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What is all about Annapurna Circuit Trek?

Story by Travel Max Guide

Posted: September 23, 2020
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About Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit trek is one of the most popular treks in the world. National Geographic enlisted Annapurna Circuit as the most popular trek in the world. Although some of the trekking trails are constructed by road, it is still known as the classic trek. Normally this trek is done by 16- 25 days of exploration of rivers, flora and fauna, the Tibetan plateau, and the traditional and historical villages of Nepal. One of the key attractions of Thakali food and its culture. Annapurna circuit trek is a diverse trek and a stimulating trek in the world. Where you can add some more days excursion doing Tilicho Lake trek, Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek. This trek offers you flexibility in your choice and time. More on, it's a diverse trek that leads you from the green pasture to alpine leafy pine forests. Even in walking nature, it has easy to challenge.  

Some regions you will pass and its beauty

Five regions are passed during the time of the Annapurna Circuit trek, they are as follows- Lamjung, Manang, Mustang, Myagdi, and Kaski. Lamjung, Myagdi, and Kaski lie in the lower elevation predominantly Hindu with lush green subtropical valleys with villages and terraced farming.

Manang and Mustang are the higher elevations where most of them follow Tibetan Buddhism. The Manang people are Gurung (not Tibetan). These people have one of the oldest world's traditional practices and rich in culture. Mustang is also the borderline of Nepal and Tibet. In the Mustang region, you can find one of the last places in the world to view the ancient Bonpo religion in practice. Those villages are Thini and Lupra near Jomsom and Nargon near Kobang.

Start and endpoint of trekking- the massif mountains while doing Annapurna Circuit Trek

The trek goes as a clockwise which starts from Besisahar and ends at Nayapul. Nayapul is a starting point of Annapurna Base Camp and Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek. You will pass the higher elevation Thorung-La pass at the height of 5416 m or 17,769 ft. During this route, you will encounter the famous mountains which are over 7,000 meters. Some of them are Manaslu (8156m), Annapurna South (7,219m), Annapurna II (7,937m), Annapurna III (7,555m), Annapurna IV (7,525m), and Gangapurna Himal (7,455m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m), and Machhapuchhre as known as Fishtail (6,993m). Whereas you will pass the world’s deepest gorge Kali Gandaki (Andha Galchi) in between those two 8000 plus meter peaks. You will explore the Thakali culture and the most loved food made by them. Thakali food is famous in Nepal. Poon Hill is the best mountain views in the Annapurna region. From Poon Hill, you will see the stunning views of some mountains like Hinchuli, Annapurna III, Dhampus Peak, Dhaulagiri, South Annapurna, and Machhapuchhre 6993m, the fishtail Mountain. Another highlight of the hill station, an impressive sunrise view that reflects on the mountain. Looks like golden plated mountains.  

Days extension or some more days you can spend while doing Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek starts from Besisahar, it's a small town of Lamjung which is known as the gateway of Annapurna Circuit Trek, and if you like you can trek to Naar Phu Valley from here. With the improvement of road access, nowadays trekkers start the Annapurna Circuit trek from Jagat. We can take a local Jeep from Besisahar to Syange/Jagat. After a couple of days doing trekking, you will reach another part of the trekking routes. From Muktinath, you can drive to Pokhara via Beni. Another option is you can fly from Jomsom to Pokhara. In between, you can explore Tilicho Lake- it is a lake situated in the Manang district of Nepal at the elevation of 4949m. You can visit this lake adding 3-4 days in your itinerary. 

A perfect viewpoint for sunrise and the panoramic mountains view

Most of the itinerary includes Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek. Those itineraries which include Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is known as Classic Annapurna Circuit Trek. After doing Poon Hill Trek you can descend to Nayapul via Thikhedhunga or you can add two more days passing to a beautiful Gurung Village- Ghandruk via Tadapani. Ghandruk is a famous village in the Annapurna region. It has its beauty that carries an old traditional stone roof and the Gurung culture. While doing Annapurna Sanctuary or Annapurna Base Camp Trek, you will pass through the Ghandruk. If you are flexible in your time, you can do the Annapurna Base Camp trek adding 5-6 days in your travel plan. 

