We’re back from an eight-day trek to Annapurna Base Camp, a difficult but beautiful walk high into the Himalayan mountains to the base of Annapurna 1, the tenth highest peak in the world.
There’s really no better way to tell the story than in photos. At the bottom of this post I’ve included some practical tips for those of you planning to make the journey yourself. Enjoy!
Day 1: It’s pouring rain! We step into a tea house to warm up and look at the map (P.S. that
pirate man on the right is my cousin Drew who has accompanied us on a couple of treks in the past year).
Day 1: We spend our first night on the trail at a guest house in Ulleri. We drop our bags in our rooms and then explore the village.
Day 2: These boys from Ulleri collect donations for their school which was damaged in an earthquake last year.
Day 2: More relentless rain. We trudge on and are soaked to the bone.
Day 2: After a cold and wet day of walking we arrive in the lovely little village of Ghorepani where we buy fleece-lined booties for 250 NRS ($2.89). Best decision ever!
Day 2: The sky begins to clear in Ghorepani and we are awarded with our first view of Dhaulagiri Mountain, the 7th highest peak in the world.
Day 3: We wake around 4:30 a.m. to make the 45-minute climb up Poon Hill to watch the sun rise over the mountains.
Day 3: The view from Poon Hill is certainly worth the early wake-up call.
Day 3: The view of Dhaulagiri Mountain and the surrounding peaks from Poon Hill shortly after sunrise.
Day 3: After descending Poon Hill we push on to our next destination, crossing Deurali Pass just as the clouds are rolling in.
Day 4: We wake up in Tadapani to a haunting view of the sacred Fish Tale (Machapuchare) Mountain which has never been climbed to its summit.
Day 4: On the road to Chhomrong where we’ll sleep for the night. We hear rumors of guest houses with chocolate cake and burritos. It sounds too good to be true.
Day 4: We arrive in the charming village of Chhomrong right before the rain starts falling.
Day 5: The sun is shining! The trail starts out downhill. We walk all the way down to the river and then back up again. Ouch.
Day 5: The scenes in this fertile valley are idyllic. We walk past tiny villages, terraced crops, cows, chicken and children that yell “I love you” and wave.
Day 6: After spending the night at Himalaya Guest House we get an early start. Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) feels so close. We’ll arrive today!
Day 6: We made it! After six days of walking we’ve arrived at Annapurna Base Camp, 13,500 feet in the air! It’s cold and snows overnight but the views are incredible. It is worth every step.
Day 6: A guest house nestled beneath the mountains, one of three at Annapurna Base Camp.
Day 6: A memorial to three Korean climbers who have been missing on the mountain since October, 2011.
Day 7: All smiles at Annapurna Base Camp. As a side note, I think the size of our heads expand at altitude.
Day 7: The sun rises over the Annapurna Range. Today we’ll retrace our steps to Chhomrong and tomorrow we’ll make the final push back to the end of the trail in Nayapul. Eight days, seven nights, one piece of chocolate cake and too many memories to count.
Things to know before you go
You’re required to get both an ACAP and TIMS permit to hike the trail. You can get these permits from any tourist company (and there are a million of them) anywhere in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Allow for a 24-hour turn around time on the permits and bring along three passport photos and your insurance policy number when you apply.
Want to know what gear to bring? My husband made a great Annapurna Circuit gear list– you need the same stuff to trek to base camp.
It is not necessary to hire a guide, though it is a positive way to support the local economy. We did not use a guide or a porter. A map, which we picked up in Pokhara for a few dollars, was all we needed to make our way. It would be quite hard to get lost on your way to Annapurna Base Camp.
Our route to Annapurna Base Camp was as follows, though there are many options: Nayapul-Ulleri-Ghorepani-Tadapani-Chhomrong-Himalaya-ABC-Chhomrong-Nayapul.
Anything you need to rent or buy for your trek you can find in Pokhara. Carry a sleeping bag (this one is lightweight and affordable) because nights get cold and not all beds have blankets.
Budget 2,000 Nepalese rupees ($23) per person per day. Guest houses generally cost 200 rupees per room but food is relatively expensive and prices rise the higher you climb into the mountains (naturally).
You can charge your electronics in the tea houses though you’ll have to pay for it (about 100 NRS per hour) the closer you get to ABC.
Likewise, most tea houses have hot showers, though you might have to pay for the hot shower. Cold showers are free. There are no showers at ABC.
Bring sunscreen! The sun is intense so bring the strongest you can buy (I love this stuff. God bless zinc). We brought along SPF 50 and still got sunburns.
You can buy anything you need on the trail but save yourself some money and buy snacks in Pokhara. Otherwise, you’ll pay a couple of bucks for a snickers bar (which is still totally worth it. Mmmm snickers).
You can buy boiled or filtered water at the tea houses. We brought our own water bottles and filled them with tap water that we treated with this stuff because it was way cheaper.
If you do nothing else do this: take a trekking pole. You, your knees, your ankles, and the rest of your aching joints can thank me later.
You can read about my trek on the Annapurna Circuit here and check out my Annapurna Circuit Hiking Guide below. It’s only $1.99: