Few destinations are more dramatic and isolated than the Annapurna Circuit in the Annapurna Region. The Annapurna Circuit, a classic trekking trail along the breathtaking Himalayan landscape of Annapurna Region, encompasses some of Nepal’s starkly beautiful natural landscape. The incredible beauty and culture along the circuit make it a haven for trekkers.
The Annapurna Circuit was one of the first trekking trails open for tourists. The classic route started from Besisahar or Bhulbhule in the Marshyangdi River valley, went around the Annapurna Massif, and ended in the Kali Gandaki River Valley. It took a grueling 21 days to complete the trek. Now with the building of roads in the Marshyangdi and Kali Gandaki Valleys, the route has shortened considerably and one can complete the circuit in a short span of 10 to 16 days.
Counted as one of the most special treks in the world, the changes in the landscape, climate, and cultures along the Annapurna Circuit offer a unique and exciting experience. Starting from the lush green Marshyangdi Valley you journey way up to the dry and barren Kali Gandaki valley. While in the lower elevations you experience Hindu culture, at the higher reaches you find yourself walking past Tibetan Buddhist gompas and prayer flags. One of the highlights of the trek is the crossing of the Thorung La pass near the Nepal Tibet border.
One of the shortest Annapurna Circuit routes starts from the green forests of Dharapani and winds through the arid Manang Valley to the spectacular Ice Lake and Thorung La Pass. It’s a steep descent from the pass to Muktinath and Jomsom where the trek ends. A popular route includes a detour to the amazing Tilicho Base camp and Tilicho Lake, one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world.
One can also combine the Annapurna Circuit with the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. After crossing the Thorung La pass you drop down to the Thakkali village of Marpha and make your way to Annapurna Base camp via Tatopani and Ghorepani – Poon Hill.
If you want to delve deep into the unique cultures and ecology of one of Nepal’s most loved trekking destinations, check out the itineraries given below and select one that suits your requirements.