Annapurna Circuit Trek in May 2022 (Nepal) – Country #96 To Visit All Countries

Doing the Annapurna Circuit trek has always been high on my travel bucket list. There just seems something magical about doing the Annapurna Circuit trek that enticed me to one day visit this famous Himilayan destination in Nepal. Maybe it’s the thought of going somewhere remote and peaceful. The Annapurna Circuit trek is known for being isolated high up in the Himalayas after all. Maybe it’s the culture of the Nepalese people that live high up in the mountains. However, since completing the Annapurna Circuit trek, I can honestly say that fantasy and reality are really far apart. But one thing I can say for sure is that the Annapurna Circuit trek is an adventure I will never forget.

(If you’re interested to know how much it costs to do the Annapurna Circuit trek, I will post my spending breakdown here soon so you get an idea of how much it cost).

VIDEO – Annapurna Circuit Trek in May 2022 (Nepal) – Country #96 To Visit All Countries

Coming soon

Flying to Kathmandu

Our flight to Nepal started in Singapore. After Karen and I sorted our missing luggage issue with Air Asia, with barely 2-hours to spare, we managed to make it to our flight going to Kathmandu.

Our flight to Kathmandu was thankfully uneventful. This is good because we’ve gone through a lot of hassle already trying to travel to Nepal. Upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport, they asked for our vaccination record. There was another health screening document they asked for us to present before entering the area where you can buy the Visa on arrival and go through immigration. However, it must not be important because Karen didn’t have hers and they let her in any way.

The next part is buying the Visa on arrival. However, before we can buy it, we had to fill out this online form first and then present the receipt to the Visa on arrival desk. There are multiple computer terminals in the airport for you to fill out. The computers are a bit wonky and won’t print you a receipt. Those working in the airport are aware of this and will allow you to take a picture with your phone. After the form is filled out, you purchase your Visa on arrival (we got the 30-day $50 USD one).

Shortly after clearing immigration and getting our bags from the luggage belt (a surprisingly fast process), we went to buy a sim card (highly recommended!) Then, we exchanged some USD for NPR (the airport has a pretty good exchange rate), and got an official airport taxi to take us to our accommodation.

We stayed at the Fairfield hotel in Kathmandu where we also stored our luggage before continuing on our journey towards the Annapurna Circuit Trek.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Kathmandu “bus stop”

Our Airbnb host in Pokhara was our contact guy in Nepal. His name is Thupten and he was referred to us by a friend of mine who had stayed in his Airbnb previously. He helped us with the logistics in Nepal and even bought our bus tickets for us in advance to go from Kathmandu to Pokhara.

The next morning, Karen and I took a local taxi to a dirty and sketchy-looking side of the road.

Apparently, this is the spot we are supposed to wait for our bus to arrive which will take us to Pokhara. This area is a polluted dump with lots of scammers trying to get money from you.

Regardless, the bus does indeed pick up passengers here and arrived after waiting 30 minutes for it.

Kathmandu to Pokhara bus ride

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The bus is alright but some of the locals inside had a strong ripe smell. They also didn’t turn the air conditioner for the first part of the trip making it unbearably hot and stuffy inside. Not to mention, the polluted air would get on the bus suffocating Karen and me. In Nepal, you don’t wear a mask to prevent getting COVID-19, you wear it to protect yourself from air pollution.

Before long, we arrived at a lunch stop. I started laughing when they put a rock underneath the tire to prevent the bus from rolling away.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Karen and I didn’t eat because we just arrived in Nepal and are scared of getting food poisoned. We also noticed other tourists not eating here for probably the same reason as us.

After a lengthy and unbearable bus ride (which took over 10-hours), we arrived in Pokhara.

Pokhara – Dinner and Annapurna Circuit trek gear outfitting

Our Airbnb host, Thupten, was super nice and borrowed his friend’s car to pick us up from the bus depot. He then helped us get settled in his Airbnb and helped us with our upcoming’s trek’s logistics. Thupten also ran his own trekking company and is aware of how these treks usually go. He loaned me his down jacket for free and helped us get some affordable sleeping bag and trekking pole rental from a friend of his. Finally, he also loaned us some gloves as well as a raincoat for Karen.

We also paid to get our laundry to get washed which was dirty from our previous travel destinations (Sri Lanka and the Maldives).

