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The Complete Guide to Annapurna Circuit Trek: Trails, Highlights, and Tips

The Magnanimous Annapurna

One of the most immersing ways to explore the mountains in Nepal is by trekking Annapurna. The Annapurna area is a trekking wonderland, from the Circuit to Base Camp. Long-distance trekkers are rewarded with amazing routes filled with teahouses, Tibetan temples, subtropical plains, and tall, spiky mountain peaks tearing themselves away from the materialistic world.

One of Nepal’s longest and most difficult treks, The Annapurna Circuit has two options: you either go it alone or hire a guide.

Many hikers from all over the globe have the Annapurna Circuit Trek on their bucket list. The Dhaulagiri mountain range and the Annapurna rainshadow are accessible via local trekking routes. It is impossible to adequately express in words the stunning potential of The Journey from the beginning till the end. This trek is an adventure of a lifetime. It validates the majority of travellers to have the Annapurna Circuit Trek on their bucket lists.

With the right planning and preparation, you may successfully do this Trek without a guide. In addition, this region is home to several communities. And if you get lost, they will for sure assist you. If you have prior expertise in trekking at high elevations and can travel without a guide, you can easily conquer the glorious hills of the region.

The Annapurna Circuit short trek journey is difficult but not impossible. Many mountains of the Annapurna Region may be seen from this trek. Annapurna Sanctuary, a glacial basin in the north of Pokhara is directly reached by this route.

If you are new to trekking, haven’t gone on any high-altitude treks, or have any health difficulties, hiring a certified trekking guide is preferable for a pleasant and secure trip.

About the circuit

The height rise during the 190-kilometre Annapurna circuit is enormous. It begins at 760 metres in a little village named Besisahar. It reaches a height of 5,416 metres at its highest point on Thorong La Pass.

The circuit is a walk encircling the mountains. Depending on the route, it might take anywhere from 12 to 22 days and cover distances ranging from 160 to 230 kilometres.

You may also take a detour to the Annapurna Sanctuary before rejoining the circuit, but this would add days to your travel. You may also go faster by adhering to dirt roads. Yet, you will lose out on the magnificent high mountain passes. For many, though, this contradicts the purpose of the journey. The highest routes provide the greatest views.

The complete route of the circuit

This trek circles the entire Annapurna massifs, crossing Thorung La Pass (5,416m), walking along the edge of the world’s deepest gorge (Kali Gandaki Gorge), enjoying sunrise views over the Himalayas from Poon Hill, visiting Muktinath temple (a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus and Buddhists), and refreshing in the hot springs of Tatopani.

We will journey across numerous climatic zones, passing through rice paddy fields, subtropical woodlands, rural farming, and glacier zones at altitudes ranging from 800m to 5,416m. Mountains like Dhaulagiri, Annapurna (I, II, III), Manaslu, and Nilgiri are visible throughout the journey.

This walk allows you to learn about the Tibetan way of life, which is prevalent in the Mustang valleys. Snow leopards and blue sheep are also possible sightings at Yak Kharka. We’ll also make a detour to Tatopani, where you may cool down in the famed hot springs.

You will begin the trip at Bhulbhule after a magnificent drive from Kathmandu, and the itinerary will take you through Jagat, Dharapani, Chame, and Pisang. You’ll be spending the night at each of these locations.

On the sixth day, you hike to Manang, where we will remain for acclimatization before crossing the Thorung La mountain. After acclimatizing in Manang, you continue the trek to Yak Kharka and spend the night there before hiking up to Thorong Phedi the next day.

On the ninth day, you leave Thorong Phedi and trek towards Muktinath, and today is the day you will pass Thorong La Pass. Thorong La Pass links Manang village in the east to Muktinath temple and Ranipauwa hamlet in the west.

After going across the Thorong La Pass, we descend to Muktinath, a Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage destination. We drive from Muktinath to Tatopani, which is famed for its hot springs. Tatopani’s hot spring water is believed to heal skin disorders. You are welcome to take a bath in this hot water while you spend the night at Tatopani.

The next day, you will hike from Tatopani to Ghorepani through beautiful rhododendron, birch, and magnolia woods. You’ll spend the night at Ghorepani. The next morning, you trek for about an hour to Poon Hill. Poon Hill is a well-known viewpoint with views of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna (I, II, III, South), Hiuchuli, Nilgiri, Machhapuchhre, Tukuche Peak, Dhampus Peak, and Gurja Himal.

You walk to Birethanti after spending some time in Poon Hill and then drive to Pokhara, where we will spend our final night in the hiking zone. You can take a tourist bus back to Kathmandu the next morning.

Things to remember before trekking the circuit

Plan your date of travel a few months prior :

The weather is optimum at some times of the year. October and November, or April and May, are commonly regarded as the ideal months for walking on the Annapurna Circuit. The weather is often clear and dry throughout these two seasons, thus ascending to high heights is not too chilly. They are also the busiest season on the path, with trekkers from all over the world trekking into the Himalayas.

Altitude Sickness could be real :

Altitude sickness can occur at any elevation above 2,500 metres. It doesn’t matter how fit you are; it may and will afflict anyone at any time. You may prepare by taking Diamox, an altitude drug, but otherwise, simply go slowly, drink plenty of water, and listen to your body.

Only carry your basics :

Nepali porters will carry 10kg of your stuff when walking the Annapurna Circuit with Intrepid. Everything additional will have to be carried on your own back, so pack as lightly as possible. You will require a decent-quality sleeping bag, thick clothing, medications, thermal layers, and a headlamp. So leave your clothes, laptop, and cosmetics at home. You truly do not.

Steady your paces, don’t sprint, Feel it:

Don’t imagine you can run the entire route because you’re incredibly fit. Nope! Slowly, gradually and walking slowly helps you to acclimate more quickly, which is essential in these places. Walking slowly has the extra benefit of not tiring you out as soon and allowing you to soak in more of the beautiful surroundings.

Live in the moment! Happy Trekking!