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The Round Annapurna Trek

Overview

One of the world's classic treks around the entire Annapurna Range.
The Round Annapurna – correctly regarded as Nepal's classic trek - offers a greater level of variety than any other equivalent length trek, taking us through virtually every type of scenery that Nepal has to offer. There are superb views of the Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri, and an amazing variety of landscapes ranging from sub-tropical through alpine to an arid semi-desert akin to Tibet. The climax of the trek is crossing the formidable Thorong La Pass (5416m). This is a lodge-based trek, so we spend time in villages inhabited by many of Nepal's different peoples, both Buddhist and Hindu. There is also a chance to visit a Tree Nursey in the Upper Manang Valley. Though demanding enough for the seasoned trekker, this trek also serves as an excellent introduction to walking in the Himalaya.

 

Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel.
Drive approx  25 minutes depending on the traffic. After the check in formalities,  there will be full trek briefing  by your Tour Leader at the hotel lobby. After the briefing you have a choice to go for group dinner  to a Nepalese resturant and experience the culture through our food and dance.(B)

 

Day 2: Drive to Besisahar, trek to Bhulebule
We leave Kathmandu early in the morning and drive towards Pokhara. After leaving the Kathmandu valley we follow the Trishuli river to Mugling. We then continue to Besisahar where we begin our trek. From here we walk down to the river and cross to the east side to avoid the new road which is currently under construction. Our trail undulates above the river.The trail takes us on quiet trails through rice paddies and villages for two hours until we meet the main trail at Bhulebule.(B)

 

Day 3: Jagat
The trail continues up the east bank of the river passing a beautiful waterfall to Ngaddi. Here we cross a suspension bridge and then begin a steady climb through scrub forest finally arriving at Lampatta, a Manangi village with Tibetan style prayer flags. A final short sharp ascent brings us to the village of Bahundanda, perched on a ridge at 1311m. From the ridge we descend to the river at Syange (1136m) where we once more cross the river. The trail then follows the river to Jagat.(B)

 

Day 4: Dharapani
An undulating trail leads to Chyamje, after which we cross a suspension bridge and climb through oak forest. The trail then emerges into a level valley where 'Tal' (meaning a lake ) the next village is situated at the foot of a grand waterfall (1700m). Crossing the river a couple of times we reach the village of Dharapani at 1943m.(B)

 

Day 5: Chame
Beyond this village we continue our climb over a spur to Bagarchap, at 2164m. The name of this village means 'butcher's place' and, although Buddhist, the people of this region do hunt animals. Continuing we follow the trail through forest to Dhanagyu and climb up to Temang, where we have lunch with magnificent views of Manaslu and Peak 29. The trail then descends though fir and pine forests to Koto and Chame (2713m), administrative centre of the Manang district.(B)

 

Day 6: Pisang
We now experience a dramatic change of scenery. Leaving the forests and vegetation of the alpine regions behind we enter the upper district of Manang, known as Nyeshang. At first our trail follows the river closely through a deep canyon before coming to Brathang at 2919m. The trail then follows the steep narrow valley through deep forest from which there are fine views of Annapurna II. We cross the river where the impressive curved rock face of Paungda Danda rises nearly 1500m from the riverbank, and climb to the village of Pisang at 3,185m.(B)

 

Day 7: Manang
There are 2 options today. The energetic can take the high route to Manang via the villages of Gyaru and Ngawal. This is a wonderful walk with great views across to the Annapurnas. We drop down to the main trail just before Braga and continue on the main trail to Manang. The second option is to take the shorter main trail to Manang which climbs a low pass into the valley below Pisang Peak. As we continue up the valley, it becomes increasingly barren, and eventually we reach Braga, a picturesque village dominated by a large ancient gompa. The Tree Nursery is located here, a project that Exodus has supported for many years. There will be time to pay a visit and see how it is progressing. Passing carved mani walls we arrive at the village of Manang at 3351m. The longer walk takes approximately 8-9 hours and the shorter walk 5-6 hours.(B)

 

Day 8: Acclimatisation day Manang
We spend this day around Manang acclimatisation to the altitude. Most people climb the hill behind Manang to enjoy the magnificent views of the whole Annapurna range and the enormous icefall that crashes and rumbles down from Gangapurna. This is the part of the trek where we are closest to the mountains. Across the valley the huge bulk of Gangapurna and the Annapurnas tower way above us- the sunset and sunrise over this great amphitheatre is one of the most beautiful mountain views in the country.(B)

