Located in the heart of Nepal, Annapurna circuit is one of the world’s tremendous trek options to witness the diverse climate zones with the distinct cultures of Nepal’s villagers. The trek routed with numerous ranges, river valleys, cliffs, waterfalls, and small villages bestows the fantastic trekking experience in your adventurous life. For a true adventure lover, trek to Annapurna circuit will remain forever long.
This area is basically dominated by Tibetan Buddhist people and crosses over four regions – Lamjung, Manang, Mustang and Myagdi.
History of Annapurna Circuit
Trekking to Annapurna circuit was allowed to foreign trekkers in 1977 after settling some disputes between CIA and Nepal army. At the starting days trekking to circuit takes 23 days, starting from Dhumre town at the Kathmandu - Pokhara Highway and ends in Pokhara. But in 1980s road construction from Dhumre to the north and from Pokhara to the westmade trekking a little bit easy. Now the road was connected to Chamje on the Marsyangdi river valley and Muktinath on the Kali Gandaki. That’s why from 1980s trek starting point changed to Marsyangdi river valley and ending point to Kali Gandaki Gorge.
Due to the road construction, drastic change in villages was observed in a new look. Road construction made so many things in the Annapurna circuit easier and accessible. Also, mountain biking rides became popular for tourists. In the past recent years, new areas also opened. They are Upper Mustang, Naar-Pho Valley, Manaslu, and Tsum Valley. But not open to all, you have to follow some extra permissions, costs, and restrictions in order to trek through these areas.
Trek of Annapurna Circuit
The length of the trek goes 160-230kms and it takes time to cover in 18 to 20 days or 10 to 15 days for shorter treks. From Besisahar in the Marshyangdi river valley trek starts and it ends at Kali Gandaki Gorge. En route, you go through two different river valleys and the scenic views of Annapurna I, II, III, IV, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Machhapuchhre, Gangapurna and some other ranges. Overall in the trek, Thorong La Pass is the highest point at an altitude of 5,416mts.
On the way you will be welcomed by prayer flags, small hermits, barren landscapes and beautiful valley. As you trek the path, keep on collecting the beautiful scenes in your cameras. This called the easy trek is often called the easy trek is filled with lush greenery in the beginning and as one crosses the green path one reaches the barren lands and high mountains. The excellent views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri offer amazing scenes.
To complete the trek you can take different routes, some are shorter one and some are longer. However, you can choose any way but trekking must be carried in anticlockwise. It makes you gain altitude slowly with consistency and the helps you to cross the Thorong pass easily. In trek route, Rhododendron forests, Tilicho Lake, Hot springs at Tatopani, Poon Hill, and the cultural villages are the fascinating things to enjoy the tourist attractions of the circuit.
Soon after one crosses the Thorong La Pass one can see the sub – tropical alpine peaks and also an arid semi – desert which is a direct contrast between the lush greenery and high peaks. It is in this trek that one can find the beautiful small village’s inhabitated by locals. These locals follow either Buddhism or Hinduism. Small hermit houses and tea – houses can be found in this trek making it a unique experience – which cannot be found in any other trek of the world! Stones with carved paintings, snow treks, old monasteries, red coloured trees with snow loaded peaks in the background and 7 – 8 tired layered fields are the common sights of these path. From here one reaches the Tapta Pani or Hot water. Some people believe it has got medicinal values and so take a dip in it before moving further. You too can if you wish so.
The return path is across villages of Ghara, Shika, Birethanthi and Pokhara. From Pokhara is a drive back to Kathmandu. On reaching Kathmandu, it’s good to take a 1 - 2 days rest and explore heritage sites like Temple of Pashupatinath, Bodhnath Stupa and the local market. Buying souvenirs on the way back too is a idea.
For this kind of trek one can expect accommodations, food inclusive and travel insurance. In fact, if you are not getting these, then there is no point of taking the trek. Taking along your medicines is a good idea. This trek is not at a very high altitude as compared to other treks and so there are NO breathing problems as such. A guided tour is a must as an individual trek without any guidance can be fatal.
Also Read : Top 10 Treks of Nepal
Tourist Attractions in Annapurna Circit
Different type of tourist attractions that will come across in trekking makes you relax and chill with amazing views and things to do. Here you can find some of the best tourist attractions of the Annapurna circuit.
1. Rhododendron Forests
In the way, Rhododendron forests in dark pinkish aura looks stunning. Here in this forest, you can spot various species of Rhododendron flowers such as Lonicera, Astragalus, Caragana, White Magnolias, Orchids, Blue irises, Roses, and more. Also, this forest is home to 440 species of birds and animals. Marten Deer and Snow Leopard can spot in this forest.
2. Tilicho Lake
Located at an altitude of 4,919mts, Tilicho lake was known as the highest lake in the world. In Manang district, this lake was located. For trekkers, this lake is an ideal point to take rest and start trekking to Thorong La Pass. Here a good number of lodges are available.
3. Thorong La Pass
As we already know, Thorong La Pass is the highest point in the Annapurna circuit at an elevation of 5,416mts. From here you can capture the sites of Khatung Kang and Yakawa Kang mountains. Annapurna circuit trekkers pass through this point to cover the trek. For sunrise views, Thorong La Pass is the best place to hold awe-inspiring views. Muktinath temple close to the Pass is also a must-visit place.
