Day 5 AC: Upper Pisang

The morning was absolutely beautiful in Chame!  The sun was shining through the valley and it was only 7:30am.  It’s also going to be a short day of about 8.5 miles with some rolling climbs.  We started our with a small climb out of Chame and then following the river were some small rolling dirt roads.  This day, we saw the giant mountains right in our face and it was magical.  Following the road wasn’t bad at all and we saw a few jeeps come by but not much dust since there must have been some little rain to dampen the roads.  We passed two small towns with a few guest houses, Thaleku and Bhratang then down to the river again crossing another suspension bridge.  There is always a climb out of any river because that is the bottom of the valley so what goes down must go up.  That is what they call the “Nepalese Flat,”  it’s always up and down.  The climb up reminded me of Big Basin Park at home with alpine trees.  The roots protruding from the soft muddy ground.  We stopped by a little store that sold trinkets so I got myself a Buddhist necklace called “mani” for good luck.  The necklace caught a lot of attention in the villages and the older ladies would direct me to a big prayer wheel to spin after touching my necklace.  The necklace is like a rosary for monks.  The top of the climb led us to a lodge filled village called Dhikur.  Most lodges had wifi connections and we were surprised at how big the town was.

We didn’t stop because just ahead the plains and a little bit of a side climb will be Upper Pisang.  We can see Lower Pisang immediately from afar and the stretch of lodges spread out a long ways.  The climb to Upper Pisang traversed around the mountain and in the end we saw this little village with old brick buildings where the locals live.  A few lodges were higher up which required a few more hundred meters of steep climbing.  The wind was blowing pretty good and the lodge we picked was staring in front of Annapurna II, absolutely beautiful and magical.  Doug can’t stop admiring the lodge we picked.  It looked really new and what I love about it is the wood they used to build the tea house.  It reminded me of a log cabin up in the mountains.  The room we got once again had an attached bathroom for a discount and this time instead of 700 rupees, we got it for 300 rupees.  The room is on the edge of the lodge and overlooking Lower Pisang and Annapurna II right in our face.

We ordered ramen noodles and split Tibetan bread for lunch along with milk tea.  It was really a nice day, short trek and Upper Pisang is a beautiful place to stop for the night.  It is definitely a place not to be missed in the Annapurna Circuit.  Hotel Kailash is a must stay place also.  We were welcomed with a smile and good service.  The menu is reasonable and as expected, prices go up as we get higher.  Milk teas now can be around 500 rupees for a small pot that is good for about 3-4 cups for each person.  Down lower, we can get a small pot of milk tea for about 150 rupees. The prices of food are about the same actually but certain foods are pricier once we get higher.  We try to stick with local foods like dhal baht or anything with local ingredients like potatoes or Tibetan breads which is much cheaper than western style foods like “pizza” or “spaghetti.”  Although their macaroni dishes seemed pretty reasonable.  Some of their pricing on the menu is hard to get.  There is no logical explanations of how food is priced.

We hung out at the dining room because the sun was keeping the room really warm and cozy.  Our room included charging for free meaning we get to charge up our mobile phones, computer and my watch.  There is no Wifi in this lodge unfortunately but with all the other good stuff specially the view, we can live with Wifi for one day before we head to Manang which is a bigger town with better amenities.  The other lodges around us do offer Wifi but the lodge we picked felt really cozy and we like it a lot overall.  We really liked the owner, i.e. chef as well as he always brings a big smile each time we see him or whenever he brings us the food we ordered.  There’s only one other guest with his porter in the lodge.

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