Annapurna Post … Day by Day …
|I'm gonna introduce you to a detailed post of the Annapurna trek.
This Annapurna post includes a recommended plan of how much to walk every day. This is the exact way I did it with my fellows …
Annapurna literally means “full of food”, but is normally translated as Goddess of the Harvests.
|The Annapurna Circuit is a 300 kilometre trek ! around the Annapurna mountain range in the Himalayas. The trek reaches an altitude of 5,300 meters on the Thorung La pass, touching the edge of the fabled Tibetan plateau. The magnificent mountain scenery, seen at close quarters includes Annapurna 8,091 meters which was the first 8,000 meter peak to be climbed, the incredible ice pyramid Dhauligiri 8,167 meters, once the home of the legendary Buddhist guru Padmasamba, and Machhupuchhare 6,993 metres, considered by many travelers to be the most beautiful mountain in the world.|
|In this trek you basically follow ancient paths used as trade routes between Nepal and Tibet. These paths have long facilitated the flow of cultures and religions in this remote and formerly inaccessible region.
The unusually wide range of climatic zones in such a small area as the path ascends from 900 meters to 5,300 meters provides a chance to see many different plants and animals, and the different ways of life of the many people who live there!
Ok enough Talking… Let's Start Walking ..
|Note: The time estimation mentioned include resting time and meals time. In general, these timings refer to a quite easy pace of walking … So if you are serious trekker expect to do it much faster…|
Day 1 – Pokhara – Begnas Bazar – Karputar
Take a taxi from Pokhara to a village named Begnas Bazar (on some maps it's called Sisuwa). It's a 20 minutes ride from Pokhara. Say goodbye to roads & vehicles, and start walking in the most amazing trail you have ever seen!
This village is located just south to Begans lake, so the trail goes south and above Begnas lake, in an altitude of about 700 meters. It's a green, lush area, surrounded by small villages. The beginning of the trail is on a ridge and gives you a great view of the area below, injecting strong motivation for the whole trek. Next, you'll walk between small streams and cute rice fields.
After noon you'll reach Karputar, a nice village lies next to a river called Madi Khola, where you can chill out and relax for the rest of the day.
Villages on the way:[Tarbesi, Sakkara Bhanjyang.
Timing – Begnas-Bazar to Sakkara – 4.5 hours. Sakkara to Karputar – 2.5 hours.
Day 2 – Karputar – Nalme
From Karputar you'll keep walking between rice fields and small villages .You'll reach another river called Midim Khola, and then expect a bit difficult steep slope of about 600 meters to Nalme – located 1250 meters high, on a beautiful ridge.
It is the first time you can see the Annapurna mountains, still far from you – but give you a strong motivation to get there.
Timing – Karputar to Nalme – 6.5 hours.
Day 3 – Nalme – Baglungpani – Khudi – Bhulbhule
From Nalme you continue to go up the slope towards Baglungpani – 1620 meters high. The area is full of trees, and the view from this high area is stunning. After Baglungpani it is a long descend towards Khudi, 800 meters high. Khudi is located on the Marsyangdi river – the huge river you'll walk along in the next days until the pass. It is also the place where you'll meet all the other trekkers who started in Besi Sahar.
You can sleep at Khudi, but I recommend to continue walking a little further to a place called Bhulbhule, and find a guest-house there. You're gonna like it! since it is located just near the river, with the great sound of
the rumbling water!
Timing – Nalme – Baglungpani – 3.5 hours, Baglungpani – Khudi – 4 hours, Khudi – Bhulbhule – 0.5 hour.
Day 4 – Bhulbhule – Bahundanda – Sange
Walking in the trail along the Marsyangdi river is quite easy most of the way. After descending to Khudi and reaching the Marsyangdi it is now a gradual descend up this river. The mountains on both sides of the river are incredible, with tiny little villages located on top of them.
From Bhulbhule walk to Nagdi (where you can eat great food) and then to Bahundanda (1310 meters). In Bahundanda there are some shops to buy groceries, camera films (reasonable price) and there is even a telephone. After Bahundanda walk to Sange, where I would recommend you to spend the night.
Timing – Bhulbhule – Bahundanda – 4.5 hours, Bahundanda – Sange – 3.5 hours.
Day 5 – Sange – Jagat – Tal
From Sange go to Jagat, which is located 1250 meters high. Then the path climbs towards Chamche, 1430 meters high. After Chamche the Marsyangdi river creates a small valley, in which Tal is located – 1675 meters high. Tal is a village that looks like a town from a western Hollywood movie. The people who live in Tal are weird, although we still had a great time there. You can buy there all kinds of goodies, and there is a nice waterfall just near the village!
Timing – Sange – Jagat – 1.5 hours. Jagat – Chamche – 2 hours. Chamche – Tal – 2.5 hours.
