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Annapurna Circuit Treks - 20 Days

Annapurna Circuit Treks

The Annapurna Circuit, without any doubt, taken the crown for being the number one trekking trail in the whole world. This trek route was first opened for foreign trekkers since 1977. It offers an impressive snow-capped view of the Himalayas, astonishing views of pastoral life and terraced rice fields carved out greenery. This horseshoe-shaped route circles the entire Annapurna range. It covers roughly 300 km of walking through various terrain. This trek follows the ancient but beaten path used as trade route between Nepal and Tibet in ancient times, mainly for trading “Salt.”

The route is dominated by high hills and mountainous landscape of which most of the parts are still inaccessible. One can have a pleasant time by exploring the natural wonders, observing tribal and cultural lifestyles and sightings of flora and fauna of the Great Himalaya trails.

The journey starts from Jagat (1,100 m/3,608 ft) and passes through different villages. These villages have a variety of cultural and ethnic background. The highest altitude in this trek is the Thorong La which sits at 5,416 m/17,768 ft. The highlights of this trek includes the high trail from Upper Pisang through Ghyaru and Ngawal to Braga (its ancient Gompa) with magnificent views of Annapurna II and IV. Manang (3540 m) is a village which caters well for trekkers while offering magnificent views of Gangapurna and Annapurna III. The high pass over the Thorung La (5416 m) summit offer exceptional views in all directions. Kagbeni is an ancient village located in the valley of the Kali Gandaki River and is the gateway to Upper Mustang. The Kali Gandaki is the world’s deepest gorge.

Trekker passing this trail in the Annapurna region will have an impressive observation of Manang, Jomsom and Muktinath region and also the diversity of landscape and culture and will go home with a memory of a lifetime.

Spring (March – May) and Autumn (September – November) are the most popular months for this trek. The Around Annapurna Circuit trek costincludes transport to and from Kathmandu, full accommodation whilst on trek, all meals, drinking water and hot showers. Your guide will brief you each evening about the following day’s trek and variations to the itinerary will be made to suit the needs of your group.

The Annapurna Circuit, without any doubt, taken the crown for being the number one trekking trail in the whole world. This trek route was first opened for foreign trekkers since 1977. It offers an impressive snow-capped view of the Himalayas, astonishing views of pastoral life and terraced rice fields carved out greenery. This horseshoe-shaped route circles the entire Annapurna range. It covers roughly 300 km of walking through various terrain. This trek follows the ancient but beaten path used as trade route between Nepal and Tibet in ancient times, mainly for trading "Salt."

The route is dominated by high hills and mountainous landscape of which most of the parts are still inaccessible. One can have a pleasant time by exploring the natural wonders, observing tribal and cultural lifestyles and sightings of flora and fauna of the Great Himalaya trails.

Day 1
Arrive Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264ft)

Our team member will be waiting outside the airport terminal a few meters from the exit door. Please check your name at Show card. He will bring you to hotel in Kathmandu. The drive from the airport to the hotel is around 20 minutes. After refreshment, we will brief your plan more visibly.

Day 2
Full day Kathmandu City excursion

After breakfast, proceed for sightseeing tours to world heritage sites of Pashupatinath Temple-the holiest Hindu Temple on the bank of sacred Bagmati River, Bodhanath Stupa-the biggest Buddhist Stupa architecture in the world! Patan Durbar Square is the oldest city in the Kathmandu valley with age old tradition also called Lalitpur-the city of fine arts. The visit covers the Durbar Square, the Krishna temple, the Kumbheswore temple, the Golden temple and many more. Swayambhunath Stupa-the 2000 years old legendary stupa on the hillock also nick-named as monkey temple.

Day 3
Kathmandu - Jagat (1 100m/3 608ft): 8-10 hrs drive

fter an early breakfast, a private car drive 170km westwards to the trekking point. The road winds over passes through the forested middle hills to link Hindu villages and farming communities, south of the Himalayan highlands. It follows and crosses several major rivers flowing from the glacial peaks to the north; including the Trisuli Khola, a popular rafting destination. At Dumre, we turn north, on a secondary road into the Marsyangdi Nadi Valley to Besi Sahar before continuing up a minor road to Syange (with a high waterfall) and on to Jagat (a former toll station on the ancient salt-trade route to Tibet).We will follow the Marsyangdi River for six days, to near its source on the North Annapurna Glacier.

Overnight in Jagat at Lodge

Day 4
Jagat - Dharapani (1 960m/6 430ft): 5-6 hrs

After breakfast the trail descends, then climbs through rocky forest to the tiny Tibetan village of Chamje. Cross the suspension bridge over the Marsyangdi Nadi, then climb steadily to the delightful village of Tal (1700m), a former lakebed. The trail continues past barley, wheat and potato fields and through pine forests before re-crossing the river near Khotro, then and on to Dharapani: one of the larger Tibetan villages in the Manang valley, at the confluence of two rivers.

