Tips For Trekking Solo in Nepal During the Monsoon Season

Tips For Trekking Solo in Nepal During the Monsoon Season

The ABC (Annapurna Base Camp) trek is one of the most strikingly beautiful treks on earth. The most popular times of year for this trek is the September to November months. Trekking ABC during the monsoon season is a challenge for anyone, no matter how fit they are. The relentless afternoon rains make the stone paths slippery and dangerous, and can really slow you down. On the trek you’ll get to see so many diverse landscapes, ranging from lush jungles to cascading waterfalls to the majestic snowy Himalayas, and see summits reaching as high as 8,000 meters! You’ll be surrounded by green everywhere, with fog constantly rising around you, and at times you’ll feel like you’re in Heaven..

 

Pokhara lake

How Long Does It Normally Take to Finish the Trek?

 

ABC takes around 7-12 days to finish, depending on your speed and physical capabilities, among other factors such as the weather. It took me 8 days to get to base camp then make it back to Pokhara where I started. Some parts of the trek include walking through miles of jungle without seeing a single soul. You won’t have any data connection when you’re up in the mountains, which is why I recommend starting early every day at around 7AM or so, so in case anything ever happened, there’s a chance someone might still be walking behind you to help.

 

Namaste ABC

 

Doing ABC solo was the ultimate challenge for me! But it also inspired me to do things I never thought I was even capable of before, like walking for 9-12 hours on end every day in the rain without barely taking a break, or swimming in icy cold waterfalls, or walking up steep stone steps for hours on end with a heavy backpack, or drinking from waterfalls when I ran out of clean water, not to mention walking alone in a jungle.

 

Here’s What the Typical ABC Trek Looks Like

 

Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu (1,300m)

Day 2: Bus to Pokhara (823m), bus to Nayapul (3 hour journey), trek to Ghandruk (1940m): 5 – 6 hours

Day 3: Ghandruk to Chhomrong (2170m): 5 – 6 hours

Day 4: Chhomrong to Deurali (3230m): 8-9 hours

Day 5: Deurali to Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m) via Machhapuchhre Base Camp (3700m): 5- 6 hours

Day 6: Annapurna Base Camp to Chomrong: 9-12 hours

Day 7: Chomrong to Siwei: 5 – 6 hours

Day 8: Drive to Pokhara: 3 hours

 

Beautiful viewpoint in Pokhara

 

Himalayas at sunset..With Machapuchare (6,993 m) AKA ‘Fishtail’ mountain soaking up the last of the sunlight..💙💚💙🏁💯🚩👏💞✌💪

 

There are some important must have items to bring with you. One of the difficulties I had was that my backpack too heavy, and most of the time it was weighing me down and hurting my back. It’s important to bring a lightweight, comfortable backpack with you. I also didn’t bring my own snacks with me, which I ended up regretting since snacks are expensive up in the mountains, so I had a limited food supply and ended up having to store noodles in baggies to save for the next day.

Some Essentials to Bring

 

  • Comfortable backpack that’s 6kg or less (Since you’ll be trekking for at least 6 hours a day, the last thing you need is an uncomfortable or heavy bag weighing you down and hurting your back)
  • 2-3 pairs comfortable light pants
  • 2-3 pairs long thick trekking socks
  • Whole body rain coat that covers your backpack (Or waterproof backpack cover)
  • Altitude sickness tablets and paracetemol
  • Comfortable trekking shoes or plain walking shoes with a decent grip on the bottoms (To help prevent you from sliding on the slippery paths)
  • Plastic water bottle or thermos (So you can keep refilling it since buying water is pricey in the mountains and they charge for you to refill your bottle with filtered water, so it’s best to fill the bottle with tap water and use the purification tablets)
  • Emergency medical kit
  • ACAP and TIMS permits (You can get these in either Kathmandu or Pokhara,  and each permit costs around $20)
  • Water purifying drops or tablets (The drops are less pricey than the tablets, but since the drops contain bleach and if the bottle leaks in your bag, it could leave stains so the tablets might be a better option for you)
  • Ziplock bags (For storing snacks since in the mountains they’re expensive, and it’s better to get them in Pokhara)
  • Bugspray (Since the mosquitoes can be big and nasty and can easily get in your room)
  • Bamboo or walking stick
  • SPF 50 or higher sunscreen (Since you’re climbing at a super high altitude the UV rays will be especially strong)
  • 2-3 rolls toilet paper (Most of the toilets in the villages don’t have any toilet paper)
  • Gloves (To protect your hands from the walking sticks)
  • Pepper spray (Especially if you’re alone, you never know what you might run into! You might even encounter a yeti…)
  • Light jacket (Since it will be cold at base camp and there won’t be any heating where you stay)
  • Sunglasses (To protect your eyes from the intense UV rays)
  • Power bank (Most of the guesthouses in the villages don’t have electricity in the rooms and it will cost you money just to charge your phone in their kitchen area)
  • Small towel
  • Torch light
  • Enough cash (No place in the mountains accepts credit cards, and there are no ATMS, so plan on spending at least 1,200 rupees ($12) per day for a single person)

Why Trek ABC in the Monsoon Season?

