When is the best time to go?
The high season is October to November. Clear skies guarantee great views and the days are warm. On the other hand, the trails will be busier and prices for travel and accommodation will rise.
March and April are also popular. The weather is warm and the rhododendrons will be in bloom. Dust in the air can reduce visibility and limit long distance views. I trekked in April and the weather was fine and clear in the morning, and cloudier in the afternoon. The days were warm but the nights were cool, especially higher up.
What should I bring?
Can I go on my own?
It’s safer not to trek alone. If you are staying in hostels it should be easy to find people to trek with. If you really can’t find anyone then consider hiring a guide.
Do I need a guide/porter?
You don’t have to have a guide or a porter to do the trek. The trail is easy to follow and accommodation is never too far away. If you have more stuff than you can/want to carry then it makes sense to get a porter. Porter Guides are also available who will do both roles at once.
Do I need to book accommodation?
No you don’t need to book accommodation ahead of time. That said some of the stops beyond Chommrong can get very busy so it makes sense to arrive as early as possible. Even if you can’t find a room it will be possible to sleep in a dining room; having your own sleeping bag will make this more comfortable.
How fit should I be?
Like any physical activity better fitness will lead to better enjoyment of the trek. That said the trek is accessible to anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. You will be walking with a loaded rucksack for around five hours a day and it is sensible to make a few similar walks before you go.
What about avalanches?
The trail crosses several avalanche chutes between Doban and Machhapuchhare Base Camp and trekkers have been caught by avalanches in the past. To stay safe make sure that you ask lodge owners in the sanctuary about the avalanche risk. You can also ask at the ACAP checkpoint in Chrommrong.
After Deurali the main trail heads through a high risk avalanche zone. A safer diversion crosses to the east of the river and rejoins the main trail further on. When descending you need to watch out for the bridge over the river as the diversion isn’t obvious.
How much does it cost?
How to get to Pokhara from Kathmandu?
There are two obvious options; plane or bus. Flights leave from the domestic terminal at Kathmandu Airport, cost around $100, and take about 20(!) minutes. Domestic flights need clear weather, so if you do choose to fly there is a risk of delay or cancellation.
Buses leave from the tourist bus station to the east of Thamel. There’s a wide range of price options depending on the left of facilities and comfort you require. Expect to pay between 800 and 2500 rupees. Most buses leave at around 7 in the morning. The drive takes around 6 to 8 hours including a couple of rest stops and a lunch break. From Kathmandu to Pokhara sit on the right side of the bus for the best views.
Travel agents in Kathmandu will be able to book either option.