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Annapurna Trek Grade

  • The Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal

    This trek is difficult to match for its rugged mountain scenery, trekking challenges and the exposure it provides on the variety of ethnic Nepalese cultures. Starting in the lowland paddy fields the trek steadily gains altitude passing through oak and pine forests and eventually emerging into high desert country at Manang (3597m). The descent is equally amazing and varied.

    Strenuous trekking is well rewarded at both low and high altitudes, on the approach to the Thorung La (5416m/17,769 ft) as well as during the descent from it. Close up views of the Annapurna range (40 miles between the two river valleys contain at twelve 7000 m peaks and many more above the 6000m mark). Varied ecosystems, diverse cultures and an ever-changing landscape - lush, green paddy fields and oak forests, arid deserts and the deepest gorge in the world make this one of the most popular treks in the world.

    The trek is a circuit encompassing the Annapurna mountain range featuring Annapurna I, at 8091m /26,545ft the 10th highest mountain in the world. The Circuit is usually done in a counter clockwise direction beginning in either Dumre or Besisahar and ending in Pokhara. The first part of the trek follows the Marsayangdi River valley and after crossing the Thorung La pass, the trail meanders along the Kali Gandaki river valley until you move into the forest zone for the last segment of the trek.

    Annapurna Circuit

  • Annapurna Circuit Trek

    Day-1: Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel.

    Day-2: Full day guided sightseeing around of the Kathmandu valley, taking in such sights as Swayambhunath, one of world's most glorious, ancient, enigmatic and holiest of Buddhist Chaitya, Bouddhanth, a colossal and ancient Stupa; Guheshwari, which is where Sati, the consort of Siva, immolated herself due to her father's insult and Pashupatinath with two tiered golden roof and silver doors .

    Day-3: Drive: Kathmandu to Besishar (760m / 5 hrs). After breakfast you will board your private transport and start the drive to Dumre. This drive can take up to five hours and packed will be lunch provided. Your adventure vacation truly starts the moment you reach Besishar where your crew will be waiting for you.

    Day-4: Bahunadanda (1310m / 6-7 hrs) We begin our trek at the foot of the Gaonshahar fortress. Our path takes us along the banks of the Marsyandi river, where we cross two bridges before reaching the village of Khudi (790m). From here the valley narrows and offers stunning views of the Himalchuli. On entering the Annapurna Conservation Area, we cross a hanging bridge to reach Bhulbule, which provides splendid views of Manaslu and Peak 29. We then head north past Ngadi (930m) to the ridge top settlement of Bahundanda (1311 m). The name of this village literally means "Brahmin Hill". Overnight: Camp or Lodge

    Day-5: Chyamje (1410m / 6 hrs) Today is a day of contrasts as we climb from the tropical forests at the beginning of the walk to the mountain forests of the higher valleys. Along the way we pass through the villages of Khane (1180m) and Syang (1136m). A stunning path cut into the sheer rock walls leads us to Jagat and then onwards to the tiny settlement of Chyamje.

    Day-6: Bagarchhap (2160m / 6-7 hrs) The trail descends to cross the Marsyandi river and then climbs towards the Manang Valley where Tibetan buildings and costumes become a familiar sight. We cross the plateau of Tal and the village of the same name with magnificent views of the Kang Guru massif. We then begin a steep climb along the stairway above the river. We reach a crest at 1860m from where we descend into forest to cross a bridge and begin the climb to Dharapani (1943m). We pass through the village of Thonje and continue to our destination of Bagarchhap. Bagarchap means "Butcher's place".

    Day-7: Chame (2670m / 5 hrs) (B, L D) Now in the Manang District we continue our trek through forests with views of Manaslu and Annapurna II. We climb up through dense forests to Danejung (also known as Syal Khola 2290m) which houses a furniture factory. From here we pass through Tyahgja (2454m) and Kurpa Kodo (2590m). The climbing levels out a little and we reach the administrative capital of the Manang district, Chame (2685m) with its bank, shops, school and impressive views of the Annapurnas. Chame also has a police check post and bank.

    Day-8: Pisang (3300m / 6 hrs) From Chame the trail condition changes, somewhat. The continuing trail is not as well maintained as the one up to Chame. Pass through pine forests, over fairly level ground, through the village of Taleku to Bhratang. Like all villages since Dharapani these predominantly Buddhist villages have an entrance chorten and an exit chorten. Annapurna II can be seen to the south and you are now behind the main Himalaya peaks in their rainshadow area. After crossing a series of wooden cantilever bridges you enter a spruce and fir forest that eventually gives way to a pine forest. After days in the gorge the forests provide a welcome change. Crossing the river to its left bank you reach your lodge at the village of Pisang. You may want to visit the village before dinner.

    Day-9: Manang (3540m / 5 - 7hrs) You are now in the dry arid region of Manang called Nyesyang. Since this area falls in the rainshadow area of the Himalaya it seldom rains in the summer months, though it snows in the winter and the snow remains on the ground for a long time. The population is mostly farmers and traders though it is the men that do most of the trading. People in this area keep comparatively less domestic animals and the consumption of meat is very limited. There are two routes leading out of Pisang towards the Manang valley. The one you will follow stays to valley floor, on the left bank. Spectacular views of Annapurna III and IV along with Gangapuran and Tilicho peaks abound. This is possibly the best day for viewing mountains. You will pass through the village of Hongde where there is a STOL airfield servicing the Manang district.

