Thursday, December 8, 2016

Annapurna Base Camp Trek: Why and how to book?

Annapurna Base Camp Trek is considered as one of the most popular treks in the world. You may wonder why, but if you ask anyone who has previously trekked there, their answer will be that, Annapurna lies in one of the best trekking destinations, Nepal. You may still ask why and the main reason is that the Annapurna BaseCamp Trek offers you an exciting opportunity to trek up to the Base Camp of one of the highest mountain in the world, passing through some of the most stunning Himalayan landscapes and soaking up experiences of cultural lifestyle of the ethnic Nepalese people living up there in the mountains.

The trekking experience

Trekking in the Annapurna Region of Nepal is a blissful experience; this trek offers the most stunning vistas of the mountains. Not only you get to visit the AnnapurnaBase Camp, you can also enjoy the view of some of the highest mountains in the world like Mt. Hiunchuli, Annapurna South, Annapurna I, Annapurna III, Gandharvachuli and Gangapurna. The trekking trail is also set alongside terraced rice paddies, lush rhododendron forests, and high altitude landscapes, with the Annapurna Range in view most of the times. Passing through the high hills and ethnic villages of Gurung and Managi inhabitants, the trek assimilates both natural and cultural wonders of the region.
Here are a few things that you can keep in mind before you head out for this dream trek.

How do I plan?
Do a bit of research on the internet; you will come across hordes of vendors promising to offer you the best services for the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. However, it would be wise to get a hold of a proper trekking agency like the one I booked- Extollo Adventures. Please check out  their website and their history, these guys are very experienced. Honestly, I am not trying to market a particular agency, but I am simply putting down my good opinion towards them as they offered me the best experience for my Annapurna Base Camp Trek . These guys are travelers themselves, so they have been there and done the trek, which is precisely the reason on why they can offer best services and advice.
whoever you decide to go with, here is a list of few other things you can check, which will  help to finalize your decision.

        List of the type of services your trekking company is offering
Most trekking websites already have their inclusion and exclusion lists on the websites, take a careful look at that. Here is an example of a typical include/exclude list on a travel website.

        Get the best price
Choosing wisely is important when you begin, there are hundreds of companies out there, who will offer you this trip at the most competitive price. However, please also note that most companies that offer great prices may not have all the inclusions, services and credibility. A good price should include all the necessities of a trip, there should not be any hidden costs.

        Your Treking guide is your best partner
There is no denying the fact that you will need an excellant and experienced guide on your Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Once you book your trip with certain agency, see if you can communicate with them properly. You can ask the agency to connect you to your guides by various means like phone, Skype etc. Their  website should have an honest description of the staff and especially the trekking or climbing guides. see example here.

        Where will you be staying in Nepal?
Most trekking agency websites list the address and weblinks of the hotels that they intend to accommodate you when you come to Nepal. Most of the accommodations during the trek will be in teahouses, which are small lodges up in the mountains for trekker.

There is a fair amount of research you can do before you embark on your trekking journey to Nepal and to the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. You will need a bit of patience to fact check and a good amount of fitness as for your outdoor adventure. For more details on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek and the things you will have to bring or pack you can visit sites like this, it will further provide you with full information. Choosing the right agency will save you a lot of time and money.

Have a safe trip!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Trekking and Hiking in Nepal

There are lots of things you can do on your visit to Nepal. Trekking and hiking however is perhaps one of the most popular activities that this rugged nation has to offer. If you like outdoors, you owe yourself a visit to Nepal to enjoy some exhilarating activities such as trekking, hiking and climbing.
Nepal has it all - starting from the physically demanding treks; like the high passes trek, which takes you to high altitude hiking, to more moderate treks such as trek to the Annapurna Base Camp to even simple Family Trek to the Everest. There are numerous treks to choose from when visiting Nepal. If you are traveling with your family or if you do not want too much physical exertion while on vacation, you can choose from the list of moderate treks below. These treks are moderate and do not require high level of physical fitness, and can be enjoyed solo or with your family.

The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular treks there is. Trek through picturesque terraced rice fields, Rhododendron forests and alpine landscapes right to the base of the mighty Annapurna Mountain. The trail also passes through ethnic Gurung villages, where you can take a glimpse of their unique culture and lifestyle. This moderate trek takes you up to the Base camp at 13,546 feet from where you can enjoy the views of other majestic peaks such as the Machhapuchhre, Mt. Hiunchuli, Annapurna South, Annapurna I, Annapurna III, Gandharvachuli and Gangapurna.

