Flight over the Himalayas

The view on the plane from Kathmandu, Nepal, to Lhasa, Tibet

My dad always raved about crossing between Nepal and Tibet overland via the friendship bridge, deeming it one of the best experiences of his life. Since my route brought me from Nepal to China, I looked into retracing his footsteps to see for myself.

However, I got mixed reports about the route, both online and in person. The only fact I knew for sure was that the border crossing at Zhangmu, which my dad had previously used, shut down after the earthquake in April 2015 (the entire town, actually, might have slipped off the hillsides but nobody really knows for sure). Some travel agencies reassured me that the land route had reopened, and some online sources said that there was a separate border crossing but couldn’t agree on whether it had opened to tourists or not.

Eventually, I got a definitive answer from Land of Snows: yes, there is a separate border crossing called Kyirong, but no, it is not currently open for tourists, and it’s slated to open sometime during 2017, but nobody can say for sure. Also a fun Tibet travel fact: you actually can’t go to Tibet at all during March if you’re a foreign tourist, since many sensitive anniversary dates (e.g. of uprisings) are in March, so the Chinese government doesn’t process permits during that month to avoid social unrest. Good to know before you book a ticket there!

So, overland travel was out of the picture. That only left flying, which is pretty expensive out of Kathmandu – my flight from Kathmandu to Chengdu via Lhasa costed more than my flight from NYC to Colombo, Sri Lanka (which I got a fantastic deal on, but still).

Still, totally worth it, because the HIMALAYAS:

The view on the plane from Kathmandu, Nepal, to Lhasa, Tibet

Going from Nepal to China, you fly right towards and around them. From Nepal to China, sit on the LEFT side of the plane, and from China to Nepal, sit on the RIGHT. Try to get a seat either as far up or down as possible, to avoid being over the wing.

I called in a few days early to specifically request the furthest back left hand window seat available, and thought I was all set. However, when I checked in and got my ticket, I saw that I was assigned an aisle seat. Thankfully they reassigned me pretty easily to a left hand window seat, and curiously one that was even further back than the one I initially confirmed. Alright, I’ll take it!

The view of the Himalayas and Mount Everest starts about 10 minutes in, and lasts for about a three minutes or so.

The view on the plane from Kathmandu, Nepal, to Lhasa, Tibet

The view on the plane from Kathmandu, Nepal, to Lhasa, Tibet

The view on the plane from Kathmandu, Nepal, to Lhasa, Tibet

During that time, someone asked me a total of 4 times to help him take pictures with his phone. I obliged, since I would ask someone to do the same for me if I really did get stuck with an aisle seat, but I can’t say I felt too apologetic when I accidentally dropped his phone the fourth time. If you’re going to ask strangers to help take pictures with your shiny new iPhone 6/7, you should probably get a case to make sure it’s not slippery.

The Himalayas passed quickly, but the ensuing view was no less stunning.

The view on the plane from Kathmandu, Nepal, to Lhasa, Tibet

Especially as we approached Lhasa:

The view on the plane from Kathmandu, Nepal, to Lhasa, Tibet

This was a great way to say goodbye to Nepal. Considering that there are scenic flight services that cost hundreds of dollars by themselves, this flight actually turned out to be quite a steal!

Another tip: try to go as early in the morning as possible, since the clouds come in and the winds pick up, making it dangerous to fly in the afternoon. As a result, those flights are often canceled, and even if not, you won’t get to see the good view.

Nepal Wrap Up

Namaste Nepal

Coming into Nepal from India, I was ready for a mental break from being on guard all the time about sanitation and safety. Because Nepal has long been a popular destination for westerners, I thought that it would be more developed and more tourist-friendly. I was surprised to find it at once much less developed than I expected, but still a comfortable place to be.

Nepal’s main problem is infrastructure, and I witnessed many of its infrastructure issues firsthand when coming in over land. The entire road from the border to Kathmandu was bumpy and dusty, and along many stretches it was literally crumbling on the sides into the gutters. Many buildings in Kathmandu were under construction, but progress looked to be slow because workers manually poured cement one pan at a time. Everyone wears face masks, because you can see plumes of dust and smoke travel towards you in the air. And in Pokhara, there were days with up to 5 power outtages in a row. In all these ways, Nepal felt like a much less developed place than India.

The April 2015 earthquake definitely seriously hampered development, and you can still see the effects of it, most clearly in Durbar Square. The majority of the temples are still in ruins or propped up on stilts, and it feels as though the Square has been simply cleaned up but not truly rebuilt yet. Talking to my stepdad about his experience in Nepal two decades ago, it seems as though few advancements have been made in the way of development – if anything, certain things may be worse off now because of the earthquake. Even one of the guides on the trek voiced his concerns that money has been coming in with tourism, but there hasn’t been any development and the Nepali are not getting richer.

But at the same time, Nepal is clearly a place that is familiar with – and good at – tourism. Almost everyone speaks English, and the western comforts are easy to find, especially in the lakeside resort town of Pokhara. Pokhara is a total tourist town, but I totally loved it. It was everything I needed after 1.5 months of curry in India and Sri Lanka. Nothing tasted so good as the first meal I had there of authentic Korean food, side dishes and all.

From the start, trekking was the focus of my time in Nepal. It took me a while to commit to one, and up until almost the day before leaving, I was convinced that I was going to do the Annapurna Circuit instead of Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). In retrospect, ABC was the perfect one to do (of course, I have to think that now because it was the one that I did). It’s challenging but not pushing the limit, and it still rewards you with breathtaking views.

