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Exploring the Himalaya Since 1990
Duration: 25 Days
Type of Trek: Tea house/Camping
Max Altitude: 5416 m.
Minimum Pax: 1 +
Mode of travel: Land Transportation
Annapurna Circuit trek is one of the most classic and rewarding treks in Nepal. The Annapurna Circuit passes through southern slopes of Manaslu and Annapurna ranges that are heavily settled and farmed except the higher regions which support thick forests of Rhododendron and fir. Most of the tribes inhabiting this area are Gurungs, Magars, Chehettris and Newars. Thakali and Mustang tribes control the busy trading and pilgrimage trail along the Kali Gandaki. One of the most striking significance of Annapurna Circuit Trek is that you have spectacular views of most of the mountains in this range every day.
On the other hand, Annapurna Base Camp is a natural amphitheater ringed by Annapurna South and Annapurna I, Barahashikhar, Gangapurna and the holy mountain Macchapucchre (Fish Tail). The first few days are spent traveling through quaint villages and lush forests before reaching more barren and rugged terrain.
The trail to Annapurna Base Camp threads up the valley into the sanctuary where it gradually gives way to a grey screed and scrub before reaching snow fields, there are no villages to speak of for five days. Annapurna Base Camp trek is a wonderful trek with some tremendous views, from base camp a labyrinth of mountains tower almost vertically above with Annapurna I in dominance. An hour or two is spent here taking in the high mountains before commencing the return journey. Five further days are taken returning to Pokhara. Annapurna Base Camp trek is a good introduction to higher altitude without being too strenuous.
Day 01: Drive from Kathmandu to Beshishahar (823m.)
Day 02: Trek from Beshishahar to Bahundanda (1200m.)
Day 03: Trek from Bahundanda to Jagat (1800m.)
Day 04: Trek from Jagat to Dharapani (1943m.)
Day 05: Trek from Dharapani to Chame (2713m)
Day 06: Trek from Chame to Pisang (3155m.)
Day 07: Trek from Pisang to Manang (3351m.)
Day 08: Rest day at Manang for acclimatization.
Day 09: Trek from Manang to Yak Kharka (4018m.)
Day 10: Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi (4450m.)
Day 11: Trek from Thorong Phedi to Muktinath (3795m.)
Day 12: Trek Muktinath to Marpha (2667m.)
Day 13: Trek from Marpha to Ghasa (2013m.)
Day 14: Trek from Ghasa to Tatopani (1189 m.)
Day 15: Trek from Tatopani to Ghorepani (2853m.)
Day 16: Trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill (3180m.)
Day 17: Trek from Tadapani (2675m.) to Ghandruk (1950m.)
Day 18: Trek from Ghandruk to Chhomrong (2040 m.)
Day 19: Trek from Chhomrong to Dovan (2030m.)
Day 20: Trek from Dovan to Annapurna Base Camp (4170 m.) via Machhapuchhare Base Camp (3820m.)
Day 21: Trek from Annapurna Base Camp to Dovan (2630m.)
Day 22: Trek from Dovan to Jhinudanda (1750m.)
Day 23: Trek from Jhinudanda to Pothana (1600m)
Day 24: Trek from Pothana to Dhampus Phedi
Day 25: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu by tourist mini bus
Day 01: Drive from Kathmandu to Beshishahar (823m.) by bus takes approximately seven hours. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 02: Trek from Beshishahar to Bahundanda (1200m.) takes about four and half hours.
The first part of the trail is on a flat level along the bank of the Marshyangdi river. You can enjoy the sceneries and the local culture of the Gurung community Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 03: Trek from Bahundanda to Jagat (1800m.) takes about six hours.
A steep trail ascends from Nagdi, through 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 Lili Gaon. Ahead, the Marsyangdi valley forms a steep V-shape, and you 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. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 04: Trek from Jagat to Dharapani (1943m.) takes about six hours.
The trail from Jagat descends until it almost reaches the river and then begins to climb again through a forest. When the climb ends, you follow a level track to Chyamje. Climbing the zigzag path to the top of the hill, you see the level, plain of Tal. Beyond Tal, the valley narrows and the path becomes high and winding. Beyond the small village of Karte, there is a bit more cliff-walking before the path drops again to the river. You cross a suspension bridge, and climb the short distance to the stone kani marking the entrance to Dharapani, and your camp for the night. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 05: Trek from Dharapani to Chame (2713m) takes about four hours.
As you cut through a narrow field from the village, the Dudh Khola, which originates from the south face of Manaslu, enters on the opposite bank. The Marsyangdi then veers to the left, and as Annapurna II becomes visible ahead, you arrive at Bagarchhap. Continuing to climb through forests of pine and oak, you pass through Dhanakyu before coming to a thundering waterfall. When the steep incline ends, you follow a path amid magnificent rhododendrons to Ratamron and then continue on a gently rising path, crossing a stream before entering a pine forest. From here the trail climbs through a fir and pine forest to Chame where there are government offices, shops, and hotels. Chame is the administrative headquarters for the Manang district. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 06: Trek from Chame to Pisang (3155m.)takes about five hours.
