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Annapurna Circuit Trek

Duration
Max People
35
Min Age
16
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Description

Annapurna Circuit Trek is a popular and rewarding trek in the Annapurna Region. Annapurna Circuit Trek offers a variety of scenery of both the northern and southern Himalayas and valley views along the trails. Annapurna Circuit Trek trail saw the light of day in 1977 and is an archetypal Himalayan trek. The Volunteer Society Nepal itinerary are geared to give you the most out of this unique trip; it completes the Circuit with a few new variations that will enhance this magnificent trek with more fulfilment & a sense of purpose. We ascend the Marsyangdi Valley before heading to the high country, windswept 5416m Thorong La (pass) and around the Annapurna massif. This trek offers baffling contrasts throughout the course of your venture. The trails start and get wrapped up in the lush green foothills of the Annapurna range which are dotted with colourful Hindu villages and cows roaming around with vermilion on their foreheads.

Annapurna Circuit Trek venture will take you around the Annapurna circuit as we hike along beautiful Gurung & Magar villages bubbling with the life of the trekking trail. The Annapurna round is the kind of trek that is rewarding in a sense where, despite the fluctuating elevations & toughness of the trails, we don’t have to camp out in the cold, even though some areas are pretty remote; we enjoy the dining room stoves and famed hospitality of the local people of the Annapurna region, whose warmth also keeps us warm in the winter. All our gear is carried by sturdy porters, and we have local guides explaining the various cultures, mountains, and sights to us along the way the going is tough, & if these are the rewards, the landscapes & the apple pies could warm your heart for 100 years.

The ‘Circuit’ also provides unequalled opportunities to explore the backdrops of both the northern and the southern Himalayas where the amazing views just leave you gasping for breath. From the thick fir and rhododendron forests to the harsh, thin atmosphere of the Tibetan plateau; the ethnic groups we come across along the way, lowland Hindus and highland Buddhists, are as varied as the mind-blowing landscapes. From the staggering heights of the Thorung Pass at (5416m) line upon lines of snow ridges just flow before you whilst below lies the sub-tropical Kali Gandaki Gorge, a busy pilgrimage and trade route controlled by the Thakalis who inhabit the lowlands of Mustang.

Highlights
  • The trek takes you through a diverse range of landscapes, from lush subtropical forests to high alpine meadows, and arid desert-like terrain, providing a variety of scenic views.
  • Spectacular views of the Annapurna Massif, including Annapurna I (8,091m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Manaslu (8,163m), and several other towering peaks.
  • The high point of the trek at 5,416 meters, offering breathtaking vistas and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Interact with diverse ethnic communities, including Gurungs, Thakalis, and Manangis, and experience their traditions, architecture, and cuisine.
  • Explore ancient monasteries, chortens, and sacred sites along the trail, including Muktinath, a place of religious significance.
  • Navigate the region's river systems and cross suspension bridges, adding excitement to your journey.
  • Encounter numerous waterfalls, including the majestic Milarepa Cave Waterfall and Bhote Koshi Waterfall.
  • The trail is adorned with colorful prayer flags and intricately carved Mani walls, enhancing the spiritual ambiance.
  • Traverse through a protected area renowned for its biodiversity, including rhododendron forests, diverse wildlife, and bird species.

Tour Plan

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Arrival in Kathmandu:

You will be picked up at the airport by one of the Volunteer Society Nepal staff and driven to your Kathmandu host family or a hotel. Here you will be welcomed into the family, be given your own room and be provided with all your meals while in Kathmandu. This will be your home during your orientation and volunteering in Nepal. With easy bus routes into town and the surrounding countryside, this quiet and safe suburb is the perfect base for your time in Nepal. Meals: Dinner.

Kathmandu: Sightseeing and Trek Preparation:

We tour Durbar Square, Pashupatinath temple, Swayambhunath stupa and Bouddhanath stupa which are all world heritage sites. The Durbar Square sheds light on the life of the royals in ancient times. Pashupatinath temple is one of the most important places of pilgrimage for all Hindus. Swayambhunath is also known as the Monkey Temple and Baudhanath Stupa is one of the largest stupas in the world. At noon, we are introduced to our fellow participants and discuss our trip at the Volunteer Society Nepal office. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Bed/Breakfast

Drive from Kathmandu to Bulbule via Besishahar (760m)

Drive to Besisahar: Besisahar is a town in the Lamjung district and serves as the gateway to the Annapurna region. The drive from Kathmandu to Besisahar takes approximately 5-7 hours, depending on road conditions and traffic.

Besisahar (760m): Besisahar is located at an elevation of 760 meters above sea level. It's a common place for trekkers to obtain necessary permits and supplies before starting the Annapurna Circuit trek.

Continue to Bulbule: From Besisahar, you can continue your journey to Bulbule, which is another 15-20 kilometers away. The drive to Bulbule typically takes around 30-45 minutes.

Please note that road conditions and travel times can vary, so it's a good idea to check the latest information and consider local conditions before starting your journey. Also, be prepared for some rough and mountainous terrain as you approach the Annapurna region.

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Trek from Bulbule to Tal (1,700m)

Start in Bulbule (elevation: around 760 meters): You'll begin your trek from Bulbule.

Trekking through the Marshyangdi River Valley: The trail follows the Marshyangdi River Valley, providing beautiful views of the surrounding hills and forests. The path may include ascents and descents, as is common in the Annapurna Circuit.

Passing through charming villages: Along the way, you'll pass through several traditional Nepali villages, each with its own unique character. You'll have the opportunity to interact with locals and experience their culture.

Cross suspension bridges: You'll likely cross several suspension bridges over the Marshyangdi River. These bridges are essential for getting from one side of the valley to the other.