Day 5
Dharapani - Chame (2 710m/8 891ft): 5-6 hrs

Today the valley swings westwards: we negotiate steep forested ridges and cross several landslides as we ascend the southern side of the valley. Sensational views of the Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, and Annapurna IV (7 525m/24 688ft) will gradually rise to our left; and come into full view as we approach the large mani wall before Chame. This is the district headquarters of the Manang Valley.

Overnight in Chame.at Lodge

Day 6
Chame - Pisang (3 300m/10 824ft): 5-6 hrs

A steep and narrow path on the north bank, through a dense ‘Christmas tree’ and pine forest, leads to a gigantic curved, ice-carved rock face above Bhratang: which rises 1500m above the river – and takes an hour to pass. Beyond the village, and after walking along an impressive ledge hewn from a vertical cliff face, the path re-crosses to the southern side of the river and ascends, opposite the wall, into the classic U-shaped upper Manang Valley between two giant snow peaks. The views become more exciting as we approach the split-village of Pisang.

Overnight in Lower Pisang.at Lodge

Day 7
Pisang – Ngawal (3 660m/12 008ft): 4-5 hrs

There are two routes that we can follow today. The lower, easier route follows the river to Mungji where it meets the upper route and continues to Braga and Manang.

The more challenging upper route into the dry Nyesyang district begins from Upper Pisang and offers some of the finest scenery on the trek. Ghyaru is a fascinating cluster-village with beautifully constructed stone houses surrounded by fields of wheat, barley, buckwheat, potatoes and beans: crops that can cope with a short growing season. Then a long high traverse with great scenery, up and down the valley, to Ngawal: an interesting village with Gompa and ancient Juniper trees.

Overnight in Ngawal.at Lodge

Day 8
Ngawal – Manang (3 540m/11 615ft): 3-4 hrs.

The trail now gradually descends to Mungji which has a nunnery above the village. The clustered houses of picturesque Braga are built one above the other, up a craggy slope with an impressive Gompa at the top. It is the largest, oldest and best endowed gompa in the valley. Manang is a short walk from Braga.

A morning rest in Manang and a short walk in the afternoon will further assist with acclimatisation: before the two challenging high altitude days to come. Take a walk to either Bocho Gompa or Gangapurna Lake. Visit the Himalayan Rescue Association, after 03:00pm, for information about Altitude Mountain Sickness and its symptoms.

Overnight in Manang at Lodge

Day 9
Manang: Acclimatisation and exploration day

Today is a scheduled acclimatization day. It should include a short walk to higher altitudes and back: to prepare for the two challenging high altitude days to come. Take a walk to either the Bocho Gompa or the Gangapurna Lake. Visit the Himalayan Rescue Association, after 03:00pm, for information about Altitude Mountain Sickness and its symptoms.

Overnight in Manang at Lodge

Day 10
Manang - Yak Kharka (4 110m/13 484ft): 3-4 hrs

From Manang the trail crosses a stream, climbs to the village of Tengi above, then continues to climb out of the Marsyangdi Valley; turning northwest up the valley of the Jarsang Khola. A slow gradual ascent is the key to avoiding altitude sickness.

The trail passes a few summer pastures and scrub juniper, as it steadily gains elevation. It climbs above Gunsang, a cluster of flat mud roofs just below the trail and continues to the hamlet of Ghyanchang where it drops to cross a tributary. It continues to rise through meadows: where horses and yaks graze. After crossing a small wooden bridge, it climbs to reach an ancient mani wall and the small pleasant village of Yak Kharka; and good views.

Overnight in Yak Kharka.at Lodge

Day 11
Yak Kharka - Thorung Phedi (4 600m/15 092ft): 3-4 hrs

A short day’s slow, steady climb up another 500m leads to the last outpost before the pass. The path meanders through desolate high scenery with scrub vegetation gradually giving way to rock, scree and an exposed path over a landslide before reaching the trekker-settlement of Thorung Phedi (foot of the hill). It is just a large teahouse with room for some 150 trekkers and a warm cosy dining room. It closes during the winter months.

Further up the “hill” is a small stone tea house on an exposed ridge, manned during the day by folk from the hotel, which is known as High Camp. It is wiser to sleep at Thorung Phedi than to climb to this elevation for a night and shorter summit day.

Overnight in Thorong Phedi at Lodge

Day 12
Thorung Phedi - Muktinath (3 800/12 467ft): 8-10 hrs

We reach the climax of our Annapurna circuit trek today: a lifetime unforgettable experience to cross this famous high pass – requiring a 1000m ascent and a 1600m descent. Thorung La (5416m) is a col between Thorung Peak (6 211m/20 378ft) and the impressive cliffs of Yakwakang (6 482m/15 434ft). From the flag bedecked summit are snowy views to the east (behind). To the west (ahead) is impressive desolate brown scenery down into the rain-parched region of the Kali Gandaki/Mustang Valley far below. On the opposite side of the valley the huge Dhaulagiri range and the mountains of Dolpo stretch to the horizon. This scene is an extension of the Tibetan highlands to the north.

