Nepal - Around Annapurna trekking - HT Wandelreizen - October 1998

Below you will find a long list of pictures (approximately 85), taken on the Around Annapurna trekking organized by HT Wandelreizen from October 3 1998 to October 31 1998.
The most interesting images have a red bullet in front of them. In a hurry? Just want to see the pictures? Check out the slide show.
The days we were walking we kept track of how much time we spent walking. This is excluding the time for breaks.

October 3: Flight to Kathmandu

On the way to Kathmandu we went from Amsterdam to London, Paris and the next day ...

October 4: (Flight to) Kathmandu

... to Dhaka (Bangladesh) before we arrived around 4pm in Kathmandu (not the best of landings). After we dropped off our stuff at the hotel, we went to a restaurant. From our Dutch tourguide we learned that we were lucky: it had been raining for weeks, but now the weather and more important: the weather forecast was perfect. After a very good meal we headed for our beds.

October 5: Kathmandu

Breakfast at 8. With about half of the group we went for a tour around Kathmandu. First to Swayambhunath (also known as the 'monkey temple' bacause of all the monkeys that live there). Then we went to the royal palace which would become a murder scene a few years later. Next we went shopping in the Thamel quarter. We had lunch on a roof terras; lemon sugar pancakes - the first of many. After that we went to Durbar Square. On the way over there we saw the Nara Devi temple and Yatka Bahal Stupa. Durbar Square is really beautiful. In Kumari Bahal we saw Kumari (the "living goddess"). Around 8 we had diner and after that we went to bed.

October 6: Kathmandu and Pashupatinath

Breakfast again at 8. Then with a group of 8, we took 2 taxis to Pashupatinath. After that experience we understood why they don't let foreigners drive in Nepal... Pashupatinath is one of the places where Nepali burn their dead and let the ashes float in the river. A very impressive sight. Back in Kathmandu we walked to Bodnath where the biggest Stupa in Nepal can be seen. After lunch we took a autoriksja back to the hotel. After an early dinner we sat on the roof terras of our hotel until 10 before we went to bed.

October 7: Kathmandu and Bhaktapur

After breakfast we took 2 taxis to Bhaktapur. A guide gave us a tour of this emperial city. We saw Durbar Square, the oldest and the highest temple, Peacock Window (very nice wood carving) and the National Art Gallery (many Thankas). Then we went back to Kathmandu for souvenir hunting. After that we headed back to the hotel to re-pack our backpacks for the trekking.

October 8: Transfer from Kathmandu to Besisahar (820m / 2,730 ft)

After an early start, we took a private bus to Besisahar. First part of the road is asphalt, but from Dumre the road becomes a dirt road. Around 2.30pm we arrived at a river. A truck had broken down in the only place where it was possible to cross the river. We had to wait almost half an hour before it was fixed and we could continue. Last part of the road was not much more than mud. We arrived in Besisahar just after 4pm. In the evening there was a drizzle and some thunder and lightning.

October 9: Besisahar (820m / 2,730 ft) to Bhulbhule (840m / 2,800 ft)

We got up at 5.45 after a rough night: lots of mosquitos, barking dogs and a cold draught kept us awake for most of the night. Around 7.30 we started walking. We did not take the standard path on the left side of the river; instead we took the quieter path on the right side. We saw the first snow covered mountain top while walking through the rice fields. After many drinking stops we arrived in Bhulbhule around noon. We had a very nice view of Himal Tjuli. After lunch (the first Dal Bhat) we walk to a nearby waterfall and the river. After diner we chat a bit with the rest of the group before we headed to bed.
This day we walked approximately 3h45m.

October 10: Bhulbhule (840m / 2,800 ft) to Syange (1100m / 3,670 ft)

We got up at 5.45 again, fortunately after a good night of sleep. We started walking around 7.40. At first there were many clouds, but after a while the sky cleared up enough for us to be able to see the Himal Tjuli. After a steep climb to Bahundanda we had lunch. Some people tried to wash some clothes, but when we noticed they didn't dry we decided not to wash anything. The last part of this walk there was a drizzle again. Early in the evening the sky cleared again and after diner we could see more stars in the sky than we had ever seen before, standing on the bridge across the river nearby the hotel.
This day we walked approximately 5h5m.