For dinner, Karen and I wanted to try Nepalese food so Thupten recommended a place he personally liked. After walking for 10-minutes, we made it to the Pokhara Thakali Kitchen.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The local food was decent and spicey. This was a preview of the kind of meals we will be eating once we start the Annapurna Circuit trek.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Pokhara to Besisahar

The next day, Thupten arranged for Karen and me to take a taxi to the place where we can the TIMS and ACAP cards to do the Annapurna Circuit trek.

He made sure we got a fair price for the taxi which we were thankful for.

We were the only tourists in the TIMS and ACAP office which show that tourism in Nepal hasn’t quite recovered yet.

Shortly after getting our permits, our taxi driver handed us over to another taxi driver that would take us on the long journey to Besisahar.

This journey was indeed very long thanks to poor roads and because of the election.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

It was a long gruelling ride on the polluted roads of Nepal. The whole journey took around 6-7 hours to complete before we arrived in Besisahar.

Our taxi driver found us a jeep driver that can take us to Chame the next day. Unfortunately, they weren’t running any more jeep rides that evening. They recommended we stay in this accommodation near the Jeep’s shop.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The accommodation wasn’t very nice but it was good enough for one night.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Besisahar to Chame

The next day, the jeep driver, Ashok, picked Karen and me up from our accommodation to start our long drive to Chame.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The drive was very long but surprisingly, I didn’t hate it. I think it was because there was no huge traffic unlike our previous 2-days of commuting in Nepal. The view was also nice. There were a few sketchy areas where the jeep can tumble and fall off the cliff. But, I trusted Ashok. It feels like he’s been driving this route for ages and there’s no way he would screw up.

Along the way, we stopped for lunch at this pretty place with a water fall.

Karen was very excited to eat dhal bat while enjoying the nice view outside.

I personally enjoyed the meal and had some funny interactions with the other tourists hanging out here.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Along the way, we had to stop a few times to get our permits verified before we can continue the journey.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Ashok the jeep driver is a nice guy to us but he has a lot of anger issues. He frequently screamed at other drivers who were taking forever driving or blocking our way.

Before long, we made it to Chame, our second stop in the Annapurna Circuit trek.

Chame accommodation

When we made it to Chame, we checked out this one tea house but it wasn’t for me. I don’t like accommodations with spiders hanging from the ceiling so Karen and I continued our search for a cleaner place to stay.

Eventually, we found this brand new accommodation called “White Stupa Hotel”. The place is just one month old and looked new and modern. It was more pricey than the other accommodation options but they offered a western toilet, hot water shower (outside) or cold water (in our attached washroom).

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Karen and I happily stayed in this accommodation despite it costing more than the other places. Since our goal was to prevent food poisoning, this place’s impeccable cleanliness made us feel confident eating their meals.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The rooms were also comfortable and clean. Despite the cold weather, the blankets were warm and cozy.

For breakfast, I opted to eat vegetable chow mein and hardboiled eggs. Karen and I decided to eat vegetarian during the Annapurna Circuit trek to avoid food poisoning.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

After eating a meal, we were given a receipt which became standard for all tea houses and restaurants along the Annapurna Circuit trek.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Chame to Upper Pisang

After packing our bags, we were ready to start our Annapurna Circuit trek. The trek started out relatively fine as we walked on mostly flat roads.

Throughout the first part of the trek, the terrain would alternate between roadside and forest as we chipped away at our goal to reach Upper Pisang.

About an hour or so during our hike, we encountered Ashok again. He was driving back to Besisahar after dropping goods and people off in Manang.

We also encountered some sleepy goats resting by the shade at the side of the road.


Before long, we arrived at this apple orchard. There, we saw our first set of prayer wheels which Karen happily turned as we walked down the pathway.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The apple orchard was serving dried apples and apple juice to the trekkers.

Karen and I happily snacked on them while trying to regain our energy in this tough trek.

After recharging our energy, we continued the trek. This time around, we got to hike underneath these imposing rocks that looks like it can fall on you at any time.

The cool yet imposing rocks was followed by a suspension bridge leading to the forests.

This hike was hard as hell, Karen and I were experiencing painful hip flexors during the hike. Our shoulders and trap muscles were also inflamed.

