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Old 20th October 2013, 14:06   #1
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Default Wandering in the Himalayas : Trek to Annapurna Base Camp

Himalyan Treks have their own charms and always offer a treat to a trekker. I was bitten by the same bug to travel and trek into Himalayas and enjoy the beauty it offers.

The seeds of this trek were sown in April 2013 when a relative of mine asked me whether I was intrested in trekking to Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal. I leaped and jumped at the opportunity. After various comtemplattions the date of the trek was fixed from 5th Oct to 17th Oct which included days of travel to and from Kathmandu. Next day I applied for a 15 days leave at the office for that period.

Pre-Trek Planning, activities and some anxious moments :

This was the first trek in Himalayas for me so was not sure what to expect. But we were quite sure we will not get air tickets at the last moment so the first thing we did were book air tickets from Pune to Kathmandu via Delhi and back. That proved to be a good decision since it gave a good deal on tickets. This trek was arranged by a Pune-based travel company called EarthWise Adventures, owned and managed by Mrs Manjiri Latey who was a avid trekker herself.

The wait from April to October was a unbearable one with searching on the net for information and trek reports etc. Diffrent people had diffrent views about the trek route and that left us even more confused. But confusiuon brings with it a uncertainity factor and thrill of jumping into unknown. In the month of August I gave my passport for re-newal (don't ask why) and the passport came just a week prior to the date of departure. That did give a me a scare of the life.

We had a pre-trek meeting with Manjiri who explained the route and trek in general. She also gave us a list of things to get along and soon we were all fired up to go.

The itenary of the trek was as follows :

Day 1 : Pune to Kathmandu via Delhi by flight
Day 2 : Kathmnadu to Pokhara by flight , Pokhara to Nayapool by bus. Trek starts from Nayapool to Tikhedunga on foot.
Day 3 : Tikhedunga to Ghorepani.
Day 4 : Ghorepani to Poon Hill and back and later Ghorepani to Tadapani
Day 5 : Tadapani to Chomrong
Day 6 : Chomrong to Dovan
Day 7 : Dovan to Machapuchare Base camp
Day 8 : Machapuchare Base camp to Annapurna Base Camp.
Day 9 : Annapurna Base Camp to Dovan
Day 10 : Dovan to Chomrong
Day 11 : Chomrong to Siwai on foot , Siwai to Nayapool in a jeep, Nayapool to Pokhara in bus.
Day 12 : Pokhara to Kathmandu.
Day 13 : Kathmandu to Pune via delhi by flight

So the final count of people trekking was 7. The total distance to cover was about 150Kms

Last edited by vikrantj : 21st October 2013 at 10:09.
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Old 20th October 2013, 14:13   #2
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Default re: Wandering in the Himalayas : Trek to Annapurna Base Camp

Day 1 : Reaching Kathmandu .
We started off on a early morning flight to Delhi from Pune and then followed by a evening flight to Kathmandu. We reached Kathmandu at about 6pm. We checked in Thamel Eco resort in a area called Thamel in Kathmandu. This area is a trekkers delight with all sorts of trekking equipments available at a bargain. I bought a North Face day pack (obviously fake) at 800Rs, a pair of walking sticks at 500Rs and a rain cover for 250Rs.Eventhough fakes they held upto to the toture I had put them throught with aplomb and in the end I was really happy with the purchase. We called it a day at about 11pm.

Day 2 : Kathmandu to Tikhedunga by various means of transport.
The next was a brilliant sunshine day and we boarded a flight to Pokhara at 0830am. It was a short half an houor flight and by 0930am we were out of the airport.

