Guide DIY Trekking Guide to Nepal (MySecretPlanet Guide to Nepal)

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You can buy over the counter in any pharmacy in thamel check expiry date! I one of the ones who swears by it and I have taken it in Nepal during my EBC trek from Pheriche onwards 4, m - 14, ft and recently, hiking in the Simien mountains in Ethiopia. Side effects were tingling on my face and fingers not unpleasant. I would talk to your health professional first and I would certainly not take it before you start your Nepal trek. GIven a sensible itinerary with time for acclimatisation there's no need for taking Diamox pre-trek. Tip: All of your saved places can be found here in My Trips.

Log in to get trip updates and message other travellers. Profile Join. Log in Join. Altitude sickness tablets. Watch this Topic. Browse forums All Browse by destination. Khumbu forums. All forums. Level Contributor. Report inappropriate content. Related: What are the most popular tours in Khumbu? See all. Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour. Island peak Climbing Adventures. Re: Altitude sickness tablets. Upendra D. Destination Expert for Nepal, Annapurna Region. Ask a question. Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes? See All Khumbu Conversations. For a while, as we wandered about and relaxed on some shady benches we were pretty much convinced that we had the worst luck ever.

We capped it with dinner overlooking the Taj and then headed back to the train station to wait out the remaining three hours. Up next is the longest train ride yet, 17 hours on the 2 nd class sleeper section of the train. I am loving reading this as I continue to journey through India. Oh, and my India Lonely Planet is pretty much the best purchase possible.

It has come in so handy. The rainbow of colors streaking radiantly happy faces during Holi stuck a chord with me. The subcontinent is a huge place though, and there are a lot of places in India to celebrate—each place has their unique take on the festivities. At the end of this post is a guide to celebrating Holi.

Sign me up! I planned my whole route and timing around the world so I could make it to see the colorful elephants and the joyous celebration of Spring. There are celebrations in the south as well, but these are more subdued and focused on the religious aspects. The north is where those colorful faces and clouds of powder take place. Holika Dahan involves households all over the country purging darkness and negativity from their homes, they take these items into the streets and burn them in bonfires on the last night of Holi, which is the night before the Festival of Colors.

This parade has run for hundreds of years, and the Elephant Festival is certainly the most colorful elephant event! The entire festival is keeping with what a I have come to love and hate about India—chaos and a touch of mayhem ruled the event. All of that confusion made some parts of the festival a little lackluster in some regards.

I am so glad I celebrated Holi, and the Elephant festival is both fun and beautiful.

The Elephant Festival really was chaos, and sadly that detracted from it. Some of the events on the schedule were delayed or moved to other areas without notice. I took quite a few gentle elbows to my gut with people vying to see it all! This is just India, if you want the better view, you have to fight for it.

And mind you, this is still the day before Holi, so the festivities were only ramping up! And unlike in most of the Western world, there is no malevolence when they are doing. Speaking of surrendering to the experience, the height of my Elephant Festival activities peaked when I attempted to shove myself through a small four foot gap leading into Chaugan Stadium. As we climbed through the fence, one hilarious yahoo informed us that the event was over and we should go home.

For about 30 seconds, we believed him. The decorations only got more elaborate as we entered the field and the dancers and elephants were decked out in ornate and heavy costumes that must have seemed like lead weights to the performers. The event ended with a bit of police crowd control and chaotic scattering so I slipped back out of my secret fence and caught a rickshaw home to rest up for Holi festivities! As for Holi itself, we were amply warned by heaps of people that there is absolutely no way that we should venture outside of our hotel during the morning hours of Holi.

My cousin and I were traveling as two solo women, and the guesthouse owner just refused to entertain the concept. We were protected by the walls of our hotel for the main hours of Holi, and we had a blast. The owner at the Krishna Palace Hotel started the event off by smearing my face with the most vibrant shade of pink powder imaginable. Naturally, I was willing to dive right in and give back as good as I got. Some of the other tourists were shier. They had to be coaxed onto the patio so that we could play Holi on them.