After a tough trek, we came across another village where we took a break to get something to eat. It looks like many trekkers were eating their lunch in this area as well.

The final push to Upper Pisang was both beautiful and brutal. It’s one of the most scenic parts of the Annapurna Circuit trek. However, the elevation gain was making us breathless as well.

After the agonizing push to reach Upper Pisang, we finally made it.

Upper Pisang Accommodation

As soon as we arrived in Upper Pisang, we made our way to Mandala Hotel And Organic Cafe. This turned out to be a wonderful decision. The customer service here was fantastic and they gave us the room for free as long as we ate dinner and breakfast here.

Our room also had an attached western toilet. And, the shower was just outside our room and had hot water.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

For dinner, I ate fried vegetables with garlic soup while Karen got the momos.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

We also shared a yummy freshly baked apple pie.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Our bedroom was basic but comfortable. There was outlets to charge our electronics as well.

In the morning, Karen excitedly woke me up to the gorgeous view of the Annapurna mountains.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

After admiring the mountains, Karen and I both ate porridge with apples for breakfast.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Before long we were ready to continue the next segment of our trek going to Manang.

Upper Pisang to Manang

Our hike started out rather pleasant with a nice view of lower Pisang and surrounding areas.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

However, it was clear that Karen and I had completely different energy levels from the first half to the last half of the trek.

I struggled energy-wise during the first half of the trek while Karen felt energetic and fantastic. Today’s hike was even more challenging than the previous day’s with steep inclines. Even the local Nepalese tourists that we met along the way were complaining about how hard the first half of the trek towards Manang was.

I realized that I was feeling weak because the food I ate was low on calories. I was running on fried vegetables and porridge which is hardly any calories. For our next stop, I made sure to eat more protein and calorie-dense carbs. The boiled eggs and fried potatoes with sea buckthorn juice did the trick. The potatoes were extra good because the locals told me they grew the potatoes themselves in their yard.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Karen; however, had a very hard time on the second part of the trek. She ate some fried Tibetan bread which just sapped all her energy away. Karen felt lethargic and low energy the entire second half of the trek.

Despite the beautiful hike, Karen was just not enjoying herself.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

I know how she feels and in this type of situation, she either needs to take a nap or get some caffeine. Unfortunately, there’s no place to nap. So, in the first village we encountered that served food, we got some hot chocolate to give Karen enough kick to reach Manang.

After a much-needed beverage stop, we mustered enough energy to make it to Manang.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Manang is a very nice town and it’s clear this is a pleasant place to acclimate.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Manang accommodation and acclimatization

We ended up staying in an accommodation called Yak Hotel (not our first choice but Tilicho hotel was already fully booked when we arrived).

Annapurna Circuit Trek

We chose this place as our accommodation because they had an attached western washroom with a hot solar shower.

The food in this accommodation was alright. Customer service was average but it’s good enough for the two nights we stayed here.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The good thing about this accommodation is the beautiful view of the mountains every morning.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

High altitude workshop in Manang

During our stay in Manang, we also attended a free workshop (they ask for voluntary donations in the end) in regards to proper acclimatization.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

It was a valuable learning experience to attend the workshop. I learned that you should only sleep at 500 meters higher than the night before in order to acclimate safely. The only exception to this rule is that you can go over 500 meters as long as you hike back down and sleep at no more than 500 meters higher than the night before.

For the final climb up to Thorong La Pass, we will be descending down Muktinath which is significantly lower than Thorong Pedi or High Camp. As a result, it’s okay to go over Thorong La Pass since we’re just transiting through rather than staying there. I also learned that taking Diamox was safe and the reason why you pee so much at high altitude is cause peeing helps your body get rid of toxins. Basically, the more you pee, the faster you acclimate at a higher altitude.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Acclimatization exploration in Manang

While in Manang, we also visited Tilicho hotel and ate lunch there. Their food was amazing and customer service was top-notch. It’s no wonder they were sold out when we arrived. Another interesting thing about this hotel was the owner spoke perfect English. After talking to her for a bit, it turns out she studied in Texas in the US during her university years when she was younger!

 

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

We also tried local pastries and watch the post-election parade happening in Manang.

Annapurna Circuit TrekAt night, we spoke to Bikash, one of the local guides, about hiring a porter to help us to reach Thorong La Pass. He was nice and helped us find a local to hire to do the job.

