I did a trek in eastern Nepal, called the Annapurna Sanctuary (also known as Annapurna Basecamp trek). We started the trek out in Pokhara. We had hired a guide and porters through a local Nepali tour company. It was a 10 day trek and some people do the trek on their own (e.g. lugging around their own backpacks) because there are tea house lodges you can stay at, so you don’t need to bring all your own heavy camping gear etc. We were deliberating between the Everest Base Camp trek or the Annapurna Base Camp, but glad we decided on the Annapurna Base camp because the scenery we were exposed to was absolutely amazing. Every day was a different landscape, from lush tropical trees, to rolling hills, to rhododendron forests, to beautiful mountain vistas, and finally to the Annapurna Base Camp. We also passed by langur monkeys, donkeys, buffalo, sheep herds, children saying “Hello!!! What is your name?!”. The view at Annapurna Base Camp was absolutely spectacular- it was literally a 360 degree view of the mountains– we were surrounded. We woke up early (e.g. 500 am) to enjoy the sunrise and its pink rays shining on the Annapurna South mountain. We were 4130m above sea level, and despite the thin air, we felt so alive with the beautiful view. We would walk by other trekkers, or locals at the teahouses, and a familiar and friendly “Nameste!” brought warmth to my heart (even though it was occasionally freezing!). Nameste means “I salute the God within you”.
Nepal is absolutely beautiful. Nepali people are beautiful! Everyone is so polite and friendly, now I know why so many people who I met traveling in India said they really liked Nepal. There is a peacefulness about Nepal…I found that when I was there, I was thinking only of the present, not the past or the future…it was indeed a spiritual journey. People are so tolerant, there many different cultures of people co-habitating harmoniously in Nepal and it was so refreshing to experience that.
The food was delicious (and more importantly, cheap!) in Nepal. In Thamel (the touristy backpacker area of Kathmandu) there was Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Middle-Eastern food… the list goes on! I budgeted about $9 USD a day on food (including breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and I was eating like a queen. Here in North America, you can’t even get ONE meal eating out for $9, really. I was a happy camper.
We had booked through a local Nepali tour company and were pleased with the results. I made sure the references were good (very important you do this!!) before we booked with them. Because we “traveled on the cheap” and cut out the middleman, we saved about 50% (or $500 USD) compared to booking the same guided trek through a company like Gap adventures. I am pretty sure it would have been even cheaper had we arrived in Nepal, then found a local tour company in Kathmandu.
Thanks for reading about my adventures, hope you enjoyed it! Here are some pictures to inspire your cheap-traveling wanderlust!