The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a popular hiking route located in the Annapurna region of Nepal. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful and diverse trekking routes in the world, offering stunning views of the Himalayas, diverse landscapes, and rich cultural experiences.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek typically takes around 2-3 weeks to complete, and covers a distance of approximately 160-230 kilometers, depending on the route taken. The trek starts in the town of Besisahar and passes through various traditional Nepalese villages, including Pisang, Manang, and Thorong La Pass, before ending in Jomsom or Nayapul.
Along the way, trekkers are treated to breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks, including Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Manaslu, as well as lush forests, rivers, and waterfalls. The trek also offers opportunities to experience Nepalese culture firsthand, with visits to local monasteries, traditional villages, and markets.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is considered to be a moderately difficult trek, with a maximum elevation of 5,416 meters at Thorong La Pass. It is important for trekkers to be physically fit and acclimatized to the high altitude, as well as prepared for the variable weather conditions that can occur in the mountains.
Overall, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is an unforgettable adventure that offers a unique combination of natural beauty and cultural immersion. It is a must-do for anyone interested in hiking and exploring the Himalayas.
Diverse Landscapes: The Annapurna Circuit Trek takes you through a variety of landscapes, including lush green forests, terraced farmland, high altitude deserts, and snow-capped mountains.
Scenic Views: The trek offers stunning views of some of the highest peaks in the Himalayas, including Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Manaslu.
Thorong La Pass: One of the main highlights of the trek is crossing the Thorong La Pass, which is situated at an altitude of 5,416 meters and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
Cultural Experience: The trek provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and customs of the people living in the Annapurna region, including the Gurung, Thakali, and Manangi communities.
Holy Sites: The trek also takes you through some of the most revered religious sites in the region, including the Muktinath temple and the Braga monastery.
Natural Hot Springs: After a long day of trekking, you can relax in the natural hot springs at Tatopani, which are said to have healing properties.
Local Cuisine: You can sample some of the delicious local cuisine, including dal bhat (rice and lentils), momos (dumplings), and thukpa (noodle soup).
Challenging Terrain: The Annapurna Circuit Trek is considered to be one of the most challenging treks in Nepal, with steep ascents and descents, and high altitude terrain.
Wilderness Experience: The trek takes you through remote areas with no road access, providing a true wilderness experience.
The first day of the Annapurna Circuit Trek starts with a drive from Kathmandu to Besishahar. It is a 6-7 hours drive covering a distance of 185 km. The drive goes through the Prithvi Highway, which is a scenic route with views of terraced fields, rivers, and green hills. The road is bumpy and dusty in some sections, but the journey is enjoyable nonetheless.
Once you reach Besishahar, you will switch to a local jeep or bus to reach Chamje, which is another 2-3 hours drive. The road is narrow and winding, with steep cliffs on one side and a roaring river on the other. The drive can be nerve-wracking for some, but the views are breathtaking. You will pass through small villages, suspension bridges, and waterfalls along the way.
Chamje is a small village situated at an altitude of 1,410 m/4,625 ft. It is the starting point of the trek, and you will spend the night here. The village has basic lodges and tea houses where you can rest and acclimatize to the altitude.
The second day of the Annapurna Circuit Trek begins with an early breakfast in Chamje, followed by a challenging ascent to the village of Tal (1,700 m/5,577 ft).
After reaching Tal, the trail levels out somewhat and becomes more gentle as it passes through several small villages. Along the way, you'll see traditional Nepali homes, fields of crops, and perhaps even some wildlife like monkeys and birds.
The final stretch of the day's trek takes you from Bagarchhap to Dharapani, where you'll spend the night. This segment of the trail is relatively easy and follows the Marsyangdi River as it winds through the forest. Dharapani is a small village with basic amenities, including lodges, teahouses, and shops. It's a good place to rest and refuel before continuing on to higher elevations.
The third day of the trek begins early in the morning with a nutritious breakfast. The trekking route today is relatively moderate and involves passing through beautiful landscapes and dense forests.
From Dharapani, the trail goes uphill for a while before leveling out and descending through lush pine and rhododendron forests. As the trek continues, the trail opens up to reveal stunning views of the Manaslu and Annapurna mountain ranges. The trek then proceeds through several beautiful valleys before reaching the village of Chame, the district headquarters of Manang.
Chame is a bustling town with several shops, guesthouses, and restaurants. Trekkers can take some time to explore the town and interact with the locals. They can also visit the hot springs located just outside the town.
Today’s trek will take you through beautiful forests of pine and oak, as well as small villages with traditional Tibetan architecture. You’ll start by crossing a bridge over the Marsyangdi River and ascending up the valley to the village of Telekhu. From there, you’ll continue on a steep climb to a ridge, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Annapurna II and Pisang Peak.
