The apple pie trek: Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
The Annapurna Circuit trek takes you through incredible sceneries of rivers, flora and fauna circling the Annapurna massif. This trek is regarded as one of the best treks in the World. The trek goes usually counter-clockwise from Khudi to Pokhara and reaches its highest point at the pass Thorung La (5416m). During this trek we can see the three eight-thousander amazing mountains: Manaslu (8156 m), Annapurna 1 (8091 m) and Dhaulagiri (8167 m). This trek passes through Buddhist community villages and Hindu holy sites, especially the village of Muktinath, a sacred site for both Buddhists and Hindu devotees.
The best time of the year for the trek is considered October and November, right after the end of rainy season. However, there is still a chance of infrequent rain until mid-October, but from middle of October to end of November the weather will mostly be pleasant with clear sky and almost no rain. During December and January it would be very cold in this region and the pass Thorung La can be blocked in case of excessive snowfall. Therefore, it is advisable to take precautionary measures against the irregular rains and snow during the trek. If you are lucky enough to have a favorable weather during your trip, you will get a great experience of hiking in the periphery of lofty Himalayas.
The duration of this whole trek is about 17 to 21 days, with an average walking time of about 6 hours per day. For the first 10 days of this almost immature trek, you will not spot any cars, no WiFi and occasionally you have to find for a new path if the trail is blocked by landslide. Every year more than 40,000 trekkers visit the Annapurna Circuit, most of them in October/November. Despite the extreme solitude of Annapurna Circuit, the trekking enthusiasts sometimes make the trail look like the rush-hour traffic in the wilderness. Simply hiking in this region gives you an immense pleasure. You may halt in lodges of simple teahouses, which are run by local villagers and stocked with good kitchens, cold beer, and even apple pie! For some reasons, you can even find a couple of 'real original German bakeries’ along the trek. There might be a risk of high altitude sickness, but certainly not of starvation. Because of the well arranged Snicker bars, pie and the bakeries in the Annapurna Circuit, it is nick named as "The apple pie trek". But, of course, traditional Nepalese food called ‘Daal Bhaat’ is easy to find in the form of a simple but tasteful vegetarian meal of rice and lentil soup.
The pace of walking gets slower when the trekking moves on to the higher part between Manang (3519m) and the pass Thorung La (5416m). The challenge increases gradually and so does the unforgettable, adventurous memories. On the 10th or 11th day of the trek (depending upon the acclimatization time and fitness), you will finally reach at Thorung La pass, the highest point of the circuit, and you can see the massif of mountains all around. The pass is still regularly used by local traders. Getting up very early (3:30 a.m.!), and climbing before dawn in the morning after a quick breakfast is quite a wonderful experience. The altitude difference between Thoring Phedi (4450 m) and pass Thorung La (5416 m) is about 1000m. The weather conditions and the scenery are perfect and breathtaking. However, it is extremely demanding. Having perfectly acclimatized, with lots of garlic soup the previous days (garlic grown in the hillside is good to avoid altitude sickness) and a lot of water every day, climbing up 1000m early in the morning up to 5416m is really an adventurous work. Yet it will charge you up with a very pleasant feeling when you leave the pass heading down almost 1700m to Muktinath (3760m).
Trekking through the Annapurna Circuit is full of adventures: you will be experiencing the crossings of swaying suspension bridges over the thunderous gorges surrounded by the majestic eight-thousander peaks; and passing the green terraced rice fields along the trek. While passing the narrow stone villages you can see the playing of village children and hear the low hum of the meditating monks from the Buddhist monasteries celebrating a ceremony mingling with the sound of Dungchen. Dungchen is a long trumpet or horn and the most widely used instrument in Tibetan Buddhist culture. It is often played in pairs or more, and the sound is compared to the roar of elephants. And above the altitude of 4000m, you only see mountains, rocks, mountains again, glaciers and snow. When Annapurna, Gangapurna or the Dhaulagiri slowly appears into the view, the moment is nothing less than a charismatic magic of nature.
It was highly expected for the road construction to Manang to be completed by the end of 2012. Since, this didn’t happen; it means that you can still experience the final third part of the Annapurna Circuit, which is also known as the Jomsom trek. Jomsom is a village located at 2800m in the Annapurna region and it is the headquarter of Mustang district. The village has a small airport and you can reach the village by bus or 4x4 car. The trek from Jomsom to Pokhara is followed by big roads but is very dusty and dirty. You can see all the buses and jeeps with lazy trekkers who opt for the car coming along the road and hear the little airplanes of the scenic flights in the sky. It is quite a different experience compared to the idyllic undeveloped eastern part of the Annapurna Circuit from Khudi to Thorung La and Muktinath. Some people say that the new road to Manang may affect the duration of trek what was once was at least for 21 days challenging trek, which will probably shrink to a maximum of 4 days or even to an undeveloped hike in the future.
