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  • Michael Tyler
  • October 22, 2015 05:02:57 PM
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News and current affairs without bias. Sourcing material from all over the web. Covering news stories MSM avoid. Video's contain a mature content.

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Day 18: Annupurna #2 – Tolka – Jhiundanda

Tolka to Jihnudanda There are hot springs in Jihnudanda and a couple of the hotels accept Mastercard which means I don’t have to dip into my cash balance. Stocked, up fed myself and re-charged my batteries. Mardi Himal Was talking to a girl who went on a ridge walk called Mardi Himal. Kind of an alternative to base camp. They stopped at one of the viewpoints. Some of the members of her party decided to continue to the next viewpoint... Read More Read More The post Day 18: Annupurna #2...

Tolka to Jihnudanda

There are hot springs in Jihnudanda and a couple of the hotels accept Mastercard which means I don’t have to dip into my cash balance.

Stocked, up fed myself and re-charged my batteries.

Mardi Himal

Was talking to a girl who went on a ridge walk called Mardi Himal. Kind of an alternative to base camp. They stopped at one of the viewpoints. Some of the members of her party decided to continue to the next viewpoint and one of them stumbled and fell off the edge.

1,000ft drop. Helicopter came and picked the rest of the party up to take them home.

Here’s some photo’s from the trip.

Annapurna from Tolka
Annapurna from Tolka
Terraces near Lundruk
Terraces near Lundruk
New bridge to Jhinundanda
New bridge to Jhinundanda

The post Day 18: Annupurna #2 – Tolka – Jhiundanda appeared first on Michael Tyler.


Day 16 – 17: Annapurna day #1

Going to keep these posts short and sweet. I’m now in Annapurna Nat. Park and internet connection is at a premium. Yesterday was a hard day. Still had the remnants of a hangover which took about 5 hours walking to get rid of. Here’s some photos from the day. The post Day 16 – 17: Annapurna day #1 appeared first on Michael...

Going to keep these posts short and sweet.

I’m now in Annapurna Nat. Park and internet connection is at a premium.

Yesterday was a hard day. Still had the remnants of a hangover which took about 5 hours walking to get rid of.

Here’s some photos from the day.

Phedi - Damphus
Lots of steps – Phedi
Welcome to Dhampus
View to Pokhara
Hardwood logs
Across the valley in Tolka

The post Day 16 – 17: Annapurna day #1 appeared first on Michael Tyler.


Day 12 – 15: Pokhara

Lumbini to Pokhara A long and arduous bus trip. The majority through winding mountain passes. Having a puncture, more of a blow-out, set us back a bit. All in all, the whole trip took around 10 hours. On arrival in Pokhara, had booked ahead and it was just a case of finding my way to the hotel. Pokhara Perhaps the most touristy type place I’ve visited in Nepal. Lakeside seems to be set out entirely with tourism in mind. Unlike... Read More Read More The post Day 12 – 15: Pokhara...

Lumbini to Pokhara

A long and arduous bus trip.

The majority through winding mountain passes.

Having a puncture, more of a blow-out, set us back a bit. All in all, the whole trip took around 10 hours.

On arrival in Pokhara, had booked ahead and it was just a case of finding my way to the hotel.

Pokhara

Perhaps the most touristy type place I’ve visited in Nepal.

Lakeside seems to be set out entirely with tourism in mind.

Pokhara Centre Point
Pokhara Centre Point

Unlike Thamel in Kathmandu, it’s not so much the shops with nik-naks or hiking gear, herbs or Nepalese products, but restaurants and eateries, live music cafés and places to spend money in that manner.

There are shops of every nature, and Europeans seem to be much more in evidence.

It’s all pretty spread out.

I’ve got a bike, and I’m going to be using that to get around.

Holi

Today is Holi Festival which is a big thing in Nepal and in India.

There are many kids out smearing dye on peoples faces and squirting them with dyed water.

