Annapurna Circuit Trek - Besisahar to Chame
Read our practical day by day Annapurna Circuit Trek guide. The first part of our amazing adventure in the Himalayas features how to get from Besisahar to Chame, where to sleep, trail description, what to pack, and useful hiking tips.
After so many uncomfortable hours spent on the dusty and bumpy road, we decided not to stay for a night in Besisahar and walked right away to Bhulbule to stretch our legs a little bit.
It was great decision to start the whole trek in Besisahar, and steadily climb all the way up and observe the changes in flora, fauna, and everyday life of local people.
From the first checkpoint in Besisahar, we walked through the village to the suspension bridge across Marsyangdi River, then climbed up the narrow path around rice paddies and a few scattered houses. Then we moved down back to the river bank, and the trail led us to a new water power plant.
In March 2017 we were able to walk through the under-construction complex and at the end we crossed the river again and continued to Bhulbule.
We decided to spend a night in one of the three lodges situated on the true right bank of Margsyandi River and immediately ordered our first Dal Bhat for dinner as we were starving.
On the other side of the river is a bigger guesthouse which might be a good option if you're looking for a company. But we just needed a good uninterrupted sleep, and as it turned out, this place was perfect as we were the only guests staying there that evening.
At the start of the trek, you will meet kids along the way asking you for money or candy. Although it feels hard, try to resist, and don't give them any (it is also advice from Nepali government) because they could get used to it and would start begging on a regular basis instead of going to school.
From Bhulbule we walked upstream around the river on the wide dusty road, but it was traffic-free.
At the end of this road, it got a bit confusing which direction to take because of the construction, but do not turn anywhere, walk straight all the time.
The path climbed through rice fields to Bahudanda and offered us open views of green rice terraces. To reach Bahudanda, we had to ascend steep stairs and were ashamed by porters who outran us with almost three times heavier backpacks.
There is a checkpoint in this village, where you should register and also a possibility to buy snacks.
There is a stone gate, behind the settlement and you can see escarpment on the other side of the valley where the road carves in the mountain. It was frightening to watch cars driving on it.
Another bridge took us around a waterfall, and the rest of the walk continued above the river and after the last Margsyandi River crossing, and climb to the steep hill we appeared in Jagat village.
We slept in the guest house with advertised hot shower and Wi-Fi, but the owner failed to mention before checking us in the room that she had technical issues with both today.
We didn't need the internet connection though, and it was still hot outside, so cold water worked just fine for today. Moreover, the place was clean, quiet and we had it just for ourselves.
At the end of the village, we followed an arrow trail sign and walked the stairs down only to climb up the steep forest trail on our left in the next second.
When we reached the top, we could see a thundering waterfall on the opposite side of the valley.
We continued and all of the sudden we emerged on the football playground (we wouldn't want to be the guy, who kicks the ball over the fence) and right after it we arrived at Chamje, a small village built under towering cliffs.
From this point, the trail slowly climbed up, and we could watch the river flowing down the valley. We crossed the river, and another steep hill took us to the gate marking the beginning of Manang District.
Sleepy village Tal lies near river basin in 1700 meters above sea level, and right behind Tal is a swinging bridge, which led us to the other side of the river and also to 9 km distant Karte Village.
You can choose to cross the river again and walk through Karte, but we carried on on the left bank and bypassed this village. Instead of heading directly to Bagarchap we decided to take a side trip to a settlement called Odar.
It took lots of steps to get there (and extra 200 m elevation gain), but once we arrived, it felt like we traveled at least hundred years back in time.
The atmosphere in the village was almost ancient, and although we were thinking to spend a night here at first, we decided to continue to Bagarchap instead as it was difficult to communicate with locals about accommodation and food and even though they seemed friendly, we were not sure how they feel about strangers.
The landscape in Bagarchap changes from the lush green hilly scenery to the real mountain countryside, and we caught the first glimpse of snow-capped mountains in the distance.