Considered as the best trek to take a glimpse at two beautiful trekking regions, the Annapurna and Everest Trek is worth your time. This gentle trek takes you to through the Everest region, where you can view the splendor of the great Mount Everest and enjoy the Sherpa hospitality. The Annapurna Region offers picture perfect views of the Annapurna range, while you trek through lush green forests dotted with red Rhododendron flowers. The maximum altitude of this trek is only up to 11,279 feet, this trek can be enjoyed with a loved one.

If you are planning to hike with you family, the Everest Family Trek is the perfect getaway for you and your loved ones. Start this exciting trip with a scenic mountain flight over the Everest. This short trek to the Everest Region lets you experience the unique culture of the Sherpa’s - the mountain people. Trek through lush green forests, visit monasteries along the way and pass through sleepy Sherpa settlements along the way you can also visit the Sagarmatha National Park and soak in the best views of the highest mountain in the world. This trek is very gentle and can be done without much effort.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Plan your Cultural and Historical Tour in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and China

Thinking of a destination for your vacation? Why not plan a Cultural and Historical Tour in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and China. These oriental destinations are the perfect vacation stops for history buffs and people who enjoy world culture. Grab your tickets for the first flight and experience the best cultural and historical tours in these regions. If you are not sure how to best plan your trip, read below for some ideas on how to go about it. Combine your trips or choose a single destination, follow these pro tips gathered from travelers who have been to these areas:

Single Destination:

Visit the land of thunder dragon or Bhutan to experience Bhutanese Culture. Bhutan is a small kingdom sandwiched between the sovereign territory of two nations, China to the north and India to the South. This mystical country is famous for its prominent landmarks like the Tiger’s nest monastery, Punakha Dzongs (Dzongs: fortress) and various temples; all these are worth a visit. The beautiful landscape, amazing culture and the long history of the country will keep any traveler amazed. Make sure you choose the Best Bhutan Cultural Tour.

Combination Tours or multi country Tours:
If you have more time in your hands you can opt for combination tours, which will double the fun. The following are the best combined tours. These tours are exciting as well as affordable at a same time.

A combined tour of three countries would be a great start for a great vacation. Try the Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet Tour that offers the best cultural and historical experience. Bhutan with its Dzongs and monastery on a Cliffside, Nepal with its unique culture and people and Tibet with its mystical and beautiful landscapes, these countries make the best destinations for quick visits.

China Tibet Nepal and Bhutan Cultural Tour
A trip to China would probably be the highlight of any Asian tour. China is perhaps one of the oldest civilizations in the world, so the rich culture and history of China is worth experiencing. There’s  lot to do in China, many places to visit like the Tianmenn Square, the great wall and many more attractions- China has it all. A combination of China, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan Cultural Tour, is a perfect getaway for a long leisurely vacation.  All these countries offer the best cultural experience and rich historical facts.

Nepal and Bhutan Tour
If you are a bit low on budget, the most reasonable combination tour in the orient would Nepal and Bhutan Tour. Nepal is mostly a trekker’s destination; however it also offers the best day tours and adventure activities. See all the wondrous heritage sites and points of touristic interests like Swayambhunath Stupa or commonly referred to as the monkey temple, one of the largest stupa in the world the Boudhanath Stupa and one of the largest Hindu temple the Pashupatinath temple in Nepal. Nepal and Bhutan Tour is the perfect stint for a shorter vacation.

Try the combination tours in these countries; these tours are fun, enlightening and the perfect getaways for anyone and just about everyone. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Best Time to Trek to the Everest Base Camp (EBC)

The pristine blue skies with wisps of cirrus clouds, almost warm sunshine and patches of white snow that cover the protruding rocks, this might be the perfect setting at the Everest Base Camp. But when is the best time to travel to this magical place? Let’s explore a few facts..

