The mighty Himalayas are the tallest vantage point to the world. A difficult feat leading to un-described emotions and cathartic moments, trekking in the Himalayas are the single most enthralling activity one can do in their lives. The largest mountain ranges in the world, the mighty Himalayas have innumerable spaces with beautiful landscapes and natural aesthetics to offer to those who dare to live their life in the now.
Moreover, trekking as an activity is gaining a large fandom of its own. And why shouldn’t it, after all, traveling is inherent to human nature. Along the years, the focus surely shifted from all things natural, to everything materialistic; all thanks to industrialization, and yet, one knows in their hearts that nature holds the ultimate power in the world and whatever happens on this planet; after all we are the blue planet.
Things have surely come a long way from wandering aimlessly to find a resting space and feeding on mammoths, to now, where we fine dine in skyscraping restaurants. But walking and traveling sure went stale after we had packaged holidays that send us to exotic destinations and involve almost negligible walking. Anyhow, the trends are reversing; people are leaning into walking, and exploring and appreciating and interacting with the rest of the world rather than being pampered by hotel staffs and that is surely an amazing change.
The gaze of the world is shifting from all things materialistic and reconnecting to the wonders of natural spaces and simpler times. There are almost 70000 tourists who visit Nepal each year. Some visit for touristy reasons, and the larger half visit Nepal for good old trekking through the Himalayas. What is even better is that the 1800 tour and travel agencies that organize and host the huge influx of tourists provide responsible and safe trekking packages for people to explore the Himalayas without hindrance. The trekking tours in Nepal are so many, that it gets difficult to circle down on which one may be the best tour out of the options; just to make things easier; one of the most famous and amazing trekking tours happens in the Annapurna Base Camp Package.
So for those of us who have finally decided on taking part in the Annapurna trek, here are a few things they should know before they start on the trek:
When, Where and How:
When is the best time to do this trek? Where does the trek start from and how do we go about with this trek in the best way possible?
- The best tie to take this trek starts from the month of September and ends in the later dates of November. These months bring with them a large amount of hikers in the region, so you’re not out cold trekking through the circuit all by yourself, shorter days so you can rest faster in the night and enjoy the night sky and the warm weather along with the clear skies that make it possible to enjoy the distant vistas in peace.
The months of December to February may be too chilly for non-professional hikers because of the dense snow.
Things to Consider During the Trek:
- Now the most popular points to start on the trek are:
- Chame (Manang’s headquarters from where trekkers usually start their Trek. It is at the altitude of 2700 meters)
Due to a construction work happening between Besisahar, Chame and Manang, the starting point is a little less crowded and that is not a bad thing at all so do not get disheartened at the first half of the trek, there will be loads of friends you can make by the time the trek reaches the second half.
- Now when trekking in the Himalayas, we occasionally come across clear water streams to quench our thirsts, so we must carry water bottles for our own comforts. At the same time carry a garbage bag, so that we don’t litter across the pure Himalayas and do our bit while responsibly travelling through the mountains.
- The lodging in these areas is not done in hotels; instead we will find many comfortable tea houses and such familial lodges to rest throughout the trek. So be prepared to self serve and detach from the pampering we expect at hotels. Here, we are pampered in a different way, a Himalayan way if you please. But this goes on to provide us with an opportunity to enjoy the Himalayan hospitality.
- Trekking in the Annapurna region requires us to obtain some permits. These are the ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit) and TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System). These two permits should be obtained beforehand at either Kathmandu or at Pokhara before we start with the trek. Keep these permits close to yourself as we will be asked for these permits at many checkpoints during the trek for these permits.
- There may not be any ATM points after Jomson. So if one needs to get cash, they should do so in Jomson itself. Since the entire trek is cash only, we may not be entertained if we want to pay by card. The ATM will allow you to withdraw 10000 to 15000 NPR with each withdraw. And a sum of 200-500 NPR will be deducted as processing fees, so make sure you have all the cash you need before you start.
- If one wishes to save on the transport charges, there are many busses that ply to and from the starting point of the trek. These busses will charge you 1% of what you’d pay to get a private taxi to the starting point. And hence it is highly suggestible to take these busses if one wishes to cut back on costs. Also while traveling in public transport make sure to not leave your belongings and important items unwatched, for safety reasons, as finding the items back once lost can be a bit of a troubling situation.
- Altitude sickness once on the trek can be a common problem and there are many ways to go about with solving this issue. One of them is to stay at a certain high point at the trek to acclimatize you with the atmosphere so that the body does not get affected when it reaches higher points after the acclimatization. One may also feel a loss of appetite and that is the most dangerous symptom. One must make sure that the body gets enough nutrients and proteins throughout the trek. So even if you vomit, make sure your tummy is not entirely empty. Eat fruits and natural things to give your bodies a taste of the natural surroundings. This helps with the sickness. Also carry extra oxygen bottles in case one may find a difficulty in breathing through the trek.
The Annapurna Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit trek are moderate treks which require good physical fitness. It is good idea to start preparing yourself physically one month in advance before the start of the trek. Keep a positive mindset no matter the circumstances and always, enjoy every bit of the trek. Happy trekking!!!