Imagine you are in the middle of the Coliseum and the walls are not 150 but 10,000 feet high and are made of rock, ice and snow. There you have it. That is what it is like to be at the Annapurna Base Camp. We really think the base camp should be marked with a “Caution: Jaw Drop Ahead” sign at least during the full moons. And it has an approach to match. The trail goes through the heartland of the Gurungs who make a sizeable portion of the fearsome Gurkhas. It might come as a bit of a surprise to find them so friendly and peaceful, but look around, who wouldn’t be happy in such a tranquil landscape? If you are lucky, you might even get to see an audacious honey hunt in a precarious cliff side. The trail also passes through the most rewarding hawk watch site in Nepal and the rhododendrons are something to write home about. In short, you will love it!! It is also one of the easier treks in Nepal as the trails are great and the altitude isn’t that bad. However, that is no reason to be sloppy as you will be spending a good portion of time above 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) the boundary line for altitude related complications. Also, avalanche is a real concern here and we would read about it than sleep under it. While the dangers are real, it is minimal and a quick read on avalanche gullies will go a long way in keeping you safe. Don’t lose your sleep over it.
ABC trek is all about that lust for the mountains. But there’s so much more than the obvious mountains throughout the ABC trek that should keep your eyes wide open and feet on your toes. Although you can see the individual place cards in the relevant places, through this page we are trying to provide you with the highlights of the ABC trek; things you wouldn’t want to miss out on. Along with the mountains you will be accompanied by the cheerful Gurungs, lush vegetation and Himalayan creatures. Here are some of the stuffs that will make your ABC trek worthwhile:
The base camp is your ultimate prize for choosing this trek and every aching limb will shout “It’s worth it!” once you reach the coliseum of mountains. You will be surrounded by these huge giants and you might find it hard to keep your mouth shut. Jaw drops are a common sight here. And on top of that if you plan a perfect trek to reach ABC during a full moon that might just be the best decision you have made. The mountains glow up powered by the moon and will not let you sleep for you will want to stare at these sparkling giants the whole night!
The whole of Chomrong is run by the mother’s group and if you want to experience Gurung culture to the fullest then you are at the right place. Here in this quiet hinterland, away from the gaze of bureaucrats, it is the mother's group that sets the rules. They mobilize the kids to clean the village and collect money to maintain the trails. They have also been instrumental not only in the success but also in the formation of the Annapurna Conservation Area. Their evening cultural programs cum fundraiser is a popular evening activity among the trekkers who stay in this village.
Watching Hawk Migration from Australian Camp
ABC here refers to the Australian Base Camp as opposed to the more famous Annapurna Base Camp. From late October to November, up to 500 raptors mostly eagles migrate westward each day. And if the mountain weather has taken a turn for the worse, you will have these birds fly at eye level. Get yourself a good camera and click away! However, don’t forget to live the moment.
The view from the top of Poon Hill is just amazing! This 1.5-hour side trip from Ghorepani will you take you to the doorway of the mountains and you will be able to view multiple mountain ranges from that single spot. All the big players: Dhaulagiri, Annapurna to name some will be posing just for you to breath in the panoramic view. Poonhill side trip is definitely rewarding and we suggest you not to miss this. We repeat, do not miss this side trip!
Ghandruk is a beautiful and a clean Gurung village with picturesque Gurung homes waiting to welcome you to their village. Slate roofed houses beside paddy fields with beautiful mountain views in the background lend a certain character to the village that is at the same time majestic and homely. It’s a perfect village to rest and breathe in the fresh air and rejuvenate yourself for the trek ahead. You could even dress up like a Gurung in this lovely village if you want to take back some lovely memories back home.
To get to Annapurna Base Camp region, your first destination is Pokhara. You can fly to Pokhara, drive to Pokhara or even walk if that is what you prefer. There is various channel of transportation with wider range of availability which will take you to Pokhara. Ahead of it, the trek starts either from Nayapul, Phedi, Ghandruk or Kande. Though it is also possible to take a jeep to Landruk while you do ABC to skip a day, it is really not recommended at all. Mostly because you miss hell lot of views before that.
