Annapurna Base Camp Trek via Ghorepani
An unbelievable experience under the shadows of amazing Annapurna that you will cherish forever!
Annapurna Base Camp Trekking is a moderate nature trek that takes you to the foot (Base Camp, 4130m) of Mt. Annapurna, along the exemplary Annapurna Trail. Starting from Nayapul, a drive of about 2 hrs from Pokhara, the trail takes you through fascinating traditional villages of Nepal’s ethnic communities Gurung, Magar, and Thakali who will greet you very warmly if you care to stop for a conversation. Continuing through the dense rhododendron forest with towering snowy peaks in the background, you witness breathtaking views of an early morning sunrise where a red halo seeps through glistening gaps over the snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna & Dhaulagiri Mountains. The incredible landscape adorned by the Himalayas where you witness the beauty beyond imagination is what Annapurna Base Camp Trek is all about.
The Annapurna Base Camp trek is even more interesting in spring as the whole forest along the trail turns red, pink and white with rhododendron flowers. This wonder trip can be done anytime of the year except during the monsoons (July to August).
PRICE T-house trek: Includes: Accommodation in Lodge, guide, porters and all meals
You will be greeted by a panoramic view of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below once you fly in the sky of Kathmandu. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities. Overnight at Hotel. .
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely Boudhanath- the largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal, Pashupatinath- most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva and Patan or Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. At Patan Durbar Square, we will delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square. Overnight at Hotel. .
Today we will drive to Pokhara early in the morning by a private vehicle. We will cover the total distance of 210km between Kathmandu and Pokhara along the snaky highway. You will drive from Kathmandu to Naubise on the Tribhuvan Highway. Then continue the journey straight on the Prithvi Highway to Pokhara. The total time takes approx. 6 to 7 hours. Overnight at Hotel. .
After breakfast, we will set off to Nayapul through beautiful green hills of Annapurna region. In about 2 hours we will reach Nayapul, the starting point of out trek. The trail starts with easy down and flat walk before starting our gentle climbing to Tikhedhunga. Overnight at Local Lodge. .
We will have breakfast in the hotel and start our trekking to Ghorepani; one of the most important destinations of our trek. The trek starts after crossing the Modi River through a suspension bridge. Right after crossing the bridge we will have to make a steep climbing for an hour or a little more to reach Ulleri Village (2080m). Continuing the trekking through the Rhododendron forests, we will be reaching our destination for today; Ghorepani Village. These Rhododendron forests look amazing during March - Late April. The village is one of the biggest villages of the whole trekking and offers you beautiful views of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Mt. Fishtail, Dhaulagiri range etc. Overnight at Local Lodge. .
We will have an early-morning excursion up to Poon Hill (3210m) for amazing brilliant sunrise and panoramic view of high Himalaya. It takes about 45 minutes and 400 meter walk up to the view point. After enjoying the sun rise and Mountain View, we will come back to hotel for breakfast. Then we will trek to Tadapani (25400m). Overnight at Local Lodge. .
Leaving Tadapani, the triail descends down through forest and we can hear birds chirping. After walking down about 45 minutes the trail goes very steep downhill through the terraced field to Kimrung Khola, cross the suspension bridge towards Gurjung. The trail ascends up after Gurjung village for 45 minutes, then straight walk to Sinwa at the elevation of 2170m. It takes about 6-7 hours from Tadapani to Sinwa. Overnight at Local Lodge. .
Today, the trail continues gently up till the ridge and the level trail through the rhododendron forests until reaching Bamboo which takes about 2 hours. Again the trail continues through the bamboo forests till Dovan in about 1 hour. We will have lunch here. After lunch, the trek starts climbing up through the rhododendron forests until reaching Himalaya in about 1 and half hour. Overnight at Local Lodge. .
