Inside Tibet: The Friendship Highway. Daily Vlog: 45

We continue our journey along the interestingly named Friendship Highway which is a 800 kilometre Highway stretching from the Capital of Tibet, Lhasa to the Tibetan (Chinese)/ Nepalese Border at the China-Nepal Friendship Bridge between Zhangmu and Kodari.

Being on the Friendship Highway made me think. On this journey through Tibet I have made some life long friends, I have shared some incredible moments with these fellow travellers, I have left my family and friends back home and around the world to follow my dream and see Tibet for myself. I have rode the roller-coaster of emotions and have learnt so much about myself. Is that was this Friendship Highway was designed to do? Make you contemplate life, or is it Propaganda? A way for the Chinese Government to gloss over how they are treating the Tibetans, in an attempt to make it all seem ok?

Tattered Passport Tibet

Friendship Highway

As we approached the border I was lost with in my own thoughts. Soon I would be able to Skype home and speak to my wife, soon I would be free from the restraints that China has locked Tibet down with, soon I will be in Nepal, but am I ready for that? Am I ready to leave Tibet?

I soon realise that there is a fairly good chance that I will not return to Tibet. This could be my last time that I see this country, a country that has had such an impact on me, so much that I cant even place words in any form that would describe it. So what do I do?

Our bus reaches the end of the road, we can go no further, I can see the bridge, I can see the customs gates and all the Chinese Military holding some serious fire power. I am instructed to put away the camera, even though I would really like to show you the border I comply, these machine guns and the tension is a little intense. Our guide is stopped as we walk up to the gate and not allowed to go any further. We all say our good-byes and hope that our guide is safe.

As we crossed the Friendship Bridge I look down and see a line of bricks, symbolising the border. On the Tibetan side a Chinese Officer stands still, machine gun in hand, ready for action, a last reminder of Tibet, on the Nepalese side an officer leans against the handrail, smiling, welcoming us back into Nepal. I stop for a moment, still in Tibet, one last moment in this country. I quickly get told to move on by the machine gun holding officer, and into Nepal I enter.

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Peace Out,


Inside Tibet: Daily Vlog 35

Inside Tibet

Today I realise one of my lifelong dreams, today I reach a destination that has held my dreams, a place that has intrigued me for so long, today I reach Tibet.

I have no idea what awaits me, as a westerner I can only read articles about what is going on there, but how much of that can I really believe? How much of the stories that make headlines back here in Australia can I actually believe? What have the journalist from around the world been allowed to see and talk about?  My plan was to go and see this country for myself. See it with my own eyes and make my own mind up. What I saw amazed me, I didn’t know what to expect, but what I got, well please watch the next two weeks of my Tibet Vlogs to see what I saw, to see Inside Tibet.

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Bring Back Our Girls: Nepal Demonstration and Daily Vlog: 33

Finally I get a chilled out day, my days are always full on, adventure and exploring, such a hard life hey? So it was great to have a semi relaxing day. Saying that we did go visit the Pashupatanath Temple and walked through the villages until we found the Boudhanath Stupa.

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Pashipatnath Temple

The Pashupatinath Temple is Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple and is located on the banks of the Bagmati River 5 kilometres north-east of Kathmandu Valley.The entire precinct is on the UNESCO World Heritage sites list and is a place not to miss when visiting Kathmandu. It is full of colours, cows wonder free around the site and some interesting smells float around. The Bagmati River is considered sacred and many cremations happen here. The cremation happens in plain site, something slightly odd for westerners, however a sign of respect for the people of the temple. There are two spots for cremation inside the site, each side of the bridge, one for the people and the other side is for both rich people and people of importance. It was very strange to watch a cremation happen before our very own eyes. I new I was allowed to watch but I still did feel uneasy, like I should not of been there, like i was intruding in on a grieving families special moment to say goodbye. Could you imagine in Australia, just a bunch of random people hanging around and watching your parents funeral? It was interesting to see the deceased person treated with the upmost respect, they were washed in the sacred water, covered in beautiful colours and surrounded by their family. It was beautiful moment, but I could not shake the feeling that I should not of been there, so we hit the road and went looking for the Boudhanath Stupa.