Day 6 – Tal – Dharapani – Bagarchap – LaThamanag
Walk from Tal to Dharapani (located 1900 meters high). From Dharapani you'll reach Bagarchap. On November 1995 a land slide ruined the village, killing locals & tourists. Continue a little further, and you'll reach a place called La-Thamanang. Located 2300 meters high, it is hardly a village – just some houses and guest houses on the main trail, but hey There are wonderful hot springs just near this place! Put your things there, and go for a wash in the hot springs!!! while being surrounded by impressive snowy mountains.
Timing – Tal – Dharapani – 2.5 hours, Dharapani – LaThamanang – 3.5 hours.
Day 7 – LaThamanang – Koto – Chame
Why everyday should be so tough walking…. Let's have a short and easy walking day!
Walk from LaThamanang to Koto & pass it to reach Chame.
Chame is a big village, where you can find many shops, guest houses, police station, a clinic and a bank.
Located 2700 meters high, you can already see some of the big peaks of the Annapurna above you.
Go to the far part of the village, and cross the bridge to New-Tibet guest house.
Timing – LaThamanang – Koto – 2 hours. Koto – Chame – 1 hour.
Day 8 – Chame – Bhratang – Pisang
This is a beautiful walking day in an area of heavy woods. When you reach Bhratang area, you'll be able to see an amazing cliff called “Paungda Danda”, 1500 meters high above the river and the path.
After you leave the woods area you enter a large valley, taking you towards Pisang which is divided to two parts. The lower part of Pisang is located 3190 meters high, and contains many guest houses. The upper part of Pisang is located 100 meters above, it is more interesting but there are no guest houses there.
The area around Pisang is amazing, the view of the mountains around you is absolutely breathtaking, and I would recommend you to stay there another day just to rest, get used to the heights, and enjoy the lovely sights!
Timing – Chame – Bhratang – 2.5 hours. Bhratang – Pisang – 3.5 hours.
Day 9- Pisang – Ghyaru – Manang
From Pisang to Manang there are two ways.
The first one goes along the Marsyangdi river, but it's boring. The recommended way is to climb up to a village called Ghyaru, and the descend back to Manang. It is quite a hard climbing, but it's worth it! The panoramic view from Ghyaru is amazing!
Ghyaru a small village you'll reach on this way is really special.
It is a long walking day, but the view on the way is amazing. The peaks of Annapurna II (7937 meters), Annapurna IV (7525 meters) and Annapurna III (7855 meters) are just above you, as if you can touch them. These peaks are covered with heavy snow, while the other side of the river looks dry like a desert! Really outstanding!!!
From Pisang you climb towards Ghyaru (3670 meters). On the way you'll pass an amazing little “green lake”. After Ghyaru you reach a village named Nawal.
From there you get to Manang, 3300 meters high.
Timing – Pisang – Ghyaru – 2.5 hours, Ghyaru – Manang – 5.5 hours.
Day 10 – Manang
After the hard day you had getting to Manang, you'll have to rest there for acclimatization.
There's a western clinic in Manang, with volunteers that treat the locals and advise you about awareness to mountain sickness. I really recommend you to attend the daily briefing about mountain sickness.
Manang itself is beautiful. Unique houses all built from stones and wood, enormous mountains above a charming lake (frozen in the winter), lovely people and cute children you can find it all there! When you are in Manang you can go for short walks around.
There are plenty of guest-houses and shops in Manang, where you can buy groceries and some other useful staff. I recommend sleeping in “Tili cho” guest house, they have excellent food – both local and western.
Day 11 – Manang – Yak-Kharaka
The way from Manang takes you upper to the origions of the Marsyangdi river – you'll reach the adjoining of “Khangsar Khola” & “Jhargeng Khola”, where they turn into the big “Marsyangdi” river. From now on you'll walk up the Jhargeng Khola (until Thorung La pass).
From Manang you pass Gungsang and reach Yak Kharka – 4000 meters high. It is not even a village, just a place with some guest houses for travelers. Go to “Gangapurna” guest-house. They've got great food for your fat belly!!!
Note that on those heights, you already feel the low density of the air. Every step requires more effort, and you need to rest many times during walking – Take it easy, don't rush! This is the key for avoiding mountain sickness. Drink a whole lot, even when you're not thirsty!
Timing – Manang – Gungsang – 2 hours. Gungsang – Yak-Kharaka – 2 hours.
Day 12 – Yak-Kharaka – Churi-lattar – Thorung Phedi
This day you walk towards the last station before the great mountain. You walk to Churi-lattar (4250 meters), which offer some guest houses and tea-houses, and then reach Thorung Phedi – 4500 meters high.
In Thorung Phedi there's only one guest house, and it is recommended to get there early to catch good rooms to sleep in. Especially in the touristic season, the place is quite full. They have real good food there, and you should eat well, to gain power for the most thrilling day of the trek:
Crossing the “Thorung-La” pass.
