Trekking has always been my idea of an escape from the tediousness of daily life as I always feel close to the hills. I believe in not just ticking off destinations from my bucket-list, but also in having phenomenal experiences which will leave memories that last a lifetime. Being a mountain aficionado, Annapurna Base Camp trek promised to be just the kind of adventure I was looking for.

Known for its towering peaks, unspoiled beauty and narrow slopes, Nepal has always been on my mind ever since I started trekking, and I was finally able to travel there this March. It is a very popular trek among trekkers due to its unfathomable beauty that blows you away in amazement. Essentially a moderate tea-house trek that features the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massif along with panoramic views of Machapuchare, this is one of the most staggering journeys you will ever take.

Walk though the grassland of Annapurna Base Camp
Walk though the grassland of Annapurna Base Camp

Trek Details:

Maximum Height: 5,415 m
Trek Time: 11 Days
Distance Covered: 34.4 km
Level: Moderate
Start/Finish: Pokhara
Nearest Airport: Pokhara Airport
ATM Point: Lake Side Pokhara

Highlights of Trekking to Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna Base Camp
Annapurna Base Camp
  • Nestled at 1,400 m with a spectacular Himalayan backdrop, Pokhara valley serves as the starting and ending point to the Annapurna Base Camp trek.
  • As you journey through the hills, you will be fascinated with the lifestyle, culture and hospitality of the Magar, Thakali and Gurung people.
  • For resting, you can easily find guest houses and tea points throughout the trek.
  • Communicating with the locals won’t be problematic as the residents are quite friendly and are very helpful with tourists.
  • Don’t forget to watch the gorgeous sunrise and sunset on each day, as the exquisiteness of the different shades of the sky will take your breath away.
  • Experience the wilderness of this unspoiled region and revel in the diversity of flora and fauna species.
  • Relax your tired muscles at a hot spring in Jhinu Danda.

My Experience – Annapurna Base Camp Trek

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Pokhara

Arriving in Pokhara: I took a flight from Delhi to Kathmandu, and after completing all airport formalities, hailed a taxi to reach my hotel. The next morning, I took a tourist bus to Pokhara , and checked into a hotel as soon as I arrived. After resting for a while, I headed out to the nearby market to explore the city. Settled on a lake, Pokhara boasts of numerous exciting adventures, entertainment zones, various restaurants and buzzing markets. The city is also the starting point of the Annapurna Base Camp.

Permits to trek ABC: In order to trek to Annapurna Base Camp, you need a TIMs card and a permit (ACAP Entry). These are available at Pokhara, located at a short walk from the tourist bus station. Whether you are trekking solo or with the group, you need to have both the permits as you will be required to show it to the authorities at various check-posts during the trek. Keep the permits somewhere safe from rain, don’t get it wet.
Some trekking companies take care of the permits for you to save you the hassle of doing it yourself. This is what I did when I booked my trek.

Best Route that led me to Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna - Nepal Himalayas
Annapurna – Nepal Himalayas

My trekking journey started from Pokhara, from where I took a public transport (bus) to Nayapul. You can also hire a jeep/taxi, but I suggest you to take the public transport as it would be cheap if you are travelling solo. The scenic countryside route adorned with curvy bends and turns from Pokhara to Nayapul would take around 1.5 hours. From Nayapul, I climbed uphill following the Burgundi River upstream for a steady 4-5 hours before reaching Tikhedhunga, which is a small charming village with a number of lodges to spend the night in.

After another early morning, I left the beautiful village of Ghandruk and started to trek to Sinuwa where the mesmerizing sunrise was a kick start to my day. Following the Modi River, I ascend for some time and crossed the bridge over the Kimrong River. Then, climbed a steep trail that took me the staggering village of Gurung people, Chhomrong where the nature excellence left me awestruck with its enchanting beauty.

From Chhomrong, as I walked up and down the hill, I came across a scenic route that led me to the Chomrong Khola River where the encompassed view of bamboo, rhododendron and oak forest will enthral anyone crossing this path, and from there I hiked up to Sinuwa. I stayed overnight at Sinuwa while enjoying the breathtaking view of river and the lush green forests.

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Then in the morning, I travelled through the rich species of flora and fauna on my way to Hinku Cave and then finally to Deurali. From Sinuwa, I trekked till Bamboo passing the Kuldhigar onto the steep staircase to Dobhan and then crossed a suspension bridge. On reaching Sinuwa, I spend the night in a lodge and took rest after a gruelling trek of 6-7 hours.