 

Day 9: Yak Kharka
Leaving Manang we head towards the base of the Thorong La. We climb out of the Marsyangdi valley and turn northwest up the valley of the Jarsang Khola. We are above the forests now and pass through dry, alpine country, with shrub juniper and occasional clumps of birch. We spend tonight at a lodge in Yak Kharka. We will reach the lodge by lunchtime and in the afternoon we will have an acclimatisation walk onto the surrounding hills. Look out for the Blue Sheep that inhabit this cold, windy spot.(B)

 

Day 10: Thorong Phedi
Another short day to Acclimatization. The scenery becomes wider as we continue ascending the valley. At one point we descend to cross the Jarsang Khola, and traverse a scree slope to the lone teahouses at Phedi at the foot of the Thorong La (4,400m).Thorong Phedi can be very cold and windy. In the afternoon we can go for a walk up to Thorong High Camp which is the last lodge and is about an hour above Phedi.(B)

 

Day 11: Muktinath
A long day as we leave Phedi very early the next morning for the climb to the pass. The first part of the ascent is very steep, but it eases somewhat as we approach the top, although the altitude still makes the going tough. Eventually, after numerous false summits, we reach the pass itself at 5416m. Ahead there is a magnificent panorama of snow-capped peaks extending northwards into Tibet, and looking back we can see several of the main peaks of Annapurna. Directly in front of us is the great chasm of the Kali Gandaki, 2,500m. It's a very long descent that begins gently and becomes steeper, as we follow a series of switch-backs down to the grassy slopes, before easing off to a gentle descent to Muktinath (3802m).(B)

 

Day 12: Kagbeni
From Muktinath we pass through landscape of bare, eroded hills with a backdrop of snow-capped high peaks. After visiting the temples above Muktinath, we cross the Jhong Khola and climb up to Jhong - a beautiful village. There is a very old monastery here dating back to the 7th or 8th century and the ruins of an old fort. The village has a small lodge where we can get a very simple lunch. Passing wind-eroded cliffs in an array of beautiful colours we continue down the valley arriving at the interesting village of Kagbeni.(B)

 

Day 13: Marpha
The trail now follows the Kali Gandaki River down to Jomosom, a large administrative centre, at 2713m. As you walk down the rocky riverbed look out for ammonite fossils amongst the pebbles. These are sacred to Hindus who call them 'shaligrams'. After lunch in Jomosom we cross the river to the village of Thini, where there is a small monastery. We cross a wooden bridge to Samley, from where it is about half

an hour to Dumba Lake. This very small lake is considered holy by the local Thakali people. A short climb brings us to Dumba Gompa for magnificent views of the Kali Gandaki Valley, Dhaulagiri and Tukuche Peak. On treks departing in October and November we will drop down through Dumba village to the suspension bridge across the Kali Gandaki to Marpha. From December to May we continue on the same side of the river towards the Tibetan refugee camp. A wooden bridge crossing the Kali Gandaki takes us to the pretty village of Marpha (2667m) with its clean paved streets and white-washed houses. Marpha is famous for it’s locally made apple and peach brandy, which you might like to sample to celebrate your crossing of the Thorong La.(B)

 

Day 14: Larjung
Today we follow the Kali Gandaki Valley, a major trade route. We are now in the deepest gorge in the world - to the east Annapurna 1 raise to 8091m, to the west the peak of Dhaulagiri at 8167m soars above us. Leaving the dry, barren landscapes we walk through pine, cypress and juniper forest, sometimes on the valley floor and other times on a trail high above. From Marpha we cross back over the Kali Gandaki to avoid the road. Walking through fir and pine forests we continue onto Chokhepani. In October and November we must cross the large suspension bridge just before Chokhepani to Tukuche for lunch. From December to May we can continue on to a small wooden bridge which takes us directly into Tukuche. The village is surrounded by apple and apricot orchards and the fruit brandy is famous throughout the area. After lunch we have a short walk to Larjung. In October and November we will stay on the same side of the river. From December to May we cross the river and follow a trail through Sauru village onto Larjung. We stay tonight in a simple lodge. It is definitely worth walking up towards Thasang this evening to see the sunset on Niligiri.(B)

