Hey guys, I'm in the process of organizing a India/Nepal trip this summer. Most of these questions are w.r.t Nepal, however I have a question about the "2 month visa rule". Am I right in assuming this is only for applying for a new visa? If I entered India on a 6month multi entry visa, then left for Nepal after a month, then entered India a month later on the same visa, this would be OK? So one month in India, then one month in Nepal, then reenter India to catch a flight back home from Delhi.
Right, so onto Nepal.
For someone that has done the Annapurna Circuit/Sanctuary trip recently, what sort of costs am I looking at? How much does dinner cost for example (if you stick to mostly vegetarian local fair, not foreign stuff like pizzas)? How much do bog standard rooms cost? I'm trying to work out if I can do this for under £10 (15$) per day, or perhaps even £5. I'm really not bothered about being frugal, even after a long days hiking. So local food, standard single rooms, cold showers, self filtered water etc.
Can I get hostels/hotels to prepare me a packed lunch (or sell me some eggs and bread) for a small fee? I would prefer not to stop off during the day if that is possible.
What sort of temperatures can I expect? I've tried endlessly to search this and it seems the answer is: varied. Sigh. I will be travelling in September, so what is the minimum night temperatures I'll experience? Do I need a sleeping bag good to 0C, -10C, -20C? In terms of clothing I'm intending to bring one base layer (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Helly-Hansen-Mens-Lifa-Stripe/dp/B001CS8A6A), two insulating layers (such as fleece and down vest), and a jacket (http://www.gaynors.co.uk/products-The-North-Face-Mens-All-Terrain-Jacket_160401350003.htm). Plus my hat, gloves, buff, walking socks, boots, gaiters, waterproof trousers, t shirt or two etc. Do you think this will be enough?
Why do guides such as Lonely Planet recommend you follow a certain route? As I see it from reading online, there are places to stop literally every hour at least. Do they recommend places based upon the availability of accommodation? I ask because the guided route is extremely slow, I mean 3 hours walking in one day at low altitude?!?! Fair enough you will slow down at high altitude, and can't rise too fast to let your body acclimatize. Are there any parts of the trek where accommodation is few and far between?
I will be bring my laptop with me, and quite a bit of camera equipment. I realise this will be heavy, but I see the photo stuff as a necessity. The laptop however, probably isn't on this part of my trip. Is there anywhere to store valuables in Kathmandu, for a fee if necessary?
How has the new road affected the circuit? Has it affected it so much that I may be better walking elsewhere?
Any books you would recommend. How is the Lonely Planet Himalayan trekking guide? (not the Nepal book)
I hope thats everything, any help greatly appreciated!!
EDIT: To add, I will be doing this trip alone, and unguided. From my research this seems to be perfectly viable on the Annapurna circuit. I'm fully aware of the risks of altitude sickness, and what measures can be taken to combat it if things get serious (although they shouldn't really - its simple, AMS gets worse, descend).
[ Edit: Edited on 08-Mar-2010, at 07:15 by EwanTBC ]
By the way guys, I know the amount of writing is scary. If you want, just read one of the questions (paragraphs) and answer that. No need to answer every question :-) ANY help is appreciated about nepal, even if not related to my questions.
Well I did the Circuit solo and unguided 2 years ago this april. I am sure the prices have not changed much. I was easily doing the trek for $15 a day. There were nights when a room would cost $1 as long as I ate there. They make their money on the food not the room. The local food is all you want to eat anyway, Dahl Baht, Vegetable soup.
Try to exchange some large bills into small bills before you start your trek, it will make things a lot easier. The route that is set is for an average person to hike. There are villages every hour so no need to worry about that. They get farther apart the closer you get to the pass. One thing not to underestimate is the altitude, it will kill you. Follow the rules when you get up high. Also you will meet plenty of people on the trek that will have similar itineraries.
It will be hot when you start the trek and it will be cold when you get up towards the pass. You do not want to be cold at altitude. I brought a thin summer sleeping back 45 degree that I used as a liner and I rented a 3 season bag and I could not have been happier. It was great through all the temperature changes. You will have to spend a few days to acclimate up high in Manang, Yak Kharka, or Throng Pedi, and it will be cold. I would definately spend 2 nights in Manang and at least one night in Yak Kharka. If you feel real good then spend the night at high camp instead of Throng Pedi, it will shave 45minutes off your long day over the pass.
The road hits up high now and the first part of trek is definately better but you can avoid the road. There are some great towns on the second half (Kagbeni, Marpha, Tatopani) Well worth it. I would plan on spending a few days in Pokhara to relax on the lake and party for a bit, so plan a few days there. I would bring an ATM card or some large bills (USD or Euro) that you can exchange there.
Also the lighter your pack the happpier you will be. I did the whole trek with 22lbs and it was fine. I brought everything I needed and nothing. 2 liters of water weigh a lot so plan on it!
I hope this helps and if you have any questions let me know.
Sounds like you are only talking about trekking on the Annapurna Circuit? First stop in Kathmandu is to Shona's rentals. Its a hiking shop in Thamel run by an English guy and his Nepalese wife and son. Thats not to say he is the cheapest, but he gives really honest advise on what gear you need at the time you are going, whether you rent or buy from him or not. Shop is in Thamel on Jyantha.
If you want a recommendation of accommodation in Kathmandu try Kathmandu Guest House Run by a French guy and his Nepalese wife. I think about 550rp a night
The Indian change in visa is still confusing to everyone. try looking through the stickys here IndiaMike the trouble...and fun thing about India is there is no hard and fast rules. So what one guy might say at the boarder will completely contradict what the next guy will say.
I did the Annapurna circuit a year ago. The road on the western side has been there for a couple of years and yes its changed things in that vehicles now transport hikers and goods to the out lying villages, so that side of the pass is much better serviced with all your goodies. The road is a dirt track at most. The other eastern side that you start from, the road was being blasted as I walked, so not sure where they are with it now. The blasting caused some delays and tricky detours. This side also has the villages spread out more. Both sides you want to plan your walking to get you into a village for around 3pm. this gives you time to get cleaned up take a look around get dinner and into bed by 8.00 ready for an early start the next day. I walked 6 to 8 hours each day and did the circuit in 12 days. I'm told that at the time you are going its going to be pretty busy and getting accommodation can be tricky. Ive heard the best way is to befriend a porter with one of the guided groups and ask him to book you a bed.
I will be in India and travelling to Nepal throughout August/September. So interested in any advise you get on this thread.
I will be coming from the end of a long year of travelling, so i am hoping i can find somewhere in Kathmandu to leave a lot of my things i wont need in the mountains.