As avid walkers, and now with a toddler in tow, the thought of a trekking holiday couldn’t have been further from our mind. Taking our son for a walk to the local shop was a slow and arduous task, so a walking holiday….forget it!
But if this sounds like you then think again, because if you head to Nepal, a family trekking holiday is very feasible and simple to organise.
If you trek on any of the popular routes it’s standard practise to hire a guide and a sherpa to carry your rucksacks and sleeping gear. These sherpas are incredibly fit, and it’s not unusual for a 55kg man to carry up to 70kg on his back AND make the steep climbs look easy.
So that’s exactly what we did. We hired an additional sherpa (circa USD20 per day) to carry our then 3 year old, and at 16kg he was light relief compared to their normal 50kg plus loads.
Prior to leaving our then home of Kuala Lumpur, we had desperately tried to find a decent framed child carrier, but to no avail. And as we found out, trying to hire or buy a safe carrier in Nepal was impossible. As we had no means to carry our son, and a piggy back didn’t seem like the logical solution, we opted for the traditional Nepalese method – the wicker basket.
- Take one basket.
- Cut a hole out for the legs
- Thread a thin rope through the wicker to create a long loop.
- Add a soft fabric band to wear around the forehead
- Add padding to the base of the basket.
- = one child carrier
Although it looked a bit archaic, our son absolutely loved the basket. He had a great panoramic view from a comfortable vantage point and it was easy for us to walk by the side of him. It was also cozy enough for him to sleep for hours at a time, lulled by the stride of Sudi, who was carrying him.
The Poon Hill trek is the most picturesque short trek in Nepal. Taking 5 days/4 nights it makes it a feasible trek for families, particularly as there are plenty of much needed tea house refreshment stops.
But don’t underestimate the need for a certain level of fitness. My husband couldn’t help giving me the ‘I told you so look’ when I was struggling to catch my breath on the steep incline on day two of the circuit. I’d thought I was in quite good shape and had ignored his advice to spend a few months building up my fitness and the strength in my legs. But as I huffed and puffed my way up the 6,000 plus uneven steps weaving steeply up the mountain, I couldn’t help wishing that I’d followed his advice. Hindsight is a wondrous thing!
I’m going to let the photos will do the talking, but in summary the circuit takes you on a 2 day hike in Ghorepani, with a stunning sunrise trek up to the top of Poon Hill (3,500 metres) on day 3. The views of the Himalayan peaks are breathtaking and worth the 4.00am early start. The descent takes you through Tadapani and Ghandruk (or Jhinu) and then back to Nayapul.
I hoe that this blog post inspires you to consider a holiday that you may have thought was not feasible. Nepal stands out as being one of our favourite adventure holidays and we hope to go back and explore again.
There are many Nepalese trekking companies online. Do plenty of research before you go to get a feeling of the different offerings and prior to booking ask the company to confirm in writing that the guide they recommend is fully trained in first aid and experienced in taking children.