It was an amazing, awe-inspiring trek at times and one of the most labourous workouts I have ever experienced. The 5-day Ghorepani – Ghandruk Loop Teahouse Trek had just the right number of days for us novice trekkers but it also was enough to make me salivate for more.
Along with the spectacular scenery and the immerse cultural experience, I was also impressed by our 3 little companions, who in the end made the difference in our trek.
Renuka Kaki, our mother hen along with Maina Thapa and Indra Rai our steady porters were our Nepali guides from 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking. Renuka has been working with the company for a few years, Maina for 1 and Indra was just starting out as it was her first trek after training.
To have a guide, to not have a guide?
Our trek route is also part of the Annapurna circuit. After talking to a view other trekkers (ease-dropping on another one) and thinking back on seeing how the route is pretty much commercialized, it is safe to say that pesronally I think you “can” do the Annapurna circuit trek “without” a guide.
The trails and paths are “well traveled”, every 2 to 3 hours you are bound to either stumble upon a village, tea house/accomodation, or small market of some sort, and without a doubt you will definitely run into our trekkers or guides to ask for directions. The trekking maps are very accurate as well.
However, having porters and guides is quite convenient as they can: provide local information about the area, quickly find and reserve for you decent accomodations (ie, during the very busy tourist season, you cannot make reservations so they often can run up ahead, sometimes a day a head, to grab you a room at the best places – you’ll definitely need this perk at Annapurna Basecamp), take care of all your trekking paperwork/permits, take the load off your backs so you can enjoy the trek, and of course English/Nepali translation.
In my mind, you are employing someone and in our case helping out young women, and contributing to an admirable, charity organization (who is in my opinion doing very, very well for themselves).
Photos of our trip can be seen on my FB Photo Album.