We will start the day by hiking a pleasant ascend, making our way through streams and falls until a steep ascend to Hinku and further small but steep hike to Deurali. Immediately after Deurali, the damp trees of lush green forest change into drier grassy land. The trail is more relaxed from here onwards but undergoes one of the most adventurous sections being it prone to avalanche. The views of distant Machhapuchhre become more dominant and we get the first glimpse of majestic Annapurna. On this day we will start to feel the effect of altitude. Overnight at Local Lodge. .
Early in the morning we will have one of the best 360 degree views in the Himalaya. With the glimpse of sunrise over Mt Annapurna I, Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, and Machhapuchre and fond memories, we will retrace the journey back to Bamboo. Overnight at Local Lodge. .
After breakfast, the trail goes right down to Chomorong. Then the path steeply descends to Jhinu Danda. Jhinu danda is a popular and beautiful place for its natural hot spring, where we can enjoy with hot water. Overnight at Local Lodge. .
After breakfast we will trek to Nayapul via Birethanti. It takes about 3/4 hours’ walk to Nayapul then we will drive to Pokhara by private car or van. In the evening, you are free to do your activities, like relaxing, strolling along the lakeside etc. Overnight in Hotel. .
Today we will go for the city tour. We will visit the popular landmarks of Pokhara like Devis waterfall, Seti gorge, Bindabasini temple and Guptseshowor Cave. In the evening, we will go for a boat ride in the tranquil Fewa Lake. Overnight at Hotel. .
Today we will drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu via same route we too earlier. The rest of the day is free for your personal activities. Overnight at Hotel. .
Today is your last day in Nepal. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight or you can extend your Nepal tour by joining other tour packages and activities..
This is a long trek that goes right into high mountain country and the Annapurna South Base Camp (4130m). Physically quite tiring, it involves approx 6-8 hours trekking along rocky ridges. No previous experience is required, you should be moderately fit, used to some regular exercise and enjoy walking in the high altitude conditions.
We offer several options regarding the organization of your trek:
1) Guide, Accommodation and Porter trek (GAP trek)
Includes: Accommodation, guide and porters
This is an abbreviation of Guide Accommodation and Porters (GAP). This option of the trek is for those who want basic support from us. This is the most economic way to do trekking in Nepal. We provide an English speaking local Sherpa guide, book and pay for the accommodation in local lodges during trek and arrange required porters. Trekkers pay for meals directly to the local lodge owner. Expect to spend around 2000-2500 Rupees a day for food. Guide, accommodation and porters are covered in the price.
2) Camping trek
On camping trek you will be sleeping and eating on tents. A trekking crew contains one Sirdar, one cook and the numbers of kitchen crew, Sherpa assistants and porters depending on the size of the group. Under the leadership of the Sirdar (the local trek leader) the crew will ensure you take the right path. The kitchen crew will keep you well fed with delicious and nutritious meals. The porters shall transport the gear from camp to camp. Our main aim is to make the trek as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. Sirdar and his assistants speak basic English, good enough to explain to you about the places, local culture or any sight that catches your eyes.
Includes: Guide, Porters, Cook, All meals and tents
3) Lodge or tea house trek
Although simple, the teahouses or lodges do provide shelter and warmth and are normally run by friendly local families. The lodge or tea house treks are less expensive than camping trek and are largely suitable for small groups.
Includes: Accommodation in Lodge, guide, porters and all meals
YOUR TREK CAN BE ORGANIZED IN ALL THE 3 WAYS AS MENTIONED ABOVE.
Trekking in the Annapurna region does not need tremendous logistics in terms of accommodation as you will find plenty of clean and friendly lodges along the trail. We stay in single rooms where possible, but often you will have to share. Rooms are basic, normally just a bed with a pillow and blankets. All lodges have spacious dining room-lounge. We will accommodate you and your group in local lodge available each day. We send a porter ahead of us to book the required rooms for the group (rooms cannot be booked in advance). Please remember that some of them are very basic and a sense of adventure is necessary.
It is cheaper to stay in lodge rather than organizing a camping trek. Camping trek means sleeping in tents. On a camping trek, the tents provided are ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped. Foam mattress with insulation underneath is provided for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu with 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection to this itinerary, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a special choice.