As you continue, you’ll pass through more villages and cross several streams before arriving at Pisang. This town is located at the base of a hill and has a beautiful monastery with intricate wall paintings and statues. You can also explore the town and interact with locals, who are friendly and welcoming.
Tonight, you’ll stay in a teahouse in Pisang, enjoying the cozy atmosphere and delicious food before settling in for a good night’s sleep.
Today, we continue our journey from Pisang to Manang, which takes around 5-6 hours. We start our trek early in the morning as we have to cover a long distance today. Along the way, we also get to see breathtaking views of the Annapurna and Gangapurna mountain ranges.
After a long trek, we finally reach the beautiful village of Manang, which is located at an altitude of 3,540 meters. This village is famous for its unique culture and traditions. We can explore the village and visit its monasteries and ancient temples. We can also interact with the locals and learn about their way of life.
An acclimatization day in Manang is an essential part of the itinerary for trekkers going to the Annapurna Circuit. It is necessary to stay at least a day in Manang to acclimatize to the high altitude and prevent altitude sickness.
Manang is a beautiful village located at an altitude of 3,540 meters above sea level. The village offers fantastic views of the Annapurna range and surrounding peaks. The village also has several monasteries and chortens, making it a great place to explore the Tibetan-Buddhist culture.
On an acclimatization day, trekkers usually take a short hike to higher elevations to get used to the altitude. The hike could be to Gangapurna Lake or up to the viewpoint above the village, which offers stunning views of the Annapurna range.
Trekkers also use this day to rest and recover from the previous days' trekking. They can also explore the village, visit the local shops, and interact with the locals to learn more about their lifestyle and culture.
Today we will leave Manang and head towards Yak Kharka, which is located at an altitude of 4,110 m/13,485 ft. The trek will take around 3-4 hours and cover a distance of 9 km.
Along the way, we will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Annapurna mountain range, including Gangapurna, Annapurna III, and Tilicho Peak. We will also see the impressive rock formations that make up the Thorong La Pass, which we will cross in a few days.
As we approach Yak Kharka, the terrain becomes more barren, and we will see yaks grazing on the hillsides. We will spend the night in a tea house in Yak Kharka, where we can rest and acclimatize to the high altitude before continuing our trek.
Today we will continue our trek towards the high altitude Thorong Phedi. The trail initially climbs steeply out of Yak Kharka through a rocky terrain. The route passes through several pastures and along the river. We will have a gradual ascent up to the village of Ledar.
From Ledar, we will continue our climb towards Thorong Phedi. The trail passes through a narrow canyon and we will have to cross a few suspension bridges over the river. The climb becomes steeper as we approach Thorong Phedi. We will have an early lunch and spend the rest of the day resting and acclimatizing to the altitude.
Thorong Phedi is a small village that is situated at the base of the Thorong La Pass. It is a popular resting place for trekkers who are attempting the pass the next day. The village has a few lodges and shops that sell basic supplies. We will spend the night in one of the lodges and prepare ourselves for the challenging trek over the Thorong La Pass.
Today is the day we reach the highest point of the Annapurna Circuit Trek, Thorong La Pass at an altitude of 5,416 m/17,769 ft. We start early in the morning, around 4-5 am, to avoid strong winds and reach the pass before it gets too late. The initial part of the trail is steep and challenging, but as we ascend, the views of the surrounding peaks become more and more breathtaking.
We take slow and steady steps, making sure to stay hydrated and take breaks when needed. The final stretch before reaching the pass is particularly challenging, with steep inclines and thin air making it difficult to breathe. But the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the pass and the stunning views of the Himalayan range make it all worth it.
After taking some time to rest and take in the view, we start our descent towards Muktinath. The trail is steep and rocky at first, but gradually becomes easier as we descend. We pass through the small village of Chabarbu, which is famous for its traditional stone houses and breathtaking views of the Dhaulagiri mountain range.
Today is the tenth day of the trek, and we will be moving towards Marpha, which is situated at an altitude of 2670m or 8760ft. The trek will take us around 6-7 hours to complete.
We will begin our journey early in the morning, after having breakfast in Muktinath. The trail to Marpha is quite steep, and we will be descending for the most part of the trek. The path takes us through the Kali Gandaki river valley, which is known for its strong winds.
The trail to Marpha is also famous for its apple orchards. Marpha is known for producing some of the best apples in Nepal. We will get to taste some of these delicious apples and enjoy the scenic beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Today's trek will take us from Marpha to Lete, which is located at an elevation of 2,480 m (8,135 ft). The total duration of the trek will be around 6-7 hours.
We start our trek by descending towards the Kali Gandaki River and crossing it via a suspension bridge. We then walk on the western bank of the river through the quaint village of Tukuche, which offers a beautiful view of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountains.
After lunch, we continue our trek towards Lete, which is a small village surrounded by lush green forests. The village is known for its beautiful waterfalls and scenic views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.