As the morning unfolded, I continued my journey to Annapurna Base Camp. The route from Deurali to Machapuchare requires you to be tough and cautious as it is known to be the avalanche prone area. On reaching Machapuchare Base Camp, the valley opens up wide and features beautiful snow peaks. Then, after few hours of climb I entered the Annapurna Base Camp and enjoyed the magnificent vista of mighty Mountains. I stayed overnight at the camp and thoroughly cherished my triumph over the highland. Got up in the middle of the night to spectacle the Milky Way galaxy that illuminated the entire sky; I had goosebumps!

After absorbing the beautiful sunrise at Annapurna, I descend

till Bamboo, and followed the same route to Jhindu danda. On reaching Jhindu Danda, I settled my luggage and proceeded to relax in hot springs. Uh! It was so relaxing, it gave my sore muscles a soothing caress. I stayed overnight at Jhindu Danda. In the morning, I descended through the same route and reached Nayapul, from where I took a bus to Pokhara.

Which is the best season to plan your trek to ABC?

Annapurna Base Camp is accessible throughout the year apart from the late winters and monsoon season. Slippery and muddy monsoon trails, and winters trail laden with heavy snowfall makes both the season difficult to trek. The best season to trek this wonderland is during spring (April, May) and autumn (September to November). During this time the climate is not harsh, visibility is clear and the routes are uncomplicated and trouble-free.

Important Information

Camping in the Annapurna Sanctuary
Camping in the Annapurna

Annapurna trek requires medium-level fitness as you need to hike daily for 6-7 hours. At an altitude of 5,000 m, the oxygen levels will be low, and you might face breathing issues. You need to start exercising a month before your planned trip to increase your stamina. You need to carry medication in case you face AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Some must-have items to include on your trek are:

Trekking shoes
Trekking pole
Warm clothes and an extra pair of woolen socks
LED flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
Sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, lip balm and mosquito repellent
Water bottles, energy drinks and bars
Emergency medical kit

“Trekking to the Himalayas of Nepal is an experience to be treasured. The picturesque valleys, startling rivers and towering peaks embellished with fluttering Himalayan flags everywhere, is definitely a treat to any traveller’s eyes. To sum up, a trek with nature in Nepal will give you far more happiness and peace than you will ever seek.”

Mount Everest is the epitome that every adventurous trekker around the world hopes to reach. The highest mountain on earth makes one wonder – how does the world look from that incredible roof? But reaching the summit is a herculean task; you require an arduous amount of mental and physical strength in order to reach that lofty height. Trekking to Mt. Everest’s Base Camp, however, is doable, and is an incredible adventure in itself , although you will still have to fight to reach a soaring height of 17,600 ft. To prepare you better to make the climb, here are some tips that will allow you to reach the Foothills of the Highest Mountain in the World.

1) Buy your equipment in Kathmandu

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Trekking poles, gloves, socks, hats etc., all these gears come at rock-bottom prices when bought locally from Kathmandu. The market is a one-stop-destination for every mountaineer who comes to Nepal to trekking up to the Everest Base Camp(EBC). If by chance you need something or have forgotten it, the market in Kathmandu has it all.

2) Bring candies, quick snacks and protein bars

While trekking in the mountain you lose a great amount of energy as you will be walking daily for around 6-7 hours. So, to give your body a shoot up of instant energy, protein bars and chocolates do wonders. These quick snacks are also available on the trek, but you have to spend a lot of money every time you have hunger pangs.

3) Pack Tang

To avoid high altitude sickness, you need to be hydrated and require at least 2-litres of water every day. To be honest, it gets boring after a while, so mixing Tang in your water will help you drink more water and it will also not taste bad or boring.

4) Get purification tablets

Help your pocket and the environment by getting water purification tablets, or you can carry SteriPens as well. Simply fill your bottle for free from anywhere and add the purification tablets. SteriPens also work great, using ultraviolet light to purify water in 30 seconds.

5) Pack a book

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Trekking to EBC takes a lot of time and sometimes it gets pretty boring when you are relaxing at the campsite. You can indulge in some good read to pass time and trust you will love reading midst the high mountains. Tip: You can buy books at Namche Bazar or Kathmandu as well.

6) Get handi-wipes

You won’t be showering for good 15-20 days, as in -10 degree Celsius it gets quite daunting to take a bath. So wet-wipes come to your rescue and shoo away the bad body odor. Carry sanitizers too as you will be trekking in dirt going up and down, on bumpy paths, so sanitizers are the best way to keep your hands clean. Also, do not litter around the used wipes, please carry portable dustbin. Keep the Himalayas clean and green.