4. Kali Gandaki
In the Annapurna circuit, Kali Gandaki Gorge is the deepest canyon in the world. It parts the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna peaks. The Kali Gandaki river flows to the Ganges and Brahmaputra and coincides with the Tibetan border. At this Gorge, trek to Annapurna circuit comes to an end.
5. Natural Hot Springs
At Tatopani, close to Nepal and Tibet border you will meet with natural hot springs. This natural hot spring point is very popular for its medicinal values and healing powers. Especially trekkers can take a relaxing bath in hot springs to get relief from body pains. The high mineral content in the water purifies the blood and reactivates metabolism for Rheumatism sufferers.
6. Poon Hill
It's one of the finest viewpoints in Nepal with mind-blowing scenic wonders. At an altitude of 3,210mts and close to the Himalayas, Poon Hill is a well-known destination to seize the beautiful sights of the Himalayas. For beginners, trekking to this hill is a good practice to get in touch with adventurous acts.
7. Tsume Valley
The valley encircled with the backdrops of Ganesh Himal and Buddha Himal ranges offer enthralling views of the mountains with lush greenery. This valley is a great destination of cultures and traditions. Here you can witness the rich cultures of Buddhism.
8. Cultural Hubs
At the foothills of Annapurna circuit, a number of villages were settled. They are the best sites to experience diverse cultures and traditions. Ghorepani, Manang, Jomsom, and Marpha are some of the popular cultural villages located in the circuit. In the part of trekking, visiting these villages are worthy enough.
Also Read : Top Tourist Attractions in Nepal
Things to do at Annapurna Circuit
It's no doubt, Annapurna circuit is a den of adventurous activities to do a lot number of things. Trekking, mountain biking rides, and sightseeing in nearby villages are some of the must-do things in the Annapurna circuit.
For the thing only most of all visit Annapurna circuit. The challenging trek through rough plains, waterfalls, different river valleys, cliffs and etc make you experience the toughest and craziest ever trek in your adventurous life. As usual, the trek starts at Besisahar and ends at Kali Gandaki Gorge. The main stops in the trek are the holy Muktinath temple and Marpha. Particularly, trek to the highest point Thorong La Pass is the dominant thing of the whole adventurous trek.
2. Mountain Biking Rides
In recent years, mountain bike riding became the favorite rides to try in mountainous regions. At Annapurna circuit also we can try this. At Muktinath and Jomsom you can find a good number of stores to rent a bike for exciting rides. From Muktinath to Tatopani you can enjoy mountain biking rides.
3. Exploring culture in nearby villages
At the foothills of Annapurna circuit and amid trekking you cross numerous villages settled at high altitudes. All these villages are quite popular for their rich cultures and traditions. When you stay in tea houses you can experience the rich cultures and true humanity of the villagers. Lamjung, Myagdi, Manang, and Mustang are the village regions of the circuit.
Also Read : Top Things to do in Nepal
Tips for Annapurna Circuit Trek
Before we are going to try a new and adventurous thing we must be careful by acquiring knowledge of all things need to know. So please go through this to become be prepared for your trek in the Annapurna Circuit.
1. Get Permissions
The first thing to do is getting permissions from Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP). After getting these two permits you can start your trek.
Also Read : About Nepal Tourist Visa and Fees
2. Altitude Sickness
It is the common thing when we reach higher altitudes so after crossing 3,000mts high be cautious with necessary precautions not to get sick. Better carry Diamox medication which makes you acclimatize to the surrounding environment. Always try to get hydrated with water.
3. Make Use Of Tea Houses
Annapurna circuit is a tea house trek. At different levels, you can rest in tea houses. So make use of the tea houses to get acclimatize with the surrounding environment and to boost up yourself with good food and sleep. Also, some lodges are the best-try accommodations.
4. Light Packing
Almost try to pack as possible as with few things. It makes you comfortable not to bear lots of weights as you do in the gym. So pack the things need for trekking, and pair of boots, sunglasses, hiking pants, jumpers, thermal tops, jackets, gloves, hats, socks, headlamp, and so on. Never forget to keep a medical kit with you.
Best Time to Visit Annapurna Circuit
The best time to explore Annapurna circuit means, from October to November and February to April. At these times the atmosphere is friendly and pleasant with less chances of natural calamities. But never try to visit from June to September because these months fall into monsoons. During monsoons, floods will be very dangerous so better avoid visiting in these months. Finally, Autumn and Spring seasons are the best time to visit.
Also Read : Best Time to Visit Nepal
How to Reach Annapurna Circuit
To reach the Annapurna circuit we have to reach Besisahar, the starting point of the circuit. From Kathmandu, in just 7 hours we can reach Besisahar through public buses or private vehicles. Then, trekkers can start their trekking journey to Annapurna circuit. So foreigner trekkers must reach Kathmandu. It has an international airport also so there will be no problem to reach Kathmandu.
Also Read : How to Reach Nepal
Hope you can get all the information with this what you need to know about the Annapurna circuit. After going through this adventure thrillers can pack their bags to start journey to Nepal to dwell in the adventure.