Annapurna Sanctuary Tea – House Trek

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The Annapurna’s rise in the heart of the Himalayas. They may not be the tallest, but they form the central core of the great Himalayan arc, towering in the very middle of the 2550km chain that is the planet’s highest range.

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  • Group Size Medium Group
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Annapurna Sanctuary Tea – House Trek.

The Annapurna’s rise in the heart of the Himalayas. They may not be the tallest, but they form the central core of the great Himalayan arc, towering in the very middle of the 2550km chain that is the planet’s highest range. Annapurna region is a microcosm of Himalayas, and one that is easily accessible. Unlike many other Himalayan ranges, the 55km range is entirely within Nepal and with a relatively easy trail that goes all around it, called the Annapurna Circuit. The Annapurna Sanctuary trek we do takes us right in the midst of Annapurna mountains. Apart from Annapurna I (8091m/26,781ft), the world’s tenth highest mountain, the Annapurna Himal, as the range is popularly called, houses five other major peaks – Annapurna II, III, IV, South and Gangapurna, all exceeding 7200m (23,260ft).
With the increase in the standards of lodges on the popular trails in Nepal, it is now possible to offer treks which are much comfortable than camping, certainly if it snows or rains. For those people put off by the idea of camping and not having showers for considerable period of time, this trip opens up a fantastic area of the Himalayas. The tea houses offer clean & comfortable accommodation mostly in twin bedded rooms or in 4 bedded dormitories. It should be noted that there are basic facilities of shared toilets and shower rooms which are sometimes located in separate buildings. Most tea houses however provide hot water for showering (at an additional charge).

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  1. Day 1 Arrive at Kathmandu (1375m)

    Arrive and transfer to hotel. Later this evening we meet our Trek Leader and the other members of the tour. Aquaterra Group Package services begin with dinner. Overnight Hotel.

  2. Day 2 Drive Kathmandu to Pokhra and trek to Birethanti (1,000m) 8-9 hrs drive & 30mins trek.

    Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara and continue driving to Nayapul before hiking to the pleasant riverside village of Birethanti, at the edge of the Annapurna trekking region.
    Overnight Tea-House

  3. Day 3 Trek Birethanti To Banthanti (2,300m) 6hrs 

    Our first day on the trail, we trek through oak and rhododendron forests and follow the Bhurungdi Khola (river) to Banthanti.
    Overnight Tea-House

  4. Day 4 Trek Banthanti to Ghorepani (2,850m) 3-4 Hrs 

    We continue along the Bhurungdi Khola and ascend Ulleri Hill, eventually arriving at Ghorepani from where we get perfect views of the Annapurna range.
    Overnight Tea-House

  5. Day 5 Trek to Poon Hill (3220m) and Continue to Tadapani (2700m). 1hr to Poon Hill, 30-45 Mins Back to Ghorepani and Walk 5 Hrs to Tadapani.

    Rise early to climb up Poon Hill to watch a magnificent sunrise over the Himalaya. From west to east you can see Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, Dhampus Peak, Nilgiri, Annapurnas and Machapuchare – breathtaking! We then continue to Tadapani, trekking through open grassland and deep forests. On the way there are excellent views of Annapurna South and the Manaslu range.
    Overnight Tea-House

  6. Day 6 Trek Tadapani To Chomrong (2,000m) 5 Hrs 

    Today, we have a steep descent through rhododendron forest to the valley bottom, with fabulous mountain views. Later the path climbs steeply again before we arrive at the lively trekking hub of Chomrong.
    Overnight Tea-House

  7. Day 7 Trek Chomrong to Doban (2,500m) 6-7 Hrs

    Our trail descends on a stone staircase and crosses the Chomrong Khola before climbing through deep rhododendron and bamboo forests to Doban.
    Overnight Tea-House

  8. Day 8 Trek Doban to Machapuchare Base Camp (3,600m) 6-7 Hrs

    Our aim today is to pass through the gates of the sanctuary. We trek up the muddy surface of the Modi Khola, then along a rocky trail to Hinku cave. From here we climb towards the base camp of Machapuchare. There are stupendous views of the Hiunchuli, Annapurna I & III, Gangapurna and Machapuchare, the ’fish tail’ mountain peak.
    Overnight Tea-House

  9. Day 9 Trek MBC to ABC, Annapurna Base Camp (4,100m) 2-3 Hrs

    We continue our exploration of the sanctuary and ascend to the Annapurna Base Camp.
    Overnight Tea-House

  10. Day 10 Trek ABC to Bamboo (2,500m) 6-7 hrs

    Retracing our steps we return along the only route to Bamboo. Overnight Tea-House

  11. Day 11 Trek Bamboo to Jhinu (1,750m) 6 hrs

    Descend to Chomrong, continue to Jhinu hot spring where we can enjoy a hot spring bath and soothe our aching muscles!

