Interview with Melinda Briend-Marchal about her family trek in Nepal
Please us about yourself and your family
We are a couple in our early forties with 2 girls, 6 and 7 years old. We live in Phuket, Thailand. We are all active and fit, we like nature, silence and remote trails. My mum (Living in Paris, France, early sixties, fit condition too) joined us for this trip.
You visited Nepal with your family, including your 6 and 7 year old kids. What did you do? Please tell us about the experience.
We signed up for a 5 days Ghandruk trek. Before we visited Nepal, we did treks with the kids, but never more than 3-4 hours walk on only 1 day, with a week of rest minimum in-between. It was the first time for the children to trek/walk 5 hours per day 4 days in a row.
Please tell us about your trek
Day 1: We arrived in Kathmandu at night. We were picked up from the airport and transported to an absolutely amazing hotel, the Inn at Patan, with traditional architecture, and built from wood and bricks.
Day 2: The plan was to fly to Pokhara, but because of weather conditions, we waited in the airport for about 5 hours. We ended up traveling to the trailhead near Pokhara by mini-van, as the weather hadn’t improved.
The 6 hour drive was long and exhausting, but it gave us an interesting view on Kathmandu, the surroundings and then amazing countryside, which we obviously would have missed if we had traveled by plane.
Day 3 : We started the trek. The trails were easy to follow because of the stone steps. On this day the trails were alternatively quite steep and flat which gave us resting time. The first half of the day the weather was beautiful but around 3pm we had a huge unexpected storm, with showers (thumb size). The kids and my husband had appropriate equipment, but my mum and I didn’t bring it and we got a bit cold. Our guide and porters offered their equipment, but we didn’t want them to get wet. Luckily, we stopped at a shelter and were nicely invited in a local villager’s house were a house fire got us dry, and the kind Nepalese living there offered us hot tea. After the worst of the storm was gone, we continued and reached our own teahouse just few minutes away.
That day we walk around 5 hours.
Day 4: The first half of the day was cool and flat. But the second half of the day the trail went down the valley then up again: Very steep and quite difficult. Not for the kids who were jumping from rocks to rocks like goats, but for me as I experiences pain in my knee while descending and on the way up it was hard for my mum who suffered a bit from mountain sickness and was running out of breath. We had to pause frequently.
But we made it and reached Landruk before dark.
That day took us around 6-7 hours.
Day 5: We went back down to Pokhara, walking first (2-3h) then with the jeep.
Then we took the plane back to Kathmandu
Day 6: We walked all day through Kathmandu and visited temples, markets and a nice garden (oasis in such a busy city).
We flew back home in the evening.
Was the experience as expected or were there surprises? What was different vs your expectations?
Overall everything went as expected. Teahouse cleanliness were less than expected, in regards to bed sheets that are obviously not washed after each stay.
What were the highlights of your trip?
Kindness and professionalism of our guide and carriers, the quietness of the mountains, and the breathtaking landscapes.
Was there anything that was challenging?
The food: We found that there was not enough vegetables and fruit for us. But we learned that Nepal was under a blockade from India which explains the lack of some products.
Do you have any tips for families who are considering coming to Nepal? Any specific things to pack? Any tips about what kinds of activities to do?
1- Don’t forget a raincoat (or simply a big garbage bag) that can keep you dry in case of unexpected rain, even if it’s not the rainy season!
2- Don’t spare the expense of good trekking shoes, especially for kids. We met another family whom deeply regretted that their kids had simple trainers. I blessed myself for spending on the kids shoes as they fully enjoyed their trek.
3- Get a card game! we had great fun playing with our guide and porters during evenings in the teahouse!
Melinda and her family booked their trip with kimkim, a travel company specialized in organizing custom treks in Nepal and other adventurous destinations. If you’re interested in learning more, check out their overview article on trekking in Nepal.