DAY 01: KATHMANDU ARRIVAL.
Welcome to Himalayan country of Nepal. Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport our representative welcomes you and assists to transfer in your hotel in Kathmandu. After time to get refreshed, evening you'll meet and transfer for welcome dinner in one of the typical Nepalese restaurant in the heart of Kathmandu and briefing about your trip and overnight at Hotel.
DAY 02: KATHMANDU TO CHAMJE (1560M) VIA BESI SHAHAR (830M)
You drive along the Kathmandu-Pokhara Highway to Dumre and then follow the narrow and paved road by the Marsyangdi River to BesiSahar. Beshishahar is the district headquarters of Lamjung district. All the local government offices are situated here. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 03: TREK FROM CHAMJE TO DHARARPANI (1810M)
The first part of the trail descends to the river and after crossing a suspension bridge, you begin a climb to Sattale (1550m.) on a path so steep that it seems one slip would send you hurtling down into the valley. You continue on an undulating path above the river, and at one point, where a tributary flows in from the opposite bank, the main river becomes covered with huge boulders that hide the water. Climbing the zigzag path to the top of the hill, we see the level, plain of Tal (1700m.) before us. Though it is enclosed by cliffs, the level area looks reassuring after the harrowing mountain paths just traveled on. You descend to a grassy riverbank which leads to Tal with its hotels and teahouses. Here you can enjoy the exhilarating water fall.Beyond Tal, the valley narrows and the path becomes high and winding, and in several areas hewn from the rock itself. Beyond the small village of Karte (1900m.), there is a bit more cliff-walking before the path drops again to the river. You cross a suspension bridge, and climb the short distance to the stone kani marking the entrance to Dharapani (1960m.), and our camp for the night. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 04: TREK FROM DHARAPANI TO CHAME (2725M)
As you cut through a narrow field from the village, the DudhKhola, which originates from the south face of Manaslu, enters on the opposite bank. The Marsyangdi then veers to the left, and as Annapurna II becomes visible ahead, you arrive at Bagarchhap, a Bhote village with prayer flags fluttering in the breeze around Buddhist monastery. Continuing to climb through forests of pine and oak, you pass through Danaque (2210m.). There comes a small wooden bridge which takes you to follow steep ascent path uptoTimang. It lies at the bottom of LamajungHimal. The trail goes through flat level until you reach Chame where there are government offices, shops, and hotels. Chame is the administrative headquarters for the Manang district. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 05: TREK FROM CHAME TO PISANG (3190M)
From Chame we cross to the northern side of the river and trek west on an easy trail to the village of Bhratang at 2840m. From here the valley is steep and narrow and leads through dense forests. The trail eventually crosses back to the south side of the river on a suspension bridge at 3040m and then continues on to our destination for the evening, the large village of Pisang at 3190m, where there are many lodges. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 06: TREK FROM PISANG TO MANANG (3500M)
The trail continues on the south side of the river and makes a long climb over a ridge to reach approx 3400m. It then descends to the valley floor and continues on to Hongde at 3325m where there is an airstrip, several lodges and a police checkpost. The feature of the village is a long mani wall. The trail crosses to the north bank of the river near Mungli and continues on to the stunning Tibetan-style village of Bryaga at 3475m, where there is an ancient gompa. From here it is only a short walk to Manang at 3500m. Manang is a very large and important village with numerous shops and lodges. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 07: REST IN MANANG FOR ACCLIMATIZATION.
