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Nepal – Kathmandu to Jiri to Sete – 1st/4th March

Prior to leaving Kathmandu we had arranged to leave one of our bigger bags at Pilgrims Guesthouse and we also took advantage of their free security safes at the desk and hid away our valuables. The return date written on our bag was for around the 22nd March, 21 days away! EEK!

We had a taxi pick up booked for 5.15am to take us to the main bus station for our Super Express Bus to Jiri at 6am. It was a little confusing in the dark as to which one our bus was but after asking around and a small tip to one of the vendors we found the Jiri bound bus and opted to take the first two seats behind the driver. We mainly did this so that we had space for our backpacks. One thing we’d forgotten to mention was that we weighed our packs the night before and we were at around 15kg’s each, perhaps a little too heavy!

The bus ride to Jiri was actually okay, the driver was perhaps a little crazy but he knew the roads well and we were on the Super Express after all! We had anticipated around 8-10 hours for the 190km journey but we arrived in 7.5, and this was with a fast couple of toilet breaks, an excellent stop for Dhal Baht and a small automotive repair on the roadside.

Jiri sits at 1600m and it’s quite a bustling village and we opted for the Cherdunna Hotel and Lodge which was our first taste of the basic lodges we would encounter on our trek. We enjoyed our brief time in Jiri taking in the Stupa and village overlook whilst enjoying our first trekking meal of vegetable momo’s and noodle soup. The owners are really friendly at this place and even turned on the British commentated tennis match that was taking place on TV.

There were a few French-men on our bus who were ready for a big trek and we knew that when we started out our first day of trekking the next day we wouldn’t be seeing them for a while. The route itself is easy to find and thanks to the Cicerone Everest Guide to trekking in the region we had a really well described guide to the trail. There is a big blue sign and an orange dot that marks the start of the trail and so that was that, we were on our way to Namche in the Mid-hills.

Here’s how we did the first 4 days of our trek from Jiri to Sete:

  • Day one: Jiri to Shivalya – 4 hours with a high point of 2400m

Many people go further than this but we wanted to see how we would get on with the backpacks and it seemed like a logical place to stop. This first day of walking was beautiful, we were surrounded by terraces, farmland and views of the valleys around. We walked through more smaller villages along the way and were welcomed by many orange/red circles which indicated the trail. We did get it wrong a few times though and locals came along to point us in the right direction. In particular at Mali when we managed to miss the path completely but were called back by some happy homeowners who sent us on the correct steep downwards path. We also had our first glimpse of snow-peaked mountains in the distance, we had a long way to go yet!

We crossed over a swing bridge and then as we approached Shivalaya we crossed another swing bridge which took us straight over to The river Guest House, located on the right as your enter the village. For 100rupees we had a room and we opted for a deal baht lunch with noodle soup later on. We met a handful of trekkers, some were pushing on quickly whilst others were already dealing with stomach bugs. Shivalaya is a picturesque village and we managed to buy ourselves a few bananas and suntala (oranges) for the next day.

  • Day two: Shivalaya to Bhandar – 5 hours with a high point of 2705m

We were up early and trekking by 7.30am after a sound breakfast of porridge and bananas. So far our bills were low and we were paying around 1500-2000 rupees for accommodation and food. The first section when leaving Shivalaya (still accompanied with orange circles for the trail marking) is steep and gave us a good taste of what lied ahead of us. We once again enjoyed fine views back down the valley and to the village before making our way over and beyond to a high point at 2705m for lunch in Deorali. From here we looked down upon Bhandar which was our next port of call.

In total we trekked for 5 hours including the lunch break and we wound up in Bhandar at 1pm choosing the Shobha Tea House and Lodge. The lady owner here is quite a character and a little pushy but we were happy to be led into making our dinner order. This time we had one daal baht and a potato curry, no frills here though and a potato curry is what it says on the tin! We had our first encounter with a group of lads from Singapore and we had a feeling we would be bumping into them along the way. Bhandar village has a lot of charm and the locals are really friendly, the group of girls were more than willing to pose for the camera.

  • Day three: Bhandar to Sete – 6 hours with a high point of 2575m

We started out fairly easy on day 3 although we knew some of the worst was to come today! The hike from Bhandar is downhill and fairly easy, especially after some tasty apple porridge for breakfast. We found the trail once more and took a few hours to get to Kenja, this could be another stop over point for trekkers but we were prepared to start the steep climb to Sete in order to break up a big hike over the next few days. We met the Singapore lads again in Kenja who were worried that they were going too slow.

Lunch was at The Buddah Lodge in Kenja, where we sat and watched the locals prepare for a market and we found some more suntala to boost the non-existent fruit intake. The food was good and cheap and we were ready to start more steep climbing upwards to Sete. This is where we would say it got tough! For 3 hours we were hiking up a steep hill which was relentless, dry and hot. We also knew by this point that we were carrying too much gear and so this made us grumble a little! Still you can’t help but be rewarded by the views over the valleys. We passed porters carrying goods up and down hill and again saw some of the Himalaya mountain range far far away.

We opted for Sete as our overnight stay at this point and arrived at around 2.30pm, greeted by a friendly American couple who we’d seen sign in on the check point sheets. They were moving on upwards but we thought we’d see them again also! So the Singapore lads carried on and we enjoyed a very nice afternoon on the terrace of The Everest View Lodge, looking out over the distant hills and close-by terraces. This was accompanied with a pot of milk tea and a warm foot bath. The family at Everest View are really friendly, we enjoyed more Dhal Baht and an apple pie, something that is commonly on the menus in this part of the world. The rooms at Everest View are really basic and we were happy to be the only guests staying as the rooms are packed in with lots of gaps all around.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0, 18mm f4, 90mm Tele-Elmarit f2.8 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

Related posts that may be of interest to you:

  1. Nepal – Sete to Bupsa – 5th/8th March Day four and five: Sete to Junbessi (rest day) with a high point at Lamjura La 3530m The upwards slog from Sete continued for a...
  2. Nepal – Lukla to Kathmandu – 22nd March Day 21: Flight out of Lukla to Kathmandu Up early and ready for our exhilarating flight leaving the Himalayas behind and arriving back in Kathmandu...
  3. Nepal – Kathmandu – 23rd-26th March For our final few days left in Nepal we spent the majority of our time recuperating after the trek. Once we had our Indian visas...
  4. Nepal – Kathmandu – 27th/29th Feb There was some misunderstanding between us and Pilgrim’s Guesthouse in Kathmandu; we’d tried to book a room but didn’t have any response and so when...


  1. jan
    Posted 4 Apr ’12 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    lots of interesting content – some journey,

  2. Ali Piotrowska
    Posted 4 Apr ’12 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    ahhh takes me back x

  3. Jill
    Posted 5 Apr ’12 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    Everything looks wonderful. I wish I was young again so I could do the trek. The variety of photos you select really helps me feel that I am there.

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