This year for our annual birthday trip, we decided to go to Nepal for the first part of our vacation! Initially we plan to do some activities like bungee jumping, I particularly wanted to do tandem canyon swing, then canyoning, paragliding and ultralight flying. However, after doing some research we shifted from doing those activities to just one, trekking one of the base camps in the Himalayas. Rio wanted to trek the Everest Base Camp (14-16 days), but if we do that we will be spending all our vacation days to just trekking and we won’t be having any downtime.
I’ve checked which trek we can do in 7 days. There is a short Everest trek until Namche Bazaar where you can also see the tip of Mount Everest but what’s the point of doing that if you can do it all the way, right? Then there’s the Annapurna Base Camp. We didn’t really know anything about the Annapurna mountains but we really want to trek and see those snowy mountains in real life. They said that if you are looking for amazing views, jungle, rainforest and wildlife, then go for the Annapurna Base Camp. Only downside is, there will be a lot of stairs.
We booked with Mountain Mart Trek due to certain reasons. First they have an oxygen machine to check your oxygen levels, they provide duffel bag, sleeping bags, walking poles and lastly their price is much cheaper than other companies! The price we paid for is usually for a group trek but we were booked for a private trek which is a double plus. We got a guide and a porter for both of us.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE TREK
We planned to walk 10kms a day in the gym, take the stair master and walk with 5kg of bag in our backs but that didn’t happened. Rio got sick for a month which left us not going to the gym that whole time. We tried sleeping early as well but nope, cannot do it.
For our gear we invest in really good trekking shoes. It doesn’t require to be a top of the line shoes but it should be comfortable and light. You have to break in your shoes before the trek to avoid blisters and that way you will be already comfortable walking in them. We only used our shoes for a day before the trek and I really loved it. I usually have back pain for long hours of walking but with this one, I never felt any pain at all.
Depending on the weather or season you plan to do your trekking, the clothes you need to bring varies. We went during Spring which is the end of trekking season as it is the start of the monsoon season. The whole time it was really hot, it was raining and could be chilly at night. I didn’t take photo of the clothes I packed but here’s my list of clothes I brought with me.
- 5 short sleeve gym shirts (not cotton)
- 1 long sleeves
- 1 base layer long sleeves
- 1 fleece jacket
- 1 down jacket
- 1 rain coat
- 2 trekking socks
- 1 windproof jacket
- 1 vest
- 5 underwear (not cotton)
- 5 sports bras
- 3 pants
- 1 base layer pants
- 1 cap
- 1 polarized sunglass
- 1 bandana
It it important to take note that you have to bring filter system for your water. We don’t like to use sodium pills because of the taste or Steripen because I don’t believe in that. After intensive research we settle with Grayl Ultra light and Life Straw (Rio chose this one). I still need to do a review on Grayl not on this blog but I need to send them a complain because after 2 days of using it the cloth in the filter starts to detached (not sure if this is the right word to use) but I’ll show them what happened. Although it really worked really well and we never experienced bad stomach or diarrhea, it kind of puts me off and kinds of worries me if it really is safe to drink the water. So after filtering it through the Grayl we had to use Life Straw just to be safe.
Other gear we brought with us:
- International plug
- Powerbank (thanks Mom for lending me yours 🙂 )
- Go Pro session
- Fujifilm XT20 camera
- 3 batteries for Fujifim camera
- DJi Mavic drone
- PS Vita
- 2 water bottles of 1 Liter plus 1 camel back 750 mL
- 2 swiss knife
- 2 head torch
- wires for charging gadgets
For hygiene we brought these. You can add other stuff you feel like bringing.
- shampoo / soap
- 2 wet wipes for face and for general
- hand sanitizer
- feminine wash
- toothpaste and toothbrush
- microfiber towel
- tissue paper
- mosquito repellant
Medicines are pretty important to us as we already experienced getting sick while traveling to Georgia so we made sure we packed some essential pills.
