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59 Reviews

  • Reviewed December 2019
    Sharon Green

    Fantastic Trip!

    This was our first trek and we we struck gold - the scenery and people of Nepal are beautiful. They have left a lasting impression and a return trip is a must. The porters and guides looked after us - lugging our gear and organising food and accommodation, pointing out wildlife and keeping us safe - always smiling, they created a real family feel to the group. I miss the early morning wake up call of a cheerful Namaste with a cup of tea and a stunning sunrise.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Two stand out (& emotional) moments-Looking down on a pair of Golden Eagles gliding on the thermals only 15 feet away & Reaching Annapurna Basecamp - achieving the goal and surrounded by jaw dropping scenery

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Balkrishna Tamang (Milan) was a great leader. I have no experience of others but the bar is now set very high! He was tireless in ensuring everything went to plan and everyone was happy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Keep your bags as light as you can- not an easy task but watching the porters lug 2 kit bags and their own gear is a humbling experience
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Andrea James

    Annapurna sanctuary

    This was an amazing trip with Poon hill sunrise and Annapurna base camp sunrise , both of which we were spoilt on clear skies and lovely weather, The guides and porters were all amazing, trying to communicate with their broken english, our main guide Milan was fantastic , with his knowledge of mountains and other areas in nepal. I would highly recommend this trip, just be sure that you love steps and that you love mountains and breathtaking views!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to Poon hill toview sunrise and Annapurna bbase camp sunrise! Mindblowingly beautiful, to the point of tears!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    MILAN was amazing his knowledge of the area was fabulous and then organising meals out in Pokoraha and Kathmandu also arranging our missed flights, done all with a smile!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just make sure your fit enough to deal with all the steps, and always look back from where ever your going or been as the views from all angles are just so beautiful
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Nigel Kerrigan

    Himalayan Highs

    1st time in the Himalayas and what an introduction. Expectations were high but easily exceeded, both by the scenery and the people (guides, porters and fellow travelers). The trek was challenging but hugely enjoyable, helped greatly by the brilliant weather that allowed us the best views of the stunning mountains and valleys. Our guide, "Milan" and his team of assistants and porters were phenomenal, making everything run smoothly for us pampered western travelers. It was humbling to see how they and the local people cope with what seem harsh conditions compared to those many of us take for granted at home. Overall, an excellent trip that I would not hesitate in recommending to others.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching Annapurna Base Camp and taking in the breathtaking panoramas.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Balkrishna Tamang ("Milan") was the best of all the guides we have experienced over a number of Exodus trips - and that is saying something as all the others have been excellent. For a 26 year old coping with a group of 15 over the trip he showed maturity and leadership skills that were most impressive. From dealing with illness amongst the group to ensuring that all were comfortable with the pace to negotiating the sometimes difficult transit through airports Milan always seemed to get things done. All the while he came across as a friendly, caring individual who is a credit to both Nepal and to Exodus. Big Respect!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get fit and be prepared for thousands of stone steps - both up and down! Also, pack carefully and efficiently as the 10kg limit for luggage for the trek is a bit challenging - but wholly understandable to ensure the porters are not overloaded.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Justin Emrich

    Trip of a lifetime

    From the moment we met our guide, he talked about us becoming a family for the next fortnight as he wanted us all to stick together. This we did and it really made our trip special. He, our porters and two assistant guides looked after us every step of the way. The high mountains were tantalisingly shy for the first few days, but then gradually showed themselves to us. Simply stunning.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being helped across a 287m long bridge by two guides. Not something I was looking forward to.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Simply outstanding. Our safety and happiness was his top concern. He even used his greater experience to assist a trekker in another group who needed to descend quickly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The couch journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara is an experience and longer than we were expecting due to the state of the roads. Be prepared for very little flat walking, no meat, very limited alcohol and very basic bathroom facilities for a fortnight. If you can cope with this, you will love every minute of this trip. Your knees need to be in good working order! Learn to love Dal Baht - the best bit is you can eat as much as you like. Also the local Gerund bread with cheese is delicious. Pack a metal water bottle. It can double as a hot water bottle when you get to ABC which is pretty cold. Due to the up and down nature of this trip and taking 7 days to reach ABC, none of us had any issues with altitude. The optional early trip up to Poon Hill is in my opinion only 50%/50% worth it. It’s a big additional climb and can be very busy. Leave your phone at home!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We took no technology with us except a camera. 100% the right thing to do and allowed us to really be there, in the moment, soaking up the culture and stunning scenery. It was like bursting a bubble when we heard news of the outside world.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Ray Wronski

