I want to go and do some walking later this year, I was thinking 2 weeks in Nepal or Tibet.
Anyone been? Is base camp a waste of time?
I was thinking more the Annapurna circuit.
Can anyone recommend a tour company? Must sees/things that are a bit over hyped to help with my planning.
Thanks in advance.
I went to Nepalese base camp, which tbh itself isn't anything special as you're too close to see anything. But there was a bakery (its a really odd place), and nearby was some hills that lent themselves excellently to see Everest and Makalu. The hike there is pretty spectacular, took 18 days from the air strip already up a bit to base camp and back, with a sherpa carrying bags (ech, lazy and trickle down economics) but could go faster so long as you factor in potential problems with the altitude and weather (worth the wait for clear skies if you've walked a week getting gradually better views of Everest).
I went in May which I think is good for weather, too much into summer and its wet, really crappy wet. Same issues weatherwise with Annapeurna. Other places I think would be nice to consider would be Valley of Flowers in India and Leh/Laddack is a beautiful part of the world, if again difficult to get to...
As to Tibet side of Everest, you can drive to Base camp, and from there shrug dunno,
need someone to go with?
I've been to both Everest and Annapurna Base Camps (I haven't done the circuit as I didn't have time)
Everest BC is walk to "tick of before you die" That said it was one of the best trips I've ever done - The flight into Lukla is an experience in itself - The walking is basically through the valleys. There are only a couple of really hard days, My favourite place in the world is on the way to base camp, a few days after namche bazaar & after a steep walk we reached a natural bowl and as you came over the crest of hill it was filled with cairns to remember all the sherpas/climbers who have lost their lives on the mountain – I’m not very spiritual, but this was the closest I’ve ever got to feeling so.
You can’t see a lot from Basecamp itself, you cant see Everest from there! So in some respects its only worth going to EBC in the climbing season so you can see all the activity and buzz in the climbing teams, but Kaala Patthar provides stunning views and is in many ways better than basecamp itself.
Annapurna Base Camp is more picturesque - I found the walking harder as we were going up and down v shaped valleys on a daily basis - Our guide would point out the destination for the day, which i could see from the tea house, but it involved loosing 500m then gaining 700m on the other side of the valley. The sanctuary (Annapurna Base Camp) Is stunning, much more picturesque than Everest BC, you stand surrounded by 6 major peaks and the glacier below you. It’s also a lot quieter than the Everest region. And cheaper (But that doesn’t really matter as money goes quite a long way in Nepal!)
Did the base camp trek from Nepal myself about five years ago, around November/December time which is a good time to go, although it does get seriously cold at night. It's a busy route, although that's all relative - i.e. pretty peaceful after the bustle of Kathmandu. Stunning scenery... we didn't go to base camp itself but headed to the top of Kala Pattar (5,545m) from where you can get an amazing 360 panorama, and take the classic shot of the peak of Everest (this is what it looked like about 10am):
More here, all taken at over 4,500m. The frozen stream gives you an idea of temperatures I suppose.
The guy I went with reckoned he preferred the Annapurna trek. Wouldn't mind going back and doing that one myself.
I did the Annapurna trek in 2005. Great fun, beautiful, and really worth it. I went on my own and met people along the way. Apparently it can get pretty busy in peak season but I went just before the monsoon (it started on the last day of my trek) and on the whole I would meet 1 or 2 other trekkers each day.
Start early (in the day) and finish early. When it gets dark in the himalaya its pitch black. I had one day when i was still wlaking very late and it was a horrible 2 hours spent loosing the trail again and again.
Bring as little as you possibly can on the trek, Leave all your other stuff in a guesthouse in Pokhara (lovely place, worth a few days to chill by the lake before and after).
Good shoes are pretty important (keep your feet dry if possible) and a walking stick (I used a long bamboo pole) will be your best friend
I finished at Beni which was where the road began then and got a taxi back to Pokhara which to an exhausted me was worth the extra expense instead of sitting on a crowded bus, 2 to a seat. However, I think they might have built the road much further along the valley (Chinese investment so they can drive their trucks straight across from tibet) apparently to Muktinath which is a real shame
You don't need a guide - don't waste your money. Of the two you suggest, IMHO the circuit's the better walk. Two weeks might be a bit of a squeeze though...
If you wanted to go somewhere other than Nepal, I can thoroughly recommend Ethiopia as a hiking destination - you could easily fly in and out of Addis and still do a week-10 day hike in the Simiens... Cheaper flights than Nepal, closer, worth a thought.
I did the Annapurna circuit back in March 2006 with a couple of friends and a chap we picked up while working at a school in Kathmandu. We had to walk a little further than planned due to the Maoists being rather active at that stage - all in I think we walked 250 miles in 16 days, bloody superb...
My bros in Nepal right now, he got loads of contacts and doing a lot of interesting things. Hell be there for a few weeks, if anyone wants to make use of him.
I went to Annapurna circuit in 1998 and it was one of the best trips ever.
I went with my husband, we bought the flights to Katmandu and the went to Pokhara from there we took a bus to the start of the circuit. We didn't want a porter or anything but when we got to the start there were loads of boy wanting be our porter. We took only one, as my husband has back problems. The porter was good because it was a nice way to interact with the villagers and to get into the kitchens that are a very intimate space. we took the lonely planet guide and it was really easy trip I don't think that you nned to spend loads of money with a tour company really. we did it in 17 days taking it easy. is not woth hurrying as you need to climatise to avoid altitude problems
Two weeks is pushing it for anywhere high as you need to acclimatise. The Annapurna Base Camp is the best short trek in Nepal (from memory you can do it up and back in 5 days but it is quite hard walking). You go from bananas to glacier. The circuit is longer (15 days plus) and they've built a road on the Muktinath section so it can be done faster if you use a vehicle. Tibet is harder to plan logistically and won't be easy to get into at present as it is sensitive anniversary time.
I've done Annapurna circuit and sanctuary. And the 3 passes version of the Everest base camp trek. My girlfriend and I thought the version we did of the Everest trek was the best. The landscape was so different to anything we'd experienced before and the route was only crowded until namche after that it went off in a different direction to the main one. If you want anymore info on that one just PM me.
The other thing I'd say is that hiring a guide or porter is not necessary but it is about the best thing you as a walker can do for the country. It's not expensive and it is unbelievably appreciated.
I did a 28 day Everest Base Camp trek... including hiking in instead of flying, and the hiking out to India (it was part of a 5 month trip in the area).. Bloody amazing!
Blog of the trip, compete with videos. Its easy enough to do with a 35-40l pack, you dont need a sherpa to carry things, just buy a map and off you go :)
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