Before the trek, I was focused on finding information, getting the necessary gear and permits, and trying to plan around the weather. In between, I thankfully still managed to see a bit of Kathmandu and Pokhara. But it wasn’t until we started off on the trek that I breathed a sigh of relief, and not until we reached ABC that I was truly able to relax. Up until then, I had to be constantly ready to make adjustments, and I was always questioning if we had made the right decisions to set us up for successfully seeing ABC. It was only afterward that I was finally able to sit back to soak in the views and explore, and it would have been nice to have a little more time to do it.

However, Nepal is also one of the few places that I know with certainty that I will visit again. So many treks still left to do! On the bus back from Pokhara to Kathmandu, I sat in front of a Russian woman who is in Nepal for the 8th time, and who has completed all the treks that I could name (which, to be fair, is not many). I don’t think I’ll be that extreme, but I do see the magic – it’s just one of those places.

Until next time, Nepal!

Misc Nepal Observations

  • Dust is everywhere, even on paved roads. Face masks are very common, and all of the clothing in the shops have to be dusted and washed off before being worn.
  • Construction is very slow and labor-intensive. In many places, there were people pouring cement one little pan-full at a time.
  • On buses, there is always someone leaning out of the door on the left side. He helps the driver scout and measure distance when passing through traffic or along the edge of a narrow road. There’s a. Patting system, which I roughly deduced to be one pat on the side of the bus to stop, and 3+ pats to keep going.
  • Taxis have meters, but it’s very had to find one that will actually use it. I read in a guidebook that it’s customary to tip a driver that agrees to use the meter…because it’s that rare, apparently? Totally defeats the purpose of having meters.
  • Alcohol ads are everywhere, and every little roadside shop stocks bottles of beer.
  • Buses are super ornate, sometimes with mini painted Hindu/landscape murals on the sides. Many look like they’re dressed up on the way to a Cindo de Mayo party.
  • A lot of buildings and temples, especially in the old area of Kathmandu, like Durbar Square, are propped up by diagonal sticks. This is due to leftover structural damage from the April 2015 earthquake that they still haven’t been able to fix.
  • Many buses, especially the gigantic ones, have little tootle horns – sounds that you would expect to come from a clown car. It’s a little hard to take them seriously, but their heft barreling down the road makes up for it considerably.
  • There are frequent power outages in Pokhara and Kathmandu, though I only experienced them in Pokhara.

Lessons from Nepal

Lessons from Nepal

1.  You’re not always going to be efficient

It’s not possible to be completely efficient when traveling, especially when you leave room for flexibility.

Coming to Nepal, I initially booked a bus to Kathmandu because I was planning on doing the Annapurna Circuit, which starts near there. However, I changed my plans to do the Annapurna Base Camp instead, which starts and ends in Pokhara.

On the way to Pokhara from Kathmandu, I realized that we were doing some pretty significant backtracking. In fact, if I had gone straight from the border to Pokhara instead of looping around to Kathmandu, I could have saved about 3 hours…per bus ride.

But that brings me to the next point,

2. But you make the best decision that you can at the moment and you adjust afterwards as necessary

Kind of self-explanatory. Though it helps to have as much information as possible when you are making the decision, which brings us back to the previous lessons of doing some research beforehand. Yep, I learn.

3.  It’s not always necessary to go for the top

The highest point of the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) trek is ABC itself, and just two hours below that is MBC, with its own spectacular view. On Day 7 of the trek, we left early to reach MBC, and then continued upward to check out ABC as well. The morning was crystal clear the whole way, but clouds rolled in juuuuuust as we were reaching ABC.

We stayed up at ABC for a few hours hoping that it would clear, but to no avail. All we saw was a big foggy wall of white. That night we stayed at MBC, and I had a fierce debate with myself over whether to make the trip up to ABC again in the morning. It was a four hour round trip, but when would I be so close to ABC again?

I was almost on the verge of going, but then I asked myself why I wanted to go. Yes, it was a spectacular view, but I had seen it all the way up to ABC the day before – all I was missing was pictures of the Annapurnas from that particular angle at ABC. And yes, let’s be real, all I wanted were pictures. I would barely have enough time or energy to actually appreciate the view after making the hike up and coming straight back down.

So in the end, I opted for a peaceful morning with sunrise at MBC instead. The view there was also something to behold, and once I let go of seeing ABC, I was able to sit back and enjoy it. You don’t always have to go for the best or highest thing, sometimes it’s important to remember to just enjoy where you’re at!

4. Don’t backtrack

At one point during the trek on the way down, I lost a hiking buddy who was supposed to join for lunch but then never showed up. I wasn’t sure if he was ahead of or behind me, but I didn’t want to go back down into the town below to search for him, so I pressed on.

Thirty minutes later, after I had already descended about 250 steps, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that he might be waiting for me back in town. After another ten minutes of arguing against myself, I finally gave up and turned around. I climbed back up the steps I had just gone down, checked around and couldn’t find him, and set off on the same trail for the second time.

Turns out he was way ahead of me, and thankfully we did manage to find each other before the sun set. But I learned to take care of everything that I can before moving forward, so that I don’t have to backtrack. If I had just gone to check in town before setting off for the first time, I would have saved myself from going down and up and back down hundreds of steps.

5. Clarify prices and expectations before taking a service

This one I learned indirectly by observation, but it’s a very important lesson indeed!

One of the friends I met while traveling wanted to get a tattoo and found the perfect artist to do it. The tattoo ended up taking almost an entire day and exceeded the friend’s expectations, but when it came time to pay the bill afterward, the price suddenly jumped to 3 times higher than expected.

Turns out that my when my friend had asked for the hourly rate, the tattoo artist had given the rate for black and white tattoos. But the tattoo was in color, and which was twice the previously quoted rate. Neither had really asked or clarified until the end. And it had taken almost twice as much time as the friend expected.