    Great way to get into nature

    Nepal has always been a place I have wanted to visit, especially due to the fact it hosts some of the tallest mountains in the world. I chose the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek because I wasn't sure my reaction to the high altitude of Everest Base Camp and also it was different. I lucked out with my trip for many reasons: small group (5 trekkers, 2 guides, 3 porters), good weather (sunny and clear mornings, no rain while walking), great guides (Ram and Maila took great care of us and made sure we all made it up to ABC and back with no incidents). During our trek we saw many other groups, specifically on the first few days and it surprised me that their "guides" did not keep the group together or seem to be properly pacing. The Exodus guides made sure we took smart breaks and typically had one person leading, the other at the back so as to not leave people behind or spread the group out too much. For me, waking up each morning getting closer and closer to ABC, seeing the sunrise gleaming off the white snowy peaks of the Annapurna range, those are images that are forever engrained on my memory (and camera). This trek has lots of stone steps, and although I consider myself physically fit, it is demanding. However, the payoff is seeing the beauty of Nepal and being removed from modern amenities like cars and other conveniences. I found the food in the tea houses good value for the money, especially Dal Bhat, which is almost an 'all you can eat' meal. Overall the trip is a great way to see the Himalayas and experience a bit of Nepalese culture.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the porters, not just for our group but on all the paths. The loads they carry and the means by which they carry the bags/construction materials/etc. should make you rethink what you may complain about back at home. We sometimes struggled on the trails with our day packs (maybe 7-10kg total) and some of these porters were transporting 50kg worth of concrete or long steel bars for buildings. Besides that, just seeing the mountains every morning. I took lots of photos, many of the same peak but from various distances and angles. For me, I couldn't get tired of seeing that beauty.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ram and Maila were great. They took excellent care of us, made sure we stayed healthy and safe, and had fun with us. The small group allowed us to get to know each other and that made a big difference in our experience on this trek.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definite items to bring if you are unsure what is really necessary: toilet paper, walking poles, layers. Don't worry too much about brings lots of clothes; if I were to do this trek again or another similar one, I would stick with maybe 3 changes while trekking and 2 more for the days in the cities. Also the food is quite inexpensive so if you aren't ordering dessert or soft drinks you can expect to spend about $12-17 (or equivalent) per day (about 1500 - 2000 NPR). If you forget any trekking items and arrive in Kathmandu early, go to Thamel, you'll get great deals.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be open and don't expect 4 or 5 star quality in the tea houses. Saying they are basic is being kind; however were we surprised in a few (positively).
  • Reviewed May 2019
    James Smith

    Annapurna Sanctuary Trek TNS

    Original trekking itinerary was changed and notice was given just several days before we began the trek. We did not trek to Annapurna Base Camp due to snow, avalanche danger, and damaged structures. An alternative was provided that included climbing Punhill and also Khopra in Ridge. For me it was a physically challenging trip, partially due to my age. I felt I did well in spite of my replaced knees. I was offered encouragement at times which helped. The weather was not the best as a pre-monsoon weather pattern prevailed particularly during the latter part of the trek. This trip for me was primarily a time to bond with my son, Kevin, and I think we did a good job at that. Food was somewhat bland, but new dishes allowed us to get a real taste of what Nepalese eat. Ten years ago, I did the Everest Trek to base camp and Kala Patar. I would say this trip was every bit as physically challenging even though we did not achieve high elevations. The scenery did not include as much high alpine, but this trip traversed through rhododenron forests that were in full bloom.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Views from Punehill and Khopra Ridge, of the high peaks jutting up above the clouds. Crossing the long spectacular suspension bridge near Jhinu Dandara.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Milan Tamang did not impress me at first. However, with the passing of each day, I realized that first impressions aren't always true. Milan was truly interested in me as a trekker and an American. I can say now that I have high regard for him as a group leader and an administrator of other guides. He's a man that's true to his word, has empathy for others, and is simply there in times of need. I don't believe our group had any negative incidents such as injury of health problems that he did not know how to successfully handle.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Call two weeks in advance to find out if there have been any changes in the itinerary. My son and I were disappointed that we could not trek all the way the Base Camp.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a very good trip for my son, Kevin, and I to bond. We do not live close to each other, and this was a time for us to simply chill out and have good times together. I lost my camera on the airplane in Kathmandu, and in one way this might have been a good thing. Consequently, Kevin took all the pics, and there wasn't a spirit of competition between us concerning photo shoots. I think that was good. Neither of us seemed to bond with the rest of the group as we have in the past on other trips.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Melanie Benn