Some nice books about trekking/hiking in Nepal:

Trekking in the Annapurna Region, 4th: Nepal Trekking Guides by Bryn Thomas
Lonely Planet Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya, Eighth Edition by Stan Armington


October 11: Syange (1100m / 3,670 ft) to Tal (1700m / 5,670 ft)

For the third day in a row we got up at 5.45. At 7.30 we started walking after a good breakfast. In Jagat we stopped te eat some fruit. Then it was a steep climb to Chamje where we had tea and soup. After Chamje it was another steep climb to Tal Besi from where it was an easy way to Tal. We used a waterfall close to the Hotel as a shower. Very cold! After dinner a huge spider let itself drop from the ceiling onto the table. Fortunately it was harmless, but we did not have a quiet and peaceful sleep when we found two more in our bedroom.
This day we walked approximately 4h20m.

October 12: Tal (1700m / 5,670 ft) to Bagarchap (2160m / 7,200 ft)

We woke up at 5.40 to find another huge spider on the curtain in our bedroom. After a while it hid itself somewhere in the walls. After breakfast we started walking around 7.25. In Dharapani we stopped for tea. At 10.35 we already arrived at Bagarchap. Just outside Bagarchap we had our first view of one of the Annapurnas (Annapurna II). Bagarchap was partly destroyed in 1995 by a landslide which wiped away some lodges (killing many).
We visited Diki Gompa, which unfortunately was closed. Back at the lodge, Patricia locked us out of our room. Fortunately Arjen managed to enter the room again by climbing through the window.
This day we walked approximately 2h20m.

October 13: Bagarchap (2160m / 7,200 ft) to Chame (2670m / 8,900 ft)

As most of the days before we had pancakes for breakfast after we slept late: 5.50am! We started walking around 7.15 to Latamrang where we had a tea break. After we started walking again (mostly through the forest), we had good views of Annapurna II and Lamjung Himal in front of us and Manaslu behind us. Quite a few landslides made the path more difficult than it had been the days before. Just before noon we arrived in Chame. We visited the hot spring - very hot, but also very small. After we had taken a shower, we learned that there had been a bigger hot spring a bit further away.
This day we walked approximately 3h55m.

October 14: Chame (2670m / 8,900 ft) to Pisang (3300m / 11,000 ft)

Again we got up at 5.45. After breakfast we started walking around 7.20. We saw a few monkeys (Common Langur) across the river. We passed Bhratang (which has a very nice wall with prayer wheels) where we had tea. After Bhratang we had very good views of snowcovered mountains again. We walked through a peaceful wood (finally a moment where you could not hear the river). Here we saw a porter carrying more than 100 kilograms of glass (for windows of a lodge). After that we passed the Paungda Dando rocks. A very steep hill without any plant or tree on it. Around 11.15 we stopped in Dukure Pokhari for lunch. An hour later we went on. By then we were above 3000m / 10,000ft. Around 1pm we arrived in Pisang. Most of the group went on to Upper Pisang where there was an even better view of Annapurna II and they visited a temple. The group was split into 2 smaller groups because not all wanted to sleep at the appointed lodge (they hadn't finished building it yet!) In the other lodge we had a good time with some other tourists.
This day we walked approximately 3h55m.

October 15: Pisang (3300m / 11,000 ft) to Manang (3450m / 11,500 ft)

Two days ago Arjen overstretched a muscle in his back which was giving him problems this day. He took a pain killer so he didn't feel the pain and could walk without forcing it. We left Pisang at 7.30. It was possible to go to Manang by 2 routes: a low route and a high route. The high route has a steep climb, but is better for acclimatisation, so we took that one. For Arjen, the steep climb was no problem. He didn't feel the pain of a lack of oxygen because of the painkiller and ran the last part to the top (at Ghyaru). Other tourists already at the top of the climb didn't know what they saw when he arrived :) ... Behind us we could see the Lamjung Himal and to our left we saw Annapurna II, II and IV and to our right we saw Pisang Peak. Breathtaking! Around 11.25 we arrived in Ngawal where we had lunch. It took the cook a while to prepare it because she had to go around town to gather enough rice to cook our meal. After we left Ngawal we had a very good view on the mountains again: Chhulu West to our right and the Annapurnas and Tilicho Peak to our left. We passed Braga and finally arrived in Manang after 3pm. From our room we could see Annapurna III and its glacier and the Gangapurna... beautiful.
This day we walked approximately 5h.

