One of Nepal’s most engaging treks, a visit to the camp that serves as a base for climbers of Annapurna and the other surrounding peaks. The camp, tea-houses and all, sits in what is known as the Annapurna Sanctuary, an oval shaped plateau at over 4,000m surrounded by peaks and reached only by a narrow pass between Mts Hiunchuli and Machapuchare. The unique combination of heights and depths in the Annapurna Sanctuary give rise to a variety of ecosystems. The south-facing slopes are “covered in dense tropical jungles of rhododendron and bamboo, while the north-facing slopes have a drier colder climate similar to that of the nearby Tibetan Plateau”.
This trek is best done in October or November, but is perfectly viable in March or April, though the risk of avalanches at a couple of spots on Day 7 necessitates a very early start as the spring sun starts to melt the snow on the east facing slopes above us.
This trek is a moderately difficult tea-house trek. It also bears a particular resonance for me as it was the first trek that I ever did (ed).
|Day 1||Kathmandu to Pokhara We depart for the vibrant resort area of Lakeside, from where you can observe views to the north across the hills to the white peaks of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, go boating on Fewa lake or just wander around. (6/8 hours drive or 30 min flight).|
|Day 2||Pokhara to Tikhe Dhungha (1,525m) After breakfast your trekking guide will pick you up for the drive to Naya Pul from where we commence our trek. We first hike to Birethanti, a large and prosperous town beside the Modi Khola (river) and, from there we trek up the main trail to Sudami. Here we trek gradually up the side of the valley reaching Hile (1,495m), before hiking on to Tirkhe Dhunga. (1 hour drive, 4/5 hours trekking).|
|Day 3||Tikhe Dhunga to Ghorepani (2,750m) Today we spend a pleasant day’s trekking through rhododendron and oak forests and across the Bhurungdi Khola (river) before making a short hike up to Nangethanti (2,460m). After lunch we trek up to Ghorepani. (5/6 hour trek).|
|Day 4||Ghorepani to Poon Hill to Tadapani (2,520m) After an early start at around 4 am we trek up Poon Hill (3,210m), this is a steep 1 hour hike and leads to a brilliant viewpoint with an unobstructed sunrise over the high Himalayas. After spending about 40 minutes on the hillside, and enjoying a hot cup of coffee or tea, we hike back to Ghorepani for breakfast. From here the trek climbs along ridges and through pine and rhododendron forests to Deurali (2,960m). We then trek down to Banthanti before winding our way down to Tadapani (2,540m). (6 hour trek).|
|Day 5||Tadapani to Chhomrong (2,210m) Dropping down from Tadapani the trek offers good views of the upper Modi Valley. The trek then starts the long ascent high above the west bank of the Modi Khola. We will arrive in the village of Chhomrong (2,210m) lying tucked at the very base of Himalchuli. This is the last permanent settlement in the valley. (5 hour trek).|
|Day 6||Chhomrong to Doban (2,540m) From Chhomrong the trek descends to Chhomrong Khola, then begins a slow climb as we hike up to Sinuwa. We then proceed to Kuldi Ghar (2,470m) where the trek enters the upper Modi Khola Valley. We can expect snow from here on in the winter months (Dec to Feb). We continue our trek down to Bamboo through an uninhabited forest area filled with scattered big rocks. From Bamboo the trek will take us through bamboo and rhododendron forests to Doban (2,540m). (6 hour trek).|
|Day 7||Doban to Deurali (3,170) After climbing 300m we hike past the Himalayan Hotel (2,840m) and then trek on to Hinko Cave (3,100m) and Deurali. We will have great views of Machapuchare (6,993m) and you will understand why it’s named Fish Tail Mountain. (4 hour trek).|
|Day 8||Deurali to Machapuchare Base Camp (3,700m) We trek up to Machapuchare Base Camp (which isn’t really a base camp since climbing the mountain is not permitted) where we ought to rest due to the increasing altitude. (2 hour trek).|
|Day 9||Machapuchare Base Camp to Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m) We make the spectacular uphill trek to Annapurna Base Camp with its awesome views. (2 hour trek).|
|Day 10||Rest Day at Annapurna Base Camp Today is a chance to explore this wonderful little plateau, just pray that the weather’s perfect. Don’t get sunburnt!!|
|Day 11||Annapurna Base Camp to Sinuwa (2,360) We trek back, retracing our footsteps, to Sinuwa. (5 hour trek).|
|Day 12||Sinuwa to Ghandruk (1,940m) From Sinuwa we hike to Chhomrong from where the trek descends through forests to Gurjung Khola before a slight ascent to Kimrong. From Deurali there is an easy trek to Ghandruk, a wonderful Gurung village with traditional houses made of stone slabs. The views you can enjoy from here are Annapurna South (7,229 m), Hiunchuli (6,441 m), Annapurna III (7,755 m), Glacier Dome (7,200 m) and Machapuchare. Our early arrival means we have the afternoon to explore the village. (4/5 hour trek).|
|Day 13||Ghandruk via Naya Pul to Pokhara From Ghandruk it’s easy hiking, all down hill, to Naya Pul where our trek ends. We return to Pokhara by private transport. (4 hour trek and 1 hour drive).We hope you’ve had a great trek, had some adventures, tightened your belt a few notches and look forward to trekking with you again on your return to Nepal.|
|Day 14||We return to Kathmandu We return to Kathmandu. Alternatively you might consider a paragliding flight, with or without an instructor. Tandem flights cost from US$ 95 to US$ 130.
We hope you’ve had a great trek, had some adventures, tightened your belt a few notches and look forward to seeing you on your return to Nepal.
|Ballpark price; US$ 1,200 plus transport between Pokhara and Kathmandu and accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara|
|price includes airport pick-ups and drop-offs. All inclusive trek costs; accommodation in twin shared rooms, breakfast, lunch, dinner, trekking and park permit fees, guide and necessary porters and all their costs such as transportation, accommodation, food, equipment, insurance etc.|
|Price excludes accommodation and food in Kathmandu and Pokhara, transport between Kathmandu and Pokhara, alcoholic beverages, tips, your insurance and personal expenses.