Trek to Annapurna Base Camp – Discovering the roof of the world.

Posted on June 17, 2020 by

Nepal and the Himalayas – just hearing these words may bring to mind pictures of awe-inspiring snow-capped peaks, colorful prayer flags flapping in the wind, the typical hustle and bustle of Asian streets… but there is so much more to it. The real adventure is something that you can experience, and the best way to discover a country is on foot. One of the best treks for first-timers in Nepal is the Annapurna Base Camp trek (4130 m), which is supposed to be beginner-friendly. Besides the trek itself, this route gives plenty of opportunities to discover nature, take photos and get to know the country and its beautiful people. For hassle-free planning, using a local agent is the best option – they can provide a knowledgeable guide and deal with paperwork, permits, and all the logistics.

Annapurna Base Camp

Once arrived in Kathmandu, the next stop is Pokhara, which can be reached by private transport or bus – it’s a long ride, but also a good opportunity to watch the outer world through the window and get the first glimpse into the everyday life of the Himalaya nation. For a shorter trip, it is also possible to catch a flight from Kathmandu. Pokhara is still very “city-like”… but the spirit of the mountains is definitely in the air… and if the weather is clear, the Himalayas can be seen at the horizon, setting the mood for the upcoming adventure.

One of the possible starting points of the Trek to ABC is Nayapul. It’s a steep start with countless stone stairs leading the way to higher altitudes. The best strategy is to take many breaks and to remember: If it goes down, it will go up again for sure. With this in mind and good preparation with exercise before the trip, the challenge can be tackled with confidence.

The vegetation at the beginning of the trek is tropical and lush, the route takes trekkers over suspension bridges, through deep valleys, passing waterfalls… Groups of donkeys carrying supplies are a common sight…. Attention! They push through and can give people a harsh kick if they are too close. It’s best to stay away from the downhill side and wait on the mountainside until they pass. Along the way, restaurants or teahouses run by local families serve all kinds of yummy food – anything from pizza or Korean noodles to fried chocolate bars. But the traditional Dal Bhat with lentils, rice, curry, and vegetables is most recommended; it’s a good source of energy, not too heavy, and there is a reason why it is the most favorite dish amongst Nepali. Everyone’s recipe is slightly different, so it never gets boring. Momos (dumplings) are a must-try too, and of course, garlic soup, which can help prevent altitude sickness.

A nice place for a first overnight stay in Ghandruk where trekkers can end the day in company with fellow adventurers, try the local beer, and enjoy the view into the starry sky. Before continuing the trek on the next day, the charming Old Gurung Museum gives an interesting insight into traditional local life. The vegetation at this stage is still lush and green, but reaching higher altitudes, the peaks at the horizon will come closer, the sceneries get rougher and the temperatures drop. If the sky is clear on the next stop (for example Chomrong), an amazing view of Machapuchare (6.993 m) will await. The holy mountain is known as the “Seat of the Buddha of Infinite Light“. During the journey, people from all over the world will cross each other’s paths, and while everyone is having the same goal, it’s a beautiful opportunity to connect, share stories and make new friends. In higher altitudes, the number of guesthouses is limited, but there is always a place to sleep (in Deurali, for example) – and a guide can be very helpful to secure a spot.

The next stop before the big day is Machapuchare Base Camp – from there, Annapurna Base Camp is just a few hours away. Leaving early morning increases the chances of a clear view… The trail to Annapurna Base Camp is not too steep, but the thin air can take its toll, and even if there are no more stairs to climb at this final stage, it is important to not rush. Annapurna Base Camp has a lot of majestic mountain landscapes with 8000 m peaks. The scenery is breathtaking…. and will leave trekkers with memories that last for a lifetime.

To finish the trek with the last highlight, on the way down, trekkers can take a detour to the hot springs of Jhinu Danda. The warm water is bliss for tired muscles and a perfect ending to an unforgettable adventure before heading back to Pokhara.

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