Tag Archives: hiker

Travel ☼ Nepal ☼ Himalayas

19.Apr.17 – Ramechhap · girl (airport)

When visiting Nepal, a trek through the  Himalayan or Annapurna mountains is a must. The sixteen-day Everest Basecamp trek was not feasible within my timescales, so a more humble trek to Namche Bazaar seemed like a good compromise.

19.Apr.19 – Monjo · farmhouse (Basecamp Trek)

My trip was immediately compromised when Summit Air’s plane crashed two days before my departure. During take-off at Lukla airport, their plane veered off the runway onto a helipad, killing the pilot and two people standing on the helipad. This was actually the plane I was scheduled to take two days later from Kathmandu. So I was rerouted to Ramechhap instead, requiring a very bumpy five-hour bus ride through the night.

19.Apr.20 – Ghat · worship (Basecamp Trek)

Lukla’s reputation as the most dangerous airport in the world is not to be taken lightly. The runway is only 460m long, allowing only small fixed-wing short-takeoff-and-landing (STOL) aircraft to land. At one end is a mountain face and a cliff face on the other. To make it just a little more difficult, the runway is on a 12° incline.

19.Apr.17 – Ramechhap · merchant man (airport)
19.Apr.20 – Ghat · village (Basecamp Trek)

With 25kg on my back, I set off for Phakding, my first stop. It’s supposed to be an easy trek, being mostly downhill, but my body wasn’t used to carrying such a payload. Having past 50 also doesn’t make it easier.

19.Apr.17 – Ghat · farmers (Basecamp Trek)

The second day was even more brutal. From Phakding to Namche Bazaar is a 900m net climb. But with the up and down trail, the total was probably double. The last three hours was a nonstop climb right up to Namche.

19.Apr.22 – Chitwan · children playing (Tharu village)

After returning from my four-day round trip from Lukla to Namche Bazaar, I was off to Chitwan for the tail end of my Himalayan adventure. I was fortunate to talk to the Tharu villagers, watch them play football, work the fields, and take care of their elephants.

19.Apr.22 – Chitwan · old man (Tharu village)
19.Apr.23 – Chitwan · boy (Tharu village)
19.Apr.23 – Chitwan · farmer (Tharu village)
19.Apr.19 – Monjo · hiking boots (Basecamp Trek)

All photographs were shot with the Canon 5D Mark IV, using either a Canon 35mm EF F/1.4L USM Lens or a Canon 85mm EF F/1.4L USM Lens.

All photos above can be ordered as prints. Pricing and details can be found here.

Travel ☼ Bhutan ☼ Thimphu & Paro

19.Apr.14 – Thimphu · pilgrims (Dodey Drak Monastery)

As part of my three week trip to the Himalayas, I also spent four nights in Bhutan. This Shangri-La of Central-Asia is very different from Nepal on several fronts. Firstly, it costs 190 US$ to 280 US$ per day per person to enter the country (except for Indian citizens who are granted “freedom of movement”). These fees must be paid upfront, as a prerequisite to getting your entry visa. For this fee, you get a driver, guide (Sherpa), accommodations, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This serves to maintain Bhutan as a prestigious destination, compared to the more liberal approach of Nepal. Not everyone will be happy to be tethered to a guide for their entire journey, but you have the advantage of getting instant answers to all your questions.

19.Apr.15 – Paro · Prayer flag (Tiger’s Nest)

My trip was organized by Firefox Tours, who were great in educating me about the region, best times to travel, and sites to visit. They prepared a detailed itinerary before arriving, and allowed flexible changes with my guide, Nima Wangchuk Sherpa, as needed.

19.Apr.15 – Paro · rock balancing (Tiger’s Nest)

Nima had decades of experience, stories, and cultural insights to share with me.  He even led several exhibitions along the Snowman Trek, which is considered to be the most difficult in the world. While I struggled up several trekking paths during my stay, I don’t think I saw Nima sweat once. Ask for him by name if you want a humble and knowledgeable guide.

19.Apr.13 – Thimphu · model (Dodey Drak Monastery)

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need an “official” invitation to visit Bhutan. Availability is based on flight limitations and the traveler’s willingness to pay the daily rate. This approach has restricted visitation to only 70 thousand in 2018, compared to over a million to Nepal each year.