Meals are included in our price and are taken in Lodges available along the trail. You can find a considerable variety of Nepali and Western food as well as drinks (coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, and beer).
Meals are prepared by our cook. We provide three tasty and nutritious meals daily along with drinks.
You will have to make your own eating arrangements in the Lodges available along the trail. Expect to spend around 2000-2500 Rupees a day for food. Guide, accommodation and porters are covered in the price.
On camping trek, our staff will boil water and cook meals treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. On GAP trek and Lodge trek, you will be able to buy bottled water in tea houses.
We recommend you to bring water purification pills
During trek your main luggage will be carried by porters or pack animals (usually yaks or cross breeds). You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket, etc. - a small load that allows full enjoyment of the trek. A trek bag is ideal for your main luggage, plus a small lockable bag for travel clothes or anything that you do not need during trek which you can leave at hotel’s locker room/safe deposit box in Kathmandu for free of charge. Weight allowance at Nepal’s domestic airlines is 15kgs, excess weight is chargeable at about USD 1.5 or more per Kilo depending on sectors.
We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements:
1) Western leader
2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable)
3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)
The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. On camping trek, there will be 2/3 porters for each members while on GAP and Lodge trek 1 porter for 2 members.
Our trips are available on both fixed departure and private basis. If you are looking for a group to join this trip please check our ‘2018 departures’ link for availability, dates and price. If you would like to travel independently, or with your friends, families & colleagues you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient timeframe for any number of people (minimum 1 & maximum 100 at a time).
If you want to do something that is not included in our trip list we are ready to tailor a trip to suit your exact requirements. In short, we will make every effort to get you on the trip you want, when you want.
If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies: minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 2, the maximum is 12 people.
Personal expenses depend largely on the type of trek, duration and the trekking region.
If you are on Camping or Tea house trek all meals will be provided. You only need money for table drinks (alcoholic/non alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking (a few smaller shops are available along the trail in some areas) tips, souvenirs, hot shower (available in some places).
If you are on ‘GAP’ trek style you need to pay for all your meals. NPR 2000-2500 a day should be enough to cover your meals. We pay for your accommodation at mountain hut (tea house) along the trail and bear all the expenses of staff assigned by us.
Tips are appreciated by your support team after the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise you to allocate 5 - 10% of the total tour cost as tips.
You can choose any mode of transport to commute from Kathmandu to Pokhara. From Kathmandu, you can take a 30 minutes’ scenic flight to Pokhara and drive to Nayapool or we drive for 6/7 hours from Kathmandu along the Prithvi Highway to Nayapul, the starting point of the trek. On your return, our car/bus shall pick you from Nayapul and drive to Pokhara. You can choose between flying or driving back from Pokhara to Kathmandu. We will also arrange the transportation from your hotel to the airport (Kathmandu).
There are a plenty of telephone facilities in the Annapurna region. Cell phones work fine throughout the trek in the region. If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, we can provide you a sim card or rental satellite phones if necessary.
You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sun-screen and day pack.
Comprehensive list of gears will be provided once you book your trip or check CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT LIST LINK.
It's not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu.
Each morning after packing our bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the day's walk. After walking for 3-4 hours we stop for lunch at around midday. Post-lunch walk is generally shorter and we usually arrive at our destination in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the village, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days we will arrive at our destination by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and reliving the day's adventures, before heading off to bed for a well-earned sleep.
However, on a camping trek, you begin your day with a hot cup of tea which will be served to you in the tent at 6 am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. Other day activities are the same as mentioned above.
You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass on the Customs and come out of the Terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland.
The best seasons to trek in the Annapurna region are Autumn (from mid-September till November end) and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher every day. The nights are cold (between -20 C to 5C) but the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 30C). The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. Trekking during the monsoon is not recommended, as the visibility during monsoon is limited. Trekking in the winter is possible; however, it is much colder than Autumn and Spring.
March, April, October and November are the most popular and favored months for traveling. Please choose the date that is convenient for you.
