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Annapurna Circuit Trek – The best long distance trek in the world.
Annapurna Circuit Trek with an ever changing scenery surprisingly varied, is absolutely stunning at every turn. Annapurna Circuit Trek is a cross section of Nepal’s natural beauty and cultural variety . An amazing way to see the local culture, enjoy the local food, and take a tour around all the amazing scenery on this side of the Annapurna Himalayas. A challenging, but a rewarding hike through the Annapurna mountains the most wonderful area of Nepal Himalayas.
Annapurna Circuit Trek is the gateway to some of the most beautiful part of the world with rich history. A Trek around Annapurna Himal that is very challenging psychologically and physically, especially in winter. However the scenery is well worth it, especially if one is into photography. It also brings together like minded individuals who want the challenges, and it creates the opportunity for well founded group bonding and friendships
Also, known as Round Annapurna Trek it is 160Km to 230Km long, depending on the starting and finishing point of the trek. The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a long and demanding trek that challenges you physically by pushing you to do more. But the Annapurna Circuit trek will also stir you emotionally, while at the same time making you widen up your cultural vision through which you view the Nepal Himalayas and the world.
In addition to the stunning views, Annapurna Circuit Trek is the trek that feature a cultural touch too. That is if you do not want to disconnect totally from humanity. One trek where you interact and engage with local people, often by staying at home stays run by local families. Although the altitudes on the Annapurna Circuit Trek is high, but the climb is not technical. All you need to do is trek slow and steady, one foot at a time.
Round Annapurna Trek – Highlights of the Trek
Besides the breath taking scenery between Manang and Yak Kharka, Lower Pisang and upper Pisang, the main highlights of the Round Annapurna Trek is the change in the topography and the vegetation as you proceed on the trek. The vegetation changes from Banana and coffee plantation to Pine Forest to Knee deep snow in just a couple of days.
While enroute from Chame to Manag, it is recommended that trekkers take the high route to Upper Pisang, Ghyaru and then to Manang, as the mountain views are spectacular on this part of the trek.
Moreover, the three villages of Upper Pisang, Ghyaru and Ngawal are well preserved samples of Tibetan style villages still in their original state. Staying overnight in one of these villages also helps in acclimatization, since these villages are located higher than Manang.
Round Annapurna Trek – Starting and Finishing Point
Besisahar is the starting point and Birethanti the ending point of the Annapurna Circuit Trek . But nowadays most of the Trekkers drive till Jagat or Chame and end the trek in Jomsom. Also, the starting and finishing point this trek totally depends on the participant.
If you do not feel like trekking all the way than one can end the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Jomsom and fly out to Pokhara. But if you want to complete the Annapurna Circuit Trek, than one can trek further on to Ghorepani and Poon hill for beautiful view of the mountains that you had circled around to end the trek at Birethanti with a two hours Jeep drive back to Pokhara.
Side Trek to Tilicho Lake
An excellent add on to the Annapurna Circuit Trek is a visit to Tilicho Lake. Tilicho Lake situated at an altitude of 4990m is considered the highest glacial lake in the world. It is being said that without a side trek to Tilicho Lake this trek will be incomplete. You will need an extra three days for this side trek to Tilicho Lake.
Annapurna Circuit Trek is a fairly difficult trek for an average trekker as it involves trekking at high altitudes on varied terrain. The Trekking trail also involves climbing plenty of stone steps and this also adds to the difficulty level.
Best Time to Exolore
Being in the rain shadow, it is possible to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek the year round as most part of the trek route remain dry.
But, after having said that, April to May is good time to trek when the Annapurna Conservation Area is alight with a variety of Rhododendron flowers and wild primula. Trekking is also recommended at this time because of the mild weather which is very conducive for Trekking. A little haze can be seen from the lower altitude which soon vanishes. But because of the increasing temperature the lower region becomes a little humid and uncomfortable.
October to November is the best time to go on the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Due to the recently concluded monsoon rain the surrounding vegetation is refreshed and clean and the skies are clear for the mountain views. However, this is the busiest season and expect to see a lot of crowd.
December to March is the coldest season of the Annapurna Circuit trek and there will be plenty of snow in the higher altitude. Moreover, Thorung la Pass can get blocked too. However, the best part of trekking the Annapurna Circuit trek at this time is that there will be less crowd on the trail.
TRIP FACTS :
Group Departure 2022 (Ex-Kathmandu)
Private treks are available on request for a minimum of two persons
ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT TREK ITINERARY
Day 1: Drive Pokhara to Besisahar (820m/4Hrs). Drive further on to Jagat. Lodge.
Day 2: Trek Jagat to Dharapani (1860m/16Km/5Hrs). Lodge.