    Stunning views (but not as good as the Circuit

    Having done the Annapurna Circuit and the Singalila ridge I thought it was time to go back to Nepal. I enjoyed the Circuit so much I thought that the Base camp would be a good experience. I love Nepal very much but this was a very different experience - the trek itself is a bit of a route march after Chhumrung due to the fact it's one path in, one path out in effect. There were lots more people on the route and the tea houses were very much standalone (due to restrictions on room numbers) rather than being part of communities. Also the heating was non-existent - probably as a result of it being a conservation area but cold is very fatiguing over a few days. I very much enjoyed trekking though the forested areas - we saw lots of birds, flowers and common langurs. Base camp itself is spectacular - as long as you get clear weather. The extra day in Pokhara was welcome. Overall I am glad I did the trek. I'd vote to get rid of the Poon Hill diversion (not a necessary aprt of the route) and to spend longer in Chhumrung or in one of the villages on the way down. Be warned that the multiple shared accommodation is not spacious at all. I was with friends and the rest of the group I was put with was excellent company. If the group isn't gelling then it might prove tough to be at such close quarters.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Waking on the middle of the night at Annapurna Base Camp and seeing all the stars - just breathtaking with moonlight on the peaks as well. Sunrise at Annapurna Base Camp - just getting there up all those steps felt like an achievement.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Pasang was cheerful, helpful and took very good care of all of us particularly as someone got a knee injury and when I felt really unwell on the way up. His organisational skills were second t none and he was encouraging and supportive throughout.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you take a lot of layers. The stone steps are relentless - poles a must. Make sure you've got a book/cards/distraction at MBC and ABC as when the weather closes in there isn't much to do but sit in the common room! There is lot of treated water but you might want to still use sterilising tabs just to be sure. If you're only going to trek at altitude in Nepal once the Circuit is, in my opinion, a much better trek even though it is tougher.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus is a great holiday company and have always been very helpful in organising the trips I have been on, making sure that the welfare of their customers is a priority and I'd have no hesitation in booking with them again.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Elizabeth Coles

    Annapurna Guides, Porters and Sherpa - Easily the best!

    The trip was made by a combination of two excellent guides, a wonderful hard working team of porters and a cheerful experienced Sherpa. They all work incredibly hard in their respective roles and simply made the holiday. Always encouraging, helpful and cheerful. Nothing was too much trouble for them. Easily the best guides of all my many Exodus trips, they were devoted to their role. It is incredible how the porters manage to carry such loads. Tourism is a major economic force for Nepal and without them tourism would cease in its current form. They are the unsung heroes and must be supported including financially as it is a dying skill, sad for Nepal and for those of us who loved our trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walks were so varied. I personally loved the walk down the gorge after our early morning walk to see sun rise over Poon Hill. It was the most beautiful grove with stupas. The views and scenery were tremendous. A very spiritual place. We had a free day in Kathmandu and I thought it was great, fantastic trip in a rickshaw. A big plus is that I was not hassled at all in either Pokhara or Kathmandu, a big contrast to my experience in India and in particular Delhi. Of course the result of reaching Annapurna Base Camp has to be mentioned. We did it!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Easily the best guide from all my trips. You can safely promote Nepal with confidence due to Prasant. he was always cheerful, helpful and considerate. Behind the scenes he quietly was observing us particularly in respect of health issues. This trip was physically the hardest I have done and his observational skill was much needed and valued. I was concerned about one girl who was quietly feeling unwell with AMS, she told me she was feeling unwell, outwardly nothing apparent. He straightaway went to see her, talked and cheered her up and thereafter made a point of seeing how she was. He was the most professional of all the guides of all the many trips I have been on, both Prasant and Hari were good family men and were mature and responsible. I got ill on my trip and Hari kindly offered to carry my day sac. It made a huge difference to me. I was nervous of the suspension bridges and they helped me over, in the event there are 10 not 5 bridges as per your trip notes. One is a 5 minute walk and they helped me get over them. From the trips I have done, Prasant work as a guide was the most demanding with the most responsibilities and therefore by definition his role is that of a senior guide for Exodus. You are in safe hands! They were a great team who had known each other for many years: their friendship and harmony really showed and benefitted the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take US dollars for the tourist visa. The cost is USD 25, compared to GBP21, not a good exchange rate! Take exact money for this visa, my till didn't have any change. Easiest to change money at the hotel, less hustle and stress after a long journey and a calmer atmosphere. Just a slight difference in the rate but worth it. Very easy to change money at Pokhara. It is very much a tourist town. Make sure you spend/donate your Nepaiese money, the Government only give you 15% back I understand. Take lots of layers, you need to cope with the heat of Kathmandu and the day walks with the cold at the base camps.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There are 10 suspension bridges, not 5. When I rang you advised short bridges. Actually one bridge is new and a five minute walk, it is incredibly long. Please update your notes! The guides were great and helped me over, especially the long bridge. But it might be difficult if a number of the trip are nervous of bridges. Just thought I should mention this. I am glad I did the trip and didn't want the bridges to stop me going. I went well stocked with medicines but the food without exception at all the tea houses was good simple nourishing food with an amazing menu every time. There simply wasn't one bad meal. How they manage to cook such quantities and bring it out swiftly to our group would leave many a UK chain ashamed! The team worked so hard, from our early morning cup of tea to attending to our every need at mealtimes and beyond eg organising hot water bottles, more drinks, hot chocolate, extra pillows. And nothing was too much trouble and always with a smile.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Filip Hanzak

