One of the Best Trekking Adventures In Nepal is Annapurna Circuit Trek. The trek is packed with everything a mountain lover would hope for while on a trip. Only in 1980, the Annapurna sanctuary was opened for tourism and treks. Since then, the expedition has become one of the most popular treks of all time. The trail leads you amongst beautiful forests, filled with Rhododendron trees and Alpine trees. You get the best views of the surrounding mountains around the Annapurna Range. You will also come across the hot water springs on this trip. So let us learn more about the best trekking destination in Nepal under the following categories:
- Nepal Tourism
- A brief intro of Pokhara
- What to explore in Annapurna Circuit Trek?
- Itinerary for Annapurna Circuit Trek
- Which is the best time to go for Annapurna Circuit Trek?
Nepal is a small landlocked country in Asia. Though small, the country is rich in heritage and culture. It has numerous Hindu temples and Buddhist Monasteries where people visit every day from everywhere. Nepal is also famous for having most of the highest peaks in the world within its territory. That is one of the key factors that has made Nepal famous among tourists. Consequently, tourism has become the main industry for the economy of Nepal. Every year, thousands of tourists from all over the world, visit Nepal. Not just for the fun of it or for the thrill of it. But for all of the things that have taken Nepal’s tourism to such huge heights.
Therefore it is safe to say that Nepal has a booming tourism industry. Due to the high demand of tourists, the Nepalese government has taken many initiatives for tourist sites. The trail leading to the mountains in the Himalayas are preserved in order to make your adventures fruitful. Not only this, but also the government takes action to see the lodges and tea houses are in good order. As a result, Nepal’s tourism has taken a monumental leap in providing the best traveling experience for the tourists.
A brief intro of Pokhara
Pokhara is situated in the Gandaki Pradesh province of Nepal. It is also the capital city of Gandaki Pradesh. Pokhara is the 2nd largest city in Nepal and is a gateway for many beautiful places in Nepal. It is located 200 km from Kathmandu. The city is famous for its enchanting Phewa Lake. The Annapurna Range falls within the valley of Pokhara. Pokhara is considered as the tourism capital of Nepal is the base for trekkers traveling to Annapurna Base camp. Pokhara is also home to a large number of elite Gurkha soldiers. The nearby hills around Pokhara are surrounded by Gurung Villages with few places belonging to the Khasi community. Small Magar communities are also present in the southern outlying hills.
The altitude of the place varies from 827 meters to 1740 meters. Therefore the weather there is a mixture of warm and cool breeze, but it is not so cold even during winters. Even though the nights can get chilly due to the wind coming from the Himalayas. The nightlife of Pokhara is also an active one. You can find live music and clubs and bars open for people at night. The porous underground layer of the Pokhara valley has favored the formation of caves. The City has many caves within its limit as well.
What to explore in Annapurna Circuit Trek?
As mentioned earlier, Annapurna Circuit Trek packs a lot of exciting elements to make your trip a splendid adventure. This trek is not only famous for your trekking experience. But also for the natural hot springs, the world’s deepest Kali Gandaki Gorge and the world’s highest lake (Tilicho Lake). It is also famous for the candid landscape and the stunning Ruptse Waterfall which falls on the trail.
The Annapurna Sanctuary is stretched over a huge area. A variety of Orchids, different colored rhododendron trees, fir and alpine trees fill the Annapurna sanctuary. Bamboo trees are also prominent in these areas. Over 400 species of bird and wild animals fill the dense sub-tropical forests. You can definitely come across a variety of birds, but you need to be lucky to see some mountain animals. For instance, animals like Marten, Deer, Langoor and the Snow Leopard are rarely seen in these parts.
Annapurna Circuit Trek takes you through many quaint villages inhabited by friendly faces, isolated Hamlets along with picture-perfect scenery. Lodges and cozy settlements called tea houses are where we stay during our trek. Apart from all this, the views you come across during your trip is of course, magnificent. You will have sightings of the many mountains ranges around the Annapurna region. Like Annapurna I, II, III, IV, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna South, Manaslu, and Macchapuchhre.
Itinerary for Annapurna Circuit Trek
Your exhilarating adventure for Annapurna Circuit Trek starts from Kathmandu, Nepal, where our headquarters are located. Once you reach the airport or our office at Thamel, our working staff will be assigned for your trip. You will be escorted to your hotel in Kathmandu and you can settle down first. In the evening, our staff will conduct a brief session on the importance of Acclimatization at higher altitudes. Rest for the day.