19.Apr.15 – Paro · panorama (Tiger’s Nest)

Bhutan is a beautiful and spiritual country. The Tiger’s Nest (locally called Paro Taktsang) is a must-see destination. Fore-warning that it requires a 90-minute to two-hour hike to get there. For the lazy, out-of-shape, or aging, you can ride a donkey for half the journey. Consider the trek a pilgrimage of sorts – it’s worth the effort.

19.Apr.13 – Thimphu · monks (Dodey Drak Monastery)

By far the highlight of my trip was spending an evening at the Dodey Drak Monastery. This was a magical place. You feel its tranquility and harmony the moment you arrive. There are no roads to get there, so calculate a two-hour uphill trek through the mountains of Thimphu.

19.Apr.14 – Thimphu · monks (Dodey Drak Monastery)

This particular monetary housed 180 student monks. They wake every morning at 04:30 to begin prayers at 05:00. Breakfast isn’t until 07:00. Throughout the day they learn the philosophy and rituals of Buddha. In the afternoon they debate religion and philosophy.

19.Apr.13 – Thimphu · boy (Memorial Chorten)
19.Apr.12 – Thimphu · boy (street)

During my visit to the Dodey Drak Monastery, I was lucky enough to witness annual prayers that began the following morning, called Zhabdrung Kuchoe. This ceremony commemorates the anniversary of Bhutan’s great founder, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. He came to Bhutan in 1616 and is honored for the unification of their country.

19.Apr.14 – Thimphu · pilgrim girl (Dodey Drak Monastery)

Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside the temples, but I managed to get lots of photos of pilgrims arriving from Thimphu when leaving.

19.Apr.14 – Thimphu · panorama (Dodey Drak Monastery)


All photographs were shot with the Canon 5D Mark IV, using either a Canon 35mm EF F/1.4L USM Lens or a Canon 85mm EF F/1.4L USM Lens.

All photos above can be ordered as prints. Pricing and details can be found here.

Travel ☼ Nepal ☼ Kathmandu

19.Apr.11 – Kathmandu · merchant boy (Jagatsundar Marg)

Welcome to the first installment of my travel series. I have finally prepared a selection of photos from my April 2019 trip to Nepal.  A total of 2200 photos were taken with only 400 surviving after six days of editing. Here are the best of the best. Enjoy!

19.Apr.11 – Kathmandu · merchant (Siddhidas Marg)

Nepal was a 25-year dream vacation. It began in 1995 when I was returning to Prague from a business trip, and two girls sitting beside me were raving about their magical trip to Kathmandu. They told me about their Basecamp trek (I’ll post those photos shortly), the breathtaking nature and the magical culture of the region.  I was hooked, but it took me this long to finally cross Nepal off my bucket list.

19.Apr.11 – Kathmandu · market (Siddhidas Marg)

I stayed at the Hotel Jampa in the heart of Kathmandu a market district called Thamel. Many hiking and outdoor shops were a walk away, and you can even enjoy Western-style coffee shops. The center is quite dusty though, so a facemask is often recommended to protect your respiratory system.

19.Apr.25 – Bhaktapur · students (Durbar Square)

Don’t repeat my mistake and buy all our trekking gear in Europe. With some negotiating skills, you can get everything you need in Thamel at one third what you’d pay in the West.  Arrive with only the bare essentials, but don’t be too anxious.

19.Apr.25 – Bhaktapur · Hindu worshipper (Durbar Square)

You need to leave a few stores with salespeople chasing after you decreasing their price, to get an idea of how low they’re willing to go. Lowering your enthusiasm tends to get you to their lowest selling price. In stores, I found a three times increase in some times, and street vendors will start at ten times higher or more. Patience and good negotiation skills will go a long way.

19.Apr.25 – Bhaktapur · worship (Durbar Square)
19.Apr.25 – Bhaktapur · pigeon (Durbar Square)
19.Apr.25 – Bhaktapur · homeless (Durbar Square)
19.Apr.11 – Kathmandu · monkeys (Swayambhunath Stupa)
19.Apr.11 – Kathmandu · bride & groom (Durbar Square)
19.Apr.11 – Kathmandu · merchants (market)
19.Apr.11 – Kathmandu · homeless (Swayambhunath Stupa)


All photographs were shot with the Canon 5D Mark IV, using either a Canon 35mm EF F/1.4L USM Lens or a Canon 85mm EF F/1.4L USM Lens.

All photos above can be ordered as prints. Pricing and details can be found here.