The globally popular trekking adventure in Nepal, Annapurna Circuit Trekking is also well known as RAT, Round Annapurna Trek. This is a magnificent trek in Annapurna region that follows Marshyangdi Khola (river) from the subtropical lowlands to the Manang basin and then crosses the Thorung La Pass (5416m) before descending down to the deepest gorge in the world, the Kali Gandaki. Trekkers first pick Annapurna Circuit Trekking surpasses any trek in terms of landscapes diversity.
The circuit of the Annapurna range is rich in variety and vistas, from the lush green rice paddies of the Marshyangdi to the arid high altitude Himalayan interior. The ecological and cultural diversity of Annapurna Circuit Trekking provides the complete trekking experience. The common pilgrimage site for Hindus and Buddhist, Muktinath Temple is the sacred highlight of the latter half of the trek. As you hike along the way, the sights of beautiful mountain sceneries and fascinating village life will keep you enthralled, day after day.
Single room supplement: USD 110
It is a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities..
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal Boudhanath and after that to the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva- Pashupatinath. We take a tour to Patan or Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. We walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square...
With high level of physical fitness, adequate acclimatization and good logistic support, we begin our Annapurna trekking. Driving along the Kathmandu-Pokhara Highway to Dumre and then following the rough route by the Marsyangdi River, we pass through the low-lying villages and rice fields. After 6 hours long drive, we finally reach Besi Sahar. Besi Sahar is the capital of Lamjung District. .
From Besi Sahar, we trek along the trail turning right at the canal on the outskirts of the village and descending the narrow path to the Pam Khola. On crossing the stream, we ascend towards the village of Denauti where we get to see Nepali village life at close quarters. The route further leads to the banks of the Marshyangdi Khola, passing through paddy fields and subtropical forests. As the trail nears the Khudi Khola, we approach the Gurung village of Khudi..
As we walk northwards up the Marshyangdi Valley, away from Khudi, we get to see the magnificent Annapurna mountain ranges. The trail winds through a suspension bridge and follows terraced rice fields, offering breathtaking view of Manaslu and cascading waterfalls. Further, as the trail goes uphill, we spot several shops and teahouses at Ngadi village. On leaving Ngadi after a brief rest, we skirt through the challenging trails to Bahundanda. Bahundanda literally means "Brahmin hill" and as the name suggests Bahundanda is largely inhabited by Brahmins. Here we conclude our trekking journey for the day..
A steep trail descends from Bahundanda, through rice fields, 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 Hani Gaon. Ahead, the Marshyangdi valley forms a steep V-shape. We 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. Eventually we descend to the stone village of Jagat, situated on a shelf, which juts out into the precipitous Marshyangdi valley. .
The trail from Jagat descends until it reaches the river and then continues through a lush forest. Further ascent leads to sharp-edged cliff facing the riverbank. En route, Chyamje comes into picture amidst the glorious backdrop of towering Annapurna mountain ranges. After crossing a suspension bridge, we climb steeply towards the slippery and physically challenging path to Sattale. On treading along a succession of rock-strewn trails, we descend to a grassy riverbank that leads to Tal. As we walk away from Tal, the path becomes rugged and winding. Then we approach steep forested village of Karte. Meandering along the waterfalls and cliffs, we finally reach Dharapani after crossing a suspension bridge. .
We skirt through a narrow field from the village. The Dudh Khola, which originates from the south face of Manaslu and then Marshyangdi veers to the left. Sinuous trails of the. Annapurna II becomes visible as we arrive at Bagarchhap, a Bhotia village with colorful prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. As we continue ascending through forests of pine and oak, we pass through Dhanakyu before coming to a thundering waterfall. Further on, the Marshyangdi river enters a gorge and the trails follows rock-strewn path. We can pause for a while and take in the splendor of the picturesque Manaslu. When the steep incline ends, we follow a path amid magnificent rhododendrons and continue on a gently rising path. We cross a stream before entering a pine forest. We then enter the pristine hamlet of Kotho, from where we can capture the most enchanting view of Annapurna II. Treading further, the route reaches a large white gate with a corrugated iron roof, which is the entrance of Chame. Chame is the administrative headquarter of Manang district. There is electricity, wireless station, schools, shops, health post, post office, police check post, hotels, lodges and banks in Chame. The hot springs are the major attraction of this place. .