Ultimately my friend paid the requested price – because it WAS a tattoo, and a beautiful one at that. But I definitely learned that I should clarify prices beforehand when I go in to get my own tattoo (just kidding, parents! Just checking if you’re reading).

6. Once you’ve tried your best, shake it off

I went into a bit of a shopping spree buying gifts for family in Pokhara, unleashing some dormant consumerist force that startled me quite a bit. In the middle of it, I unwittingly overpaid for a blanket that I later realized was not as thick or as big as I wanted it to be.

Though I suspected that returns were not allowed, I figured I might as well take it back to the shop and try. The salesman said that regrettably the boss didnt allow him to do returns, and at best I could exchange it in for a different blanket and pay the difference. I pulled out every negotiation trick in the book that I could think of, but he had all the leverage because he had my money.

Finally, when I realized that I wasn’t getting anywhere, I kept the blanket and left. It was a little difficult to transition from full-on combative mode to making peace, but the shift is important to do as soon as possible. Once you’ve tried your best, there’s no use in holding on.

A similar situation happened on my last night in Kathmandu, when a group of literally hundreds of Indians descended on my hotel at 2am. They were an extremely loud and disorganized group with no concept of what time it was, so they were standing and shouting at each other in the hallway right outside my room.

I tried going out to talk with them, but I couldn’t even communicate with the universal gesture of “shhhhhhhh.” The only hotel staff I could find was the security guard, who was also fairly frazzled and assured me that he would do his best to get them to settle and quiet down. I even called the hotel manager, who assured me that he would do his best (read: call the security guard).

Nothing worked. But having tried everything I could, l put in some ear plugs, laid down to sleep, and saved this story in my archives, for bad experiences make for good stories!

7. Every day of your life is precious

The day after returning from my trek to ABC and reconnecting with the world, I found out that my previous employer, Quidsi, is being shut down by its parent company, Amazon. This wasn’t totally surprising, and the company outlook is partly why I left.

But when I heard the generous severance packages, I couldn’t help but start calculating. If I had just stayed for another 3 more months, I would have had a lot more to travel with.

However, who could have known? If I stayed, I might have made more money, but I also may have gotten sucked in and never left. In the past two months, I’ve seen and learned so much, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. There’s no point in staying even one day longer in a situation that you’re not happy in, because you never know what day might be your last.

Relaxing in Pokhara

The lake at Pokhara, Nepal

Pokhara is a total tourist town from top to bottom, but after a month and a half of curry and 10 days of trekking, it was exactly what I needed. It has the western comforts of cool, laid-back cafes, used bookstores, and rowdy bars, all — most importantly — with pretty good wifi. Mix this with beautiful views and a peaceful lake, and I almost didn’t want to leave. It’s the first place where I’ve stayed for extra days with nothing planned, finally getting to rest for a few days after 2 months of non-stop travel.

With all those extra days, I got to visit a lot more places! Some of my favorite locations in Pokhara:

  • Mo2’s Delights: Despite being in Pokhara for less than a week, I managed to establish myself as a bit of a regular at this restaurant. I went no less than 5 times, and when Mo2’s was closed for its weekly break on Tuesday, I was a little at a loss for what to do. It was (hopefully still is?) #1 on TripAdvisor for cheap eats in Pokhara, and for good reason: cheap momos (around 150-250 rupees or $1.5-2.5 for 10), straightforward pricing (“No taxes, no fees, no tension”) a fun atmosphere, and pretty darn good wifi. The owners are a hardworking husband and wife team who are incredibly welcoming and kind. Unfortunately this is the only picture I have of the place (sorry for the half-chewed food):

Momos and yogurt with fruit at Mo2 in Pokhara, Nepal

  • Natssul Korea: An authentic Korean place that makes for great comfort food.
  • Europa: Gigantic burgers for less than 150 rupees ($1.5). Enough said!

Veggie burger at Europa in Pokhara, Nepal

  • OR2K: A cafe/restaurant where you lounge on pillows and soak in a crazy beautiful view:

OR2K Cafe in Pokhara, Nepal

  • Bamboo Cafe: A hut next to the water where you, again, sit on pillows and look at the water. But also complete with dogs and cats to pet, dangerously delicious cocktails, and probably one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.
  • Seeing Hands Blind Massage Clinic: A place with a great mission and pretty stellar massages. My only complaint is that there was a mosquito in my room, which netted me about 8 mosquito bites (talk about being helpless bait) and made an otherwise great massage a little more itchy than my liking.

Masseuse at Seeing Hands in Pokhara, Nepal

  • Tibet Gallery: I wandered in this shop with the intention to take a quick glance, but ended up staying for more than an hour while the owner told me about the different types of (real and fake) cashmere and launched into a lecture about shady shopkeepers and karma. She gave me some honest recommendations (“Don’t go for the expensive one, it’s hard to maintain. This one is cheaper and doesn’t take much care”), so I took care of all the gifts I needed here.

Buying cashmere scarves in Pokhara, Nepal


And last but not least, the beautiful view:

Pier out to the lake at Pokhara, Nepal

Lake at Pokhara, Nepal

The lake at Pokhara, Nepal

Annapurna Base Camp Trek Day 8-10: Back down

Day 10: The view of the Annapurnas from Landruck, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Now that we had already reached ABC, there was a lot less stress. No more worrying about weather and timing, the only objective was to get back down in one piece.

Day 8

On day 8, we woke up at MBC to a spectacular sunrise. We didn’t get to see it from ABC, but that didn’t make it any less beautiful.

