazaar activities

We spend 4 days in Namche Bazaar, with writing workshops every morning or afternoon. For those missing the comfort of home, there are bakeries with reasonable coffee and apple pie with a view—a legacy of early German climbers. 

There are three museums to explore—the main one covers culture/ geography/ flora and fauna of the Everest Region. Two smaller ones specialise in Sherpa Culture and Traditional Himalayan Medicine. 

There is also a traditional Tibetan Healer available for consultation at the Himalayan Healing Centre, a Tibetan monastery and the Tibetan market to explore. 
Day 10: Namche Bazaar to Phakdin

Day 11: Phakdin to Lukla

At Lukla we say goodbye to our ever- smiling porters, who head back to their villages while we catch our early flight back to Kathmandu.
Please remember, getting out of Lukla is dependant on weather. Sometimes it can take several days to fly out.

Day 12: Lukla to Kathmandu
After the mountain lodges, now you have the opportunity to be pampered at the majestic Hyatt Hotel.  This luxury five-star hotel overlooks Boudathnath Stupa—one of the largest Buddhist temples in Kathmandu.  At dawn and dusk, you can join the throngs of Tibetans encircling the stupa reciting their pujas. You may choose to have some additional pampering at the Hyatt’s day spa, such as a healing Ayurvedic massage.

The Hyatt provides a serene environment to continue our writing. 

Day 13: Kathmandu
The final full day in Nepal has some time for shopping, and optional sightseeing, and our last writing workshop and party/ evening reading of our work at the Hyatt.

a. Bhaktapur Durbar Square- World Heritage Site
b. Changu Narayan Temple- World Heritage Site
c. Shopping, relax around the Temple
d. Visit to orphanage

Day 14: Departure