As I was unsure about the ease of travelling around Nepal, I decided to purchase an all-inclusive package from Webjet Exclusives. I picked this trek over the Everest Base Camp trek because everything I read said Everest Base Camp was very busy with tourists, and I wasn’t sure how that would translate into an enjoyable trek. I also picked the Annapurna Base Camp trek because it was significantly cheaper.
The Annapurna Base Camp trek commences from just outside of Pokhara. Pokhara is an amazing city. If you haven’t organised everything you need for your trek, you will be able to either buy it or hire it there. You can either fly to Pokhara or catch one of the many buses. The bus ride will take about 8 hours and it sure is an experience.
The Annapurna Base Camp trek difficulty is generally rated easier than some of the others, but I’ve heard varying reports on how the difficulty is calculated. Some are based on length of trek and some are based on altitude reached. However the trek difficulty is determined, it doesn’t really matter. The fact is the Annapurna Base Camp trek is difficult. No amount of training can really prepare you for the stairs that are involved in this trek. But when people talk about getting ‘trail fit’ as you go along, there is definite truth to it. Your muscles will hurt less and less with each day. Although, I need to say that by the end of the trek, I had sore knees from all the stairs.
Additionally, make sure you haven’t over packed and are carrying too much weight. This packing list can help you refine what you take.
So was it a good time to hike the Annapurna Base Camp trek in March?
Well, of course, but it comes with a caveat.
In the month before I went, the Annapurna Base Camp had received an unusually high amount of snow and had damaged and even destroyed some of the buildings. The group was unable to make it all the way to the base camp as the Nepalese government had officially closed the trek after Chommrong. Due to the high snowfall, there was a significant risk of avalanches. For this reason, I would be reluctant to hike the Annapurna Base Camp trek without a guide. The company that Webjet used was Outfitter Nepal. I can highly recommend their professionalism and expertise. The mountain regions can be very unpredictable, one of the porters had only made it to Annapurna Base Camp two times out of five attempts.
The good part about hiking the Annapurna Base Camp trek in March was that the views of Annapurna were crystal clear. The sunrise at Poon Hill was exquisite. Also, the tea houses were not excessively busy with tourists, so when it came to lunch and dinner, it didn’t take a long time to receive the meals. Remembering that most tea houses on the Annapurna Base Camp trek will make the food fresh, so it will take time to receive your meal.
So when is the best time to trek in Nepal?
Either Autumn, early Winter, or Spring. Regardless of when you go, the one thing you must be is flexible with your itinerary. As our group couldn’t make Base Camp, we plotted a different route back so we could still take in amazing views of the Annapurna Range without cutting the hike short. Remember, the mountains are unpredictable and even if you choose what you consider to be the best time of the year to hike in Nepal, you may be faced with changing conditions that are out of your control. Just go with it. It will still be an amazing experience as the Annapurna Base Camp trek is one of the best trek in Nepal.