It was all very tame though. The nature of the event is not to tackle the other person and coat them with color, but rather we were always politely asked before color was smeared onto our forehead, faces, arms, necks and into our hair. My cousin protected her naturally gorgeous red hair with a scarf since we were warned the dye is fairly permanent on light colored hair—me though?

The real fun came when the water-guns and buckets of water were brought out. Once water is added, the color mattes into your skin. The water unified the giant brilliant colored blobs of pink, purple, green, blue, orange, and red powdered dyes.

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The hotel owner and his son took particular pleasure in dousing me in a huge bucket full of water no fewer than six times. Then, the five-year-old neighbor boy ventured into our courtyard and similarly went on the attack with a huge water-gun. The whole event was a community celebration, even for those of us stationed in one house. They also were happy to smear all of us now vibrant, multi-colored Westerners.

That fear was alleviated. Within a few minutes, a fellow tourist dumped a bucket of water was dumped on me from behind. Perfect, then my face was primed and ready for more pats and smears of powdered dye. After a few hours, the hotel owner deemed the streets safe-enough for us tourists to venture out. I attached myself to two blokes from England. They acted as my protection should any of the Holi revelers get a little gropey. To be truthful, 90 percent of the Holi revelers met us with complete joy, and merely giving hugs and smearing untold coats of paint on my face. There were just a few too many unpleasant groping encounters.

Even though some Holi revelers were not in the proper spirit of the festival, I had an absolute blast. My face took on an alarming shade of fuchsia. But, she will come around once she realizes that, well, there is pretty much nothing we can do at this point except: pose, smile big, and laugh at the memories. After all of that revelry, it was time for one last scrub and a good sleep. We had a 6am train to Agra the next day!

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This was such a great time to be in India. I am truly grateful that I had the opportunity to celebrate this major festival. I have just that bit more cultural insight thanks to Holi. Boy do the Indians know how to have a party! The most exuberant celebrations are in the north, and most any of the big capitals in the north will have rollicking festivities.

Not sure what to choose?

The Elephant Festival is only in Jaipur. Mathura and Vrindavan are the celebrations you most often see in the photos—these are huge, elaborate, and frenetic. And if you want to be Holi adjacent, West Bengal has very beautiful cultural and spiritual adn safe versions of the Holi celebrations. The exact dates for Holi change a bit every year, but this festival generally takes place in March. In , Holi took place on March 11, and it generally varies two weeks in either direction.

Some towns celebrate for more than a week with religious festivals and other aspects of the holiday. Holika Dahan always occurs the day before the Festival of Colors.


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The color festival is held in the morning, so plan to leave early as the throwing of colors finishes in most towns around 1pm. Traveling India is unlike any other place on earth. It also has a unique set of risks. These tips will help you make the most of your celebration while staying safe and having a wonderful time experiencing Holi. Traveling Southeast Asia these past months has been an incredible whirlwind.

I decided to adjust my itinerary and save Vietnam for another trip, which has allowed me to more deeply explore Laos. I only planned a few hard and fast days for these round the world trip, and meeting my cousin in India is one of them. With that in mind, I hopped on a puddle-jumper flight out of Luang Prabang and landed in Siem Reap, Cambodia just an hour later.

Landing in Cambodia was a shock to my senses. Siem Reap has aggressive child begging issues. The entire change of pace both Luang Prabang and the peaceful quiet of the Bokeo Nature Reserve had me off kilter. Instead of jumping right into Angkor Wat, the key reason I was in town, my friend Laura and I decided to hole up in guesthouse and adjust, calibrate, and recharge. In the first days, I shopped the markets and powered up with delicious vegetarian restaurants.

The begging is hard not to avoid. Some approached and clasped my hand.

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Others followed with quiet pleas. I actually liked that we were in the thick of things after going off the grid and getting horribly ill in Laos. The best part, it was affordable. And this restaurant had my favorite unique drink to-date, a cold and tasty Tamarind Ice Tea. It was bizarre and the first sip was face-scrunchingly tart, but after that it was wholly refreshing and just what I needed after a blisteringly hot day.