When do I reserve my trip to the EBC?
At 17,500 feet the Everest Base Camp does have foul weather, imagine white darkness, that’s fog all around blocking the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. The best time to travel to the Everest Base Camp Trek depends on local weather patterns. You may hear from the most travel agencies that the weather is going to be just fine, however it would be wise to do your own research for the perfect timing, as you are not only going there for an ultimate adventure but you also want to witness breathtaking views.
When you get ready to book your trip, you will see most recommended seasons are the months of March to May (spring) and September to November (autumn). While these are standard time frames to trek up to the Everest Base Camp, you can also trek up there during off-season, practically during any time of the year.
Is March the best month to visit EBC in the spring season?
Most visitors usually book their EBC trek in March, as this month is popularized as an ideal time. At this time of the year the skies are clearer and the mountain views are least obstructed. Right after March, during the months of April and May, you will observe a huge number of tourists flocking up towards the base camp. For someone who enjoy company and meeting new people, this may be the ideal time; however, during these busy months you may have a hard time hunting for teahouses to stay the night.
Your other options:
Autumn is also considered to be the ideal season to trek to the Everest Base Camp. Just like the spring rush, September and October sees a lot of bookings for this trek. The weather is good, not very wet and the temperatures are just right, of course, so many travelers prefer these months.
What would be my best time?
If my opinion matters, I would choose the month of November for this trip. This time of the year is my favorite time, here is why. This is the time when the cold is just setting in, the air is nippy and the mornings are crisp. November is also the time when you can witness most romantic sunrises from the EBC. The weather is clear, the skies are glorious and the whole seasonal crowd is there, so you will have a chance to meet many international trekkers and make new friends, which pretty much works for me.
Is that it?

No, you can book a trip to the Everest Base Camp at your will throughout the year, but remember views might not be clear during rainy season and it might be too cold during the winters. So choose wisely,  if you must go during non-peak season, please do little more research before you go. Travel safe!

Monday, August 29, 2016

5 Benefits of hiring a Guide for the Annapurna Base Camp Trek

We are glad that you’ve finally decided to take the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Nepal is trekker’s delight; and your months of dreaming, researching and planning is worth it, as the ABC Trek is considered one of the most desired trek in the world. The question is that if you have found an experienced trekking guide who you can trust.
If you are like me and have always hiked without a guide at most places, you may be debating about the necessity of a guide for this trip as well. Here are a few reasons why you should hire an experienced guide for your ABD Trek.

1.       Security: The need of the hour

Although treks in Nepal can be pulled off solo, we always advise to hire an experienced guide while trekking in Nepal. There is nothing better than feeling secured, safe and sound in remote Himalayan regions. A trekking guide will lead your path with that feeling of security. It can also get lonesome up there and it is always nice to have someone to talk to, more important- someone to depend on for arranging food and a shelter in the wilderness. Last thing you want to worry about is being hurt or getting lost in wilderness with no one to help you. Trekkers have been lost and never been found, so hire a guide who knows the land, will lead you there and get you back alive and well!

2.       A trekking guide’s Local know-how

Most trekking guides in Nepal are locals from the region where you will be trekking, so they know the region like the back of their hands. Since they are from the region, they have access to most of the local hotels, lodges and food suppliers, which means that you will never have to go hungry or sleep outside in the cold. Remember that most of the trekking route is at high altitudes which means evenings gets cold; your guide will arrange the best lodges to keep you warm and toasty on a chilly night.

3.       High altitude trekking assistance

The Annapurna Base Camp is set at 4,130 meters or 13,545 feet, which is quite at a high altitude. It may also be your first time trekking at these elevations; the first thing to consider is that your chances are high to get Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS. Acute mountain sickness or AMS usually affect 6 out of 10 people, while on a trek. AMS commonly occurs when people climb too quickly at altitudes of over 3000 meters. It is fairly common that most people will feel shortness of breath and possibly light headed. Symptoms could be quite different the other times and may involve sickness, severe headache and loss of awareness. To ensure minimal risk, you can either take enough rest or descend to lower altitudes. If you happen to suffer from AMS, your guide will be your support to lead you back safety. It is not easy to follow the route back securely if you are gripped by AMS- you could get disoriented and may lose your way.

4.       A guide’s assistance for official permits

On your way to Annapurna base camp you will need Annapurna conservation area entry permits (ACAP) including TIMS permit. Your guide can assist you to obtain required permits for your trek. Your guide can also assist you in an event if you require any additional permits or fees. It gets a bit confusing to arrange these permits on your own, so help of your trekking guide could come very handy.

5.       Insights on the culture of the region

While on trek, besides witnessing supreme beauty of the Annapurna Region, gaining a clear insight of the prevailing culture of the people, region and the country is also quite an experience. Nepal is a land of mixed races and each race holds their own unique characteristics; your guide can be a mediator who can help you understand the uniqueness each race embraces. Local guides are proud of their culture and regions; and they will happily share all the stories and fun facts about people and places.
Hope this gives you little better understanding of an importance of hiring a guide before hitting the hiking trails in Nepal. Most of the guides are experienced, trained and speak English. A guide can be your support, friend and an entertainer up in those mountains. Plus you’ll earn an awesome friend!