7) Give Yaks and Sherpa’s way at all time

While trekking, if you see yaks or Sherpas coming your way, stand aside and give them way. You don’t want to be thrown down from a cliff. Also, the Sherpas and the porters work very hard to supply food and other stuff to the every base camp. Do your bit by helping them in making the route clear and free from obstacles as they carry loads of kilograms on their back.

8) Keep batteries close to your body

Whenever, you are trekking keep the batteries close to your body. Keep it in the inner pocket or wherever you feel safe because at high altitude the batteries drain faster and you don’t want to come back with no pictures at all. You can charge your batteries at some halt points, but you will have to pay loads of money (Rs 350 approx.) per hour to do so. Also, remember to keep your batteries in your sleeping bags as the temperature dips very quickly at night. Carry extra batteries if you want to be on safe side.

9) The best views comes at early morning

Spend a day or two in Namche Bazar; acclimatize while having fun exploring really popular tourist spots!

Try to wake up early in the morning to get the perfect views of the lofty mountains. At noon, the clouds comes as an obstacle to your view. You can see Mt. Everest at very few points, Namche Bazaar and Tengboche gives the best views of the mighty mountain. Take photos to make it a memory for a lifetime.

10) It is not a race, take your time

everest

Get acclimatize to the altitude, take extra day if you need, walk slow and drink plenty of water. Nobody will ask you how long you took to reach EBC. They are going to be happy and amazed that you reached the base. Walk at your own pace, enjoy each moment because this adventure will be the best of all.

11) Carry a good first-aid kit

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We always recommend that our trekkers carry their personal first-aid box, containing any medicines they might require, because there is no guarantee that you will get the right kind of medicine in an emergency. Make sure to have pain relievers, lip balm and sunscreen. Diamox is another necessary medicine for avoiding high-mountain sickness. Many people take it before the trek, but we don’t recommend it unless the trek leader or the doctor on site advice it.

12) Pack well but less in weight

Keep it light!
Keep it light!

It is necessary for you to pack well that leads in less kilograms. Pack only those things that are really required on the trek. Try packing a few times before your trek and make sure the weight do not exceed to more than 15 kg. It will be great if you pack till 10 kg, because it is only you who will have to carry it all to the base camp. Porters are there to carry your other belongings. Tips: You can climb upstairs with your 10-15 kg backpack a few times to let your body adjust to the weight.

13) Useful tips for women

Girls, please make sure you tie your hair, do not leave it open. You will be trekking in dirt and you also won’t be able to take a bath. So if you leave your hair open, by the end of the trek you will have dreadlocks and you might have to cut your hair. So make a braid or tie it in a pony or a bun, choose whatever you feel comfortable in. Same goes for men if they have long hair.

Another tip for Women – please carry period pain tablets, and make sure you carry biodegradable pads or tampons if you are not comfortable using menstrual cups. At high-altitudes, you may get periods prior to your date. Also, make sure you discard the used pads in dustbin, if not, the biodegradable pads are preferable due to unavailability of dustbin at some locations.

14) Best views of Everest on the flight to Lukla

Lukla

Make sure you book your seat either at the front or back of the plane on the left-hand side to get amazing views of the highest mountain in the world. You can glimpse Mount Everest even before your trek, and the views from the plane will get you charged up for the upcoming adventure.

15) Relish each moment

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You are one of the few lucky people in the world that gets to experience this, enjoy every moment and appreciate every moment you can. You might suffer, you might get tired but the rewarding views at Everest Base Camp is just worthy for each of your effort.

  • Where is Muktinath?

Muktinath overland tour is a thrilling journey that brings one closer to nature as well as God! Muktinath Temple is located in the Annapurna Region in the Mustang District of Nepal and is considered to be of spiritual and religious significance to Hindus as well as Buddhists. This Lord Vishnu Temple is situated at about 12000 feet, and to get here one has to undertake an overland journey by jeep, a 4 KM trek and an ATR ride! It is quite an adventure and ultimately leads one to a spiritual tryst with the Lord!

Muktinath Temple in the snow
Muktinath Temple in the snow

In addition to visiting the temple, this trip also gives one the opportunity to discover and explore the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara, soaking in the many marvels of these places.

The Everest is undeniably majestic! The world’s highest mountain overlooks the world from an altitude of more than 29000 feet above sea level. This is the highest you can get without your feet leaving the ground. I have been fascinated by it, ever since I saw it first in my general knowledge book, when I was in school. At that time, I didn’t really know the true magnificence of the giant, but over the years, as I have learnt about Everest and the Everest region, I have become more and more intrigued by it.