Timing – Yak-Kharaka – Churi-lattar – 1.5 hours. Churi-lattar – Thorung Phedi – 2.5 hours.
Day 13 – Thorung Phedi – Thorung La Pass – Muktinath
This is the day!!!
Get up early, and start walking at about 4 or 5 a.m.
Take lots of water, and your warmest clothes.
It is about 900 meters of climbing to the pass from 4500 meters to 5416 meters! In the spring and after the summer the trail should be quite clear, but after snow storms the way could be confusing.
It is recommended to cross the pass in a big group, of at least 4 people.
There's one tea house on the way, at about 5000 meters, and believe me – you'll need it.
Most of the walking is in the snow, surrounded by snowy mountains all over. Walking is difficult, and you'll every 10 steps to breath as if you just ran 2000 meters .
Finally you'll reach the pass, the highest point you'll reach on this trek – 5416 meters!
On the other side of the pass it is really “another world” – the landscape changes dramatically from snowy mountains to dry yellow-brown cliffs, area that looks like a desert.
Going down after the pass is also an uneasy task. It is a descend of 1600 meters, which really makes your knees cry. Finally you'll reach Muktinath, 3800 meters high.
There are plenty of guest houses in Muktinath, with really good food, and some temples worth visiting – Actually Muktinath is one of four major places of pilgrimage for Hindu people in the Himalayas, and it is also sacred to Buddhists.
Timing – From Thorung-Phedi to the tea-house – 3 hours. From the tea-house to the pass – 2.5 hours. From the pass to the next tea-house – 3 hours. From the tea-house to Muktinath – 2 hours. Total – over 10 hours.
Now its time to go back from Muktinath to Pokhara …
This side of the Annapurna trek is also known as “Jomsom” trek, done from the north to the south. So by doing the Around Annapurna trek you are actually doing two treks…
Day 14 – Muktinath – Jarkot – Kagbeni
The part of the trek from Muktinath till Marpha, is really different from the trek in the Marsyangdi side. Here, the climate is relatively dry, and the landscape looks exactly like a desert.
The area on the way from Muktinath to Kagbeni is full of ancient caves, & till you reach Jomsom you'll be able to see wonderful geological forms around you.
From Muktinath (3800 meters) the trail descends gradually towards Jarkot, a nice village with interesting houses and lots of green fields in the brown-looking area around. From Jarkot the trail keeps going down, and you can choose between two ways: The first goes directly to Jomsom, & the other goes to Kagbeni.
Kagbeni is a place you wouldn't like to miss !!!
Located 2800 meters high, Kagbeni is an interesting village, with stone houses and narrow alleys, and a green area of fields lying between the high mountains above. The village is located near the Kali-Gandaki river, and it is the first place you meet this huge river, still flows in a very wide valley at this area.
Wandering in the village and around is highly recommended.
“Shangri-la” guest house is a good place to sleep,
Beware not to walk north of this village!! It is the border to Mustang area, which is usually closed to tourists and require a special permission to visit!
Timing – Muktinath – Jarkot – 1 hour. Jarkot – Kagbeni – 2.5 hours.
Day 15 – Kagbeni – Jomsom – Marpha
The way from Kagbeni to Jomsom goes along the Kali-Gandaki river, as most of the trek in the next few days. The geological forms you'll see on the way around are spectacular, and children on the way will offer you to buy black fossils called “Salligrams”.
Jomsom, located 2700 meters high is a big village. It has a small airport, and so – connected by air to Pokhara and Kathmandu. There are some helpful facilities in this village – a branch of the immigration office, a bank, a local clinic, and lots of shops and guest-houses. Don't miss the “German Bakery” there! They have sandwiches, cakes, drinks and all kinds of chocolates.
Although it is a comfortable place to stay in, I recommend to keep on and sleep in Marpha – a small and charming village, located 2660 meters high. It contains stone houses built on the mountain above the Kali-Gandaki river, with narrow streets paved with flat stones. There are few lovely guest houses there, with excellent food – My recommended one will be “Neeru” guest house, don't miss their cakes!
There's also a small post-office and some good shops in this village, and it is a really nice place to chill out & stay for more than one day.
Timing – Kagbeni – Jomsom – 2.5 hours. Jomsom – Marpha – 2 hours.
Day 16 – Marpha – Tukuche – Koketanti – Kalopani – Ghasa
From Marpha continue to Tukuche, a village located 2590 meters high. It is possible to sleep there, but I suggest keep on walking… Koketanti is a small place you'll reach, beautifully located in a small valley created by the Kali-Gandaki, under he huge mountains above. The area is full of trees & other plantation, and this small place is calm & really cute. There's a guest house in which you can sleep there.