    Day-10: Rest to acclimatize Today is a day for rest and acclimatization. Those who want may take a short half-day hike from Braga. Retrace your steps to the Manang Mountaineering School and walk up the gully, past the powerhouse, which supplies electricity to upper Manang valley, towards the base of Annapurna III for a real, close up look at this mountain.

    Day-11: Phedi (4450m / 6 -7 hrs) This is a reasonably long and tiring day. We quickly reach the village of Tengi (3660m) and a section with vast pastures of the Jarsang Khola valley. Passing through Gunsang, a series of pastures leads to Leder (4250m) where we continue up and over a bridge across the mountain stream to reach the plateau of Phedi (4420m) at the foot of the Thorung La.

    Day-12: Cross Thorung La (5416m / 6 hrs). Continue to Muktinath (3800m / 2 hrs) ) Leaving the river valley you set out early in the morning provided the weather is good and it is not snowing. From Phedi ascend to a notch and turning left head for the Thorung La. A chain of rocks marks the pass, which might not be visible if there is snow. Beyond the pass you enter the river valley of the Kali Gandaki River. The descent from the pass to Muktinath is steep but not difficult. Muktinath is a sacred pilgrimage site to both Hindus and Buddhists who flock there annually for their respective festivals. A rest day here allows you the opportunity to explore the area and the ancient shrines. Of particular interest is the temple of the Hindu God Vishnu and the one hundred and eight waterspouts where devotees bathe. From Muktinath there are beautiful views of Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m).

    Day-13: Muktinath to Jomsom (2710m / 4 hrs) Today we continue our descent in the Jhong Khola valley passing through small settlements on the way until we reach the ancient village of Kagbeni (2810m) with houses of pounded earth stacked against each other and the ruins of Sakyapa Monastery. From here a long, level path leads to the administrative capital of the Kali Gandaki Valley, the village of Jomsom (2743m).

    Day-14: Ghasa (2010m / 6-7hrs) Our trail today takes in some of the most stunning scenery in the Kali Gandaki Valley with superb views of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna 1. We cross a number of streams before reaching the whitewashed houses and paved streets of the village of Marpha. From here we trek to the welcoming village of Tukucha (2592m). We descend through several more villages before reaching our destination of Ghasa.

    Day-15: Tatopani (1190m / 5hrs) Skirting the river, our path rises and falls to pass the waterfalls of Rupse Chhara, past the village of Titre (1524m) and the larger settlement of Dana (1463m) and onwards to Tatopani.

    Day-16: Tatopani (1190m) Rest day. This low altitude town also boasts a number of good restaurants and teahouses where you can relax and unwind before the final part of your journey.

    Day-17: Gorepani (2853m / 7hrs) Today we climb up to Ghare and continue on our trek to the high Ghorapani pass and the settlement of Ghorapani (2853m). This is a great location from which to take the hour's walk to the viewpoint of Poon Hill from which Dhaulagiri and Tukuche Peak can be seen in all their glory.

    Day-18: Birethanti (1050m / 7hrs) Today we descend through tropical forest passing small settlements along the way until reaching a 'stairway' that leads onwards to Birethanti.

    Day-19: Pokhara (900m / 5-7hrs) We begin our day climbing to the village of Chandrakhot (1567m) and beyond before a descent which offers brilliant views of Annapurna. Our final descent takes us through forest and rice fields through the town of Suikhet and on to Pokhara (900m. Overnight Hotel.

    Day-20: Fly to Kathmandu, Free day (B) You may want to buy souvenirs, explore around or just sleep at your hotel. Overnight: Hotel, Kathmandu

    Day-21: Depart Kathmandu (B) Transfer to Kathmandu airport for your departure flight home

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    Annapurna Circuit

  • All year, but best: March to May, September to mid November

    The Annapurna Circuit trek is best trekked in Spring from the beginning of March to around May. It is around this time that many of the trees come into bloom such as the Rhododendrons. The downside to this period, is that the mountain views can often be obscured.

    The second best time is from September to mid November, and although the days are colder with more chance of snow, the mountain views are much clear, being post monsoon season.

    December brings the snow falls, many of the lodges close for the winter, and as a result, very few tourists head into the region, making the routes less busy.

    June to September is quite wet given the monsoon season, and as a result, again, less tourists. The downside however, is that the area is prone to leaches on the lower wet reaches of the mountain.

    Annapurna Circuit

  • On this trek we make use of hotels in Kathmandu, and then lodges on the trek. We start the tour with two nights in 3-star, Thamel Eco Resort, well situated within the heart of Thamel, or, if it is full, a similar category in Kathmandu.At the end of the trek, we return to the same hotel. While on trek, we stay in lodges or what is known as standard tea houses. The quality of the lodges vary and generally become more basic as one gets to higher elevations.

    Your guide will always seek out a lodge which offers comfortable rooms. Note that while some lodges have private bathroom facilities, others only offer shared facilities. Some offer attached bathrooms which you can pay extra for. Some lodges have hot shower facilities at an extra charge.

    Annapurna Circuit