We had a map and decided it would an adventure to walk there. So we followed the map through the local neighbourhoods, all the local kids were very intrigued at these foreigners walking through their neighbourhood they would all come out and say “Hi”, I got the impression that might of been the only english word that they new, as they would say it over and over again. We didn’t feel uneasy in this area, it did look very rough and extremely poor, so I didn’t pull out my camera, you just never know and I don’t like to attract unwanted attention. However I could not resist when we came across an empty paddock full of mature Marijuana plants just growing wild. They were huge and you could really smell them. So we snapped a few photos for fun and went on our way. I did not want to hang around there for to long, as I believed that the plants even though they looked to be wild, probably “belonged” to someone and they most likely would not want to me to be mucking around them.

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Weed grows everywhere

We soon made it to the Stupa, and it was packed as always, It was my 2nd time here now. I always get this chilled out vibe when i enter a Buddhist site, today was no exception. The prayer flags, peacefully waving in the breeze and the beautiful sound of “Om Mani Padme Hum” playing from almost every shop, just created a beautiful atmosphere. As we walked around the corner there was a small peaceful demonstration happening. This was at the time that the young girls from Nigeria had just been stolen by the brutal Nigerian Terrorist group Boko Haram. It was chilling to hear about the abduction and then seeing this group of young people was amazing. The group attracted an audience and I am certain a large Social Media hit. #bringbackourgirls

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Boudhanath Stupa

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Tour Review: World Expeditions Everest Base Camp Circuit.

World Expeditions come with almost 30 years experience in the adventure travel industry and are self proclaimed to be recognised in responsible tourism initiatives, which I must admit did catch my eye. After many hours of research over the net as well as a couple of information nights I decided to go with World Expeditions.

There are many travel companies that operate in Nepal that offer very similar itineraries and experiences with largely varying prices. So I wondered why the large differences in costs? World Ex is not the cheapest, in fact I would say that they are one of the more expensive ones.

The World Ex. EBC. Circuit at $2,690.00 (18days) sounds a little higher than the Intrepid equivalent at $2,425.00. (20 days). Now I am not going to do a comparison as I have not trekked with Intrepid, however I have toured with Intrepid through Tibet. The World Ex trek is a fully catered trek, this means you get supplied, breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every night, the only nights that food is not included are those in Kathmandu. Keeping your energy levels up whilst trekking is vitally important to both your health and your ability to enjoy the trek. World Ex food, to put it simply, is astoundingly good. We never went hungry and the Chief suprised us every day. What he was able to prepare, sometimes with nothing other than a camp stove and cooking on a tarp in a frozen and windy valley was amazing. One night we actually had a full on Italian night, with pizza and spaghetti. I understand that this is not a traditional Nepalese cuisine, and for some that in it self would stop you choosing a certain tour. I am all for and normally do eat, local cuisine, however we found whilst trekking, eating food that you are used to back home is a great way to ensure that you stay healthy and keep the dreaded travellers belly at bay. This is not something that you welcome when the best toilet around is a hole in the ground.

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Breakie Alfresco

When we landed in Nepal we were met at the Kathmandu International airport by a World Ex representative and assisted through the maze of people looking to help carry your baggage or drive you to where ever you need to go. The mini bus/ van is what you would expect in Nepal and we had no issues with it. If you are an adventure traveller you would not be disappointed by the lack of air-con, the seats were fine and I felt safe as the driver made his way through the chaos that is Kathmandu streets. The driver even stopped for us to take a few photo’s of some monkeys chasing us along a wall.

Once we arrived at the Raddisson Hotel, where all World Ex tours leave from we were greeted by super friendly door staff and I could say no bad things about the 5 star hotel. The place is super clean and tidy, the staff go out of there way to help you, the rooms are very spacious and there is free WiFi through out the hotel. They say that you are only aloud 1 free WiFi ticket, that last 24hrs but we were never questioned when we asked for a 2nd WiFi ticket. Kathmandu is known for its rolling blackouts that happen completely randomly at any time anywhere. However Raddisson is one of the only places that have a generator large enough to power the entire building so you only ever loose power for a matter of seconds before it is back on again. This is specially good when the power cuts out and you are in the lift heading up to your room.

