In the past decade, people reduced their travel during festivals and failed to make the most of their vacations, thus missing out on valuable travel experiences and memories. Many dedicated excessive time to work, neglecting the vacations they had earned. Some went on vacations but chose to stay at home, while those who traveled reported greater happiness and returned to work with increased productivity. Happier and more productive individuals produce better results. Nowadays, people prioritize exploration and effectively manage their time.
We plan to embark on the newly opened Kori (3800m) Trek in the Annapurna Region, starting from Sikles and heading to Kori. It’s an adventure post-Dashain Tika, and I’m excited to travel with my teammates.
Pappu forgot his trekking gear in Kathmandu – unbelievable! We’re now shopping in Pokhara, taking our time to bargain since our Sikles hotel is booked. I’ve been in touch with the renowned guide, ‘Maila Dai,’ and we’ve already arranged dinner and two rooms for the evening. Sikles requires hiring a guide, and we booked Maila Dai a month ago.
Sikles (Sick-Less), a beautiful indigenous Gurung Village
Once upon a time, in the Kaski district, a group of foreigners embarked on a journey to explore the beautiful indigenous Gurung village. During their stay, they were pleasantly surprised to find very few sick people in this place. They jokingly called it “Sick-Less,” and the locals adopted the name as Sikles. Whether it was a fact or just another myth remained uncertain.
Argument with Maila Dai
We arrived in Sikles at 8:00 pm, only to discover that there were no rooms available for us to stay in, and there was no food to eat. The argument with ‘Maila Dai’ was frustrating. We had booked the hotel a month in advance, but it seemed that we had lost our reservation. During the Nepali festival of “Dashain,” Sikles resembled the bustling Ason Bazaar of Kathmandu, teeming with people.
After the argument, we set out in search of accommodation. Eventually, we managed to secure two rooms in two different hotels. Having no other choice, the girls stayed in one hotel, and the boys stayed in another. We freshened up, had dinner that night, but hardly anyone got a good night’s sleep due to the heavy rain. In the darkness, we discussed the possibility of the rain continuing into the next day and wondered if we could continue our trek.
The next morning greeted us with clear skies. We enjoyed our coffee and invited our two female trekking partners Jiswan & Gauri to join us for breakfast at our hotel, the “Sikles Guest House” owned by Surendra Gurung, also known as Paras. After our dispute with Maila Dai the previous night, we chose to change our guide and brought Man Bahadur Gurung on board.
Sikles to Tasha Kharka
The Sikles trail winds through lush forests, rugged terrain, and scenic villages, providing a brief escape from city life amid unpredictable Himalayan weather. Meeting the welcoming Gurung locals is a trek highlight.
Trek from Sikles to Tashakharka for a unique blend of nature, culture, and adventure, offering a chance to disconnect and immerse in Gurung traditions. This off-the-beaten-path Nepal trek is a hidden gem, taking you on an unforgettable journey through Nepal’s heart. Keep in mind, as you progress, amenities become scarce, making it a true wilderness adventure.
Arrived at Tasha Kharka, where there’s just one tea house. Accommodation is affordable if you dine there, and since there are no other dining options, it works out fine. The focus is on food, not lodging cost, and we were grateful for a place to sleep and eat.
Our dining choices are limited to dal bhat or noodles. We suggest dal bhat. Understandably, the challenges of transportation cause food costs to rise with altitude.
Concerned about the rain and the next day’s trek, we debated whether to continue or stay in Tasha Kharka. Fortunately, the next morning brought no rain. We enjoyed a breakfast of noodles at a goat farm. Man Bahadur Gurung (Guide/Porter) advised us to pack leftover rice from yesterday for lunch because other options were scarce.
Tasha Kharka to Kori Danda
As we trekked uphill on a deserted rocky path, the sound of “कुखुरीका” (Cock-a-doodle-doo!) echoed. Our guide/porter had a live rooster hidden in his “doko” (traditional bamboo basket) for dinner, exciting everyone with the prospect of a chicken meal.
