18 DAYS ROUND ANNAPURNA TREKS
HIGHEST ACCESS OF THE TREK: 5416M (THORANG LA PASS)
CULTURE: GURUNG, MAGAR, THAKALI, SHERPA, TAMANG
HIMALAYAN SIGHTS: DHAULAGIRI, FISHTAIL, ANNAPURNA RANGE, MANASLU, NILGIRI ETC
MOST ATTRACTION OF THE TREK: RAIN SHADOW (TRANS HIMALAYAN) REGION SEMI-TIBETAN CULTURAL EXPERIENCES, HOLY PILGRIMAGE SITE, BUDDHIST SOCIETY, PINNACLE SCENERIES AND LANDSCAPE, STUNNING MOUNTAIN VIEWS
Our Annapurna circuit trek is an extraordinary trek, one of the world’s best in terms of culture and environmental diversity. Annapurna Circuit trek provides you dramatic changes in landscape, culture and climate. Following a careful acclimatization program, we head northwest over the 5400 meter Thorung La (pass) and descend steeply down to the sacred shrine of Muktinath in the Mustang district. From Muktinath to Pokhara you can enjoy terraced hills, forests, alpine pastures and villages from different cultures.
Taking a flight from Jomsom to Pokhara can shorten this trek. Jomsom is one day walk away from Muktinath. The road has built up in the Thak Khola Valley- Jomsom to Beni. Therefore if any one is interested to combine this section of the trek by Enfield Motorbikes, off road bikes and Mountain bikes then it would be possible to do so.
Our idea is to assist you in finding the optimum adventure with blend of unique cultures you’ve been looking for. Finally your quest for a place where a blend of religious values, cultural dignities and enthralling adventures fuses at a junction ends right here.
DAY 01:DRIVE FROM KATHMANDU TO BESISAHAR 760M TO BHULBHULE (8 HOURS)
We take a bus for the five-hour drive to the end of the road, either at Besi Sahar or a bit farther depending on the road conditions, where we stay the overnight. At Bhulbhule.
DAY 02:BHULBHULE – BAHUNDANDA 1310M – JAGAT 1300M 1310M (7HRS)
After early breakfast we hit the trail. We have about three hours of hot but pleasant walking; we are trekking in the typical Nepali middle hills now, and the scenery is gentle, muted. After crossing a suspension bridge at Bhulbhule, the trail passes a cascading waterfall, and as we traverse the rice terraces, the views of Manaslu are magnificent. Following a gentle incline we come to the village of Ngadi with its picturesque shops,From here we climb, steep and hot, to Bahundanda. Bahundanda literally means "hill of the Brahmins" and it is the most northerly Brahmin settlement in the Marsyangdi Valley, situated high up on a ridge.
A steep trail descends from Bahundanda through green rice terraces before crossing a stream at the bottom of a small waterfall. It then climbs again and traverses the hillside high above the river before reaching the village of Hani Gaon. Ahead, the Marsyangdi valley forms a steep V-shape, and we follow the winding mountain path down through Syange and along the river for some distance. The trail then climbs steeply and the path is cut into the sheer cliff-face some 200-300m above the riverbed. Eventually we descend to the atmospheric village of Jagat, situated on a shelf which juts into the precipitous Marsyangdi valley, where we spend the night at a Tibetan-run lodge.
