Imagine waking up to the sight of a nearby mountain smiling back at you as you look at it spellbound. Well, you can expect that and much more in Annapurna Base Camp Trek, right up to the heart of Himalayas. It’s not just a trek, but a wonderful journey towards the base of the 10th highest peaks, located in Nepal. Today there are various checkpoints on the trekking trail leading to the most magnificent places on earth. All these villages, as it turns out, are well maintained and cater to our basic needs at high altitudes. You also enter the Annapurna Sanctuary and make a stop at Machhapuchhre Base Camp on this journey. Let us see how we get to the base of one of the highest and most dangerous peaks to date.
- Nepal Tourism Today
- Why is Annapurna considered dangerous?
- Stops towards Annapurna Base Camp
- What to expect in Annapurna Base Camp Trek?
- Permits and things required for Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Nepal Tourism Today
We live in a world dominated by the use of machinery and computers. People are becoming so relentlessly reliant on technology that we forget some of the best things on earth. And travelling can greatly help someone looking to take time off a hectic work schedule. Tourism doesn’t only mean places to visit and things to experience. It also plays a big role in the economy of the city or town or village in question. It helps in the employment of people in so many different aspects of life and profession directly or indirectly. Thus boosting the revenue for the whole nation in the long run. And Tourism is the most important industry and a source of revenue and foreign exchange for the economy of Nepal.
Nepal is home to some of the oldest and most holy sites for the Hindu and Buddhist religions. There are numerous temples and monasteries around Nepal with great historical significance. Nepal is also rich in cultural heritage and the people are really proud of their respective traditions. But the inclusion of 8 of the 10 highest peaks in the world sets Nepal aside. Thus Today Nepal is considered as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The Nepalese Government and the Nepal Tourist Board have taken various steps and measures to preserve these areas. Some of the sites have already been declared to be a world heritage site by UNESCO. Truly, these locations do need to preserved and kept safe from any further deterioration and damage
Why is Annapurna considered dangerous?
For many years, the peaks of Mt. Annapurna have lured many climbers from around the world with its beauty. Yet only a handful have been successful in scaling the 10th highest peak right to the summit. However, a considerable amount of deaths have occurred too while making attempts to climb to the peak. The surface area of the peak is very treacherous and only ambitious or experienced climbers can make an attempt. Still, the massif stands beautiful as ever. The literal meaning of ‘Annapurna’ in Nepali is ‘filled with food’. It serves as the main source of water for tributaries leading to the formation of rivers like Indus and Brahmaputra. The tributaries also provide fertility to the farming villages in the region. Hence Annapurna is known as the ‘Goddess of harvest” by the locals.
But the challenging terrain where frequent avalanches occur gives Annapurna the name “killer mountain” too. The climate is also very unpredictable in this region and it practically snows the whole year-round. This is a threat to anyone venturing to these parts especially for those looking to climb the peak. So planning is very important while visiting the Annapurna Sanctuary. Regardless of these facts, the destination has become even more popular nowadays. Each year adventurers take this wonderful journey across quaint villages which frankly gives you picturesque views of the Himalayas. By the end of the journey, you will realize how beautiful indeed the Himalayas really is.
. Stops towards Annapurna Base Camp
The checkpoints on the trail leading to the base of Mt. Annapurna are small or slightly larger villages. These villages are inhabited mostly by the Gurungs and Magars of the Himalayas. The tea houses and lodges we will be staying in are well maintained and will cater to basic daily needs. They are built just for the benefit of the trekking or climbing parties that come by. This journey begins from the city of Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. After a two days halt kept for acquiring permits and a bit of sightseeing, we leave for Pokhara.
From Pokhara, we take a vehicle to take us to Nayapul near Pokhara, and that is where our trekking begins. Vehicles can take you to the next two stops if you are on a tight schedule and need to rush. But walking is always better to experience the trek first hand right from the beginning. From Nayapul, we reach Bhirethandi, a junction separating the village of Ghorepani and Ghandruk. We submit our Annapurna Conservation Area permit then trek towards Ghandruk village.
After about 6 hours trek we reach Ghandruk where we halt for the night at a lodge there. In the morning we leave Ghandruk and reach the village of Jhinu. After a short break we take a little above 4 hours of hike towards the village of Chhomrong . Here we can have our lunch. After crossing the river via a suspension bridge, we make our way towards Sinwa after approximately 3 hours of trek. We halt at a tea house in Sinwa.
