The short Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal is the most beautiful long detour. It is full of natural wonders and cultural grandeur. Moreover, the trail is the jewel of Nepal Trekking. Spectacular mountain vistas, cascading hills and multi-ethnic villages offer diverse travel moments. The trail is still among the top long detours of Nepal Trekking. However, the construction of the hilly roads has cut short the walking route. Even if it is so, the beauty is intact. Waterfalls, high altitude passes, chortens and villages along with the differing landscapes make it beautiful.
This trek is also the Annapurna Round Trek or Thorong La Pass Trek. It takes travelers to the pure divine natural and spiritual Himalayan destination. The journey promises the accumulation of momentous travel tales. Manang Valley is on the first phase of the journey before the Thorong crossing. Mustang Valley waits on the other side. Both these valleys offer cultural and natural wonders. The Himalayan desert landscape is a treat to experience. Mystical encounters and myths are the features of these valleys.
The journey is spectacular as well as diverse. The change in landscape and vegetation is evident in every day’s walk. The journey starts from the temperate forests belt and traverses through the alpine – tundra and finally ends in sub-alpine areas. The most arduous task on the Short Annapurna Circuit Trek is the crossing of Thorang La Pass. Furthermore, the challenge exists in walking from 800 meters to one of the highest passes of Thorong La at 5,400 meters. But nevertheless, the sense of achievement is immense. The scenery of the mountains seen from the top is majestic. It offers a vista of more than 2 dozen of snow-clad mountains. It is truly Himalayan bliss to the fullest.
Once we cross the Thorong La Pass we will reach the Mustang Valley. The holy shrine of Muktinath and the nunnery with forever natural flame are the major religious site. Kaligandaki River and Kagbeni Village are mystical as ever. The river is famous for the fossil (Shaligrams) which are rare and holy to Hindus. The journey ends in Jomsom which is one of the windiest towns in Nepal. Relish this amazing walking adventure in Nepal.
Accumulate the diverse culture and nature during Short Annapurna Circuit Trek mainly within Manang and Mustang. The villages of these valleys offer traditions of centuries-old dating back to 1500 years. Flora, Fauna, waterfalls, Himalayan desert, monasteries, temples, villages and passes along with mountain vistas make it a wonderful trip.
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Day 01: Kathmandu – Besisahar – Chhame (1100m/3,609m) 5 hours, 2 hours
Day 02: Chame – Pisang (3,200m/10,500ft) 5 - 6 hrs
Day 03: Pisang - Ngawal (4-5 hours)
Day 04: Nagwal – Manang (3,540m/11,614ft) 6 - 7 hrs
Day 05: Exploration Day in Manang
Day 06: Manang – Yak Kharka (4,018m/13,182ft) 3 - 4 hours
Day 07: Yak Kharka – Thorung High Camp (4,450m/14,600ft) 4 – 5 hours
Day 08: Thorung Phedi- Thorung La- Muktinath (4:00 AM and out by 5:00 AM) (3,760 m/12,336ft) 5,6 hours
Day 09: Muktinath – Jomsom (2,670m/8,727ft) 6 – 8 hours
Day 10: Jomsom to Pokhara
Day 01: Kathmandu – Besisahar – Chhame (1100m/3,609m) 5,6hours, 3,4 hours
We embark on the national highway as early as possible. Depending on the package of your choice, you will board either a private vehicle or a bus. However, in case of a bus, you will be transferred to a smaller vehicle after Besi sahar. The road of the first half is black topped and travels along rivers and showcases pretty lush green forests. Whereas, the second half of the road is more of a off road experience. Nevertheless, this slightly over 8 hours of on road experience will be very new to you if this is your first ever visit to Nepal. The bus will stop frequently in between, allowing you ample amount of time to catch something to eat as well as use the bathroom. Overnight in Chhame. Meal plan B, L, D.
Day 03: Chame – Pisang (3,200m/10,500ft) 5 - 6 hrs
We make 600m ascents from Chame to Pisang within 4-6 hours. The first couple of hours we walk on crisply pine scented trail. We go past the deserted village of Bhartang where trekkers stop by for tea. Further down the trail, we go past apple orchard and furthermore the memorial of Japanese trekker who died in the avalanche trying to cross Thorung La. With the transitory view of Manaslu, Annapurna II, Himchuli and Ngadi Chuli, we make our way through Tibetan communities and beautiful manis; prayer apparatus of Buddhist followers and fields of Buckwheat. Overnight in Pisang.