  12. Day 12 Trek Jhinu to Dhampus (1,600m) 7-8 hrs

    Our last full day trekking, we follow the route to the village of Pothana and continue till Dhampus.
    Overnight Tea-House

  13. Day 13 Trek Dhampus to Phedi (1130m) And Drive To Pokhara (900m) 2 Hrs Trek and 45mins Drive 

    A short morning trek to pick up our vehicle for the journey to Pokhara. Rest of the day at leisure in this beautiful lakeside city.
    Overnight Hotel

  14. Day 14 Fly Pokhara To Kathmandu; 45mins 

    Early morning flight back to Kathmandu, spend the rest of the day at leisure or walking around the Kathmandu which has interesting shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as colourful temples & shrines.
    Overnight Hotel

  15. Day 15 Depart Kathmandu 

    Transfer to International Airport. Trek Tour ends after lunch.

    Important: This day-to-day schedule should be taken only as a general guide. Although we do a lot of research on our itineraries on a regular basis, it is not possible to guarantee that any of our trips will run exactly according to the proposed itinerary. A variety of factors, including adverse weather conditions and difficulties with transportation, can lead to enforced changes. The trip leader will make any changes that are necessary.

Responsible Travel

We believe that along with the privilege of adventure in the Himalaya comes a serious responsibility, the responsibility to protect and contribute to its ecology, cultures and its tremendous beauty. The “Leave No Trace” philosophy is followed to the letter and we work to minimize the environmental impact of our trips. We are scrupulous in our camping, cooking and sanitation practices; we limit the number of trekkers we allow to join us on our trips and the number of trips we lead in a given area.

In wilderness, commercial agreements between service provider and client require a depth of understanding that is more than what is routinely attached to similar agreements elsewhere. In the outdoors, we have to balance pursuit of stated objective and risk. We try to overcome risk and deliver the objective promised in the agreement between client and service provider. But that does not mean that we ignore risk altogether to chase an objective. We wish you to be informed on what makes a trip safe for you and everyone else.

Please take a few minutes to read the following:

The nature of wilderness
By definition wilderness implies remoteness. It means that response to any accident or mishap takes time. Timely intervention is a life saver. Working back from this, it becomes imperative that any commercial adventure in wilderness be conservative in terms of the risk it courts. Yet adventure means there will be risk. The way out is to manage the risk involved in such a fashion that a safe experience is provided. There are a few things that the client can do.

Prepare in advance
Commercial expeditions entail strain even if others are carrying your load and doing the team’s work. Prior physical conditioning – particularly of the cardiovascular sort contributing to improved endurance – helps. Please invest time and effort for that before embarking on the trip. It will help you in the field.

Be honest, speak up
We encourage clients to be honest about how they are feeling on expedition days; voice any personal difficulties they may be experiencing. This helps the team make relevant decisions for clients’ well being, something crucial when venturing into altitude. Not all of us are meant for altitude. If your physiology rebels, there is nothing to be ashamed of it. Speak up. Make sure that your disclosures about self are not biased by an objective you are feverishly trying to achieve like getting to the summit of a peak or crossing a high pass at any cost. Don’t let summit fever and similar instances of extreme personal ambition, consume you. It puts you and your support team at risk. Stay with the team’s assessment of risk. Go with the resultant decisions. If you think you have a point to make by all means do so. We will hear you out. But risk assessment and decisions, will be by the team leaders as the onus of a safe expedition primarily rests with them.

Let the leaders work
You may be familiar with rivers, mountains and altitude. We don’t wish to question that. But there are reasons why many of us choose to go as clients. One of them is that our primary vocation is something else, while those working in the mountains as guides have chosen to make that their primary vocation or at the very least, dedicate time to it. More than us, they are in the mountains. They are alive to it. That’s why we entrust our passage to them. So, please let them work free of interference. Please don’t influence their judgement. Your expedition needs their best work and best judgement. In any expedition, leadership style will vary with the risk being tackled in a given situation. There will be times when we can travel easy in a very consultative fashion. There will be times when that is not advisable and a more directive style may be adopted by your guides. Please comply.

