Mount Annapurna is the tenth highest mountain in the world. It is located in the Annapurna Massif in North Central Nepal. The mountain is named after Annapurna, the Hindu Goddess of food and Nourishment. Nepalese believe that the mountain is the adobe of God and Goddesses. This mountain is considered as the home of the goddess Annapurna. The word “Annapurna” is taken from the Sanskrit words “Anna” and “Purna” where Anna means food/Grains and Purna means filled or complete. On that note, the word Annapurna means “Everlasting food”.
Annapurna I (8,091 m) is the 10th highest mountain in the world. It was the first mountain peak above 8,000 m which was successfully scaled in history. The credit of this goes to Maurice Herzog and his French Expedition team. Trekking is the most popular activity in the Annapurna Region as it offers a diverse range of trekking options. Here in this piece of article, we are going to discuss some exotic and classy treks in the Annapurna region.
Table of Contents
- 1 Annapurna Circuit
- 2 Annapurna Base Camp
- 3 Annapurna Massif
- 4 Best Time to Visit Annapurna Treks
- 5 Permits for the Annapurna Treks
Annapurna Circuit Trek is voted as the best long-distance trek in the world as it includes the wide varieties of climatic zones, a dramatic range of geography, and most significantly the unique culture and people. Annapurna Circuit is the trek within the Annapurna Mountain Range of Central Nepal. Moreover, it is an appealing journey into a divine world that is approximately 160 to 230 km which leads you up to the pristine Thorong La Pass.
This sensational trekking wins the heart of both beginners and experienced ones. This classy trek involves the most beautiful trekking trails which offer you an elegant view of the world’s seventh and tenth highest mountains Dhaulagiri (8,167m) and Annapurna (8,091m). Similarly, the deepest Gorge of the world at Kali Gandaki River is mesmerizing. This trekking trail also offers graceful mountain views that include Machhapuchhre, Manaslu, Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak, Pisang Peak, and many other snow-topped mountains above 6,000m. Exploration of biodiversity at Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) would never come second in your trip.
Annapurna Circuit Trek has been long considered the best trek in Nepal and one of the world’s classic walks. The most important thing is that you can walk on both sides of the Massif Annapurna. You will have a wonderful trip that covers different river valleys, subtropical forests, waterfalls, gigantic cliffs, pilgrimage sites, natural hot spring, and typical villages.
Annapurna Circuit Trekking trail passes through beautiful fields, tranquil woods, and charming villages towards the desert-like Arctic zone: Manang. Trekkers spend a day at Manang for acclimatization and exploration. After a blissful day at Manang, many trekkers continue towards Thorong La Pass at 5,416 meters – which is also the highest point on the entire trek. The pass rewards the trekkers with striking views of mountains within the Annapurna range to the south and Mukut Himal bordering Dolpo to the west. The trekkers spend some time at the top of the pass and then follow the trail that descends over grassy meadows before arriving at Muktinath. Muktinath means ‘Lord’s Salvation’ and the temple complex is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. The trail from there will lead the trekkers to Jomsom. Jomsom is an important hub for trekkers with an airstrip. From Jomsom, there are two different options. The first option is that the trekkers can take a drive to Tatopani which takes about 4 hours. Tatopani means ‘Hot Water ‘. It is a natural hot spring. Here they can relax and wash away their tiredness. It is believed that the hot springs have the potential to ease and even cure body aches and pains naturally. Then, they will move towards Ghorepani. Here they will accomplish a morning hike to Poonhill at 3,210 meters for enjoying the sunrise view over the whole Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. After that, the trekkers will trek downhill to reach Nayapul and then take a drive from there back to Kathmandu via Pokhara.
And the second option is that they can take a direct flight from Jomsom to Pokhara. Then drive back to Kathmandu from Pokhara.
Highlights of Annapurna Circuit Trek
- Ancient Trekking Route
- Rich culture and traditions along with the diverse ethnic groups
- Tilicho, the highest lake in the world
- Thorong La Pass (5,416m).
- Muktinath Temple, the most significant shrine.
- World’s deepest gorge; Andha Galchi
- Natural hot spring at Tatopani
- The most spectacular sunrise at Poonhill and magnificent mountain views of Dhaulagiri I, Manaslu, and Annapurna I (world’s 7th, 8th and 10th highest mountains) will win your heart.
Annapurna Base Camp
Annapurna Base Camp Trek is one of the most appealing trekking in Nepal. This Trek brings us to the foot of the world’s tenth highest mountain: Annapurna I (8,091m). This is also the 94th prominent mountain peak of the world. This mountain is one of the most beautiful mountains of the Annapurna Massif. This trek is among the best treks for a complete taste of diverse cultures, terrain, wildlife, and vegetation.
