Namaste! Nepal is one of the countries that I have enjoyed the most, its history combined with the impressive Himalayan range makes it a perfect destination for a great solo adventure! Solo hiking in the Annapurna Sanctuary is one of the best solo backpacking trips you can do ever!
Being one of the poorest countries in the world, you can also expect this trip to end up pretty cheap on your wallet.
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I didn’t have many days for this trip and, typical of me, I didn’t prepare any itinerary before hand. Gladly, hiking the Annapurna Sanctuary is a little bit of a DIY trekking area, where depending on your speed and time availability you can make it to the Annapurna Base Camp in more or less days.
If you’re worried about your fitness, fear no more! this area is extremely well prepared for all abilities, I saw families hiking with little kids and older people, everyone goes at their own pace and you can pretty much decide on-the-go where do you want to spend the night.
I consider myself a fast walker so please only use my hiking in Annapurna itinerary as a reference and decide when you’re there what is your best pace.
This is how my 10-day solo adventure in Nepal went:
Day 1 Arrival to Kathmandu
I stayed at the Blue Mountain Homestay and it was perfect, great location to walk to the bustling Thamel area but not having the noise for a good night sleep, they were super accommodating and would definitely repeat, as I did on my return from the mountains.
I had no idea that my day of arrival was the day of Tihar, there were lots of celebrations around Thamel which was quite fun to experience.
Day 2 Kathmandu > Pokhara
I took a bus to Pokhara early in the morning, for which the stop is also walking distance from the hostel. We had a lunch stop around 9:30 and by 13:00 we were in the beautiful town of Pokhara.
By the time of arrival I couldn’t do the required permits to enter solo hiking the Annapurna Sanctuary (ACAP + TIMS) so I just chilled that day. Rented a boat and had some peaceful time by the water. There are plenty of options for eating and for buying/renting any equipment you may need.
Another early start to get to the government offices before the queues for the permits, it still took me a while to get it, but by 11:00 I was sorted and I took a taxi to Nayapul (1000 Rs.) By 13:00 I was finally starting with the main goal of the trip, Solo Hiking in the Annapurna region!
Route for the day: Nayapul – Birethanti – Matathanti – Sudame – Hille – Tikhedhungga – Ulleri
After Sudame it gets a bit hilly, it’s a good first impression for the million of stone steps that will come in the next few days!
I stayed in Hill Top Lodge which was pretty empty and I had a breathtaking view of the Annapurna South straight from my bed, that is what dreams are made of!
On my second day in the mountains I started experiencing the changing weather conditions as I went from glorious sunshine to rain and even a bit of hailing.
I started off by going to Poon Hill, it took me about 3h 15min or so, the climb is worth it as you get some wonderful panoramic views of the Annapurna range.
After spending some time enjoying the views I made my way down to Ban Thanti, I decided to call it the day at around 15:00 as it was raining pretty hard.
TIP: when looking at maps of the Annapurna circuit, there are villages with the same names which is confusing, but when you’re hiking there, there are many maps on wooden boards that are very easy to follow.
I never actually used the map that I bought in Kathmandu apart from just checking in the evenings the possible route for the next day)
This was a challenging day!
Clear skies welcomed my early morning start (I’m an early bird anyway), I had a warm morning (most of my days I was in shorts and short-sleeves, except when raining of course) but not too hot.
Soon I passed through the “large village” of Chhomrong where you can find mini grocery stores if you need anything and arrived to Sinuva around 13:00, by then the skies were throwing really heavy raining and I thought I had to stay there, which was a shame as I wanted to continue much longer to synchronise my tight schedule with spending a night in the ABC.
Sinuva is located in a nice area so it was not too bad though!
Luckily, after a while (and after I had arranged a room, but not paid yet) the skies cleared and I followed on up to Bamboo.
I arrived by 15:30 and everything was booked (!!!) but after asking a little bit more, I got offered a tent, a dining room to sleep in and then finally another guy appeared mentioning that he still had one bed available. (Bamboo is only 3 houses so you better arrive early if you want to spend the night there!)
This was a short day as we were already considering the altitude we were climbing each day and also spreading the distance for the most desired night in the ABC.
All in all, it took us about 4h to go from Bamboo to Deurali (there are many Deuralis in the maps you find online and not much sign of the Deurali I stayed in!)
The day arrived! by now I have already been walking a while with a couple of guys I met in the previous days (FYI, if you have never travelled solo, don’t worry! Nepal is not crowded but you will meet some wonderful people every day!)
For the first time in the hike we were also not in a rush to get early to get a bed as the guy from the teahouse in Deurali was the brother of one of the guys that have a teahouse in the ABC and he reserved beds for us! nothing like talking with the locals!
We had a nice stop for tea at Machhapuchhre Base Camp with some great views and we only had ahead a gently climb to the ABC!
I’m a sucker for a good starry night (after living in big European cities you almost forget there are stars out there!) and the night in the ABC was a proper magical one! as you can expect, it also gets pretty cold very quickly! so we couldn’t stay outside for much time.
This was an incredible highlight of my solo hiking in Annapurna adventure!
Sunrise at the ABC does not disappoint! I actually liked more the views of the Machhapuchhre tough as the sun gave it a really nice reddish colour.
After enjoying nature’s performance it was time for me to start speeding up my return to civilisation. Went down to Chhomrong and had a wonderful view of the Machhapuchhre from my bed, it felt like a sort of final gift from the mountains after such a quick but incredible trip so far.
This was a very long day, but even that I was getting out of the mountains, I still saw some really stunning landscapes, and the rice fields were looking beautiful. I made it down to Phedi and from there I took a taxi back to Pokhara were I spent the night.
I had a full day in Kathmandu. I’m writing these lines after the earthquake in 2015 so I’ll not go into details of the places I went as sadly many temples felled down.
But there’s definitely a lot to see still over there! indulge yourself in a fantastic city with some incredible history and heritage!
My flight was past midnight so my trip was in total 10.5 days.
I budgeted this trip really tightly and didn’t indulge in many beers in the mountains (which is not too good with the altitude any way) and spent roughly in between Rs. 1200 – 1800 per day.
MY HIKING ESSENTIALS
Nepal is a steal of a cheap country!! every day hiking in the mountains I eat Dal Bhat, which you can repeat as much as you like and it’s really tasty! the best meal to charge your batteries after a long day in the mountains!!
I cannot recommend highly enough to all my friends to visit this wonderful country, those that have done it have always fallen in love with it and hiking in the Annapurna Sanctuary is a magical experience.
I hope this helps if you’re tight on budget and days but want to go solo hiking in Nepal.
Feel free to leave your comments/questions if you’d like to know more about solo hiking in Annapurna!
PLEASE if you go hiking in the Annapurna, take back with you whatever rubbish/garbage you take to the mountains. It’s a shame that we tourists coming from “civilised” places do not respect such an incredible environment.
Check out the rest of my hiking adventures around the world for more inspiration on your backpacking trip ideas!