After Koketanti you'll get to Kalopani – another beautiful village with outstanding panoramic view of the snowy mountains all around the village. You can see Niligri, Annapurna on the east, and Dhaulagiri (8167 meters), Tukuche (6920 meters) on the west. You can sleep in Kalopani or continue to Ghasa, located 2040 meters high, surrounded by heavy plantation and fields. There are several guest houses in Ghasa.
Timing – Marpha – Tukuche – 2 hours. Tukuche – Koketanti – 2 hours. Koketanti – Kalopani -1 hour.
Kalopani – Ghasa – 2 hours.
Day 17 – Ghasa – Tatopani
From Ghasa to Tatopani is quite a serious descend. You start from 2040 meters to 1200 meters.
On the way you pass Rupse – a village with spectacular waterfalls. There is a nice place to eat breakfast & cakes nearby. After Rupse you'll pass through Dana, another small village you can sleep in. But – the best place to reach in that area is Tatopani. It has wonderful hot springs, some really good guest houses, and tasty food. It is a good place to rest and chill out ifor more than one day.
In “Dhaulagiri” guest house there's a great food! Try their pizza, spaghetti, toasts, and cakes.
Timing – Ghasa – Rupse – 2.5 hours. Rupse – Tatopani – 3 hours.
Day 18 – Tatopani – Shika
From Tatopani there are several ways to end the trek.
You can keep walking along the Kali-Gandaki river through Beni till Baglung & meet the road there.
The better way is to continue through Ghorepani – an amazing area with great landscapes and views.
The way from Tatopani to Ghorepani is quite difficult – a climb of 1600 meters!
Therefore it is advisable to make a break in the middle – in Shika – another charming village in a beautiful area of green fields and terraces, all on high mountains. Shika is located 1920 meters high.
When you start climbing to Shika you actually leave the Kali-Gandaki river behind, and go up to the mountains. The view of the high mountains around is amazing, and it is really worth getting up early in the morning in Shika – and see the majestic look of the Dhaulagiri in the horizon.
“Purnima” guest-house is a good place to stay the night in Shika.
Timing – Tatopani – Shika – 2.5 hours.
Day 19 – Shika – Chitre – Ghorepani
From Shika continue to climb to Ghorepani – located 2850 meters high.
Ghorepani is a popular place in this area, because many tourists get there just to climb to the near peak – The Poon hill – located 3100 meters high and offers a great panoramic view of all the Annapurna region and the Himalayas as a whole.
The scenery from Poon hill is really amazing, if you get there on a non-cloudy day.
There are plenty of guesthouses and shops in Ghorepani. “I highly recommend: Snowland” Guest house.
Timing – Shika – Chitre – 2 hours. Chitre – Ghorepani – 2 hours.
Day 20 – Ghorepani (Poon-hill) – Tadapani – Ghandrunk
After you rest in Ghorepani & enjoy the view from Poon-hill, there are again – two ways to end the trek.
One is to continue south through Bhurungdi Khola strait to Lumle, and end the trek on the road there.
The other recommended way is to go through Tadapani and Ghandrunk.
This is the “Rhododendrons trail”. The Rhododendron is a tree that blooms in beautiful big flowers – red, pink and white. The area on the way between Ghorepani and Tadapani is full of beautiful Rhododendrons.
The area as a whole is really nice- full of thick plantation, & plenty of rivers.
Tadapani (2950 meters) is a possible place to stay for the night – with nice guest houses and amazing view around.
From Tadapani to Ghandrunk you walk in a path through a thick wood that looks like a jungle!
Ghandrunk lies on the mountain above Modi khola river. If you walk up this river you reach the Annapurna sanctuary & the base camp for the climbers to the Annapurna.
Ghandrunk is a wonderful village. Located at 2000 meters, it has stunning close-up views of Annapurna south, Machhapuchhre and Himalchuli mountains. There are good guest-houses in the village, “Milan” guest house is highly recommended. It is a good place to chill out and enjoy the calm atmosphere of the Nepali mountains just before getting back (oh no!) to Pokhara.
You can decide whether you like to continue to trek more, up the Modi Khola to the Annapurna base-camp, or down the Modi Khola towards the end of the trek.
Timing – Ghorepani – Tadapani – 3.5 hours. Tadapani – Ghandrunk – 4 hours.
Finally, Your Last Day …
Day 21 – Ghandrunk – Birethanti – Lumle – Pokhara
In this day You go down the hill from Ghandrunk towards Birethanti, along the ridge above Modi khola. You pass through nice villages and lots of fields with terraces. From Birethanti it is not a far way to Lumle – the village that is connected by a road, where various taxi drivers will wait to take you towards Pokhara…
Timing – Ghandrunk – Birethanti – 3.5 hours. Birethanti – Lumle – 1 hour.
Taxi from Lumle to Pokhara – 1 hour.
Hope you enjoyed reading my Annapurna Post …