If you would like to explore Nepal and get off the beaten track without going to high altitude, meet the people and see the magnificent countryside and life as it really is without hordes of tourists then the Indigenous People's Trail organised by the Swiss Family Treks is a perfect choice.
We are a middle aged couple Ian and Beth Cummings from the Shetland Islands who love travelling and had always wanted to visit Nepal.
Stephan and his team at Swiss Family arranged our pick up from the airport to our comfortable hotel where we spent our first three nights and also the last night on our return from the trek. We spent two lovely days with our guide Deepak who was very knowledgeable about the history and culture of Nepal exploring the sights of Kathmandu and the valley before heading to the remote mountains of the Ramechapp area for our 7 night trek.
Our driver Suresh was a very experienced, patient and careful driver coping with the unbelievable chaos of driving in Kathmandu and the challenge of the narrow mountain roads with ease!
Our guide Lalu and porter Ronik were a really great team! They were very friendly and were native to the area we were trekking and staying in with the Tamang people. We had a great time and lots of laughs with them!!
Lalu was a very experienced and knowledgeable guide with good English and a great sense of humour. He knew the countryside extremely well and could name all the mountains by sight and showed us many interesting things as we trekked. He knew most of the plants and crops and even showed us how sesame seeds grew amongst many other things. He translated during our trek and homestays so we could communicate and even taught us a few words in Tamang, much to the delight of our hosts. An excellent guide and very nice person!!
Ronik was a strong and enthusiastic porter with good English and a great sense of humour too. He often chatted to the Tamang people as we trekked finding out interesting things which he related to us and translated to the people in the villages and home-stays so we could communicate and also found some local shortcuts in the mountains and villages if we wanted to take them. He will make a very good guide in the future and is a very nice person!!
Lalu and Ronik got along really well and they made us feel very comfortable at all times. They tailored the difficulty of the trek to our ability which was very much appreciated especially by Beth who was slower on the steep uphill parts.
We stayed in 7 different places during our trek. The families were very friendly and welcoming and cooked us local food which was often their own produce. We ate the local staple, Dal Baht on several occasions with each host preparing it in their own unique way. A warm sleeping bag and several of layers of personal clothing is essential kit as it is often really warm during the day when you are trekking and turns very cold at night. A head torch is also a must as there is no mains electricity. You will need sun screen and we found baby wipes and good deodorant helpful as any water for washing is cold but homes will provide warm water heated on a fire at an extra charge to you if you wish. We didn't bother with such luxury :-) Please try to keep rubbish to a minimum and take a small plastic bag and carry any used wipes or rubbish with you in case the hosts can't dispose of it for you.
We had sightings of the majestic snow covered mountains of some of the major Himalayan ranges as we trekked through the steep tree clad and terraced mountains where the local Tamang people lived and grew their crops. We walked through and stayed in small villages where we were made very welcome and were often surrounded by curious smiling children some of whom had never seen a foreigner before. We ate home cooked food prepared and cooked by the fire and were offered the local drink Raksi (which was very welcome at Khola Kharka after a long hike up over Sailung) and even danced with some of the locals. Our trip ended up at the beautiful Sun Koshi river where we relaxed in warm sunshine with our feet in the cool water and were lucky enough to witness a gathering of hundreds of people for a religious ceremony at Nepal Tok before heading back to the Kathmandu area where we had a wonderful lunch and very welcome glass of wine with Stephan at his home in Pharping and met members of his family. Thank you!
A truly wonderful, humbling and unforgettable trek and experiences!!! Thank you Swiss Family Treks, Stephan, Lalu, Ronik, Suresh, Deepak, all the local host families and their friends and also the beautiful, curious, smiling children of the cities, mountains and villages of Nepal for making it so special.
Don't hesitate! Just go! It's worth it!!!!! Ian and Beth from Shetland Islands