After a mesmerizing sight of the glowing Lamjung Himal [6893m] in the morning, we head off for Pisang. En route, we cross a large suspension bridge along Marshyangdi and approach houses and lodges on the northern side of the river. Our trekking trail meanders through barley field leading to Teleku at 2775 meters. As we leave undulating mountain passes, we enter fascinating apple orchard and near a bridge at 2840 meters. On crossing the bridge, the pristine hamlet of Bratang appears. History has it that Bratang used to be a Khampa settlement. A stone memorial of a Japanese climber has been built in this place. After leaving the forested village, the valley changes from a V-shape to a gentle U-shape. Before us, the Annapurna mountain range rears up. Further on, we continue our steep rock-strewn trails to the south side and cross a long suspension bridge at 3040 meters. At this vantage point on the bridge, we get to view Paungda Danda rock rising more than 1500 meters from the river. En route, we get to capture splendid views of Annapurna II rearing up on the east and Pisang Peak on the north-east. We cross a bridge and enter the village of Pisang..
As we continue with our trek, further afield from Pisang we head along a steep ridge savoring beautiful sights of the Manang valley and the Tilicho peak towering above 7132 meters. As we descend through Manang's airstrip, we come to Hongde lying beneath the gigantic Annapurna III on the north-east face. The route further leads to the wide plain of the Sabje Khola Valley from where we get the majestic view of Annapurna IV [7525m]. Further on, we cross a wooden bridge, as the Marshyangdi Khola gushes below us. We enter the beautiful village of Mungji. We continue treading along the cultivated fields and after a while we arrive at the village of Bryaga with a splendid monastery. On trekking down to Manang, we enjoy the majestic views of the Annapurna range - Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna [7455m] and Tilicho Peak [7134m]. .
After reaching Manang, we take a day off for complete rest and adequate acclimatization before crossing the Thorung La. We can spend this day strolling down the river to see the tremendous ice-fall cascading down from the glaciated mountain peaks or by simply take in the panoramic beauty of the Annapurna mountain range and the Manang Valley. A short visit to Himalayan Rescue Association [HRA] aid post makes for an interesting visit. .
Thoroughly acclimatized, we advance towards Thorung La. On the way, we cross a stream, climb to Tengi, 120meters above Manang and ascend further past Marshyangdi Valley turning north-west up the valley of the Jarsang Khola. Amid the spectacular vistas of Annapurna mountain range, we trek beyond the lush vegetation of scrub juniper and alpine grasses to reach the small village of Gunsang. Gunsang is a cluster of flat mud roofs just below the trail at 3960 meters. Along the route, we see several lodges. As we approach picturesque meadows and rich forests of barberry, juniper etc, we encounter horses and yaks grazing. The trail takes us further along a large stream that flows from Chulu West and Gundang, and leads to a rich pasture at 4000 meters. .
Leaving Letdar, we 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, we follow a narrow trail across an unstable steep slope and then descend to Thorung Phedi. .
We have an early start today for the crossing of Thorung La [5416m]. 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, we reach the chorten and prayer flags of the pass. From the snow-covered mountains above, to the head of the Kali Gandaki valley below and the brown and purple hills of Mustang, which spread out before us, we are presented with a dramatic tableau. The descent to Muktinath is a 1600m trek. But the excellent views of Dhaulagiri, more then makes up for the tiring journey. Eventually the moraines give way to grassy slopes before a pleasant walk along the Jhong Khola Valley to Muktinath, with its shrines and temple. .
We now begin the descent down the dramatic Kali Gandaki valley, initially through arid country in the same geographical and climatic zone as Tibet. After passing through Jharkot and Khingar, villages with typical Tibetan architecture, we follow the valley floor most of the way to Jomsom. En route, we sight tremendous views of both Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri. Jomsom is a large town sprawled along both banks of the Kali Gandaki River, and it is here we will spend the final night of our trek. [walk approx 3 hours].
We take an early morning flight to Pokhara. It is a spectacular flight along the Kali Gandaki Gorge and provides wonderful views of both the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges. We then catch a further flight back to Kathmandu..