The itineraries for each trip should be taken as a guideline only. Depending on the prevailing situation, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original.
We ensure liability as per indicated itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay extra for hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases
In addition to your trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal and other neighboring countries. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet, India or Bhutan, whichever seems more appealing to you. Since the trek ends in Pokhara, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal, it would be nice and relaxing for you to spend a day or two taking in the sights and sounds of this scenic city
All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. Visa is also issued at the entry points. It can be extended at the Department of Immigration, Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu. Children under 10 years need not pay any visa fee. People willing to get entry Visa at the air port or any of the land entry points are required to fill a visa form with passport photograph. So, please download form from the link below (visa form) and get ready while you are passing through the immigration Point.
Gratis visa for 30 days available only for tourists of SAARC countries
Multiple entry 15 days - US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 30 days - US$ 40 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 90 days - US$ 100 or equivalent convertible currency
Tourist Visa Extension
* Visa extension fee for 15 days or less is US $ 30 or equivalent convertible currency and visa extension fee for more than 15 days is US$ 2 per day
* Tourist visa can be extended for a maximum period of 150 days in a single visa year (January - December).
As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you to consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.
We supply a medical bag with standard medicines prescribed by trekking doctors. Since our staffs/guides are not qualified for suggesting medications to western clients, we would request you to use the medicines upon your own risk. It is safer and more reliable if you have your own medicine kit and not depend on what we have. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly be of help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions.
The trail on Annapurna Base Camp does not go too high i.e. not above 4130m, so chances of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) are very low. Though Altitude Sickness has the potential to affect all travelers from 2500m and higher, our itinerary is planned in such a way that you make very gradual ascent, spending some days at a low elevation to build necessary acclimatization before walking up to Annapurna South Base Camp at 4130m (the highest point on this trek). If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you consult your doctor about your suitability for trekking in high altitude areas before booking.
In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we believe will not happen; we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu.
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation.
Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible.
As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have camp fires and use kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far more eco-friendly alternative.
Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strewn with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. We carry out all our garbage, apart from that which can be safely and easily burnt at the campsite. Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.
Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) has been conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal.
Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agriculture, culture preservation and fund raising. Explore Himalaya encourages its clients to contribute for the development of Nepal.
We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. We are the first ever company to supply high-altitude porters with crampons.
We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG - www.ippg.net).
For more details on our responsible initiatives, please visit https://www.explorehimalaya.com/csr/
1) It is fundamental you acknowledge that this is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which could be decided upon mutual agreement. If an agreement cannot be made, Explore Himalaya shall only be responsible for refunds after deducting the expenses already incurred.
2) Your booking will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of USD 300 and the signed copy of booking form and contract.
The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.
3) If you cancel, the following scale of charges will apply:
2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 300)
29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost
10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost
Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost
If you still have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours. If you want to book a trip, you can e-mail us at email@example.com or contact us directly by phone: 977-1-4418100.
The climate in the Annapurna region varies from subtropical to alpine. The southern slopes of the area has the highest rainfall rate in the country- 3000mm per year, whereas the northern slopes lying in the rain shadow has the lowest rate – less than 300mm per year. The difference in the climatic conditions in this region is responsible for its varied flora and fauna.
The Annapurna region possesses a variety of flora and fauna. It stretches from the subtropical lowlands and the high temperate rhododendron forest in the south, to a dry alpine steppe environment in the North. The Southern lowlands are lush with subtropical forests consisting of chirpine and alder. In the Northern highlands temperate forests of oaks, rhododendron, fir, and blue pine are found. The wet regions yield a variety of bamboo species. The higher altitude further North give rise to forests of birch, blue pine and juniper trees, which are replaced by juniper and rhododendron in the far North. In the semi-desert rain shadow region, behind the Himalayas, bushes of caragana and juniper species are evident. It has several species of wildlife. There are around four hundred and seventy-four species of birds, and around a hundred species of mammals. The Annapurna region serves as an excellent habitat for rare and endangered mammals like the snow leopard, musk deer, blue sheep, red panda and many of Nepal’s brilliantly plumaged pheasants
The Annapurna massif contains six major peaks over 7,200 m: Annapurna I(8091m), Annapurna II(7937m), Annapurna III(7555m), Annapurna IV(7525m), Gangapurna(7455m) and Annapurna South(7219m). Annapurna I, standing at a height of 8,091 m, is the tenth highest summit in the world. It is located east of a great gorge cut through the Himalaya by the Kali Gandaki River, which separates it from the Dhaulagiri massif.