 

Trekking ABC during the monsoon has its many pros and cons. One pro is there are hardly any other trekkers on the paths, so it’s a great experience if you want solitude and want to spend some time alone surrounded by surreal landscapes. One of the major cons is that it rains most of the day, and the mountains aren’t as visible, so you have to wake up early in the morning to catch the views. Another reason to trek ABC in the low season is that everything will be less expensive than during peak season.

 

Annapurna South  (7,219m) at sunrise. Had to wake up at around 4am since during monsoon it’s almost impossible to see this during the day!

Tips and Advice

 

If you’re in a hurry to finish the trek, when coming down from base camp, I recommend trekking all the way to Chomrong, rather than stopping at any of the villages in between. That way, you’ll be able to make it to Siwei in time to catch the last bus back to Pokhara, and still have time to stop and take a dip the beautiful relaxing hot springs on the way down the mountain. The last bus leaves from Siwei at around 4PM, so if you leave Chomrong by at least 8AM, you should have enough time to catch a jeep or the bus from Siwei back to Pokhara.

Another tidbit of advice is that you should let the sherpas pass by you and also try giving them them a friendly ‘Namaste’ (The traditional Nepali greeting) whenever you see them, since they really appreciate this! On the trek you’ll be ascending to a height of 4,130 meters!! Give yourself plenty of time to adjust the the increasing altitude, and bring altitude sickness tablets with you. If any symptoms of altitude sickness appear (Headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, shortness of breath) start descending the mountain immediately, or else the symptoms could get worse.

Also be wary of any children approaching you since they’ll try searching your pockets for candy, since they know most trekkers carry candy and snacks. They might just find something else, so if they start following you, just give them a few candies or any food you can spare and keep walking.

 

Machapuchare mountain AKA “Fishtail” mountain (6,993m) is revered by the locals as sacred to the god Shiva, and hence is off limits to climbing. Witnessing this incredible sunrise was a real treat! ✌📷⛺🚩💚💙

 

Be prepared not to see anyone for miles, especially on the Ulleri to Ghorepani trek through the jungle. Since it’s the low season, there will hardly be any other hikers on the trails. For some of you who enjoy solitude and being alone with nature, this might be exactly what you’re looking for, but for this might seem really scary, since if anything happens there might not be anyone else coming to find you on the trails. The best thing you can do to avoid any potential problems like this is to always start as early as possible (Around 6 or 7) so you can make it to the next village before it gets dark. Most trekkers will be finished by the time it gets dark and you don’t want to be the last one on the trail.

 

 

Don’t forget to wake up to catch the sunrise

 

Incredible sunrise at base camp

 

Keep in mind that food gets more expensive the higher up the mountain you go (Makes sense, since someone had to carry those supplies all the way up the mountain). If you order dahl baht at any of the guesthouses, they usually give you free refills. This is great in case you’re really hungry and low on money. The only downside of ordering dahl baht is it can be difficult to pack if you don’t finish it and want to take it with you. Since I was low on money, I had to order noodles all the time so I could easily put them in a plastic bag and take them with me. In low season you can negotiate the price of accomodation with the guesthouse owners, and they’ll usually let you stay for free if you agree to order food from them and not go out for food somewhere else. A night at a guesthouse during low season costs 100-150 rupees per day (Around $1-2).

 

Skipping in a foggy valley in front of Annapurna South (7,219m) 💙💜💚🙌

 

Trek slow and steady and don’t stop for too many tea breaks along the way, since slow and steady won’t wear you out as much as fast and rushing, and you’ll most likely reach your destination before the ones who are rushing and taking more frequent breaks. Not to mention it will be raining and the trails will be slippery, so walking slowly and carefully is super important. I had a few near misses where I slid down some of the trails and could have really hurt myself when I was alone. Taking fewer but longer breaks will help build up your endurance and helps save energy. When I took more frequent breaks I felt less motivated to continue on, and sometimes would end up finishing when it was almost dark and too dangerous to be trekking alone.

Try getting up before 5AM to see the the beautiful white peaks, since during monsoon you can only see the mountains early in the morning. The views usually disappear at around 7AM, when the fogs rise again. I highly recommend going for a swim in the relaxing hot springs on the way down from Chomrong. It really helps relax your muscles after so many days of strenuous walking, and it’s a nice reward for all your hard work!

 

I hope this article was helpful to you in some way! Let me know what you think in the comments section or by sharing my article with the social media links. I’d love to keep giving you tips and advice so feel free to subscribe by email in the subscribe box below. Don’t forget you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!”

 

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2 thoughts on “Tips For Trekking Solo in Nepal During the Monsoon Season

    1. Hi!

      Thanks so much! It definitely was an incredible experience to see the himalayas. I hope I can return again in the near future and trek Everest base camp!! Do you have any travel tips for trekking Everest?

      Xxx

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