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The local logistics of the trek were organinzed by a company called EarthBound Expeditions. We were greeted at the airport by our guide Gopal (His real name was Gabbar Singh),

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co-guide cum porter Shanker and our three porters Arjun, Tej Bahadur and Nand Kumar. They had organized a bus to Nayapool. We and our rucksacks and duffel bags were loaded onto the bus and off we went. The journey from Pokhara to Nayapool takes about an hour and a half but since we had some last minute medicine shopping we reached Nayapool aby 1115am. At Nayapool we carried our day packs of water ,medicines and cameras with walking sticks, while the porters neatly packed up our rucksacks and carried them along. I was amazed at the carrying capacity of these men. Each carried about 30Kgs of luggage and they were always one step ahead of us. I was filled with utter respect for these men.

We started off from Nayapool at about 1145am. Our first stop was at Birethanthi where there is a mandatory registration of the trekkers and guides required.We got a trekking card. The route from Birethanthi to Tikhedunga started off with a jeep tracked and well-beated one at that. It used appear and suddenly disappear behind streams and landslides. But for walking they were good to go.
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We had a lunch stop at around 0230pm at a roadside teahouse in Ramdhai village. Dal , Rice and vegetables was going to our staple lunch for the entire duration of the trek what we had for dinner is something you should look out for. The jeep track petered away into a walking track and after a lots of Nepali flat (which means a track which climbs up and down) we were at Tikhedunga at about 0500pm. We were put up at Shaker Guest house. It was a modest accommodation with common toilets and bathrooms. It was a long day and we were still not used to walking condition so all were really tired that day. We had a dinner of Dal, Rice and we hit the sack at about 0900pm.

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Last edited by vikrantj : 21st October 2013 at 10:10.
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Old 20th October 2013, 14:24   #3
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Day 3 : Tikhedunga to Ghorepani.

This was the hardest day of the whole trek. The climb was about 1500m. The climb consisted of about 3500 stone step each step ranging from anywhere between 6 to 15 inches.

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To top it up it was blazing hot. So our water supply diminshed real quickly. Now as you go up the hills safe drinking water starts becoming costlier and costlier. It costed us 70 Nepali Rupee in Ulleri , our first stop after Tikhedunga to about 150 Nepali Rupee at ABC. But there was no option other than buying it.

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We had a small tea break at Ulleri which midway between Tikhedunga and Ghorepani. We refreshed ourselves and moved on. We stopped next at Banthanthi at about 1200pm for lunch and after about an hour we were back on on the feet crossing villages like Nangethanthi. The trek was mostly uphill and sometimes we had to descend into a valley and climb up double the height.

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After a long ardous journey we were finally at Ghorepani at about 0515pm. The walking time for this day was about 8 hours. Ghorepani is a crossroads for many treks and some treks terminate here. This was just Day 2 of walking for us and we had a lot to cover ahead. But this day took a heavy toll on out knees and legs.

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In the evening we could actually feel them shivering. We were just lucky that we reached the guest house in the nick of time before rains started. Gopal briefed us about what to expect next day. The next day was going to be a trek and half. We had to rise and start at 0500am to catch the sunrise at Poon Hill and then trek the whole day upto Tadapani. But only relief was there were going to be no stone steps. Just ups and downs on a rock and mud track under forest cover.

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Day 4 : Gorepani-Poon Hill to Tadapani.
We woke up at 0400am and got ready in about 45 mins and started off onto Poon Hill at 0500am to catch the sunrise. It was very windy so we had to wear a down-jacket to avoid getting cold. The way up Poon Hill took about an hour of solid climb.

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But all that effort just melted away when we saw the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Range and the golden sunlight on it. It was well worth it.

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There were a lot of people around so we literally had to find a spot to take photographs. After a tea at the top of the Poon Hill while enjoying this view we started off down. We reached the guest house at 0730am, packed up and had a hearty breakfast of porridge and eggs.

We started off on our next leg of journey to Tadapani at about 0900am. The trek started off with a climb up a hill to a height of Poon Hill. The view from top of the hill was as beautiful as that from Poon Hill. After this we started walking along a ridge towards Banthathi (well there are lots of Banthanthi and Deurali in Nepal). We stopped at about 1100am at Derali for a tea break. Good part about this whole trek is that after every two hours we come to village or more apt a hamlet where we can get tea, water and food at a price. Lunch was at about 0130pm at Banthanthi. It took us about 1 hour for lunch and we were off ot last leg of journey for the day to Tadapani. Again the path was a walking track under a dense forest canopy with occasional waterfalls and streams to delight.