Today is our twelfth day of the trek, and we will be heading from Lete to Tatopani. Our trek today will take about 5-6 hours to complete, covering a distance of approximately 15 km. The trail today is mostly downhill, as we will be descending from the Lete village, which is located at an altitude of 2,440 m, to Tatopani, which is at an altitude of 1,200 m.
As we approach Tatopani, we will be greeted by the natural hot springs, which are believed to have healing properties. After a long day of trekking, we can soak our tired muscles in the hot springs and relax. Tatopani is also known for its apple orchards, and we can enjoy the fresh apples and apple pies here.
Today, we will start our trek from Tatopani to Ghorepani. We will have to walk for around 7-8 hours, covering a distance of 17 km.
The highlight of today's trek will be the climb to Poon Hill, which is located at an altitude of 3,210 m. This is one of the best vantage points to witness the breathtaking views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. We will also get to see the sunrise from here, which is truly a mesmerizing experience.
After spending some time at Poon Hill, we will continue our trek towards Ghorepani. We will cross several small villages and streams on the way, and finally reach Ghorepani in the evening.
On day 14 of your trek in the Annapurna region, you will wake up early to begin your hike to Poon Hill. Once you reach Poon Hill, you will be able to witness the sun rising over the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges, casting a golden glow over the entire landscape. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one that you will never forget.
After enjoying the sunrise view, you will trek down to Tadapani, a beautiful village surrounded by lush forests and stunning mountain views. The trek from Poon Hill to Tadapani takes around 5-6 hours and is mostly downhill, with some steep sections. Along the way, you will pass through picturesque villages and see some of the local wildlife, such as monkeys and birds.
After a relaxing night in Tadapani, we continue our journey towards Ghandruk, one of the largest Gurung villages in the Annapurna region. The trail descends through a dense forest of rhododendron, oak, and maple trees, offering stunning views of the Annapurna and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) peaks. We will also cross a few small streams and waterfalls along the way.
As we reach Ghandruk, we will be greeted by the traditional Gurung houses, beautifully decorated with intricate wood carvings and prayer flags. We can explore the village and learn about the culture and traditions of the Gurung people.
In the evening, we can enjoy the panoramic views of the Annapurna and Machhapuchhre peaks from our hotel or guesthouse in Ghandruk.
The trek from Ghandruk to Nayapul is a relatively easy and downhill walk, which takes around 4-5 hours to complete. The trail descends through beautiful terraced fields and small villages, offering stunning views of the Annapurna and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) mountains.
Once you reach Nayapul, you can either take a bus or hire a taxi to Pokhara, which is about a 1-2 hour drive away. Pokhara is a beautiful lakeside city and a popular tourist destination in Nepal. There are plenty of accommodations, restaurants, and activities to do in Pokhara, such as boating on the Phewa Lake, visiting the International Mountain Museum, or taking a scenic flight over the Himalayas.
Overall, the trek from Ghandruk to Nayapul and the drive to Pokhara is a great way to end your Annapurna Circuit trek and experience the beauty of the Himalayas and the culture of Nepal.
The drive from your current location to Kathmandu can take around 6-7 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. You will be traveling through the scenic countryside of Nepal, with beautiful views of mountains, rivers, and valleys.
Overall, the drive back to Kathmandu can be a beautiful and memorable experience, as you take in the sights and sounds of Nepal's countryside. Just remember to take your time, stay safe, and enjoy the journey!
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a popular trekking route in Nepal that takes you through varied landscapes, remote mountain villages, and high passes. It is considered one of the best treks in the world.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek usually takes around 18 to 21 days to complete, depending on the route and your pace.
The best time to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek is from March to May and September to November when the weather is clear and dry. However, it is possible to do the trek throughout the year.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a strenuous trek that involves long days of walking, high altitude, and steep ascents and descents. However, with proper preparation and training, anyone with a moderate level of fitness can complete the trek.
Yes, you need a trekking permit to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek. You will need to obtain the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Trekkers' Information Management System (TIMS) card.
The highest point on the Annapurna Circuit Trek is the Thorong La Pass, which is at an altitude of 5,416 meters.
There are a variety of accommodation options available on the Annapurna Circuit Trek, including guesthouses, tea houses, and lodges. Most of the accommodations offer basic facilities such as a bed, blanket, and a shared bathroom.
While it is possible to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek without a guide, it is recommended to hire one for safety and convenience. A guide can help you navigate the trail, arrange accommodations and meals, and provide insights into the local culture and customs.
You should pack warm clothing, comfortable hiking shoes, a backpack, a sleeping bag, a water bottle, a first-aid kit, and other essential items such as sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is generally safe, but there are some risks associated with high altitude and unpredictable weather conditions. It is important to take proper precautions and follow the guidance of your guide to ensure a safe and enjoyable trek.