You climb the path up the valley and continue through a fir and pine forest, climbing to a high, rocky area as the opposite bank becomes an impassable cliff. From this point, the valley becomes extremely steep-sided as you follow the path to Bratang. A short climb from the village brings you to a rock-strewn area where you cross a wooden bridge and follow a high, winding path, before crossing back to the right bank again. You now walk through a pine forest and as the forest ends, the valley changes from a V-shape to a gentle U-shape, opening up a wonderful vista before you. You can see the east peak of Annapurna II as well as Pisang Peak to the north-east. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 07: Trek from Pisang to Manang (3351m.) takes about five hours.
Beyond Pisang, the trail climbs a steep ridge that affords good views of the Manang valley and Tilicho peak. Descending past Manang's airstrip at Hongde, you come to a level area from where the northeast face of Annapurna III rises majestically above you. From the wide plains of the Sabje Khola Valley, Annapurna IV (7525m.) also becomes visible. Large chorten and mani walls abound and the tall peaks of the Himalaya spread out before you - Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna (7455m.) and, to the rear, Tilicho Peak (7134m.). After a short steep climb you reach Manang is a surprisingly large village for this remote mountain region. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 08: Rest day at Manang for acclimatization.
This is an important rest and acclimatization day today before crossing the Thorong La. There are optional day walks such as crossing the river to see the tremendous icefall coming down from the Annapurnas, or climbing high above the village for a full panorama of the Annapurna range and the Manang Valley. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 09: Trek from Manang to Yak Kharka (4018m.) takes about three and half hours.
Now the trail ascends gently all the way to Yak Kharka passing through the Gunsang (3960m) village. Panoramic views are available all throughout the day. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 10: Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi (4450m.) takes about three and half hours.
Leaving Yak Kharka, you climb gradually to a ridge before descending to the headwaters of the Marshyangdi and crossing via a covered wooden bridge. After a short ascent up the mountain path on the right bank, you follow a narrow path to reach Thorong Phedi. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 11: Trek from Thorong Phedi to Muktinath (3795m.) takes about eight hours.
The trail becomes steep immediately on leaving camp but as local people have used this trail for hundreds of years, the path is well defined. The gradient then eases and after around 4 hours of steady climbing, you reach the chorten and prayer flags of the pass. The descent to Muktinath is a knee pounding 1600m but it is compensated for with excellent views of Dhaulagiri. Eventually the moraines give way to grassy slopes before a pleasant walk along the Jhong Khola Valley to Muktinath and its shrines and temple. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 12: Trek Muktinath to Marpha (2667m.) takes about approximately six hours.
You now begin the descent down the dramatic Kali Gandaki Gorge, initially through arid country in the same geographical and climatic zone as Tibet. After passing through Jharkot and Khingar, villages with typical Tibetan architecture, you follow the valley floor most of the way to Jomsom. You continue down to Marpha, a delightful Thakali village, complete with a drainage system beneath the flagstone streets. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 13: Trek from Marpha to Ghasa (2013m.) takes about six hours.
Your trail descends steeply through forests to Ghasa, the last Thakali village and the southern-most limit of Tibetan Buddhism. The beginning part of the trail is stretched at almost flat level up to Kalopani and then your trail begins descending steeply to Ghasa. The surrounding area of Ghasa is famous destination for bird watching and wild Marijuana. Here you are quite amazed at the panoramic view of Mount Nilgiri North (7061m.), Nilgiri Central (6940m.), and Nilgiri South (6839m.), Annapurna I (8091m.), Dhaulagiri I (8167m.) and Tukuche peak (6920m.) Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 14: Trek from Ghasa to Tatopani (1189 m.) takes about five hours.
The trail descends steeply to Rukse Chhahara (Rukse Waterfall) which is an amazing site to see. From here you can see the deepest gorge in the world between the two mountains of Annapurna I (8091m.) and Dhaulagiri I (8167m.) which face each other near Rukse Waterfall. Now the trail ascends slightly to Tatopani through different human settlements. You can enjoy the hot spring at Tatopani as the word Tatopani is termed after the natural hot spring situated at the bank of the Kali Gandaki River. It is popularly believed that taking bath in the hot spring helps you to get rid of skin diseases. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 15: Trek from Tatopani to Ghorepani (2853m.) takes about seven hours.
Your trail passes along a flat level of the land for some distance before ascending steeply for at least one hour. The path then goes through different villages inhabited by the people of different castes and agricultural land. Next the trail ascends gently all the way to Ghorepani passing through small villages like Phalate, Chitre and so on. Although there is time enough to continue, it is better to stay here overnight so that you can make the morning trip to Poon Hill (3180m.) for an outstanding panorama of Dhaulagiri I, II, III, IV, Tukuche peak, Dhampus peak, Nilgiri ranges, Annapurna I, Bahra Sikhar (Twelve peaks or renowned as French Fang),Annapurna South, Himchuli, Fishtail and Mardi Himal. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 16: Trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill (3180m.) to Tadapani (2675m.) takes about five and half hours.