Travel Max Guide offers you both, whether you like to end your trek from Ghandruk or you want to add some more days to do hike up to Annapurna Base Camp from Ghorepani. It depends on you. What we offer itinerary follows Ghorepani and descend to Ghandruk and drive back to Pokhara. Not only these routes, if you are willing to visit or spend some more days in the mountain where you can unleash yourself with the local people and the villagers, learn Gurung culture, spend some days in Homestays, but you can also follow Landruk, Pothana, and Dhampus from Ghandruk. These villages offer you different views of the same mountains as Machhapuchhre (Fishtail). There is also another new but is very famous among the trekkers nowadays – Mardi Himal Trek. You can join this trek and complete it within 5 extra days. For more details please read here.

Religion

The trek offers you the various diversion even in the religious views site for both Hindus and Buddhists. Muktinath is a holy place for both Buddhists and Hindus, and Braga, one of the oldest monasteries in the region. 

A part of The Great Himalayan Trail

From Dharapani to Kagbeni this will walk the Annapurna section of The Great Himalaya Trail, a long trekking route from east to west of Nepal.

Accommodation

You will spend your overnight on a mountain teahouse. This word is popular for the trekkers who have been already trek in the mountains of Nepal. Whereas we also called it Lodge trek. Mountain teahouse serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Normally trekkers will eat in the same lodge. The lodge owner charges very few amounts for your accommodation roughly 100-500 Nepali rupees. Lodges owners tend to make money from food and drinks. All of the lodges have electricity and most of them offer wifi except where there is a power cut.

Be prepared for all manner of bathrooms, sometime you will get the flush toilets with private access, other times you will have to go outside for bathrooms. All the lodges have a good supply of water. You can also take shower in a hot water. The Lodge owner charges extra for this service.

The oldest monastery in the world, Braga, Manang

Trip facts:

Duration: Generally, 14-22 days

Total length: 160-230kms

Trek start point: Jagat

Trek endpoint: Nayapul

Permits: TIMS & ACAP Permit

Highest elevation: 5,416m

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Trip grade: moderate

Location: central Nepal

Highlights of Annapurna Circuit Trek

  • Diverse landscapes and culture
  • Manang Village and Tibetan Culture
  • Hot spring in some of the trekking trails
  • Massive Annapurna 
  • Custom and flexible days for you
  • Viewpoint- Poon Hill
  • Tibetan plateau
  • World deepest gorge- Kali Gandaki
  • Highest elevation- Thorung-La Pass (5,416m)

The best season to trek in Annapurna Circuit Trek

Here are some suggestions to make your easy to pick your best season to do Annapurna Circuit Trek. However, Annapurna Circuit Trek is open for all seasons. It depends on your adventure choice. What sort of adventure do you like to prefer? Even Travel Max Guide has done some trek in the rainy season which is requested to do by our previous client. To make your choice, here are suggestions. 

September to early December: It is a peak season and a good time to do trekking in Nepal.

February- March- April: this is the second-best season to do trekking in Nepal.

November to first February: in this season it will be very cold and some of your trekking routes might get blocked due to the large scale of snowfall. But the sky remains clear and for those who love mountain they can see the clear mountains.

May-June: This time will be hot and a pre-monsoon season in Nepal though you can see the blooming flowers during the time of your trekking.

June- August: This is the monsoon season of Nepal and the least popular season to do the trek in Nepal. You might encounter with landslides, leeches, and occasionally slip in the mud. 

What kinds of permits are needed to do Annapurna Circuit Trek?

Normally you need two kinds of permits to do Annapurna Circuit Trek. If you are booking through the trekking company. You don't need to manage or worry about it. The company will provide all this service. If you are planning to do an independent trek, you need to manage it from your side.