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What a view? From the roof pool at the Radisson

The World Ex staff are suburb, our Tour Manager Prasant was out of this world helpful and a super bloke. He was so knowledgeable about all aspects of the Himalayas and was always ready to answer any question we could through at him. He was also brilliant in diagnosing one of our trekkers and organising her a Medi Vac out of Gokyo Ri. Even after the local doctor had said that she is fine and not to worry. Prasant had watched the trekker detereiate over the course of the day and decided to get her a helicopter out. We later found that she was diagnosed with HACE, High Altitude Cebral Oedema, essentially Prasant saved her life. This knowledge is worth ever cent you pay plus many many more. If you are like us and this is your first foray into trekking, it is worth going with a highly recognised tour group that has many years of experience. It may actually save your life.

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Day Tour, We visit the Boudhanath Stupa

The Kathmandu day tour, guide was a character, it was obvious he new the city well and was very passionate about his city, however none of us could understand a single word he said. He would talk so fast and with so much energy the story was lost. The World Ex hotel representative who is based at the Raddison to support World Ex customers is very good at his job, he can sort out anything you want from organising a fair cab price into the city, or to the post office on the other side of the city, to hotel transfers. However his customer service could do a with bit of work. He comes across grumpy and unwilling to help, which is actually the opposite to what he is. He can help and is really good at it, as the face of World Ex at the Raddisson this probably needs some attention.

The pre-deperture and post return assistance I believe to be what your would expect. World Ex offer information nights in most capital cities and these nights are great ways to easily ask information about the tour and get a better understanding of what you will need to get and do to prepare. World Ex do hand out a what to bring list, which is very comprehensive. However you pretty much need to leave most of the gear in Kathmandu due to the weight restriction of the planes that fly to Lukla. This did mean that we spent way more on gear than we needed and what we could actually take on the trek. I believe the list is most likely a generic list that they send out to all trekkers, a suggestion would be have a gear list suited for each trek. Any trek that flies through Lukla, you are restricted to 10kg in your trekking bag and 5kg in your day pack. The 10kg already includes nearly 6kg of supplied gear, including your sleeping bag, thermal liner and down jacket. So you are basically left with 4kg for 18days. Not a problem but the gear list that World Ex

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The World Expeditions bag

suggest weighed in somewhere around 15kg in itself. They do supply a really cool World Ex trekking bag that the porters carry and you are aloud to keep. The Hotel do supply a room to store your gear that you leave behind, however it is just a room where everyone stuff from all treks is kept and is not always locked, which is a little concerning, we did not have anything go missing and I have not heard of anyones stuff go missing.

The trek staff are some of the nicest and polite, hard working people I have ever met. You could imagine that in years gone passed porters were mistreated, leaving them to sleep in caves on the side of mountain in freezing weather and paid very poorly. This is now no longer the case, I am not blind and do believe these circumstances still happen. World Ex pay there staff according to the regulations set out by the “Trekking Agents Association of Nepal and the Labour Union of Nepal. They supply staff with three meals a day, accommodation mostly tents, appropriate foot ware, water proof clothing, warm garments, gloves, socks and sunglasses. Porters also receive Life and Income Protection Insurance, they have access to the same first aid equipment that the travellers have. The first aid kit and the PAC Portable Altitude Chamber were impressive to see and to realise that they were carried everywhere. One night the team gave us a demonstration of the PAC and explained to us how it works and what happens once you enter it.

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Portable Altitude Chamber

I would happily suggest World Expeditions to anyone thinking of trekking Nepal. I had such a great time and I felt safe in the knowledge that I was properly looked after by the World Ex team whilst in the mountains. The pre and post trek service I believe was what you would expect from a tour company. They support local people and the communities they pass through.

I have not received any form of payment for this review, it is the opinion of myself. I understand that others may have varying experiences of such tours, which I would love to hear about, so please feel free to comment below about your experiences with World Ex, or any tour company in the Himalayas.

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Lukla Airport Chaos, The Worlds Most Dangerous Airport. Daily Vlog: 22

Today we wake early full of anticipation, for today we leave the mountains and head back to Kathmandu. However as we found out yesterday many people had been stuck in Lukla for up to 7 days so the village was full of trekkers all wanting to get home so hopes were high.