 

Day 15: Ghasa
Today we leave the main trail and trek via Titi Tal and Titi Gaon to Kurje Gaon. In October and November we will start with a short walk along the road to the large suspension bridge below Larjung. After crossing the river, the trail climbs up through the forest to Titi Tal, a very small lake. From December to May we can cross the Kali Gandaki using a small wooden bridge to Sirkung from where we have a fairly steep walk through the forest to Nupsang Kharka. From here we get fantastic views of Dhaulagiri, Tukuche and Dhampus peaks. Dropping down through the forest we come to Titi Goan and Titi Tal. Following an easy trail we pass through Taglung to reach Kurje Gaon. We will either carry a packed lunch or have a very simple lunch in a local teahouse at Kurje . We then head towards the Lete Khola and trek on a new trail to Ghasa.(B)

 

Day16: Tatopani
From Ghasa we drop down and cross the river. The trail climbs high above the river through a narrow gorge to Kopchepani. We continue on the same side of the river and follow an ancient trail up to Bhalebas. The trail then undulates and passes a hydro electric project just before Tatopani. A suspension bridge brings us right into Tatopani. We usually have a longer morning today and late lunch in Tatopani, allowing time in the afternoon to enjoy a welcome soak in the hot spring baths here - guaranteed to ease any aching limbs. (B)

 

Day 17 Ghorepani
The last stage of the trek takes us over a high ridge to the end of the trek. Today is a bit of a sting in the tail as we have a long climb to Ghorepani (2,855m). The trail climbs all day through small hamlets and terraced fields. Passing through Ghara, Shika and Chitre the trail climbs all day. From Chitre we enter a huge rhododendron forest and the last couple of hours take us up to Ghorepani. Ghorepani means 'horse water' and was a stopping place for the huge mule trains that used to ply this route. As we climb today the mountains start to appear and from Ghorepani lodge we get fabulous views of the Annapurnas South, Himchuli and 7th highest mountain Dhaulagiri.(B)

 

Day 18: Sunrise on Poon Hill, trek to Birethanthi
An early start trek to the hour up to the top of Poon Hill for the sunrise. The effort is well worth it for the superb views over the Annapurnas, Dhaulagiri and Machhapuchhare. We return to our lodge for breakfast and then it’s all the way downhill today through the forest to Banthanti and then down a stone staircase through Ulleri andTirkhedunga to Birethanti by the Modi Khola.(B)

 

Day 19: Drive to Pokhara from Nayapul
From Birethanti it is a very short walk to Naya Pul, where we will pick up transport back to Pokhara. We usually arrive by lunchtime and have the afternoon to explore this pretty lakeside town. (B)

 

Day 20: Fly to Kathmandu from Pokhara
We fly to Kathmandu from Pokhara which is 30mins flight with the surrounding view of Mountains.(B&B)

 

Day 21: FreeDay in Kathmandu
Today is free for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city where the old Royal Palace, with its intricate woodcarving is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. The whole area is a maze of temples and images. Alternatively you may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Boudhanath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath.(B&B)

 

Day 22: Depart Transfer
Final departure . Transfer to the airport .

Profile
18 days walking with full porterage. Altitude maximum 5416m, average 2800m.


Accommodation
3 nights hotels, 18 nights Tea house.


Food
Breakfast included in Kathmandu, Pokhara and while on trek.


What to Know
This is a C grade trek with 18 days walking.
The maximum altitude is 5,416m, and the average altitude is 2,800m. Apart from the Thorong La, a high pass with quite a steep approach, the walking on this trek is relatively moderate, and the first few days do not involve any long or steep ascents at all. We strongly recommend this trek to those who want to get a general sense of Nepal, are confident of their physical fitness but are also prepared to put in the necessary physical preparation.We organise this trek at the best times of year for crossing the Thorong La. However, it may very occasionally be too dificult to cross the pass if there is an unseasonable snowfall, and in this event, we would have to retrace our route back down the Marsyangdi River.
The Annapurna Circuit trek involves walking under quite a variety of conditions, but almost entirely on well-established trails. Except for the crossing of the Thorong La the walking is at intermediate altitude, but it is likely to fall below freezing on several nights. During the crossing of the Thorong La it will be extremely cold so please come prepared! Some snow or ice may be encountered on the pass.


