- Encounters with locals
- Hiking / Trekking
- Sustainable Tourism
I have no hesitation in describing the Annapurna Sanctuary as the most beautiful trek I've had the opportunity to do. The scenery is magnificent and the mountains simply breathtaking. As it was February when I did it, I got to see the area around me entirely covered in snow, which made the landscape and scenery particularly beautiful. The trek takes between eight and twelve days to complete, depending on your walking speed and whether you decide to extend it or not: it's actually possibly to continue on to Poon Hill from Ghandruk.
As you proceed along the hike, you'll encounter small villages, areas of bamboo forest, rhododendron woodland, and even hot water springs. Although some sections can be hard on the legs, this is a trek that practically anyone can do: you just need to be sufficiently motivated and really enjoy walking! In my opinion, this trek is one of the essential things to do when visiting Nepal.
*Following the powerful earthquakes that struck Nepal in April and May of 2015, the country is gradually being rebuilt. This article was written before that natural disaster occurred.
I began the trek at Birethanti (1,050m) and arrived at the base camp (4,150m) after 5 intensive days. I can't describe what a pleasure it was to reach the yellow 'Annapurna Base Camp' sign! But most exhilarating of all were the breathtaking views that greeted me! The surrounding peaks, Machapuchare included, are almost 7,000m high and are blanketed with layers of immaculate snow. Words don't do justice to the view or beauty of the area.
The Annapurnas Sanctuary is a stopover, somewhere to bed down for the night. The ambience in the communal hall was welcoming and cosmopolitan; no better way to recharge your batteries! It's a great moment to swap information and chat with other tourists or guides. I clearly remember the words of a local man who defined his country as "Nepal, Never End Peace and Love".
A once in a lifetime experience for hiking fans - a personal challenge that's worth every step!
Word of warning: altitude sickness may kick in and it can creep up more sneakily than a yeti...