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The Annapurna Circuit is known as one of the best long-distance treks in the world and depending on the route taken can range from a total distance of 160km to over 230 km. The long trekking goes through the massive Thorang pass at a massive altitude of 5416m. The whole trek will take you through numerous landscapes, from the forest-covered hills of Lamjung to the incredible upper hills of Manang with its many waterfalls to the dry desert landscape of Mustang. Numerous sites of religious and cultural significance including the world-famous Muktinath temple will be a part of this journey as well as the 900-year-old monastery, Barga Gompa.
The route to Manang offers awesome views of Annapurna I and II. Fauna like the Himalayan Musk Deer, Blue sheep, and Chyangra are found everywhere. Yaks can be seen herded in the many villages on the trail as well. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of the endangered snow leopard. The Gangapurna Icefall as well as amazing scenic views of the Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Nilgiri, and Tukuche mountains are sure to have you mesmerized.
Taking around two and a half weeks to cover, the trekking begins at Jagat, a short drive away from the village of Besisahar. From Jagat, walking along rocky trails, we make our way to the village of Tal in the Manang district.
From Tal, we climb slightly to Dharapani where a stone entrance chorten welcomes us. Climbing further we reach Danaque at a modest altitude of 1850m.
Staying overnight at the villages of Chame and Upper Pisang, each offering an amazing look into the traditional Tibetan-inspired village life, we reach Manang walking alongside the Marsyangdi river. Manang lies at a high altitude of 3500m. Acclimatization at Manang is essential to ensure that the rest of the journey proceeds smoothly. Walking around and exploring Manang village along with the small climbs nearby helps the body get used to the high altitude.
Leaving Manang, we arrive at Yak Kharka. The amazing views of the mountain vistas from Manang and upwards is simply amazing. From here, the luscious greenery we were familiar with in Manang gets sparser. From Yak Kharka, our next destination of Throng Phedi lies at the foot of the Thorang Pass.
The next day is considered to be one of the hardest parts of the trekking as from Thorong Phedi, we make the amazing climb to Thorang La and descent to Muktinath. Thorang La shows us the China Side of the Tibetan Plateau as well as the Nepalese side. Amazing views of the mountains and valleys below can be seen that rival the scenery of heaven.
Muktinath, a site considered holy by both Hindus and Buddhists greets us. The ancient temple as well as the 108-tap water that is said to purify all sins is found there along with many monasteries and temples nearby. Exploring the culture there will be simply amazing.
From Muktinath, we descend sharply via jeep to Tatopani, at the bank of the Kaligandaki river which offers a natural hot spring. Staying overnight at Tatopani, we walk to the beautiful village of Ghandruk known for its homeliness and the beautiful sunrise and sunset views there.
Staying overnight at Ghanduk, we rise early to move downhill to Nayapul where our trekking officially ends with a Jeep taking us back to Kathmandu or Pokhara.
Your arrival to Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA), you will be met by our Airport Representative, and transfer to hotel. Overnight at hotel, inclusive of breakfast.
Today we shall take a comfortable and scenic countryside drive from Kathmandu to Besisahar via the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway. Leaving Kathmandu behind you drive through the snaky mountain road. You cross several small streams and run parallel to the Trishuli River. You may see people rafting in the Trishuli river. After you cross the bridge in Mungling, we drive parallel to Marshyandi River. We sometimes see beautiful views of snow-capped Himalayas, which belong to the Manaslu range and surrounding peaks. After nearly 7 hours of drive, with a quick stop for lunch along the route, we finally reach Beshisahar, the headquarter of Lamjung district. It used to be the starting point of the trek until a couple of years ago, but at present condition due to the road being constructed further, we prefer to drive up to Syange. Almost every supply to higher altitude valleys and villages passes through this route and we can see local marketplace here carrying out their deals on commodities. We stay overnight at the Overnight at Guesthouse
Just after getting up at Syange, we enjoy a hearty breakfast. Our trekking route comprises a gradual descend through beautiful forests. Crossing a river over the suspension bridge, we start to ascend to Tal. After walking along the narrow cliffs and ridges, we find ourselves around the rocky settings, and further crossing the local village of Karte, we will again gradually descend to the riverside. After crossing the river over beautiful windy and slowly swinging from steps of people passing by, we spot a mani stone marked with mantras and chants on it. This place is called Dharapani and we stay overnight here at one of the local teahouses. Walking time: 6 to 7 hours, Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
It shall be around 500m gain in altitude today while we make more ascends with few descends from Dharapani to Chame. Our trekking day begins as we slowly hike up through beautiful refreshing pine and oak trees that lead us to Danaque. Further, we do cross a small wooden bridge and it will be steep ascend to Temang which is situated at the base of Lamjung peak. From this point beautiful views of the Manaslu Himalayan range are visible and also a couple of teahouses here are available, we have our lunch over here and the path turns flattered and straight from there. After about an hour walking easily, we cross Thanchok settlement over there popular for Apple products and thirty minutes from there takes us to Chame. Chame is the headquarter of the Manang district. Walking time: 5 to 6 hours, Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Our morning at Chame would be beautiful and sparkling as warm rays of sun sparkle nearby Lamjung Himal (6894m). Boarding on from our teahouse on our foot, taking steps enjoying the natural settings and surroundings, we take a steep climb to a place called Bhartang. We take on that challenge and pull it off with help of the trekking leader’s recommendation, decision and follow-on through jungle walk in between trees, floras, faunas entering into the valley at end of the day called Pisang. We see Pisang peak(6091m) with other nearby Annapurna Himalayas today and stay overnight at the local lodge. Walking time: 5 to 6 hours, Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