Be open to alternatives
We can set up the best safety systems possible, checking and double checking to make sure that nothing is left to chance. But we don’t control or totally overcome variables like weather and terrain / river conditions. They impact expedition’s progress. If team leaders review / alter plan citing concerns on any front, we request that it be respected and not viewed as money’s worth denied even if it dims prospects for achieving an expedition’s original goal. Such challenges are frequent in the outdoors. Seasoned trekkers and climbers, when they realize that a particular objective does not seem achievable on a given trip, learn to be happy with other pursuits to compensate – like staying camped and enjoying the mountain environment or attempting more doable hikes from wherever they are. We request you to stay aware of these possibilities. Be open to them. Decades ago when exploration and first ascents were happening in the Himalaya, the explorers / mountaineers / hikers devoted months to their work. Committed outdoorsmen still do. They wait out unfavourable circumstances by having a lot of time and patience. Time is what the modern world does not have even as the mountains remain the same, posing the same challenges; the same risk, the same unpredictable circumstances. An exceptionally lucky circumstance may deliver success. But luck isn’t commonplace. We should be mentally prepared for the above mentioned alternatives.

Be safe
If you don’t achieve your objective it isn’t the end of the world. Be patient, another chance will emerge. There is a simple reminder, climbers often tell their colleagues leaving for a summit: “ the mountain will always be there; make sure you are there.’’
In other words – be safe.

Activity Level
Our expedition trips are designed for energetic and flexible people who have the spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Previous experience in the outdoors and camping helps, though is not a must. These trips are participatory in nature, and everyone is expected to pitch in, set up and break down their own tent, clean their own dishes. Look up our trip grading before you sign up.

Grading of Trips
We have graded our trips in four different categories and you should choose one that suits you the most. Grading of each trip has been done keeping in mind a lot of factors like the trip duration, the altitude, the terrain, the no. of hours of activity everyday, temperatures and conditions encountered, and the level of fitness needed. Any kind of exercise which gets you fitter before this trip is advisable, as it will enable you to enjoy the region more.

  • Easy : Most of our camp based trips, with easy activities, that are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding whitewater trips with easy support and myriad options.
  • Moderate : Active trips involving hiking over reasonable terrain, within vehicular access, upto elevations less than 4000 meters, or trips with long walking days, multiple rafting days, wilderness camping. Includes more demanding whitewater trips with Class III rapids.
  • Demanding : Hiking and trekking to elevations exceeding 4000-5000 meters, away from vehicular access, over multiple days. Encompasses demanding whitewater with Class IV rapids.
  • Challenging : Our most demanding trips include climbing at high elevations in excess of 5000 meters, in remote and extreme conditions with no access to roads; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips, and demanding whitewater trips with Class IV-V rapids.

The Next Step
Ready to go? Email us at info@aquaterra.in to book your place and we will guide you through the booking process. Please sign and scan/email us your booking form and inform us about the status of your payments at the time of confirming the trip (Booking form and Payment details below).

Why travel with Aquaterra Adventures?
We are a pioneer in active adventure travel, and run the most number of rivers in India, having opened them up over the past several years. We set the standard and have a strong reputation for excellence. We have a lot to live up to and we ensure we provide the safest, quality trips for our guests.

References
Should you wish to contact any of our past guests for a trip reference, write to us.

Services provided
In remote regions, we often use local suppliers who provide services that may include vehicles for transportation, equipment, logistical support, hotels, guest houses etc. We do not own or operate these independent services or suppliers. We work with them as they share our commitment to service and quality.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance.
Inclusions
  • Hotel 2-3 star Hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara on twin sharing basis
  • All transportation
  • Aquaterra Adventures Trip leader being assisted by a Nepalese Trek leader
  • Experienced Trekking “Chef”
  • 1 porter between three trekkers
  • Good clothing for porters and crew
  • Food for porters & crew members
  • Insurance for crew and porters
  • All permits
  • Twin sharing room on trek
  • All meals on trek
  • Domestic airfare.
Exclusions & Cancellations

Whats not:

  • International Airfare
  • International airport taxes
  • Visas
  • All optional additional tours or activities during free time
  • Transportation outside of the tour program
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips – 5-8% of your trip cost is a recommended amount for tips
  • Items of a personal nature like phone calls, alcohol, cigarettes, bottled beverages, laundry, souvenir etc.
  • Costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, landslides, road conditions and any other circumstances beyond our control.

Extra costs for extra day, hotel and transfers in case return is by road via Phuentsholing and Bagdogra (10 days)
Booking conditions: All bookings are subject to availability of space at Camp. We book space on a 100% advance. All payments by wire transfer, cash or cheque/draft in favor of “Aquaterra Adventures (I) Pvt. Ltd.”

Tips & Gratuities: Our recommendation is a minimum 5-10% of your trip cost for tips to be distributed amongst the team that makes your adventure safe and successful. This includes drivers, guides, cook, kitchen team, porters and horsemen. Of course, this remains a personal choice.

