September 11, 2013
The top 7 ways of trekking in the Annapurna region are the extraordinary adventures to be in the company of some of the highest mountains on earth. Mt. Annapurna rises to 8091m and is the 10th highest mountain in the world. The Annapurna region lies in the foothill of Mt. Annapurna in North-central Nepal stretching along with Lamjung Himal from the Kali Gandaki in the west to the Marshyangdi in the east. Trekking in the Annapurna region involves walking through rice farms, forests and friendly ethnic villages in the lower realm of the Annapurna Conservation Area. The treks also provide a chance to visit the Hindu pilgrimage site – Muktinath. Besides, the 7 ways of trekking also cover Tatopani, Ghorepani, Ghandruk, Pokhara, and Kathmandu. Here are listed the top 7 ways of trekking in the Annapurna region.
1. Annapurna Circuit Trek, a magical trek, takes you around the entire Annapurna massif reaching the Zenith at Thorong La Pass (5,416m). Annapurna Circuit Trek, one of the most popular classic treks in the world takes you within the world’s tenth highest mountain, the Annapurna. From a mere height of 800 meters to the high altitude of 5, 416 meters, you will pass through a diverse geographical and cultural variation with an amazing range of flora and fauna in between. The initial days of the trek involves walking through rice farms, forests and friendly villages in the lower realms of the Annapurna Conservation Area. Just imagine the thrills of walking through world’s deepest Kali Gandaki Gorge, with Annapurna I rising to 8091m to the east and Dhaulagiri hovering at 8167m to the west! Cross the highest pass, Thorong La on the way from Manang to Muktinath, savor the fabulous mountain views from the summit of Poon Hill at 3,210m and discover more than ten different culturally rich ethnic groups that reside in different climate zones of Annapurna Circuit.
2. Annapurna Base Camp Trek is believed to be one of our most popular treks in the world. The trek is suitable for those trekkers who would like to get to Annapurna Base Camp but are restricted time-wise. This invigorating trek to Annapurna Base Camp passes through waterfalls, villages, farmlands, rhododendron forests, and mountain vistas. The base camp trek, like others in the Annapurna region, takes off from the lake city of Pokhara at a mere height of around 800 meters to a high altitude of over 4,000 meters with gradual acclimatization process. You also pass through a diverse geographical and cultural variation with amazing ranges of flora and fauna in between. Needless to say that throughout this trekking journey you get to enjoy the sheer magnificence of the Himalayas, including two mountains that are above eight thousand meters – Mt. Annapurna (8091 m) and Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m); hospitality and rich culture of the local community and the brilliance of nature.
3. Annapurna Circle Trek is one of the most popular classic treks in the world that takes you from 830m to 5,416m through the deep valleys and high mountains encircling the giant Annapurna Himal. The most enchanting trek further provides you a chance to meet with wide range of culturally rich ethnic groups and walk in a diverse terrain, from subtropical jungle to a high and dry landscape resembling the Tibetan plateau. While experiencing an opportunity to interact with assorted ethnic groups, it will be a walk by the world’s deepest Kali Gandaki gorge, an exciting triumph over one of the world’s highest pass -Thorong La, the Manang valley, the spiritual Muktinath and the most fantastic viewpoint-Poon Hill. Upon the completion of this magical trek, you will find you have gone through the entire Annapurna massif and reached the Zenith.
4. Annapurna Sanctuary Trek is a spectacular journey on foot to the South Face of Annapurna I – a pleasant hike through the ethnically diversified villages and forests assorted by flora and fauna. Explore the way upstream along the Modi Khola into the Annapurna Sanctuary, a valley surrounded by towering Himalayan peaks including the breathtaking Machhapuchhare (6,993m). Experience the opportunity of watching sunrise over the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges from Poon Hill as the bequest of the trip. Traversing through valleys, villages, rivers, waterfalls, and forests and enjoying the magnificence view of nature, you continue your journey passing through more crystal clear views of the unconquered Machhapuchhare peak (6,993m) – tip of which resembles a fishtail. Your journey gets slightly more difficult during the ascent to the Machhapuchhare Base Camp (3,700m). The peaks of Annapurna-III (7,600m) and Annapurna-IV (7,400m) are visible from this point and the gigantic glacier of Machhapuchhare makes its presence felt. The next leg of the trek will take you to Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m), a natural amphitheatre, a picture that will remain with you forever. The sunrise is another view of note as it gradually illuminates the peak of Annapurna-I (8,091m). The vicinity is also popular for its natural hot springs.