Some people call it Sagarmatha, while others refer to it as Chomolungma. There was even a time when it was only called Peak XV, and not many people knew about it. However, today the story is altogether different. It is perhaps the most well-known geographical feature on earth. Yes, I am talking about the mighty Everest – the highest point on earth. The pride of Nepal, the mountain peak kisses the sky at 29029 feet. Even 10 Burj Khalifas placed one above the other can’t match that height. Mt. Everest is a part of the Himalayas which didn’t just emerge overnight. It took Mother Nature millions of years to carve the rocky marvel. I guess such spectacular things do take time to form. You’d be fascinated to know that the Himalayas are still rising steadily; about a few millimeters every year.

Aah, Nepal! A trekking paradise! A country, which is home to the world’s highest mountain, needs no introduction to hikers. The country, however, is not only about high peaks, but mountain passes and lakes as well. As a general notion, Ladakh is associated with high mountain passes, but Nepal does not lag behind. It is also home to some incredible mountain passes as well as lakes. What I hope to achieve with this blog is to not only tell you about Nepal’s mountains, but also open up more hiking opportunities for you. Below are some of the most significant high passes and lakes of Nepal that one should know about.

Home to some of the highest peaks in the world, Nepal is arguably the best mountaineering destination on earth. For a long time, people from across the world have been coming here to experience adventure and give themselves a challenge. The popularity of trekking in the country has opened so many new trails for thrill seekers. Mountain passes, glacial lakes, valleys and peaks themselves, what don’t such tours take you to? Now, obviously, Mount Everest is the most sought-after peak by experienced mountaineers because it is the world’s highest. Annapurna is another distinguished peak among mountaineers.

Now, here is the catch. It is not just the peak you can trek to. If you don’t consider yourself that experienced or fit or adventurous, then you can also hike just to its base camp or opt for the popular Annapurna Circuit Trek. If you ask me which one is better, Annapurna Base Camp Trek (ABC) or Annapurna Circuit Trek (ACT), then even I am confused because both of them has their own different experience. It is almost like asking someone, which ice cream flavour is better, chocolate or vanilla, or which Thrash Metal band is better, Metallica or Slayer. For everyone’s sake, including my own, let us do a comparative study of the two trekking routes.

To make it easier on myself, I have decided to make the comparison on the basis of the difference in route, altitude, challenge factor and a few unrelated aspects as well. Keep reading to see how it goes.

The Himalayas is one wonder of nature that has intrigued us since time immemorial. Its high snow-clad mountains, rich flora and fauna, and scenic beauty have enchanted one and all. But in all this, we have somehow missed another wonderful aspect of it – its people. So, read on and find out more about the people living in the Himalayas, their history, faith, occupations and living conditions.

Know more about Trekking in the Himalayas

The Great Himalayan Story
The mighty Himalayas rise beyond the Indo-Gangetic plain of Northern India, extending through the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand to Northeast India, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. This entire range of the Himalayan Mountains serves as home to more than 50 million people, with another 450 million settled at the base of it. And this entire population flourishes on the resources that flow from the Himalayas.

Today, the Himalayan population can be classified into three ethnic types, namely Aryans, Mongoloids and Negroids. But the truth about its original inhabitants is still a point of debate. There is a belief that the first settlement in the Himalayas began in 1500 BC when a warrior tribe called Khasa migrated to its western range. This was followed by the migration of Tibeto-Burman people from Southeast Asia to the eastern and central Himalayas in the early part of the millennia. These people were called the Kiratas. However, if one takes into account the Hindu epics and Puranas, then it is deduced that the native inhabitants of the Himalayan region were the Kinnars, Kiratas, Kulinds and Kilinds, with later migration of the Darads and Khasas.

Nepal houses the highest peak in the world, and this is one of the reasons Nepal is always crowded with trekkers. Nepal opened its gate to the outside world in 1949 when a British climber, Bill Tilman got permission from the king to trek in regions like Kali Gandaki, Helambu, and Everest. Colonel Jimmy Roberts was the first person to introduce trekking, the way we know it today, to the world. And within 8 years, 10 of the 14 peaks had been climbed. The first peak to be climbed was Annapurna in 1950, followed by Everest in 1953 by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary, and the third was Nanga Parbat. Traditionally, Sherpas believed that some mountains were God’s abode and must not be intruded upon. And so for generations they never attempted to climb Mount Everest, until a steady stream of climbers from West made mountaineering a profitable enterprise. By now Sherpas had already established a reputation as an important part of trekking in the Nepal Himalayas.