Day 8: Sunrise at ABC from MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Funny enough, even though it is common to stay at MBC and hike to ABC for sunrise, we didn’t see a single person on the path to ABC that morning. I wonder if it comes in waves, and for some reason everyone we hiked up with decided to stay at ABC instead?

Anyway, we left MBC at 9am, when the snow wasn’t quite as icy. It was definitely faster going down, but we also needed more concentration to not slide down. The scenery on the pass between MBC and Deurali was just as beautiful on the way down:

Day 8: View on the way down from MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 8: Prayer flags on the way down from MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 8: Porters on the way down from MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 8: View on the way down from MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Going downhill, the 2 hour estimate between MBC and Deurali was actually correct. Deurali in the distance:

Day 8: View on the way down from MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Everything took about 80% of the time that it did when coming up. From Deurali, it was another 1 hour to Himalaya, 2 hours from Himalaya to dovan, and then less than 1 hour to Bamboo before the rain hit right aruond 3pm.

More time to spare meant more pictures:

Day 9: A porter in the forest on the way down, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 9: Forest on the way down, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 9

We left Bamboo at around 8:30am with the goal to make it to Chhomrong before noon. This we did manage to accomplish, but the stairs up from the river to the village of Chhomrong were a lot worse than I remembered. On your way DOWN the mountain you’re not mentally prepared to climb UP, so it was about twice as difficult than it otherwise would have been.

Chhomrong in the distance, almost at eye level. All the way down to the river below and then up to the same elevation – some wings would be nice right about now!

Day 9: View of Chhomrong on the way down, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

A little friend that I made in Chhomrong, with the most peculiar choice in accessories:

Day 9: Posing with a friend in Chhomrong, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We rested in Chhomrong for lunch, and then set our sights for Landruck down the hill. Some friends recommended it as a place to stay, and it was on a path straight down to Nayapul that we hadn’t taken yet. Sounded good to me.

Landruck doesn’t look far on the map, but it actually takes a while to get to. You have to go all the way down through Jhinu (the village with the hot springs), so I made my way back down those stairs again. I really hate those stairs.

From Jhinu, the path keeps going all the way down to the river, and then continues alongside it.

Day 9: Path along the river to Landruck, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 9: Path along the river to Landruck, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

The walk along the river was nice and flat, but we had to climb a big hill in order to get to Landruck, which was near the top. After a long day of hiking already, the stairs went on and on, for almost a full hour.

Landruck was a village worth visiting, though! The village is stretched out along the path, and we got some great pictures of villagers as we walked through:

Day 9: Young female porter outside Landruck, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 9: Villager outside Landruck, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 9: Taking pictures of kids in Landruck, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 9: A little girl in Landruck, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 9: A little boy in Landruck, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 9: A cow in Landruck, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 9: Landruck, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 10

In the morning, we were rewarded with a last glimpse of the Annapurnas again when the clouds parted. A great parting gift!

Day 10: The view of the Annapurnas from Landruck, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We could have taken a Jeep straight down from Landruck to Pokhara for about 500 rupees ($5) per person, but we wanted to do a little more hiking before leaving. Our plan was to go to Kimche, on the other side of the valley, and take a bus from there.

Day 9: Jeeps in Landruck, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We heard it was a leisurely 1.5 hour stroll, so we left at 10am.

What fools.

The way from Landruck to Kimche basically consisted of going all the way downhill to the river, and then climbing all the way up the other hill to higher than we started in Landruck. That day also happened to be the hottest day yet, so it was a big struggle.

The one good thing that came out of the struggle was that at the top of the hill right before Kimche, we collapsed on a family’s front yard and shared cookies and mandarins with a local mother and daughter.

Day 10: A mother and daughter on the way to Kimche, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Yeah, don’t do that (I mean the hike to Kimche, not the sharing). Turns out you can catch the same bus that leaves from Kimche further down the road, so you can take a leisurely stroll down along the river instead of climbing up the hill to go to Kimche. But whatever, I think it was a good parting hike, right when we were getting sad about leaving the Himalayas. A little of a “yeah, you think you’re going to miss me? Here you go, have fun!”

The bus back down was pretty crazy. We took the 2pm bus, and it spent a good 1.5 hours making switchbacks to get down to the river (to where we could have gotten on instead…but enough about that). The the whole way was bumpy, and as people kept coming on, it was extremely crowded. I only managed one picture as we passed through the lower villages, for fear of smashing my camera into the window as the bus jostled.

Day 10: View from the bus to Pokhara, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Eventually, the bus followed the river to Birethanti, where we had started the hike. Then it took the same road back to Pokhara, which was a bit more scary on the way down, when gravity threatend to overcome the breaks.

At 5:30pm, we were once again standing in Baglung Bus Park. 10 days older, several shades tanner, and tremendously richer with new friends and memories. I returned to reality with a heavy heart (though when “reality” is extended travel, that’s not half bad), but I’ll be back in the mountains of Nepal one day. Until then!

Annapurna Base Camp Trek Day 7: ABC

Day 7: Path from MBC to ABC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Finally time to climb to ABC!

We left promptly at 6am in anticipation, ahead of the crowd. It was semi-dark that early in the morning and hard to make out the route, but still light enough to see this sign:

Day 7: Avalanche risk area sign on the path up to MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

A little after Deurali, the path crossed over the river and continues up to its right:

Day 7: Crossing the river on the path up to MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We were told that there would be snow all the way from Deurali to Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC), but it was fairly dry for about the first third of the path. The big storm was the previous week, so each day the snow melted a little more. We had heard from others that they could hear and even see avalanches along this stretch, but we didn’t hear anything – just the stream as we walked alongside it.

Because we left early, it was just us and the porters. They rushed past us in regular tennis shoes and with heavy loads on their backs, while we carefully picked our way through the rocks and snow.

