For several years now, trekking in Nepal has been on our bucket list. Ideally, we’d like to come back to walk the full Annapurna Circuit at a later point, but this time around, we took on a week-long trek through the Annapurna region.
Landing in Kathmandu
Our trek started in to Kathmandu, where we picked up the supplies we needed for our trek. While we only had a few hours to explore Kathmandu, I found it to be your quintessential Asian backpacker city — a maze of allys and shops, a large variety of international restaurants, and hostels and guesthouses on every corner.
The Flight to Pokhara
On day one, we hopped on a small prop plane, which flew us northwest to Pokhara, where we drove about an hour up the mountain to where our trailhead started.
Our route took us up thousands of stairs through various mountainside villages in the region. We stayed in Ghorepani, Ghandruk, Dhampus Village, and a few other very tiny villages.
Throughout most of the trek, we had pretty amazing views over the Himalayas, particularly the Annapurna South mountain peak. You’d often find yourself hiking through some forrest area to come out on the other side, surrounded by mountains you didn’t realize were there.
Sunrise Trek to Poon Hill
The sunrise trek to pool hill — aka the “wake up at 4am and climb stairs for an hour in the freezing cold” trek. This early morning trek is basically the main reason you need a down jacket, gloves, headlamp, and thermals — i.e. most of your trekking gear. 🙂
Admittedly, the tea houses in this region are not the nicest of accommodations. You’re generally looking at a simple room with very basic beds for 2-3 people, a roof over your head, walls as thin as cardboard (and if you’re really lucky, lots of spiders). Heat is only available in the common area / dinning room (another good reason to make sure you buy or rent a good sleeping bag in Kathmandu). The really nice ones might have an ensuite bathroom and hot water…but one thing you could always count on was a good view. Also be prepared to eat a lot of momos and dal bhat, the most common local dishes.
The Final Descent
On the final day of our trek, we woke up to walk the last set of steps down to the road back to Pokhara. These last few hours took us straight through terraced rice fields, offering a bit of new terrain.
To Guide or Not to Guide?
This is the first guided trek we’ve ever done. While it’s definitely not necessary to have a guide on the trails in Nepal, we had a very tight schedule and our guide made sure we got to see the highlights of the region, took care of our permits and transportation, and make sure we made it back for our return flights on time. If you do plan to hike in Nepal, I highly recommend our guide, Ram, at Gokyo Treks.