Treks in the Annapurna region

Annapurna Circuit

Photo: Thorung La covered in snow - November 2005This is the classic Nepal trek, taking an anti-clockwise route around the Annapurna himal and reaching the dizzying height of 5416m at Thorung La (pictured above) - the world's highest pass.

The trek normally begins in Besisahar, and there are several options for ending the trek: Beni, Naya Pul or a trip through the Ghandruk foothills. The route follows ancient paths used as trade routes between Nepal and Tibet.

It is generally better to take your time and enjoy the views, allowing around 21 days to cover the circuit. But it can be done in just 16 days - provided you are reasonably fit. See below:

1. Besisahar to Bahundanda
2. Bahundanda to Chamje
3. Chamje to Bagarchap
4. Bagarchap to Chame
5. Chame to Pisang
6. Pisang to Manang
7. Rest day in Manang
8. Manang to Yak Kharka
9. Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi
10. Thorung Phedi to Muktinath
11. Muktinath to Kagbeni
12. Kagbeni to Marpha
13. Marpha to Kalopani
14. Kalopani to Tatopani
15. Tatopani to Ghorepani
16. Ghorepani to Pokhara via Naya Pul

You can also combine this trek with the Annapurna sanctuary, or add in a side trip from Manang to Tilicho Lake.

Annapurna Sanctuary

The Annapurna sanctuary trek can be done in 8 days and reaches a maximum altitute of 4190m. Along the way you will trek through rhododendron forests (in flower in spring), then bamboo groves and finally high desert landscapes. The sanctuary is an intensely scenic trek.

1. Birethanti to Ghandruk
2. Ghandruk to Chomrong
3. Chomrong to Deurali
4. Deurali to Machhupuchhare Base Camp
5. Machhupuchhare Base Camp to Annapurna Base Camp
6. Annapurna Base Camp to Sinawa
7. Sinawa to Ghandruk
8. Ghandruk to Pokhara via Birethanti

Pilgrim's Trail to Muktinath (Jomsom trek)

This trek follows the Kali Gandaki upstream through the world's deepest valley. In the early part of the trek you will pass through lush and fertile foothills. Above Tatopani the landscape begins to change dramatically, and the closer you get to Jomsom, the more it becomes stark and arid. You will reach an altitude of 3802m on this trek.

Allow 7 to 9 days to reach Muktinath, and extra time to return. Many people opt to fly back to Pokhara from Jomson.

Ghandruk foothill trek

This is a 4 or 5 day trek along a horseshoe-shaped route through the lush Himalayan foothills, starting at Naya Pul and ending in Phedi.

The walk requires a good degree of fitness, despite being relatively short. There are some challenging ascents and descents.