Permit are as below:

One is- Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit (ACAP) 

Another one is- Trekker information management system (TIMS card)

You can get this permit in Kathmandu and Pokhara. In Kathmandu, you can visit the Nepal tourism board which takes around 30 minutes if you have proper documents. You need a passport copy and two passport size photos to get the ACAP and TIMS card. ACAP permit is 3000 Nepali rupees and the TIMS card is for 2000 Nepali rupees. If you booked trekking with the company. It charges only 1000 rupees which will be taking care of all these permits by your respective trekking agencies of Nepal. 

Travel and Rescue Insurance

Before doing trekking in Nepal, your travel insurance is mandatory because you are going to do trekking more than 2500m elevation. Please bring with you a copy of the insurance, policy number, and contact details. Make sure your insurance policy must cover the medical expenses, helicopter evacuation from the altitude of 5000 m to 6000 m, and other things related to your health. 

What are the types of equipment you need to do Annapurna Circuit Trek?

Here is the checklist of your equipment

  1. Accessories
  • Backpack
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Gloves
  • Pole Stick
  • Water bottles (3 liters capacity)
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm
  • Headlamp, spare batteries
  • Toiletries, and a small washcloth (bandana can serve as a washcloth)
  • Camera
  1. Footwear
  • Hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Sandals
  1. Headgear
  • Brimmed sunhat and bandana
  • Warm hat
  1. Clothing
  • Rain shell, waterproof/breathable jacket
  • Warm top, such as a long-sleeved sweater
  • One or two cotton shirts
  • Long pants
  •  Fleece jacket
  • Rain pants, waterproof/breathable pant
Ghandruk- a famous Gurung village in Annapurna region.

Suggested Itinerary of Annapurna Circuit Trek

Outline Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1400m)

Day 02: Drive from Kathmandu to Besi Shahar (760m), then drive Besi Shahar to Jagat (1300m) Duration: 8 hours

Day 03: Trek to Dharapani (1860m) Duration: 6 hours

Day 04: Trek to Chame (2670m) Duration: 6 hours

Day 05: Trek to Pisang (3300m) Duration: 5 hours

Day 06: Trek to Manang village (3540m) Duration: 5 hours

Day 07: Acclimatization at Manang

Day 08: Trek to Yak Kharka (4018m) Duration: 4 hours

Day 09: Trek to Thorung Phedi (4450m) Duration: 4 hours

Day 10: Trek to Muktinath (3760m) via Thorong-La pass (5416m) Duration: 8 hours

Day 11: Trek to Marpha (2670m) Duration: 4 hours

Day 12: Trek to Kalopani (2530m) Duration: 5 hours

Day 13: Trek to Tatopani (1190m) Duration: 7 hours

Day 14: Trek to Ghorepani (2860m) Duration: 8 hours

Day 15: Trek to Tadapani (2630m). Early sunrise trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill (3193m). Duration: 7 hours

Day 16: Trek to Ghandruk (1940m), drive to Pokhara Duration: 4 hours’ trek, 2-hour drive

Day 17: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu Duration: 8 hours

Day 18: Trip concludes

Details Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1400m)

Location: Kathmandu

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals: No Meals

On this day company, staff will come to receive you at the Tribhuvan International Airport. Then drop you to the hotel in a private vehicle.

Day 02: Drive from Kathmandu to Besi Shahar (760m), then drive Besi Shahar to Jagat (1300m) Duration: 8 hours

Location: Jagat

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We have an early departure from Kathmandu bus park and take a local bus towards Beshisahar. Our first overnight will be in Jagat and we will have some time to explore the official starting point of the Annapurna Circuit Trek.

 

Day 03: Trek to Dharapani (1860m) Duration: 6 hours

Location: Dharapani

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After an early breakfast, we depart towards Dharapani. It is a peaceful hike along beautiful trails through forests and valleys.