Hiring a porter

Bikash’s friend’s son by the name of Sujan ended up as our porter for the journey to Thorong La Pass. On the first day, he had his horse help carry our backpacks to Ledar which is our next destination.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit TrekHaving a porter help us made a huge difference on the trek. The altitude still affected our performance but not having to carry a huge backpack made our trekking experience so much better.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Manang to Ledar

The trek between Manang and Ledar was pretty nice.

We crossed a suspension bridge along the way which was picturesque.

We stopped at Yak Karkha for tea before continuing on our journey. According to the previous day’s workshop, we should stay in Yak Karkha to properly acclimate and follow the rule of only sleeping at 500 meters above your previous night’s altitude.

Sujan insisted it would be better if we stayed in Ledar and turns out he was right! Before long, we arrived in Ledar and still had plenty of time to rest and recover.

Ledar

In Ledar, we once again got a washroom with an attached toilet. However, it would be a squat toilet as western flush toilets were no longer available at this altitude.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

I also took a bucket shower at a shed outside. Warm water showers are free but if you want a hot bucket shower, it costs extra. I felt that the warm water was good enough. However, I noticed that I was the only person that took a bath at this accommodation.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Food in Ledar was decent and Karen and I spent a good amount of time socializing with fellow trekkers in the dining hall.

Ledar to Thorong Pedi

The next day, it was time to trek towards High Camp. Sujan’s horse apparently galloped his way back home in the morning. From here on out, Sujan would be carrying our backpacks himself. Karen felt bad at first until she realized that Sujan still hiked significantly faster than us even with two backpacks on his back.

As well, the original plan was to stay in Thorong Pedi. According to Sujan, it’s a much more pleasant accommodation. The workshop we attended also mentioned that it is recommended to stay in Thorong Pedi because it follows the sleeping at 500 meters above the previous night’s sleeping altitude. We decided to play it by ear whether we would stay in High Camp or Thorong Pedi.

The trek towards Thorong Pedi started out decent with some challenging steep spots along the way. One funny thing that kept happening on this trek is the trekkers thought I’m a Nepalese vendor and kept asking me how much the candies cost at the rest stops. I should’ve played along and pretended to sell them candies and snacks.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

After getting through the sketchy “landslide” area, we made it to Thorong Pedi.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

We decided to eat lunch here and determine how well we felt. If we felt good, we would continue on to High Camp. Otherwise, we would stay here for the night. During the hike to Thorong Pedi, I did notice my head felt like it was expanding. It didn’t hurt but I was worried about why my head was throbbing (not in a painful way but it might be going in that direction).

Thorong Pedi to High Camp

After lunch, Karen and I felt fine and decided we would push up towards High Camp. That way, the trek through Thorong La pass would be shorter.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The final push towards High Camp is an extremely steep section with an elevation gain of 400 meters in a distance of 1 KM.

I was taking tiny steps along the way and kept saying to myself that a “journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step”.

After huffing and puffing for an hour and a half, we made it to High Camp!

Annapurna Circuit Trek

High Camp Viewpoint

Alas, there is no rest for the weary. I knew if I rested, I won’t want to move and do anything anymore. At High Camp, there is a spectacular viewpoint that requires more steep uphill hiking.

Karen and I decided to pull the trigger and continue the trek up top to see the viewpoint.

This was a wonderful decision as the viewpoint was out of this world.

It is seriously the most beautiful viewpoint in the entire Annapurna Circuit trek.

It was well worth the suffering to make it up here.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The view of High Camp was also stunning.

High Camp

After getting back down, Karen and I made ourselves comfortable in our room. The rooms in High Camp are very basic. You’re basically sleeping in a box with a bed inside. The light bulbs in the room don’t work and you need to use a headlamp once it gets dark.

The toilet in High Camp was surprisingly clean. I thought it was going to be a lot worst. However, the smell is overpowering. There’s no pleasant way to say this but you can taste the air of the squat toilet.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

There are also horses outside that were enjoying eating their own poop.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Inside the dining hall, I ordered spring rolls and potatoes to get my energy back. I also had some garlic soup to help with acclimatization. Karen ate some eggs and potatoes. We also bought lots of hot water to fill up our water bottles.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Unfortunately for me, my headlamp’s battery died out of nowhere. With no other choice, I had to purchase some overpriced batteries in high camp.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

We slept okay but it was hard not to feel anxious knowing that the next day is the big tough push to go over Thorong La Pass.