Our Nepalese support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. On the other hand, if you prefer to stay longer, you can go for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, mountain biking, etc.- ask us..
Moderate to fairly challenging
This is a long trek that goes right into high mountain country and over the Thorung La pass (5416m), the highest pass on this trek. Physically quite tiring, it involves approx 6-8 hours trekking along rocky ridges. No previous experience is required, you should be moderately fit, used to some regular exercise and enjoy walking in the high altitude conditions.
Trekking in the Annapurna region does not need tremendous logistics in terms of accommodation as you will find plenty of clean and friendly lodges along the trail. We stay in single rooms where possible, but often you will have to share. Rooms are basic, normally just a bed with a pillow and blankets. A few have electric lights and all have a spacious dining room-lounge. We will accommodate you and your group in local lodge available each day. We send a porter ahead of us to book the required rooms for the group (rooms cannot be booked in advance). Please remember that some of them are very basic and a sense of adventure is necessary. It is cheaper to stay in lodge rather than organizing a camping trek.
Camping trek means sleeping in tents. On a camping trek, the tents provided are ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped. Foam mattress with insulation underneath is provided for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection to this itinerary, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a special choice. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website.
Meals are included in our price and are taken in lodges available along the trail. You can find a wide variety of Nepali and Western food as well as drinks (coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, beers….).
Meals are prepared by our cook. We provide three tasty and nutritious meals daily along with drinks.
You will have to make your own eating arrangements in the many Lodges available along the trail. Expect to spend around 2000-2500 Rupees a day for food. Guide, accommodation and porters are covered in the price.
On camping trek, our staff will boil and cook meals treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. On GAP trek, you will be able to buy safe hot drinks in the tea house.
We recommend you to bring water purification pills. On the trail, water from the streams is safe if away from settlements.
During trek your main luggage will be carried by porters. You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket, etc. - a small load that allows full enjoyment of the trek. A trek bag is ideal for your main luggage, plus a small lockable bag for travel clothes or anything that you do not need during trek which you can leave at hotel’s locker room/safe deposit box in Kathmandu for free of charge. Weight allowance at Nepal’s domestic airlines is 15 Kgs, excess weight is chargeable at USD 1 or more per Kilo depending on sectors.
We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements: 1) Western leader 2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable) 3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)
The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. On camping trek, there will be 2/3 porters for each members while on GAP and on Lodge trek 1 porter for 2 members.
If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies, minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 3 and the maximum is 12 people.
Personal expenses depend largely on the type of trek, duration and the trekking region.
If you are on Camping or Tea house trek all meals will be provided. You only need money for table drinks (alcoholic/non alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking (a few smaller shops are available along the trail in some areas) tips, souvenirs, hot shower (available in some places).
Tips are appreciated by your support team after the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise you to allocate 5 - 10% of the total tour cost as tips.
The starting point of the trek is Besi Sahar, which is connected by a 6 hours drive from Kathmandu. On your return, you will fly from Jomsom to Pokhara. You can choose between flying and driving back from Pokhara to Kathmandu. We will arrange the transportation from your hotel to the airport (Kathmandu). Please check with for price difference between flying and driving back to Kathmandu
There are a plenty of telephone facilities in the Annapurna region. Cell phones work fine throughout the trek in Annapurna region. If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, we can provide you a sim card or rental satellite phones if necessary.
Trekking: You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sun-screen and day pack.
It's not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu. Explore Himalaya will thoroughly help you to buy or rent trekking gears in the outlets of Thamel, which sell or rent both international and local gears.
Lodge/ Tea House Trek, GAP Trek & Camping Trek Each morning after packing our bags and a hearty breakfast, we set off on the day’s walk. After walking for 3-4 hours we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon’s walk is generally shorter and we usually arrive at our destination in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the village, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days we will arrive at our destination by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and reliving the day’s adventures, before retiring for a well-earned sleep. However, on a camping trek, you begin your day with a hot cup of tea which is served to you in the tent at 6 am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. Other day activities are the same as mentioned above.
You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass on the Customs and come out of the Terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland.