We reached Tadapani at 0430pm. The accomodation was similar to what we had in Tikhedunga.

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But after 8-10 hours of walk who cared what food we got or where we stayed. We hit the sack at about 0800pm.
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Old 20th October 2013, 14:32   #4
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Day 5 : Tadapani to Chomrong.
This was again a mostly up than down day. Chomrong is a important village which is in the crossroads of many treks in that area. The path today started off in a forest cover
but eventually we were walking on ridges and crossing various valleys on the way. The lunch was at Gurchung . We started off in the morning at 0805am and reached Chomrong at about 0300pm. So in a way this was the easiest day of the trek where the total walking time was about 6 hours. But the only downside was sun and heat which took a toll on our speed. The last climb up to Chomrong had stone steps but fortuantely were not as lethal as the ones in Ulleri.

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Chomrong accomodation was decent but what literally took the cake was the food. The guest house made spectacular pizzas. Yes you heard it right pizza, topped with tomatos and yak's milk cheese. We nearly chomped on the plate too. But after 5 days of trek we deserved a treat so nobody complained of calories.The next few days we were to gain altitude so we had to be mentally and physically prepared for mountain sickness , shortness of breath (none of which fortunately affected anyone of us).

Day 6 : Chomrong to Dovan

The day greeted us with a spectacular view of Machapuchare (FishTail) peak bathing in sunlight.

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At 0800am we were off after a breakfast. The first leg of the journey upto Sinua was a climb down onto steps. I never realized that climbing down the steps could be as hard as climbing up. It took us nearly 1 hour to climb down the flight of step. I took a mental note that we have to climb up the same flight of steps which coming back to Chomrong. Then a climb up (fortunately less steps and more foot track) brought us to Sinua at about 1100am. We polished off a ginger tea at Sinua and started off toward Bamboo for lunch. Again the climb was continous but the suns heat was bearable today.

At about 0130pm we reached Bamboo where we had lunch. We were served rice, dal, bamboo shoots pickle. Loved it to the core. After about an hour we started off again to Dovan. It was starting to get a little chilly and we had to take a stop after every half an hour due to the altitude. But we managed to reach Dovan at 0415pm just before rain.The facilities at Dovan were good. Atleast the bathrooms were tiled. 5 of us shared one room and 2 of us shared another room.The only catch was that Dovan has only 4 guest houses so you have to really quick to get there first and get a bed for the night.
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Old 20th October 2013, 14:41   #5
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Day 7 : Dovan to MachaPuchare Base camp (MBC)

The end is looking in sight just two more days to go to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). The changes in landscape were dramtic today. We started off at 0810am towards hamlet called Himalaya. The route was mostly a climb and walk on the ridge with a thick forest cover. A two hour trek brought us tea at Himalaya. After the tea and some rest we started off to Deurali our place for lunch. We reached Deurali at about 1230pm. We had a rather extended lunch today for about a hour and a half and started off to MBC at 0200pm. The landscape now changed. We were going over the tree line now.

The trees changed to shrubs and then to bushes and finally to grass. It was getting cold and windy now and we could feel our steps becoming slower and little laboured. We were over 12000feet now. It was a 3 hour trek from Deurali to MBC. The guest house in MBC was very good and the view was even more spectacular.

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MBC in a valley funnel so the winds are pretty strong and so is the cold. We needed to be covered at all times here with warm clothing and fleece jackets.

Day 8 : MBC to ABC

The final destination in sight now well literally. After we started off at 0900am. It was a gradual climb up from 3900m to 4150m. At 0945 we saw the first glimpse of ABC and concluded that we should be there in another hour. First rule of mountains "Things are not as near as they seem". It took us 2 hours more to reach ABC and we reached there at about 1130am just for lunch.

