Phedi: We got a taxi from Pokhara to the starting point of our ABC Trek ( Annapurna base camp). It cost around RS1300 for a half hour taxi ride organised by our guesthouse. I think we got slighty ripped off so look around and find a local taxi driver.
So I dont know if it was the heat, the dog barking, the lady trying to sell us stuff, the potential dangers of the hike, or the insane amount of steps we could see ahead of us, but Daisy had a slight breakdown/ panic attack. Thank God my Mum packed me some Rescue Remedy (a herbal remedy to settle nerves).
Remember when I told you about getting a Lifestraw, this is the kind of place you’ll need it. With the heat and the lack of places to purchase drinks, this bottle will come in handy straight away, particularly as there are plenty of streams, waterfalls, and local taps to fill up.
In my opinion this was one of the hardest days (Daisy will back me up with this). If you haven’t done a multi day hike before, don’t let the first day put you off, it does get slightly easier (notice the slightly). And if you’re not on as tight a budget as us, you can get a Porter (someone who carries your stuff) and a guide. If you are cheap like us, the route is really easy to follow and you will see so many guides, porters, and local people along the way who will point you in the right direction.
After 8 hours of walking, we finally arrived in Tolka. Daisy wanted to find a guesthouse that was reccomended by Lonely Planet, a wrong turn left took us downhill 250 metres to what I could only describe as a building site. After huffing and puffing and a little argument on whose fault it was (Daisy’s by the way), we finally found the route and an hour later we arrived at Sunny’s Guesthouse. Thank FUCK they had a room for us. Looking back on the pictures though, the view of the mountains was kind of worth the stress of it all.
The accommodation was only RS250 for the night; food was slightly more but they had a good menu . I had the veggie curry and while we was waiting we met a really nice couple who had done the Annapurna Panorama Trek. They also had the Lonely Planet guide and told us they thought the timing of the hikes were unrealistic. With that good news and my veggie curry eaten, I was ready for bed .
Phedi to Sunny Guesthouse Tolka= 12 km distance with an incline and decline of 1010 Meters.
Tolka to Jhinu:
This hike was alot easier than the first day and on the plus side we made a friend along the way. His name was Toba (don’t ask me why, just thought it matched him very well). Toba seemed to know exactly where he was going so even though it seemed strange to follow a dog, at the end of the day it is his area and he knows it more than us. After a few kms Toba turned back and we was left to guide ourselves. He either thought that we were on the right track or it’s because we didn’t feed him. There is a reason why we didn’t feed him. We got told by a lovely couple in our guesthouse in Pokhara not to feed the dogs otherwise they bark and bite. How true this is we will never know because we didn’t feed them.
After three and a half hours (maybe more) and a few terrifying bridges, we arrived at Jinhu Guesthouse. The accommodation was slightly better than the last but still only 2mm thick plywood between you and the snoring person next to you. After a little relaxing time, just to ease the muscles, we decided to go to the hot springs. Bare in mind we had just done a hike to get to this village, we now had to do a hike to get to the hot springs. The sign post may say 15 minutes, I mean it may be if you run it, but it’s not. So after a long walk downhill and knowing we had to hike back up, we tried to relax in this over crowded manmade hot spring. It was OK (the stunning views along the white water river were incredible). The best part was sitting under the natural shower and actually recieving hot water for a change. For dinner I had not one but two portions of Dal Bhat, it was either the best Dal Bhat I’ve tasted or I was that hungry it just tasted so good. A full stomach and I’m ready for bed.
Tolka to Jhinu = 8.5km distance with an incline and decline of 358 meters.
Jhinu to Chomrong:
Ok guys no judgement here this was a very very quick hike so I’m going to say this was more of a stroll. Only 2km but at this stage Daisy’s toes had started going black and started blistering under the nail so we took a very short hike so she could rest up at the next destination (there were still hundrerds of steps uphill so it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park). Excellent View Top Lodge & Restaurant had the best room views we have had on this trip by far. You could see the Fishtail clear as day. We opted for a room without a shower as it was double the price to have a shower. The room was clean , solid brick walls, and a balcony with a stunning view.
