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Trekking around the Himalayas is always a satisfying thing to do as it offers a lot of thrilling experience and useful information. Trekking has always been a part of my life. I often travel new places in my leisure time and explore around. Regarding treks, I like to trek around the Himalayas to admire the beautiful creations of nature and know the living style of the people.
I have trekked lot of long and short destination including Tsho Rolpa Trek, Ghorepani-Poonhill Trek, Gosaikunda-Langtang Trek and many more. This time, I did the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, also known as “Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) Trek”. I wanted to do this trek since a long time but did not get any chance to skip my schedule and start my journey. I finally got some free times during Dashain festival so I decided to complete this trek.
This Annapurna Sanctuary Trek takes you to the dense forest of rhododendron passing through various beautiful human settlements, rivers to the base camp of Mt. Fishtail and Mt. Annapurna. Annapurna Sanctuary Trek (ABC) lies in the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). This Annapurna Base Camp Trek offers a diverse variety of flora and fauna with various hills and mountain peaks. This trek is one of the famous treks of Nepal. Annapurna Base Camp, situated at an elevation of 4,130 meter is the highest point of Annapurna Sanctuary Trek. Mt. Fishtail, Himchuli and Annapurna Ranges are visible throughout the trek from different angle and elevation. Annapurna I is the 10th highest peak of Nepal having an elevation of 8,091 meter. This trek can be completed in 7 to 12 days and considered as a medium trek. The starting point of the trek is Pokhara which is the gateway to various trek destinations. One can reach Pokhara in 25-30 minutes in a flight from Kathmandu. The distance between Kathmandu and Pokhara is around 200 kms; it will take around 6-7 hours on a wheel depending on the traffic. Pokhara is the 2nd largest city of Nepal and most visited tourist destination. It lies in the western part of Nepal.
I did this Annapurna Sanctuary Trek on November, 2019. This is the last month of autumn before winter. This is the 2nd best season to trek in higher altitudes of Nepal. The weather and visibility is clear during this period of time.
I followed the following itinerary for my ABC trek:
Day 1: Drive Kathmandu – Pokhara – Kimche (8 hours), Hike to Ghandruk (30 minutes)
Day 2: Trek Ghandruk – Chomrong – Sinuwa (Trek 5-6 hours)
Day 3:Trek Sinuwa – Bamboo – Dovan – Himalaya – Deurali (Trek 6-7 hours)
Day 4:Trek Deurali – Machhapuchhre Base Camp – Annapurna Base Camp ( Trek 6 hrs, 4,130 m)
Day 5: Trek back Annapurna Base Camp to Bamboo (Trek 6-7 hrs)
Day 6: Trek back Bamboo to Jhinu Hot Spring (Trek 5 hours)
Day 7: Trek back Jhinu Hot Spring to Nayapul (Trek 4 hours), Drive to Pokhara (1.5 hours)
(Recommended: You can add one extra day to trek Ghorepani, Poonhill.)
Region: Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP).
Duration: 7 night, 8 days.
Highest point : 4,130 m. Annapurna Base Camp (ABC).
Major Attraction: Annapurna south, Himchuli, Fishtail, Gangapurna, Annapurna I,II,III,IV.
Accommodation: Teahouse, Lodge.
Early morning, I took a bus to Pokhara from Kalanki. There were many tourist and trekkers in the bus. It was a nice and comfortable tourist bus. We headed towards Pokhara at around 7 pm. The bus drove along the Trishuli River and stopped for lunch at Muglin. After lunch, the bus crossed the newly constructed bridge of Muglin and then continued the journey to Pokhara. We reached Pokhara at around 2pm. I had already reserved a ticket to Ghandruk so I went to the ticket counter. There was a jeep outside the counter which was waiting for me. The driver told me to hop inside the vehicle. I did so and then, we started our journey to Ghandruk.
Ghandruk was around 4 hours’ drive from Pokhara passing various beautiful human settlements and nature’s creation. We passed Kande, Lumle and then finally reached Nayapul from where we left the Beni Baglung highway and traced the motor road to Kimche. On the way, I asked the driver if he had some hotel contact. He gave me the hotel contact and then i called them and reserved a single room for myself.
The jeep dropped us up to Kimche at around 6pm, about 20 minutes down from Ghandruk. Then, I hiked up to Ghandruk. It was already dusk when I saw this marvelous human settlements and the giant Himalayas at the background. I knew I missed the sunset but the view was still satisfying with the scenic trails and chirpings of birds; I ascended many stone steps and finally reached Ghandruk. I began to search my hotel and asked the local for its direction. After entering various small alleys and ascending some more stone steps, I found the hotel just like the locals told me. I met the hotel owner and reminded her about my call. She recognized me and told me that she was worried about me as it was getting dark and was travelling alone. I smiled and shared my day’s experience with her. Then she assigned me the hotel’s room. I ordered my dinner at the hotel. It was already dark so I went to my room and took some rest inside. I went to the dining to sit around and have some tea. I talked with the owner’s husband there and knew about Ghandruk more. There were other trekkers too who were also giving attention to his talks. We shared each other’s experience and knowledge about Ghandruk. Later, I went to my room and slept as I had to wake up early for sunrise.
