Annapurna is a famous massif engrossing a number of high mountains and a part of the Himalayan region located in the north-central region of Nepal. Annapurna I is the main mountain and the highest in the region standing tall at 8091 meters, also the world’s tenth highest peak. There are quite a few trekking options in Annapurna region which has attracted and proudly welcomed trekkers from around the globe time and again.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Annapurna Base Camp trek is the most popular trek in Nepal after the glorious Everest Base Camp trek. The major highlight and the ultimate goal of this trek are to catch sights of the stunning views of the world’s tenth highest peak through an enchanting walk to the base of the great Annapurna Mountain. The amazing journey begins in Nayapul which is about 80 minutes drive from Pokhara Airport. Trekking all the way to Ghandruk, a beautiful Gurung village is an incredible start. With mesmerizing views of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) and steep walks through mountain landscapes, you will step foot at Chhomrong village located on the lap of Annapurna. Passing by amusing Bamboo and Deurali villages, you arrive at Machhapuchhre Base Camp, a photogenic stop. The excellent view of Fishtail Mountain (the Matterhorn of Asia) is a gratifying experience. Continuing the journey to the great Annapurna Sanctuary proffers a stunning view of the near-vertical south face of Annapurna South. The glimpse of the 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding and the majestic Himalayan peaks is a pleasant show-stopper. Annapurna Base Camp trek follows a shorter route rather than the full circuit. The trek can be completed within a span of 11 days.
Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Circuit Trek takes around 15 to 20 days to complete depending on the starting and finishing points. The aim of this trekking route in Nepal is to circle the whole Annapurna massif making it is a rather long journey through various picturesque far-flung villages in the mountain region. The highest point on the trek is Thorong La pass at 5416m, thus trekkers generally take the counterclockwise direction in order to gain the altitude gradually and to avoid AMS. The major highlights of this trek include fantastic views of Annapurna range from Poon Hill walking past the world’s deepest Kali Gandaki gorge, exploring the mystical Manang, Jomsom, Muktinath region, and several other quaint settlements. The real walking journey begins after a 7-8 hours drive to Khudi from Kathmandu. Crossing several suspension bridges and walking along steep landscapes, the marvelous trek traverses past beautiful villages of Sirung, Jagat, Dharapani, Chame, Pisang and finally at Manang for acclimatization. In course of a week time, you would have made several ascends and descends reaching the altitude of around 3500 meters starting off from 800m. Your breathtaking trekking journey in Nepal continues to the villages of Yak Kharka, Thorong Phedi, Marpha, Kalopani, Tatopani, Ghorepani, Tada Pani, Ghandruk and several tiny townships.
In a nutshell, Annapurna Circuit trek is an exhaustive trek all along the entire Annapurna region providing insights into the unique landscapes with the local culture and inimitable traditions.
Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek
Ghorepani Poon Hill is the shortest trekking route in the Annapurna region that requires 8-9 days to conclude. This is popular short trekking in Nepal perfect for novice trekkers and nature lovers due to the fact that it is relatively easy compared to other strenuous ones in the region. It is also known as Annapurna Sunrise Trek as it offers spectacular views of the first sunrays falling over the summit of Annapurna South. The fabulous trek commences at Nayapul after a flight or a drive to Pokhara. The steep walking journey through a thousand stone steps takes you to a beautiful village of Ulleri. Continuing the hike through attractive forests of rhododendron will lead trekkers to Ghorepani village, which used to be an important campsite for traders before transforming into a trekker’s stop. Then climbing up Poon Hill at pre-dawn is an out-of-the-world experience that tenders golden sunrise views along with beautiful peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. Descending through red rhododendron forests and passing by Tadapani village leads to Ghandruk, a prominent village of Nepal inhabited by Gurung community with their simple yet affluent traditions.
Tilicho Lake Trek
Tilicho Lake Trek is a special 3-day addition to the Annapurna Circuit trek to see one of the world’s highest lakes, Tilicho, at an elevation of 4920 meters. The frozen lake sits at the end of glaciers tumbling down from Tilicho peak. On the first part, it is a climb up through a narrow steep trail to Tilicho Base Camp (4100m). On the way, hikers will arrive at a small settlement of Shree Kharkha that has fastidious hotels and could be a decent place to stop for lunch. The glorious sunset views over the snow-capped mountains are truly comforting. The next day, it is another clamber up to Tilicho Lake which is the eventual destination of the additional walk. The heavenly lake of the mountains simply reflects an extraordinary feeling taking trekkers momentarily out of this world. It is a matchless experience to capture the pleasant moments at the lake in photographs to relish for an entire lifetime. One can have great pictures at this location; some of the trekkers can be sighted taking a dip in the tranquil waters. Magnificent views of Himalayan peaks over the lake can be perceived and it is a testimony that the extra 3-day trek is truly a gratifying expedition. If possible, hikers may camp at the lakeside for a night or two. They may embark on a much more difficult trek route west from the lake to Meso Kanto La and Jomsom or return back to the base camp and then to Shree Kharkha.
Trekking to Muktinath is a remarkable walking experience as well as a divine pilgrimage tour to the sanctified temple of Muktinath. The literal meaning of the temple is “the one who gives you salvation”. It has a great devout significance to both the Buddhists and Hindus. Muktinath trek can be expanded from Ghorepani Poon Hill trek or one can just embark on this idiosyncratic trek. On the continuance of the spectacular Poon Hill trek, hikers can advance towards Tatopani from Ghorepani and then to Ghasa, Marpha, Kagbeni and finally to Muktinath before traveling to Jomsom and flying back to Pokhara. For those who plan to trek only for a few days or up to a week, the fantabulous trek begins with a scenic flight to Jomsom and then few hours trek to Kagbeni. The mind-boggling trek is a congenial walk along the river banks of Kali Gandaki with enchanting views of mountains like Nilgiri and Tukuche. Passing by the Jharkot village and rambling uphill to Ranipauwa and further ahead eventually lead trekkers to the consecrated locality of Muktinath. Photography is prohibited inside the temple premises. Visitors usually take cold water showers along the 108 water spouts to rinse away all the sins as mentioned by some age-old myths. Viewing the tiny two blue flames burning incessantly through a hole is an opportunity not to be missed by religious people. Retracing footsteps from this spiritual destination back on the same route to Kagbeni, next to Jomsom and a flight back to Pokhara winds up this pleasurable journey with oomph and oodles of sweet memories to carry back home.