The landform varies from subtropical valleys to the high altitude alpine valleys in this trek. The trail passes through many beautiful valleys that offer the most pleasant views of the Himalaya’s vistas, forest, rivers, and waterfalls. Annapurna Base Camp Trek is the most popular choice of the trekkers around the world because it is just a pleasant hike to an altitude of 4,243m above the sea level yet provides the most inspiring mountain views of Annapurna Massif, Machhapuchhre (6,993m), Hiunchuli (6,441m), Manaslu (8,156m), etc.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek is the best trek for those trekkers who want to complete the trek in a very short period. The major attractions of this trek include Pokhara, the village of Ghandruk, and the Base Camp of Mount Annapurna itself. Annapurna Base Camp Trek is considered a moderate hike. Therefore, any person who is physically fit and having sound health can plan this trek. Any time between March-May and September to December is the right time to plan this trek as every aspect like the trail, weather, temperature, and visibility are ideal during this time of the year.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek also passes through many beautiful villages. Chhomrong and Ghandruk villages are the popular Gurung villages. The people, culture, and the hospitality of these villages will vitalize your spirit and trekking interest in Nepal. Moreover, trekkers will have ample opportunity to study the lives of Magar and Thakali people as well.
Poon Hill (3,210m) is the best vantage point of sunrise and sunsets over the Himalayan ranges. The trekkers can enjoy brilliant views of sugar-coated mountains during the trek. Rejoice the panorama of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. Trust me! The Himalayas are enchanting!
The Annapurna Base Camp Trek begins with a short scenic flight or drives from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Then the travelers will take a ride on a jeep to reach Saulibazaar. It is the beginning point of the trek. Then they will have a 2 hours trek to Ghandruk. After spending a night at Ghandruk, they will move towards Chhomrong. They will continue trekking towards Bamboo to the Himalayan Hotel. And finally, they shall move towards the Annapurna Base Camp from the Himalayan Hotel via Machhapuchhre Base Camp. Then, they will return towards Bamboo, visit the natural hot spring at Jhinudanda and retrace their footsteps back to Pokhara via Saulibazaar.
Highlights of Annapurna Base Camp Trek
- Trek to the Annapurna Base Camp (4,243m).
- Mind-blowing Vistas of Annapurna, Fishtail, Dhaulagiri, and the other Himalayas.
- Most appealing Sunrise or Sunset view from Poonhill (3,210m).
- Diverse ethnicity along the trail.
- The Gurung village, Ghandruk.
- Jhinu Danda, the house of natural hot spring.
- The streams, rivers, and waterfalls along the trekking trail.
- The Machhapuchhre Base Camp (4,040m)
Nepal is a place of superb entertainment and divine pleasures. Popularly known as the Himalayan Kingdom, Nepal has exotic mountains peak of world-class. It is the home of some of the tallest mountains of the world. The Himalayan Mountain Range encompasses many popular sub-sections. Among them is the Annapurna Massif. The Annapurna massif consists of one peak above 8,000 m, 13 peaks above 7,000 m, and 16 plus peaks above 6,000 m.
Annapurna is a massif located in North Central Nepal. It is a part of the Nepalese Himalayas. Annapurna Massif is 55 Km long. It is bounded by Kali Gandaki Gorge in the west, Marshyangdi River in the north and east, and Pokhara Valley in the south. The Massif encloses a high basin which is called Annapurna Sanctuary. The region is voted as the world-class trekking destination because it is the home of several world-class treks such as Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, etc.
The massif is within Annapurna Conservation Area. Annapurna Conservation Area is the first and largest conservation area in Nepal. It preserves some of the engendered plant and animal species.
Annapurna Massif is not about a single magnificent peak but it is a rich collection of them. It is an ice-clad amphitheater situated at an altitude of 4,130 m. Annapurna Region is the most diverse and popular area for trekking. The mainstream treks of the region reward us with exceptional views of stunning mountain vistas, beautiful and rewarding valleys, and picturesque villages, and so on. The most quoted comment about the Annapurna is it is breathtaking.
Highlights of Annapurna Massif
- Thorong La Pass
- Muktinath Temple
- Best and spectacular mountain vistas
- Diverse ethnic communities and their unique culture
- Most diverse and Popular Treks: ABC and Annapurna Sanctuary
- Manang and Mustang
- Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP)
- Kali Gandaki Valley and the deepest gorge of the world
Best Time to Visit Annapurna Treks
Trekking and Hiking in Nepal can be done throughout the year. Although Autumn and spring are considered as the best seasons to go on trekking in Nepal every season has something distinct to offer.
The Autumn season lasts from September to November in Nepal. This season is the loveliest in Nepal. The temperature is warm even in the Mountains. The days will be clear which affords the best mountain views. Therefore, many people visit Annapurna during this season.
Spring Season lasts from March to May. During Spring Season Nepal experiences a moderate climate. The hills will be veiled with the blossoms of Rhododendron, orchid, etc. Spring is the peak season for the Annapurna Treks.
Winter season (December to January) is a little colder at the Himalayas. The precipitation will be in the form of snowfall. The days are still warmer with plenty of sunshine. The rainfall is occasional. If you like to travel in peaceful trails and extreme cold weather is not a problem for you, you can choose the winter season. Hoverer, this season is considered an off-season for trekking and Hiking in Nepal.