With many peaks to climb, some of them get the reputation of being exceptionally beautiful and mystical. Everest and Annapurna Peaks have been on the top of the list of the most popular treks for many years but some other treks in Nepal are worth the effort! Not only will they mesmerise with their beauty, but also get you closer to the unique culture of Nepal. After the earthquake in April 2015, Nepal has opened its gate again for trekkers, and it has regained its tourism and now it is safe to go for a trek in the region.

It’s hard to choose a trekking destination in Nepal when you have so many to pick from. We have listed some of the most popular treks in Nepal which define the beauty of the Himalayas!

Nepal ranks among the most peaceful nations in the world, be it in terms of the culture, people, landscape or the social setup. Home to the great Mount Everest and nestled in the magnificent Himalayan Mountain Range, Nepal’s economy thrives on tourism and it sees an influx of thousands of tourists from across the globe. Having the highest peak in the world certainly helps boost tourism in the country, but Nepal contains several other sights and gems, which are worth visiting for adventure aficionados. From time to time, there are things one needs to do that are not in synchronisation with convention, thereby making it all the more exciting and intriguing. A trek to the Annapurna Range could aptly be characterised as one such activity, which a lot of people do not undertake out of fear, but should definitely try.

As confessed by French mountaineer, Maurice Herzog, “Annapurna, to which we had gone emptyhanded, was a treasure on which we should live the rest of our days. With this realization we turn the page: a new life begins. There are other Annapurnas in the lives of men.”

The Great Himalayan beauty is not just limited to mountains! The Himalayan Lakes are breathtaking too! I am sure once you get to know about these stunning lakes in Himalayas, you will feel that any trip to the Himalayas is incomplete without paying a visit to this awe-inspiring water bodies!

Many of these high altitude lakes are freshwater lakes formed by glacial activity. Some of these stunning lakes are only accessible through difficult treks to these regions and that’s one of the reason they have managed to retain their beauty and charm! These high altitudes will take your breath away by not only their beauty but by their unique features! Some have ever-changing colors and some are the best birding spots.

People might not know about these mesmerising lakes but some determined trekkers trek for days all the way just to see the beauty of these great Himalayan Lakes!

I have picked up some of the most beautiful ones. When I look at them, I imagine myself sitting on the shore, gazing at them and peacefully taking in all the beauty.

If self-discovery is what you are looking for, then travelling on the endless roads on a motorbike is just the thing for you. A motorbike tour not just unleashes the adventurer in you, but is a journey of new experiences that can never be felt otherwise. Already feeling the adrenalin rush? Keep reading to know about some of the best motorbike routes in the Himalayas that will immediately beckon the rider in you. Here’s our lowdown on the must-do motorbike tours in the Himalayas.

  1. Motorbike Tour in Ladakh 

The concept of motorbike tours in India was made popular by the number of adventure enthusiasts, visiting Leh on their bikes. The challenging circuits, coupled with the beauty of the mountains, have attracted travellers from all across the world. The one thing that makes this trip the ultimate adrenalin-pumping experience is the unpredictability of the rocky terrain. Add to that the close brush-up with Tibetan culture, monasteries and nomadic tribes, and this motorbike tour turns magical.  There are many routes that you could take in this region, like the Manali to Ladakh, Srinagar to Manali, Chandigarh to Manali via Srinagar, Ladakh and back to Chandigarh, or you could simply fly to Leh and indulge in motorbike trips within Ladakh.

Located in the Chitwan District in south-central Nepal, Chitwan National Park was established in 1973 and granted the status of World Heritage Site in 1984. Covering an area of 932 sq km, its altitude ranges from 330 feet to 2,674 feet.

Chitwan National Park Image Credits: johntyman.com
Chitwan National Park
Image Credits: johntyman.com

Literally translated, Chitwan means Heart of the Jungle. It was a favorite hunting ground for the royals of Nepal since the end of the 19th century. During the winter seasons, comfortable camps were set up in the area for the hunters and their entourage and hundreds of tigers, rhinos, leopards and sloth bears were hunted.

Chitwan’s forest extended beyond 2,600 sq km in the 1950s and was home to more than 800 rhinos. But the area was gradually opened for settlement and unrestrained poaching of the wildlife started. Edward Pritchard Gee surveyed the area and recommended that a protected area and wildlife sanctuary be created north and south of the Rapti River respectively.
By the end of the 1960s only 95 rhinos were left and thousands of people had settled in the area. This striking decline in the wildlife propelled the government to form the Gaida Gasti – a rhino recon patrol of 130 armed men and a network of guard posts all over the area. Following this the National Park was gazetted in 1970 with an area of 544 sq km. and enlarged to its present area in 1977.

Being a part of the central climatic zone of the Himalayas, Chitwan has a tropical monsoon climate with high humidity throughout the year.