I take a sneaky peek out of our window and I could see blue skies, however by the time that I walked down to the dinning room the clouds had rolled in and it was a thick as pea soup. It was not looking good, our tour manager Prasant was silently confident, he new this mountain better than anyone.

We got the call and we all rushed down to the airport caring everything we had. By the time we arrived it was obvious that the word had got out and the entire village full of trekkers were there all fighting to get on a plane. It was utter chaos, however what happened was something I would never of imagined would happen in such a peaceful and magical place. In amongst the chaos tempers rose to boiling point, voices were rising and heated words were exchanged. Right beside me a fight broke out between a couple of trekkers and the flight staff. It was a full on fight, with punches thrown, people getting knocked to the ground and the cops having to physically restrain the culprit.

Once we managed to get our way through bag checks and into the waiting room, we were able to relax. It was a mission to get through all that. Prasant came over and said “Now we wait”, and wait we did. Three hours in and we hear the call, “First Flight”. You could feel the energy lift in the room and we were all excited, we were actually going to get out and not be stuck here for days or even weeks. Watching the first plane land and take off was a strange feeling for me. One side I was well this trek is over and I was a little sad, then I was like well lucky we were not getting stuck here for weeks and at the same time I was feeling even more excited as I new I would soon be jumping on yet another plane and heading to Bhutan, it was a little bit of an emotional roller coaster. Then the actual roller coaster started, the flight down the mountain. It is a strange feeling in that plane, on the way up after take off all you do is climb, there is no levelling out at cruising altitude, then you land. Its even odder when you are returning to Kathmandu. You take off from Lukla and start to descend, almost your entire flight is downwards. You can feel it in your guts, really odd. Due to the clouds we were flying much lower and much closer to the mountains. This was both an incredible way to see the mountain, we got a real close up aerial view, however it did mean it was much, much more bumpy.

Once we landed in Kathmandu it was straight to the showers. We had not had a real shower for 18 days and were starting to be a little on the nose. So after a quick spruce up it was out to Kilroys for a last dinner and some celebrations, speeches, singing and later on some dancing.

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The crew Celebrating at Kilroys

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Moments of Trekking Solitude. Daily Vlog: 21

We make our way back to Lukla, the small village that our adventure started almost 3 weeks ago. Today is only a short trek, 2 and a bit hours from Ghat to Lukla, however it is all up hill. We start the day with a raffle, trekking style. We all donate any gear that we either no longer want, need or would like to donate to our crew. The gear gets laid out on a tarp and all the items have a playing card placed face up on them. Then all the crew members, Sherpa’s, Porters, Cook, and helpers get to pick a card from the deck and what ever item matches the card, they get to keep. As you could imagine not all the items that the crew get suit them personally, but this is fine, they can trade with the other crew members or sell the gear in Lukla and make some extra money. It is a great way to say an extra thanks to the crew that have helped us reach a huge goal and successfully return safe and sound.

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Sorry just had to take a pic of this tree

Todays trek is all up hill but it is only a short walk. We trek through some of the thickest clouds we have encountered on the trek so far, this worries us all as we have heard that no plane has landed in Lukla for over a week, we quickly realise that we to may get stuck in Lukla. The way that it works in Lukla is that if your scheduled flight is able to land and leave than it does, if it can not and you miss your flight, your are put the very back of the line and wait your turn. This can be days or even weeks. As you can imagine there is sweet FA to do in Lukla other than drink coffee at the local “Starbucks” or drink beer at one of the many pubs.

We slowly make our way up the mountain, the clouds quickly roll in, the air gets very damp and then it starts to rain, luckily only for a short while. We break the cloud level and we can see the gate that we passed through almost 3 weeks ago. It sits atop the last short climb. This gate was not only a gate to the Himalaya’s, for me it is a symbol of what I have just achieved a symbol of what our group have achieved. I know that I was a little emotional as I passed under the gate and I’m certain others would of felt the same.

Tattered Passport, Lukla

We make it!

18 days ago as we passed under that gate we had no idea what lay in front of us. I had no idea of the amazing friendships that I would build and the incredible people that I would meet. I had no idea of the breathtaking sites that I would see or those moments of trekking solitude that are some form of meditation that will change you forever. I am finding it hard to put into words what I learnt about myself on that mountain. I have been touched and I will never be the same.