In the morning, we have the whole day for sightseeing. Our tour guide will take you to the holy places in Kathmandu. The first destination is Boudha Stupa, built in favor of the Lord Buddha. Then we visit the holy temple of Lord Shiva, Pashupati Nath. If time permits, we can go visit the Swayambhunath after a hearty lunch of Nepali cuisine. In the evening you can take a stroll through the bustling market of Thamel to get your last-minute shopping done. We rest for the day at the hotel.
After breakfast, we start off early and first drive to Besi Sahar (760 m). The road leading to Besi Sahar is well maintained. After reaching Besi Sahar, we begin our trek towards Bulbule. It is an easy and short walk with the Marya Sangdi river close by. After 2 hours, we reach Bulbule. You will be lead to the lodge there and you can freshen up as we rest for the night.
Early morning, we wake up and after breakfast head uphill. We will need to cross several suspension bridges to get across from Marsyangdi Khola. During the trek, we also come by small waterfalls and rice fields. After going through a small forest we reach the cliff at Jagat. It is a good viewpoint to see the Marsyandi Khola flowing in the foothills of the valleys surrounding it. At the tip of the cliff, you can see a cluster of beehives too. We continue further till we reach Chamje (1425m) and rest for the night at a village lodge.
The next day, we take the hike past narrow steep valleys and dense forests filled with Rhododendron, Pine and Bamboo trees. As we move forward, we reach a wooden bridge that takes us across and further uphill to a wide valley. The view is splendid from where you stand. We continue our ascent towards the village of Tal. Here we have our lunch before we continue. We walk past small fields of barley, wheat, and potato for a while till we reach Dharapani. You can refill your water caskets in one of the natural growing springs. From here we take a west turn through another set of fir and pine-filled forest, to reach Bagarchhap (2160m). We halt for the night here.
Next, we hike from Bagarchhap to Chame (2651m). The first few clicks will take us to the village of Danaque. It is a steep climb towards a few smaller villages in the area inhabited by Tamangs from there. The villages have great views of Mount Manaslu, Lamjung and Annapurna. You can also observe the change in landscape and house designs as you reach the Tibetan region. We continue on the trail till we go past Than Chowk, Kolo finally to reach Chame. Halting for the night here at a local tea house.
In the morning, we trek towards Pisang (3333m). First, we go beyond the old part of Chame. Then we climb up to Telekhu and thus continue to follow along and leveled trail through smaller forests. Until we reach Barthing. The trail takes us to a suspension where we need to cross the Marsyangdi river again on the south bank. Consequently, the route takes a steeper climb to reach a pine-forested ridge. The ridge levels again as we proceed further from Manang Valley’s upper region. Then after a few corners, we reach the village of Pisang. Here we halt for the night.
Next, we head towards the Manang district (3351m). Pisang actually stands as the starting point for the Upper region of the Manang district. As we make our way uphill, we reach the Tibetan styled village of Braga. The structural composition of the houses here is definitely unique as one can see for themselves. The village has the largest monastery in the district, the Braga Gomba. It is located on a high cliff with the best view of the entire village. And the interior as a wide array of statues on display. We leave Braga after lunch and head up till we make our way to Manang. Here we refresh ourselves and rest for the night.
An acclimatization session is scheduled for this day. Acclimatization is a very important process to adjust to the high altitude areas. It helps you to avoid sickness and at the same time, you can enjoy the trip to the fullest too. A short hike will be conducted to Khangsar in the afternoon, as a part of acclimatization. It is a beautiful place with a natural setting. We rest for the night once we are back at Manang.
I hope you are rejuvenated after the rest. This day we make our way towards Yak Kharka (4020m). We walk past tall trees towards the alpine grass and junipers strewn along the path. We come across a few meadows where you can see a few horses and yaks grazing in the fields. The slopes of Yak Kharka is a perfect location to spend the night with its serene surroundings. We rest for the night in the village.
In the morning, we trek to Letdar first as it helps in further acclimatization. The trail becomes steeper as we proceed to reach the east bank of Jarang Khola. After enjoying the spectacular view, we continue further to reach Thorung Phedi (4430 m). Vertical cliffs surround the peaceful village of Thorung Phedi. There are chances of coming across a few mountain animals in this area. The most common sightings are Lammergeiers and Griffons. Whereas you will have to be lucky to spot a blue sheep or a snow leopard loitering around the region. We halt for the night in the village.
After breakfast, we travel along the well-used route towards Thorung La (5416 m). The trek is a long one and can take up to 8 hours to reach the point. The trail has been used for a long time, and it is a comparatively easier ascent. Although the strong wind at the upper regions can make it a bit tough to walk steadily. The route is believed to have been used for herding sheep and yaks to and from Manang, for trading purposes. As we hike further, we reach Thorung La Pass.