Holi Festival - Nepal
Holi Festival – Nepal
Holi Festival - Nepal
Children fill water pistols

Luckily I managed to avoid most of this by spending a day at the monastery, to hear some authentic monk chanting. More of a ‘service’ really, complete with gongs and horns.

‘Tax’ and ‘Service’ charges in Pokhara

Also, there appear to be some live music festivals, which is a relief. It will safe me from getting fleeced for the extortionate prices at the ‘oh so trendy’ lakeside cafés. Beer here, or food for that matter, attracts 13% ‘tax’ and 10% ‘service charge’.

It’s funny because a lot of places don’t charge this tax. When I went to eat my momo and dal baht, there was no ‘service’ and no ‘tax’. Same street, maybe 200 yards from those that do charge these levies.

Makes me wonder where these ‘tax’ and ‘service’ charges go, and whether I want to be funding those that feel the need to charge them.

Peace Pagoda

Cycled up there today.

Peace pagoda
Peace pagoda

Another peace pagoda.

Apparently, there are 80 of these located around the globe built by some guy named Fuji.

After the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Fujii started knocking up these temples in various locations throughout the world, the first being Kumamoto in 1954 in order to remember war and promote Buddhism, the teachings and Buddha and a more peaceful, harmonious world.

View from Peace Pagoda - Pukhara
South view from Peace Pagoda – Pukhara
View from Peace Pagoda - Pukhara
North view from Peace Pagoda – Pukhara

Annapurna Trek

Annapurna – Goddess of the Harvests.

Pokhara is going to be my base for expeditions in to Annapurna National Park.

Annapurna mountain itself is 8000m odd. It has the highest fatality rate for climbers of any mountain in the world.

It is the world’s 10th highest mountain.

It was first scaled successfully on 3rd June 1950.

I’ll be trekking to base camp which is at 4300m.

Naya Pul

I set out tomorrow from somewhere called Naya Pul.

I’ve got all my passes.

To climb in the park you need a part permit which is 3,000 rps. £20.

Also you need a TIMS, (trekkers information management system), permit. A universal trekking permit required for most mountaineering treks of any consequence in Nepal.

That cost around 2000 rps. £14.

I’ll be going it alone. It’s not a serious a trek as Everest Base Camp.

I’ll be leaving some gear at the hotel and travelling light.

The post Day 12 – 15: Pokhara appeared first on Michael Tyler.


Day 10 -11: Lumbini, birthplace of Buddha

As the title says. And as you can imagine, it’s kind of a Mecca for Buddhists all over the world. Not a Buddhist personally, but am kind of interested in sites of a historical and cultural nature. Maya Devi Temple Is the actual birthplace of Buddha and is a designated World Heritage Site. There are lots of tourists here, and when you’re in the temples and religious areas, you’ve got to take your shoes off. Sometimes its normal to light... Read More Read More The post Day 10...

As the title says. And as you can imagine, it’s kind of a Mecca for Buddhists all over the world.

Not a Buddhist personally, but am kind of interested in sites of a historical and cultural nature.

Maya Devi Temple

Is the actual birthplace of Buddha and is a designated World Heritage Site.

There are lots of tourists here, and when you’re in the temples and religious areas, you’ve got to take your shoes off.

Sometimes its normal to light some incense, and make an offering.

The modern Devi Temple is surrounded by the ruins of the first monastery built here around 200BC.

Maya Devi
Maya Devi

As you wander round, there’s a pool and a tree at the front. The pool has large catfish, carp and turtles rolling on the surface, taking air and enjoying the sunshine.

The tree is the ‘Buddha Tree’ and is adorned by hanging prayer flags.

If you want, you can light some incense under the Buddha tree.

The garden extends off in various directions with lawns and flowers and walkways for the barefooted visitors.

Maya Devi - Prayer Flags
Maya Devi – Prayer Flags
Maya Devi - Prayer Flags
Maya Devi – Prayer Flags
Maya Devi - Buddha Tree
Maya Devi – Buddha Tree

This is the main part of the complex and it costs 500rps to get in (£1.80).

