Gokyo - Chola Pass - EBC Trek / Bhutan Tour with Nepal Social Trek
We chose the more challenging and longer route to EBC via Gokyo and Chola-Pass, our guide Achut was the perfect companion, he made sure we stayed safe throughout the trek and that we get proper rest in the well-chosen hotels/tea houses. The trek via Gokyo is very beautiful and it’s worth adding a few days more to the regular EBC trek. When we had to cross Chola Pass we were very unlucky with the weather, it started to snow heavily when we started to hike up the pass. The hike was very steep on ice and fresh snow, we were glad that Achut with his experience was not afraid and helped us to reach the top safely (he pulled us more or less up the pass). Going down over the glacier was not less scary, especially since we could not see a path, since we already trekked with Achut for many days we fully trusted in his abilities to get us safe through the ice field and the most dangerous portion of our trek.
Achut knows the Khumbu region very well and has a lot of stories to share, which was very entertaining during the many hours on the trails. When our porter became sick (AMS) and we couldn’t find a porter for hire in the mountains, Achut was willingly carrying our baggage for three days (luckily we packed light and only had 16kg together as a couple, and we loaded a few heavier items in our day-packs for that period). All in all we felt very well look after by Achut. I would recommend all trekker to hire a guide and a porter for the trek to EBC (no matter which route), as this ensures you don’t have to worry about accommodation, heavy load on your back (we have seen many people suffering carrying all their luggage) and the days planning, but you can just enjoy the beauty of Khumbu.
If we would do this trek again we would again book the tour package with Nepal Social Trek (which included all meals, the tea with the meal, accommodation, permits, flights KTM-Lukla-KTM, porter, guide) as it makes the trek less troublesome and we only needed to carry cash for any luxury we wanted in the mountains (for example cookies from an amazing bakery on Gokyo).
After our return to Kathmandu from the lengthy and exhausting trek we stayed 3 nights in the city to relax and get used to civilization again :)
Our Bhutan trip was also fully organized by Ram and Sajana, who briefed us with the details for the trip the day prior to the departure. Again we booked a package which included flights (KTM-Paro-KTM), accommodation, meals, guide, driver, permits and visas. Everything went very smooth in Bhutan, our guide (Mr. Namgay) and driver (Mr. Tobden) [as a foreigner it is required to be accompanied by a guide and a driver in Bhutan] picked us up from the airport and our cultural tour through beautiful Bhutan started immediately. Mr. Namgay and Mr. Tobden were dressed in the Bhutanese traditional dress Gho and welcomed us with the traditional Khata (Buddhist scarf, representing well-wished). Throughout our 4 days in Bhutan we were able to learn a lot about wonderful Bhutan and the Bhutanese people. This country is full of culture, Bhutan is certainly worth a visit. Although after 2 days of visiting fortresses, monasteries and temples it is very difficult to follow all the explanations of the statues and paintings throughout, but the beauty is still amazing. Ram and Sajana organized everything very well.
Many thanks to all friends from Nepal Social Trek, we had a great time under your care :)