Day 7: Porters on the path up to MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 7: Porters on the path up to MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

About 30 minutes in, we crossed back to the other side of the river (the side that we had started on) and then from then on, it was all snow. The snow was still frozen over because it was early morning, and it took a lot of concentration not to slip.

Day 7: Path up to MBC along the river, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Pro tip: At the Himalaya hotel earlier, I saw a porter wearing plastic bags over his socks in his shoes. I figured I might as well try, since my shoes were sure to get wet at some point because of the snow, and they worked wonders! My socks stayed completely dry. Also, take at least one hiking pole to steady yourself on the ice, especially for the return trip down.

Everywhere you looked, there was a picturesque scene waiting to be captured. Glad we didn’t do this stretch the previous day in the fog!

Day 7: Mountain view on the path up to MBC in the snow, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 7: Mossy rocks on the path up to MBC in the snow, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 7: Mountain view on the path up to MBC in the snow, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Eventually we saw MBC in the distance, but it was still a good half an hour away. This one here is just the first of the guesthouses, which is located about 10 min below the other ones. So don’t go up to the first guesthouse, unless you specifically want to stay there!

Day 7: First glimpse of MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

This is the main collection of guesthouses at MBC, with a view of the Annapurnas.

Day 7: MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We reached the top guesthouses at MBC at around 9am. All the estimates said 2 hours from Duerali to MBC, but they’re lies, all lies. Maybe when there’s no snow, but it was a solid and very strenuous 3 hours for us.

At MBC, we stopped for breakfast because we had skipped it in order to leave early. While we ate, we had a view of all the people slipping and sliding in the snow on their way back down from ABC. Surprisingly, there were also butterflies everywhere. Up at 3700m?

Day 7: Guesthouse at MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 7: Butterfly up at MBC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We decided to stay the night at MBC, leaving our heavy bags there while we made the hike up to ABC and back. This is what most people we had talked to did (though they made the hike up for sunrise, and walking up in the early morning seemed more pleasant). The guesthouse owner warned that the fog typically rolls in around 1pm, so we set off at 10:45am to make the 2 hour hike up to ABC.

The path from MBC to ABC ran through a field of snow, with only some portions of exposed rock. It must have been better than on previous days, when the snow was piled higher. But still, there were many places where you could sink into the snow up to your thigh if you weren’t careful!

There was a big uphill push in the snow for about the first 30 minutes, but after that we walked along a relatively flat ridge. The day was so clear that we could see ABC way in the distance (right above the left shoulder of the person closest to the camera).

Day 7: Path from MBC to ABC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

About 30 minutes in, we saw a few clouds rolling up the valley. Uh oh. They seemed to be moving slowly, thank goodness, but we picked up the pace as much as we could.

Day 7: Clouds appear in the valley, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

They eventually filled in the basin where MBC is. But they were still all behind us, and we were so close!

Day 7: Clouds appear in the valley, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 7: Path from MBC to ABC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

It still seemed like we could beat the clouds. But just as we arrived at the ABC sign, we saw wisps of fog coming over our shoulders.

Day 7: Reaching the ABC sign just as the clouds roll in, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Somehow, in the span of about 10 minutes, the clouds had accelerated and overtaken us! You can see the difference between our own photos and the one above of the people before us.

Day 7: Reaching the ABC sign just as the clouds roll in, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 7: Reaching the ABC sign just as the clouds roll in, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 7: Reaching the ABC sign just as the clouds roll in, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

All gone, within about 2 minutes.

So close, we were so close!!

It was only 12:20pm, but the clouds had obviously came early. We stayed for 2 hours at ABC hoping that it would clear up, but nope. Finally, we left at 2pm in order to make it back to MBC at 4pm.

SO BUMMED. But what can you do?

Look at the wall of snow that they still had to deal with at ABC:

Day 7: Shoveling snow at ABC, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

The whole way down was pure slush, which soaked my shoes through and through. Good thing I had the plastic bags!

At night, it was extremely cold at MBC. Sleeping at night is fine because we have sleeping bags and thick blankets, but we were freezing in the common area while we waited to get food. Finally, unable to take it, we ordered a heater for 150 rupees ($1.50) per person, even though we had no idea what it would be.

The heater turned out to be a propane tank with an open flame, which they put under the (wooden) table.

Day 7: Heater at MBC guesthouse, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Talk about a fire hazard! It was super effective, though, nearly (literally) burning holes through our pants.

I don’t really get the pricing scheme – if only one person orders the heater, do they only get 150 rupees for it? Also, everyone benefited from the heater. After we left, the guides and porters all rushed in to take our places next to the heater, as it still hadn’t burned out yet. In any case, the guesthouse owners, guides, and porters must all rejoice whenever a foreigner orders a heater.

I thought about getting up early the next morning to try ABC again, because it’s quite common to make the hike up from MBC for sunrise. But ultimately, to be honest, my main motivation would be to get some pictures. In order to squeeze a 4 hour round trip in before hiking down for the day, I wouldn’t really have time for much else.

So I decided not to, though I did wake up at 4am to see the stars. With little light pollution and a thin atmosphere, the sky is so clear that you can see the edges of the Milky Way. It’s gorgeous, but it was so cold…and my camera couldn’t capture any of it, even with a 12 second exposure. I guess there are some things that you just have to enjoy in the moment.

Generally, success! All that was left was the way down.

Continue on to Annapurna Base Camp Trek Day 8-10: Back down

Annapurna Base Camp Trek Day 5-6: to Deurali

Day 6: High mountain terrain, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 5

At about 8:20am in the morning, we parted with our friends and started the official climb up to ABC! Coming out of Jhinu, we had to climb back up all the stairs that we descended the previous day in order to make it to Chhomrong. This I greatly dreaded, but it thankfully only took less than an hour.

