Find out about my first day on the Annapurna Circuit. First off I will take the bus from Pokhara to Besisahar and then trek from Besisahar to Bahundanda. This is a good way to begin the trek at a fairly relaxed pace!
Interested in what to expect on your first day on the Annapurna Circuit? From getting the Pokhara to Besisahar bus and then trekking to your first stop, I will let you know my experience.
After many late nights preparing was finally time to hit the Annapurna Circuit for me. Day one will take us from Pokhara to Besisahar using the tourist bus, and then from Besisahar to Bahundanda.
The total journey from Pokhara to Bahundanda will consist of two buses and an afternoon of hiking.
Though I will go through it in detail so if you are planning your own Annapurna Circuit adventure you will know what to expect on day one.
Day One: Pokhara to Besisahar Bus & Trekking To Bahundanda On The Annapurna Circuit
🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Nepal: 12Go Asia
Overview Of The Journey From Pokhara To Besishar & Bhulbhule To Bahundanda
Pokhara (1400m) to Besishar (820m) – 5 hour bus journey
Besisahar (820m) to Bhulbhule (840m) – 1 hour bus journey
Bhulbhule (840m) to Ngadi (890m) – 4 km hike which takes 1 hour
Ngadi (890 m) to Bahundanda (1310m) – 4 km hike which takes 2 and a half hours
Pokhara To Besisahar Bus
Having purchased ‘tourist bus’ tickets from our hostel in Pokhara, we expected a similar journey to the other tourist bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Though, that is not what happened.
Before I get too into details I will give you a rundown of that morning.
Unfortunately, I woke up at 2 am with a horrible bout of the infamous Delhi belly. After spending the next couple hours running between my bed and the bathroom the alarm goes off to start walking to the bus station.
Full of gastro tablets and antibiotics I waddle the half-hour walk to the station.
The tourist bus leaves Pokhara for Besisahar at around 6.30 am each day.
Pokhara To Besisahar Distance
The distance between Pokhara and Besisahar is approximately 106 kilometers / 65 miles. The travel time by bus is between 4 to 5 hours.
How To Purchase Bus Tickets From Pokhara To Besisahar
Unfortunately, you cannot purchase your bus tickets for the Pokhara to Besisahar, or vice versa, Besisiahar to Pokhara, online through normal ticketing platforms such as 12Go Asia. Instead, these are more commonly used for more popular routes between cities, from Kathmandu to Pokhara for example.
Instead, I recommend booking your tickets through a local agency in Pokhara. They will have contacts on the ground for this bus service and can ensure you get a seat so you can start your Annapurna Circuit adventure.
Pokhara to Besisahar bus contact number:
About The Tourist Bus Pokhara To Besisahar
At the tourist bus station, there are plenty of vehicles taking people all over the country. Though, we are directed to one bus a far cry from the regular-looking tourist buses.
Our luggage is chucked on top and strapped in while we pile on with all the other foreigners.
One guy demands that the driver put a tarp over the bags which he is very hesitant to do. Luckily this tourist pushes and the driver gives up (it ended up raining the majority of the journey as well).
The bus is not full yet, about three-quarters of the seats are empty, which means a more comfortable journey.
However, before we know it, just like a tsunami, suddenly a wave of locals squeeze onto the bus. Chickens, rabbits, and children are all passed around at once. I wish I was lying, but I am not. Every spare seat is quickly filled as well as any space remaining in the aisle of the bus.
With a chicken on my lap and a rabbit on my partner, the bus lurches forward indicating it is time to depart.
I am not going to recall the mentally painful next 5 hours of our journey, though let’s just say it included a lot of spitting, screaming children, and the beautiful squat toilets.
By the time we get from Pokhara to Besisahar, it is around lunchtime. We are ready to stretch our legs and hit the road.
Though, before we can think about doing that it is necessary to check into the TIMS office so they can keep track of us on the trail. As we were on a bus with a whole bunch of tourists doing the exact same thing there is quite a line for the TIMS check-in.
But now we are on the Annapurna Circuit so can take our time and enjoy nature.
Besisahar To Bhulbhule Local Bus
After checking into the TIMS office we decide the best option for us is to take a local bus from Besisahar to Bhulbhule.
The problem is this would not arrive for another hour.
I convince a shop owner to let me use the bathroom and we sit back and watch the majority of the group bargain with jeep drivers to take them further up the trail.
About The Local Bus From Besisahar To Bhulbhule
The bus costs $1.50 / 200 NRS and it is impossible to miss as the large brightly colored vehicle rolls up the street.
We load onto the small bus, ducking to avoid hitting our heads on the roof and squeezing into a seat. It is obvious this is a local bus rather than a tourist bus as only a small Nepali person could comfortably fit on this seat.