Early morning trip to Poon Hill (3232m.) to enjoy the sunrise view. After breakfast trek Ghorepani to Tadapani (2650 m.). After walking for almost one and half hours you reach Gurung Hill which has some splendid mountain views like Poon Hill. From here you follow small forests with rhododendron and bamboos until you reach Deurali. The trail goes steeply down through deep forests all the way to Banthati. It takes one hour from here to reach Tadapani. After breakfast, trek from Ghorepani to Tadapani (2731m.) through the deep forests of rhododendrons, bamboos and oaks. En route, you frequently see waterfalls, rocks, wild animals, local birds and green scenarios. Tadapani is a small village surrounded by beautiful forests. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 17: Trek from Tadapani (2675m.) to Ghandruk (1950m.) takes about three hours.
It is a very easy trek by descending gently all the way through rhododendron, oak and other kinds of dense forests. You can hear different kinds of birds chirping along the way. This is a popular destination for bird lovers. From this village you can see good views of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Gangapurna (7455m.), Annapurna III (7755m.) and Fishtail. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 18: Trek from Ghandruk to Chhomrong (2040 m.) takes approximately four and half hours.
At the beginning of the day, you ascend gently for an hour up to Ghandruk kot (2100m.) and then descend steeply to the Kimron Khola (1700m.). Immediately, ascend steeply and walk on level ground for an hour before ascending gently to the final camp. Chhomrong is a gateway to Annapurna Sanctuary trek and inhabited by Gurung, one of the major Ethnic groups of Nepal. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 19: Trek from Chhomrong to Dovan (2030m.) takes about five hours.
Leaving Chhomrong, the trail descends on a stone staircase and crosses the Chhomrong Khola on a swaying suspension bridge, then climbs out of the side valley. High above the Modi Khola on the west bank, the trail passes through the tiny settlement of Tilicho in forests of bamboo, rhododendron and oak. Climbing further on a rocky trail (beware of the stinging nettles) you reach three hotels at Sinuwa, at 2350m. Climb in rhododendron forests to Kuldi, at 2520m. Descend a long, steep stone staircase into deep bamboo and rhododendron forests. It is then only a short distance on a muddy trail to Bamboo Lodge (2340m.). Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 20: Trek from Dovan to Annapurna Base Camp (4170 m.) via Machhapuchhare Base Camp (3820m.) takes about seven hours.
Your trek gently ascends through bamboo forests with varieties of rhododendron and oak trees. The first town you reach is Dovan (2630m.) You then pass through a muddy trail that traverses high above the river. After a short trek, you reach Himalayan Hotel (2900m.), the town named after the Himalayan Hotel. Beyond it, the trail is a steep ascent to Hinko Cave (3160m.), named for a huge overhanging rock which provides some protection against rain and avalanches. It takes approximately twenty minutes on an ascending path to reach Deorali (3230m.). From here, the valley widens and becomes less steep and you can see the gates to the sanctuary. After a short trek you will be at Bagar (3310m.), a meadow and some abandoned hotels. The normal trail follows the left side of the valley. Your trail now gently ascends until you reach Machhapuchhare Base Camp (3820m.). After a short trek, you begin to approach Annapurna Base Camp (4170m.). Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 21: Trek from Annapurna Base Camp to Dovan (2630m.) takes about five hours.
Now you trek through Himalayan Hotel to Dovan. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 22: Trek from Dovan to Jhinudanda (1750m.) takes about six hours.
The path descends to Bamboo passing through forests with varieties of rhododendron, oaks and bamboo plants. After Bamboo, the trail goes steeply up to the Kuldi Ghar where the trail turns quite flat until you reach Sinuwa. You then gradually descend to the Chhumrong Khola, where you follow a stone staircase for almost an hour to reach Chhumrong. The last part of the trail goes steeply down to Jhinudanda. From the town you walk down for 20 minutes to reach the hot spring at the bank of the Modi Khola. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 23: Trek from Jhinudanda to Pothana (1600m) takes about five hours.
The first part of the trek is descending and then proceeds along flat land until you reach Himal Pani. Beyond this town, the trail ascends gently crossing numerous streams and terraces. After a short trek, you arrive at Landruk (1640m.), a pretty big village inhabited by a mixed community of Gurung, Magar and Brahmin. Your trail then gently ascends to Tolka (1850m.) and then ascends and returns to level path to Bherikharka. From here, the trail goes steeply up to Deorali (2100m.) with a view of different mountain peaks in panorama. The trail then gradually descends to Pothana passing through different oak forests. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 24: Trek from Pothana to Dhampus Phedi takes approximately three hours and drive from Dhampus Phedi to Pokhara by car.
The trail is a gentle descent to Dhampus, a village mainly inhabited by Gurung. You then trek on flat land for some distance before steeply descending to Dhampus Phedi. From here you take a vehicle to drive from Dhampus Phedi to Pokhara. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 25: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu by tourist mini bus takes about seven hours.
While driving from Pokhara to Kathmandu, you head up to Damauli, Dumre, Muglin and Kurintar where Nepal's first cable car is operated to reach the Manakamana Temple.
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