Annapurna Circuit Trek
Overview of Annapurna Circuit Trek
A Tibetan look alike settlement resides on the eastern base of the Annapurna Massifs in Nepal. Known as Manang region, this area is a rugged valley which portrays semi-arid vegetation with its enigmatic topography right beneath the gigantic peaks of Annapurna as its roof. A narrow foot trail traverses through the mountain range above this valley reaching as high as 5416 metres at Thorang La Pass and descends down to another scenic region called the Mustang region. http://Annapurna Circuit Trek
Manang and Mustang are popularly known to be “the district beyond Himalayas” for their secluded location far from the Himalayan borders of Nepal. Annapurna Circuit Trek as popularly ventured by trekkers begins from Manang region and goes along the dry and semi-arid landscape to the base of Thorang Peak and passes through the highest point of the trek Thorang La Pass (5416m). It then descends down to the another ancient kingdom of Mustang which is sacred, adventuresome and tranquil all at once. This trek traverses through one of the highest pass in the world which follows through two of the ancient regions finally coming to an end in the submissive Pokhara city.
Manang sits in the lap of many Annapurna range massifs: Mt.Gangapurna(7455m), Tilicho Peak(7134m), Thorang Peak(6100m), Pisang Peak (6091m) and others. There are various glacial lakes that are formed in the base of these mountains. Manang in itself resides on the bank of Marsyangdi river which originate from these gigantic mountains. Ice Lake or Kicho Taal as the locals call it, is another point of interest in Manang region. Nestled at an altitude of 4620m, Ice Lake, as the name suggests remains frozen for the most part of the year.
Hike to this lake could suffice for the boredom during your acclimatization in Manang. Another interesting point of this trek is the Milarepa Cave which is settles just outside of the core Manang village. This cave is said to have been residence of Milarepa: Popular Tibetan Buddhism Yogi from the 11th century. Aside from this the old town of Manang is interesting in itself you may choose to dwell in the village surrounding, observing the walk of life of the inhabitants.
In the days to follow, you will ascend towards another high altitude lake, Tilicho Lake(4919m). It sits atop a rocky mountain which is shaped like a bowl on top for the lake. From Tilicho lake the trail ascends towards Thorang La Pass crossing glacial moraines and rugged rock boulder paths finally descending towards Muktinath.
Muktinath lies on the base of the Thorang Peak and portrays sacred vibe with the buddhist prayer flag spread all across. The key attraction of Muktinath is the temple of Hindu deity, Lord Vishnu which is architecturally amazing monument sitting atop Muktinath bazaar. We descend further down from Muktinath towards Kagbeni which is another quaint settlements of Thakalis, the natives to Mustang region. Located in the conflux of two major rivers, Kaligandaki and Jhong, Kagbeni is sacred spot for Hindus as they perform ceremonial rituals for the dead.
From Kagbeni we head westward to the capital of Mustang, Jomsom. Jomsom is a commercial town with modern amenities including an airstrip, and yeah, you may choose to fly back to Pokhara from Jomsom. Jomsom sits right on the basin of Kaligandaki river and has been a trade hub for Tibetan and Nepalese for centuries. We drive from Jomsom towards Marpha for our stay. Marpha is typical thakali village which translates into hardworking people “Mar” means hard working and “Pha” translates into people. The houses in Marpha are flat with mud-roof wherein firewood is seen to be piled up. Marpha is also prominent for its dense apple farm and distillery.
There are legal formalities that you will have to complete in order to embark on your Annapurna Circuit Trip. Nepal Government has mandated a trekking guide in order to trek in any region of Nepal. Furthermore, you will be traversing through Annapurna Conservation Area during the trek which requires a permit to be obtained. You will need these two documents for your Annapurna Circuit Trek:
- Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP): 3000 Nepalese Rupees (About $30)
- Trekkers Informations Management System (TIMS): 2000 Nepalese Rupees ( About $20)
Nepal receives 4 types of major weather, namely: Spring (March-May), Autumn ( Sept- Nov), Summer/Monsoon ( June- August), Winter ( Dec-Feb). The best time for trekking Annapurna Circuit would be during the Spring and Autumn for it is the time the temperature is mild and the weather window is fabulous. Winter and Summer times in Nepal are the harshest with extreme temperature and unfavourable travel conditions.
The accommodation during Annapurna Circuit Trek is in a teahouse. A teahouse is wooden built structure in the mountains for accommodation facilities. Similar to the mountain lodges in the European Alps, teahouses provide with private room and meals for travellers in trekking regions. These teahouses provide a limited food and beverage options. In Annapurna Circuit Trek, your food and beverage options are limited to mostly Nepali and Tibetan dishes. Dal Bhaat Set( Rice, Lentil Soup, Curry and other sides) is usually preferred by most trekkers as it great value for money. You have other western dishes options too.
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Itinerary of Annapurna Circuit Trek
Day 1: Drive from kathmand or pokhara by bus to Bulbhule (845m/2815 ft) 7-8 hrs
Day 2: Trek to Jagat (1300m / 4265ft) 6 Hrs
Day 3: Trek to Dharapani (1860m / 6200 ft) 5 Hrs
Day 4: Trek to Chame (2610m/ 8890 ft) 6 Hrs
Day 5: Trek to Upper Pisang (3300m / 10824ft) 5-6 Hrs
Day 6: Trek to Manang Via Ngwal (3540m/ 11612ft) 6-7 Hrs
Day 7: Acclimatization day at Manang, Visit Gangapurna Lake or Milarepa Cave or Ice Lake
Day 8: Trek to Khangsar Village (3700 m/ 12139 ft) 4 Hrs
Day 9: Trek to Tilicho Base Camp (4200m/ 13779ft) 4 Hrs
Day 10: Hike to Tilicho Lake (4919m/ 16138ft) , Descend down to Tilicho Base Camp 6 Hrs
Day 11: Trek to Yak Kharka ( 4060m/ 13316 ft) 5 Hrs
Day 12: Trek to Thorang Phedi (4450m/ 14599 ft) 5 Hrs
Day 13: Traverse over Thorang La Pass(5416m/ 17769ft) and Reach Muktinath ( 3800m/ 12464ft) 8 Hrs
Day 14: Descend to Kagbeni ( 2804m/ 9199ft) 3 Hrs
Day 15: Trek to Jomsom 2659/9240ft, Drive to Marpha 1 Hrs
Day 16: Drive to Tatopan 2474m/8117ft 3-4 hrs by bus
Day 17: Drive to Pokhara ( 820m/ 2690 ft) 6 Hrs
- 3-Star hotel accommodation in Kathmandu with breakfast
- Basic lodge accommodation during the Annapurna circuit Trek
- Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with tea/coffee during Annapurna circuit Trek
- English speaking guide and necessary porter with their salary, accommodation, meals, and insurance
- Airport transfers in private vehicle and Kathmandu – Pokhara– Kathmandu by bus
- Annapurna circuit Trek PERMIT and TIMS
- Applicable government taxes
- Medical Kit box (FIRST AID KIT)
- International airfare and Nepal Visa Fee
- Personal expenses like laundry, bar and beverage bill, the pot of tea/coffee, hot shower during the trek, etc.
- Extra night hotel accommodation in Kathmandu because of early return from Annapurna circuit Trek and late departure from Nepal
- Tipping for guides and porters
- Sleeping bag
- Feather jacket
- Waterproof trekking shoes
- Trekking Pole
- Couple of trekking shocks
- Personal care box
- Camera/Mobile/Binocular (Depend on you)
- Trekking Pants
- Water Purification pills
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