Maharajas & Mountains

Why We Love It

The chaotic, dirty-sweet smelling Kathmandu was a welcome assault on my senses. The small vibrant, intimate city invites visitors with open arms. From the rooftops of Kathmandu adorned with green potted plants, to women washing and hanging up bright items of clothing, to children playing in the alleyways – the place is full of life, and makes exploring the city great fun. During our Gecko’s tour I was constantly in awe of the Nepalese locals’ strong sense of community. If you like people-watching, there are always locals going about their daily life to observe – a fascinatingly different culture. The bus trip to Pokhara offered picturesque views as we wound along thin roads around the edge of bright green high rolling hills. Pokhara is a chilled-out lakeside town at the foothills of the Himalayas. To get an idea of the atmosphere think an exotic Asian version of Byron Bay before the swarms of tourists arrived. Walking into the revitalising foothills of the Annapurna range it became easy to unwind and a new sense of calmness came over most on the walk. The 360 degree views were so stunning they seemed mythical. Bright green rice paddies and hills were a stark contrast to the impossibly white mountains looming beautifully in the distance. The politely curious children we passed in the hillside villages had striking almond eyes and wore wide-open smiles. White-water rafting was a fantastic way to cool off while travelling to Chitwan National Park. The baby elephants at the park’s orphanage were cheeky and playful and hard to leave. Our adventure was coming to a close when we climbed onto the back of an elephant in the hopes of seeing a rare black rhino. Luck was on our side and we witnessed not one but four black rhinos cooling off in some natural springs. And another highlight for me was definitely hearing how much respect locals in Chitwan have for Gecko’s because the company funds a project and helps provide protective fencing for the park’s elephants.