And we were rewarded with a fantastic view on the way up. Look at those layers!

Day 5: Layered mountains from above Jhinu, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 5: Layered mountains from above Jhinu, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Chhomrong is one of the biggest villages on the way up to ABC, so it also has a ACAP checkpoint. The path goes through the village, and then drops down for about 1000 steps until you reach yet another suspension bridge.

Day 5: Horses climbing up through Chhomrong, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 5: Suspension bridge after Chhomrong, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 5: Porters walking across the suspension bridge after Chhomrong, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

And on the other side, you guessed it! Another big uphill climb, on the open hillside for about 2 hours.

Chhomrong, from the opposite hillside:

Day 5: View across the valley, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

At 12:30 we reached Sinuwa and stopped there for lunch. But be careful, because there’s a lower Sinuwa about 30 minutes before the “real” one. Don’t celebrate too early!

From Sinuwa up to Bamboo, the road once again went through a forest with mossy rocks.

Day 5: Path through the forest, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 5: Path through the forest, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We also encountered a lot more water, both in the form of small streams and waterfalls on the hills around us.

Day 5: Mountain ravine, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 5: Waterfalls, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Around 3pm, we arrived in Bamboo. We inquired at the two biggest guest houses, but found that we liked the last guesthouse on the path, Green View Lodge, the best. When we asked for hot showers to be included in the room, the man said sure, as long as we didn’t tell anyone. Sold! And it turned out to be the best hot shower that I had had since probably New Delhi, in almost a month.

Day 6:

We left Bamboo at 8:30, walking through more forest and waterfalls to Dovan (1 hour).

Day 6: Dovan, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Another hour later, we made it to Himalaya Hotel. Interestingly, Himalaya is the only stop along the way that is named after a hotel instead of having its own name. Perhaps because there are only 2 guesthouses there, so it is the smallest of the villages?

Right before Himalaya Hotel was our first encounter with snow!

Day 6: Snow before Himalaya Hotel, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

From there, we continued up to Duerali. The terrain morphed into shorter, dry grasses, with steep mountains rising on either side of the valley. In many parts, it felt like hiking back home in Colorado!

Halfway through we passed Hinku cave, a big rock overhang that used to provide shelter for camping trekkers.

Day 6: Hinku cave, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Soon, we could see Duerali from a distance. But it took a while to make our way there, and we had to traverse over a lot more snow.

Day 6: Deurali amongst the mountains, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Almost every step of the way, we had fantastic, ever-changing views:

Day 6: High mountain terrain, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 6: High mountain terrain with waterfalls, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 6: High mountain terrain with waterfalls, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Duerali itself is surrounded by numerous waterfalls. Right before entering the village, you walk across a great wall of a waterfall.

Day 6: Waterfall before Deurali, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We reached Deurali at 1pm, and debated whether to continue. On the way up, we heard that Deurali to Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC) is the hardest portion, and also an avalanche risk area. The best time to go is in the morning before 11am. However, the night before we met a couple coming down who had gone to MBC in the afternoon, when their guide said that the sun had shifted off the side that they were on, so the avalanche risk was lower.

Did we risk it without a guide? Ultimately we decided not to, since it seemed it also didn’t seem appealing to do the toughest part of the trek, all above 3000m, in the slush and fog and after a long day of hiking already. We did see people either going up or coming down until about 4pm, though most people seemed to share our sentiments.

We had a restless night at Deurali, because we could only pray that the weather would be good the next morning. So close to the goal of ABC!

Continue on to Annapurna Base Camp Trek Day 7: ABC

Annapurna Base Camp Trek Day 4: Jhinu Hot Springs

Day 4: Terraced fields, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

On day 4, our goal was to make it to Jhinu in the first half of the day and spend the latter half relaxing in the hot springs!

Because trekking had gotten me into a healthy, early-bird lifestyle, I got up around 6:10, just in time to catch the sun peeking over the ridge for sunrise.

Day 4: Sunrise at Tatopani, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Early mornings were generally pretty clear, so we got a great view of the mountains in the distance (sadly, I’m not sure which one, but I think it’s Machhapuchhre, or the “Fishtail” mountain).

Day 4: Guesthouses at Tatopani in the morning, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Look at that rhododendron forest!

Day 4: Guesthouses and rhododendron forest at Tatopani in the morning, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We left at 7:45 in order to get to Jhinu around noon, and began by descending into mossy green forests.

Day 4: Descending into mossy forest, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 4: Mossy forest, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Eventually we emerged on the side of the mountain, where we could see down the valley to all the way to Jhinu. It was going to be a long road, with lots of ups and downs.

Day 4: Overlooking the valley, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

These hillsides were filled with houses and fields. The trail went right through them, sometimes right up to front yards.

Day 4: A local village house, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

A pack of horses being fed:

Day 4: Horses at feeding time, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We went all the way down until we hit a suspension bridge at the bottom. Yep, you know what that means, now to make our way all the way back up!

Day 4: Suspension bridge, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

From just before the suspension bridge, a little girl and her father/grandfather joined us on the trail. Turns out they were going to the local school, which was all the way up the opposite hill. Imagine making that walk to school every day…

The path curved right around the school, and there was a box asking for donations:

Day 4: Kids at a local village school, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 4: Donation sign at a local village school, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

For a good stretch after that, we walked through lush green terraced fields, etched into the hill side.

Day 4: Terraced fields, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 4: Terraced fields, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

And along the way we picked up a dog that followed us all the way down to Jhinu! All of the dogs had the same look, black with brown spots over their eyes. There were a lot of strays along the way, but they all appeared to be pretty healthy.