The first day of the Annapurna Circuit Trek from Jagat to Dharapani takes approximately five hours of moderate trekking and a 530m gain in altitude. Watch out for a beautiful waterfall just outside Jagat. Trek through Chamche a small village and stop by at the beautiful riverside town of Tal for lunch, before stopping for the night halt at Dharapani, deep in the valley with beautiful views of the river and the mountains around.
Day 3: Trek Dharapani to Chame (2610m/16Km/6Hrs). Lodge.
Hike from Dharapani to Chame starts with an relatively easy walk on a rough Jeep track with a few ups and downs till Danaqyu, a long village with some lodges. From here onwards it is a steep strenuous two hours and 500m climb to Timang on slippery surface and steep stone stairs. Timang to Thanchowk a small pretty village with a few lodges, is a steady descent of 100m as the trail goes through green fields filled with livestocks and the trail is pretty easy. This section of the track from Thanchowk to Koto is a bit rough, but the beautiful village with a few wooden houses set against the back drop of the green forest compensates for it. From Koto it is an extremely easy walk of 30 minutes till Chame. Chame is the District Headquarters of Manang, and is therefore, replete with a Bank and Police Headquarter.
Day 4: Trek Chame to Upper Pisang (3310m/15Km/4-5Hrs). Lodge.
One can skip the trek to Upper Pisang and hike directly to Lower Pisang where the trek is relatively easier and which can be done in a day. This way you can cut down the Annapurna Circuit Trek by two days.
Trek from Chame to Upper Pisang is an extremely scenic trek of six hours on the Annapurna Circuit Trek. A gain of 600m with the most amazing scenery on the Round Annapurna Trek. Bhartang is famous for Apples and one can try out the apple Pie while passing through. The trail from Bhartang to Dhukur Pokhari follows the Marsanygdi River and the snow capped mountains of the Annapurna Range presents a perfect backdrop to one the best hiking trail in the world, the Annapurna Circuit Trek. After Dhukur Pokhari the Annapurna Circuit Trek route climbs steadily up on a mountain side for 100m till Upper Pisang.
Day 5: Trek Upper Pisang to Ngawal (3680m/10Km/6Hrs). Lodge.
Trail from Upper Pisang to Ghyaru starts gently passing by a green lake in the middle of nowhere until we reach the infamous hill, where the path zig zags thirty times on a extremely steep hillside and it takes about an hour to cross this trail. Ghyaru is a beautiful village and presents the most picturesque views of Annapurna II, III & IV on this side of the Annapurna Circuit Trek. The first 3Km of the trail from Ghyaru to Ngawal ascends up to 500m and then drops down to the bustling village of Ngawal.
Day 6: Ngawal to Manang(3540m/10Km/5Hrs).
Ngwal to Humde is steep downhill path right up to the valley floor surrounded by forests and whole lot of plant life that Upper Pisang misses. From Humde the trail is gentle through large fields passing through Braka, a small village almost carved onto a rock face, and then on to Manang. The trail from Braga to Manang is an easy trail on the Jeep track.
Day 7: Rest/Acclimatization day at Manang. Lodge.
Hike to view Point above for beautiful view of Manang town below or take a one hour side trek to Gangapurna Lake, a stunning glacial lake near by. Which derives it’s name from the Mighty Gangapurna Mountain standing tall just besides it. Witnessing the Gangapurna Icefall can be a beautiful moment of your life here in the Annapurna Circuit Trek. In the Afternoon you can attend a talk on High Altitude in Manang organized by Himalayan Rescue Association, which provides lessons on Altitude sickness related topics. This an excellent way to fill up your acclimitization day in Manang and as well prepare for the long trek to Thorungla Pass to Muktinath.
Day 8: Trek Manang to Yak Kharka (4020m/10Km/5Hrs). Lodge.
The Jeep track ends here and only a thin trekking trail starts. There are two trails from Manang, one going to Tilicho Lake and the other to Thorung La Pass. You will need an additional two more days to trek to Tilicho Lake (4920m), considered to be biggest glacial lake of it’s kind in the world. It is being said Annapurna Circuit Trek without a side trek to Tilicho Lake is incomplete.
The trek from Manang to Yak Kharka with a distance of 10Km can be done in 5Hours. The trail starts with a slight uphill path to Tanki Manang or the old village where the inhabitants of Manang actually live. The Upper village is made up of stone buildings and flat roofs and the trail wanders through pathway between the buildings. The 3Km trek to Gunsang may be short but is not easy as the elevation gain is 300m with a steep uphill at the end of Tanki Manang. You can get amazing views of Manang down below. Gunsang is a small village with two lodges. The trail from Gunsang to Yak Kharka is above the tree line, with yaks and horses grazing on the hill sides. This part of the trek on the Annapurna Circuit Trek is comparatively easy with an altitude gain of just 150m and also the views of Chulu West Peak is incredible. Do not miss the sunset views on the Annapurna Range from Yak Kharka, it’s simply beautiful.
