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The Annapurna Circuit Trek - The trekking web guidebook to the Annapurna Circuit and Sanctuary, Nepal

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The Annapurna Circuit is the popular name for a 300 kilometre trek in Nepal around the Annapurna mountain range in the Himalayas. The trek reaches an altitude of 5,300 metres 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 metres which was the first 8,000 metre peak to be climbed, the magnificent ice pyramid Dhauligiri 8,167 metres, once the home of the legendary Buddhist guru Padmasamba, and Machhupuchhare 6,993 metres, considered by many to be the most beautiful mountain in the world.

The Annapurna Circuit trek follows 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. Today Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, Hinduism and the mysterious Bon-Po religion still coexist and interpenetrate one another in this region which contains many pilgrimage sites.

The unusually wide range of climatic zones in such a small area as the Annapurna Circuit path ascends from 900 metres to 5,300 metres provides a chance to see many different plants and animals, and the different ways of life of the many peoples who live there.

YetiZone.com and its paper guidebook are both intended to provide a independent guide to the Annapurna Circuit path itself and also to the cultural history and mountaineering history of the region.

I trekked the Annapurna Circuit and Sanctuary in October 1997. This web guidebook is based on the detailed journal, sketches, GPS readings and photographs from that trip. The web guidebook is updated using feedback from trekkers.

 

Day
 

Location
km
Ascent
Descent
Description
0
   

150 km

-

-

The Annapurna Circuit begins with a road journey from Kathmandu to Besisahar.

1
   

18 km

400 m

-

The first day of the Annapurna Circuit is a long one, ending on a hill top at the Hindu Brahmin village of Bahundanda.

2
   

Bahundanda to Chamje

12 km

236 m

-

Today the Annapurna Circuit enters the Nyingma Pa Buddhist influenced area of northern Nepal.

3
   

Chamje to Bagarchap

15 km

634 m

-

The Annapurna Circuit trek continues to the Guring village of Bagarchap complete with its new Gompa

4
   

Bagarchap to Chame

13 km

530 m

-

Today the Annapurna Circuit trek enters conifer woodland and reaches the official district capital of Chame, with its hot springs.

5
   

Chame to Pisang

16 km

800 m

-

Pass the rock wall of the Oble Dome and continue along the Annapurna Circuit to Upper Pisang, an architecturaly magnificent village.

6
   

Pisang to Manang

12 km

206 m

-

Walk along the valley trail to Manang, the unofficlal trekking capital of the Annapurna Circuit.

7
   

Mandatory Manang rest day

-

-

-

Explore the Manang Valley to ensure that you have sufficient acclimatisation to continue.

8
   

Manang to Yak Kharka

9 km

544 m

-

Take the gentle walk past Tengi to Yak Kharka, the Manangis' yak meadow.

9
   

Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi

8 km

400 m

-

Ascend the Annapurna Circuit to Thorung Phedi at the foot of the Thorung La pass.

10
   

Thorung Phedi to Muktinath

13 km

750 m

1,500 m

Climb the Thorung La pass at 5,300 metres to reach the sacred site of Muktinath.

11
   

Muktinath to Kagbeni

10 km

-

1,024 m

Finally, the Annapurna Circuit trek heads downhill, through the arid landscape to the ancient town of Kagbeni on the Kali Gandaki river.

12
   

Kagbeni to Marpha

16 km

-

178 m

The Annapurna Circuit threads its way along the Kali Gandaki river bank to reach Marpha.

13
   

Marpha to Kalopani

19 km

11 m

-

The valley opens out, and great views of Dhaulagiri are visible.

14
   

Kalopani to Tatopani

24 km

-

1,409 m

Continue down the Kali Gandaki to the resort town of Tatopani, with its welcome hot springs and excellent restaurants.

15
   

Tatopani to Ghorepani

15 km

1,674 m

-

The long climb to Ghorepani is rewarded with awesome views of the Annapurna range.

16a
   

Ghorepani to Pokhara

16 km

-

1,874 m

One alternative trek at this point is to return directly to Pokhara.

1
 

Birethanti to Ghandruk

10 km

943 m

-

The Annapurna Sanctuary Trek can be walked starting from Birethanti, a bus or taxi ride from Pokhara.

16b
 

Ghorepani to Ghandruk

14 km

500 m

1,400 m

This trek joins the Annapurna Circuit trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary trek at the Gurung capital, Ghandruk.
17
2
 

Ghandruk to Chomrong

9 km

1,050 m

900 m

The views at Chomrong are event better than those at Ghandruk, but you'll pay for it with the huge descent and ascent on the way.

18
3
 

Chomrong to Deurali

13 k

1,100 m

-

The Annapurna Sanctuary trek enters the narrow wooded valley of the Modi Khola.

19
4,5
 

Deurali to Annapurna Base Camp

7 km

943 m

-

Enter the heart of the annapurna region, the wild Annapurna Sanctuary, through its entrance pillars.

20
6
 

Annapurna Base Camp to Sinawa

17 km

-

1,805 m

After seeing the magnificent views, return the way you came, watching for wild animals.

21
7
 

Sinawa to Ghandruk

12 km

1,000 m

1,400 m

A long day of descent.

22
8
 

Ghandruk to Birethanti and Pokhara

10 km

-

943 m

You'll be glad to reach Pokhara and the delights of Lakeside, but once there, you'll wish you were back on the trek.

© Ian Johnson 2003