High Camp to Thorong La Pass

At 4 AM in the morning, Karen and I got ready for the big trek.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

We didn’t eat any breakfast because we wanted an early start. Sujan ended up sleeping in so we didn’t actually leave until 5 AM. Not eating breakfast would soon come to haunt us later on the trek.

The trek towards Thorong La Pass was a rough one. The altitude was getting to me and my stomach was hurting a lot.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

I ended up having to find a hidden spot during the trek to do my business before being able to power through the trek.

We even lost Sujan along the way because Karen and I were moving so slowly. And at one point, we kind of got lost and had to wait until more trekkers came by so we can follow them in the right direction.

After a gruelling trek for several hours, we made it up Thorong La Pass!

It was hailing and the weather was cold. Even Karen’s hair froze at the top.

There’s also a tea shop at Thorong La pass that was selling extremely overpriced tea. With no competition, the trekkers happily paid the insane price for a hot cup of tea.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The sky cleared up briefly, and we took our last photos before saying goodbye to our porter.

We had a good journey with Sujan but from here on out, we will be carrying our backpacks down the mountain.

Thorong La Pass to Muktinath

The trek down Thorong La Pass started out beautiful.

The view of the surrounding area was mind-blowing. At least, at first. Soon enough, it was the same thing over and over again. The trek down felt like it was never going to end. We were also low on energy since we skipped breakfast making the trek down excruciatingly difficult. We ate the last bit of our Nepalese cookies and Karen had some Reese’s peanut butter cups to tide us over. It wasn’t enough and we had to tap into whatever minuscule will power we had left to reach the first village below the mountain.

Like an oasis in a desert, we saw the village had restaurants just outside. Karen and I happily ate lunch which helped replenish our energy and nourish our soul.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Before long, we were ready to continue the final push towards Muktinath.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The final part of the trek was hard and Karen had a mental breakdown. I don’t blame her, I wanted to scream in anger at how painfully long this trek down the mountain has become.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

With no energy left and on the brink of insanity, we made it to Muktinath. We took the tourist steps down towards the city.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Muktinath to Jomsom to Pokhara

At this point, Karen and I were all trekked out. I don’t want to see another trail. And, my stomach was hurting from the long trekking at high altitudes and eating vegetarian food. My stomach didn’t like the food we were eating and I think my body was falling apart.

As soon as we came across a shop offering rides to the next town of Jomsom, we happily made a booking. Looking in hindsight, if I didn’t have such a bad stomach ache, I would have liked to continue our journey to Kagbeni before ending the trek. That town looked incredibly beautiful and it would have been nice to end the trip there.

As you can see from the picture below, I look like I’m in rough shape after the trek was over.

The van ride towards Jomsom wasn’t too bad; though, the kid sitting in front of us began puking near Kagbeni.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The poor guy wasn’t having a good time due to the windy road we were driving on.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Before heading towards our hotel, we booked a flight with Tara air to take us from Jomsom to Pokhara. There was no way I was going to take another 10-hour bus ride to Pokhara. At least, not in my current health condition.

Our van driver took us to an affordable accommodation but we decided to pay for a pricier one in favour of having a hot shower and internet access.

Having a hot shower and being able to eat meat again was very nice after a long gruelling week of trekking.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Flight from Jomsom to Pokhara

The following day, we went to the Jomsom airport to fly to Pokhara. The check-in process was quick because it was a domestic flight. They do make you go through a security room where a guard will scan your entire body before letting you through the airside.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

It was cool seeing the small planes land one after another. Another thing that was neat to see was how efficient their boarding process was. A friendly Indian man in the line up guided Karen and I on what to expect with these flights.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The flight was short and sweet with an awesome view of Pokhara as we were about to land.

Spending 3-days in Pokhara

I was impressed at how quickly we got our checked bags after landing in Pokhara. These domestic airlines in Nepal are efficient. Shortly after exiting the airport, we found a friendly and honest taxi driver who took us to Thupten’s Airbnb.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Thupten had a tour he needed to run that day so he left us with some yummy breakfast to eat before heading out.

