Nepal

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plumsole
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Nepal

Post by plumsole » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:24 am

Is Nepal still awesome if one isn't going to trek?

I've gathered that people love Nepal, but then I also gather that everyone goes to Nepal for multi-day treks. I can see the appeal of the trekking and teahouse stuff, but I highly doubt I would be doing any of that. After 30-40 hours travel each way, I would have about 2.5 weeks to visit, mostly wandering around cities (Kathmandu and surrounding valley, Pokhara, anything else recommended?) and maybe day hikes. Possibly heading to Chitwan NP for a couple days. I'm having a bit of a hard time wrapping my head around what a trip to Nepal with no trekking is like, since everyone is always talking about trekking when talking about Nepal.

I would be visiting late Feb-March, which would place me in Nepal for Holi this year.

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Re: Nepal

Post by muthafunky » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:52 am

I haven't been since 2001, so my info might be out of date, but...

Nepal remains my fondest travel memory. I spent 2 months there. Yes, trekking is a big part of it and it's a real shame if you don't do any when you're there but I think you could enjoy yourself regardless.

I loved the Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu itself, particularly the area around Durbar Square, Patan, Bhaktipur, the Monkey Temple, Pashupatinath, Bodrum. All really interesting places to explore, with a different temple around every corner, interesting handicrafts (one of my favorites a shop with hand crafted stone Buddhas with a 10 year old kid chipping away at one on the floor), friendly people, reasonable prices. I don't know how much things have recovered from the earthquake, but I found the place unlike anywhere else I'd ever been.

Pokhara was nice, but it was more of a kick off point for the Annapurna trek for me. I was there for Holi. It was nice.

I really enjoyed Sauraha and Chitwan National Park. I did a walk through the park and came uncomfortably close to rhinos, marsh mugger crocodiles, and domesticated elephants. We got caught in a rainstorm and my guides (a couple of young locals guys) were genuinely worried we'd run into a rhino. The park came alive with the rains and watching the huge electrical storm that developed that night from the roof of my hotel was quite a spectacle. I sipped cocktails and watched the shows.

I trekked Annapurna and Everest while there and those by far were the highlights, but I really enjoyed the other stuff I saw as well.

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Re: Nepal

Post by harry_flashman » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:06 am

I was there in the spring for 3 months. I have been twice before in 99 and 01. Kathmandu is awful. The dust on the main drag is terrible. I doubt whether some of the roads have seen a lick of tarmac since I first went. Getting around can be painfully slow. Pokhara is still pleasant. The country is still great value and the Nepalese are still some of the most welcoming people but not trekking or embracing the outdoors would seem like a pretty dull way to spend a holiday. When I was not walking I was at a loss anout what to do with myself.
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Re: Nepal

Post by polardude1 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:56 am

I loved it in 1989, but it's changed a great deal since then. There was a lot of damage in the Kathmandu Valley from the earthquake. But i here good things from people who have been there in the past few years
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Re: Nepal

Post by Homerj » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:50 pm

I disagree with Harry...Kathmandu has its charms...yes its dusty and polluted and of course some of the stumpa's and temples were destroyed in the last earthquake, but its still a cool place to wander around.
Even if you go to Pohkara you can still do just a few days of the Annapurna circuit, as unlike the Everest trek, you are in the big mountains by day 2. So go for a few days and then turn back round.
Jungle treks are fun as well, although India and bangladesh are much better bets for seeing an actual tiger in the wild.
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Re: Nepal

Post by Lincoln » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:31 pm

Fuck trekking....fuck it with a big stick.

I've been to Nepal several times and never felt the need to go trekking,Nepal is awesome and as Homer says above Kathmandu is a great city,i've spent weeks there and never got bored.

Chitwan National park is a great place to spend a few weeks, i once rented a house on the edge of the main town over looking the river and spent weeks just sat up on the roof watching the wildlife and people go by...you can go off for short walks/river trips etc....it is one of my favourite places on earth.

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Re: Nepal

Post by plumsole » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:57 am

I would look into if it makes sense to go on a short trek (maybe Poon Hill?), but it has to be worth going without doing that, too. I'm not in great shape, demand daily showers, and don't like being cold - don't want set myself up for 5 days of being irritable because I'm uncomfortable. I love hiking in the Rockies, but I can choose "easy" trails, and go back to my bed at night. Plus, since it would be only a few days of the trip, the rest of the trip has to be worthwhile on it's own. I'm feeling reassured that it would be.