Note:
a) Kayakers to bring own boat and gear. We can provide kayaks for US$ 250 if you do not want to carry your boat out (choose from Liquid Logic HOSS, Session Plus, Dagger, Necky and Perception boats). This river demands solid boaters with Class 4+ skills and experience in big water.
b) Cost does not include transfers and hotels in Delhi, as there are several options. Airport transfers in Delhi and Delhi hotels can be arranged on request. An airport transfer costs Rs. 2500 (US $40) per transfer. Delhi hotels : The place which we have been using is close to our office, (and where we put up most of our river guests) in a quiet part of South Delhi (about 30 mins from Connaught Place, but equidistant from the airport). They charge Rs. 6000 (US$ 95) for a double room per day.
c) The US $ conversion equivalents are calculated using the exchange rates averaged over the previous year. Please check for any foreign exchange fluctuations at the time of booking.

Rates quoted are on twin share. If you prefer single accommodation, the single supplement is Rs. 15,500/-
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodation, we will try our best to find you a roommate. If that is not possible, a “forced” single supplement of Rs. 9750 will be applicable.

Cancellations

If it becomes necessary to cancel your tour, you must notify Aquaterra Adventures India Pvt. Ltd. immediately in writing. Once we receive your notice, cancellation will take effect. Please note that the following charges will apply on cancellation:

  • if cancellation takes place more than 45 days prior to departure, your full deposit
  • will be returned except a processing charge of Rs. 5000 or US$ 77 ; (60 days for Brahmaputra trip)
  • if cancellation takes place between 45 and 30 days prior to departure, 50% of the
  • tour price will be forfeited (between 60 and 30 days for Brahmaputra trip); and
  • if cancellation takes place less than 30 days prior to departure, 100% of the tour price will be forfeited.

Some trips attract a minimum processing charge – please check.

The tour price is quoted as a package. No partial refunds or credit will be given for services not used. We recommend that you obtain travel insurance upon booking.

This is a tough trip that is made more difficult by the complexities introduced through high-altitude.
However, anyone with moderate fitness can do this. You do not have to be a super human! The days are relatively short, and the terrain flat. Having said that, obviously the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the trip. We highly recommend that you embark on a fitness programme. It need not be an intensive undertaking – just make sure it involves cardio training.

The standard of Lodges along the Annapurna region is constantly improving. Some lodges may be rustic but have neat and clean rooms with shared bathroom while the newer lodges have been said to be even better than those in the Alps!
Whilst on trek there are 11 nights in lodges/tea houses. All accommodation is on a twin sharing basis (note that in some lodges only dormitory beds may be available). If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. The ‘tea-houses’ are simple, friendly and atmospheric. Mostly these lodges have heated dining areas which are often ‘interestingly’ decorated.
Accommodation is basic in unheated rooms with wooden beds and foam mattress. You will need a sleeping bag. The lodges have shared washing and toilet facilities. Some lodges have solar powered showers (charged at $2 – $3 per shower) and battery charging facilities (also charged at a rate per hour). Staying at the lodges is a great way to meet fellow hikers and the locals.

Travelling at these altitudes deserves a little more respect than a normal holiday. We do not have the space to deal with the subject at length, but briefly: at these altitudes the air is thinner, meaning that there is less oxygen to breathe. This makes every task seem more difficult; you will find yourself getting tired faster. Any exertion can seem like a challenge.

Yes. You are likely to experience some physiological problems until your body gets used to being at higher altitudes. This ‘settling in’ is called acclimatization. The time taken to acclimatize varies from person to person – it could take anything from one to five days.
During the acclimatization period you may have any one or a combination of the following symptoms: headache, nausea, vomiting, insomnia or poor sleep, loss of appetite, lethargy and fatigue, difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, a general feeling of malaise. A favourite symptom is flatulence! The sum of these symptoms is called ‘Altitude Sickness’ (or Acute Mountain Sickness).

Acclimatization is a normal adaptive process. If you do develop symptoms, they will typically pass in a few days. However, if you do not help your body to adapt (resting, and drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids, is key to the process, amongst other precautions), your symptoms might get worse and could develop into a serious condition.
The two most serious conditions are: Pulmonary Oedema (fluid entering the lungs), and Cerebral Oedema (fluid entering the brain cavity).
Without getting into too much detail, in these stages the symptoms of normal Altitude Sickness get aggravated. These conditions are serious, but not fatal in themselves. If they are not immediately attended to, however, you could die.