 

Day 04: Trek to Chame (2670m) Duration: 6 hours

Location: Chame

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we will do approx. 5 hours of hiking. After an early breakfast, we hid the trail alongside the mighty Marshyangdi River and continue through stunning Pine and fir trees. Passing Danakyu village we have a steep ascend through beautiful forests and waterfalls towards Thanchowk. The nature of this part is amazing. Final stretch towards Chame our overnight destination of the day.

 

Day 05: Trek to Pisang (3300m) Duration: 5 hours

Location: Pisang

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we depart for Pisang. Our first stop is at the abandoned Tibetan refugee camp Bhratang. Continuing our trek towards Pisang we take the Dhulkur Pokhari the gateway to heaven. Amazing scenery can be viewed from here that will take your breath away. After passing Paungda Danda we have an easy valley the trail towards Pisang our overnight stay of the day.

 

Day 06: Trek to Manang village (3540m) Duration: 5 hours

Location: Manang

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we trek towards Manang village. After a strenuous steep ascends, we reach Garyu from where we are rewarded with amazing views of the Mighty Annapurna II, III, and IV. Continuing we have some scenic views of the Pisang Peak and Chulu Mountain. Hiking up and down through gulley’s we reach the main trail to Manang our final destination of the day. Manang is a slightly more active village than others and we will stay here for the night.

 

Day 07: Acclimatization at Manang

Location: Manang

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Altitude sickness is no joke and we take it very seriously as so we have a rest day in Manang for acclimatization. Enjoy this beautiful city explore the surrounding valleys and enjoy this resting day.

 

Day 08: Trek to Yak Kharka (4018m) Duration: 4 hours

Location: Yak Kharka

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Trekking to Yak Kharka offers us great views of the Annapurna III and the Gangapurna Mountains. After leaving Manang we can view the pristine Gangapurna Lake laying majestically in the rocky valley. Passing through various rocky valleys and the villages of Tengi and Gunsang we finally reach the humble village of Yak Kharka for our overnight stay. From here we can see amazing views of the Muktinath Himal.

 

Day 09: Trek to Thorung Phedi (4450m) Duration: 4 hours

Location: Thorung Phedi

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Early breakfast and we are ready for our departure towards Thorong Phedi. We have a hard day ahead of us and we start by crossing the suspension bridge towards Ledar Village. After descending we cross a small wooden bridge over the river and ascend back on small trails through the rocky valley. The views here are amazing but safety is warned here due to landslides of rocks, we advise strongly to walk in a distance of a few meters. Depending on how early we left Yak Kharka we plan to reach Thorong Phedi in the early afternoon. After a short rest we climb up to the Thorong High Camp to get used to the high Altitude as tomorrow we cross our highest point of the trek the mighty Thorong La Pass. In Thorong High Camp we can see amazing views of what to expect tomorrow. Overnight stay at Thorong Phedi.

 

Day 10: Trek to Muktinath (3760m) via Thorong-La pass (5416m) Duration: 8 hours

Location: Muktinath

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today will be the most difficult as we have a very steep climb towards snowy trails up to the Thorong La Pass at 5400 m! After our early breakfast, we go for High Camp and continue towards a massif canyon. Climbing over the canyon can prove tricky as the ground below is loose and the ground up is unstable. But we are rewarded with amazing views of the Annapurna range. The climb becomes steeper now as we reach close to Thorong La Pass. The trail is covered in snow and we have to walk in a single line which means a slow pace with regular breaks to catch our breath. After a good climb, we can celebrate upon seeing a small teahouse which means the Thorong La Pass. We take some time to take pictures at the Thorong La signboard and enjoy a well-deserved victory. Now it’s time to continue our trek towards Muktinath. Descending the Thorong La is not to be underestimated as the trail is tricky and slippery. We leave the snow behind and traverse barren plains with a few bushes here and there and finally arrive at our end destination of the day Muktinath.