Annapurna was the first 8000m peak scaled by a climber. Till 1948, Nepal was closed to all foreigners. It was in the year 1949 that the kingdom opened its doors to mountaineers .In that year two foreign teams received permission to enter the country, one Swiss and another American. In 1950, a French mountaineering team led by Maurice Herzog succeeded in climbing Annapurna, an 8000m peak. They had no information about the peak they would climb. With little or no information, they decided to take on the Annapurna. On 3rd June, Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenel reached the summit of Annapurna I, after climbing for eight hours. They had to suffer from severe frostbite which cost Maurice Herzog his toes and fingers. Herzog has written about the climb in his book The Conquest of Annapurna 1950.
Annapurna II, the eastern anchor of the range, was first climbed in 1960 by a British/Indian/Nepalese team led by Jimmy Roberts, via the West Ridge, approached from the north. Annapurna III was first climbed in 1961 by an Indian expedition team led by Mohan Kohli. The summit party comprised Mohan Kohli, Sonam Gyatso, and Sonam Girmi. They climbed from the Northeast Face.
Tharpu Chuli (Tent Peak), shaped like a tent, at 5663m is an ideal peak for a short expedition. Lying across the Annapurna glacier, the peak offers excellent views of its neighbouring peaks from its summit.
Pisang Peak (6091m) forms part of the Manang Himal. Towering above the Marshyangdi valley, this peak was first ascended by J.Wellenkamp, a German climber, in 1955.The start of the ascent to this peak starts at a village which shares its name: Pisang.
Machhapuchhare (6007m) Machhapuchre lies in the center of the Annapurna Himal. Machhapuchhre possesses the rare beauty that makes it one of the world's most photographed peaks. In 1957 Wilfred Noyce and David Cox climbed Machhapuchhre (6997m) to within 50m of its summit. After this attempt, the government prohibited further climbing on the mountain. So technically Machhapuchre remains unclimbed.
Poon Hill(3193m)is the westernmost crest of a spur that juts into the Kali Gandaki. The hill is named after the Magars called Poon, who live in that area. To watch the sunrise over the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Himal from this hill is an experience of a lifetime.
The Gurungs form the largest group in the Annapurna region. They come from Tibeto Burmese stock. Although essentially Buddhists some Gurungs have converted to Hinduism. They inhabit the higher northern slopes of the Annapurna, Lamjung,Chuli and hills around Ganesh Himal. A large number of Gurung men serve in the British and Indian armies.
The immediate vicinity of Pokhara is largely populated by Chettris and Bahuns (Brahmins).They also live around the historic site of the old Gorkha kingdom. The Magars inhabit the lower trail between Baglung and Dana. They live high on the steep ridges along the tributaries of the Kali Gandaki.
Another ethnic group of this region is the Thakalis. Known throughout the country as accomplished hoteliers and skilled traders, they are noted for their aggressive trading spirit. They make up one of the few richer groups of people in Nepal. The Jomsom trek passes through Thak Khola, the Thakali homeland.
In the valley of the Muktinath live the Baragaun Bhotiya. Their lifestyle is similar to that of the Tibetans. Another group of people who share a close affinity to the Tibetans are the Lopa people of Mustang, north of Kagbeni. Some of them practice the ancient pre-Buddhist religion of Bon which is infused with animistic and shamanic belief and ritual. The people living in the upper Marshyandi valley are generally known as Mananges. The Nyeshang area, under which fall the villages of Manang, Braga and Ngawal. The people are of Tibetan origin. But their language Nyeshang is not a Tibetan dialect. This area is popularly known by the name of its largest village Manang.