Day 9: Trek Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi (4450m/6Km/4Hrs). Lodge.
Thorung Phedi is the Base Camp for crossing the Thorungla Pass but some make High Camp also as their Base Camp. The trail on this day of Annapurna Circuit Trek starts with a gentle 1Km uphill to Churi Ledar with amazing views of the the Annapurna Range. After a short distance out of Churi Ledar the trail drops down to the valley below. A steep downhill on a rocky path. From the valley floor the trail climbs a steep path up to a ridge from here on the trail is on a path cut out on the side of a mountain. Be extra careful about the slide on this stretch about 30minutes before Thorung Phedi.
Day 10: Thorung Phedi – Thorung La pass (5416m) to Muktinath (3800m/16Km). Lodge.
Day 10 of the Annapurna Circuit Trek is the longest, the most strenuous and an epic day of the entire Annapurna circuit Trek. The Pinnacle of this Round Annapurna Trek is crossing the Thorungla Pass, also the highest point of this trek.The Sixteen kilometre trek to Muktinath takes more than twelve hours of trekking. The trek starts early in the morning (2am) in order to reach Thorungla Pass to catch the splendid views of the Annapurna mountains during sunrise, to appreciate the journey that you have undertaken, the Annapurna Circuit Trek. The first 1Km to Thorungla High Camp and a little further on is extremely steep 2hr of climbing, but the steep climb gets compensated by views that are out of the world. After the ridge above High Camp the trail is comparatively easy till Thorungla Pass. From Thorungla Pass to Charabu is a steep downhill on a rocky path and one needs to be extra careful not to hurt your knees. From Charabu to Mukninath it is easy downhill trek through large fields and bushes.
NOTE : You can also end the Annaapurna Circuit Trek by trekking to Jomsom and fly out to Pokhara, or continue the Round Annapurna Trek to Ghorepani and Poon hill for another Fantastic view of the Mountains that you had just circled
Day11: Trek Muktinath to Kagbeni (2800m/9.5Km). Lodge.
The trek from Muktinath to Kagbeni is on the Road and passes through the beautiful village of Jharkot with a monastery on a hill. Kagbeni is a beautiful village by the river side and worth exploring with old buildings and alley ways. It is also the gateway to Upper Mustang Area and needs a special permit and an extra fee of US$500 for ten days to visit Upper Mustang.
Day12: Trek Kagbeni to Marpha (2670m/15Km/5Hrs). Lodge.
From Kagbeni we follow the Ekle Bhatti Trail to reach Jomsom with views of the Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri Mountain showing up constantly. Most of the Trail to Marpha is gradual downhill and easy and takes about 5 to 6 hours to hike. Depending on the trekker. Marpha is Apple country and it is worth trying the different varieties of Apple Products that are on sale here. Marpha is a unique village mainly influenced by the Tibetan Culture, where a sizeable amount of Tibetan Refugees have set up shops.
Day13: Trek Marpha to Kalopani (2535m/17Km/7Hrs). Lodge.
One can either follow the Road or the trekking trail to Kalopani passing through the beautiful villages of Tukuche (4Km/2Hr). Tukuche located in the Kali Gandaki Gorge is the centre of Thakali People and is famous for Thakali Food. From Tukuche the trail is undulating through small villages of Kobang and Larjung.
Day14: Trek Kalopani to Tatopani (1200m/20Km/7Hrs). Lodge.
The trail is sufficiently easy to trek on with no gain in altitude and after seven hours of trekking we get a chance to dip our legs in the hot water spring that this place boasts of.
Day15: Trek Tatopani to Ghorepani (2870m/14Km). Lodge.
Today the trail to Ghorepani climbs steadily through thick forest until we reach Shikha. The view of the Kali Gandaki Gorge Down below and of the Dhaulagiri Mountains high on the horizon provides a beautiful view that justifies for the climb up. From her it’s through the Rhododendron forest till Ghorepani.
Day16: Early morning climb Poon Hill (3Km) for sunrise views. Trek to Birethanti (1025m/13Km/7Hrs). Lodge.
Day 17: Drive to Pokhara. Hotel. Annapurna Circuit Trek ends.
ANNAPURNA TREK COST INCLUDES:
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Note: The above itinerary is a sample intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule. Numerous factors such as weather, road conditions, physical ability of the participants etc. may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on the trail. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of trip participant’s safety, comfort and general well being.
Recommendations: Annapurna Circuit Trek is very strenuous and demands top physical form. A physical fitness check-up is a must. Even the experienced trekker should prepare for 2 to 3 months prior to the trek.
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ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT TREK COST INCLUDES:
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