People in good health should not be alarmed by these points, but if you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure, heart or lung disease, you must take the advice of a doctor who has experience with the effects of altitude. We do not recommend patients of the above do this trip. If you follow a regimen that includes drinking a lot of fluids (you must stay hydrated), eating well, and rest, rest, and rest, you will make a painless transition, and have a great experience. Expect a couple of unpleasant days.
You must undergo a complete medical, and get a doctor’s clearance. It would be not advisable to do this trip against your doctor’s advice.
A good pair of “waterproof” hiking boots rather than hiking shoes is what is needed. They have to be completely waterproof (Gore-Tex) and not just water resistant and should come high up over the ankles. We feel boots are one of the most critical pieces of equipment and one should not compromise on the quality. Gum boots are also on hire at Leh if you wish to walk in them, like the porters so.

All of us will feel less-than-optimal for a couple of days. This is expected, and is no big deal. However, if you ignore basic advice of your trip leaders, normal Altitude Sickness may progress to advanced stages of Pulmonary Oedema or Cerebral Oedema. If this happens we must do everything to prevent the condition from deteriorating. Please keep your guides connected with how you are feeling as a group, or an individual, with no peer pressure!
Do understand that medical facilities are non-existent once we enter the Zanskar gorge. Hospitals are too far for rapid access. We are on our own.
Prior to the trek we are in Leh for two nights. This period is normally sufficient for acclimatization. In case you still show serious signs of altitude sickness on the third day, the day of our departure, you will need to stay back and will not be able to proceed on the trip. In any case if you have been unable to acclimatize by this time you pose a good case for immediate evacuation to Delhi. Since there is insignificant altitude gain on the trek, the chances of developing altitude sickness on the Chadar are very low, provided you started off from Leh without any major issues of concern. If you do develop altitude sickness on the Chadar, there is no option but for you to walk out and return to Leh immediately (obviously staff will accompany you).

If the symptoms do not subside even after the treatment (read the section on Diamox) and caution outlined above, there is only one other way to reverse altitude sickness, but luckily it’s a SURE CURE: descend to a lower altitude. We need to put you on the first plane to Delhi. As soon as you are at a lower altitude, the symptoms will alleviate, and will start reversing immediately. Remember that Pulmonary and Cerebral Oedema are not fatal in themselves. They can be fatal if left unattended. They are completely reversible if immediate, proper care is taken.

We have built in 2 days and nights of rest in Leh.
On arrival from Delhi we will transfer immediately to the guest house / hotel and confine ourselves there, preferably staying in bed and resting all day. On the second day we will be driving out to visit Monasteries around Leh. The mild exercise will help. Those who are not upto it and show signs of altitude sickness will need to stay back and rest.
If on the morning of the third day, you show signs of anything more than mild acclimatization issues, you will not be able to proceed on the trek. Be wise and follow the advice that follows next.

The process of acclimatization is very unpredictable and varies from person to person. You can help yourself by adhering to the basic rules:
Rest is critical. Do not exert yourself.
Keep yourself hydrated. Drink lots of fluids – 3 litres by 3 pm is the mantra through the day. In fact, as a general rule, if your urine has any colour, you need more liquid intake. Do not wait to feel thirsty before you drink. Keep a bottle accessible at all times. Many people make the serious mistake of keeping their fluid intake low to avoid the discomfort of getting up at night to relieve themselves.
Stay off smoking and alcohol. At least till you are well acclimatised.
You will probably have no desire to eat, since altitude dampens appetite, but you must force yourself to ingest at least small quantities of light food if you cannot handle a full meal.

Diamox (acetazolamide) and the homeopathic Coca 30 add some value in the prevention of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).

Now this is the tough part! Temperatures should be around freezing point during the day, but can plummet to 20º to 30º C under at night!

During the day, the trek is a brilliant hike in the sun. However an overcast day can make all the difference. Also, as the route winds through the Zanskar gorge one is constantly moving out of the sun into the cold shadows cast by the rock face. For those of you who didn’t know, the Beatles song “here comes the Sun…” was written for the Chadar!

The huge issue is wind chill. The gorge acts like a narrow funnel, and if the wind picks up, wish that it is behind you and not blowing into your face!

There is a small chance of snowfall. Being prepared is the only way.

Since weight is at a premium we have a 15kg cap on the weight of the main bag. For obvious reasons the bags need to be as light as possible on the Chadar. Carry only what is absolutely essential, including minimal change of clothes. On the trek its best to have change of underwear and socks, and only one change of the innermost thermals – Carry only one set of warm mid-layer, and outer wear please!

Plan to leave back in Leh the clothes that you will use over our three-night stay there, and a clean set for when we return.

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