October 16: Around Manang

Because this day we had a day off, we didn't have to get up early. At 7.15 we finally got up. After a very cold shower we had breakfast. Just after 9 we left for Bhojo Gompa where a Lama lives. It is said that those who climb up to get a blessed ribbon from the Lama will surely pass the Thorung La pass without problems. The Lama asks 100 Rupee for his blessing so he is called the '100 Rupee Lama' by the locals who dislike him because of this. The truth is probably that when you can do the climb up to him without too much trouble, you are fit enough to pass Thorung La... The trip to the Lama is worth it: when you are outside you have a great view of the Gangapurna, its glacier and glacier lake. The altitude difference from the top of the Gangapurna to the lake is about 4000m / 13,330ft.!
After lunch back in Manang, Patricia and Nora (our Dutch tourguide) visited Braga. Braga had a huge Buddha statue and a beautiful cloister. After tea we all visited a presentation on altitude sickness by the HRA. It is wise to do this because they will warn you of the dangers of walking at high altitude and help you see the early signs of altitude sickness (which each year still kills a few people in Nepal). One girl in our group had problems breathing and after a visit to the docter, she decided not to continue, but head back the next day. Her husband and a friend who booked together with them also decided to go back.
In the afternoon it started to rain, a bad sign for higher altitudes - if it rains in Manang it snows on the pass which could make it impossible to cross.

October 17: Manang (3450m / 11,500 ft) to Yak Kharka (3980m / 13,270 ft)

After breakfast we had to say goodbye to Mischa, Sander and Alice. Around 8 we left for Yak Kharka. After 90 minutes we arrived in Gunsang where we had tea. After that we went on to Yak Kharka where we arrived around 11.25. We can feel we are now quite high. It was quite cloudy so we could not see the mountains around us too good. After lunch in our lodge we walked around Yak Kharka a bit. After dinner we went to bed early. It was getting cold much earlier...
This day we walked approximately 2h55m.

October 18: Stuck in Yak Kharka

When we got up it was snowing. Some of the group wanted to go anyway, but the Nepalese guide thought it was better not to try to walk to Thorung Pedi. We were stuck in Yak Kharka! During the day some people came in walking from Manang and since nobody had left, it was quite busy in the lodge! We played cards most of the day and were happy we could finally go to our beds around 9.30pm. We could only hope the next day would be better. If the weather would not improve it could mean we would have to go back.


Some nice books about trekking/hiking in Nepal:

Trekking and Climbing in Nepal (Trekking & Climbing Guides) by Steve Razzetti
National Geographic Annapurna: Trails Illustrated Trekking Adventure Map by Himalayan Maphouse


October 19: Yak Kharka (3980m / 13,270 ft) to Thorung Phedi (4450m / 14,830 ft)

We got up at 6. The sky was clear! After breakfast we left around 7.40. Everybody had put on their warmest clothes, but after only 10 minutes walking we changed into something less warm already. It would be a very nice day. Before 11.30 we arrived in Thorung Phedi. After lunch we and some others of the group decided to walk to a newly build lodge at 4900m / 16,330ft. It was a steep climb, especially after we had already walked from Yak Kharka to Thoring Phedi. Just when Arjen had decided he could not go any further, the lodge came into sight. Back in the lodge at Thorung Phedi we talked with some other tourists. The are only two lodges this close before the pass, so there were many tourists. We went to bed really early because the next morning we would have to get up around 4am.
This day we walked approximately 4h35m (2h55m to Thorung Pedi and 1h40m to the lodge at 4900m / 16,330ft. and back).