After a full day of trekking, you'll reach the beautiful village of Tal. Tal is located at an altitude of 1,700 meters and is known for its serene environment and terraced fields

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Trek from Tal to Chame (2,630m)

Embark on an exhilarating day of trekking from the charming village of Tal to the picturesque town of Chame. The trail winds through lush forests, and alongside the Marsyangdi River, offering captivating views of the Himalayan landscape. You'll pass through quaint villages, interact with locals, and savor delicious Nepali cuisine during lunch. As you ascend to Chame at 2,630 meters, you'll notice the change in the environment. The town welcomes you with its serene atmosphere and stunning mountain vistas. After a rewarding trek of about 14-17 kilometers, relax, refresh, and explore Chame's local culture and amenities.

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Chame to Pisang Trek:

Today the trail continues up and down, passing several rivers and sparsely populated settlements. We walk through a steep and narrow valley to have our first view of Paungda Danda rock face, a dramatic curved rock face rising 1500 m from the river. From here, we also gain excellent views of Annapurna 2 to the south and Pisang Peak to the north east. We descend to the Manang Valley floor enjoying the captivating landscape. Overnight in Pisang

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Pisang to Manang Trek:

It is important to have an extra day in Manang for acclimatization as we start the climb towards the higher altitude, Thorong La. There are spectacular views of the majestic Himalayas peaks around the Manang Valley, it’s not a good idea to stay idle but a short walk to higher altitude is recommended to get acclimatized with the altitude. Manang is the right place to do that as the next two days will be considered a challenging trek for us with rapid gain in altitude. There are lots of options for day walks around Manang. One possibility is to walk to Khangsar village on the way to Tilicho Lake or a longer walk to Ice Lake above Braga. Also worth visiting is the Himalayan Rescue Association to get some ideas about rapid mountain sickness.

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Rest and acclimatization Day at Manang:

It is important to have an extra day in Manang for acclimatization as we start the climb towards the higher altitude, Thorong La. There are spectacular views of the majestic Himalayas peaks around the Manang Valley, it’s not a good idea to stay idle but a short walk to higher altitude is recommended to get acclimatized with the altitude. Manang is the right place to do that as the next two days will be considered a challenging trek for us with rapid gain in altitude. There are lots of options for day walks around Manang. One possibility is to walk to Khangsar village on the way to Tilicho Lake or a longer walk to Ice Lake above Braga. Also worth visiting is the Himalayan Rescue Association to get some ideas about rapid mountain sickness.

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Manang to Yak Kharka Trek:

When returning from the Tilicho Base Camp, the trail leads out of the Marsyangdi valley and the abrupt change in surroundings can be noticed as the trees are left behind and replaced with more alpine vegetation. Our trail continues through the ruins of the old Khangsar village until we cross a log bridge over the river between Gumsang and Yak Kharka. The typical Himalayan village of Yak Kharka is an accolade to its name, as lots of yaks can be seen grazing and standing around. From here we also get breathtaking views of Annapurna III. Overnight in Yak Kharka.

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Yak kharka to Thorang Phedi Trek:

It is an uphill walk to Thorang Phedi. After walking for some time, we cross a suspension bridge and reach Ledar village. We ascend further and pass through towering cliffs before reaching Thorang Phedi, the last village before Thorong La pass. On this trip, we are rewarded with one of the best views of Mt. Gundang, Mt. Syagang, Thorung Peak and Mt. Khatungkan. The word Phedi in Nepalese is referred to as the foot of a mountain. Overnight in Thorang Phedi.

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Thorong Phedi to Muktinath via Thorong La pass Trek:

Crossing Thorong La pass, one of the highest passes in the world will be our ultimate objective today. We will be crossing the pass from east to west (Manang to Muktinath) which is the easiest and safest direction. We get up around three in the morning and walk up the mountain. When we finally make it to the top, we realize that our journey was worth it. We can take a few photos before heading to Muktinath Valley at the foot of the Thorong La pass. Overnight in Muktinath.

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Muktinath to Jomsom Trek:

Muktinath, an ultimate destination for Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims, is a beautiful place. We visit the Muktinath Temple before embarking on the trek ahead. There are water spouts where fresh water pours out channelled from the streams above the temple. As the trail extends we can enjoy the magnificent views of Mt. Dhaulagiri. You can even buy a fossilized mollusk, called ‘Shaligram’ as a memento. We move ahead among meadows, cross streams and hills over to Kagbeni, a village laden with chortens (memorial stupas) and a small monastery. Continue the trek after a lunch break at Kagbeni and over to Jomsom on the Kali Gandaki Valley as the trail cuts through windy areas. Overnight in Jomsom.

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Drive from Jomsom to Pokhara:

We take a drive while looking at views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges and over the deepest gorge in the world. The warmer climate in Pokhara will definitely make us feel better. We can take a boat ride in the serene waters of the lake with the reflection of Fishtail Mountain on its waters. In the evening, we can stroll around the lakeside area and buy souvenirs for loved ones. Overnight in Pokhara.

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Drive back to Kathmandu by Tourist Bus:

After breakfast, transfer to the Tourist bus station and 06: 30 am drive back to Kathmandu by tourist bus. This scenic drive offers fascinating glimpses of rural Nepal as you pass through Middle Hill scenery along the famous rafting Trishuli River originated from Tibet northeast of Kathmandu. Meals: Breakfast

Farewell Friend and Departure/Fly back Home:

Our journey in Nepal comes to an end today! A Volunteer Society Nepal representative will drop us off at the airport approximately 3 hours before our scheduled flight. On our way to home, we have plenty of time to plan our next adventure in the wonderful country of Nepal. Meal: Breakfast

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