Nepal - Himalaya

Nepal – Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, and/or Manaslu Trek

Feb/March, 2019. A total immersion in Nepalese landscape and culture… at least 3 weeks, so plan ahead.

A trekkers’ paradise … one of the world’s great travel destinations.

Ever since Nepal first opened its borders to outsiders in the 1950s, this mystical mountain nation has proved irresistible to travellers, adventurers and mountaineers. Today, legions of trekkers are drawn to the Himalaya’s most iconic and accessible hiking, following ancient caravan routes and the footsteps of early explorers, to Everest, the Annapurna’s – and beyond.

Our journey will take us on either the Annapurna Base Camp Trek (Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, or ABC), or possibly the less well known (but most spectacular) Manaslu trek. Further research is currently being undertaken by Trevor in Nepal to make sure that we choose the best possible trek for you.

After Trevor (our Dorset walks guide) and I had completed the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek last year, through huge rhododendron forests and bamboos with monkeys swinging through the trees – up to just under 14,000 above sea level, we then slowly trekked back down through beautiful villages, seeing how the wonderful friendly people make a living in such remote locations – many with no roads. Then, a few days rest in lakeside Pokhara was very welcome after the trek!

Having become good friends with Ram (the ground operator we have partnered with), we then trekked privately with him for another 3 days to his own family village to the east of Kathmandu. It was a truly stunning experience and it was so satisfying to get even further off the beaten path and experience simple village life with him. Near where his parents live, he has created a wonderful hill top lodge, where we will stay the last couple of nights – looking out over vast vistas of distant snow capped peaks and deep wooded valleys, with terraced fields and local villagers getting on with their simple yet humble daily lives. With Ram, we also visited Namo Buddha – what an amazing place. We plan to include it on our journey next year – it being one of the most important Buddhist Temples in Nepal.

Sabina

If you perhaps don’t feel you are up to a serious trek, there in Ram’s village, we met a a good friend of his – a beautiful young lady called Sabina, who has started a novel business called Sabina’s Home Stays. If you wanted to simply be a part of a local village and partake in everyday tasks and activities, you could do well to book something with Sabina. She is such a charming young lady, who speaks excellent English and she is is anxious to welcome outsiders into her local community, so that they may see what remote Nepalese village life is really like. It is a very beautiful forested area, surrounded by high hills (what we might call mountains!) where they grow magnificent crops in the odd valley bottoms that are flat enough – and higher up, on cleverly constructed terraces.

Naturally, some time will be spent in Kathmandu itself, as that is where international flights arrive. However, we will limit it to just a few days, as it is now a very busy city, with many people – and despite the very interesting monuments to be seen, the crowds and resultant pollution is not really something we wish to endure more than is necessary. But it is very cosmopolitan in it’s own way!

This page will be updated late this Spring, once the final choice has been made as to which itinerary we will follow next year. However, be assured that this will be a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to do something you may always have wanted to do – safe in the hands of someone you have travelled with before – who you know has searched dilligently for this thrilling adventure, to share with you! The photo is of Martin at 13,750 ft, just above the Annapurna Base Camp. Not too cold that day either, although the day began well below zero!

Should we trek in the Annapurna’s, the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) publishes a minimum impact code that combines environmental behaviour with cultural awareness. Many of the better trekking agencies adopt and expand this code.

In essence, we always avoid buying plastic bottled water. You bring your own bottle and fill it with boiled water/tea/hot lemon from your lodge. ACAP provide numerous filling stations along the Annapurna Circuit where water bottles can be refilled with UV treated water for a minimal cost. Carry purifier drops or tablets as a backup. We avoid burning wood for heating or cooking. Deforestation is rife in Nepal, and we certainly won’t add to it. As far as possible, hot showers are solar powered.

Your local Nepalese guide(s) will always be eating dhal bhat (the Nepali national dish of veg curry, rice and lentils) and you’ll be rewarded with smiles if you order the same. Pressure cookers are the most energy-efficient cooking method and they are used a lot up here. Trevor and I found that we grew very fond of dhal bhat as time went by… it provides very good nutrition and is very tasty. We take our trash home (e.g. spent batteries, broken electronics) and use recycling and compost bins wherever available. We avoid excess packaging. We use a toilet where available. We respect the local culture, dress and act modestly, and always seek permission before taking photographs. We should not encourage children to beg by indiscriminately handing out money, candy or pens. Naturally, we show an active interest in the local culture by learning some words of Nepali, Sherpa or Tibetan.

Don’t miss this chance to journey perhaps a little out of your normal comfort zone, knowing that we have already tested it out (for Martin at almost 70!) to make sure that a normal and healthy fit person is capable of such a thrilling adventure. Naturally, the only problem for some people could be the altitude and the lower oxygen levels available at those heights. Altitude sickness is no respecter of age or even fitness – take it from me. However, we will always have a back-up plan should you feel unwell and we always travel with Diamox, which is a well tested antidote to AMS.

Trevor right, with our wonderful hosts at one of the charming tea houses, together with Utam and Vishnu, our porter and guide, who we will work with again next year. The ratio is one guide for every 6 trekkers and one porter for every two.

For photos from Nepal 2017 and other Walking Tours, please go to our Facebook page.

• All participants of our International holidays will be required to sign a Liability Release form upon arrival at the destination.

Images of Nepal