Nepal I will never forget you.


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Special Episode: The Trekking Party.

Special Episode:
The Trekking Party.

We make it Ghat and get to celebrate our trek with our Sherpa’s and Porters. They treat us to a night of Traditional Music and dancing. We all had such a great time, a night we will never forget.

Than you to all you amazing World Expedition staff, Sherpa’s Porters and Chief for a your amazing food. You surprised us every day with what you could make in the middle of nowhere.

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You Are A Monkey I am A Monkey. Daily Vlog: 20

Daily Vlog: 20

Namche to Ghat.

Tattered Passport, Namche

Saying Farewell to one of my favourite towns in Nepal

We wake early and hit the trails heading down the massive decline from Namche to Ghat. We walk passed a stone building that I watched getting built when we passed through on the way up the mountain only a couple of weeks ago. It was impressive to see how fast the local Nepalese people had built this Tea House, the fact that it was built by hand was amazing. I have been in the building industry for a while now and I have never seen something built so fast. I think that us Australian Trades People need to take a leaf out of the Nepalese book here and pull our heads in. These people had hand built a two story building in a couple of weeks with no power tools and equipment other than hammer and chisel. We have all the equipment under the sun and take 6 or months to build a single story house??? That is with out taking into account that they are at a massive 3500m above sea level.

Tattered Passport, Namche

Hand Built Tea House


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Altitude Kills. A real Warning

I have absolutley loved being up in the Himalayas, being in a remote natural environment is where i feel most at home. Looking out over the mountains and not seeing any big sky scrapers, no pollution, you can see for miles, is just refreshing. However one thing that really annoys me up here is the rubbish. This area see’s a huge amount of trekkers and adventure travellers, which you would think come to this region for the natural environment, you think they would be a nature love, an environmentalist or just want to keep the place beautiful so that there children could visit and it will still be amazing? But for some reason this is not the case. There is rubbish everywhere, trekkers please pick up your rubbish! The entire way up the mountain there are rubbish bins, they are clearly marked and on the paths, so use them. The day that we returned to Gorak Shep from Base Camp we picked up 2 full bags of rubbish in an 2 hour walk, that included the huge hessian bags we used to carry the rubbish. So please I urge you to keep this magical place clean, keep it beautiful for generations to come, keep it natural and breathtaking.

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The National bird of Nepal, Himalayan Monal

The day had us walking over many suspension bridges, one of which would have to be the highest suspension bridges I have ever crossed. We were lucky enough to see a Himalayan Monal the national bird of Nepal, it was so beautiful and just peacefully sitting high in the trees. We had a giggle in Phakding a small village that had a Reggae Bar, something that is vey popular in Nepal. The sign out the

Tattered Passport, Phakding,

“Let’s Get Together and Fill Alright”

front said “Let’s get together and fill alright” Now I am a fan of Bob Marley and “One Love” is a great song, but I don’t think this is quite correct? however I can’t say much about mixing up words in foreign songs. The traditional nepalese folk song “Resamm Phiriry” or as most trekkers know it as “The Trekking Song”, which I am certain we all butchered that song, we were saying “You are a monkey, I am a monkey Resamm Phiriry” but somehow I don’t believe that is correct? But the Nepalese are just way to nice to correct us even when we asked them to. We finished off the day with a little surprise to our incredible Sherpa Guides by serving them all dinner, they loved it and it was a bunch of fun, a nice little way to say thank you for looking after us for the last 18 days.


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Have you trekked Nepal? Have you heard the Trekking Song?

I will be posting a “Special Episode” very soon, special footage from the Party in Ghat. It has some great and some not so great dancing as well as a bunch of Traditional Nepalese songs. It was such a great night and a great way to finish off our trek.

Thank You.

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,


Yeti Scalps and Chanting Monks: Daily Vlog 19.

Daily Vlog: 19

Deboche to Namche.

Prasant’s Easter Yak Pak start the day in good spirits, we are all high on oxygen now that we are at 3770m and on our way down to Namche which is at 3500m and we all know what is waiting for us in Namche, a shower, Oh Yeah!!! The day starts with a steep decline down through the beautiful flowering Rhododendron forest.

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Walking through the the rhododendrons.