Despite our anticipation for chicken, we ended up eating the packed lunch, improvising with plastic containers as there were no plates or utensils. Our meal was essentially a concoction of fried rice with various ingredients, humorously dubbed “fried rice.” Alongside this unique meal, we relished two pieces of sukuti (dry meat) and a boiled egg, similar to how street children in Kathmandu eat. While I won’t delve into the lunch details, it was an experience filled with unexpected joy.
Reaching our first 3000m altitude mark in the Kori Journey, we’ve entered a high-altitude terrain. One thing to remember: treks are always challenging, especially in the rain.
Our uphill journey for the day ended as we reached Kori, descending through a serene jungle. Our night’s shelter awaited at 3800m altitude, amid heavy rain. It was small, but our hearts were big, so we made it work. The porter cooked dinner, and we gathered around the campfire, sharing drinks and stories. Later, we settled into our tents after a Chicken Rice meal, concluding the tale of “कुखुरीका.”
Kori Danda to Sikles but Lost
We woke up early, fearing that the rain had damaged everything. To our surprise, the morning briefly revealed the Annapurna and Lamjung Mountains before the clouds hid them again. After breakfast, we began our descent from Kori back to Sikles.
The route was easy, and we had lunch from our backpacks in the jungle because there were no shops or hotels. It was a quiet day with hardly any other trekkers around. Dinner awaited us in Sikles, so we didn’t waste any time and continued our journey.
At Notha, we faced a scary moment when a flood washed away a bridge, but we all stayed safe, reminded of nature’s power. We found shelter with Man Bahadur Tamang, the only Tamang in the area, just minutes before reaching the damaged bridge. With two hours left to Sikles and rain pouring, we decided not to take the same route back. Proud Nepalis, we were determined to find a new route. It was nearly 4 pm, and Man Bahadur Tamang, the shelter owner, suggested resting for the day and exploring tomorrow. . We agreed to his suggestion, as did Man Bahadur Gurung, our guide.
Two hours away from Sikles, we found ourselves stranded in the jungle due to a flood. Hungry and with no place to sleep. Man Bahadur Tamang suggested buying a goat for dinner at Rs. 2,800, but we opted for chicken since it was the same price. We joked about the Nepali saying “न खाउ भने दिन भरको सिकर खाउ भने कञ्चा बा को अनुहार” emphasizing the importance of regular meals. Man Bahadur prepared chicken barbecue without any additional ingredients, not even salt. No ratings were given for this culinary adventure. We adjusted our night in the shelter of Man Bahadur Tamang.
Story of Man Bahadur Tamang, the only tamang in gurung community
For 33 years, Man Bahadur Tamang has stayed in Sikles after coming with the ACAP team, never returning to his hometown in Dhading. Despite family requests, his visit back was unrecognizable to the next generation. At 68 and unmarried, he considers the villagers his family and won’t go home. His duty is moving cattle seasonally.
Arranging treks with guides and porters may seem costly but is surprisingly affordable. The route is easy to navigate, well-marked, and contributes to the local economy.
Lost in the Jungle
We embarked on a new route with our guide, Man Bahadur Gurung. After a 30-minute jungle walk, Man Bahadur Tamang directed us along an untraveled path. Fearful of leeches, insects, and bears, we explored for an hour but got lost. Panic set in, and some suggested returning the same way. Determined, we persevered as proud Gorkhalis. After 4-5 hours, we finally found a path, with Sujan capturing it all through his photography skills, despite our discomfort.
Hikers are missing!
En route to Sikles, we repeatedly heard a story about two female and three male hikers missing in the jungle, possibly due to flooding or a bear encounter. We kept hearing this tale throughout our journey. The rumor stemmed from Paras Gurung at Sikles Guest House, where we had a reservation. Since we didn’t arrive that night and had no network connection, he had informed everyone, leading to us being labeled as missing persons as we walked through Sikles village.
Back to Sikles
After a nine-to-ten-hour trek, we reached Sikles Guest House. We freshened up, shared snacks, cracked jokes, and settled down with a meal of daal bhat before a good night’s sleep.
Back to Home
The next morning, we explored Sikles village and its museum, had breakfast, and packed our bags into the jeep. While chatting with the driver, we heard the same missing persons story again and burst into laughter. In conclusion, काग् ले कान् लाग्यो ……
Travel experiences based on October 2021 Kori Trekking