And boy am I loving the warmth here! While others sweat profusely in the baking hot heat, my Florida-girl self is loving every second of it! Tasty food, rampant free WiFi at nearly every restaurant, and I was in heaven. In fact, I managed to crank out some mad work while I was in Cambodia, which is topping up the travel fund nicely. I am not sure what I will face in India, so I wanted to log good hours for my client now, while I could.

Laura and I woke up early and slathered ourselves in of sunscreen. I also rocked a large floppy hat, sunglasses, and a face mask to combat the dust and traffic pollution—I was the height of attractive let me assure you! Then it was jus there. Huge, ancient, and humbling. We secured our bikes in the large parking area, we flashed our passes, and then joined the heaps of other tourists with mouths shuffling across the long bridge. I admit, I gapped. I stopped and photographed it all.

It was just impossible to take understand the magnitude of this beautiful ancient city. King Suryavarman II built the temples in the 12 th Century as a holy city by for his people. Even more though, is that Angkor Wat is just one of a dozen of pagodas in the area. Angkor Wat is a labyrinth of intricately carved walls, over-hangings, and statues.

When Laura and I entered, we both noted that there was a strange energy in the temple complex. Within a few minutes of arriving, we lost sight of each other in the twisting hallways. How you can lose someone for four hours in just one single location I do not know, but we were both dehydrated and exhausted by the time we found one-another by the food-stalls. Without a cell phone, we had resorted to asking the local children and vendors to keep watch for one another.

Anyhow, even in the mad hunt for my traveling companion, I managed to see a great deal of the complex. At times, I lost myself when I would pass the intricate carvings of dancing ladies carved into the walls. As I passed throughout the different areas, I would often pop into the back of groups guided in English or Spanish. Then, as they belabored a point I would drift off to find other fascinating parts of the complex. The long wall of images are Bas Relief carvings that circle the perimeter of the temple and tell the story of various battles. I loved the description of the carvings dedicated to the story of the Ramayana.

So neat. On my search for Laura, I sat down at one point for about an hour—I figured if I stopped moving she might pass by me. And in that decision to take it slow, I found myself in a long chat with a handful of Cambodian monks. They spoke basic English, and after the standard pleasantries of my age, marital status, and the number of siblings everyone asks you these three questions , I was able to probe them about their education and life. It was interesting, strange, and fun. They laughed a lot when I said something, I was never sure how much of the laughter was from a lack of comprehension and how much was because they were talking alone with a Western woman.

Once Laura and I reunited we bought some bracelets from the children who had found me and brought me to Laura. Then we took their advice and biked to a sunset spot just down the road. The sunset temples are set about 15 minutes into the hills, and we dodged slow-moving tourists who were clogging the hiking paths. And even after the long day, somehow we arrived at the spot—and it was perfect—just in time to watch the sun take its last bow. We explored other areas too—from the Tomb Raider temple to far out and dusty temples. Angkor Wat delivered in terms of fascinating history and a lot to see and explore independently.

When : Seeing a perfect sunrise or sunset is coveted by Southeast Asian travelers , and even though the temples are crazy-busy, it can be a beautiful experience. Arrive to the temples by am for sunrise, and between pm and 6pm for sunset. For a general sightseeing day, plan on leaving around 8am, so you catch the cooler morning hours to start. If you time it right, you can watch sunset on your first night, and then use your following day to fully explore.

On my second trip through Angkor Wat, my niece and I booked a day tour with Urban Adventures for our first day exploring, and this was a fascinating and fun way to learn the history and ask all the questions from a local who knew the answers. Sleep : Agoda is the best booking website in Southeast Asia, bar none, so start your research there. I also always check Airbnb as there are often affordable boutique options that are ideal for multiple travelers or couples. Responsible travel : There are a lot of things you should know before you go to Cambodia to make sure you have a responsible, ethical trip.

Update from the road: I arrived in India and have joined forces with my cousin. I was sad to say adieu to Laura, we had incredible adventures these past two months. I will surely miss that lady. At first glance, there seems to be no rhyme or reason. Cars whizz past, motorbikes weave and pedestrians walk with a nonchalant indifference. This frenetic pace to the traffic baffled me in my first days in Southeast Asia.