We emerged at the end of the village and found a place to stay in the first lodge we walked in. It was not our destiny to have a hot shower again, but we asked for a bucket, which we got a few minutes later and everything was just fine.
Then we ordered nourishing Dal Bhat for dinner and spent the rest of the evening in the cozy restaurant with other hikers, this time clothed in our jackets as evenings were getting colder.
Next morning we woke up early and had oatmeal with freshly cut apples for breakfast. From Bagarchap the path goes to Danaque, where we refilled our bottles at the safe drinking water station, and on the way to Timang, we left the main road and climbed up the hill.
We could see Manaslu Range from the trail all the way to Timang Village, herds of sheep walked around us, and we felt like in one of those documentary movies about rural life in Nepal.
We also saw Annapurna II (7937 m) for the first time just before we reached Chame village.
Although the way from Bagarchap to Chame was considerably easy and we hiked in a leisure pace, we were exposed to the harsh Himalayan sun all day, a wasp maliciously stung Martin to a finger, and in a few words, we were exhausted.
After a long walk, we felt relieved and gleeful at the same time when we had reached today's destination early.
We took a short nap after late lunch and then leisurely strolled around the village, watched local volleyball game (view from the stands features Manaslu Range) and went to take a dip in hot spring (concrete open cubicle where locals bathe themselves and wash their clothes, something between a public spa, bathroom, and laundry).
WHAT TO PACK FOR ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT
Packing for the Annapurna Circuit Trek can be challenging.
We started in Besisahar (740m) in a jungle-like climate, where temperatures were hitting 30+ degrees of Celsius and after more than 14 days of challenging trekking finally crossed the snow-covered Thorong La Pass (5416m), the highest point of our adventure.
You need a bit of everything, but also you must pack light, so try not to overpack. Every extra kilogram will count and you will feel it when climbing up. To give you a simple example, you need short-sleeved t-shirt and shorts for the first part, but you also need a down jacket for cold weather and should wear winter gloves for Thorong La in case there is a snowstorm.
These seven things are absolutely essential to include in your packing list.
Rucksack for Him & for Her | When traveling without a porter, it is essential to choose the right large backpack with waist straps and good back support - nowadays you can choose a backpack for man or women, because the physique is different, and the comfort will be better. When it comes to hiking Annapurna Circuit, bear in mind that you should not carry more than 13 kilograms, optimal weight is anything between 8 to 12 kilograms to enjoy the hike without back and knee pain.
Sleeping Bag for Him & for Her | There is no heating in the rooms, and nights can be really cold. Well, we don't want to scare you, but they will be cold. I remember one night, when I was wearing down jacket, warm hat and leggings inside my sleeping bag, and was not able to warm up. Accommodation might provide you with extra blankets, but they are not often enough. Generally, we wouldn't travel to Nepal without own sleeping bag.
Hiking Poles | Nepal was the first country where we used hiking poles, and we had a great experience. Hiking poles will help your knees when hiking downhill or uphill and are great for establishing walking pace and rhythm.
Camera | Camera and lenses were probably the heaviest things we packed with us to Nepal, but they were well worth it.
You can also read our in-depth Annapurna Circuit packing list, where you will find more useful tips and advice on what to pack and what to leave behind.
WHERE TO STAY IN NEPAL
Nepal is still a developing country, and services, for example, accommodation to be specific, is quite cheap. In Nepal, you can afford to sleep in a nice place for a bargain price.
To make your hotel reservation in Nepal before your arrival, click on the links below.
Kathmandu | Oasis Kathmandu Hotel - Spotless modern rooms, quiet location so you will get a good sleep at night, and walking distance from Thamel.
Pokhara | Hotel White Pearl - Centrally located hotel overlooking the Phewa lake and mountains. The rooms are spacious and clean, the staff is professional and friendly and a great breakfast is included.
TRAVEL INSURANCE - SIMPLE & FLEXIBLE
We never leave our home without travel insurance which is designed to help cover your expenses if something goes wrong on your trip.
World Nomads Travel Insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover your trip essentials.
Travel smarter and safer!