5. Annapurna Sunrise Trek (Poon Hill Trek) is a relatively easy walk meandering through villages and rhododendron forests. This invigorating trek reveals some of the best views of the Himalayas especially from the Poon Hill which is considered as the best viewpoint in the Annapurna region. Just behold the magnificence of the sunrise over the snow-capped Himalayas that illuminate the peaks of the entire range and leaving you spellbound! While trekking along to Ghorepani, you marvel at colorful orchids and clear views of the splendid high mountains including the two eight-thousanders – Mt. Annapurna (8091 m) and Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m). Upon reaching the final destination, Poon Hill (3210m) is a reward in itself, perhaps one of the most beautiful viewpoints on earth. The added presence of rice terraces completes the picture making it a photographer’s paradise. Then, you trek to the beautiful Gurung village of Ghandruk and enjoy the ethnic hospitality along with the cultural magnificence of Gurung Museum. Overall, the beautiful trek is suitable for those travelers who desire to have family fun in the rural mountainside with up-close Himalayan views.
6. Jomsom Muktinath Trek starts from world’s deepest Kali Gandaki gorge and passes through an almost tree-less barren landscape, a steep rocky trail up and down hill and panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks. The initial days of the trek through the Annapurna region ascends through rice terraces and villages inhabited by the indigenous people. Continuing along the Kali Gandaki River Gorge, marvel at the splendid peaks of Annapurna-I and Dhaulagiri both of which reach heights in excess of 8000m. The trek gets interesting in Tatopani where you will have the opportunity to relax in natural hot springs! Then the trek passes through Jomsom and Kagbeni, the entry point of upper Mustang Region. Explore the hundreds of years old monastery, caves, local tribes and scenic beauties of the different landscapes. The grandeur of the Dhaulagiri Glacier is on show a little further up along with the first glimpse of the windy Tibetan Plateau on the way to the holy Hindu pilgrimage site of Muktinath (3800m). From Muktinath, you trek downhill to Jomsom village on the Tibetan Plateau where you can look around at the gateway to the “Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang”, and get a glimpse of the ancient traditions still in practice.
7. Annapurna Sunrise and Everest View Trek combines nature, adventure, culture, and hospitality – the best that Nepal has to offer. It is an opportunity to trek in the two of the most popular trekking regions in the world – the Annapurna and Everest. This trek features a wide range of spectacular scenery combined with unique cultural encounters. From mesmerizing views from one of the most beautiful viewpoints on earth, the Poon Hill of Annapurna to one of the world’s highest monasteries in Tengboche of Everest region, the trek combines a magnificent galore of both the natural and cultural panorama that Nepal offers. Moreover, the opportunity to capitalize an awesome beauty of Mt. Everest and other eight-thousanders would certainly make this trek a memorable experience of the lifetime. Besides, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Poon Hill, Ghandruk, Sagarmatha National Park, Namche Bazaar, and Tengboche are also tailored in this trek.
August 4, 2013
We are a group of 3 women that did a 16 days trek in the Annapurna Circuit from the 3rd to the 19th July 2013 and through this letter we would like to thank you for the service provided by your company.
We would like to especially mention the excellent work performed by our guide-porter Tony. He was very professional at all times looking after us and making us feel cared about. He also provided interesting information on the flora, fauna, cultural aspects, etc. when requested and spontaneously. Even if we had the freedom to choose what we wanted to do during the trek, Tony was always helping us with his experienced knowledge to make the best or more appropriate decisions. Whenever any tense situation arose he was keeping calm and helping the team to stay in the same way. In addition Tony has been a good company after the trekking hours sharing time with us while eating and resting in the lodges. Regarding his English knowledge, we felt it was good enough to have a proper communication. At all times he was a very patient and respectful person both towards us and the local community.
