Just finished the Annapurna trekking from Besishahar to Jomsom and it was lovely!
The variety of the landscapes is amazing. You start in Besishahar, at 800m where the climate is tropical. Soon, you can see the 6, 7 and 8000+ peaks of the Annapurna range, so, when you are too warm, you just have to have a look at them and feel the cold of the mass of ice and snow.
In the beginning, the landscapes, and more in particular the rice paddies, made me think of Vietnam. Then, some landscapes made me think of Lanquin, Guatemala. There was the forest that made me think of Twin Peaks and higher up, of course, the Tibetan landscapes.
And those colours! Spring colours with the snowy peaks in the background.
The trail was long and difficult at times, but it was all well worth it!
The highest point to cross was the Thorung La pass, with 5416m the highest I have ever been.
And then there was the steep descent.
Most people hire porters and/or guides, they carry up to three backpacks
The higher you get up, the cheaper accommodation but the more expensive and the worse the food... Of course, everything has to be carried up because there are no roads. I have seen porters carry up to 80 kilos! Donkeys and horses are also used to carry up whatever needed.
The worst accommodation was definitely at Thorung Phedi, the night before we had to do the Thorung La pass. There was only space in dorms left, twelve people in a bunk bed with very dirty sheets and mattresses and of course, no showers. You only pay half a euro per night but I would have been very happy to pay for some more comfort. All along the trail, you pay between 0.5 and 3 euros per night but rooms are very basic (and not always very clean) and bathrooms (if there are any) are always shared.
Prices of food can be up to four times as high as in Kathmandu (5 euros for dal bhat), beer can be three times the price (6 euros for 650ml).
I wouldn't recommend to have a lot of meat on the way up.
The villages on the way are really beautiful sometimes and the names are often very exotic.
On the last day, I had something wrong to eat in the morning and became sick, not a nice way to end the trekking. We still had a few hours to walk, from Maktinath to Jomsom, through a desert-like landscape and to make things worse, a sandstorm set up. But, I have made it and to celebrate that, I treated myself to a six-euro hotel in Jomsom. I could not believe my eyes! I had a double bed, all to myself. There was lights, electricity and sockets. I even had a bathroom without mushrooms and with a shower, hot water, a normal toilet, a towel and a bar of soap. The room did not smell of a tent that has not been unpacked for three months and the sheets were clean and smelled good, bliss!
After thirteen hours, three buses and a taxi I arrived in Pokhara yesterday. Pokhara is the laid-back tourist town in Nepal. And being a tourist is what I did today. I rowed a boat down the lake, climbed up to the world peace pagoda, updated my blog and bought some souvenirs. I am now the happy owner of a pair of Crocs, or rather Croos. I just could not stand those flip-flops any more, they made me have blisters between the toes, and I have to say the Croos please me. Well, for three euros...
I will stay in Pokhara until the day after tomorrow, rest a bit, eat proper food and parade passed the souvenir shops, bookshops, trekking shops, travel agencies, bars and restaurants, just like all the other tourists do.