So, you’ve decided to visit Nepal to enjoy breathtaking landscape, a diversity of breathtaking views, and dare to take on the Annapurna base or Annapurna Circuit trekking. But, you’re not sure about where to begin.
Need not panic; it is not as tough as you may think. You can visit Nepal with not much of resources and vague last-minute plans, and still do well to touch the land in Nepal and take on the trails in under 2-3 days.
This brief post explains how you can get ready to take on the Annapurna Circuit Trekking, an exquisite trek in Nepal that lures in thousands of tourists year after year.
Arrival in Kathmandu
First things first, ensure you known your hotel’s location in Kathmandu. If you are well aware of your hotel’s location, you can reach out to it in a taxi quickly. Avoid private, independent taxi drivers who can trick you into paying more for your ride than what they should.
The first thing you are advised is to visit a nearby ATM and get a few Nepalese Rupees. Next, get a local SIM Card for yourself. Since Wi-Fi can be extremely uncertain in Kathmandu, a local SIM card can come in handy to access the Internet through a mobile data plan. While most hoteliers promise to deliver free Wi-Fi, it is more often an empty promise.
Try the NCell as the carrier for your SIM card since it offers steady and fast connectivity in most areas of Nepal.
Getting the supplies for trekking in Kathmandu
Once you’ve become accustomed to the hotel and surroundings, your next aim will be to procure the supplies necessary for the trek. In general, you will need outwear and base layers; however, you may need a few extra layers depending upon the weather conditions.
For instance, if you choose to trek in April when and it is freezing over the pass, you may need down jackets and hiking pants. Also, you may need fewer supplies if visiting Nepal in October.
Whatever the conditions, try to pack as less and possible since you may regret each extra item you carry to higher-altitude regions.
Generally, you may need the following items:
- Base layers for bottoms and tops
- A few extra layers to be worn at the bottom
- Active or fleece sweatshirt
- Insulated pants and waterproof down jackets
- Rain jacket
- Map of trail
- Camera, Pair of boots
- Gloves and hat
- Sleeping bag
- First aid kit with common medicines
- Walking sticks
- 1-2 water bottles
Now, you must be wondering where to get all these merchandises. Getting clothes is no pain. Regardless of what quality you prefer, Thamel has it all. Those in search of authentic, branded stuff can head to Tridevi Sadak.
However, those who prefer to buy budget lifestyle clothing can head to one of the outdoor stores along the Amrit Marg and haggle till you get stuff for the rate you want. Shona Alpine is one of the outdoor stores you should try. They have plenty of options, and you can find something worth within your budget.
For getting the first aid kit, you can head to one of the many pharmacies around Thamel; however, the pharmacies there generally tend to overcharge you for almost everything.
You can search for budget pharmacies around the Bir Hospital. The street towards the north has several cost-effective medical stores that can provide you almost everything you need. If you land in Nepal with less or no supplies whatsoever, you can purchase them on the same day. Also, you can get the required permits on the same day itself.
Getting Annapurna Permits in Kathmandu
Search for the way to reach the Nepal Tourism Board located on the Pradarshani Marg. Try to reach there early to bypass the long queues there. Also, you must ensure you know their working hours to avoid last-minute surprises. The NTB is closed on Saturdays.
You will require two permits. The first permit helps you enter the Annapurna Region while the other permit is your (TMS) Trekkers Information Management System card.
Both the permits will cost you around R4000. Both the permits are necessary, and you will be thoroughly checked at the trail. The permits are easy to get. Just enter the building and find an English speaking guide who will help you get along the process comfortably. Fill in the forms, give them the funds, and you’re all set for your trekking experience. Also, you must ensure you carry these permits along with you while trekking.
Getting to Annapurna from Kathmandu
So, you’ve got the required permits and the supplies. You are all in readiness to start hiking.
But then, where to start? Some individuals first reach to Pokhara; however, that seems to be an unnecessary step, and you can directly head to the trail.
Wake up early and hire a taxi from Kathmandu at around 6 am to reach the BG Mall on the north of Ring Road. At the BG Mall, search for the booth that sells minibus tickets to Besisahar. They’ll sell you a ticket (around R500) for the next minibus available. It’s not the most comfortable ride; however, you can expect to Besisahar in 4 to 5 hours.
At Besisahar, you’ll have to present your TIMS card at the local tourist checkpoint as well as at the Annapurna trail.
This point is known as the official start of the Annapurna trail beyond which most people start walking.
However, it is not the most pleasant experience and, therefore, it makes sense for you to hop into a local bus to Bhulbhule. This ride to Bhulbhule costs around R200 and rightly sets up your journey to the trek.
The bottom line
The Annapurna base or Annapurna Circuit trekking provides a breathtaking trekking experience and attracts thousands of tourists every year. Follow the instructions given in this post to ensure you don’t have to face last-minute surprises.