Day 04: Trek Pisang to Ngawal (3,657m)- 4- 5 hours
On this day, Early in the morning after breakfast will start to walk up through the beautiful mountains views. Once we passed the bridge of Khumi, the journey goes head up to the old Tibetan village in Ghyaru (3,670 m). It is one of the beautiful view point to explore magnificent mountains like Lamjung Himal (6,983 m), Annapurna II (7,937 m), Annapurna IV (7,525m), Gandarbha Chuli (6,250 m), Annapurna III (7555 m), Gangapurna (7,544 m), Glacier Dome (7,193 m), Khangsar Kang (7,485 m) and Tilicho Peak (7,134m, Khatunkang (6,484 m), Syagang (6,026 m), Chulu East (6,429 m), Pisang Peak (6,091 m).
Day 05: Ngawal – Manang (3,540m/11,614ft) 6 - 7 hrs
Today we leave early in the morning after breakfast, to ascent 600 meters through a mediocre difficult trail. From the very first day Marsyangdi river never leaves the trail and does the same for this day. We start strolling on a relatively flat ground in the beginning and then gradually climb upwards. The first noticeable village on this day is Humde - the only village in Manang with airport. After crossing Humde the landscape gets more barren but the views get better. The views of Annapurna III and IV on one hand and the barren cliffs on the other are captivating. We usually stop for lunch in Mungi. One and half hours easy uphill walk after lunch we make it to Manang. We traverse through various terrains and through the fields of buckwheat, barley and potato and pine. On this day we make our way through remarkable Kani’s (gate) to rustic settlements of Tibetan community namely Manange. Overnight in Manang.
Day 06: Rest Day
Today is set aside as acclimatization where we will rest and adapt to the altitude. We have an opportunity to walk around and observe the life and culture of Manang-pa; people of Manang, explore the archaic monasteries and thangka’s that dates back to some 500 years, we would also hike short for a glacial lake named Gangapurna. Manang also has hotels and restaurants, which would cater fix for your desires to have coffee and bakery.
Day 07: Manang – Yak Kharka (4,018m/13,182ft) 3 - 4 hours
The hike gets strenuous from this day onwards because of the altitude and kicking in of thin air and it is advised to drink more water. On this day we ascent somewhere around 500 meters and we do not descend at all but we make our way through one of the most amazing view of Annapurna on our south. We reach Khangsar by 2 and half hour and immediately after Khangsar we climb a sheer uphill to Yak Kharka. We walk through Tengi; the last permanently inhabited village in Manang and make our way through pastures and miniature forest of Juniper, roses and barberry to Yak Kharka. We stay overnight at Yak kharka and enjoy yak cheese and dishes made out of Yak.
Day 08: Yak Kharka – Thorung High Camp (4,450m/14,600ft) 4 – 5 hours
From what looks like an old cowboy town of Yak Kharka we get ready for strenuous hike of 600+ meters, which includes some steep and sheer trails up and down hill. The first initial climb of two and half hours is painstaking but however the surreal view of the surrounding, blue ships and wild Yaks will help you forget all that. Furthermore we keep inclining through narrow and barren trails exposed to the slopes and crossing the wooden bridge we make to Thorung phedi. There are very few pine plants towards the Yak Kharka end but towards the Thorung high camp the land is more barren and the only plant seen is silver birch. Thorung phedi is a valley, which is not inhabited year around but offers a very uncanny view of surrounding cliffs and mountains in the Annapurna. We hike uphill further for an hour until we reach Thorung High pass where we rest for the night and acclimatize before we ascent to Thorung-La pass.
Day 09: Thorung Phedi – Thorung La – Muktinath (4:00 am and out by 5:00 am) (3760 m/12,336ft) 5 -6 hours
We rise and shine early and head out of Thorung Phedi for the longest day of Annapurna circuit trek. Furthermore, this is the most difficult section of the trek but equally beautiful that helps us forget all the slogging and hard work. Most of the day’s walk is sheer and uphill, on barren cliffs with wild Yaks. The initial climb from Thorung Phedi connects with Thorung high camp and further around 3 hours of uphill, we would reach Thorung la. The main idea behind starting the day early is to make sure that we cross Thorung – La pass before the sun is up and at its best. We ascent 650+ meters to Thorung – la which is one of the highest passes in the world, from where the view of the mountains in the periphery is as well of the premier quality. From Thorung – La we make a sheer drop 1600 meters toward the holy shrine of Muktinath.
Day 10: Muktinath – Marpha (2,670m/8,727ft) 7 – 8 hours
From Muktinath we further descend down to Jharkot and watch Kagbeni from the ridge and make our way towards Jomsom. We take jeep track all the way to Jomsom; a beautiful mountain settlement placed on the laps of Nilgiri Mountain. Jomsom also has an air strip which serves the entire region on everyday basis. Further down on jeep track dodging it time and again we reach Marpha. Marpha is famous for its apple orchards and apple brandy distillery and also homes one of the oldest distilleries in the country. Marpha is the center of Thakali community, which is famous for making apple cider and apple pie amongst trekkers.
Day 11: Departure Day