As we cross 3500m of altitude today, we can see a slight change in our topographical surroundings. The trekking route is much drier in the upper half of the Manang district. Yak herding and local agricultural farmings are major practices and occupations of local inhabitants. Leaving behind Pisang, we climb a steep ridge that allows us to enjoy great views of Manang valley. Further taking the southern route through a tiny airstrip at Hongde(3325m) gradually, we pass through Ngwal village. Marshyandi river that we see again meets us at Mungi. In this way trekking for further an hour take us to Manang where we shall stay two night for acclimatization. Overnight stay at local lodge. Walking time: 5 to 6 hours, Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Proper acclimatization is important as it helps us to avoid altitude sickness usually seen commonly during high altitude treks. Therefore assisting acclimatization and letting our body adapt to the change in surroundings is what we do today. We shall do scenic walks around Manang village and do hike up to Gangapurna lake or Melaripa cave so that we reach higher grounds and return to lower ones for sleep. This process is considered the most effective way to tackle acute mountain sickness. At Manang, there is also the Himalayan Rescue Association and if you are interested in volunteering then you can also assist western doctors here who are basically there to create awareness on altitude sickness and challenges that we have to face in the coming next few days while crossing Thorongla pass. Later today we return to our tea house at Manang and stay overnight there. Walking time: 3 to 4 hours, Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
We leave behind Manang village today crossing over the river stream. It shall be a challenging walk as mostly it is climbing activity through tough terrains above 4000m of altitude. Then we shall arrive at small Tenki village settlement from where we descend towards Jarsang valley, again cross the river, have our lunch at the nearby lunch site, and take on the strenuous steep climb towards Yak Kharka which is basically a Yak grazing field or in simple words Yak pasture land where we can see few Yaks grazing on grounds. Above this point there is no greenery, we feel like we have entered into alpine surroundings now after. If you can and are interested then with consultation with our professional trekking leader, you can hike up to Ledar today. We stay overnight at the local lodge at Yak Kharka. Walking time: 4 to 5 hours, Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Thorang Phedi can be also considered as the base of Thorongla pass or a popular stop before we cross that high altitude pass. Today we leave behind the Yak Kharka, initially, there is a short descend towards the riverside of Marshyandi River passing. Hereafter this riverside lunch we ascend towards Ledar and at the end of the day, we arrive at Thorong Phedi at 4600m above sea level. According to season, your fitness level, and level of interest, you might also take a step forward towards Thorong high camp for a night stay. But most of the time we stop at Thorang Phedi. Overnight stay at local lodge. Walking time: 4 to 5 hours, Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Today shall be the most important, challenging as well as rewarding day as we cross Thorong La Pass, the highest point of this trek, and heavenly site at 5416m elevation standing tall at eye level with Annapurna Himalayas. We start our day early today before sunrise between 4 to 5 AM as reaching we target to arrive at the high pass before 10 am. Strong wind and clouds are common phenomena at that point afternoon, so we try to avoid that as far as possible while taking the best views like never before. This part of the trail is quite dangerous too, as heavy snowfall may cause interruption to plans and worst-case scenarios, therefore according to the weather condition of that exact time, consulting your trip leader and following his instructions is compulsory. Don’t simply follow your instincts or other group members. Always trust an experienced and professional trekking guide leading your group. From Thorong La pass we can see panoramic views of Annapurna Himalayas, surrounding us from all directions including other peaks like Yakgawa Kang, Khatung Gang, etc.
Further gentle descend changes to a steeper one and we slowly approach the popular pilgrimage site of Muktinath. Muktinath is a well-known religious site for both Buddhist and Hindu followers. There we get an opportunity to visit temples, monasteries and major Muktinath temples with 108 surrounding water spouts is the major one. Jwala Mai temple is another attraction of the pilgrimage site. We stay overnight at a local lodge in Muktinath. Walking time: 8 to 9 hours, Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Spiritual essence circulates around our atmosphere as we shall visit the holy temple of Muktinath early in the morning today. We shall have our breakfast and walk gradually downhill to Ekley Bhatti. It is quite a steep walk down the trails, so careful and proper use of trekking poles along is required. Take one step at a time, don’t rush; simply enjoy the serene surroundings around and comfortably reach Ekley Bhatti. Further, we push ourselves towards Jomsom, a very windy place where you need to have a full face mask and wind stopper jacket to avoid windblast. Wind forming across the Valley Mountain and gorges blow even more strongly in the afternoon; therefore we try to cross the downstream of Kaligandaki and arrive at Marpha before noon. This local village of Marpha is popular for apple products and we shall surely taste a few. Walking time: 4 to 5 hours, Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
After celebrating apple day at Marpha, we make our way along few local tea shops commonly called bhattis. Tasting a few apple brandies, tea or coffee would be a better choice over there. In this similar manner, while comfortably walking on a flatter surface, we also get quite splendid views of nearby Dhaulagiri Himalaya. Further, we cross Tukuche village and see the famous Dhaulagiri icefall where we might stop for a while to take some pictures and enjoy beautiful landscape settings. Our walk then continues towards Largung and Kobang village on a more or less flatter surface trail to Kalopani. If you are interested then we can also do some industrial visits to Tikuche Distillery that supplies the drinking water to nearby villages and towns.