Group size and age
Min. 2, max. 16, plus leader and appropriate local staff. Minimum age 18.


Challenging
Fitnes is important and you may have to improve yours before departure. Previous trekking experience is desirable, but not vital if you are confident of your physical condition. Walking & Trekking: Trips are wholly trekking-focused or simply include a significant number of walking days during the itinerary.

Do I need to take walking poles?
If you are used to walking with trekking poles then take them with you, as you will probably find them useful especially on the way down. They are not essential though and the walk is manageable without them. It is mostly a personal preference but do remember to pack them as part of your main luggage to be stowed in the hold. If you decide later you'd like to have some, they are available to buy in Kathmandu.


Any good tips for eating out in Kathmandu?
Head down to the Everest Steak House in southern Thamel for a mouth watering steak and chips, well earned if you’re just back from trek. Finish it off with a cocktail in the legendary Tom & Jerry bar up the road!
You can also head to Fire and Ice Pizzeria in Thamel, a great place with casual indoor and outdoor eating which is popular amongst travellers, and locals alike. This restaurant is a great place to meet for a morning cup of Italian espresso, or a hearty meal of delicious pizzas, pastas, ice cream and even a Grappa!


Is there anywhere to store luggage while on trek?
You will be packing your kitbag for the trek before you leave Kathmandu, and can leave your main luggage at the hotel in Kathmandu, where it will be stored securely free of charge. However, as with any destination, we recommend you keep valuables with you at all times.


Any special food I should try in Kathmandu?
Momos
This Nepalese version of dumplings/ wantons is a traditional delicacy and a must try local dish while you are in Nepal. Momo dumplings are either steamed or fried with chicken/or buff (water buffalo) as well as stuffed with vegetables for vegetarians and have become the most famous fast food amongst Nepalese and can be found on the menus of most restaurants serving locals and tourists alike.
Kwanti soup
This mixed bean soup is usually served during festivals and gatherings and now has made its way in many of restaurant menus. Goes well with Naan or roti bread.
Choela
This is a typical Newari dish smoked meat (chicken; lamb or buffalo meat) tossed with spices and mustard oil. Easily available in most Nepalese and local restaurants in Kathmandu around Hotel.


I have some free time in Kathmandu?
If you are looking to do something off the beaten track just for half a day around Kathmandu, head out to Bungmati and Khokana. Just an hour drive on the outskirts of Kathmandu and you will find yourself in this sleepy little twin village where not much has changed in terms of construction, profession of people (most are still farmers, woodcarvers and weavers) or the pace of life. The twin villages are 15 minutes apart and you walk through the dirt trails, with farms and fields on either side. Should you have extra time and still want to do something, the Tibetan Refugee Settlement where you can see carpet weaving to a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery falls half way on the way back from here to the Hotel.


On a lodge or teahouse trek, how much spending money should I allow ?
US $ 40 – US $ 50 per day is ample, but it is possible to spend less (and more!). Meals are usually pretty cheap but extras such as sweets or snacks will add a bit more to your budget. There are plenty of ATMs in Kathmandu, so you can withdraw more Nepalese currency if you are running short towards the end of your trip.


Can I buy any equipment in Kathmandu before the start of the trip?
Yes. There are dozens of trekking shops in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. Depending on how good your bartering skills are, you can usually pick up items for about one third of the price that you'll pay in the Europe / America and its more fun to bargain! However, please note we cannot guarantee the quaility of anything you may purchase so buyer beware.


Should I get my Nepalese visa in advance or at the airport?
Most of our clients choose to get their visas at Kathmadu airport. This may mean some time queuing, but the transfer bus won't leave for the hotel until all arriving passengers are through Immigration and have collected their bags. So if you have your visa in advance, you will avoid the visa queue but you won’t get to the hotel any earlier. If you'd like to get your visa in advance, please contact the Nepalese embassy direct.

 

A BRIEF PROFILE of your needs and expectations should ensure a personalised, detailed, yet concise email reply from us. Information such as the following is helpful:
  • Primary purpose(s) and highlights of visit, including regions of interest.
  • Duration of stay
  • Probable number of people and short profile and level of physical challenge sought
  • Any specific queries or concerns

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