October 20: Thorung Phedi (4450m / 14,830 ft) to Muktinath / Ranipauwa (3800m / 12,670 ft) via Thorung La Pass (5416m / 18,053 ft)

We got up at 4 and had breakfast at 4.30. When it was light enough to see the path (around 5.45) we started walking. An hour later we arrived at the lodge at 4900m / 16,330ft. where we had tea and could enjoy the view of the sunrise on Annapurna III and Gangapurna. Around 7.10 we started walking again to the next tea stop at 5115m / 17050ft. around 8am. Around 8.30 we started for the last part before the pass. Many times we thought that the hill we had in sight would be the last, but every time there was another one... untill 10 when we saw the flags at the pass. Ben was already there, he had been there for 20 minutes already! The view from the pass was the most beautiful we had ever seen. Around 10.55 we started walking again. After a few meters Arjen slipped and slided down a few meters. Fortunately without any injury. On the way down we had two more tea stops. Further down we could see into the Mustang valley. Very beautiful - a place we must visit some day. We were waiting for the others which took a very long time. One of the women had symptoms of altitude sickness, she couldn't walk straight and talk properly. Fortunately the further down she got, the better she got, but it was a scary sight. Around 3.50 we arrived in Muktinath. After a quick shower we had dinner. In the evening we watched the children celebrate Dasain. Arjen played cards with some of the others before we went to bed around 9.
This day we walked approximately 6h45m (3h20 before the pass and 3h25 after).

October 21: Muktinath / Ranipauwa (3800m / 12,670 ft) to Kagbeni (2800m / 9,330 ft)

We got up at 7 even though we didn't have to get up that early. After Breakfast we went to a religious place in Muktinath around 10. The place was where the Ghandaki river springs. We visited a cloister and some temples. After that we went back to our lodge to have lunch. Around 1 we left for Kagbeni. On the way we passed through Jharkot and Khingar before we arrived around 3.25 at Kagbeni.
This day we walked approximately 2h30m.

October 22: Kagbeni (2800m / 9,330 ft) to Tukuche (2590m / 8,630 ft)

This day we walked through the Valley of the Kali Gandaki. We arrived in Jomsom around 10.15, but it is a long streched village so that it took another 15 minutes before we arrived at the place where we had our tea stop. In Marpha we had lunch. In Marpha we also visited a very nice Gompa. Around 3.25 we went on to Tukuche. Supposedly that was only one more hour, but in fact it was nearly triple that! There was a slight drizzle, but occasionally you could see the sun shining on Nilgiri through the clouds.
This day we walked approximately 6h10m.

October 23: Tukuche (2590m / 8,630 ft) to Ghasa (2010m / 6,700 ft)

After breakfast we split up into two groups. We and some others stayed in Tukuche to visit a distillery while others went ahead to Ghasa. When we headed for Ghasa too, we made a tea stop in Khobang. We ordered some apple pie, only to find out after an hour that they had to bake it when we ordered it... Around 12.35 we had lunch in Kalopani. The others left just when we arrived. The place we had lunch offered a good view of Annapurna I and Daulagiri on clear days. Unfortunately for us, we did not see either one. Around 4.25 we arrived in Ghasa.
This day we walked approximately 5h10m.

October 24: Ghasa (2010m / 6,700 ft) to Tatopani (1190m / 3,970 ft)

Many landslides on the way. At one point we had to cross the river across a bamboo bridge - very wobbly... In Dana we had lunch. We were much lower now, so it was much warmer. At 2 we arrived in Tatopani. We did some shopping. Patricia went to the hot springs, but they had been partially destroyed by a huge landslide 3 weeks before. In the garden of the Lodge we had hot lemon and chocolade cake.
This day we walked approximately 4h20m.

October 25: Tatopani (1190m / 3,970 ft) to Ghorepani (2750m / 9,170 ft)

This would turn out to be a very long day. Over 1500m / 5,000ft. we had to climb. And some extra because the landslide had 'washed' away the path. We had tea in Durkun Ghara and after that lunch in Shika. Patricia was quite exhausted already. In Chitre we had another tea stop before the final climb to Ghorepani. Arjen caught a cold (not prepared for the cold at this altitude) which took almost 6 months to get rid of... Our porters had made sure we would have the best room: one with a window and a view of the mountains. Unfortunately it was right above the toilets (smelly!).
This day we walked approximately 6h45m.