Everyday whilst trekking through the Himalaya’s the scenery changes and you are always treated to something new. Today we had to dodge getting “poo’d” on by Yaks that were above us using a suspension bridge, not something that comes to mind when planning a trekkingholiday???

We visit a school in a village called Khumjung, it was a saturday, the only day that the kids do not go to school bugger. However it was great to walk through the school grounds and pay our respect to Sir Edmund Hillary. He is pretty much considered a “God” in these parts and built this school. In 1960 Sir Edmund Hillary asked his Sherpa People friends what he could do to repay them for everything they had done for him, they wanted a school for there children, two years later Khumjung School was opened for its first class.

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Khumjung Monastery Scripts

We visit another monastery the Khumjung Monastery (Khumjung Gompa). The monks were chanting, the sound was incredible I let the the wash over me, the sound touches your soul, it was beautiful. This monastery has an unusual tourist attraction, which also has an interesting story. The monks now proudly display, for a small donation their prized Yeti Scalp, yep you did read that correctly, a Yeti Scalp. The story goes something like this, the villagers received the scalp as a gift and were so displeased that they kicked it along the ground their entire way back to the village. Only to realise some years later that western tourist were interested in it and would offer a donation to see it?


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Peace Out,






Epic Rapids and Peaceful Monks. Daily Vlog: 18

I wake up completely refreshed after one of the best sleeps I have had on this entire trek. My body really likes the lower altitude. Today is only a short walk but through some of the most incredible scenery. It is amazing to see the mountains change as you start to descend. Everything from the animals you see, the people you meet, the local houses and of cause the trees. We haven’t really seen a proper tree for a while.

Dingboche, Nepal

Best Sleep Ever

The day starts off cold but it does promise to be a beautiful day. The sun is shining, there is a nice gentle breeze, its just a beautiful himalayan day, but we all know to well that the weather can change in an instant up in the mountains, our guide Prasant once said “If you don’t like the weather, come back in 10 minutes” The mountains did not let us down, the clouds quickly rolled in, the wind picked up, the temperature dropped and it started to snow. This did cause a few issues as the well worn tracks quickly became slippery and rather hazardous. As we descended further the snow turn to sleet and tracks turned to slush. Then almost as quickly as the weather turned bad it switched back to beautiful.

As we crossed the river and into the forrest, Nepal decided it would show us this magical, hidden, mystical valley full of beautiful moss covered trees and breathtaking views. As you could imagine the rivers in these parts are crazy, they twist and turn, the water rushes fast down the side of these massive mountains, the water up here is unforgiving. We soon see how powerful this force of nature can be. The remains of an old bridge, like the ones we have crossed plenty of times already, its solid steel frame all bent up, cascading into the valley below. I looked across to the other side and you can see the rock where it used to attach to. It now lay in the middle of the raging river. The force of this epic river had ripped apart the rock  and sent this massive steel structure tumbling, bending into the depths of the valley. I really hope there was no one on the bridge when this happened.

Epic Rapids

Raging Himalayan River

Epic Himalayan Rapids

Magical valley views

As we had plenty of time at camp this afternoon we walked up again to visit the beautiful Tengboche or Thyangboche Buddhist Monastery. This visit was worth the short 1 hour walk up the hill. I love visiting monasteries, their peacefulness vibe passes onto you, you leave with this overall peaceful feeling that I just love. The monks don’t judge you, they don’t have preconceived ideas on what type of person you are by the way that you dress nor do they feel the need to impress you, they just carry on doing what it is they are doing, give you a peaceful smile and a nod.

Tengboche Monastery

Tengboche Monastery

The entire monastery area was full of beautiful animals just enjoying this sunny afternoon. There were bulls and cows just chilling out, not fussed about the trekkers walking through their paddocks, or the puppies that were happily playing around and just being puppies. They came up to our group and got a good amount of attention from the girls. I think that us westerners could learn a lot from these Buddhist monks about what life really is about. We get so caught up in owning stuff, the latest gadgets, or the latest and best smart phone so we can take great selfies and post them instantly to the world via social media. I feel another blog post coming on here so I will sign off now and say goodnight.

Have you had the same experience whilst traveling? I would love to hear about it, Please comment below.

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