Friday, July 31, 2009

ABC- Annapurna

Friday, July 31, 2009
Annapurna Base Camp

The treks in the Annapurna area are the most popular and famous of Nepal's treks. Annapurna Base Camp trek can be done in about 8 days (depend on your walking pace). The way up to the base camp is also the way back down. The trek is not easy, and the adjustment to high altitudes may be difficult, and altitude sickness is very common. On the other hand, anyone with a reasonable level of physical fitness can walk the trek.
The Annapurna Base Camp trek leads to a natural amphitheater that is used as the base camp from which climbers start on their way to conquer the Annapurna Mountaintop. The mountain reaches 8091 meters above sea level, and the base camp's altitude is 4130 meters above sea level.

Preparations before the trek:

■Trekking permit
There is no need to issue a trekking permit to go on treks in the Annapurna area as it was in the past.
■Food and water
There is no need to take food and water to the trek. Everything can be bought in the restaurants and guest houses along the way. As the trail goes up, so does the water prices increase. Therefore, as long as you are at the beginning of the trek it is worthwhile buying mineral-water bottles. Later on the way it is possible to use water purification tablets.
■Sleeping equipment
There are many guest houses along the trek (don't expect too much...). Bring a good and warm sleeping bag with you, that will protect you from the cold (there is no heating).
Map of the trek, big backpack and a rain cover for it, small backpack, sleeping bag, water purification tablets, toilet paper, toiletries, sandals for the shower, towel, flashlight, spare batteries, reading book, first-aid kit, sunglasses, laundry rope, washing powder, sun-screen, fleece coat, rain coat, water proof nylon bag, travel clothes, warm clothes, laundry bag, camera.
■Toilets and showers
In the beginning of the trek you may find running water, but as you climb, they will become more and more scarce. If you want to take a shower further on the trek, you will have to take a bucket showers (sometimes with hot water).
It is highly recommended to hire a porter (carrier and guide) that will carry your heavy big bag with the equipment, and leave you with the small bag. The porter will also be your guide (no need for an additional guide). It is recommended to hire a porter through an agency to reduce the chance that the porter will disappear with you bag. You can use one porter for two persons, but avoid overloading him. Try to meet with your porter before leaving for the trek to get to know him.
The route

Every walking day starts around 07:00 (your porter will wake you up), stops for lunch around noon and ends at around 14:00 with the arrival to the guest house. An average walking day is about 7 hours.

Going up: 5 days, coming down - 3 days. All together - 8 days.

Costs and Technical Issues

As mentioned before, there is no need for any special trekking permit to travel in the Annapurna region, as it used to be in the past.

Entrance fee to the Annapurna Conservation Area Project ACAP is 2000 Rupee (about $28). Be aware that if you pay the entrance fee at the entrance to the conservation area it will be double - 4000 Rupees (about $56). Therefore it is advisable to pay it at the offices in Pokhara or Kathmandu.

ACAP offices:

ACAP / National Park Office
In the basement of the Sanchaya Kosh shopping center
Tridevi Marg
Thamel, Kathmandu
Tel: 223088, ext. 363

ACAP Office
Lakeside, Pokhara
opposite Grindlays Bank
Tel: 061 32275

Opening hours: Monday - Friday: 09:00-16:00
Sunday: 09:00-15:00
Saturday and holidays: closed

When paying the entrance fee, bring along 2 passport photos and a photocopy of your passport.

The cost of a porter is about 400 Rupee (almost $6) per day.


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