The Annapurna circuit or Everest base camp sound like an awesome goal for a few years from now, but that may never happen, so I'm looking at what I can do now.

After feeling like I was going to die every day in Malaysia this year, I feel hesitant about hot/humid, but it sounds like I may just have to suck it up and be a nasty sweaty mess in Chitwan.

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Re: Nepal

Post by Bill Barilko » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:26 am

plumsole wrote:.....it has to be worth going without doing that, too. I'm not in great shape, demand daily showers, and don't like being cold - don't want set myself up for 5 days of being irritable because I'm uncomfortable. I love hiking in the Rockies, but I can choose "easy" trails, and go back to my bed at night....

Maybe you could pay a Sherpa to carry your fat ass-or several Sherpas more likely.
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Re: Nepal

Post by plumsole » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:55 am

Way to be helpful, dipshit.

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Re: Nepal

Post by polardude1 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:22 am

Pokhara, anything else recommended?) a


Pokhara is nice for it's view of the Himalaya but that's about all, although it might be too hazy by March.
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Re: Nepal

Post by twodogs » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:04 pm

plumsole wrote:I would look into if it makes sense to go on a short trek (maybe Poon Hill?), but it has to be worth going without doing that, too. I'm not in great shape, demand daily showers, and don't like being cold - don't want set myself up for 5 days of being irritable because I'm uncomfortable. I love hiking in the Rockies, but I can choose "easy" trails, and go back to my bed at night. Plus, since it would be only a few days of the trip, the rest of the trip has to be worthwhile on it's own. I'm feeling reassured that it would be.

The Annapurna circuit or Everest base camp sound like an awesome goal for a few years from now, but that may never happen, so I'm looking at what I can do now.

After feeling like I was going to die every day in Malaysia this year, I feel hesitant about hot/humid, but it sounds like I may just have to suck it up and be a nasty sweaty mess in Chitwan.


I was there in November for a few weeks, the weather was perfect and I had a good time without trekking. I spent two nights in Kathmandu, four nights in Chitwan, two nights in Lumbini, a week in Pokhara and four nights back in Kathmandu. Although they are habitually late and some of the roads are horrible if you ride buses you will get to meet locals and see more of the scenery. There was some walking involved but nothing strenuous and showers were always available.

Consider volunteering at a charity for a few days or at least visiting one. This one was the best of the ones I visited http://inxchan.com/children-home-nepal/.

Most of the hotels I stayed a were mundane but I do recommend http://www.uniquewildresort.com/ in Chitwan. Ask in advance and they will prepare you a banana lassi for desert.

Try and do a social tours cooking class while you are in Kathmandu if you have time.
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Re: Nepal

Post by plumsole » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:29 am

Appreciate everyone's feedback. It sounds like I just need to work on getting a non-horrible flight somehow.

I'll be looking closer at the details for when I'm going to be there, once I know I have a flight in hand, so I'll be coming back to this thread to review and look things up more. Thanks!

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Re: Nepal

Post by BeatRaven » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:16 am

Been 3 times; last time was three years ago. Suggested time lengths are from strong Buddhist interest/not so strong.

Kathmandu Vally: 14/10 days. Thamel is good for 4-5 days. It's still a confluence of serious buddhist bookstores and $1,000 thanka shops mixed in with tie died yoga pants and bakery style restaurants.

Go up to the top of the valley and watch the sun rise over the mountains. Lots of easy stupa-laden day treks up there too. Get a car and driver for $50 for the day and say, shrine me up.

The short meditation courses on offer are super high quality and very open minded -and CHEAP. Much more comfy and useful then the dreary Goenke bootcamps that most backpackers do just because its free. Bodnath has lots of shops selling $20 incense for $2. The Bhutanese is the best.

Lumpini: 4-2 days. More for the very we are the world vibe rather than the sites. A good place to buy a buddha for a good price and have it going to a good cause. But very missable, and it really is a long trip to the ass end of nowhere.

Lake Pokara: 0/3 days. Overbuilt now, like Khao San Road on a lake.

Great place for obscure documentary and foreign film bootlegs. I got a Luis Bunel's complete films Chinese box set with a fat glossy booklet and only Chinese text for $45. Check to see that they offer English subtitles on the disc menu and that the Chinese subtitles can be turned off. They play on an at home DVD player 95% of the time. And you can watch them on your laptop.