The best seasons to trek in the Annapurna region are Autumn (from mid-September till November end) and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher everyday. The nights are cold (between -20 C to 5C) but the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 30C). The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. Trekking during the monsoon and winter is not recommended; as the visibility during monsoon is limited, high pass (Thorung la- 5416m) gets covered up with snow during winter.
March, April, October and November are the most popular and favored months for traveling. Please choose the date that is convenient for you.
The itineraries for each trip should be taken as a guideline only. Depending on the prevailing situation, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original.
We ensure liability as per indicated itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay extra for Hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases.
All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. Visa is also issued at the entry points. It can be extended at the Department of Immigration, Kalikasthan, Kathmandu. Children under 10 years need not pay any visa fee. People willing to get entry Visa at the air port or any of the land entry points are required to fill a visa form with passport photograph. So, please download form from the link below (visa form) and get ready while you are passing through the immigration Point.
Visa Application form
Gratis visa for 30 days available only for tourists of SAARC countries
Multiple entry 15 days - US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 30 days - US$ 40 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 90 days - US$ 100 or equivalent convertible currency
Tourist Visa Extension
* Visa extension fee for 15 days or less is US $ 30 or equivalent convertible currency and visa extension fee for more than 15 days is US$ 2 per day
* Tourist visa can be extended for a maximum period of 150 days in a single visa year (January - December).
As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you to consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio. The main health consideration in high altitude is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor and purchase them in Kathmandu. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate. For your service, we carry a medical kit with standard prescribed medicines along with a users’ manual which you can use upon your own risk. We do not take any medical liability since our staffs are not qualified to prescribe medicines. If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you consult your doctor about your suitability for traveling to this area before booking. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly be of help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions.
In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we believe will not happen; we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu.
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation.
Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible.
As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have camp fires and use kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far more eco-friendly alternative.
Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strew with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. We carry out all our garbage, apart from that which can be safely and easily burnt at the campsite. Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.
In addition to your trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal and other neighboring countries. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet, India or Bhutan, whichever appeals more to you. Since the trek ends in Pokhara, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal, it would be nice and relaxing for you to spend a day or two taking in the sights and sounds of this scenic city.
Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) was conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal.
Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agriculture, culture preservation and fund raising. Explore Himalaya encourages its clients to contribute for the development of Nepal.
We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. We are the first ever company to supply high-altitude porters with crampons.
We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG - www.ippg.net).
1) It is fundamental you acknowledge that this is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We can not be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which could be decided upon mutual agreement. If an agreement cannot be made, Explore Himalaya shall only be responsible for refunds after deducting the expenses already incurred.
2) Your booking will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of USD 500 and the signed copy of booking form and contract.
The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.
3) If you cancel, the following scale of charges will apply:
2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 500)
29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost
10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost
Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost
