Our Trip through Nepal
In May 2019, I spent a month with my mom traveling to Nepal, primarily to trek the Annapurna Circuit, her first long hike. This guide to Nepal only covers Annapurna.
Week 1- Kathmandu to Pokhora
Kathmandu: Similar to Bali, arriving in Nepal’s Kathmandu Airport can be an assault on the senses. It’s not necessarily what you would expect of a place associated with peace and nature. Kathmandu itself is a bit chaotic, in colors, smells, and the way electrical wiring seems to jut out of everything, always about to shock you. It’s a good place to take it all in, buy knock-off outdoor gear, and experience some nightlife. I personally recommend getting out and heading for the mountains—whether you’re on the way to Everest Base Camp, or Pokhora for the Annapurna Circuit.
Annapurna Circuit: I personally chose the Annapurna Circuit, as its maximum altitude exceeded the Everest Base Camp, and the full circuit can be longer or shorter, depending on where you start, and if you take jeeps/buses to supplement your walking at the beginning or end of the journey.
Pokhora: Getting to Pokhora is fairly easy with many bus companies offering the trip. We couldn’t tell much of a difference between tour operators, and it’s fairly easy to get on a bus once you get to the Bus Depot (walkable from the tourist center of bars and restaurants). Pokhora itself was somewhat underwhelming—a bit too industrial to seem like a natural paradise. However, there is a nice lake that you can take a boat onto, plenty of shops and tour operators for supplies and hiring tour guides for the trek, and rivers nearby for some adventure tourism and rafting (well worth a day trip).
Week 2-4 – Annapurna Circuit
Booking a Guide in Pokhora: After a few days acclimating in Pokhora, planning and picking up supplies, it’s time to hit the Annapurna Circuit. This circuit is completely possible to do on your own; it’s nearly impossible to get lost and there are plenty of other trekkers (some with Sherpas) who can help guide you for help. We hired a guide ($60-70/day), but didn’t find it terribly necessary (although this turned out to be a massive help when I fell ill..)
Trekking Annapurna Circuit (stops along the way): Whether you go it alone or with a tour company, the trek will start in Besisihar. From here, you can either walk or hire a jeep to make it an hour or so further in (recommended, as the road is full of jeeps and therefore extremely dusty). We started our trek around Simpani, and made subsequent stops in Syange, Dharapani, Chame, Upper Pisang, Manang, Lake Tilicho and Ledar, before crossing the Thorong La Pass (5400M). There are also other towns that you can stop in along the way with plenty of guesthouses.
On the way down, we stopped in Muktinath, Kagbeni, Marpha and ultimately caught a bus going to Jomson. From here we caught a bus to Tatopani, where we spent a morning soaking in a hot spring. It is recommended to go to Ghorepani if you have time to trek Poonhill. I was ill, so we returned to Pokhora to rest directly after Tatopani.