- Panadol cold and flu (Paracetamol)
- Ibuprofen for pain
- Nexium for stomach pain
- Zyrtec for allergies (it worked as sleeping pill for us as well)
- Vitamin C tablets
- Dizinil for motion sickness
The Vitamin C tablets really helped our immune system and kept us from getting sick. We walked minimum of 10km a day through the rain and sun. We get cold at nights and hot and sweaty in the afternoon. The changed in weather easily affect our health (especially me, I have weak lungs). On our 4th day I wasn’t carrying my backpack and it was raining I felt my back getting cold and at night my temperature kind of went up so I immediately drank 1 tablet and voila in the morning I felt better.
Other essential we get ourselves is a travel insurance. I initially thought that World Nomad is the one as it is recommended in Lonely Planet but after reading reviews, most travelers who used their insurance didn’t really get good customer service and fast response from them. I believe that a quick and reliable customer service is required in any insurance company. Also, I think it is best to get it from your local area with worldwide network since you will be familiar with them as well. Thank God there is no need for us to use the insurance but at one point we were closed to using it. I will tell more about it on another post. We got ours from AIG insurance with hazardous activities added for trekking up to 4000 meters for only 350 AED.
ITINERARY OF THE TREK
We took the late afternoon flight of Dubai to Kathmandu with FlyDubai on a Thursday so we’ll reach there at night and still have time to settle in and check some places at night but as usual FlyDubai is always delayed so we reached Kathmandu almost midnight. Shops closed, no room service, no nothing. We were left staring the ceiling the whole night.
The next day we met Dolakh of Mountain Mart to discuss our itinerary then flew to Pokhara, the starting point of the trek. We took plane ride instead of the 6 hour bus ride to save time. I was thinking of squeezing some zip lining and paragliding but Rio said we should just relax save it to the end of the trip.
Our trek itinerary is below:
- Day 01: Fly Kathmandu – Pokhara – Phedi – Pothana (1,991m/6,528ft): 45 min drive, 22 km, 4-5 hrs trek ~10km
- Day 02: Pothana – Jhinu Danda (Hot spring 1,780m/5,859ft): 6-7 hrs- 13km
- Day 03: Jhinu Danda – Bamboo (2,300m/7,544ft), 5-6 hrs, ~8km
- Day 04: Bamboo – Deurali (3,230m/10,598ft), 5-6 hrs 6km
- Day 05: Deurali – MBC – ABC (4,130m/13,550ft), 4-5 hrs trek 5 km
- Day 06: ABC – Sinuwa (1,980m/6,495ft): 7-8 hrs ~15km
- Day 07: Sinwa – Ghandruk Phedi– Pokhara (910m/2,985ft): 5-6 hrs ~12km, 2- 3hrs drive, 55km
Pokhara is such a beautiful city. For me it has a relaxed vibe, more nature, culturally centered and not very much aggressive people. Unlike in Kathmandu, it was a chaos. Crazy drivers, punks, hippies, tourist traps, and overly polluted. We stayed in City Inn Hotel just 2 mins away from the lake. It is a 3 star hotel, much nicer than other guesthouses but not that expensive.
Here in Pokhara is where you can do the activities mentioned above. I was overwhelmed with the amount of activities you can do and as much as I wanted to do some of it, Rio was right we need to save our energy for next day (start of the trek). So we had lunch in a nearby hotel with old looking vibe like the 70s. The food was amazing, fresh and organic. For 30 dollars we had 1 starter, 2 mojito, 2 meals and 1 cake. I mean wow, that was actually cheap compared to the cost here in Dubai. 30 dollars is only for one meal. So while we were there we indulged a lot on food and massage which is only 2 days in our total stay there (ha ha).
After lunch we walked around the area to check some places. We bought some sandals since we didn’t have any. It is required after a day of walking to let your feet breathe as well as you need it to walk around the small village instead of using the shoes. At night we took 1 and half hour of massage for 50$ for both of us. I mean seriouslyyyyyyy. That’s a price of foot massage here so reallyyyyy. Why not do this everyday right? We had couple of drinks and eat at a Chinese restaurant nearby.
While sitting outside the bar, we were people watching. And most of them are tourist maybe preparing for their trek, or just finished their trek or could be just staying in Nepal doing some soul-searching. I really loved it there and how I wish we can stay longer than what we planned but also looking forward to our next part of the trip! I know this is a long post so I’ll stop for now and continue once I get back next week. I kept a diary of our day to day trek. My emotions, our experiences and lessons along the way. And definitely a video is on the works!