The best seasons for Annapurna Circuit Trek are autumn (September to November) and spring (March to May). During these seasons, the weather is generally stable, and the skies are clear, offering stunning views of the mountains. The temperature is mild during the day and cold at night, making it perfect for trekking.
In the autumn season, the foliage turns golden, and the air is crisp, making for breathtaking scenery. In the spring season, the rhododendrons and other flowers are in bloom, and the entire region is painted in a riot of colors.
The monsoon season (June to August) brings heavy rainfall and landslides, making the trek challenging and dangerous. The winter season (December to February) brings extreme cold and snow, making it difficult to trek, especially at higher altitudes. Therefore, it is not recommended to trek during these seasons.
There are two permits required for the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal.
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP): This permit is mandatory for all trekkers entering the Annapurna Conservation Area. You can obtain this permit from the Nepal Tourism Board office in Kathmandu, Pokhara or directly from the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) office in Besisahar.
Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) Card: This card is also mandatory for all trekkers in Nepal. The card helps to keep a record of trekkers in the area for their safety and security. You can obtain the TIMS card from the Nepal Tourism Board office or Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) office in Kathmandu or Pokhara.
It is recommended to carry a copy of these permits during the trek. Please note that the permit fees may vary depending on the season and nationality of the trekker.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the most popular and beautiful treks in Nepal, attracting thousands of visitors each year. During this trek, you can expect a variety of accommodation options, ranging from basic tea houses to more luxurious lodges. Here are some of the accommodation options you can expect during the Annapurna Circuit Trek:
Tea houses: These are basic lodges that offer a bed, a shared bathroom, and simple meals. Tea houses are the most common type of accommodation along the trek, and they are usually run by local families.
Guesthouses: Guesthouses are more comfortable than tea houses and often have private rooms with attached bathrooms. Some guesthouses also have communal areas where you can relax and socialize with other trekkers.
Lodges: Lodges are more upscale accommodations that offer private rooms with attached bathrooms, hot showers, and other amenities such as Wi-Fi and electricity. Lodges are generally more expensive than tea houses or guesthouses, but they offer greater comfort and convenience.
Camping: If you prefer to camp, there are designated camping areas along the trek where you can set up your tent. However, camping requires more equipment and planning than staying in tea houses or lodges.
It's important to note that accommodations along the Annapurna Circuit Trek can vary in quality and availability depending on the season and location. It's always a good idea to book your accommodations in advance during peak season to ensure availability.
During the Annapurna Circuit Trek, guides and porters play an essential role in making the trip successful and comfortable. Here is everything you need to know about them:
A guide is an experienced and trained professional who helps you navigate through the trail, provides you with valuable insights about the local culture and traditions, and ensures your safety throughout the trek. They speak English and have extensive knowledge about the region, including the history, geography, and flora and fauna.
They are also trained to administer first aid in case of an emergency. They help you with route planning, food and accommodation arrangements, and act as a liaison between you and the locals. They can also help you with translation and communication with the locals.
A porter is responsible for carrying your luggage, including your backpack and other essentials, and makes your trek a lot easier. They are usually local villagers who are physically fit and experienced in trekking. They carry your belongings on their back and move at their own pace, usually arriving at the teahouse or lodge before you.
They are usually hired on a per day basis and can carry up to 25 kg. They are also an integral part of the trekking industry in the Annapurna region and contribute significantly to the local economy.
It is important to treat your guides and porters with respect and kindness. They work hard to make your trek a memorable experience and deserve to be treated well. You can also show your appreciation by tipping them at the end of the trek. The recommended tipping amount is around USD 10-15 per day for the guide and USD 8-10 per day for the porter.
Trekking gear: Hiking boots, trekking pants, thermal innerwear, woolen socks, waterproof jacket, and gloves are some of the essential trekking gear you need to carry during the Annapurna Circuit trek.
Sleeping bag: A good quality sleeping bag is a must-have as temperatures can drop significantly at night in the mountains.
Trekking poles: Trekking poles help reduce the strain on your knees and give you extra stability on the trail.
Water bottle: Staying hydrated is crucial during the trek. Carry a water bottle or a hydration pack to keep yourself hydrated.
First aid kit: Carry a first aid kit that includes essentials like bandages, painkillers, antiseptic cream, etc. in case of any emergencies.
Sunscreen and sunglasses: The sun's UV rays can be harsh at high altitudes. Carry sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes.
Headlamp/flashlight: The trek involves early morning and late evening hikes. A headlamp or flashlight will come in handy during these times.
Power bank: A power bank will help keep your electronic devices charged during the trek.
Snacks: Carry high energy snacks like energy bars, chocolates, nuts, and dried fruits to keep yourself fueled during the trek.
Cash: It is advisable to carry cash as there are no ATMs on the trek. You will need cash for meals, accommodation, and other expenses during the trek.
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