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And that was before I made it to Asia! And yet, there is a fluidity underneath the traffic patterns that I liken to the hive mentality of bees. The worst thing you can do here is make an unpredictable move. Then, as you move into oncoming traffic, everything just shifts to the left, then to the right.

So long as you do it slowly and show your intent, traffic swims around you. The same goes for pedestrians. Though it looks nearly impossible to cross the larger roads in cities like Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Hanoi, you just have to know the way the game is played.

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In my early days in Southeast Asia, I would often wait for a local to begin to cross and follow them. The only way this works, however, is to put your trust in the hive. Take a first step from the curb and you have now signaled your intent to cross the road. That other people on the road calculate the trajectory of that bubble and then adjust their traffic pattern to match. It sounds crazy. It feels crazy. Will it work? Will the traffic smooth out? Usually, it does. That said, this region of the world has among the highest rates of death from traffic accidents , so it pays to be cautious.

I was tense and white-knuckling it through every drive on my first days in Laos. The tuk-tuk is the quintessential form of transport in Southeast Asia. These are motorbikes with a bubble on the back, that fits two to three or a lot more if you have little kids too. Then there are the larger tuk tuks that are small pickup trucks with the back converted into two rows of seats. The first kind is popular in Thailand , and the second in Laos.

On my first packed ride in a Laos tuk tuk, we squished nine backpackers into the back, and then our driver jetted from the curb and proceeded to weave and dart through traffic. There are even more opportunities to push the boundaries of transportation. Motorcycle taxis run throughout most of the towns.

So, if you are in a couple or with bags, you usually take a tuk tuk. I head to India soon, and I hear tales of rickshaws and mules and human-powered transport. It should be a continuation of the adventures in transport! A download of everything I learned from years backpacking Southeast Asia, and a beginners guide of sorts for anyone traveling through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia! We knew that we needed to be at the Thai border in a couple weeks so that we could do the Gibbon Experience in the Bokeo Nature Reserve.

But between then and now — might as well get a big off the grid! Laura and I read through all the town options in our Laos Lonely Planet , and we both decided that a tiny town named Hongsa seemed like the perfect way to see more of Laos, and to also break up the two-day boat ride between Luang Prabang and Huay Xai. But even so, the main cities still have the basics of a city anywhere — concrete buildings and bustle.

Other travelers spoke of their time hiking through the rural areas and that sounded appealing. I love the attitude of the Laotians, the food, and the people. I want to understand more. After sitting on a church pew for nearly nine hours, Laura and I said goodbye to the slow boat. The boat journeyed onward to Pak Beng, and the next day would stop in Huay Xai. And while we needed to get there eventually, for now we were venturing into unknown areas. The boat dropped us on the side of the river directly onto a huge pile of loose sand. Not deterred, however, we knew there was a way to get to Hongsa from this sand dune.

We both hoisted our packs and trudged through the sand to a small gathering of wooden huts, each hut had a sun-bleached thatched roof and no walls. From our guidebook, we knew that we still had to make it up the side of the mountain to a tiny town called Hongsa. Without anyone speaking a lick of English, we took to the age-old gestures. The locals understood our intent and loaded us into a tuk-tuk with six other locals who had descended from the mountain to trade their goods on the river. Everyone easily crammed into the back of the tuk-tuk. My overstuffed backpack weighed heavy on my lap.

We were weighed down and the tuk-tuk struggled to make it out of the sand and onto the raked road.


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  • They were going to take our hour-and-a-half ride standing, straddling, and perching themselves on ledges or just hanging on tightly on the roof. The road to Hongsa winds through the mountains on dusty roads. The drive kicked up huge quantities of dust, so we each pulled out our scarves to project our lungs from the thick, dusty air. All the meanwhile, the tuk tuk careened around switchbacks and dodged oncoming vehicles.

    Small children played on the side of the road, never concerned with our racing vehicle.