Aside from the Annapurna Base Camp trek, we also spent a few days in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Unfortunately most of the time we had set aside was taken up trying to get my luggage sent to Kathmandu, after Virgin Atlantic failed to load it onto my flight, then repeatedly failed to send it when they said they would.
Kathmandu is a bustling city. We stayed at the Ganesh Himal Hotel, just outside of the Thamel tourist district.
Fewa Tal is a beautiful lake along which the town of Pokhara has grown up. This shot was taken in the morning, after we had visited the World Peace Pagoda for sunrise, high up on the hill above the town.
These photographs were all taken on the 9-day Annapurna Base Camp (aka Annapurna Sanctuary) trek that Kate and I did in Nepal.
Although the trek was advertised as an 11-day trek, we easily did it in 9 days. Our route was as follows:
Day 1: Nayapool (1060m) to Tikhe Dhunga (1577m)
Easy starting day: we walked from the trailhead at Nayapool to Tikhe Dhunga, about 6 hours walk. Tikhe Dhunga has some nice waterfalls and you can walk down to the river near the town.
Day 2: Tikha Dhunga to Ghorepani (2850m)
Day two was a fairly tough hike – almost consistently uphill.
Day 3: Early start to visit Poon Hill (3200m), then to Chuile (2150m), via Tadapani (2630m)
We set off for Poon Hill at about 5am to catch the sunrise. Many people were up and everyone hiked silently to the top of the hill in the dark, using their headlamps for light. I was worried about breaking into a sweat on the climb, as once we got to the top we would no longer be active and it was below freezing. Luckily, it’s not possible to walk very fast due as everyone walks in single file and the pace is determined by the crowd and isn’t very fast.
We arrived a little before sunrise and I setup my camera equipment. My plan was to make a timelapse movie of the sun rising over the Annapurna Massif. Unfortunately the constantly changing light conditions make this technically more difficult than I was expecting and it hasn’t come out very well.
The sunrise was easily one of the most beautiful natural scenes we’ve ever laid our eyes on. In a sweeping panorama spanning almost 270 degrees, some of the highest peaks in the world begin to light with bright yellow sunlight.
After sunrise we headed down to Ghorepani for breakfast, then headed up to Tadapani and finally to Chuile where we stopped for the day at about 4pm and watched the local kids playing hide-and-go-seek in garden of the tea-house.
Day 4: Chuile to Dovan (2286m), via Chhomgrong (2040m)
From Chuile we descended down a steep valley and up the other side of the valley to Chhomrong, then down and up another very steep valley on the other side of the town (someone told me there are 2000 step descending down the valley). We had lunch in Sinuwa and got to Bamboo at about 4pm. We were getting tired, but decided to head on for Dovan, the next town along where we were going to meet up with Mats, a Swede who was walking the same route as us.
Between Bamboo and Dovan, we bumbed into someone we know from London! It was completely unexpected and quite a shock to see them. We hadn’t seen them in about 3 years, but it was nice to catch up quickly as we passed on another in different directions.
Day 5: Dovan to Machapuchare Base Camp/MBC (3703m)
Another hard day, but we got to MBC by about 2pm and it was nice to sit around enjoying the epic scenery for the afternoon. Mid afternoon a thick fog rolled in and we went indoors and chatted to the other trekkers. Just before sunset the sky cleared and we had some amazing views of Machapuchare illuminated by the last rays of the day. Real magic!
Day 6: MBC to Annapurna Base Camp/ABC (4130m) for sunrise, then down to Sinuwa (2340m)
Another morning of waking up at 4:45am. By 5am we were walking up to ABC in the dark. Kate’s headlamp failed, so I gave her mine and then stumbled up in the near darkness. As sunrise approached, the mountains became illuminated in the most beautiful way – they almost looked luminous. In the cold I managed a few hand-held snaps.
We got to ABC just before the sun light Annapurna I. We took photographs and enjoyed the amazing show nature was putting on for us, then had some breakfast at ABC. Although we were at a very high altitude, we didn’t feel any signs of altitude sickness – we didn’t struggle to sleep to much and we both still had healthy appetites.
From ABC we did a long hike down to Sinuwa. By the time we got there we had been hiking for 11 hours and were very tired.
Day 7: Sinuwa to Jhinu (1760m)
I awoke with a horribly sore knee. This was probably from all the downhill the day before. When I awoke, I struggled to bend it and was quite worried about hiking at all that day. After taking some anti-inflammatories the pain went away, and luckily it didn’t come back.
Jhinu is only three hours walk from Sinuwa and we spent the afternoon at the hot springs near Jhinu. It was great to chill a little.
Day 8: Jhinu to Syauli Bazar (1190m)
Another very short day – only 3 hours hiking once again. Our guide pulled a rat out of the kitchen of the tea-house we were staying. He was holding it in a pair on tongs, showing it to Kate and I, when it wriggled around and bit him. He threw it in the bushes and it ran away. Kate was very worried about rats after that. I meant to have a word with the guide and tell him it’s probably better not to show girls rats you’ve pulled from the kitchen.
Day 9: Syauli Bazar to Nayapool (1060m)
Only about 2 or 3 hours walk to the end of the trail. Nayapool is a busy market town and it’s quite dirty and busy after the natural beauty of the trek – a bit of a shock to the system. From there, we caught a taxi back to Pokhara for some well deserved rest and relaxation.