After our trek we thought of writing a few tips and recommendations based on our experience. We hope they can be helpful for any of you who plans to go for a trek around the Annapurnas!
These are some of the things to have in mind before you start your trek:
- Choose the route and get a map. There are many possible trekking routes within the Annapurnas. Select the one that you like the most and that better suits your needs and fitness level. Even though the routes are marked quite well, try to get a map of the area.
- Permits and Registration card for trekkers. Nepali authorities require you get:
- ACA Permit, which is a permit to allow you entering the Annapurnas conservation area
- TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) registration card for individual trekkers
Both are obtainable at ACAP office in Phokara and cost 2000 NPR & 1600 NPR respectively. You will need to bring 4 passport size pictures and provide information about your route and the length (days).
- What to bring really depends on the length of your trek, the route and your own judgment. This is what we brought for our trek:
- Basics: Good trekking shoes and shocks, long & short comfortable trousers, a couple of breathable & fast drying t-shirts, thermal pants and t-shirt and fleece, hat & gloves.
- Jackets. We both had waterproof and windproof jackets and we wondered if would need any wormer jackets. Thanks to the recommendations of a Spanish guide we meet in Phokara we decided to rent a couple of down jackets. While we really only ended up using them on the day we crossed Thorong La, I don’t regret our decision!!!
- Walking Sticks. While it’s not a must, I would strongly recommend bringing a couple of walking sticks, specially for when you have to go down the strenuous hills. We rented and while Isma didn’t really use his one, I ended up using the two all the way!
- Sleeping Bags. While it is possible to get blankets in the most of the guest houses & lodges, I would suggest you bring one (prepared for -5 or -10) as you will most likely need it when going higher than 4500m (we only used it 2 nights).
- 1st Aid Kit: A must bring. Remember to include Diamox.
- Water. Safe Drinking Stations are available in a good few villages around the Annapurnas, but not in all so I would recommend you bring some kind of water purifying tablets with you.
- Mobile phone: except for the pass, there is only coverage with NTC all the way around the Annapurnas, so you can get a prepaid NTC sim card before the trek.
- Others: Cards, books, head lamp or torch.
- Porter vs Guide. While neither of them are really required for the treks in the area, we chose to hire a porter, Bishal, who also did as a guide at times for mainly two reasons:
- To carry the extra trekking gear we rented in Phokara.
- Because we thought we could help at least one porter by giving him a job for a couple of weeks.
- Altitude sickness. It is really important that you familiarize yourself with what is Altitude sickness, hot to prevent it, which are the symptoms and what are the possible consequences.
In addition, we were recommended to bring Diamox with us. Not to take them as a prevention but only in case of starting to develop the symptoms.
- Shape / training. This is just a quick note to say that it would be better to be in a decent shape before starting a trek… but even myself, who used to get tired after going up the stairs one floor was able to complete it, so you can also do it!