For me, a day trek does it and you can feel close enough like you're in a Jon Krakenhower book by day two. Three at the max, beyond that, it's much of a grueling muchness.

Chitwan: Never went, not an animal-head.

Consider hopping over to Bhutan. Yeah it's $250 a day, but where they really kill you is on the monopolistic Druk Air airfare. Flying from Kathmandu is as cheap as it's ever going to get for you, and it's like getting the $150 small plane near Everest experience thrown in for free. If you want to spend less (and get a lot less) consider the helicopter day trip to Mustang.

Recent Mark Weins videos show Bhutan has ubanized 10 fold (still not much) since I was there 20 years ago, but it's still the most stunning, greenest Himalayan scenery you'll ever see. The food is boring, the temples are a shadow of Nepal's, but that trip really stuck with me for a long time.

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Re: Nepal

Post by muthafunky » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:41 am

I don't remember the flight to Bhutan being all that expensive. The Druk Air leg was from Bangkok. I'd have to look to be sure though.

Food in Bhutan was pretty terrible, but being able to eat Ema Datse every meal almost made it worth it. The food our cook made on our trek was really good too, better than anything in the cities.

I though the trekking in Nepal was more spectacular, but Bhutan was much wilder, with few villages and even fewer tourists. I'd love to do the Snowman Trek but if I'm honest there's really no chance of that happening. In any case, the $250 per day gets you your own staff and horse caravan at least.

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Re: Nepal

Post by polardude1 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:45 pm

I'd love to do the Snowman Trek but if I'm honest there's really no chance of that happening. In any case, the $250 per day gets you your own staff and horse caravan at least.

A friend of mine did the Snowman's Trek last Sept. She lie sit, but there were many days of rain and snow.

I truly enjoyed doing the Annapurna Circuit in 1989. But now there is a rod that leads up to Jomson tha takes away the charm of the 2nd half of the trek
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Re: Nepal

Post by BeatRaven » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:43 pm

BKK-Paro was $600 in '97 for the very short flight, $363 now.

So even cheaper from KTM.

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Re: Nepal

Post by twodogs » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:55 pm

plumsole wrote:Appreciate everyone's feedback. It sounds like I just need to work on getting a non-horrible flight somehow.

I'll be looking closer at the details for when I'm going to be there, once I know I have a flight in hand, so I'll be coming back to this thread to review and look things up more. Thanks!


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Re: Nepal

Post by BeatRaven » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:09 pm

Gorgeous pics of honey hunters in Nepal. Youtube has plenty of honey hunter doc's.

https://www.google.com/search?q=honey+h ... 73&bih=668

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Re: Nepal

Post by harry_flashman » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:36 pm

Both air Asia and Malindo fly from kl to Ktm. They will probably both be a damn sight cheaper than flying from bk.
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Re: Nepal

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:02 pm

I may have a chance to go on a 14 day trek to Everest Base Camp next year. Should I do it?

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Re: Nepal

Post by muthafunky » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:16 pm

Yes

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Re: Nepal

Post by polardude1 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:32 pm

Steve_in_Exile » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:02 pm

I may have a chance to go on a 14 day trek to Everest Base Camp next year. Should I do it?


Do a comparison with going to the Annapurna Sanctuary
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Re: Nepal

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:34 pm

Mutha, you did the trekking and sleeping in the tea houses thing? How was the accomodation? I want to be able to sleep half way decently. I only ask because the hut on Mount Fuji really sucked ass.

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Re: Nepal

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:35 pm

polardude1 wrote:Do a comparison with going to the Annapurna Sanctuary

I wouldn't have an option. I wouldn't be in control of the 14 day trekking itinerary, though I could do whatever I wanted to before the trek or after.

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Re: Nepal

Post by Homerj » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:36 pm

Steve_in_Exile wrote:I may have a chance to go on a 14 day trek to Everest Base Camp next year. Should I do it?


Couldn't disagree more.
It's a boring slog, with small windows of opportunity to see the big hill thru the clouds.
Take the 75 minute round trip flight from KTH and marvel at it above the clouds.
Annapurna Circuit is way prettier and you are in the big mountains by day 2, plus you start in Pohkara which is also nice and on a lake.
I've done both and the AC was 1000% better than EBC.