DAY 03:JAGAT - DHARAPANI 1860M - 6HRS
We awake to a morning climb, head steeply up through a forest to a wonderful teahouse just before Chamje and marked by a magnificent waterfall on the opposite bank. Chamje is an atmospheric village of traditional-style teahouses, often packed with saddled local horses. After descending to the river and crossing a suspension bridge, we begin a steep climb to some small teahouses at Sattale. After chai, we continue on an undulating path above the river, climb the switch-backing path to the top of the hill, and are treated to the sight of Tal below us on a wide plain by the river. Though it is enclosed by cliffs, the level area is reassuring after the slightly harrowing mountain paths on which we have just traveled. Beyond Tal and the checkpost, the valley narrows and the path becomes high and winding, and in several areas is actually hewn from the rock. Beyond the small village of Karte, there is a bit more exposed trail walking before the path drops again to the river. We cross a suspension bridge, and climb the short distance to the stone kani marking the entrance to Dharapani
DAY 04 :DHARAPANI - CHAME 2670M -5 HRS
Continuing to climb through forests of pine and oak, we pass through Danagyu before coming to a thundering waterfall, where we turn left and head up the high trail to Koto. After an hour of lovely, open forests, we reach a clearing at the top of the trail and a charming Tibetan teahouse where we will stop for a break. Pausing for breath, we can look back for views of Manaslu. An hour away is the wonderful Gurung village of Timang, where the villagers might be harvesting their crops of buckwheat or stuffing local sausages. Heading back down to the village of Koto Qupar, our base for the trek up to Nar Phu, we can look straight up at nearby Annapurna II - a stunning sight convincing us that we are deep in the Himalayan mountains! Many of the villagers are the from Nar Phu valley; this is the gateway to their region. Less than an hour brings us to Chame, the local administrative center of Manang, and a large village packed with small shops and tea-houses, an army post and a large school. We bed down here for the evening.
DAY 05:CHAME - PISANG 3200M - 5 HRS
It's a beautiful walk from Chame to Pisang, through woods with some small ascents, and wonderful views of the peaks soaring above us. It's just a five hour day, so we'll have the afternoon in Pisang to explore the village, with it's Tibetan mani stones and gompa, perhaps taking a walk up to Upper Pisang for amazing views of Annapurna II and Annapurna III. Overnight.
DAY 06:PISANG - MANANG 3540M- 6 HRS
6 hours walk past a series of unique and colorful chortens to Manang, at 3500m, a village of 500 or so flat-roofed houses, the headquarters for the region, and an interesting village packed with trekkers, bakeries and lodges. Manang is dominated by high peaks - Annapurna III and Gangapurna tower over it, and a dramatic icefall sits just across the river. There is an old gompa on the edge of town, many local teahouses, and some atmospheric, winding streets in the village leading out toward the Thorung La. Finally, guest houses, showers, cold beers! There is a 3 o'clock lecture on altitude by the Himalayan Rescue Association for anyone interested. Overnight.
DAY 07:MANANG REST DAY
today is our acclimatization day, with lots of options; a long day-hike to the Ice Lake, a visit to the 'Hundred Ruppee Lama' at the cave gompa above Manang, a two-hour hike to Milarepa's cave across the river from Braga, the HRA talk, or a tour of Manang's many bakeries. A hike up 300 meters or so for acclimatization is recommended, but nothing too strenuous is required. The guest house is wonderful, a sunny and warm place to gaze at the peaks in the afternoon. Overnight
DAY 08:MANANG - YAK KHARKA 4018M - 4 HRS
It's not a long day today, but we gain some altitude, so should take it slowly. En route, we will undoubtedly be passed along the trail by galloping Manangi horses, saddled with wonderful (and expensive) Tibetan wool saddle blankets, and their jubilant Manangi riders, bells jingling as they gallop by. We climb past Tengi and Gunsang to Yak Kharka. Overnight.
DAY 09:YAK KHARKA - THORUNG PHEDI 4450M - 3HRS
An easy two or three hour walk up to the Thorung La Base Camp Hotel at Thorung Phedi, and after an early lunch, another hour or so to hike up to the lodge at High Camp, where we will stay the night, getting to bed early for our early morning start the next day; pass day! If anyone is having problems with altitude, we have the option of staying at Thorung Phedi Base Camp, where we had lunch, a nice spot to spend the afternoon with its glass windows. Overnight.
DAY 10:THORUNG PHEDI- THORUNG LA PASS 5416M -MUKTINATH 3760M- 10 HRS
Up early for the three or four hour walk to the top of the Thorung La at 5400m, where we are treated with spectacular views over Mustang and the surrounding peaks. The descent is almost as demanding as the ascent to the top of the pass, so a cup of chai and a snack at the local tea house at Chabarbu, at the bottom of the descent, is a required stop. And on to lower Mustang, which we have actually reached just after the pass, and the serene temple complex of Muktinath.