We went down for a dinner but what we didn’t realise was the wait for dinner was going to be over an hour and a half late because the guides had already pre-booked for their customers.
The lesson? Make sure to pre-order dinner at your guesthouse as soon as you arrive.
Once you’re at Chomrong make sure to ask the guesthouse to ring the town that you are planning on hiking to the next day and booking the accommodation. Beyond Chomrong, accommodation to ABC is extremly limited and we met people who slept in barns with the farm animals, so be prepared and BOOK AHEAD.
Jhinu to Chomrong= 2km distance with an incline and decline of 534 meters.
Chomrong to Bamboo:
We left early for this trek as the night before I was told that if you don’t arrive at the guesthouse by 2pm they will give your booking away to someone else (like I said the accommodation game from here on gets quite competetive in peak seasons). A way around it is if you stop at a town for lunch get them to call ahead and let them know you are on your way.
This trek was hard, I’m not going to lie.
A sudden steep incline was the killer part. Just bite your lip and do it. Don’t stop because that shit doesn’t get any easier until you are in bed.
It was lucky we booked ahead in Bamboo as every guesthouse was completely booked up. I weren’t entirely sure what had happened but a Chinese group with a guide and porters didn’t have accommodation and the only thing they could do was sleep in the dining room once everyone had eaten. We tried booking our accommodation for the next destination in Deorali but it was completely full. It was either stay here for another night or head down . We decided to head down and go back to Pokhara.
I know it sucks having to do this but imagine staying that extra night and still being told there was no accommodation . During dinner we met two really cool people, both working for one of my new favouite brands Salomon. On their trip they had been filming a famous Nepali athlete running an insane marathon. After a long chat and a full stomach, it was time to hit the sack.
Chomrong to Bamboo= 7.5km distance with an incline and decline of 651meters.
Bamboo to Chomrong:
Not much interesting to say really. The same hard trek back, slightly dissapointed with the fact we didn’t complete it. I guess there’s always next time.
Chomrong to Bamboo= 7.5km distance with an incline and decline of 651 meters.
Chomrong to Ghandruk:
This was a really nice hike passing alot of scenic places, bridges, waterfalls, and animals. Mules insanley running past with their bells bellowing us to move out the way, cows obstructing the path, yaks taking a bath, and dogs guiding us again.
After around five hours, we had arrived at the Trekkers Inn, Ghandruk. We decided to get a room with a shower and I got it down from 1000 to 800RS. It generally felt like a five star hotel with stunning views, hot showers, and a central location.
Ghandruk is a large Himalayan village with a few (very small) musuems about the Gurung people. We thought we would spend two nights here to avoid going back to the real world and it was definately worth it.
Chomrong to Ghandruk: 8.2km distance with an incline and decline of 706Meters.
Ghandruk to Pokhara:
If you’re quicker at going downhill then you will love this hike. It’s pretty much all downhill from here. You can either hike to the next town and grab a jeep or a local bus, or, continue hiking down to Birethanti or even Nayapul. We were going to get a jeep down but they were all booked up and I’m semi glad because we later heard some horror stories of major accidents due to overfilling the jeeps etc. After a four hour hike all down hill (991 meters to be precise) followed by a 45km 1-2 hour bumpy as hell taxi ride which only cost 2000RS, we waved goodbye to the incredible Annapurna region and arrived back in Pokhara.
My Top Tips for the ABC Trek
Bring a porter and a guide, or, buy a local sim card and try and book accommodation a day or two ahead, once you reach Chomrong
Dont rush , take your time, and don’t let the guidebook times stress you out
Make sure you have enough money in cash as there’s no ATMS or card machines whatsoever
Plenty of sun cream
If you are Coeliac bring snacks as most of the snacks on route aren’t Gluten free. My favourite snack I brought was Biltong
Enjoy your trek guys and stay safe. x