The Himalayas look so impressive & I simply couldn’t go to Nepal & not do some trekking. I am desperate to trek to Everest Base Camp but it is working out really costly & I can’t afford is this trip – never mind my fitness levels not being at their optimal!
My friend & I have decided to conquer Poon Hill & do a 3 day trek with a sunrise 3210M summit along the Annapurna circuit. This seems to be a beginner trek which is quite challenging yet manageable at your own pace. My friend has never done any hiking & one of the agents we were speaking to put it very simply – If you can walk you can trek. He’s quite right. It may take you weeks, but you’ll manage it if you take it easy.
I read a few blogs & priced around Kathmandu & Pokhara unclear about what to do. My friend & I decided we wanted a guide (even if we could manage without one) as extra confidence, for more local information & general peace of mind. We decided we could do without a porter. If I was more organised I would be happier to go without a guide as I believe the route is simple to navigate. This takes the added stress out of the trek. If I was to do a longer trek I would definitely hire a porter primarily to give someone work & an income for a few days.
I priced a few places for full packages or guide only while my friend updated her instagram & flirted with boys. I wanted to go with Three Sisters Adventure Trekking & on our way there I insisted on stopping at a few agencies so she could have a comparison as well & not rely so heavily on me. One guy charged us $70 per day for the full package & the second agency quoted $40. The second guy seemed really straight to the point, was realistic about what we would need to take as opposed to encouraging us to buy a lot of kit & was patient answering all our silly questions e.g. regarding the monkey population, the meaning of his upper ear piercing & where I could buy a bottle of Baileys. We felt we got on well with this guy & booked him for a 4 day Ghorepani/Poon Hill trek.
In hindsight just hiring a guide without going through an agency would have been much more affordable but as first time trekkers we did the best we could to get a decent deal within our budget. This cost included taxi transport from our hotel to Nayapul & back, accommodation for 3 nights, the guide & 3 meals a day with a hot drink per day for 4 days.
The previous day we visited the Trekking permit office to obtain the necessary documents required to hike in the Annapurna region. These are TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) & ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project). The TIMS document is regarding your safety & whereabouts as you check in at various points on the trek & ACAP is to support the area & maintain the routes. Be sure to get the correct TIMS card as one is for trekking without a guide & one is for trekking with a guide/via an agency. This wasn’t explained clearly to us & we had to go back to the office to plead our case for a refund & correct document. You need to have 2 passport photographs for your TIMS card, many places in Pokhara offer this service. The office had about 7 other trekkers completing forms when we were there & it only took us 20mins to fill out the forms & get our documents (albeit one was incorrect).
In addition to this we would have to pay for all our water, snacks & additional food we wanted as well as entrance to Poon Hill (50NPR) & electricity for phone charge (100NPR), fee for hot shower (150NPR) & wifi connection (150NPR) if required. Prices vary from place to place.
Accommodation ranged from 200NPR to 500NPR for a double per night & meals were between 150NPR to 600NPR depending on what you got. Hot beverages were averaging 100NPR for a cup & filtered water was between 60NPR to 110NPR per litre. Chocolate bars were about 200NPR & beers 500NPR. Generally prices increase as you ascend. All prices are set per village as well with no haggling tolerated.
Digesting all this information we set about assembling the kit we needed for our expedition.