I dwelt around this little area for a while, relaxing and taking in the ambience, the odd chanting session from monks. Fish and other animals appearing and disappearing in the pond, and the smell of incense drifting in the wind.

The monasteries

After that, I went into the rest of the complex to investigate the various monasteries built by other countries with large practising communities.

Here’s a picture of some of the other monasteries along the way.

Burmese Monastery
Burmese Monastery
Golden Temple
Golden Temple
Temple of the Self Enlightening Flame
Temple of the Self Enlightening Flame

Particularly liked the last one, the Temple of the Self Enlightening Flame. They were educating some young apostates to speak English on the mezzanines as I went in.

It was being painted with gold leaf when I went in. There were gongs and drums, murals and statues outside and inside and it had kind of a good feel about it.

Museum

There’s a free to enter museum of the Buddhist faith.

With artefacts and pictures and the odd bit of text, it gives a little bit of background to the religion. Although it doesn’t say anything about the faith itself. It’s more about the origins.

Nothing more.

Pictures are not allowed in here.

Buddha Museum
Buddha Museum

Had a bit of lunch after the museum, which consisted of various samosas, bargees and some momo.

Peace Pagoda

This is right at the North end of the complex.

Costs less than £1 to get in.

It was built by Japanese Buddhists in 2001.

You have to climb in a clockwise fashion, which takes you three times around the spire.

World Peace Pagoda - Lumbini
World Peace Pagoda – Lumbini

Onward to Pokara.

The post Day 10 -11: Lumbini, birthplace of Buddha appeared first on Michael Tyler.


Day 9: Cycle ride to 20,000 lakes

After writing for half the day, only read had the back-end of the afternoon in which to do stuff. It really wasn’t worth hiring a motorcycle for that long so I decided to get a more humble mountain bike @ 350rps (£2.20). 20,000 lakes 20,000 lakes is a reservation area close to the Chitwan National Park. It’s more wetland, as you can imagine. Our guide on Friday told us that you can take a bike in, no problem. It’s not... Read More Read More The post Day 9: Cycle ride to...

After writing for half the day, only read had the back-end of the afternoon in which to do stuff.

It really wasn’t worth hiring a motorcycle for that long so I decided to get a more humble mountain bike @ 350rps (£2.20).

20,000 lakes

20,000 lakes is a reservation area close to the Chitwan National Park.

It’s more wetland, as you can imagine.

Our guide on Friday told us that you can take a bike in, no problem.

It’s not possible to go on foot, because, like Chitwan, it’s a little bit dangerous.

When I got to the gate I discovered that my bike got in for free, but I had to pay, so had to cycle all the way back to the ATM.

By the time I actually got into the park area, it was 4.30pm.

Here’s a picture of my ride

Didn’t take many pictures, instead spent most of my time watching Kingfishers with my binoculars.

Here’s a pictures of what 20,000 lakes looks like.

20,000 Lakes - Chitwan
20,000 Lakes – Chitwan

The post Day 9: Cycle ride to 20,000 lakes appeared first on Michael Tyler.


Day 8: Chitwan National Park – Walking tour

With two guides; it’s not safe enough to walk around on your own. There’s a video below of us nearly being chased by a large jungle beastie which is testament to that. After yesterday’s hotel drama, got settled. Woke by the mosquito’s at about 6am. Had to be at the tour centre for 7. Got some rolls, bread, crisps and water, binoculars and a kit-kat from the shops around the village. Cost about £2.50 in all, (not including the binoculars).... Read More Read More The...

With two guides; it’s not safe enough to walk around on your own.

There’s a video below of us nearly being chased by a large jungle beastie which is testament to that.

After yesterday’s hotel drama, got settled. Woke by the mosquito’s at about 6am. Had to be at the tour centre for 7.