Not some white westerner who is nearly 6 feet.
Holding on tight around the corners and over the many bumps in the road I cannot wait to get out and start walking. I must say that the bus journeys in Nepal have taught me to have a lot of patience.
Finally arriving in Bhulbhule we pile out like sardines in a tin. Some people we meet on the tourist bus decide to stay on until the last stop of Ngadi and have lunch before starting their trek.
We decide to deal with it, eat my first bite of the day, a Snickers bar, and continue the walk.
Hiking Bhulbhule to Ngadi
Waving goodbye to the bus as it splashes through the puddles we follow walking behind until it disappears around a corner.
Now it was time for the last part of the journey from Pokhara to Bahundanda. Passing by a fast-moving river and large concrete industrial buildings, this is the part of the trek often recommended to miss. With pothole and puddle-filled roads, it certainly is nothing exciting, but we are happy just to be off the buses.
We are using Maps.Me to avoid getting lost there are a lot of different paths around here to nearby villages and no real signage. Locals point the way when we look confused so they are used to it.
It is a relatively flat walk between Bhulbhule and Ngadi, only increasing by 50 meters over 4 kilometers. Arriving in Ngadi we see our friends enjoying tea in the sunshine.
One of the locals invites us in for lunch, though we decide to head on. She then recommends a place to stay in Bahundanda, Mountain View Hotel.
🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Nepal: 12Go Asia
Ngadi to Bahundanda
Between Ngadi and Bahundanda is where you truly get the first beautiful views on the trail. With gorgeous green lush rice terraces lining the path, it makes the step walk a bit more worth it.
Stopping fairly often with my camera our other friends, a couple of Brits and Russians, catch up to us. We take a more leisurely pace and decide we will all stay in the same teahouse tonight.
Climbing 420 meters over 4 kilometers this is the first real uphill of the trail. Though, it’s nothing when compared with what is to come further on the Annapurna Circuit.
With one last push up the stairs, we arrive in Bahundanda greeted by our friends who have been ‘shopping around’ for a place to stay. We are the first group to arrive for the day so have the top pick of accommodation.
Staying in Bahundanda: Mountain View Hotel
After looking at a couple of options we decided collectively that the best deal for us would be Mountain View Hotel. Apart from the name they have clean-ish rooms, decent blankets, and nice views of the surrounding villages.
The room is free as long as we purchase dinner and breakfast through them. There is charging in the main building and there is wifi which costs 100 NRS / $0.75, though we find out the hard way it does not actually work.
Settling in we take turns jumping in the shower at the shared bathroom, trying to make the most of hot water before we get up to higher elevations where it is scarce.
Afterward, we head out to a little table to play cards and have dinner. I get a basic meal because of my upset stomach of Tibetan bread with jam.
Enjoying the mountain views until it gets dark we order breakfast for the morning and head off for an early sleep as it has been a long day traveling from Pokhara to Besisahar and then to Bahundanda.
Wrap Up: Day One On The Annapurna Circuit From Pokhara To Bhaundanda
After a busy day of transport, it was finally time to relax. Tomorrow would be our first day of purely hiking, no buses or taxis whatsoever, and I was looking forward it to.
Surprisingly day one of the Annapurna Circuit went pretty damn smoothly, apart from the cramped bus journeys. Nevertheless, everyone was feeling good and ready to day some more trekking tomorrow.
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Want more Annapurna Circuit Inspiration? Check out….
- DAY ONE: POKHARA TO BESISAHAR – STARTING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT
- DAY TWO: BAHUNDANDA TO TAL
- DAY THREE: TAL TO TIMANG
- DAY FOUR: TIMANG TO CHAME
- DAY FIVE: CHAME TO UPPER PISANG
- DAY SIX: UPPER PISANG TO NGAWAL ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT
- DAY SEVEN: NGAWAL TO MANANG ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT
- DAY EIGHT: MANANG REST DAY ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT
- DAY NINE: MANANG TO YAK KHARKA ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT
- DAY TEN: YAK KHARKA TO THORONG PHEDI (BASE CAMP)
- DAY ELEVEN: THORONG PHEDI TO HIGH CAMP
- DAY TWELVE: HIGH CAMP TO MUKTINATH VIA THORONG LA PASS
- DAY THIRTEEN: MUKTINATH TO JOMSOM
- DAY FOURTEEN: FLYING JOMSON TO POKHARA – FINISHING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT
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Photo credit: “Pokhara Bus Station” (CC BY 2.0) by TaylorAndYumi . “De Bhulbhule à Ngadi” & “De Ngadi (920m) à Chamje (1350m)” (CC BY 2.0) by Jerome Bon . “Room In Bahundanda” & “More Rice Fields” (CC BY 2.0) by Nick Watts .