Teahouses are basic and cheap...no doubt with the new influx of Chinese and Russians that the level of services will have improved.
Keep in mind the further you go on the trek the more expensive things get to buy because they came in the same way you did.
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Re: Nepal

Post by muthafunky » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:55 pm

Clouds are going to depend on time of year. I spent three weeks in the Everest region and had clear views 90% of the time. Clouds only came at night.

I started at Lukla, which is much more in the mountains than Annapurna where you’re at lower elevations to start.

The tea houses were basic but they seemed fine to me, at least when I was younger. You’d want a warm sleeping bag, tge Common area will have a fire, but bedrooms are in heated.

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Re: Nepal

Post by Scrubb » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:40 am

I loooooved the Everest Base Camp trek. Did the teahouse thing - some of them were extremely basic and many weren't very comfortable, but it was over 20 years ago. Lots could have changed since then. You need a really warm sleeping bag, and a down coat for the higher bits, and I really, really wished I"d had a thermarest then too.

The larger towns had pretty ok tea houses a lot of the time. We occasionally didn't get to where we'd planned and just stayed with random people - it was like everyone had a spare room for trekkers. But those places were a lot less comfy than the more official guesthouses. I remember smoke pouring through the gaps in the walls, from their kitchen fire (which was just a fire), no outhouse ("the world is your toilet"), and extremely thin mattresses.

Still loved it though. IT was hard work. I started at Jiri, so had ~8 days before getting to Lukla to help acclimatize. I think it made a big difference as several who flew into Lukla only managed a slight elevation gain before giving up. Most made it though.
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Re: Nepal

Post by Homerj » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:06 pm

Scrubb wrote:I loooooved the Everest Base Camp trek. Did the teahouse thing - some of them were extremely basic and many weren't very comfortable, but it was over 20 years ago. Lots could have changed since then. You need a really warm sleeping bag, and a down coat for the higher bits, and I really, really wished I"d had a thermarest then too.

The larger towns had pretty ok tea houses a lot of the time. We occasionally didn't get to where we'd planned and just stayed with random people - it was like everyone had a spare room for trekkers. But those places were a lot less comfy than the more official guesthouses. I remember smoke pouring through the gaps in the walls, from their kitchen fire (which was just a fire), no outhouse ("the world is your toilet"), and extremely thin mattresses.

Still loved it though. IT was hard work. I started at Jiri, so had ~8 days before getting to Lukla to help acclimatize. I think it made a big difference as several who flew into Lukla only managed a slight elevation gain before giving up. Most made it though.


Did the same hump Scrubber.
I went in October which was supposed to be the clearest time of year, yet I had more sightings of the big hill from that hill top town outside of Bahktapur, than I did on my EBC trek.
I'm sticking by my statement that AC is a much better trek than the EBC.
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Re: Nepal

Post by muthafunky » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:23 pm

They are different and either would be fantastic experiences, but I found the mountain vistas much more spectacular in the Everest region.

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Re: Nepal

Post by Homerj » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:14 pm

muthafunky wrote:They are different and either would be fantastic experiences, but I found the mountain vistas much more spectacular in the Everest region.


I guess it helped that you could actually see the mountain vistas, I saw mostly clouds.
I didn't realize you had done both as well.
I guess the best advice would be check the long term weather forecast a day or two before leaving and make your choice based on that.
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Re: Nepal

Post by polardude1 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:06 pm

Postby Steve_in_Exile » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:02 pm

I may have a chance to go on a 14 day trek to Everest Base Camp next year. Should I do it?


the mountain views are much better after the monsoon season on the autumn, The spring tends to be hazy
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Re: Nepal

Post by muthafunky » Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:06 am

Homer, it seems weird to tell someone not to go somewhere because you experienced bad weather at a time bad weather is uncommon.

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Re: Nepal

Post by Homerj » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:50 pm

muthafunky wrote:Homer, it seems weird to tell someone not to go somewhere because you experienced bad weather at a time bad weather is uncommon.


No even when the weather was OK it just didn't blow me away like the AC did.
Also I spoke to many folks in in both KTH and Pohkara who agreed with me.
Rarely did I come across anyone who thought EBC was a better trek.
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Re: Nepal

Post by muthafunky » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:37 pm

Have you googled Everest Base Camp vs Annapurna? Here is a quote from the first result:

Everest or Annapurna Base Camp. If it’s your first time in Nepal you might be wondering which is the better trek? Having done both I would right out the gate say Everest Base Camp. However, if your worried about acclimatization, scared of flying small planes or don’t like colder temperatures then Annapurna Base Camp might be a better option. Here is a short review of both treks and the pros and cons of doing each. Keep in mind at the end of the day this is a bit subjective and that they both deserve to be included in a list of the world’s greatest treks.