Pokhara is the main town in central Nepal. It is the starting point of most of the major treks in the Annapurna region. Situated at an altitude of 827m, it is warmer and more humid than Kathmandu. This town is known for its picturesque spots like the Phewa Tal (lake), on whose clear water you can see the reflection of the Mt. Machhapuchhre and the Annapurna Himal. Pokhara is one of the major travel destinations in Nepal.
Muktinath, a sacred place both for Hindus as well as Buddhists, is located at an altitude of 3710 m at the foot of the Thorong La pass in Mustang district. The Hindus call the place Mukti Kshetra, which means the "the place of salvation", while the Buddhists call it Chumig Gyatsa, Tibetan for 'Hundred Waters'. For Tibetan Buddhists Chumig Gyatsa is a place of Dakinis, goddesses known as Sky Dancers. Jwala Mai Temple, Vishnu Temple, Marme Lhakhang and Gompa Sarwa are some of the religious shrines to visit. The springs from the Gandaki River spurts out of the 108 waterspouts near the Vishnu temple, from where the Hindu pilgrims take ritual bathe. One item that is unique to this place is the Saligrams (Ammonite fossils). These are black stones that when broken open, reveal the fossilized remains of prehistoric ammonites formed about 130 million years ago. The old specks that appear on many saligrams are pyrite (fool's gold). Hindus believe that the saligrams represent Lord Vishnu.
Jomsom serves as the centre for Mustang valley. It lies on the banks of the Kali Gandaki River. There is an airstrip with scheduled service to Kathmandu. The increase in the frequency of flights has brought more tourists to this area. Jomsom has a bank, post office, telecom office, a hospital and numerous hotels and lodges.
The Manang area was only recently opened to trekkers .The dry and arid region of Manang called Nyeshang lies at an altitude of 3520m. There is an abundance of large chortens and mani walls .The people of Nyeshang were granted special trading privileges by the King of Nepal hundred years ago. The businessmen from these parts are reputed to be both keen and astute. The tall peaks of the Himalaya - Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna (7455m) and Tilicho Peak (7134m) are visible from this place. There is also a Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) aid post in the village which makes an interesting and educational visit.
Kagbeni is the northernmost village in this region that foreigners may visit on a normal trekking permit. The police check post at the northern end of the village fastidiously prevents tourists from proceeding towards Lo-Manthang, the walled city of Mustang without the proper documentation. A green oasis at the junction of the Jhong Khola and the Kali Gandaki river, Kagbeni looks like a town out of the medieval past, with closely packed mud houses, dark tunnels and alleyways, imposing chortens and a large, ochre-colored gompa perched above the town.
This is the highest permanent settlement in the valley. Chomrong is divided into New Chomrong and Old Chomrong. New Chomrong at 2040m is the upper part. It has resort hotels, a school and a helicopter pad. Old Chomrong at 2060m is the main part of the village with shops offices and lodges. There is a tremendous view of Annapurna South, which seems to tower above the village. There are good views of Machhapuchhare, the fish tail mountain across the valley. Beyond Chomrong, camping is restricted to certain ACAP- designated camp sites and hotel construction is strictly prohibited.
Ghandruk, a traditional Gurung village is a cluster of slate-roofed houses. It is the second largest Gurung settlement in Nepal after Siklis. Its actual Gurung name is Kond. Surrounded by neatly terraced fields, the village has electricity and an extensive water supply. There are many hotels and lodges to cater to the many trekkers and tourists that pass that way. The headquarter of the Annapurna Conservation Area Poject is here. Over here one gets to witness the unique culture, tradition and custom of the Gurung community. Ghandruk offers excellent views of Annapurna South, Gangapurna, Annapurna III and Machhapuchhre.