The Thorung La pass is the main vantage point for wonderful views of Annapurna Range and Gangapurna. After taking in the magnificent view of the surrounding ranges, we rest for a while at such a great viewpoint. Thereafter, we descend towards the village of Muktinath (3800m). The descent will bring us among glorious views of the Dhaulagiri range at a distance. After a few clicks, the route becomes straighter as we enter grassy plains with serene meadows. A bit further and we reach Muktinath. We spend our night in the village.
Muktinath is famous for the Hindu Jwala Mai temple and several Buddhist monasteries. The village is a holy site where people from all over the world come and visit. Most of the people coming to Muktinath are either trekkers or people coming to pray at Jwala Mai temple. Within the temple is a spring, an eternal flame and 108 water sprouts pouring holy water. Having cold water poured over your head is really extreme at this altitude. But thousands of people come every day to take a walk beneath the 108 water sprouts early in the morning.
You can choose to take a bath in the early hours of the day if you want. But after breakfast, we take to the trail leading our way towards Jomsom (2720m). The trail leads us through grassy meadows, clear streams and trees bearing various fruits. Further down, we reach Kagbeni, where we have our lunch. After filling our stomachs, we hike down the Kali Gandaki valley till we reach Jomsom. The altitude has decreased drastically, so you might feel a bit warm. Jomsom is known for the cold wind that blows through the town frequently, however. We halt for the night at Jomsom lodge.
In the morning, we head downhill still. Make sure you know the technique of walking down a slope or a valley efficiently. As we make our way down we first reach the quaint village of Marpha. The route from Marpha to Tatopani takes us through the village of Chokhopani. This is a very recent route. We can get fantastic views of the Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, and Annapurna while walking on the trail. Mid-way we also come across natural hot water springs. We can spend some time here, and relax. After a while we continue downhill, then reach a suspension bridge. The bridge takes us past the KaloPani river, then finally we reach Tatopani (1189m). Here we halt for the night.
After having breakfast, we move towards Ghorepani (2855m). Mainly terraced fields and inclined farmlands make up the terrain of the villages we walk by. The hike gets steeper as we move further, and we come across Rhododendron trees, Magnolia trees, and other wildflowers. The landscape is greener as we proceed till we finally reach Ghorepani. Ghorepani, a small village previously used by traders as a resting spot. In a literal sense, ‘Ghorepani’ means ‘water for horses’. At Ghorepani, we can witness the wonderful view of the mountains in the evening sky. We halt for the night at a nearby tea house.
We wake up early today to get the best view of the sunrise from Poon Hill. Poon Hill is a great vantage point to witness the sight of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges as well. One cannot forget this spectacular view ever in his life. Poon Hill is also correctly known as a ‘Photographer’s Paradise’. We will stay there for some time, then head back to Ghorepani for our breakfast. After breakfast, we go downhill again and make our way towards Tikhedhunga. The valley is a fascinating sight, with the mountain ranges a bit far out in the distance now.
The trail is quite steep as well before we reach Tikhedhunga. We have our lunch in the village. After that, we trek further down the valley. The terrain is mostly terrace fields and grassy meadows before we reach Nayapul. We take a short drive back to Pokhara after we reach the village. Once we reach Pokhara, you will be taken to your hotel. You can choose to rest or agree to take a stroll around the city. It is back to civilization for the trip. We rest at the hotel there.
The next day, we can go for a short trip to Phewa Lake after breakfast. Thereafter we take 6-7 hours to drive back to Kathmandu. Upon reaching Kathmandu, you can take a stroll around Thamel bazaar and get your souvenirs to take back home. With this, your trip comes to an end. In the morning, depending on your flight plans, one of our staff will escort you to the airport.
Which is the best time to go for Annapurna Circuit Trek?
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a very popular trek. And as you can imagine, people from all over the world come to take the trip every season. The weather is a bit unpredictable in the Himalayas. But based on past expeditions, Spring and Autumn seasons are the best seasons to take the trek. However, being the best season also has its flaws. The rush of tourists during these two seasons is also promising. Travel agents usually have a tough time arranging the trek during the seasons.
So, if the booking clears through, you are up for a great experience. The sky is blue and the trail cleared with unobstructed views of the peaks during Spring and autumn. The weather is also peaceful after Winters and after Monsoons. You will find greenery and freshness all around the trail. Lots of birds and animals are also sighted during the Spring and Autumn seasons.
Monsoons are not the best time to come here. The trail is muddy and there are chances of getting injuries. Rain will only make the hike a disaster. Plus the cold at that altitude can make you fall sick easily. Winters also is not a good time to make the trek. The views and the trail can get really foggy. Some of the passes are blocked due to heavy snowfall. Snowfall is another reason the trek can be a hectic one. Some of the lodges and tea houses also remain closed during winters due to the harsh weather.