After a smelly and crazy-packed overnight train, 2 buses, and a walk across the India-Nepal border, we were in NEPAL!
One striking difference between Nepal and India, which we noticed right away, was in the general behavior of women. In India, we felt that women were a lot more in the background and interested in keeping to themselves. In contrast, Nepalese women were significantly more outgoing, which was very refreshing!
She doesn’t speak English and I only know how to say “Namaste” but somehow we connected
Our main reason for coming to Nepal was to hike the breathtaking Himalayas.
Annapurna range and Rhododendron forrest views on Day 3 of our trek
After spending a night in a Buddhist temple in Lumbini, birthplace of the Buddha, we went to Pokhara, gateway to the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) trek and a necessary stop of collecting permits and gear. We rented very helpful trekking poles, sleeping bags and cold weather gear.
Many people hire a guide and a porter (someone to carry your gear) but we chose “The Backpacker Special”, a.k.a carrying our own packs for the entire trip the cheap way. So we stocked up on chocolate, bought a map and went for it on our own!
Do you think this is enough chocolate to keep us motivated for 8 days?
We are both athletic but have never trekked much. Hiking to ABC meant hiking up grueling steps and steep slopes for at least 6hrs per day. Combined with the high altitude and the weight of our gear, it was definitely a challenge!
All this talk of hard work reminds us of one of the porters we met on the trail. His job consisted of carrying people’s heavy belongings up the mountain day after day after day. Despite working in a beautiful environment, in our view, it’s a terrible job that probably leads to long term side effects on the body. It is hard to imagine how you motivate yourself to do such hard work every single day, for probably very little money.
Still, this guy constantly had a beautiful smile and good vibes every time we saw him. Which was definitely a good reminder for us to stop whining and enjoy what we have!
The man with the most inspiring smile and incredible strength
8 days of walking
Having the chance to spend 8 days at the feet of the tallest mountains in the world was challenging, humbling, and one of the best experiences of my life. Growing up a beach girl, there is something about the snow-capped mountains that always makes me feel like there is magic in the air.
Stretch after a long walk!
Sunrise at “Poon Hill”
Here are some of our favorite pictures from 8 days trekking to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). And in case your interested in our actual itinerary, we listed it all below.
As if the trail isn’t challenging enough already, these buffalos love blocking the road
Rhododendron flowers in full bloom
We got stuck in a goat traffic jam more than once!
When you see a bull charging at you and luckily the herder knows one important word in English: “SIDE!”
Too many steps! Sometimes I see a big flight of stairs and get flashbacks to this pain.
Almost at the top!
Poorly equipped, we had to wear plastic bags on our shoes to keep the snow out!
Noodle soup for breakfast, yes please!
2hrs in the snow up to ABC
Easy as 1,2,3…we made it to ABC!
Just a couple monkeys at the Jhinu Hot Springs on our way back down the trail
Feel Strong? Hell yea! Funny ad showing “Probably” the best beer in Nepal
- Bus from Pokhara to Nayapul to the start
- Day 1: Nayapul to Ulleri. If you start early and have energy to make it up those steps to Ulleri we highly recommend it because it would suck to have to start the day with all those steps the next morning
- Day 2: Ulleri to Ghorepani. Relatively easy and relaxing day
- Day 3: Ghorepani to Poon Hill for Sunrise. Then back down Ghorepani to Tadapani. Again if you have energy you can continue a little past Tadapani.
- Day 4: Tadapani to Upper Sinua. This day was really painful because going there are about an hour of stairs going downhill in Chhomrong and then another 1.5 of stairs going to Upper Sinua.
- Day 5: Sinua to Deurali, take it slow as you move into the higher altitudes!
- Day 6: Deurali to ABC the final ascent.
- Day 7: ABC to Chhomrong, 10 hours walking this was our longest and most tiring day.
- Day 8: Chhomrong to Jihnu Hot Springs and then Jhinu to Siwai to catch a bus back to Pokhara. The last bus from Siwai leaves at 3:30pm. We made it just on time for the last bus of the day and it was so full we had to ride on the roof!
Full bus = You ride on the roof!
- If you need cold weather gear, look out for discounted or free items at your hostel. Andres got an amazing Burton jacket in the free box from our hostel in Varanasi
- If you don’t have gloves for the cold pack an extra pair of socks to keep your fingers warm
- The weather usually starts off nice in the morning but gets hazy in the afternoons so get an early start on the trek!
- It was tough on our bodies walking so much to get back to Pokhara in just 2 days so if you have the time, I suggest moving a little slower on your way back from ABC
- Pack lots of snacks! It is really nice to have chocolate, peanut butter and anything else that makes you happy as motivation