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The atmosphere at ABC was a jovial with trekkers of various countries conglomerating together in the bowl formed by Himchuli , Annapurna South , Annapurna 1 , Singhachuli , Annapurna 3 and Macchapuchare.

People were playing volleyball.

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Some were on the edge of the glacier to see the spectacle of nature. Some were paying respect at the gravestones of trekkers who had lost their lives and were missing while climbing these peaks.

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We tried not to sleep in the afternoon since sleeping lowers breathing rate and at the height where oxygen is rare you want as much oxygen in your lungs as possible. A quick check of pulse-ox meter reveled everybody to be ok with acceptable level of o2 in the blood. The sunset was rather special at ABC and only pictures can describe it.

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Old 20th October 2013, 14:43   #6
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Day 9 : ABC to Dovan

After getting a high of the scenary the evening before the day started off cloudy and we missed out on sunrise at ABC. No worry we started our journey back and retracing our steps. The way back always seems faster than way to the destination. Most of that was attributed to the fact that we were climbing down and needed very little rest. The weather was cloudy and we feared for the worst that it would rain.

And it did started raining just as we reached Dovan.So thank god for the day.

Day 10 : Dovan to Chomrong

Gods were not so pleased with us on this particular day and it rained the whole day. But we soldiered on through the day in belting rain, wind. We were all wet to the bone.

The last climb up to Chomrong on those steps drained away all the strength in us. But fortunately we were rewarded by the fantastic pizza at Chomrong.

Day 11 : Chmorong to Pokhara

The day was a wet one too . The rains had not stopped today too. So again with a heavy heart and wet clothes we started off towards Jhinu and then eventually New Bridge. We had a cup of tea at New Bridge. Lunch was at Kyomi. But till the time we reached Kyomi everybody has atleast couple of leech bites to show-off. After having lunch at Kyomi it was an hours trek to a hamlet call Siwai where we caught a jeep to Nayapool. The jeep was a Tata Sumo 4X4 and it carried 12 of us with about 200kg of gear, in slush and mud and potholes of a road to Nayapool where our bus was waiting for to take back to Pokhara.

We reached Pokhara at about 0700pm.We were put up in Apartment hotel. Facilities were good.

Day 12 : Pokhara to Kathmandu

One anxious day it was. It had raining two days continously and fortunately today it opened up and flights were operational. Our flight was at 0150pm but it eventually started at 0250. We reached Kathmandu at around 0430pm.

Day 13 : Kathmandu to Pune
Again we retraced our steps back from Kathmandu to Pune via Delhi.


This trek showed us all the faces of nature heat, cold , rain and wind. But we all loved it.

Some things to remember

1. Book tickets in advance.
2. Take the help of guides and porters since they do all the work of booking a bed for you before hand. You do not want to be stranded there.
3. It is very safe for single traveller male or female to trek.'
4. Water is costly from 70 to 150 Neapli rupees.Get clorine solution to avaoid any stomach upsets.
5. Guest houses charge 100Nepalli rupees per hour to charge your mobile phone.
6. You get hot water bath for 100Rs in guest houses.
7. If it rains there will be millions of leeches carry salt packets along.
8. You will meet trekkers of all nationalities do say "Namaste" and strike up a conversation and exchange experiences.
9. Tip the porters and guides handsomely they really deserve it. You will releaize that after the trek.
10. Rather than raincoat get a poncho. That keeps out rain better.

Last edited by vikrantj : 21st October 2013 at 09:24.
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Old 21st October 2013, 10:42   #7
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/announ...m-section.html (The "Assembly Line" Forum section)) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 21st October 2013, 11:37   #8
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Vikrant,
Let me be the first to congratulate you on this feat. I had seen your post on SDP's reclaiming life thread and was desperately waiting for you to come up with a travelogue.