We shall get wonderful views of Mt. Annapurna I and other surrounding peaks from Kalopani. Today we will however move towards Tatopani which is more than 1000m down in elevation. Firstly we have our early meal and descend to Dana where we shall be stopping for lunch and we get to see the deepest Kaligandaki gorge of the word. Further trekking mostly downhill for 3 hours takes us to Tatopani. From here also, we get to see nice views of Nilgiri and other surrounding peaks. There is a natural hot spring at Tatopani and we shall take a dip there for relaxation. Later we return to our local lodge at Tatopani. Walking time: 4 to 5 hours, Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
We walk by following the bank of Kaligandaki river for 30 minutes and climb up after crossing the bridge till Sikha and Ghara, a big settlement of Magar community. Then the trail continues to ascend more gently, through rhododendron forest to reach Ghorepani at 2775m. Overnight at guest house, inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We get up early at dawn (one hour before sunrise) today as we have to reach Poon Hill before sunrise so that we do not miss the magical moment. It is a wonderful experience watching first ray of sun over the mountains. This is one of the best mountain vistas and is well worth the effort taken to climb to Poon Hill (45 minutes climb).
Himalayan view from Poon Hill is indescribable when the rising sun’s rays gradually strikes the Himalayan giants including Mt. Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Mt. Annapurna I (8,091m), Mt. Nilgiri (7,040m), Annapurna south (7219m),Annapurna II (7937m), Annapurna III (7555m), Annapurna IV (7525m), Hunchuli (6441m), fishtail or Machhapuchhre (6,997m), Lamjung Himal (6,986m), Tukuche peak (6,920m), Dhampus peak (6,012m) among others.
We spend some time picturing at Poonhill and return to Ghorepani, have a hot breakfast, and continue our trek to Tadapani through rhododendron forest. Specialty of this forest is that it hosts more than 15 species of rhododendron and if you are trekking in springtime the blooming colorful rhododendrons will fascinate you. We have our lunch at Banthanti and again continue through rhododendron forest.
We have about thirty minutes climb before reaching Tadapani. From here we have great views of Annapurna South (7219m), Huinchuli and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail 6993m).
Walking Time: 6-7 hrs. Accommodation: Local Lodge. Included Meal: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The trail starts descending steeply off from Tadapani. The first part of the trek today will be through a thick forest of old rhododendron trees. When the rhododendron trees are in bloom, these forests actually turn into gardens of dazzlingly beautiful flowers, mostly red and pink.
By afternoon, depending upon the season of travel, we will be pleasantly surprised by the sight of some cherry blossoms in bloom on the slopes on the other side of the gorge. After trekking some more time, we enter the village of Ghandruk, an undulated settlement with stone houses mostly inhabited by the Gurung people.
Along with enjoying the stunningly close-up towering views of Fishtail, Annapurna South, and Hiunchuli mountains, we also walk through the village and also visit the Gurung Museum in Ghandruk to acquaint ourselves with the simple but rich cultural traditions of the Gurung people.
Ghandruk to Naya Pul then drive back to Pokhara. The trek will be downhill all the way to Birethanti. We step onto a staircase paved with stone slabs, curving in and out of the village and then terraced farms. It keeps on going down almost without breaks from Ghandruk until Modi Khola river valley.
By the time, we arrive at Birethanti, some of us would feel like having made a downhill marathon. But our marathon is not over yet. From Birethanti, a half-an-hour’s walk takes us into Nayapul. The journey on foot comes to an end at Nayapul. Then, we drive from Nayapul to Pokhara. We can hang around Pokhara lakeside at the evening time.
We drive back to Kathmandu today. Try to get the left pane of your vehicle to enjoy the greeneries, mountains, river gorges, villages and terraces during the drive. In the evening, we will have a farewell dinner in a traditional Nepalese restaurant with cultural performances
The trip concludes here. Our airport representative will drop you at the international airport in Kathmandu for your flight departure from Nepal. Breakfast included.
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Twin-sharing Accommodation at Guest houses during the Trek, inclusive of Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner
One Night twin Sharing Accommodation with Breakfast in a deluxe 3-star category hotel in Pokhara