|The trekking itinerary
The stages described in this article are recommended stops, but there are of course many variations which depend on level of fitness, personal interest etc. A word of warning though for those who rush things: do not combine too many stages, as your body needs plenty of time to acclimatise properly.
Kathmandu - Pokhara
By plane (1 hr) or bus (7/8 hrs). Considering the quality of the roads in Nepal, travelling by plane may be the wiser option.
From Pokhara to Lumle by bus (4 hrs). The trek begins at Lumle and leads to Birethanti, where you can spend the night in one of the village lodges.
Climb slowly from Birethanti to Ghandrung (at about 2000m). This village is inhabited by the ethnic Gurung population. Continue from here to the Kumron pass and spend the night here. The morning view across the valley is magnificent.
Kumron - Sherpa lodge
This short but tiring undulating stretch crosses through a valley and leads past Chomrong, the last significant village, to a Sherpa lodge run by Tibetans on the eastern side of the Modi Khola valley. The views from the lodge across the green valley are stupendous.
Sherpa lodge Himalaya Hotel
Continue from the Sherpa lodge gently uphill northwards, coasting the Modi Kola river bed and across terraced slopes on which rice and millet are grown.
The itinerary now makes its way through a beautiful equatorial rhododendron forest, not to be missed in April when in bloom.
Tea houses along the way make for an excellent stop. Continue to Bamboo, 2500m located at the river's edge. The characteristic vegetation that surrounds this habitat gave the village its name. Shortly after Bamboo the famous "Himalayan Hotel", situated at 3000m, comes into view. An alternative to this usually crowded lodge is the Bamboo Lodge, or the Tomo Camping area close to the lodge. A tent is in fact highly recommended throughout the trek, just in case
Himalaya Hotel Machapuchare Base Camp
Leave the "Himalayan Hotel" and head across more arid ground towards Machapuchare Base Camp, 3720m. The most welcoming lodge is situated close to an old German weather station and this spot is magnificent: Machapuchare towers steeply above to its splendid 6993m. This is undoubtedly one of most beautiful mountains in the Himalayas and its profile is reminiscent of the Matterhorn. Machapuchare is the sacred mountain and it is strictly forbidden to climb it.
Machapuchare Base Camp - Annapurna Base Camp
The final stage that leads to one of the highest mountains on earth is fairly short but, given the altitude, demanding and therefore not to be underestimated.
Follow the obvious path from the lodge and walk through an arid valley to Annapurna Base Camp, the main destination of this trek. A few brick houses and tents constitute Base Camp and it is possible to sleep here - highly recommended if you don't want to get up in the middle of the night to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Annapurna!
360° panorama of Annapurna Base Camp