Hoping that this information can be useful both for you and Tony we leave our sincere regards.
Clara Chamizo Liñán (Spain)
Verónica Nicola (Argentina)
Laurence Williams (Canada)
July 3, 2013
Are you in search of the finest challenging trek, Annapurna, Nar and Tilicho Trek, in the Annapurna region of Nepal in this October and November? Explore Himalayan Glacier’s innovative dream adventures that all strive for makings your adventure trek classic experience.
We follow remote trails leading through secluded villages and camp in magnificent locations beneath an awesome backdrop of Annapurna Himalaya. Traverse with us to the south of the Annapurna Range, where we ascend through conifer forests and cross pristine alpine meadows gaining spectacular mountain views.
Enter with us into the spectacular Nar region and traverse around the ice bound Tilicho Lake before crossing the Mesokantu Pass-bringing us into the very heart of the Annapurna.
Just let us know and give a chance to devise your autumn adventure trek dream into the nature’s paradise. Experience Annapurna, Nar and Tilicho Lake with Himalayan Glaciers innovative team while enjoying adventurous hiking in the Annapurna region of Nepal.
June 30, 2013
Are you pressured by time and yet wanting superb views of the Annapurna? Embark on the Poon Hill – Ghandruk circuit trek with Himalayan Glacier’s expert team. Poon Hill – Ghandruk route is a popular trekking trail in Nepal. The views of the Annapurna range are spectacular and from Poon Hill at Ghorepani they line up as if waiting for a mug shot from your camera.
Poon Hill – Ghandruk trekking route offers you the best chance to see village life in the region. Local people built and maintain the tracks and they serve as lifelines for them. Herds of goats, water buffalo and horses can regularly be seen along the way. Porters bringing both food in for the village and trekkers’ bags are also commonly seen along the way.
Your first day journey (4-5 hours) covers from Pokhara to Birethanti and last at Ulleri. On the way to Uleri, you can capture the superb views of Annapurna South and Hiunchuli on a clear day and plenty of fresh mountain air as well.
The next day, your trek lasts at Ghorepani. In Ulleri to Ghorepani section, you climb gently through the green hills and forests around. Furthermore, this route also enhances you to encounter lots of horse trains, and clearer views of Annapurna.
The next section of your journey, Ghorepani to Ghandruk, brings forth majestic views of Annapurna Himalayan range. For the majestic view, get up early in the morning for the dawn viewing of the peaks from Poon Hill (3210m). Crystal clear mountains linger into the horizon in both directions. It is absolutely superb and a sight you won’t forget for a long time. Then after, move ahead for Ghandruk section of your trip.
May 12, 2013
This April I went for the fourth time with Himalayan Glacier for trekking in Himalaya, this time Annapurna Circuit trek where I was in the mountains for 18 days. As at the previous times I had a fantastic trek and reached Thorong La pass without problems. I went alone with a guide (Norbu) and a porter. This time I have chosen to go alone because I am 62 years old and go slower than younger people and have experience that it is the best to keep own pace at high altitude. Still I managed nearly all the daily treks but two according to the original plan. The part between Muktinath and Marpha I have chosen to make in two days instead of one, spending an afternoon and night in the wonderful village Kagbeni, and also the part Kalapani to Tatapani I made in two days staying in Ghasa. Importantly, as at my earlier treks with Himalayn Glacier, I felt very safe during the whole trek and this feeling was reinforced by the fact that my guide was getting telephone calls from Narayan at the main office who was checking how we are doing and if there are any problems.
Anna M Larsson
April 16, 2013
I was prepared to not like Kathmandu. I assumed it would be a typical thirdworld polluted, overcrowded, noisy, crime riddled city with a few UNESCO World Heritage sites to explore. My assumption was mostly right, but one quickly becomes intoxicated with sensory overload in this incredible city. Three days was barely enough to scratch the surface of this endlessly fascinating cultural maze of a place. Already I long to return to Boudhnath on a pilgrimage to once again feel the prayer wheels spin under my fingers, light a butter lamp, and circumnavigate the dome on the prayer flagdecked street.
