The Annapurna Circuit I

The next stop after I left Japan is a country that I’ve wanted to explore for a seriously long time and one that should suit me down to the ground (or rather high up in the mountains): Nepal. After with a brief 36 hours stopover in Kuala Lumpur I arrived in Kathmandu for, actually, the second time.

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Hi mum. With exceedingly good organizational skills such as mine it’s no wonder that I turned up at the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur on the only day a week that it’s closed :/ and it was the only thing I wanted to see in the city. Well it’s impressive from outside anyway
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So on to Kathmandu just in time to arrive for Diwali and have everything closed for the festival. Beautiful powder displayed like this adorn the street and the lights were nice when I flew over the city at night
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I just realised it was 2 years to the day that I was in Kathmandu for the first time on an extended layover coming back from my Bhutan trip. That point was when I officially had a beard for the first time. So…happy birthday beard!
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On to Nepal’s second city of Pokhara by bus to start my trek. My new criterion for knowing you’re firmly on the tourist trail; getting good coffee, in this case, an iced caffe mocha from a small roadside stall
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After Pokhara, a busy bus on to the starting point of The Annapurna Circuit at Besi Sahar
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Those bumpy roads take their toll on the vehicles but proper maintenance (wiping with a dirty rag) is key to their longevity
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Official start of the Annapurna Circuit. Interesting observation: all signs are old-fashioned hand painted ones; none of your fancy large format printing here
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As the starting point (actually we started at Ngadi a bit farther from Besi Sahar) is quite low the weather is nice and warm and the valleys are full of rice terraces
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It looked like it was harvest time too
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A local woman hard at work being distracted and annoyed by a stupid tourist taking pictures
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The harvest is done by hand creating all these mysterious walking piles of hay
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We were on the road to Manang. No chance of getting lost
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One of the things I like most was the possibility to pass through many small villages along the trek…
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…it can give you a sense of the local culture…
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…and local people
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There are many guesthouses along the way catering to trekkers. This was the first one and was a great introduction to accommodation on the route, having such fantastic views
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Signs like this make me think of how technology has advanced even in remote places. By the way this guesthouse (like all of them) had WiFi
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This was the team: Diana from Colombia, Haimish from Australia and Ryan from Canada. Great people and trekking buddies
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Of course the path is not just for trekkers but for the local people too. Young children passed us on their way to school. I think I would have hated school if I had to hike for hours per day along mountain paths in flip flops
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A mountain village
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On our second day, we noticed there were some hot springs nearby so after ordering lunch we hiked down to the river. Here Ryan is pointing out where we have to go
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Actually the hot springs were too hot for me and the river was too cold (a right Goldilocks). It was warm enough out of the river to heat up again after a dip in the freezing water. This was entirely not what I was expecting on a trek in Nepal
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Another small village
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A typical scene in the lower sections of the trek at the start of the circuit. Here you can see the road. It has been built in recent years meaning that for hiking it can be not so nice with motorbikes, jeeps and buses passing close by
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However these were cool guys. They were doing a long motorcycle rally to Kathmandu
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Many guesthouses are painted in bright colours
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As well as guesthouses there are many places to stop for tea, especially nice if there’s a view and after a tough climb
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Trekking traffic jam
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There are dozens of suspension bridges
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They make the route interesting and a bit exciting as some are very long and high above the valley floor
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While the trek doesn’t seem very remote due to the many villages it does make it very convenient as there are dozens of little shops like this one
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In order to reduce the number of plastic bottles and therefore rubbish produced, a safe drinking water scheme has been put in place
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This man is the custodian of the safe drinking water

Next Up: The Annapurna Circuit II

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