This is an acclimatisation day which will allow us to become adjusted to the thinning air and lessening pressure as we continue upwards towards the Thorung La. It is often useful to make use of this day by taking a gentle excursion to a number of the interesting areas near to Manang. However it is also useful to rest up and relax before we trek higher. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 08: TREK FROM MANANG TO YAK KHARKA (4090M)
Whilst it is possible to reach ThorungPhedi in one day from Manang we split the journey in two in order to aid acclimatization. From Manang we trek slowly up to Tengi at 3620m and continue steadily upwards to Gunsang at 3930m. The trail is now distinctly alpine in appearance, the vegetation consisting of scrub juniper and alpine grasses. The views en route across to the immense peaks of Gangapurna (7454m) and Annapurna III (7555m) are fantastic, as we continue up to Yak Kharka at 4090m. There are several lodges here and although it makes for a short day, it is a convenient place to stop before trekking higher. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 09: TREK FROM YAK KHARKA TO THROUNG PHEDI (4441 M)
From here we continue very slowly upwards reaching the small settlement of Letdar, at 4250m, after about one hour. The trail then continues to climb along the east bank of the JarsangKhola, making its way steadily up to ThorungPhedi, a small collection of lodges, at 4420m. This is our last stop before crossing the Thorung La – "phedi" means "foot of the hill", and indeed this is the starting point for the long trek up to the pass at 5416m. This is another short day, and allows us to rest and relax before ascending to the pass tomorrow. Lodges here are usually very crowded and there is an air of excitement and a lot of activity as most trekkers arrive here by lunch time. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 10: TREK FROM THORUNG PHEDI TO MUKTINATH VIA THOROUNG-LA PASSES (5416M)
We set off early, at about 6am, and begin the long climb up to the Thorung La ("la" means "pass") 1000m above us. We trek slowly and steadily and aim to reach the pass in 4 hours from Phedi, although it can take less or more depending upon fitness and acclimatization. The trail has been used for centuries by local people and is well defined in the trekking seasons. Upon reaching the pass we see the traditional chorten, prayer flags, and cairn, and other trekkers resting before the descent to Muktinath 1600m below. The views from the pass can only be described as breathtaking, and take in a panorama of Himalayan giants, as well as providing our first view of the immense Kali Gandaki valley to the west. The reduction in altitude becomes obvious as soon as we leave the Thorung La and it is amazing how much difference this makes in only a few hundred metres. As we descend, we obtain great views of Dhaulagiri to the south-west, and Tukuche Peak at 6920m. The descent is long and tiring but not difficult and we soon find ourselves down in Muktinath and Ranipauwa, although this does take about 3 hours. There are many lodges here and we spend the rest of the day relaxing and looking back with satisfaction on a great achievement - crossing the Thorung La. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 12: TREK FROM MUKTINATH TO MARPHA VIA JOMSOM (2665M)
You now begin the descent down the dramatic Kali Gandaki Gorge, initially through arid country in the same geographical and climatic zone as Tibet. After passing through Jharkot and Khingar, villages with typical Tibetan architecture, you follow the valley floor most of the way to Jomsom. Jomsom is sprawled along both banks of the Kali Gandaki and from here there are fine views of the Nilgiri peaks. You continue down to Marpha, a delightful Thakali village, complete with a drainage system beneath the flagstone streets. Its narrow alleys and passageways provide welcome shelter from the strong winds of the Kali Gandaki Gorge and Marpha is particularly well known for its apples, apple cider and apple, apricot and peach rakshi. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 13: TREK FROM MARPHA TO GHASA (2080M)
Your trail descends steeply through forests to Ghasa, the last Thakali village and the southern-most limit of Tibetan Buddhism. The beginning part of the trail is stretched at almost flat level up to Kalopani and then your trail begins descending steeply to Ghasa. The first part of the trek passes through the windy area covered with pine forests, rhododendron forests and birches are seen. The surrounding area of Ghasa is famous destination for bird watching and wild Marijuana. Here you are quite amazed at the panoramic view of Mount Nilgiri North (7061m.), Nilgiri Central (6940m.), and Nilgiri South (6839m.), Annapurna I (8091m.), Dhaulagiri I (8167m.) and Tukuche peak (6920m.). Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 14: TREK FROM GHASA TO TATOPANI (1110M)