Ghandruk is one of the largest Gurung settlements in Nepal. It is well known for its stone roofed houses and Gurung culture. There is a museum of Gurung which reflects traditional Gurung culture and has preserved Gurung customs and belongings. The village well situated below the great Himalayas including Fishtail, Himchuli and Annapurna South. These mountain peaks looks much appealing and mind blowing during sunrise and sunset when the sun rays kisses the mountains and turn them into golden and reddish color.
Early morning, I woke up at 5.30 am and freshen up myself. I went outside and saw this alluring view of the mountain peaks which I missed the day before because of the darkness and clouds. Then, I took a cup of tea and waited for the sunrise view in the terrace. The sunrise view from the hotel was wonderful; I can’t describe the heavenly color transformation of the mountains during the sunrise. I took some pictures and then went to my room to pack my stuffs. I checked out from the hotel and entered the Gurung museum before leaving Ghandruk. The trail passed me through a dense forest of rhododendron and bamboo. After walking for some time, I passed this amazing suspension bridge which took me to Jhinu Hot spring. I continued my walk and reached Chomrong admiring nature’s beauty. It was a steep climb so I took some rest. Chomrong is a small but beautiful village at an elevation of meter. Then, I headed towards Sinuwa. I descended the trail and again ascended a hill to reach Sinuwa. I spent a night there. The teahouse I stayed was very nice, dinner was well served and owner was frank and of good hospitality.
I traced the trail along Modi khola the next day too. I crossed many small bridges, passed bamboo. Walking on the stone step through the dense forest admiring the alluring view of the Himalayas was a very great experience for me. I met many trekkers on the way and greeted each other saying “Namaste”. I reached Dovan where I had my lunch and then continued my journey. After a long walk passing Himalaya, I finally reached Deurali. I went to a hotel and asked them if they had a single room. They told me to come inside and show me the room. I told them that it is good enough for me and ordered my dinner. I took some rest and went outside to enjoy the ambience of the place. Deurali is surrounded by rocky hills from both side and is situated at an elevation of 3,200 meter. I went back to the hotel, had my dinner and went to bed.
After a good sleep at Deurali, I had my breakfast at the hotel and started my journey of the day. It was the day I will reach my final destination, Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). I was so excited for the day’s journey. There was an avalanche risk area just after some walk from Deurali. The locals said that people died during the avalanche so better walk faster from the risky area. I walked quickly to pass that area. Walking for a long time, I reached Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC) at an altitude of meter. I had my lunch there and took some rest. The view from Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC) was wonderful with all the mountain summit and naked hills. Then, I headed towards Annapurna Base Camp which was just 2 hours from Machhapuchhre Base Camp. A lot of trekkers were trekking Annapurna Base Camp (ABC); some were returning, some were heading towards the base camp (ABC). I reached Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) at about 4.30 pm and checked in at a teahouse. I kept my baggage and went outside the hotel. I roamed around the base camp and enjoyed the talks of the local while having tea. The sunset view from Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) was one of the magnificent experiences I ever had. Moment when the sun rays strikes the mountains slowly, turning it into reddish golden color was one of the best sunset I ever experienced. Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) was surrounded 360° degree by the mountain peaks of Annapurna ranges. The experience around the Himalayas was very great and unforgettable. Though the weather was chilly during the evening and night, seeing the dazzling mountain peaks can surely cheer you up.
Sunrise of following day at Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) was just like the sunset moment. I still get confused when I wonder which was more mind-blowing; the sunrise or the sunset. After the sunrise, I retraced the trails up to Bamboo passing Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC), Deurali and Dovan. I stayed an overnight there and then retraced the same trail up to Jhinu Hot spring the other day. Jhinu Hot spring is very famous for trekkers because there is a hot spring where trekkers dip there body to relax and re-boost their energy after certain treks of Annapurna region. I went there, bought a beer and dipped my body like the others. I stayed an overnight at Jhinu Hot spring and then retraced the trail till Nayapul. From Nayapul, I took a local bus which took me to Pokhara.
I had a very exciting experience doing this Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, also known as Annapurna Base Camp Trek (ABC). I enjoyed this trek a lot; Admiring the mountains from various angle and elevation, passing various dense forest, crossing small wooden and long suspension bridges, interacting with the locals, witness the topographical change and many more made this trek more wonderful and worth it. I heard that Annapurna Base Camp can be experienced on a ABC helicopter tour from Pokhara. This is the best alternative of trekking to most of the luxurious travellers as well as those who do not want to trek but experience the great Himalayas surrounding. The most exciting thing is the chopper lands at Annapurna Base Camp and one can spend around 30-45 minutes at the base camp.
I am a licensed guide of Nepal authorized by the Nepal government. I’ve good experience in most of the trek destinations of Nepal and sharing my experience through travel blogs. I love travelling to various destinations and like to interact with other travellers. I work at Global Holidays Adventure Pvt. Ltd. which is one of the best tour operators of Nepal because of their quality service and satisfaction they provide to the customers. If you want to experience this trek or any other treks in Nepal and searching for some good tour operator, always feel free to contact us. We operate tailor made tour and trek packages.
Article by SANOSH BLON