Last year when I was in Pokhra, I had enquired about Annapurna base camp trek and had made up my mind that one day I would be doing this for sure.

Is it the peak Macchepuchre in your 5th post, pic numbered 3,4 and 5? If that is so, which face is that? I think from Pokhra you get to see the north face. I have seen that peak from Pokhra and the view was to die for. It looks so gorgeous, sad it has been forbidden for people to hike up.

And do please share more pics of Annapurna range. I think the 12th and 13th pic is that of Annapurna?

Last edited by Dodge_Viper : 21st October 2013 at 11:38.
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Old 21st October 2013, 11:50   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodge_Viper View Post
Is it the peak Macchepuchre in your 5th post, pic numbered 3,4 and 5? If that is so, which face is that? I think from Pokhra you get to see the north face. I have seen that peak from Pokhra and the view was to die for. It looks so gorgeous, sad it has been forbidden for people to hike up.

And do please share more pics of Annapurna range. I think the 12th and 13th pic is that of Annapurna?
Yes is the Machhapuchare peak in 5th post. If I am not wrong that should be the west side of it.

Last edited by GTO : 22nd October 2013 at 15:47. Reason: Please quote ONLY the relevant bits of a post. Quoting a full, long post inconveniences our mobile readers.
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Old 21st October 2013, 12:24   #10
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Super achivement. An intresting travelogue with beautiful pics. Will it be possible to map your trek and attach a screenshot (Google map or similar), it will be helpful in understanding the route taken in detail.
You had mentioned about getting your passport renewed, is passport required for Indian nationals to visit Nepal ? Earlier only any ID proof was required I guess.
Also were you required to do any training routine before going to trek to increase your physical fitness ?
You have mentioned that you reached Dovan ahead of others and was able to get bedding, does that mean that booking for rest houses can not be done in advance?!
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Old 21st October 2013, 12:32   #11
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Quote:
Will it be possible to map your trek and attach a screenshot (Google map or similar), it will be helpful in understanding the route taken in detail.
I will put up a map. Unfortunately small villages are not mapped. but let me try my best

Quote:
You had mentioned about getting your passport renewed, is passport required for Indian nationals to visit Nepal ? Earlier only any ID proof was required I guess.
If you are travelling by air to Kathmandu, passport is a must, no other ID is accepted, since you have to pass Indian immigration too

Quote:
Also were you required to do any training routine before going to trek to increase your physical fitness ?
I wish I could have trained more. I had done short treks around Pune to get into the groove.

Quote:
You have mentioned that you reached Dovan ahead of others and was able to get bedding, does that mean that booking for rest houses can not be done in advance?!
You can do in advance provided you get a cell phone range. We were completely blacked-out after Chomrong. There was no cell phone coverage and there are no landlines in the area.

Last edited by GTO : 21st October 2013 at 13:11. Reason: Please use QUOTE instead of typing responses in bold. Thanks!
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Old 21st October 2013, 15:27   #12
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Default Re: Wandering in the Himalayas : Trek to Annapurna Base Camp

Thanks a ton Vikrant for the visual treat.

To see one of the most majestic and the Toughest to climb of all the big peaks in the Himalayas, is once in a life time opportunity.

I could only congratulate you on this great achievement.
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Old 22nd October 2013, 12:31   #13
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It's a beautiful travelogue. Great pics. Mustv'e been an experience!
You know what they say about Trekking? You can't have just 1!
Hoping you keep on conquering more rocks in future.
Cheers!
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Old 22nd October 2013, 23:44   #14
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Thanks for sharing this. I admire the strength and stamina to cover this trek. Kudos to you on achieving this fete which many like me can only dream about.
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Old 28th October 2013, 18:41   #15
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Fantastic thread. Super pictures.
I believe it really takes a lot of planning and preparation to go an ABC trek. I had attempted a trek long back circa 2005 to Gochela which was probably the most difficult physical activity that I have ever undertaken :-)
*Doffs hat. Respect*

Rated the thread 5 stars.
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