We departed Kathmandu and after a 6 hour Hail Mary bus ride, a night in picturesque Pokhara, rendezvousing with Gopal, our shy porter, we finally arrived in Naya Pul, the starting point of our Annapurna trek! Here, throngs of trekkers, guides, and porters were hurriedly packing and doublechecking gear. A short hike (just a week prior, it had been only a path; now, civilization was encroaching with a gravel road bed) and we were in Birethanti, “Check Point Charley” if you will. All people trekking within the Annapurna Conservation Area Project have to purchase a TIMS card (Trekking Information Management System) and register at the various check points. There are multiple routes and treks one can chose in the Annapurna Circuit region. Routes and treks are based on budget, time available, and fitness level. We chose the Annapurna Sanctuary route to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) as we wanted to explore the ethnic culture of the communities along the way, enjoy the flora and fauna of the sub tropical forests and alpine regions, while maintaining a constant panoramic view. Bill and I also decided that we wanted to trek by ourselves, and not join a larger group. Many people arrive in Kathmandu and trek alone, or arrange for a guide and/or porter once they arrive. Our choice was easy. Himalayan Glacier Trekking a highly rated outfitter has a US representative: Tony Monaco, a CMC member in Charlotte. Our itinerary was established according to our trekking ideas and our pre and post trek plans. One couldn’t ask for a better executed trip. People ask how to “train” for trekking in the Himalayas. In reflection, one should hop on a treadmill set at the highest tension for a couple of hours, then hike from Mount Mitchell to Deep Gap and back, double the altitude, and repeat daily for a few weeks. If one doesn’t follow this regimen, then pack some extra strength Tylenol. We were not prepared for the miles and miles of “steps”; it’s a trail building marvel, but a hiker’s pain in the quads and hamstrings.
Other treks/hikes that we have done around the globe were either wilderness camping or staying in a lodge of some sort. While trekking the Annapurnas we chose to stay in tea houses that were available in the a few villages scattered along the route. The operative word is “available.” Every day, there is a mad scramble in the afternoon to secure lodging. Lodging can only be booked “the day of”…and there may only be 3 lodges with 8 or so rooms in a given community. There may be 2, 3, or 4 hours of “extra” hiking if a room is not secured early in the day. Or, sleeping arrangements can get rather creative! Rooms are typically spartan with twin cots and a lock for the door. Toilets are Asian style and unisex. Showers, if available, are for a fee. Hot water, if available, is solar heated. The water in Nepal is highly polluted. The Modi Khola River (originating at the Annapurna Glacier) provides 95% of Nepal’s drinking water. The water supply to villages is medieval … a 1 ¼ inch PVC pipe runs from village to village, splicing home to home, and running (or not) nonstop. We observed the pipe strung through the jungle, tree to tree, lashed in place with bamboo “thread”. After several days, hygiene and water purification become tedious but necessary.
Before you dismiss considering a trek of this nature, I haven’t discussed one of the most intriguing elements: the people one meets along the way! There is of course ample opportunity to meet folks along the trail, stopping for tea, lunch, a break, or stopping to eat/sleep for the day. (People often commented on our CMC hats or AT volunteer patches on our packs.) Once your trekking is done for the day, people gather in the communal dining room. One’s personal space dissolves. We gravitated like magnets to anyone who looked remotely 60ish.
The higher theelevation, the sparser the crowd, the more likely we would meet up with people we met earlier on the trail. Rooms are very inexpensive ($3.50 a night), but require buying meals at the lodge. Thedining room tables typically had a wool blanket tacked along the sides; there was also a propane heater under the table which was lit at night. Everyone (gladly) paid 100 rupees ($1.25) to pull their boots off and stick their feet under the table, and pull the blanket over their lap. What warmth! We sat there for hours, chatting about the day’s trek, or writing in journals, eating, drinking, and playing cards. We identified people by their given name, or code names (Not AT trail names, but our personal way of identifying people). For example, “the Poles” were a hearty group that kept us honest. On our second day, Bill and I sat at the dining room table quite smug in the fact that we had trekked 14 hours in 2 days and were on our “track” timewise.