ACAP was established in 1986 under the guidance of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation. The project encompasses more than 7600 sq km. of the Annapurna range. As an innovative approach towards environmental protection, this area was declared a "conservation area" instead of a national park. In an effort to avoid any conflicts of interest, ACAP has sought the involvement of local people and has emphasized environmental education. ACAP projects include the training of lodge owners, with an emphasis on sanitation, deforestation and cultural pride. They have trained trekking lodge operators and encouraged hoteliers to charge a fair price for food and accommodation. ACAP encourages the use of kerosene for cooking and made its use compulsory above Chhomrong in the Annapurna Sanctuary and on the route between Ghandruk and Ghorapani. ACAP is supported by a "conservation fee" of Rs 650 that is collected from all trekkers who obtain trekking permits for the Annapurna region.
Arround Annapurna Trek: This is a magnificent trek stretching across two different river valleys. It encircles the Annapurna massif and goes through the Thorong La (5416 m), the highest pass on this trek. The trek begins at Besisahar in the Marsyangdi river valley and finally concludes at Kali Gandaki river valley. This is a moderate to challenging trek which sometime requires a walk up the steep mountain path. This trek can be done anytime of the year except during monsoon and winter.
Ghorepani Trek: This trek is well suited for beginners or for those who have limited time. The trek starts from Phedi. The trail passes through rhododendron forest and traditional Gurung villages. A comparatively easy trek, it takes you up to an elevation of 2775 m at Ghorepani. The trip can be done anytime of the year except during monsoon.
Pokhara -Jomsom –Muktinath: Beginning from Nayapul, the trail passes over the Ghorepani pass and descends down to Kali Gandaki valley. Watching the dawn breaking over the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna peaks from Ghorepani is one spectacular scene that you get to witness on this trek. Once you reach Jomsom you can either continue trekking to Muktinath or explore the villages around Jomsom. This is an easy trek that can be done any time of the year except during monsoon.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek: The route to the original Annapurna Base Camp was discovered by Maurice Herzog and his team in 1950. The Annapurna Base Camp trek leads to a natural amphitheater that is used as the base camp from which climbers start on their way to conquer the Annapurna peak. The peak reaches 8091 meters above sea level, and the base camp's altitude is 4130 meters above sea level. The trek into the area below the massive south face of Annapurna, known as the Annapurna Sanctuary, is one of the most popular treks in Nepal. The trek begins in Pokhara and leads up through the breathtaking Modi Khola gorge into the vast mountain ringed amphitheatre of the Sanctuary. The trail passes through bamboo and rhododendron forests with superb views of the Annapurna range. The high glacial basin is the site of the Annapurna south face base camp. This is a classic trek, which allows access to the high mountains of the Himalaya within a reasonable time frame. This trip can be done anytime of the year except during monsoon.
Annapurna Circuit Trek: It is a picturesque valley, first discovered in 1957 by Jimmy Roberts. Ten peaks of 600-800m rises from it. Machhapuchhare looks breathtaking from this viewpoint as also the south face of Annapurna. The Sanctuary falls within the area managed by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project.
The Annapurna Circuit is the popular name for a 300 km trek in the Annapurna mountain range. The trek reaches an altitude of 5416m at Thorung La pass, touching the edge of the fabled Tibetan plateau. The magnificent mountain scenery, seen at close quarters includes Annapurna, Dhauligiri, and Machhupuchhare. This is a moderate to challenging trek which sometime requires ascending and descending the steep mountain path. This trek can be done anytime of the year except during monsoon and winter when the Thorong pass gets blocked by snow.
Overall we had a great trip with great staff and felt that we experienced the Himalayas and Nepal to the utmost. Maule Tamang was an exceptionally knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and fantastic guide. All meals were good especially at low and high base camp. Ongchu is a wonderful chef! All tea houses were great. Camping services were even better. They kept us well fed and warm. Yalamber helped us greatly in Kathmandu and with arranging all our transport. The only thing I would change is to have more choice in hotels and whether or not to stay in and tour Kathmandu before trekking. The hotels were satisfactory, but if we had known we would have preferred to pay more to stay in 4 or 5 star hotels such as the Hyatt. We would recommend allowing for choice in hotels in the future.
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.