|Kathmandu||Everest Base Camp||1400m-5380m|
|Kathmandu||Dhaulagiri Base Camp||1400m-4748m|
When Nepalese people talk about trekking and trips, conversation is incomplete without discussing Around Annapurna Trek. Our planning for Around Annapurna Trek took about a month for discussions, interactions, research and shopping. What we found was clothing and body care was the main thing to care about. Morning Walk and running are very much important for preparation to increase your stamina. We were 5 people each with 60 l. bag packs heading towards Himalayas in mid-November, which is considered to be best season to trek in Nepal. Our bag packs included,
Around Annapurna Trek or commonly called Annapurna Circuit Trek is an adulterate trekking of length 160 to 240 kms. You must be an average trekker with at least been around 2 to 3 treks at altitude higher than 3000 meters. Altitude sickness is the main reason that prevents many people to reach the highest point Thorong-la Pass (5416 meters). If you are patient of high blood pressure or asthma; then difficulties are on your way and we don’t recommend you to travel at higher Heights. It is said that 75% people suffer with altitude sickness when they happen to cross 5000 meters. But the scenarios and views of the Annapurna range with other mountains such as Mt. Gangapurna (7,455 meters), Chulu Far East, Chulu Far west, Pisang Peak, Tillicho Peak (7,134 meters), Thorang Peak and many more others between 6000-8000 meters.
Trekking in the wet season is often encouraged as hikers avoid the crowds that plague the summer months. However, the days are often damp and many of the views are obscured by cloud.
This is the most popular hiking season in Nepal. Due to the recent monsoons, everything along the circuit is refreshed, clean and vibrant. Views are usually clear and the night sky is extremely visible. Though the weather is generally warm, nighttime temperatures drop below freezing. This is the busiest period on the circuit and tea houses book up very quickly.
This is the coldest period on the circuit. Depending on the altitude, day time temperatures will be cold and night time temperatures drop well below freezing. The trade off is that the trails are much less busy. Thorung La Pass, which stands at over 5,000 meters, is often blocked with snow and may be closed for days on end. Unless the snow blocks most trails, tea houses still remain open during this period. Clouds prevail more frequently, but clear days are still common. Towards March the rhododendrons start flowering, which brings hill sides alive with flaming colours. Unfortunately, this period is also when avalanches are most common.
Because of the warming weather, this is the second most popular trekking season on the Annapurna Circuit. Most of the snow has dissipated, leaving crystal clear skies. There is often a strange haze that can be seen from the lower altitudes during May. However, this soon passes and cannot be seen from higher up the trail. As the monsoon period builds towards the end of may, the days become hotter and more humid which makes trekking at lower altitude quite uncomfortable.
This is the monsoon period. Although there are stories of torrential downpours, mudslides and hordes of leeches, this is rarely the case on the Annapurna Circuit, particular the northern section. Whilst the south section of the Annapurna Circuit near Pokhara does get a lot of rain, the northern parts often receive less than 10% of the precipitation due to the location within a rain shadow. The upside of trekking in the monsoon period is that many of the flora species flower during this period, making the trek exceptionally beautiful. This is also the time when the Tilicho Lake side trek is relatively easier.
Many Travel and Tours packages make prople start to walk from Besisahar which is best in practice but due to scars of time, we started to walk from Chame. We strongly recommend you to travel within the packages provided by Companies for better experience. Below is the day by day information about places, their elevation and specialty of places we visited on our travel.
Day 1: Kathmandu (1400 meters) to Besisahar (820 meters)
The day completely goes in vehicle with a journey of about 6 to 8 hours. Journey goes through Kathmandu- Thankot- Mugling- Abu Khgairini- Dumre- Besisahar. This was the time when we just thought about the trek. Enjoyment to its fullest.
Day 2: Besisahar (820 meters) to Chame (2710 meters)
It takes about 3 days to reach chame from besisahar but if we go by the local transportation available, we could reach Chame at about 5 hours from besisahar. The roadway is considered to be the most dangerous route in Nepal. Although the route is dangerous, the spectacular view and habitation around the way take away the fear.