The first thing to consider is the scenery of each trek. The trek to Everest Base Camp I think wins by a good margin. One of my favorite things about the trek to Everest Base Camp is that from you are almost in direct view of some amazing peaks. On the first few days of the trek you can get a view of peaks such as Thyangmoche, Kusum Kanguru and Thamserku. Once you past Namche Bazaar you are in almost always in direct view of Everest or one of the other giant peaks like Ama Dablam, Pumori, Nuptse, Lhotse, Cholatse, Lobuche. Asides from Everest, my favorite peaks in the region are Ama Dablam and Pumori (see the photos).

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Re: Nepal

Post by Homerj » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:55 pm

No I have not....I simply am going by doing both treks and by the overwhelming consensus of people I met after wards who agreed with me.
The OP was asking our opinions, not Google's.
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Re: Nepal

Post by muthafunky » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:30 pm

Ok, well in my opinion - having also done both treks - what you write does not resonate with my own personal experience or the experience of other folks I've met, or reviews of what you see online or what you see in travel books, or what you see in Google Earth, Google Earth VR, or by looking at photos of the trails.

Namely that Everest Base Camp is "a boring slog" or that you have "small opportunities to see the big hill thru the clouds" or even that "AC [is] 1000% better than EBC". I don't really believe that everyone you met who did both thinks those things either. You may well have preferred Annapurna - and I'm sure many people do - but your descriptions do not ring true and make me wonder if you actually did the trek.

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Re: Nepal

Post by Homerj » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:31 pm

muthafunky wrote:Ok, well in my opinion - having also done both treks - what you write does not resonate with my own personal experience or the experience of other folks I've met, or reviews of what you see online or what you see in travel books, or what you see in Google Earth, Google Earth VR, or by looking at photos of the trails.

Namely that Everest Base Camp is "a boring slog" or that you have "small opportunities to see the big hill thru the clouds" or even that "AC [is] 1000% better than EBC". I don't really believe that everyone you met who did both thinks those things either. You may well have preferred Annapurna - and I'm sure many people do - but your descriptions do not ring true and make me wonder if you actually did the trek.


Shall I post pics....why the fuck do I care if u believe me or not?
I got a big one I took of Everest in my guest bedroom.
Your observations were not the same as mine, the fact that you have difficulty accepting this strikes me as being somewhat obtuse.
Don't like my opinion then fuck off.
Your opinion doesn't change my mind one bit.
AC was the better trek.
Now I understand that people don't like the new roads into AC but those did not exist when I did the circuit.
I've also subsequently googled and found out that like me others have had weather related issues with visability (like me) on the EBC.
I had the same issue at Denali where I didn't see the top of the fucking mountain once.
So for the last time I will reiterate, if given a choice to me it is no choice.
My experience to EBC was a slog, my AC trek was nothing short of awesome.
The fact that you have issues when someone actual questions your wisdom makes me laugh.
Toughen up buttercup.
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Re: Nepal

Post by muthafunky » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:02 pm

Oh, what a big man you are!

In any case, this is a travel advice forum, so telling people interested in Nepal that trekking to Everest is "a boring slog" or that you have "small opportunities to see the big hill thru the clouds" or even that "AC [is] 1000% better than EBC" is awful and incorrect advice, again based on my own personal experience and the experience of other folks I've met, and reviews of what you see online and what you see in travel books, and what you see in Google Earth, Google Earth VR, and by looking at photos of the trails.

Or you can trust Homer. OP has been warned!

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section8
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Re: Nepal

Post by section8 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:10 am

One of my jobs is analyzing visual resources. Now I want to visit both to see which is more scenic.

I was at a conference a couple of weeks ago and people were talking about how to incorporate VR as an analysis tool.
This is the only musical: the mouth. And hopefully the brain attached to the mouth. Right? The brain, more important than the mouth, is the brain. The brain is much more important.

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cuchulainn
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Re: Nepal

Post by cuchulainn » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:17 am

The Himalayas are the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen.

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Re: Nepal

Post by polardude1 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:45 pm

cuchulainn » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:17 am

The Himalayas are the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen

Try Patagonia in SA
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