Day 4: A puppy picked up along the way, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Soon, we reached a junction that split to Chhomrong in the North and Jhinu in the South. Technically, because we were doing ABC, the logical route would have been to go via Chhomrong all the way up, hitting Jhinu on the way down. But we met some friends along the way who were going to Jhinu, so we decided to take a quick detour and join them instead.

Jhinu was not far, and we could see it down in the valley. The descent took about a good hour, and we arrived a little later than we expected, at 1:30pm.

Day 4: Jhinu in the valley below, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

From Jhinu, you still have to walk about 30 minutes down to the hot springs, which are at the bottom of the valley alongside the river. This is not ideal, especially on the way back up, when you’re all fuzzy-minded and relaxed. But nonetheless, hot springs!

Day 4: Jhinu hot springs, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Remember to bring 100 rupees for the entrance fee.

Day 4: Ticket to Jhinu hot springs, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

There are rudimentary closed-off “changing rooms” and two pipes of hot water for you to rinse off before and after getting in. But I didn’t take any pictures, because privacy. Also, the lack of a waterproof camera.

The hot springs themselves are three pools of hot water, about 20 feet x 20 feet. They’re at the perfect temperature, warm enough to relax your muscles but not so hot that you can’t stand it for very long.

The perfect place to end a long trek! But ours was still only halfway through. And we still hadn’t reached the toughest part of the trek yet. On to ABC, the main event!

Continue on to Annapurna Base Camp Trek Day 5-6: to Deurali

Annapurna Base Camp Trek Day 3: Poon Hill

Day 3: The sun peeking over the ridge of the Annapurnas at Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

The entire village of Ghorepani woke up at 4:30 to start the 45 minute hike to Poon Hill at 5am. We all trudged out of our rooms as a unit and set off in the dark on a path that wove between the guesthouses. I probably wouldn’t have found it myself without a guide, but that wasn’t a problem because everyone was going the exact same way!

About a quarter of the way up, there is a gate that sells entrance tickets for 50 rupees. Because it was still pitch black on the way up, I snapped a picture on the way back down:

Day 3: The entrance gate to Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

On we went, as a large procession in the dark, for about 30 minutes more. Along the way there were some spots that opened up to show the mountains, and we could just see the outlines of fantastic shapes in the distance.

Day 3: Outline of the Annapurnas at dawn from Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

The best viewpoint, though, was at the top! Poon Hill is situated perfectly in front of the Annapurna mountain range, as if someone tried to find the angle with the best view and plopped a hill right in that spot.

Day 3: Outline of the Annapurnas at dawn from Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

On the far left side, too, is the Dhaulagiri mountain range, spectacular in its own right. Two in one!

Day 3: Outline of the Dhaulagiri mountain range at dawn from Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

As we waited for the sun to break through the mountain ridge, the photo fest began and continued for a full hour:

Day 3: Silhouette over the Annapurnas at dawn from Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Eventually the sun rose, bit by bit:

Day 3: The sun coming over the ridge of the Annapurnas at Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 3: The sun peeking over the ridge of the Annapurnas at Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

And, as the sun rose on the far right side for the Annapurnas, it casted bright rays on the Dhaulagiri peaks on the far left.

Day 3: Sun on the peak of the Dhaulagiri mountain range from Poon Hill at sunrise, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 3: Sun on the peak of the Dhaulagiri mountain range from Poon Hill at sunrise, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 3: View of the Dhaulagiri mountain range from Poon Hill at sunrise, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

There is also an observation tower at the top of the hill, which provides a full 360 view!

Day 3: Observation tower on top of Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 3: Panoramic from the top of the observation tower at Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 3: View of the Dhaulagiri mountain range from Poon Hill at sunrise, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We stayed until almost 7, when we had gotten our fill. The way back down was similarly beautiful in the morning sun!

Day 3: The way up to Poon Hill from the top, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 3: The path down Poon Hill after sunrise, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

After eating breakfast back at the guesthouse, we set off on the big trek of the day at 9am. The goal was to traverse almost due west to get to Jhinu, the hot springs, and Chhomrong, the last big village before the ascent to ABC.

The day’s trek started with a steep incline to Deurali pass, which I later learned means “top of the hill” – makes sense, because there are about 3 different Deurali’s on the map! The climb was a little too close to the stone steps for my liking, but thankfully it only lasted for about the first 20 minutes.

Day 3: The path up to Deurali pass, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

At the top of Deurali pass, we still had a great view of the Annapurnas:

Day 3: The top of Deurali pass, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 3: View from the top of Deurali pass, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

From there, the path went along the ridge, moderately up and down through the forest. Even though we were walking through a mossy and lusciously green forest, there was snow alongside the trail at many points.

Day 3: Forest path from Deurali pass, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 3: Snow along the forest path, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

This continued until Ban Thanti, after which we descended down stairs to go deeper into the forest. The mist rolled back in, creating an eerie vibe.

Day 3: Mist in the forest valley, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Close to the bottom, there was a dry ravine with piles and piles of cairns.

Day 3: Cairns at the bottom of the valley, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Eventually we hit the bottom of a canyon. And yep, no way to go but up. Steep steps wound upward in the mist, but thankfully this was the last little bit before reaching Tatopani, our stopping point for the night.

Day 3: Mist on the path to Tatopani, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 3: Mist on the path to Tatopani, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 3: Mist on the path to Tatopani, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

 

Right before getting to Tatopani, there is a junction in the path: Both lead to Tatopani, but one goes up higher to the upper guesthouses, and one goes lower. I took the latter one, why go up any higher than necessary?