If you still have any queries regarding this trip, please don't hesitate to contact our office staff. We will respond to you within 24 hours. You can book a trip by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 977-1-4418100.
The Annapurna region lies in central Nepal. Named after the Hindu goddess Annapurna (the bestower of food), who is regarded as a manifestation of goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. The chief mountains in this region include the Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu Himal. The Annapurna Himal, which lies between the Kali Gandaki and Marsyangdi river valley, forms a solid mountain bastion. It covers a distance of 40 miles and encompasses within its range some twelve peaks that rise to an elevation of more than 7000m and numerous other lesser peaks. Climate, Flora & Fauna The climate in the Annapurna region varies from subtropical to alpine. The southern slopes of the area has the highest rainfall rate in the country- 3000mm per year, whereas the northern slopes lying in the rain shadow has the lowest rate – less than 300mm per year. The difference in the climatic conditions in this region is responsible for its varied flora and fauna. The Annapurna region possesses a variety of flora and fauna. It stretches from the subtropical lowlands and the high temperate rhododendron forest in the south, to a dry alpine steppe environment in the North. The Southern lowlands are lush with subtropical forests consisting of chirpine and alder. In the Northern highlands temperate forests of oaks, rhododendron, fir, and blue pine are found. The wet regions yield a variety of bamboo species. The higher altitude further North give rise to forests of birch, blue pine and juniper trees, which are replaced by juniper and rhododendron in the far North. In the semi-desert rain shadow region, behind the Himalayas, bushes of caragana and juniper species are evident. It has several species of wildlife. There are around four hundred and seventy-four species of birds, and around a hundred species of mammals. The Annapurna region serves as an excellent habitat for rare and endangered mammals like the snow leopard, musk deer, blue sheep, red panda and many of Nepal’s brilliantly plumaged pheasants. Annapurna peaks The Annapurna massif contains six major peaks over 7,200 m: Annapurna I(8091m), Annapurna II(7937m), Annapurna III(7555m), Annapurna IV(7525m), Gangapurna(7455m) and Annapurna South(7219m). Annapurna I, standing at a height of 8,091 m, is the tenth highest summit in the world. It is located east of a great gorge cut through the Himalaya by the Kali Gandaki River, which separates it from the Dhaulagiri massif Annapurna was the first 8000m peak scaled by a climber. Till 1948, Nepal was closed to all foreigners. It was in the year 1949 that the kingdom opened its doors to mountaineers .In that year two foreign teams received permission to enter the country, one Swiss and another American. In 1950, a French mountaineering team led by Maurice Herzog succeeded in climbing Annapurna, an 8000m peak. They had no information about the peak they would climb. With little or no information, they decided to take on the Annapurna. On 3rd June, Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenel reached the summit of Annapurna I, after climbing for eight hours. They had to suffer from severe frostbite which cost Maurice Herzog his toes and fingers. Herzog has written about the climb in his book The Conquest of Annapurna 1950. In 1957 Wilfred Noyce and David Cox climbed Machapuchhre (6997m) to within 50m of its summit. After this attempt, the government prohibited further climbing on the mountain .So technically Machapuchre remains unclimbed. Annapurna II, the eastern anchor of the range, was first climbed in 1960 by a British/Indian/Nepalese team led by Jimmy Roberts, via the West Ridge, approached from the north. Annapurna III was first climbed in 1961 by an Indian expedition team led by Mohan Kohli. The summit party comprised Mohan Kohli, Sonam Gyatso, and Sonam Girmi. They climbed from the Northeast Face. Tharpu Chuli (Tent Peak), shaped like a tent, at 5663m is an ideal peak for a short expedition. Lying across the Annapurna glacier, the peak offers excellent views of its neighbouring peaks from its summit. Pisang Peak (6091m) forms part of the Manang Himal. Towering above the Marshyangdi valley, this peak was first ascended by J.Wellenkamp, a German climber, in 1955.The start of the ascent to this peak starts at a village which shares its name: Pisang. Machhapuchhare (fish tail) (3700m) Machhapuchre lies in the center of the Annapurna Himal. Machhapuchhre possesses the rare beauty that makes it one of the world's most photographed peaks. Poon Hill(3193m)is the westernmost crest of a spur that juts into the Kali Gandaki. The hill is named after the Magars called Poon, who live in that area. To watch the sunrise over the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Himal from this hill is an experience of a lifetime. People & Places The Gurungs form the largest group in the Annapurna region. They come from Tibeto burman stock. Although essentially Buddhists some Gurungs have converted to Hinduism. They inhabit the higher northern slopes of the Annapurna, Lamjung,Chuli and hills around Ganesh Himal. A large number of Gurung men serve in the British and Indian armies. The immediate vicinity of Pokhara is largely