 

Day 11: Trek to Marpha (2670m) Duration: 4 hours

Location: Marpha

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Muktinath to Marpha is the goal of today. We start after our breakfast and descend towards Elke Bhatti; the scenery is completely different here offering views of massive canyons and desert-like plains. After Elke Bhatti, we have a welcoming flat trail as we follow the Kali Gandaki River. The river is a trough to its name Kali meaning Black and seeing the river as black as night is spectacular. We hike until we reach Jomsom for our break. The way to Marpha from Jomsom is a flat dust road and we plan to arrive in Marpha around the late afternoon for our overnight stay.

 

Day 12: Trek to Kalopani (2530m) Duration: 5 hours

Location: Kalopani

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s trek will be mostly along the riverside and in and out of pine forests. The river is a nice scenic natural view and it is famous for its ammonites (fossils). After this beautiful riverside hike, the trail pushes us further into the river bed where it can become difficult due to the slippery rocks and uneven trails. Completing this trail rewards, us with our final destination of the day Kalopani meaning black water. We will stay here for our overnight stay.

 

Day 13: Trek to Tatopani (1190m) Duration: 7 hours

Location: Tatopani

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Early breakfast and we hit the road again leaving Kalopani behind us. The trail brings us fast downhill through beautiful forests and grassy valleys. On a clear day, we can enjoy the views of Annapurna I, Nilgiri, and the mighty Dhaulagiri. Now the trail becomes more road then the path and we have an easy downhill walk towards the village of Ghasa. Crossing various suspension bridges and descending deeper into the green valley we pass the hot springs of Tatopani, a clear sign we reached our end destination of the day.

 

Day 14: Trek to Ghorepani (2860m) Duration: 8 hours

Location: Ghorepani

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Early breakfast and departure. We have a mostly uphill hike through beautiful valley landscapes. Upon reaching a small but much-welcomed tea house. A short break and we continue our valley hike towards Shika for our lunch. After Shika, we can follow a road that will lead us directly to Ghorepani our overnight destination for today.

 

Day 15: Trek to Tadapani (2630m). Early sunrise trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill (3193m) Duration: 7 hours

Location: Tadapani

Accommodation: Mountain Teahouse/Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

From Ghorepani, we wake up very early and hike up to Poon Hill also known as the photographer’s paradise. From here we can see some of the most stunning panoramic views of the Annapurna range, depending on how early we reach Poon Hill a scenic sunrise is a moment one can care on for the rest of one’s life! Breakfast in Ghorepani and we descend towards Tadapani through lush rhododendron forests.

 

Day 16: Trek to Ghandruk (1940m), drive to Pokhara Duration: 4 hours’ trek, 2-hour drive

Location: Pokhara

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today is relatively easy as we conclude our trek. After breakfast, we

descend further towards Ghandruk village. It's a typical Gurung Village where you will see the stone roof and a traditional village of Nepal. From here we drive towards one of Nepal’s most beautiful city’s Pokhara. On the way, we are constantly accompanied by the Mighty Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) Mountain and it reminds us of the long and amazing trek we completed. Overnight stay in Pokhara.

 

Day 17: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu Duration: 8 hours

Location: Kathmandu

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner

After our breakfast, we will drive to Kathmandu on a tourist bus and drop you at the Kathmandu Hotel. In the afternoon we meet back at the travel office for the conclusion and review of your trek. A special dinner with a Nepali live culture show is planned to ensure the perfect ending of your vacation. Overnight stay at Kathmandu.

 

Day 18: Trip concludes

Location: International Terminal

Meals: Breakfast

This day your trip concludes here. The company representative will drop you to the Tribhuvan International Airport in the private vehicle.

You can do Annapurna Circuit Trek less than this day. Travel Max Guide does consider the pleasantness of a trip beauty and take care of altitude sickness. Simultaneously, you will be acclimatized with the elevation itinerary design by Travel Max Guide. Just like to suggest all of you to take relax and feel the real nature.