In the morning, we get ready for a hike towards Deurali. We reach Dovan first after a 3 hours walk. Then we make our way uphill through a very chilly pathway leading to Deurali village which is 6 hours uphill. You will find lots of people trekking to and from different locations, mostly base camps on the trekking trail. Views plenty you can feel the rush when you reach the top. It is just exhilarating. We make our way towards Annapurna Base Camp next. The trail becomes a bit difficult while making your way across avalanches along the water stream. At times, the path is practically covered in thick ice, which makes it a challenging activity.
On the way to our primary destination, we reach Machhapuchhre Base Camp. Just a few steps and corners uphill from the Base Camp we finally reach Annapurna Base Camp. The Base Camp is well equipped for a cozy night at such high altitudes. There will be many people along with you at the shelter there. In a perfect weather condition, starry nights in the Himalayas can be really wonderful. So will the phenomenon of the rising and setting of the sun. The Base Camp is at a great location for a resting point on the foothills of this majestic peak. After witnessing the magic first hand, we retrieve our steps back downhill towards a different route suitable for downhill walking.
About 7 hours downhill from Annapurna Base Camp, we reach the village of Sinwa. We halt for a night at a lodge there. The next part of the journey will be a 4-hour trek to the village of Jhinu. On the way, we come to the Chhomrong Checkpost, where we validate our Annapurna Conservation Area Permit. After completing formalities and admiring the view we head downhill towards our destination for the day, Jhinu. At the village, you can indulge yourself in the hot springs along with a can of beer. It will feel really good after the long-tiring yet wonderful trek in the Annapurna Sanctuary. We rest for the night at the lodge here in Jhinu.
The following day, we make our way towards the stop at Nayapul where your trekking journey began. Crossing rivers and small streams using suspension bridges and wooden bridges we cross many small settlements.along the trail. At first, we make a pit stop at Seuli Bazaar which is the final checkpoint for our permits then we reach Nayapul. The trekking part of the journey is over and we take transport to reach Pokhara. We will halt for the night at the hotel here before making our way to Kathmandu the next day. This brings us to the end of your Annapurna journey with Climb High Himalayas.
What to expect in Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Well for starters, you can expect this trek to be something more than just walking but a journey to the Himalayas. The walk can be of about 5-6 hours each day in the rugged terrain of the Himalayan region. As you make your way to Annapurna Base Camp the terrain changes drastically which is a wonderful sight to see. There are fully equipped and functional
Checkpoints along the trail where many people have settled So you can expect to be amongst people while you rest at each checkpoint. The trekking trail is well maintained though few locations may get damaged due to avalanches near the base camp. But apart from that, it is a peaceful walk right on the lap of the Himalayas.
You cross numerous forests filled with Rhododendron and Bamboo trees, cross streams using suspension bridges. There are terrace farms scattered and fields of crops near the villages. There are many smaller villages along with the much larger and more populated villages in the trekking trail. However, the larger villages are where our accommodation will be provided. The region is mostly populated with the Gurung and Magar community of Nepal and a few Sherpas too. The trail takes you through rocky terrain uphill and downhill with stunning views of the mountain range on every bend.
The list of mountain ranges you come across are listed below:
- Annapurna South
- Annapurna III
- Bada Shikhar, and
- Annapurna I
The sunrise and sunset is another magnificent experience, right from the grounds of Annapurna Base Camp. The 360-degree view of the mountain ranges surrounding Annapurna Base Camp is nothing but mind-blowing. The weather can be really cold at the base camp, but it is relatively cooler as we make our descent. The river you see flowing along the trail is the Modi Khola. You can also experience the hot water springs at the village of Jhinu while you make your way back from the Base Camp. You will run into many people trekking in this trail as it leads to many fantastic locations. It is a perfect trek for anyone willing to take a short trip, right to the heart of the Himalayas.
Permits and things required for Annapurna Base Camp Trek
To enter the Annapurna Sanctuary, there are few things required from everyone entering. First, the Annapurna Conservation Area permit required to be shown at a few outposts which can be acquired in Kathmandu. Then we need to make sure we have our bookings intact. It can get very crowded at the tea houses during peak season. Apart from that, you need to have your luggage, if required you can hire a porter to carry your belongings. You need to pack warm clothes as it can get really cold, especially at the Base Camp.
But you can keep some space for lighter windcheaters to help you walk freely. Umbrellas or raincoats may be required during Monsoons and winters. Water is an essential part of our lives, especially drinking water. So make sure you are well equipped, as drinking water can be costly in the hills. As for your physical strength, if you are capable of walking 5-6 hours each day with/without porters. Then you can make it to the top. The journey is supposed to invigorate you and freshen you up, and you definitely need a good mindset for it. That’s all.