populated by Chettris and Bahuns (Brahmins).They also live around the historic site of the old Gorkha kingdom. The Magars inhabit the lower trail between Baglung and Dana. They live high on the steep ridges along the tributaries of the Kali Gandaki. Another ethnic group of this region is the Thakalis. Known throughout the country as accomplished hoteliers and skilled traders, they are noted for their aggressive trading spirit. They make up one of the few richer groups of people in Nepal. The Jomsom trek passes through Thak Khola, the Thakali homeland. In the valley of the Muktinath live the Baragaun Bhotiya. Their lifestyle is similar to that of the Tibetans. Another group of people who share a close affinity to the Tibetans are the Lopa people of Mustang, north of Kagbeni. Some of them practice the ancient pre-Buddhist religion of Bon which is infused with animistic and shamanic belief and ritual. The people living in the upper Marshyandi valley are generally known as Mananges. The Nyeshang area, under which fall the villages of Manang, Braga and Ngawal. The people are of Tibetan origin. But their language Nyeshang is not a Tibetan dialect. This area is popularly known by the name of its largest village Manang. Pokhara [827m] Pokhara is the main town in central Nepal. It is the starting place of most of the major treks in the Annapurna region. Situated at an altitude of 827m, it is warmer and humid than Kathmandu. This town is known for its picturesque spots like the Phewa Tal(lake), on whose clear water you can see the reflection of the Mt.Machhapuchhre and the Annapurna Himal. Pokhara is one of the major travel destinations in Nepal. Muktinath [3,710m] Muktinath, a sacred place both for Hindus as well as Buddhists, is located at an altitude of 3,710 m at the foot of the Thorong La pass in Mustang district. The Hindus call the place Mukti Kshetra, which means the "the place of salvation", while the Buddhists call it Chumig Gyatsa, Tibetan for 'Hundred Waters'. For Tibetan Buddhists Chumig Gyatsa is a place of Dakinis, goddesses known as Sky Dancers. Jwala Mai Temple, Vishnu Temple, Marme Lhakhang and Gompa Sarwa are some of the religious shrines to visit. The springs from the Gandaki River spurts out of the 108 waterspouts near the Vishnu temple, from where the Hindu pilgrims take ritual bathe. One item that is unique to this place is the Saligrams (Ammonite fossils). These are black stones that when broken open, reveal the fossilized remains of prehistoric ammonites formed about 130 million years ago. The old specks that appear on many saligram are pyrite (fool's gold). Hindus believe that the saligrams represent the god Vishnu. Jomsom [2713m] Jomsom serves as the centre for Mustang valley. It lies on the banks of the Kali Gandaki River. There is an airstrip here with scheduled service to Kathmandu. The increase in the frequency of flights has brought more tourists to this area. Jomsom has a bank, post office, telecom office, a hospital and numerous lodges. Manang [3520m] The Manang area was only recently opened to trekkers .The dry and arid region of Manang called Nyeshang lies at an altitude of 3520m. There is an abundance of large chortens and mani walls .The people of Nyeshang were granted special trading privileges by the King of Nepal hundred years ago. The businessmen from these parts are reputed to be both keen and astute. The tall peaks of the Himalaya - Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna [7455m] and Tilicho Peak [7134m] are visible from this place. There is also a Himalayan Rescue Association [HRA] aid post in the village which makes an interesting and educational visit. Kagbeni[2810m] Kagbeni is the northernmost village in this region that foreigners may visit on a normal trekking permit. The police check post at the northern end of the village fastidiously prevents tourists from proceeding towards Lo-Manthang, the walled city of Mustang without the proper documentation A green oasis at the junction of the Jhong Khola and the Kali Gandaki river, Kagbeni looks like a town out of the medieval past, with closely packed mud houses, dark tunnels and alleyways, imposing chortens and a large, ochre-colored gompa perched above the town. Many people in this place still dress in typical Tibetan clothing. Chomrong[2100m] This is the highest permanent settlement in the valley. Chomrong is divided into New Chomrong and Old Chomrong. New Chomrong at 2040m is the upper part. It has resort hotels, a school and a helicopter pad. Old Chomrong at 2060m is the main part of the village with shops offices and lodges. There is a tremendous view of Annapurna South, which seems to tower above the village. There are good views of Machhapuchhare, the fish tail mountain across the valley. Beyond Chomrong, camping is restricted to certain ACAP- designated camp sites and hotel construction is strictly prohibited. Ghandruk [1940m] Ghandruk, a traditional Gurung village is a cluster of slate-roofed houses. It is the second largest Gurung settlement in Nepal after Siklis. Its actual Gurung name is Kond. Surrounded by neatly terraced fields, the village has electricity and an extensive water supply. There are many hotels and lodges to cater to the many trekkers and tourists that pass that way. The headquarters of he Annapurna Conservation Area Poject are here. Over here one gets to witness the unique