Summer Season (June to August) in Nepal is also off-season for trekking. Nepal experiences summer rainfall. During this season, the trails will be muddy and slippery, frequent rainfall, flood, and landslides will ruin your journey irritably. However, the rain shadow region like Manang, Mustang, and Dolpo offers you the best trekking moment even in this season. Since the Annapurna Treks are located in the rain shadow region of Nepal, the monsoon doesn’t create any hurdles for you.
Difficulties of the Annapurna Treks
Mount Annapurna is the most diverse and popular trekking destination. The central place of this part of Nepal is dramatic as there are dozens of towering mountains. Therefore, Annapurna is not a single peak but a massif containing several of them. However, some people consider the main summit, Annapurna I, a treacherous mountain. Here I will tell you something about the difficulties and challenges of the Annapurna Treks.
Annapurna Region has hundreds of avalanches. There are frequent avalanches prone areas which make the travel worse and full of risks. The vertical ice walls and hanging glaciers may fall at any time. The frequent avalanches have taken the lives of many travelers and it has become a major threat.
Another most important factor that makes the Annapurna Treks relatively difficult is fluctuating weather. The weather of the Annapurna Mountain is most unstable. The mountain is extremely cold with heavy snowfall all year-round. At such altitude, the wind blow is also very hard. These factors also make the travel a little dangerous in the Annapurna Region.
The topography of the region itself is very challenging. The terrain of the mountain is rough and unstable. There are ice walls, steep trails, crevasses, hanging glaciers, etc. These factors have increased the fatality rate of the mountain.
Permits for the Annapurna Treks
Most of the trekking trails of the Annapurna Treks come under Annapurna Conservation Area Project. Therefore, one must buy an entry permit to enter the region along with TIMS Card (Trekking Information Management System). Permits and TIMS Card can be purchased from the Nepal Tourism Board on the Exhibition Road in Kathmandu or the Nepal Tourism Board service Centre at Damside in Pokhara and TIMS Card can be purchased at the TAAN lakeside office at Santi Patan. One can buy the permits from the ACAP Entry Permit counter at Besisahar in Lamjung.
Permits and Fees in Annapurna Region:
- ACAP entry permit fee for foreigners: 3,000 NPR (Approx. US $30)
- ACAP entry permit fee for SAARC nationals: 200 NPR
- TIMS permit: 1,000 NPR (Approx. US $10)
What to Pack for the Annapurna Treks
The collections of right gears have a lot to do with the successful and most pleasant trekking experiences. Trekkers may require some technical trekking instruments depending upon the difficulty grade. Here I am going to discuss briefly trekking gears and instruments for the Annapurna Treks in Nepal.
Packing: Duffle Bag (It is useful if you hire a porter, It must be waterproof, durable, and lockable), Rucksack Bag with Waterproof Cover (It is useful if you travel independently), Daypack
Clothing: Hiking Boots, Socks, Gloves, Hat, Scarf, Shell Pants, Light Weight Walking Pants, Fleece Jacket, Waterproof Jacket, Thermal Vest, T-shirts, Hiking Shorts, etc.
Sleeping: Sleeping Bag, Pillow Case, and other Sleeping Accessories
Accessories: Trekking Poles, Water filters, Harness, Mosquito Repellent, Towel, and other luxury items.
Other Essentials: Map, Compass, Sun-Glasses, Headlamp, First Aid Box, Repair Tool Kit, Extra food, Tent, etc.
Stunning Facts about the Annapurna Treks
- Annapurna Treks fall under the largest and oldest conservation area of Nepal: Annapurna Conservation Area.
- Annapurna Base Camp Trek and Annapurna Circuit Trek are the busiest trails in Nepal.
- Annapurna I is the tallest mountain of the Annapurna Massif. It was first successfully ascended by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal under the French expedition. Both of their hands were amputated because of frostbite.
- Maurice Herzog’s book “The Annapurna” is an international bestseller. The book is sold more than 11 million copies.
- Kali Gandaki, the deepest gorge of the world is between Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Range.
- Mount Annapurna I is considered as a treacherous mountain peak because the death rate of this mountain peak is 38% when Everest has just 6.5% summit death rate.
- Tilicho Lake that lies in the Annapurna region is the highest in Nepal and one of the highest lakes in the world. It is at an elevation of 4919 m.
- Thorong La Pass (5,416 m) is the biggest and widest mountain pass which is located in the same region. It offers the most stunning mountain vistas.
To Sum Up
Mount Annapurna is one of the classic trekking destinations with everything rewarding. The region is the vast storehouse of wonderments. Everything you see here is superlative in itself. The region holds pride of being the best trekking destination of Nepal as two-third of the trekkers who come to Nepal heads towards the region. The region is best to see the most beautiful mountains, unique culture, beautiful terrains, etc. The region is suitable to enjoy a wide range of activities to satisfy your travel quests. I would go to the Annapurna Treks if I were you. What about you…?