The trail descends steeply up to RukseChhahara (Rukse Waterfall) which is amazing to look at. There is situated the deepest gorge of the world between two mountains Annapurna I (8091m.) and Dhaulagiri I (8167m.) facing each other near Rukse Waterfall. Now the trail ascends slightly to Tatopani through different human settlements. You can enjoy the hot spring at Tatopani as the word Tatopani is termed after the natural hot spring situated at the bank of the Kali Gandaki River. It is popularly believed that taking bath in Hot Spring helps you to get rid of skin diseases. Along this, it gives you physical and mental refreshment as well. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 15: TREK FROM TATOPANI TO GHOREPANI (2834M)
Your trail passes through flat level of the land at some distance. Then the trail begins ascending steeply for at least one hour. Now path goes up through different villages inhabited by the people of different caste and agricultural land. The majority of the people here serve Gorkha Regiment and Indian Regiment as well. While trekking you cross through the Kali Gandakiriver with panormic view of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 16: TREK FROM GHOREPANI TO POON HILL (3210M) TO TREK TO TADAPANI (2520M)
Early morning trip to Poon Hill (3232m.) to enjoy the sunrise view over Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m.), Tukuche Peak (6920m.), Nilgiri (6940m.), VarahaShikhar (7847m.), Mt. Annapurna I (8091m.), Annapurna South (7219m.), Annapurna III (7855m.), Machhapuchhre (6993m.), Annapurna IV (7525m.), Annapurna II (7937m.), LamjungHimal (6931m.) and other numerous snowcapped mountain peaks. After breakfast trek Ghorepani to Tadapani (2650 m.) through the deep forests of rhododendrons, bamboos and oaks. En route, you frequently see waterfalls, rocks, wild animals, local birds and green scenarios. Tadapani is a small village surrounded by beautiful forests which grants you a magnificent view of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Fishtail, and Annapurna II and so on. Stay overnight at tea house. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 17: TADAPANI TO NYAPUL TO POKHARA
Trek from Tadapani to Nyapul which takes about five hours and drive to Pokhara and it takes about an hour. Stay overnight at lake side hotel in Pokhara. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY 18: POKHARA TO KATMANDU
Drive back from Pokhara to Katmandu by tourist bus which takes about six hours. Stay overnight at hotel in Kathmandu on breakfast basis.
DAY 19: DEPARTURE
Today is free or last minute shopping for souvenirs or gift to your family, friends or relatives for you until your departure flight/drive or to commence any extra trips or activities you may have booked with us. If departing, you'll be transferred to the International Airport for your departure flight to your onwards destination.
Starting From : $990
- Warm welcome with garlands by our guest relation officer on arrival of Tribhuvan INT`l airport, KTM.
- Transfer from international airport to the hotel by AC/Non AC car/van/coach as per group size.
- Luggage van extra for large size group.( above 10 Pax) otherwise we Manage in roof of our Coach.
- A Cell Phone Sim is provided on arrival.( Pls drop with Guide at the time of Final Departure)
- Welcome drink (tea/coffee/juice) on arrival at Hotel.
- 03 nights’ KTM accommodation with bed & breakfast in 4 star deluxe hotels on twin sharing basis.
- Ground transfers according to the trekking itinerary.
- Day City tour in Kathmandu guided by experienced tour guide.
- TIMS & Annapurna Conservation Permits.( 3 Photos PP size required)
- 3 course of hygienic meals (tea/coffee, breakfast, lunch & dinner) each day as per the best availability throughout the trekking. (Veg. & Non Veg.)- ( Pls inform us at the time of Booking)
- Seasonal Fresh fruits as per availability in Trekking.
- Twin sharing lodge accommodation in the trekking route. (If a group size consist 10+ one additional Sherpa on top of the entire Crews.
- Well trained & decades long Experienced local Travel crews include; Sherpa Guide & Normally 1 Porter= 2 Trekkers.
- Food, accommodation, equipments, transfers, insurance and all necessary expenses of travel crews.
- First aid kit box & Maps
- Emergency rescue services by Chopper on trekkers expenses. (Insurance is Mandatory prior trekking)
- Trek memorial souvenir in Kathmandu.
- Farewell dinner (Typical Nepali Food with cultural show).
- Dep. transfer from the hotel to Kathmandu international airport.
- All government taxes including 13% VAT. (Subject to change) & No any Hidden Cost.
Cost does not include:
- Nepal entry & re-entry visa fees.( US$ 25 =15 Days and 49 US$ for 30 Days)
- Extra flight & Airport Taxes (Domestic & International).
- Entry fees for the sightseeing places in Kathmandu.( approx US$ 50-60)
- Personal equipments and clothing.
- Expenses of personal nature like; shopping, alcoholic drinks etc.
- Travel insurance, rescue expenses and medical expenses.
- Donations, Tips & Gratuities, expenses of Hotel and Food in case flight delayed / cancelled .
- Extra porters if required.( approx US$ 20 a day with his entire expenses)
- Expenses beyond our control i.e. landslides, natural disastar, road blockade, political disturbance, etc.
- Extra services not mentioned in trek itinerary.
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