    Great time in great mountains

    The Annapurna Sanctuary trek was well organized and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. It can be physically challenging at times (e.g. climb 3000 stairs in one go at the end of a walking day), but completely doable without many difficulties.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The night sky at the Sanctuary was as expected - the clearest and brightest I've ever seen. You almost can't see the asterisms for so many more stars are visible in between the main ones!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Chandra, was excellent, always helpful in good mood and full of laughter.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do some training beforehand and get walking poles if (like me) have problems with your knees. Going down the many stairs which are higher than usual can get very painful. Pack a lot of versatile layers as the temperature varies between +32 in Pokhara to -7 at the Base Camp. I went in October and did NOT have a down jacket and could just about manage at the base camp while wearing literally all the layers I had with me - no need to pack unnecessary extras.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    James & Kay Crawford

    A wonderful trek in the very heart of Nepal's Annapurna

    Annapurna Sanctuary is 14 days of an excellent trek, which is very well organised, with excellent and attentive guides. It is great scenery, with such majestic and magnificent Mountains. You stay in sustainable, if frugal, Tea Houses offering great sustenance, which is all part of the fun experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Finally, due to the inevitable early monsoon seasons low cloud down in the valleys, those very clouds parted and we saw the splendid neck racking elevations of the massive Annapurnas ringed around us like the teeth of a fierce canine!. We saw the very hill villages, from which the famous Gurkhas set off as young men, to join the British Army. No wonder they are so fit and agile seeing the number of steps and steep slopes they work for a living in their homesteads. The Nepalese are delightful, friendly and a credit to their country. The fabulous Tea Houses provide great food (from their kitchen gardens), and rooms which did ticked all the right boxes for comfort and shelter, considering the logistics of the place. We saw the Bamboo forests, Rhododendron and Magnolia trees in full flower, and whole hill village communities farming their tropical to temperate agriculture spread out on their terraced fields.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Pashant was a very experienced and competent leader, who took delight in answering all our questions and observations, while being very informative about his country Nepal, its people, places and especially these Annapurnas. His team of cheerful, articulate and hardworking guides and porters were a credit to him and his management style. I would take him, and go on any trek with his team any time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Its right that the Exodus Annapurna Sanctuary trek uses the Tea Houses to the maximum, as this provides for a sustainable visit by tourists to a fragile part of the earth. It is allowing the residents of those poor hill villages employment and a sensible source of income. Treking can be a low impact activity, so make sure you avoid the quick way to the top by road (or even helicopters!) and trek up and down to fully enjoy the views, the experience and the Nepalese people; they are seriously inviting you into their mountains! Safe sterilised and filtered water, from UV sterilisation or reverse osmosis, is at all the tea houses, so you don't need to bring in any bottled water, or fizzy drinks for that matter! Stick to a vegetarian diet as you consume from the local economy as well as eat a very tasty dishes, which does sustain you for the whole journey.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Expect to carry a lot of Nepalese Rupees as you only pay cash on the trek, so make sure your security/cash bag is big enough. There is, within the 11 days of serious trekking, opportunities to shower for @£1.50 every second day and so you can limit your clothing to two changes of outer clothing and 3 sets of socks/underwear. You can charge your cameras and iPhones for as little as @£1.50 a day so you don't need so many batteries (these batteries you bring in, you take out). You do need a 4 seasons sleeping bag and down jacket for the 2 days you are up at the top of Annapurna Sanctuary as it gets below freezing, so pack those rather than extra changes of outer clothing. Walking with poles is advised as the multitude of steps up and down make serious demands on your knees. Asian squatting lavatories are by far the more plentiful and simple to use. They are the better option, as you don't need to touch any surfaces. But have plenty of small hand Gell dispensers around your kit to cleanse hands before and after such and before feeding.
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