Where to go between our visits to India, this was our question. We were lingering between Nepal and Sri Lanka, in the end we choose Nepal. We had a bit more interest in visiting Nepal, so when we found a cheaper flight deal we bought them.
The mountainous country was inviting us to explore it. As we were not physically fit enough to conquer the Everest base camp and we were almost sure our knees and my old ankle injury wont hold the hike to Annapurna base camp, we opted for a shorter hike.
Originally I was prepared to do a two day hike, as to not push my ankle too far, but I did welcome Tan to do a longer trek without me. I would station myself in a room by the lake, like a hermit cuddled in a hole, to do my next writing assignment for a writing course and write a story or two for a book. Somehow this plan was put aside when our friends told us about the Poon Hill trek. It sounded like a trek that would not be as strenuous on our joints and we would not be too far from medical attention if needed. So we bought ourselves knee braces, hiking poles, and some extra pain relief pills in case we needed it, and then we went.
To make sure we are on budget we sorted our individual hiker permits, as we decided we are not taking a guide nor a porter. It just was not needed for such simple circuit (Gorepani-Poon Hill-Ghandruk) and we were able to leave our main bags in a guest house in Pokhara. We tried our best to have an early start on a daily basis so we opted out of having breakfasts in tea houses, instead we brought tea bags, cookies, PB, and energy bars to start our day with. Our early start gave us an early arrival to each of the villages, which meant we had more room & time to bargain. We slept for free, as long as we ate two warm meals at the guesthouses, and these were exactly the deals we were happy with.
As we spent 17 days in Nepal, we had to take a 30 day visa on arrival. The hike took us 5 days as Tan got a 12 hour vomit eruption that exhausted him. So we stayed put for a day. The rest of the time was, spent in Pokhara and Kathmandu area. We visited few attractions in and around, that required small entrance fee, and the rest was spent on food. Accommodation was mostly a basic double room, which needed some hard bargaining in Kathmandu which included a free drop off at the airport on the last day. We mostly used public transport and only took a taxi from the airport and on the first and last day of the hike. On first day of the hike, we took a taxi to the bus stand and the last day we took a discounted taxi from Naya Pol to Pokhara for barely any more than the cost of the bus. Our driver really wanted to get back home early.
Our estimated budget for Nepal was 16.00 GBP per person per day as a mixed budget. In reality I do believe we were on a mixed budget as we were eating in slightly better restaurants and had regular chocolate and alcohol treats. In our daily cost we included the permits and gear (poles, gloves, socks, knee braces, etc.) even though in the past we would mark such costs as extra/luxurious activity out of the main budget. But as most people go to Nepal for at least one hike and it does not add too much to the budget, we decided to keep it in our daily cost.
COST PER STAY
Sum per person including visa
Estimated total cost: 402.00 GBP
Actual cost: 262.11 GBP
Off budget: + 139.89 GBP
COST PER DAY (per person)
Estimated per day: 16.00 GBP (+ visa of 26.00 GBP each) MIXED BUDGET
Actual cost: 14.56 GBP (includes visa cost) MIXED BUDGET