culture, tradition and custom of the Gurung community. Ghandruk offers excellent views of Annapurna South, Gangapurna, Annapurna III and Machhapuchhare. Annapurna Conservation Area Project(ACAP) ACAP was established in 1986 under the guidance of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation. The project encompasses more than 7600 sq km. of the Annapurna range. As an innovative approach towards environmental protection, this area was declared a "conservation area" instead of a national park. . In an effort to avoid any conflicts of interest, ACAP has sought the involvement of local people and has emphasized environmental education. ACAP projects include the training of lodge owners, with an emphasis on sanitation, deforestation and cultural pride. They have trained trekking lodge operators and encouraged hoteliers to charge a fair price for food and accommodation. ACAP encourages the use of kerosene for cooking and made its use compulsory above Chhomrong in the Annapurna Sanctuary and on the route between Ghandruk and Ghorapani. ACAP is supported by a "conservation fee" of Rs 650 that is collected from all trekkers who obtain trekking permits for the Annapurna region. The Major Treks Royal Trek: This is a magnificent trek stretching across two different river valleys. It encircles the Annapurna massif and goes through the Thorong La [5416 m.] the highest pass on this trek. The trek begins at Besisahar in the Marsyangdi river valley and finally concludes at Kali Gandaki river valley. This is a moderate to challenging trek which sometime requires a walk up the steep mountain path. This trek can be done anytime of the year except during monsoon and winter. Ghorepani Trek: This trek is well suited for beginners or for those who have limited time. The trek starts from Phedi. The trail passes through rhododendron forest and traditional Gurung villages. A comparatively easy trek, it takes you up to an elevation of 2775 m at Ghorepani. The trip can be done anytime of the year except during monsoon. Pokhara -Jomsom –Muktinath: Beginning from Nayapul, the trail passes over the Ghorepani pass and descends down to Kali Gandaki valley. Watching the dawn breaking over the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna peaks from Ghorepani is one spectacular scene that you get to witness on this trek. Once you reach Jomsom you can either continue trekking to Muktinath or explore the villages around Jomsom. This is an easy trek that can be done any time of the year except during monsoon. Annapurna Base Camp Trek: The route to the original Annapurna Base Camp was discovered by Maurice Herzog and his team in 1950. The Annapurna Base Camp trek leads to a natural amphitheater that is used as the base camp from which climbers start on their way to conquer the Annapurna peak. The peak reaches 8091 meters above sea level, and the base camp's altitude is 4130 meters above sea level. The trek into the area below the massive south face of Annapurna, known as the Annapurna Sanctuary, is one of the most popular treks in Nepal. The trek begins in Pokhara and leads up through the breathtaking Modi Khola gorge into the vast mountain ringed amphitheatre of the Sanctuary. The trail passes through bamboo and rhododendron forests with superb views of the Annapurna range. The high glacial basin is the site of the Annapurna south face base camp. This is a classic trek, which allows access to the high mountains of the Himalaya within a reasonable time frame. This trip can be done anytime of the year except during monsoon. Annapurna Circuit Trek: It is a picturesque valley, first discovered in 1957 by Jimmy Roberts. Ten peaks of 600-800m rises from it. Machhapuchhare looks breathtaking from this viewpoint as also the south face of Annapurna. The Sanctuary falls within the area managed by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project. The Annapurna Circuit is the popular name for a 300 km trek in the Annapurna mountain range. The trek reaches an altitude of 5,300m on the Thorung Lapass, touching the edge of the fabled Tibetan plateau. The magnificent mountain scenery, seen at close quarters includes Annapurna, Dhauligiri, and Machhupuchhare. This is a moderate to challenging trek which sometime requires ascending and descending the steep mountain path. This trek can be done anytime of the year except during monsoon and winter when the Thorong pass gets blocked by snow.
Everything was very well organized and were well informed about meeting points and who we were to get lifts with. Dhan Kumar Rana was a fantastic guide! We had so much fun with him and he took us to places we wouldn’t have visited if we had trekked alone. Our porter was also great, friendly and did a brilliant job of carrying our bag. We were amazed at the variety of meals available each day. All the lodges were comfortable and very welcoming. Even though it was off-season , the lodges still provided the best food possible and created a welcoming atmosphere. Our jeep ride to Besisahar was a great start to the trip. The two flights from Jomsom to Kathmandu were amazing and a great finish to the trip. Our itinerary was great. Not too much walking each day, so it allowed us time to explore each village at night. The trek was absolutely amazing, we loved every minute and wouldn’t change a thing!
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