Published on June 4th, 2014 | by Geckos Tales Team
NEPAL: THE ONLY GUIDE YOU’LL EVER NEED
Rod ‘Griff’ Griffiths is a bit of a legend round these parts. He’s worked for our sister company, Peregrine, for about six times longer than we’ve been alive. And he’s been to Nepal on 40 separate occasions, making him a one-man adventure and exploration machine. Griff makes Bear Grylls look like the tooth fairy. We’re not kidding.
We love Griff and we love asking him all about his travels. And when it comes to Nepal, there’s probably no finer person in the world to get some advice from. Whether you’re planning on hiking to Everest Base Camp or a more chilled-out escape in Annapurna, Griff’s advice is probably the most useful advice you’ll ever come across. So grab a notepad and a pen and start taking some notes. Or just save this page to your favourites.
What is it about Nepal that’s kept you going back for more?
The people, the mountains and the spirit that lives in Nepal make it a captivating place for travellers. A trek through the mountains helps you reassess what is important in your life, and provides a wonderful way to de-stress form the hassles of the modern world.
How should a traveller begin preparing a trip to Nepal?
Decide what is important to them. Do they want the challenge of a trek to Everest Base Camp or would they prefer the culture and diversity of the Annapurna region? Once they’ve have that worked out, then they can start preparing physically. Get out there and do some walking, get into the gear shops and buy the appropriate clothing, and get ready for a trip of a lifetime.
Where’s your favourite spot?
I love the Everest and Gokyo Lakes region because of the strong Buddhist culture of the Sherpa people. I love the feeling of standing at the high point of a trek and looking at the highest point in the world (summit of Chomolongma – The Mother Goddess of the Universe, Everest), and knowing you have achieved your goal.
What about your best memory of travelling in Nepal?
The first time I made it to Kala Patar (high point of the Everest Base Camp trek). Being surrounded by the highest peaks in the world brought tears to my eyes. It was the best feeling in the world.
What makes Geckos trips such a good option for people hoping to really get adventurous?
We only use Nepalese guides, who can showcase their country better than anyone. Staying in local accommodation throughout the treks means that you experience a deeper understanding of the Nepalese culture. We also do the utmost to ensure our itineraries are safe, which means our travellers can trek to some outrageous places.
What’s your favourite food to eat in Nepal?
Dhal Bhat, on trek (lentil and Rice) and Butter Chicken in Kathmandu…. and apple pie in Pokhara, after a trek in the Annapurna region.
In Kathmandu I enjoy the local beer, Everest Lager (especially after a trek). And when I’m on a trek, there’s nothing better than a good cup of Nepalese tea.
What continues to surprise you whenever you visit Nepal?
The people. Genuinely the most welcoming people in the world.
Where’s your favourite town?
Pokhara is a great town. It is on a lake, called Lake Phewa Tal, and there are brilliant restaurants with delicious food, cold beer and plenty of choices of desserts. It’s heaven on earth after a trek.
Where are your favourite spots to hike?
Annapurna and Dhaulagiri region; Everest and Gokyo Lakes Region, Annapurna Sanctuary.
What are your top five hiking tips to ensure an awesome experience?
Go slow, now go even slower – if you’re going to altitude you want to take plenty of rests, and walk slowly. Drink heaps of water (4 litres per day). Stay warm, by making sure you have a jacket handy. Stop and take that photo – it gives you a break and means you look around and see some of the best views in the world. And finally, make sure your boots are comfortable!
What are the key months for travellers hoping to get the best weather?
September to May, (don’t trek in monsoon June, July, August). You get the clearest views in October and November, the Rhododendron forests bloom in April and May and climbing expeditions at Everest Base Camp are in April/May too.
Essentials for a Nepalese hiking medical kit?
Diamox (prescription required) for altitude, Panadol and/or Ibuprofen, broad spectrum antibiotics, plasters for blisters and cuts and antiseptic cream.
How’s the value for money over there?
Food throughout Nepal is inexpensive, treks are great value.
Give us three unmissable Nepalese sights.
Sunrise at Sarankot (Pokhara) where the sun lights up the entire Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range, the view from Kala Patar of Everest and the other Himalayan giants, and Gokyo Peak, looking down at the biggest glacier in Nepal and the bright turquoise lakes flanked by the magnificent Himalayan mountains.
Do you have any pointers for those planning on booking a trip to Nepal in the near future?
Do your research, go with a company that provides all the safety equipment (such as altitude chambers and oxygen) and provides itineraries that offer best chance of achieving what you set out to do (like Geckos!)
Do you want to be the first of your mates to get to Everest Base Camp? Then check out our full-range of trips, which are all led by our experienced Nepalese guides.