The Poles pulled in that night after trekking the same distance in ONE 12 hour day! They proceeded to each order a pint of rum, just as a “warm up” before their “real” drinking began. We were reminded of our time years ago hiking in the Bieszczady Mountains tracking Red deer with a Polish guide. We cursed him soundly under our breath, as we saw him in the distance rolling a cigarette, casually smoking, waiting for us, then striding off and leaving us again to trot to catch up to him. What a hearty lot, the Poles we were gladdened every timed we met up with them. At the same time, a young Spanish graduate student arrived. She was about to collapse, crying, gasping for breath. All the guides quickly came to her “rescue” as if they were the resident EMTs. What histrionics! We giggled at her demonstrativeness. We were not surprised that “La Princessa” never reached ABC summit. Another group, “the Taiwanese”, strode up and down the mountains; in one hand they held an IPad, in the other a bottle of water. Enough said. “California” and “Minnesota” were more or less our age. Minnesota made the summit, California did not. Mrs. California took a nasty spill at a creek crossing, ripping her knee. Meeting them at an afternoon rest stop, we decided to stay put, and they pushed on despite the weather that was quickly disintegrating. Drizzle turned to sleet with a fierce wind. (CA was sick in bed for 2 days and turned back.) Another couple we met, a bubbly Irish pair, had already made it to Everest Base Camp and now they were trekking to Annapurna Base Camp! “The Irish” were simply so thrilled to have sunshine that they would have kept trekking around the globe. A young Finnish couple smoked marijuana joints as fast as they could roll them. “The Finns” didn’t talk, just smiled. One quickly obtains the idea of “life” on the Circuit.
A guide is not requisite to trek in Annapurna. However, we found that having one enriched our experience immensely. Basu was: a walking GPS, concierge service by phoning ahead for a nightly room, our gastronomical advisor who deciphered our menus, a constant natural history/cultural educator, a musician playing his bamboo flute, our “medic”, and most importantly, a friend. It is our opinion that the Nepalese government needs to continue to strive to provide for the wellbeing of the guides and porters who make these Himalayan treks possible. The trekking season is brief, maybe a total of 34 months of every year; finding other employment for the rest of the year is difficult. The trail led us through the Modi Khola valley, filled with rice paddies, fields of quinoa, turmeric, corn, squash, and cabbages. We shared the path with trains of mules transporting goods between villages, water buffalo, goats, sheep, porters, and fellow trekkers. Passing through dense bamboo and hardwood forests, we arrived at Ghorepani. Our $3.00 a night room had a 5Star view of Machhapuchhre, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, and the Annapurnas! At 4:30 in the morning,wearing our headlamps and woolies, we climbed another 2,000 feet to Poon Hill for one of the most spectacular sunrise viewpoint in all of the Himalayan Range.
A steep descent, a steep ascent, and we arrived in beautiful Chhomrong, located on the lap of the Annapurna massif. We laid in bed that night with the moon shining on Machhapuchhre. We cracked open the window and breathed the frosty air. I declared that it just might be as close to heaven as we will ever get. The stars were floating just a fingertip away. Little did I know that Chhomrong was a turning point, literally and figuratively, for trekkers. This was the last village that supplies and any sort of luxury items (like toilet paper) could be purchased. The rest of the journey would pass by a few tea houses only no more villages with inhabitants, livestock, mule trains etc. The trail was too steep and treacherous; conditions are too harsh to travel/ live at the higher elevations. 2/3 of trekkers exited this section of the trail to loop to the lower elevations. In two weeks we viewed more waterfalls than the year spent hiking to the 100 on the CMC Waterfall Challenge. The Nepalese don’t bother to name any of them as there are so many. Most of the peaks aren’t named either; if they aren’t snow covered year round they are not “worthy” of a name. It was difficult for our guide to believe that Bill and I lived in the oldest mountain range in the world with such “low” peaks, and yet here we were in the youngest mountain range, and it contained 8 of the globe’s highest peaks. As the vegetation disappeared, our solitude in the wilderness became more obvious. We passed makeshift shrines built to honor individuals who perished in avalanches. Twice, helicopters churned through the canyon to attempt a rescue at ABC. Our attention remained riveted on the views of majestic Machhapuchhre. It is the one virginal mountain in the Himalayan range; the Nepalese government refuses to allow climbing on it. At 13,000 feet elevation, sleeping soundly became difficult. Besides the thinner air, it was cold. I tucked my batteries in my sleeping bag at night. I would have traded Bill for a pair of yak wool slippers. Our laundered clothes wouldn’t dry. The thought of taking our clothes off, much less having a cold shower, kept us in the same apparel.
