travel * planning a trip to Nepal to hike to Annapurna Basecamp, what to pack, where to start

Posted by | November 20, 2013 | travels | 3 Comments

I took two weeks of holiday in late September and early October, coinciding with the Chinese Golden Week holiday.

Nepal Sunset

A few friends and I set off to Nepal for the ultimate hiking adventure. We all met up in Kathmandu and from there we planned our trip.

Since we hadn’t traveled together previously in this combination and also not everyone knew everyone, we felt it was easiest to plan the whole trip out, as to avoid discussions and uncertainties along the way. This was my first time to go with an ‘organized tour’ – albeit I organized this tour, so it still felt like I was on an independent trip. A good friend from college, who grew up in Nepal, recommended us to get in touch with Hari Gautam (who turned out to be rather legendary!) as she had heard good things about him. Hari did an amazing job in meeting all of our demands. We wanted

  • full flexibility, as we were a group of different levels of fitness, experience and expectation
  • not only hike, but also go rafting and paragliding
  • see the important sites around Kathmandu (as you may know, I’m a big fan of UNESCO world heritage sites and Nepal happens to have a ton!)

and Hari managed to put together just that.

We had a total of 15 days so we ended up with 2 days in Kathmandu, 2 days in Phokara, 1 day rafting on the Trisuli river and 10 days of hiking.

What we packed:
Clothes

  • tight & longsleeve as functional underwear, 2 sets, different warmth
  • jeanshort – can be combined with leggings or functional underwear or worn on its own
    sweatpant – for the evenings to chill out and keep warm
  • 5 PES (polyester/quick drying) tees and tanks – cotton will never dry on the mountain
    warm fleece jacket
  • seamsealed rain jacket and pant (we really needed this, even though we traveled in what should have been dry season)
  • hiking socks – several pairs, there will be sweat, rain, leeches, and the likes
  • sports bras and quick drying underwear
  • beanie and gloves as well as a scarf – it gets cold on the mountain, especially during breaks
  • down sleeping bag until comfort level 3C as well as a light silk sleeping bag to stay clean and homie in not so clean sheets
  • quick drying, small towel
  • pyjama
  • bikini or bathing suit as well as boardshorts and UV longsleeve – the latter for your rafting trip down Trisuli river, but also for the lake in Phokara, for the hot springs along the way..
  • hiking boots, running shoes and flip flops

Medicine
Ibuprofen, Magnesium, something against Diarrhea, to purify the water, against a cold, some bandaids, disinfectant, muscle relaxation cream

Toiletries

  • toothpaste and brush – obviously
  • UPF 50 (Unless you’re Indiana Jones-esque) sunscreen for body and face
  • hydrating facial and body cream – thin air, dry skin..
  • shampoo, shower gel, conditioner
  • basic make-up – Kathmandu does have a barscene and there’s nothing wrong with some mascara and lipstick
  • travel detergent for the odd basin socks/underwear/tees washing session
  • lip chapstick – ideally with UPF
  • wet wipes – nothing is handier..

Practicalities

  • passport and passport pictures – at least 4 for the permits, visa etc that you’ll need
  • around 1.000 USD for bigger payments, local rupies can be withdrawn at any ATM in Kathmandu
  • cap, sunglasses, prescription glasses
  • camera
  • cellphone (but network won’t be available the higher up you get in the Annapurna region)
  • charger for your electronics as well as a portable battery that can be your powersource for several days, electricity will be scarce all along
  • big backpack and daypack
  • ear plugs
  • books – as electricity is scarce, don’t rely on your kindle, go analog! and you can swap along the way with your friends. take a few books, you will read a lot as you are likely to arrive at the guesthouses in the afternoon and there is not much else to do. I finished 3 books in two weeks.
  • guidebook – depending on how much read up front and how organized your trip is already, we had one travel friend that never read a single piece of information on this trip
  • headlamp and/or torch – for early morning ascends or descends and the nightly bathroom trip
  • needle and thread, safety pins – I never travel without
  • umbrella – a little one will come in handy for rain or shine
  • water bottle – bottled water will not be available after a certain altitude, so you need to refill from boiled water
  • plastic bags or trash bags – keeps dirty and clean clothes seperated, the contents of your bag dry and you can even sit on it
  • cards and dice – for when you don’t want to read anymore. also the Nepali love card games, it’s an easy way to make friends
  • pocket knife – to cut up that yak cheese or cut off that leech

More about this utmost fabulous trip to come!

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