As written before, getting to Pokhara is like eating a piece of cake. USD 102-106 will take you there in 25 minutes via air or if you want to see the lay of the land, there are tourist bus services that depart from Jamal near Thamel at 7am sharp every day. It will set you back NPR 700 (~USD 7) and takes 7-8 hours. There are various airlines that ply the air between the cities with Buddha Air having the most comfortable experience and awesome safety record. Other airlines that work this section are Yeti Airlines, Tara Airlines and Simrik Air. If you can, try to get a seat on the rightmost side, so you get to see the mountains. Also, there are various grades of buses available, from the upscale Green Line buses to more modest affairs. There is even a super deluxe bus service that started recently and is selling at NPR 2,500 (~USD 25). They depart from Durbar Marg near Thamel and boast a 48-inch television screen and air conditioning. There are also micro buses that will take you to Pokhara from Kalanki for NPR 500 (~USD 5). However, micro buses in Nepal is not everybody’s cup of tea. While tourist buses can take up to 8 hours, micros do it in 6-7. Do the math and the risk analysis!!
The most popular way is the easiest and for a new comer the most cost-effective one too, given that you will be spending a lot of effort if you decide not to take a taxi. Taxis from Pokhara to Nayapul cost about NPR 2,000 (USD 20). Alternately, there are buses to Kushma and Beni, that leave from the Baglung Bus Stop. They are much cheaper and will get you there.
Getting to Phedi is not a quest. In Fact, the same bus which would’ve taken you to Nayapul can also drop you in Phedi. Phedi is only 14.3 km away from Baglung Bus Station in Pokhara. If you want a taxi, it should take you around USD 8.
Just below Australian Camp, Kande is a small village stationed along side of the Pokhara- Baglung Highway. In the distance of 31 KM, the price tag if you want to take a taxi is usually around (USD 15-17). Alternatively, there are bushes leaving for Baglung every hour. They will drop you in Kande for (USD 2)
Orogenic subductions within the beddings lead to an up thrusting of the gneiss butte. Concurrently, the spreading of the flow cleavage and dike swarms deeper in the rift produces more thrust making the bed rock. Okay, that made absolutely no sense. But now that we have your attention, let's get down to business. Geology can be stimulating. As the story goes, all the land we stand on are but icebergs floating in an ocean of molten rock and move at the whim of its currents. One such current, brought the Indian and Eurasian plates in a collision course. As these continents collided the Indian plate slipped under the Eurasian plate, thus lifting it and giving birth to what is now the highest mountain range on earth. This process which started about the time the last dinosaurs walked the earth continues to the present day with Annapurna still rising. The recent earthquakes in Nepal are testaments for these great forces at work under your feet. While earthquakes invite massive human tragedy, they are but as natural as the mountains that you see from Poon Hill. The growing mountains are perhaps also the reason why the settlement that seems 15 minutes away, takes an hour to reach!!
Day 1: Kathmandu Day
2: Pokhara Day
3: Nayapul - Ulleri (2080m / 6824ft)
Day 4: Ghorepani (2750m / 9022ft)
Day 5: Tadapani (2700m / 8858ft)
Day 6: Kimrung Khola - Chomrong (2177m / 7143ft)
Day 7: Kuldi Ghar - Doban (2670m / 8760ft)
Day 8: Doban to Machhapuchhre Base Camp (3700m / 12139ft )
Day 9: Annapurna Base Camp (4130m / 13549ft)
Day 10: Bamboo (2335m / 7660ft)
Day 11: Jhinu Danda (1780m / 5839ft)
Day 12: Landruk - Tolkha - Pothana (1970m / 6463ft)
Day 13: Phedi - Pokhara
Day 14: Pokhara
Day 15: Kathmandu.