Karen and I spent the day relaxing as we were dead tired from trekking all week. For dinner, we tried a local Korean restaurant so I can eat some kimchi. My stomach was still hurting and I remembered that Kimchi has tons of probiotics that will help repair my gut.

I had sardines with kimchi and it was delicious but extremely spicey.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

I did notice that the kimchi soothes my stomach and it seems to be doing something right.

The next day, Thupten made us breakfast again. I love his homemade Tibetian bread. It’s the one thing I miss from my trip to Nepal. Spreading peanut butter on that bread just hits the spot.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Exploring Pokhara

After breakfast, Thupten took Karen and me to a Buddha Air office to book our flight going from Pokhara to Kathmandu the next day. Turns out a lot of local ticket sellers would put a hold on the tickets so you are unable to buy them online. Then, they will release the hold last minute if they are unable to sell them in their office. This is a tricky way the locals are making some profit selling plane tickets.

Afterward, Thupten left to meet up with a friend while Karen and I explored Pokhara.

For lunch, we ate more Korean food with tons of kimchi to help my stomach recover.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

We spent the remaining time during the day chatting with Thupten at his Airbnb. He told us many stories of the Tibetian people being refugees in Nepal.

Flying from Pokhara to Kathmandu

Thupten gave us a parting gift of Tibetian scarves on our last day in Pokhara. Karen was very happy to receive the friendly gesture as Thupten drove us to the airport.

The check-in process was quick and we had no problems getting through security.

However, flights were delayed because apparently, it was raining quite a bit in the morning. Seems like flights get cancelled or delayed if there is bad weather. The Jomsom to Pokhara flight that I took had a plane crash 3-weeks after I returned back to Canada which illustrates how dangerous it can be to fly domestically in Nepal. Apparently, it was a freak accident caused by bad weather.

The airplane to Kathmandu was on a much bigger plane this time around.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

We said goodbye to Pokhara, our favourite place in Nepal, and arrived in Kathmandu shortly after.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Before long, we happily arrived at our hotel to relax and enjoy modern amenities again after completing the tough Annapurna Circuit trek.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Exploring Kathmandu (Japanese Food, Movie Theatre)

During our last few days in Kathmandu, Karen and I spent a lot of time eating a lot of Japanese and Korean food. The Japanese food had miso soup which has probiotics and obviously kimchi from the Korean dishes. These meals did the trick as my stomach started healing rapidly as a result. Stomach aches started to become less and less frequent.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

I also ate my last dahl baht one evening and I vowed to never eat it again (it’s just not my favourite food).

Annapurna Circuit Trek

We also enjoyed the hotel’s breakfast buffet. It was so nice to eat westernized food again.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

One of the things we did while staying in Kathmandu was watch Dr. Strange 2. The first Dr. Strange was filmed in Nepal and thought it would be cool to see the second one in Nepal. The movie viewing experience in Nepal is interesting as there is an intermission midway through the film. It’s long enough to use the toilet and get some snacks.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Exploring Kathmandu (Monkey Temple and Asan Bazaar)

After an enjoyable time watching Dr. Strange 2 in a Nepalese movie theatre, we made our way towards Monkey Temple.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

At first, we didn’t see many monkeys, and Karen was disappointed. Before long, they all came out from hiding and Karen was gleeful to see these little trouble makers eat the food that the tourists were throwing at them.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

We also made our way toward Asan Bazaar which is apparently one of the filming locations of Dr. Strange 1. This marketplace is also popular because it looks historic and the location makes you feel like you travelled back in time 20-30 years back.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

It was a little bit sketchy in this area with people following you trying to sneakily harass you by acting friendly. We decided to leave after we got rid of the people who won’t stop following us.

For our final dinner in Kathmandu, we ate the best Korean food we’ve ever eaten in Nepal. This was the perfect final dinner of our trip.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

We ended our last evening in Nepal by booking an Antigen test early in the morning. We will need it since we will be entering the USA on our way back home to Canada and they require this specific COVID-19 test.