Day 3: Crossroads on the path just before Tatopani, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We arrived in Tatopani at 3pm and crashed after a long day. But we had hot springs the next day to look forward to!

Continue on to Annapurna Base Camp Trek Day 4: Jhinu Hot Springs

Annapurna Base Camp Trek Day 1-2: Stone Steps to Ghorepani

Day 1: Goats coming down the stone steps, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Because we wanted to go to Poon Hill first before heading up to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), Days 1 and 2 were dedicated to reaching Ghorepani in order to see sunrise at Poon Hill on Day 3.

Day 1

The starting point for both ABC and Poon Hill is Nayapul, which is about an hour and a half away by bus (everyone says an hour, but Nepalese road conditions result in delays). The bus only costs 100-150 rupees ($1-$1.50) and leaves from the Baglung Bus Park every half hour – but let’s say every hour in reality, and it’s never clear which one will leave next because they all claim that they’re leaving “now.”

We got to the station at 11am, a little later than trekkers typically leave, so the bus only had a few other tourists on it. The bus drove up a windy mountain road, from an elevation of 820m in Pokhara to 1070m at Nayapul.

The bus from Pokhara to Nayapul, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

About an hour in, it stopped at a rest stop so that we could all use the toilet and buy some food. The rest stop made me wonder how much longer the ride would take, but thankfully we arrived at Nayapul just 15 minutes later.

Where the driver told us was “Nayapul” looked to be just 3 shops along the side of the road. Without a guide, I was bewildered – but soon discovered that the town of Nayapul continues down a side road that leads to a long strip of shops where you can buy anything that you might have missed.

A little villager at one of the shops:

Day 1: A little girl in Nayapul, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

With an official start time of around 12:30pm, we set off on the road to begin the hike. The first 15 minutes to Birethanti is just a road that Jeeps and other cars can also take. Right before Birethanti, the road crosses a bridge. There’s a TIMS checkpoint right before it, and an ACAP checkpoint right after:

Day 1: The ACAP checkpoint in Birethanti, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

The dirt road continues up the mountain through the lower villages and a few mining sites.

Day 1: Annapurna Conservation Area sign, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 1: Road toward the beginning of the trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 1: View of the valley, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Around 2 hours in, we stopped for lunch. I read online that guesthouses get most of their money from food rather than a guest’s stay, so the food on the mountain is more expensive than it is in town and gets progressively more expensive as you hike further up. Indeed, there is an authority (the Sanctuary Tourism Entrepreneurs Committee, or STEC) that sets the prices depending on an area’s distance from town, and all guesthouses in the same area have the exact same menu. The menus might be the same, but the guesthouses all cook each item differently! In fact, even if you get the same thing at the same guesthouses, you might still get different things because the cooks swap in and out. Each food order is a bit of a risk and a surprise.

An example of prices at the bottom:

300 veg noodle
400 momos
500 dal bhat veg
60 chai, lemon tea

70 water refill
500 double room
100 hot shower

At 3pm, we reached Tikhedhungga, where many people on organized tours stop for the first night. The climb up until then had been fairly easy and some other groups were continuing up to the next big town, Ulleri, to stay the night. A woman at a guesthouse warned that it would take 2.5 hours to 3 hours to get to Ulleri, but we chalked it up to her wanting to sell a room. Besides, I’m fairly fit, so I figured I could probably beat the estimate.

How very wrong I was – first lesson learned: trust the locals. Almost straight out of Tikhedhungga, we ran into stone steps that never seemed to end. After quite a bit of trudging, I learned that there were around 3000 steps and I had only completed 400 thus far. When even a porter echoed the 2.5 hour estimate, that was it. It was already 4:30pm too, so we wouldn’t have made it there before sunset.

A portion of the stone steps, with a herd of goats coming down:

Day 1: Goats coming down the stone steps, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Thankfully there are small guest houses everywhere, and there was one just around the corner. It was pretty standard, with a full kitchen, comfortable mattresses, and warm blankets.

Day 1: Kitchen at the guesthouse on the stone steps, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 1: Double room at the guesthouse on the stone steps, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We managed to negotiate a hot shower in the room price – but because it was a smaller place, the “hot shower” was a bucket shower. Literally a bucket, into which the guesthouse owner poured a hot thermos of water. And a ladle. There was also no light in the bathroom, so I showered with the door cracked open as the sun set. Despite that, an overall comfortable night.

Day 2

The next morning I woke up to other hikers making their way up the stone steps right next to our guesthouse. We left at 9:20am, a bit of a later start. With refreshed legs, more familiarity with my heavy pack, and the help of some podcasts, I finished the stone steps and made it to Ulleri by 10:30am. So I CAN beat the estimates…just with the right conditions.

From there, the path became relatively moderate and passed through some flowers and rhododendron forests.

Day 2: Wildflowers on the side of the path, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 2: Rhododendron tree along the side of the path, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

This turned into a mossy forest after passing Ban Thanti, about a third of the way up. Complete with a mossy waterfall:

Day 2: Waterfall in the forest, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Day 2: Waterfall in the forest, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

We stopped in Nangethanti for lunch at 1:30pm, and while we were there, the fog rolled in completely. It felt like we were walking through an enchanted fairytale forest all the way to Ghorepani, which we reached at 3:30pm. This is where the second ACAP checkpoint is, right before entering the village of Ghorepani.

Ghorepani is the starting point for the hike up to Poon Hill for sunrise, so we all slept early in anticipation for the next morning. The entire guesthouse was basically shut down at 8pm, or “hiker’s midnight,” as they say. A full night’s rest before the next packed day.

Continue on to Annapurna Base Camp Trek Day 3: Poon Hill