Muktinath is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus situated in a tranquil grove of trees, and contains a wall of 108 waterspouts in the shape of cows heads spouting sacred water, the Jwala Mai temple with a perpetual spouting flame and the pagoda-styled Vishnu Mandir, all of which make up the auspicious combination of earth, fire and water. We stay just five minutes down the trail from Muktinath at Ranipauwa
DAY 11:MUKTINATH - JOMSOM 2670M- 4 HRS
We have a nice morning's walk down the Kali Gandaki riverbed, looking for saligrams along the way, to Jomsom, the administrative center for the region. The Kali Gandaki valley gets incredibly windy in the early afternoon, so important to arrive before noon; we'll have lunch in Jomsom, and there is a bank if anyone needs to change money. Here there is an airport with regular flights to Pokhara, a bank, post office, hospital and few hotels. Permits are checked here. Overnight at Muktinath.
DAY 12:MUKTINATH-JOMSOM - MARPHA 2670M- 6 HRS
We have a nice morning's walk down the Kali Gandaki riverbed, looking for saligrams along the way, to Jomsom, the administrative center for the region. The Kali Gandaki valley gets incredibly windy in the early afternoon, so important to arrive before noon; we'll have lunch in Jomsom, and there is a bank if anyone needs to change money. Then another few hours to Marpha along the same riverbed. Marpha is a white-washed village of cobbled streets, small shops, horses and donkeys, a recently rebuilt gompa and caves above the village, and a wonderful place to stop for the evening. Overnight.
DAY 13:MARPHA - GHASA 2010M- 6HRS
We continue descending the Kali Gandaki Gorge to Tukuche, a delightful village with a large gompa. Beyond Tukuche we walk along the west bank of the Kali Gandaki towards Larjung. Here, as in many of the villages in this area, narrow alleyways and tunnels connect houses with enclosed courtyards, providing protection against the winds blowing up the valley. We make our way through pine, juniper and cypress forests to Kalopani, enjoying fine views of Annapurna I and Fang. Ghasa, our next desination, lies an hour beyond Kalopani. Overnight.
DAY 14:GHASA - TATOPANI 1190M- 5 HRS
Another long day, but well worth the effort to get to Tatopani, where the double hot springs are situated scenically next to the riverbed, well-deserved massages are offered by the hot springs, the bakeries are heaven, oranges and lemons fall from the fruit trees and the monkeys play across the river. Overnight.
DAY 15:TATOPANI - GHOREPANI 2860M- 8 HRS
Get ready for some more hills! Today's walk is a hot one, and quite strenuous as we branch off after an hour of walking from Tatopani from the trail heading to Beni, and take the Ghorepani trail, starting straight up hill.
DAY 16 :GHOREPANI TREK - POON HILL 3193M – TADAPANI 2630M- 6 HRS
Those who want can hike up Poon Hill for a 360 degree Himalayan panorama; one of the best view point in Nepal. You can spot whole annapurna range with Dhaulagiri. After breakfast, we have a half day's walk to Tadapani, where we'll be treated to spectacular views of Machapuchare. Watch for monkeys on the way up! Overnight.
DAY 17:TADAPANI TREK TO GHANDRUK 1940M- 4 HRS
We descend through an old, open forest - and it's important to trek in a group today, as this region used to be know for 'dacoits' - to the village of Gandruk, a Gurung village still existing in its traditional state. Again, perfect views; as well, there is a Gurung museum, worth a visit, and several small restaurants serving traditional Gurung fare such as fermented, sour spinach soup. Yum!
DAY 18:GHANDRUK - NAYAPUL-1070M 5 HRS AND DRIVE TO POKHARA 820M 1 HRS
A golden, scenic last day of trekking through the terraced rice fields below Gandruk on the way to Kimche. We can look back on the way up to Annapurna Base Camp, far above. About four hours should be enough for us to make it to Naya Pul (new bridge), where we check out of the Annapurna Sanctuary Area, cross the bridge, and catch our ride back to Pokhara, just an hour or so down the road. We spend the night in a nice guest house with hot showers, and eat out at the one of the cool Cafe, where the beers are really cold, the food delicious and the atmosphere great.
Important note on itinerary: Although Ever effort will be made to follow the schedule above, this itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions, route conditions, conditions of trekkers, conditions of staff and other factors which is beyond our control.