October 26: Ghorepani to Nayapul and Transfer to Pokhara

Last day of the trek :( We had gotten up really early to go to Poon Hill to see the sun rise on the Annapurnas. Unfortunately we did not have a clear sky, but still the view was beautiful. Poon Hill was very busy, there was a traffic jam of people trying to get to the top. We left at 5, but were certainly not the first to arrive. At 6.30 we were back at the lodge. After breakfast and packing our stuff we left just after 8. In Bantani we had a tea stop and in Tikedunga we had lunch (last Dal Bhat). After the lunch we descended into rice field land again. Around 2.30 we passed through Birethanti and around 3 we arrived at the road to Pokhara. For the first time in nearly 2 and a half week we heard the sound of engines...
We took the regular bus to Pokhara, which was full of people so we had to sit on top of it. Around 6.30 we arrived in Pokhara. We met the 3 that had to go back in Manang and a girl that had gone straight to Pokhara from Tatopani. The Hotel ("Twin Peaks") had very nice rooms and hot showers!!
We gave our porters (who had done a wonderful job!) their tips and said goodbye to them. After that we had dinner - Arjen lost part of a filling and Patricia part of a tooth...
Back in our room we discovered we had two lizards living in our room too. Funny looking creatures which were kind enough to catch the bugs.
This day we walked approximately 6h45m.
This makes for a total of 72h15m for this holiday!


Some nice books about trekking/hiking in Nepal:

Lonely Planet Nepal (4th Ed) by Hugh Finlay, Richard Everist, Tony Wheeler
Trekking in Nepal: A Traveler's Guide by Stephen Bezruchka, Stephen Bezruchka M. D., Robert Kunstaetter


October 27: Around Pokhara

A day off in Pokhara. We went too see the lake; took a boat ride across it too. We went shopping. Back in our room we packed our stuff for the way back to Kathmandu. After Dinner in the Bamboo Garden restaurant (very good) we went to bed.

October 28: Transfer from Pokhara to Kathmandu

After breakfast the bus arrived. We left Pokhara around 7.30, a bit later than we had planned. On the way back, the sky cleared and so we had a good view of the mountains. Just after 3 we arrived in Kathmandu. We collected the stuff we had left behind in the hotel. Unfortunately we could not stay there again because it was full. In the afternoon we went to Thamel for some shopping.

October 29: Kathmandu and Patan

We packed our stuff again and this day we could stay at Amar's Hotel (where we had stayed the first nights in Kathmandu). We were told that a taxi to Patan would cost around 75-80 rupees. The taxi driver asked 150 at first but when Patricia offered 80 he immediately said ok... We were dropped off at Durbar Square where we visited many temples. After that we visited a stupa and the Kumbeshwar temple and after that the 'golden temple'. Near the Baglamukhi temple it was very busy. It was a temple for Kali for which at that time there was a 3 day feast. Then we went back to Kathmandu.
After dinner we sat on the roof terras for a long time before we went to bed (almost midnight).

October 30: Flight back Home

We had to say goodbye to four of the group who flew back with another airliner and had to leave early. We went for some more shopping. Around 2.30 we all gathered to say goodbye to Leo who's wife was coming over - together they would spent another month in Nepal and India. At 5 we had all checked in. Around 6.15 we left Kathmandu. Just before 7.30 we arrived in Dhaka where we had to wait 6 hours.

October 31: (Flight back) Home

We left Dhaka at 0.45 and learned that we would make an extra stop in Dubai. At 3.10 local time we arrived there and at 5.05 left again for Paris. 9.30 we arrived there and at 11 we left again for London. 10.51 local time we arrived there. At three the plane left for Amsterdam where we arrived at 4.40 local time. Our bags unfortunately did not arrive. We said goodbye to the rest of the group and after filling in the paperwork we went home. After a week we got our bags back.