Annapurna Sanctuary Trek is one of my favourites [1/4]
Every journey starts with a dream. My dream was climbing the highest points on earth. I read everything there was ever published about Himalayan Treks and found inspiration from countless people that have taken the adventurous journey. I woke up thinking about it, dreamed about it and went to bed believing that one day it would be me doing it.
I first came to Nepal as a traveller back in 2017, since then, I decided to visit the country annually. Spending the whole month or two to explore Nepal’s highest spots is my personal preference. Trekking independently in Nepal could be dangerous, but it doesn’t mean impossible to do. All we need to prepare are good stamina, trekking permit, and all necessary equipment.
As you might have read my previous post already. This year, I came back to Nepal on Wednesday, 28 February 2018. After 47 hours journey from Palo Alto, California, I arrived in Kathmandu at around 9:20 PM. I spent the first two days in Kathmandu, celebrating Holi Festival with a few locals and other visitors from China I met at the festival.
The festival was fun and entertaining, but that wasn’t the only purpose I came back. On the 3rd day, I went to Pokhara by plane and stayed overnight there, exploring local tourist attractions. At 7 o’clock the next morning, Dipen, a new friend I met in Kathmandu, picked me up at the hotel.
Dip has been working in the travel industry for a few years already. He even has his own travel company. He has been all over Nepal, which made him the perfect companion to explore Nepal’s highest spots. Our first destination was Nayapul. We went to Nayapul by “The Punisher” Jeep, an offroad beast! Super cool!
The exciting car ride to Nayapul
During the first-hour journey, you can still experience city views. As the car goes further away from the city, you will see fewer people on the road. All you can see are wood, river, sand mining, buses, and giant trucks. Once you hit the bumpy road, you’re officially out of the city. Make sure you don’t overeat breakfast, the rough road may cause you to puke.
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The ± 2 hours ride will fly by. The next thing you know, you are already at Birethati checking point. Here, you have to show your TIMS and entry permit to the officer. He or she will stamp those documents after they wrote down your personal information on a big book. Most trekkers start hiking from this checking point, though, you can still use the car to go a little further.
Nayapul to Ghandruk Trek
As much as I like adventure, I’m not a professional thrill seeker. So whatever I do, I do it without any proper training. The first day of trekking was rough! My limp legs forced me to stop after less than an hour hike. What ashamed! I drank Red Bull Kratingdaeng 250, and it made me vomit.
Thank God, my trekking buddy was Dip. He was so patient and kept encouraging me the whole trip. After about 15 minutes rest, we continued our journey. Dip led us to hike through a local route instead of typical tourist trek. So people were staring at us as we passed by. It was somewhat a bit weird and funny at the same time.
Dip and I stopped a few times in between hike. The roads were challenging, but the views were terrific! We went through rivers, cliffs, and bridges. At some point, there were two dogs following us. I named them blacky and browny, based on their fur colour, just in case you’re wondering. Hahaha.
Almost 5 hours later, Dip and I arrived at our first (official) stopping point. According to Dip, we shouldn’t rush it on the first day. So we decided to stay overnight in Ghandruk. That evening, I ate my favourite food, chicken momo, for dinner. While waiting for my order, the hotel owner gave Dip and I warm ginger water with lime, and it was super refreshing. The drink made me sleep like a baby. The next morning my energy was restored, and I was super ready to continue the trek.
Ghandruk to Chhomrong Trek
At 7 o’clock the next morning, I had a strawberry pancake and milk tea for breakfast. By 7:30 AM, we’re back on the road already. Despite the cold temperature, the morning view was mesmerising!
A few minutes after leaving the hotel, Dip and I met other trekkers, which was good. At least we weren’t trekking alone that morning. The Chinese trekkers were super enthusiastic. Their positive attitudes boosted my energy as well.
After two hours of trekking, we stopped at one of the restaurants to buy some drink and ate a fresh apple from a local farm. That tiny red apple was surprisingly super sweet. I never had one of those before in my life. As we were enjoying our short break, a group of donkeys passed by. They looked more like a pony than a donkey, really huge, almost as tall as I am.
Ghandruk to Chhomrong is around 4-5 hours away, depends on your hiking ability. Since Chhomrong was our 2nd official stopping point, we decided to have a small break in Kyumrung, a village between Ghandruk and Chhomrong. The low temperature made us ordered ramen noodle and omelette. Since it’s a popular trekking route, the local restaurants also offer western meal options. So if you aren’t into local spicy foods, you can merely order western foods.
After restoring our energy in Kyumrung for an hour, Dip and I continued our way to Chhomrong. We left the Chinese trekkers behind, and now we were hiking on our own. We didn’t meet anyone except donkeys. I assumed there were more donkeys than human there. Too tranquil, I can even hear the wind.
During the trek, Dip and I exchanged some of our travel experiences. Dip also warned me of poisonous plans we found on the road. He also gave me some interesting facts about local culture, like, some school in Nepal runs from 9 AM to 3:30 PM (2:30 PM for students in lower grades).
The three hours trek went fast. By 11:30 AM, we arrived at International Guest House & Restaurant, Chhomrong. This guest house is located on the very top of Chhomrong Hill, so the mountain view was excellent! If it isn’t cloudy, you could see the snowy mountain from your room.
Thanks for reading the first part of my ABC Trek journey, read the next part here. If you enjoyed reading this blog, please share it with your friends and family. Namaste! 🙂