Got some rolls, bread, crisps and water, binoculars and a kit-kat from the shops around the village. Cost about £2.50 in all, (not including the binoculars). Waited around a bit for the two other tourists, a pair of Ukrainian ‘journalists’.

Once they arrived, we all set off on our merry journey.

Chitwan National Park – Canoe Trip

The first hour of this journey is spent on the canoe, drifting down the Rapti river and observing the various wildlife that cared to present itself.

I was one of the few people to bring binoculars, and I felt kind of smug about this. Also, they give you a much better view of what you’re looking at.

The temptation to get the camera out is much less, making it that little bit more enjoyable and relaxing.

Rapti River - Chitwan National Park
Rapti River – Chitwan National Park

There are many birds and ducks, although I suspect not as many as there were in the past. Still, they were out there.

Egrets, Kingfishers, Starlings, Miner birds, Storks etc. Couple of swifts and martins, although, I get the impression, not as many in the past.

River Rapti - Chitwan National Park
River Rapti – Chitwan National Park
River Rapti - Chitwan National Park
River Rapti – Chitwan National Park

The last picture is our disembarkation spot.

From here we began our tour on foot, after a short safety talk by the guides.

Chitwan National Park – Walking Tour

Safety:

  • Rhino’s: They can here and smell fine, but what it comes to eyesight, this isn’t their strongest card. Nor are they the most agile of creatures, they have trouble changing direction at speed. It goes without saying, they can’t climb trees. Bearing this is mind, it’s possible to develop a number of stratagem in the event of a Rhino charge dependent on your circumstances.
  • Elephants: Not so much charging as the Rhino, but much more dangerous. Best just to run.
  • Sloth Bears: Apparently can be nasty buggers, with cubs, these may give chase. The technique here being to stare them down, wave your sticks and count on your joint force against the potential aggressor.
  • Tigers: Rarely seen, like the bear, the best plan is to face them down, get your sticks out and count on your numbers.
  • Crocs: Not much advice on these. Don’t get in the water! Usually, they slide off the bank when they see you coming.

After our little talk, we began our long walk. And it was a long walk, at a fast pace, depending on what guide was leading.

Most of the time it was fast.

Because it’s the end of the ‘dry season’, many of the animals are lingering around the areas that give them shelter from the sun or access to water.

Shelter from the sun is more in the forest areas, up in the foothills at the centre of the park, so we focussed on watering spots, tributaries and a few spotting towers.

Most of the day was spent at these kind of spots, or transiting between them.

By the end of the day, we had spotted:

  • 3 Rhino
  • 3 Saltwater Crocodiles
  • 1 Sloth Bear
  • Water buffalo

That was in a walk of roughly 20km for 7-8 hours.

Here’s the fully grown male Rhino. About 3.5 tonnes.

Chitwan National Park - Rhino
Chitwan National Park – Rhino lurks in tributory

Here’s the rest of the photos from Chitwan National Park walking tour.

Chitwan National Park - Rhino Apple Trees
Chitwan National Park – Rhino Apple Trees
Chitwan National Park - Water Buffalo
Chitwan National Park – Water Buffalo
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park – Jungle Track

We were mostly walking on these, animal transit tracks in between the trees.

Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park – Jeep Safari Track

If you pay for Jeep Safari, they take you greater distances at a quicker speed. Jeeps are noisy, and sometimes the tourists on them are too, but you can still see stuff. This is a spot where the jeeps stop and animals can be seen to cross the tracks.

Spot the crocodile!
Park
Saltwater Crocodile
Saltwater Crocodile

After

The tour, had a beer. Felt tired.

Took a meal at the friends café.

Momo and buttered chicken masala.

Not bad came to about £8 with a bottle of ‘Sol’.

Momo
Chicken butter Masal (with rice)
Chicken butter Masal (with rice)

Bought a cheap bottle of local wine. Listened to some music and went to bed.

The post Day 8: Chitwan National Park – Walking tour appeared first on Michael Tyler.


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