Nepal, the roof of the world is a trekkers paradise. It offers a diversity of treks with all kind of levels of difficulties and lengths. It combines astonishing views over Himalayan mountain ranges, golden temples and charming local hill villages.
We arrived in Nepal in November and spent the whole month in this beautiful country. The first few days were spent in Kathmandu to get ready for our hike in the Annapurnas. In total we completed 200km in 17 days (Annapurna Circuit 133km & Annapurna Base Camp 66km) and mastered Thorung La Pass at an altitude of 5,426m/17,802ft which is slightly higher than Everest Base Camp (5380m). Afterwards we took some time to relax in Pokhara.
We made Thamel in Kathmandu our base and spent our first few days in this little district tailored to tourists needs.You can find cheap equipment for your hike here. The brands are not genuine however, quality ranges and you can find pretty high quality outdoor gear. It is recommended to buy trekking shoes at home to ensure best quality and fit. However, things like sleeping bags, walking sticks and down jackets can be purchased in Kathmandu for very good value. We spent our first few days shopping for gear, getting our permits issued and doing some sightseeing.
In terms of permits we needed a TIMS Card (Trekkers’ Information Management Systems) card and a ACAP Permit (Annapurna Conservation Area Entry Permit) for the Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp trek. A TIMS card for independent trekkers is a trekking permit needed for all treks in Nepal. For the Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp trek a ACAP Permit is needed in addition which is for single entry only. Both can be issued at the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu and Pokhara and cost each NPR 2,000 / US$ 20. If starting your trek from Kathmandu you can leave some unnecessary clothing in the guesthouse. Pack as light as possible for the trek. Every little helps. We took the bare minimum and our bag packs were about 8kg (excluding water). You can normally easily carry 8kg by yourself without a porter.
It takes a moderate level of fitness to complete either trek. It helps to work out a little bit before to not suffer sore mussels during the trek. While it is nice to support the local economy we decided to complete the trek independently without any porters or guides. Both treks were well developed with tea houses and shops all along the way. The infrastructure is pretty good with jeeps now being able to go almost all the way up. You will also find WiFi and hot water almost everywhere along the way. You can even hire porters or guides along the way if needed. If you do the trek independently you are fully flexible in terms of duration. You can opt in for side treks on the way the extend your trek. Popular side treks are the Ice Lake (one additional day), Tilicho Lake (three additional days) and Poonhill (at least one extra day). We solely used Maps.Me for navigation which worked perfectly and was most of the time accurate in terms of walking times too (download Maps.Me for Android or iOS). During the treks we spent around EUR 20 / person per day. For further information on what we spent during a month in Nepal please see the table below.
Equipment to bring on the trek;
- reusable water bottle
- water filter or purification tablets
- merino wool long underwear and socks
- heat, gloves and scarf
- sleeping bag (depending on time of the year)
- hiking boots and socks
- walking sticks
- down jacket
- synthetic hiking trousers and lycra jersy which can be hand-washed and dries quickly
- warm jumper
- sandals/ flip flops
- sun care: sunglasses, sunhat, sunscreen
- medication: Ibuprofen (for soreness and inflammation) and Diamox (for AMS)
- wash kit: quick-dry towel, hand cream and lip balm (the air is very dry)
- if needed knee support for descending
- Thermos Flask
Total spending in Nepal for 33 days was NPR 205760/person (EUR 805/ GBP 596). While trekking we spent around EUR 20 / person per day.