From the hotel the path climbs steeply up the icy high-altitude route: but the promise of yet more tantalising views over every rise will spur you on. At one point it is necessary to climb the side of an ancient moraine, beyond which the path is rises more gently.

After a short rest and a surfeit of photos on the summit, the long drop to Muktinath must begin. At first the path drops steeply over loose gravel, which needs care. Later it becomes rockier and easier to negotiate. This long descent is rewarded by the scenery and the chance to “sleep low” again.

The important Buddhist and Hindu pilgrimage site of Muktinath will be reached in the late afternoon. Behind a very long surrounding wall and thousands of prayer flags is an oasis of springs, banyan and peepul trees with a Vishnu temple and a Buddhist shrine: testament to the mutual religious harmony in Nepal. The Tibetan name for this place, Chu Mig Tsa Gye, means ‘108 springs.’

A further 10 minute walk leads to the bustling village of Ranipauwa and our tea house for the night. The region is collectively known as Muktinath.

Overnight in Muktinath at Lodge

Day 13
Muktinath - Tatopani (1 200m/3 937ft): 6-8 hrs drive

A road has been built from the lowlands as far as Muktinath, mostly along the old trekking trails. It is yet to be tarred and the daily winds that blow dust up the valley make hiking very unpleasant. So we will take a bus/jeep along the broad upper Kali Gandaki valley before dropping into the impressive gorge: the deepest in the world.

Cramped conditions are compensated for by the rugged scenery and the gradual return of vegetation. Marpha (off the road) is a beautiful stone village and important agricultural centre where large fruit orchards thrive on stock adapted to high altitude conditions. A change of vehicle is necessary for the lower section to Tatopani (hot springs) – where we leave the road and Buddhist culture, and trek again.

Overnight in Tatopani at Lodge

Day 14
Tatopani - Ghorepani (2 850m/9 350ft): 7-8 hrs

Our trail now climbs steeply up the Ghar Khola Valley which swings south east to the front of the Annapurna Massif. Much of the route is through glorious bird filled protected forests of oak, rhododendron, birch and magnolia. Villages such as Ghara, Phalate and Chitre are perched on high ridges with great views back towards Dhaulagiri or north to the Annapurnas. Ghorepani is a large tourist village below Poon Hill.

Overnight in Ghorepani

Day 15
Ghorepani - Poon hill (3 210m/10 528ft) - Tadapani (2 520m/8 268ft), 6-7 hrs

A pre dawn 45 minute walk through rhododendron forest leads up to the grassy top of Poon hill (3210m/10530ft). This brilliant viewpoint offers an unobstructed sunrise over the high Himalaya from the far western ranges of Dolpo and Dhaulagiri to the breadth of the Annapurnas in the north, dramatic Machhapuchhare (Fish Tail) and on to Manaslu in the east (with three of the world’s 14 8000m peaks). To the south, lowland forests of Sal trees stretch towards India.

After a photographic feast, return to Ghorepani for breakfast and then trek to Tadapani. The route meanders through forest and village farmland, from ridge tops to river crossings with many good viewpoints. The steep rivers carry melt water from the glaciers above.

Overnight in Tadapani. at Lodge

Day 16
Tadapani - Ghandruk (1 950m/6 398ft), 3-4 hrs

Today, we have short pleasant, largely downhill walk through more forest and farmland with occasional views of the mountains to Ghandruk: a densely settled, clean and modern Gurung village. It is worth exploring the surrounding area and visiting the museum: when not simply relaxing at the hotel.

Overnight in Ghandruk at Lodge

Day 17
Ghandruk - Pothana (1 910m/6 266ft), 5-6 hrs

The trail descends stone staircases to the Modi Khola. This is the river that flows from the Annapurna South Glacier in the magnificent Annapurna Sanctuary (a ring of massive ice peaks that surrounds the Annapurna Base Camp, built on its moraine).

Cross the river on a suspension bridge and climb steeply to Landruk: and good views of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli and Machhapuchhare. The trail continues through scattered trees and bush to Tolka, after which it ascends steadily, for some two hours, to a ridge and Deorali. Excellent views of Pokhara and Lake Phewa are possible from here as well as the last spectacular views of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna South and the right flank of the range. The trail then descends along a red-earth path (that is treacherous when wet) to Pothana.

Overnight in Pothana. at Lodge

Day 18
Pothana - Phedi - Pokhara (910m/2 986ft), 3-4 hrs walk, 45 min drive.

he last day offers an easy walk down a ridge to the large agricultural village of Dhampus. It then descends through scattered villages and rice paddies to Phedi on the Pokhara – Baglung highway. A short, 22km drive will take you to Pokhara, your lakeside hotel and lunch. Afternoon free: to explore the waterfront.

Overnight in Pokhara.at Lodge

Day 19
Pokhara - Kathmandu (1 300m /4 264ft), 5-6 hrs drive

After an early breakfast, we take the 07:30 tourist bus back to Kathmandu. Arrival time: ~14:30. Transfer to your Hotel. Afternoon free.

Day 20
Final departure

Transfer to Tribhuvan International Airport for your onward flight to your next destination.

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