12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek Highlights
- The Annapurna Circuit Trek lets you explore the entire Annapurna massif.
- You will get the chance to walk through the forests of rhododendrons, oaks, bamboo, and highland pastures.
- Witness a beautiful sunrise from Poonhill View Tower with mountains in the backdrop.
- Walk through the Thorong La Pass situated at an elevation of 5,146 meters (17,769 feet).
- Get to witness the breathtaking panoramic mountain views of Annapurna, Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), Dhaulagiri, and other ranges from Thorong La Pass.
Annapurna Circuit Trekking is one of the most popular trekking destinations in the Nepal Himalayas. This trek offers a diverse range of landscapes, from lush green forests to arid desert-like regions, and from high-altitude passes to traditional mountain villages. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the trek, starting with the route and the best time to visit.
Route of Annapurna Circuit Trekking
The route of the 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trekking has been modified in recent years to meet the time constraints of tourists. On the first day of the trek, we drive from Kathmandu to Dharapani, the starting point of the trek. This journey takes about 9 to 10 hours by bus or other private transportation. Or we can drive directly to Manang.
Annapurna Circuit Trekking is generally called the Marsyangdi trail, which goes upstream along the Marsyangdi River. The trek starts from Dharapani and follows the river upstream to reach Manang village, which was once a kingdom. The trek provides a glimpse of the region’s diverse landscape, including canyons, gorges, and the north side of the Annapurna Himalayas.
Exploring Manang Village
Once we get to Manang, we stay there for a day to acclimatize to the high altitude. This is because we are going to cross the Throngla Pass, which is 5416m above sea level and is one of the world’s highest passes. Manang is a beautiful village with traditional houses, Monasteries, and Chortens. It is also a hub for trekkers who are on their way to the Throngla Pass. The village provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains, including Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak, and Chulu West.
Crossing Throng La Pass
After acclimatizing to the high altitude in Manang, trekkers are ready to face the challenging Throng La Pass, which stands at a height of 5416 meters above sea level. Throng La Pass is one of the world’s highest passes. It offers stunning panoramic views of the Annapurna Himalayas. Crossing the pass requires physical endurance and mental strength, but it is an unforgettable experience that rewards trekkers with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges.
Descending to Muktinath
Once trekkers cross the Throng La Pass, they descend to the sacred town of Muktinath, located at an altitude of 3800 meters. Muktinath holds great significance in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology and is considered one of the holiest places in Nepal. The town is home to a famous temple, Muktinath. Moreover, it is a popular pilgrimage site for devotees. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, a Hindu deity, and contains a holy flame that is believed to have been burning for centuries.
Final Destination: Jomsom
Jomsom is the final destination of the Annapurna Circuit trek. It is a popular town situated at an altitude of 2800 meters and is known for its unique culture and beautiful scenery. The town is famous for its apples and apple brandy. There are a range of accommodation options for trekkers in Jomsom. From Jomsom, trekkers can take a direct flight back to Pokhara, which marks the end of the trek.
Annapurna Circuit Trek Difficulty
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a difficult trekking route. Trekkers have to ascend and descend through varied terrains. Similarly, the route also goes through narrow trails with steep and slippery sections. As the trail moves higher, the hilly trail changes into a rocky one.
During the 12 days Annapurna Circuit Trek, trekkers will get the chance to pass by the remote areas of the Annapurna region. There are several suspension bridges that trekkers will have to cross while en route. Trekkers have to walk 7 to 8 hours a day The geographical difficulties are not the only difficult part of the trek. As trekkers get closer to remote areas, facilities such as internet, phone signal connection, and communication also get limited.
Aside from these, the high elevation also presents difficulties for trekkers. The highest point trekkers will reach during the Annapurna Circuit Trek is 5,416 meters at Thorong La Pass. Many trekkers can come down with altitude sickness problems. Likewise, the weather also becomes unpredictable at higher elevations.
All these difficulties of the Annapurna Circuit Trek make the trail challenging. It pushes the trekkers’ endurance level and stamina. Therefore, trekkers have to be physically and mentally prepared for the trek.
Is it possible to Do Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake?
Yes, it is possible to do an Annapurna Circuit Trek with Tilicho Lake. Tilicho Lake is the world’s highest lake that lies in the Annapurna region. It lies at an elevation of 4,949 meters (16,237 feet). The trek route is similar to the Annapurna Circuit. But from Manang, the route for Tilicho Lake goes to the main valley to the west instead of the north valley.
The route passes through the Khanshar Gompa Village (The Last Village of Nepal). Then the trail takes you to the Tilicho Lake. After reaching Tilicho Lake, trekkers will have to retrace their trail back to Khangsar and then to Manang. From then onwards, the trek route will lead you to the Thorong La Pass.
Thorong La pass
Thorong La Pass is the highest point for the Annapurna Circuit Trek. It sits at an elevation of 5,416 meters (17,769 feet) above sea level. Many trekkers flock to the Thorong La Pass every year via Annapurna Circuit Trek. It is a regular pass for the local traders. The Khatung Kang and Yakawa Kang mountains form the Thorong La Pass.
The pass passes through the route that connects Manag and Mustang. The route of the Annapurna Circuit begins from Dharapani. It goes through several villages and stops before reaching the Thorong La Pass. Similarly, the route passes through Manang and Yak Kharka before reaching the pass. The pass is accessible from both the east and west directions. However, the route from the west is much more difficult than the east.
The route to Thorong La Pass is difficult. It is physically demanding and trekkers can come down with altitude sickness. But the view from the top is rewarding. From the top, trekkers can witness the panoramic mountain view of the Annapurna Massif and Dhaulagiri ranges. Thorong La Pass hugely contributes to the popularity of the Annapurna Circuit.
Why Should You Trek With A Guide For Annapurna Circuit Trek
There are many other reasons why you should trek with a guide for Annapurna Circuit Trek. The first reason is for navigation. The trail of the Annapurna Circuit is well-established and safe. However, a guide can help you to navigate the route and reduce the chances of getting lost. They also help trekkers to avoid risky areas.
Another reason for traveling with a guide is they help to provide insights into the region’s culture, traditions, and customs. Guides are usually local to the regions so they have local expertise. Similarly, they can act as a bridge for communicating with the locals. In remote areas, there can be language barriers. They help you to interact with the locals and immerse in the cultural experience.
Trekking with the guide also helps to ensure trekkers’ safety. In trekking routes like Annapurna Circuit where trekkers have to ascend to high elevations, guides can provide emergency aids. The guides are trained to provide first aid and coordinate evacuations in emergency cases.
Therefore, guides play a crucial role in the success of the trek. Likewise, they also provide support, motivation, and emergency aid if necessary. Guides help to enhance the trekking experience as well as ensure the trekkers’ safety. Note that it has become mandatory to hire a guide for the Annapurna Circuit Trek under the Government of Nepal.
The 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek is an unforgettable experience that takes trekkers through diverse landscapes and cultural experiences. It offers stunning views of the Annapurna Himalayas. Similarly, trekkers can immerse themselves in the local culture and customs of the Annapurna region. The trek is a physically challenging but rewarding experience that is suitable for experienced trekkers and novice hikers alike. The best time to embark on the Annapurna Circuit Trek is from March to May and September to November. The weather is mild and the skies are clear.
Overall, the Annapurna Circuit trek is a must-do for anyone looking to explore the beauty of the Nepal Himalayas. For an alternative trek in the Annapurna region, the Annapurna Base Camp trek is also a popular choice