Antigen test

The guy came late the next morning to administer the Antigen test. Karen was worried because her flight was earlier than mine and she didn’t want to miss it. Luckily, we got the results despite the delay and they came out negative. I said goodbye to Karen as the taxi took her to the airport. We will be reunited again in Doha and Seattle as we make our way back home to Canada.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

As for me, I ate burgers and fries before leaving Kathmandu as I was craving western food badly.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Not too long after, it was also time for me to head to the airport. The taxi ride was long and the pollution was bad. Nepal wasn’t going to let me leave the country in a clean state.

The flight out of Nepal

I exchanged the remaining rupees I had left for US dollars before heading to the check-in counter. There was a blackout while I was waiting to check in which I found quite humorous.

The immigration process was slow because some passengers at the front of the line had some issues with their documentation causing the lineup to come to a halt. They had to open extra immigration booths because none of the lines ups was moving at all.

Once through, I was taken to the lounge by some airport staff. Thanks to my Alaska miles redemption on Business Class for the the flight from Kathmandu to Doha, I was eligible for lounge access.

The food in the lounge was very good. It’s nice to eat pasta again after not eating it for so long.

Despite the rough time travelling to Nepal during the early part of my trip, it was nice that the flight home was pleasant and uneventful.

Conclusion

My trip to Nepal will forever be a memorable one. Our adventures doing the Annapurna Circuit trek will forever be ingrained in my mind as one of the hardest treks I have ever done. It is easily the second hardest trek I have ever done just slightly behind the Kalalau trail, in Kauai, Hawaii, in the USA. It showed me how strong you can get in a short amount of time if you just carry a heavy backpack for long periods of time.

If we had more time, we would have definitely started the trek in Tal because it’s such a nice-looking town. We would have taken our time to make our way to Thorong La Pass and finish the trek in Kagbeni.

Regardless of the obstacles, I’m happy we did this trip as the Annapurna Circuit trek has always been high on my bucket list. As well, this will be my last high-altitude trek as my body doesn’t seem to like high altitude very much. I respect the sherpas and Nepalese people for being so strong and able to carry so much in high altitudes. They truly are the strongest people on Earth.

Pokhara is also one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. I simply loved my time there. Finally, my time in Nepal will forever be ingrained in my memory as one of the greatest adventures I have ever done in my life. I have no regrets at all about visiting Nepal and doing the Annapurna Circuit trek.

Contacts

If you ever plan on travelling to Nepal, here are some individuals I’d recommend to help you out as they helped Karen and me during our trip:

Thupten – WhatsApp +977 9856036334

I can’t say enough good things about this guy. We stayed at his Airbnb and it’s the best accommodation and hospitality experience we’ve had in entire Nepal. He also has an interesting story of being a Tibetan refugee stuck in limbo as the Nepalese government won’t give them a passport or allow them to be landowners. Thupten was so prepared to help us for our trek that he helped us get affordable yet high-quality trekking poles and sleeping bag rentals. He also brokered us an excellent deal with taxi drivers to make sure we paid the local price so we don’t get ripped off. To show how much he cares about his guests, he even loaned me his $250 down jacket and gloves while loaning my girlfriend a raincoat and gloves to make sure we were adequately prepared to trek.

The breakfast he provided was so good. I still dream about the Tibetan bread he cooked for us fresh every morning. He is a very thoughtful guy and I have nothing but good things to say about him. You should contact him before going to Nepal to make your trip there so much better. He’ll even arrange bus tickets for you for free and he won’t take any commission. He also offers local Tibetan local experience tours that he personally guides as well as treks.

Bikash – WhatsApp +977 9840258610

While trekking in the Annapurna Circuit, Karen and I realized our backpack is so heavy that going over Thorong La Pass at 5400+ Meters above sea level will probably leave us near death. We met Bikash while he was guiding a group of European women to trek the Annapurna Circuit. Everytime we crossed paths with him, he was giving us tips to make our trek go smoother.

Eventually, we asked him for help to help us find an honest porter in Manang to help us get to the peak and he managed to find us one for a decent price considering where we were in the Annapurna Circuit (I think we paid 18,000 Rupees for the porter). He did say if we had hired a porter sooner, that same 18,000 Rupees would have lasted us for our entire trek. Regardless, we found him to be honest and genuinely helpful even if he is on the extroverted side. I do recommend his service as a guide if you plan on travelling to Nepal. He can pretty much set you up to do any trek or trip in the country.

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