We decided against stopping at Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC) for the night and trekked another 2 ½ hours to ABC. The trail between MBC and ABC is a strenuous path that leads right into the frozen heart of the Annapurna range. This is an unparalleled mountain experience with unparalleled views. We arrived at Base Camp just before the fog rolled in shrouding anything more than a foot in front of us. As luck would have it, the Poles arrived at our lodge within a half hour. We spent the evening eating bowls of garlic soup (supposedly good for altitude sickness; we didn’t experience any, so perhaps the soup works!) and eating some of the best pizza we have ever eaten.
Before dawn we trundled out for a position to watch as dawn seared the tips of the frozen peaks. I accidentally dropped my headlamp. There was a chorus of gasps as we listened to it clatter hundreds of feet down the mountain. I took a step back from edge, and firmly planted my feet. Red and gold commenced to etch across the amphitheater of rock and ice. The staggering scale of the mountains was all but overwhelming. Lost in our thoughts, we silently hung a prayer flag, and then slowly, savoring the moment, turned toward lower elevation.
First posted on CMC (CarolinaMountainClub.org) eNews March 2013 by Ann H
January 11, 2013
Again (this is my second trip with Himalayan Glacier) I had an amazing experience with Himalayan Glacier. Sundar is a great guide and I enjoyed the flexibility in my trip. Chandra was able to go ahead in the morning to find a good place to stay. The guesthouses and hotels chosen were all comfortable and the food was always fresh and good. The communication was great, and I was well taken care of. Pick ups, flights etc, where always on time. Also I was lucky to have met so many other inspiring people on the track which was a bonus. The highlight of the trip was playing volleyball at 4130m with the guides and porters. I enjoy the Himalayas a lot and feel at ease when I am in the mountains. Thank you for making my trip special, hope to see you again soon
December 7, 2012
As I indicated before, you did an exceptional job of turning our trip around. We had planned on Everest Base Camp (EBC), but planes could not land in Lukla for about 7 days. We had to make a decision whether to wait for EBC, or transfer all energy and thoughts into Annapurna. Bertie and I chose Annapurna Circuit, and the rest of the trekkers who were assigned in our group went with us. Amazingly, Naba was able to provide an extra guide (Hira, for Bertie and me) and necessary porters for Annapurna Circuit. Luckily we had booked with HGT, a substantial trekking firm, and Naba was able to turn everything around from EBC to Annapurna Circuit in a very short period of time.
Our experience in Nepal, and especially Annapurna Circuit was a wonderful success and an endearing experience.
I don’t think anything would have made this trip better than it was. Hira, our guide, was excellent and astute to our needs, and made the trek absolutely wonderful. Pasuram, our porter, was a “Rock Star Porter” who was personable and just awesome. Our route was well planned, and when we got ahead of schedule, Hira was able to call by mobile phone and adjust reservations. Just amazing.
I hope to return in 2014 and would not mind a repeat on Annapurna Circuit, adding a few things that we did not have time to do. I would want to be in a trekking group with Hira, for sure.
I have been in email contact with the 3 Brazilians who were part of our trekking group. They absolutely felt Annapurna Circuit was the best for this year. And because HGT did such a good job in rescheduling from EBC, I am sure they will plan their return to EBC in 5 years with HGT. Good PR for you. Also, Jen and Steve (from NYC) also felt that doing Annapurna Circuit was the best thing for this year, and I know they will also return to do EBC and will book again with HGT. Naba did a great job for all of us who had planned on EBC this year.
Thank you. You have all my confidence for the best experience in Nepal. Naba has suggested Tibet. I love Nepal – but Tibet would be something new. But I need the trekking; I leave Nepal feeling happy and healthy. A jeep tour just would not do that.
Happy Holidays from the States!