Day 3: Chame (2710 meters) to Pisang (Lower- 3100 meters; Upper: 3600 meters)
Our Trek started from chame. We had Tibetan Bread and fried potatoes with sauce; special dish of Chame and headed towards Pisang. It was about 6-7 hours of trek with beautiful close view of snow caped mountains and very much close view of gigantic Annapurna III (7555 meters). Travellers have to walk all day around a big pisang odar (Pisang Ridge) around the bank of Marsyangdi River. We reach pisang after we walk to finish the ridge portion. At the end of the trek, travellers get a very close view of Annapurna-II (7937 meters). Pisang is a wonderful place with most of the people belonging to Buddhist religion and Gurung caste. Pisang is divides into two parts by marsyangdi river namely, Upper Pisang at about 3600 meters and lower pisang at about 3100 meters. Since this is the first day of trek; Arm and legs are hurt and you will need your massage oil for the first time in journey.
Day 4: Pisang (3100 meters) to Manang (3540 meters)
This is the time we see glorious close view of mountains. We felt like we are walking next to Annapurna range. Strongly recommended, you start your journey early morning without waiting for breakfast. The time before breakfast is the best time where you could take a big leap and early sunrise views. There are numerous places to stop on way and have your breakfast. In our case, we had breakfast in a place mid-way between Pisang and Hunde. Humde is a special place where you can find an airport but unfortunately, the airport is very risky due to the pace of wind striking right from the Himalayas. People say they have just seen few private chartered airplanes in about couple of years. The wind is only reason behind starting the journey as early as possible. There may be high speed cold wind blowing late afternoon. So it is good if we reach to the destination as soon as possible. Since Manang being the junction area for many trekkers and best place for Acclimation, its pack very soon. An early reservation is must. You would not have to care about the reservation if you are travelling within packages provided by Travel and Tour companies.
Day 5: Manang- Acclimation
Before going higher altitude, it is necessary to be familiar with the level of air you are breathing in. So, acclimation is must. Manang is the best place for Acclimation since you have plenty of places to roam around. It is better if you visit places at highr altitude than manang and return back at the end of the day. Places like Gangapurna Icefall, Icelake, The hidden Village- Khangsar (Gateway to Tillicho Base Camp) are choices of most of the people. You can also plan your trip to Tillicho Lake (Lake Situated at highest altitude 4900 meters) wich will take additional 3 days. There is a way that could catch directly with Yak Kharka; destination for the next day but you should be experienced with many dangerous routes for that.
Day 6: Manang (3540 meters) to Yak Kharka (4010 meters)
This part of the trip is the best. Early morning start leads us to Tanki, in about 30 minutes. Tanki to Ghusang takes about 3 hours and from there, Yak Kharka is about 5 hours far. It is said that you should not elevate yourself more than 600 meters a day. But in this trek, you should elevate yourself to about 900 meters for a day. Day 6 is the most adventurous day with the giant Gangapurna at front of your eyes. Day 6 is the day of mindful fears about how altitude is going to affect you. No altitude sickness implies no affect is a myth. If you are a normal person, you will start to feel the altitude right at the back of your neck and spinal column and that’s not altitude sickness. At the end of the day, you will reach to Yak kharka stuffed with just few hotels and lodges.
Day 7: Yak Kharka (4010 meters) to High Camp (4900 meters)
You will enjoy this day’s journey if you have earphones plugged in with some scary music being played. In the way, you can enjoy the cold with sceneries around. Blue sheep can be found on the way if you are lucky. After walk of couple of hours, there comes landslide area; dangerous area where you have to walk through landslides. After crossing the landslide area, there comes Thorong Fedi; Base of Thorong-la Pass situated at about height of 4200 meters. From there we can have a good view of Thorong River flowing down from the Thorong peak. High camp is at the height of 4900 meters and can be seen from thorong fedi. Although it can be seen from the Thorong phedi, it takes about an hour of struggle to High camp. High camp is the most expensive place throughout our journey. But the satisfaction is priceless once you reach to High camp. Note that, you climb about elevation of 890 meters. Many people felt it hard from here. If you feel even minor symptoms of altitude sickness, it is recommended to return back from here. After this step, there comes the ultimate challenge, the Thorong-la pass day. We were lucky enough to see the first snowfall of the season since we were ther in starting November.
Day 8: The Pass day- High camp (4900 meters) to Muktinath (3800 meters) crossing Thorong-la pass (5416 meters)
We started to walk from half past four o’clock and reached the pass at about 7 A.M. It is said that, it’s risky to reach the pass after 10 A.M because of the wind and cold as we know the cold increases as the snow starts to melt. There are multiple false summits that might confuse you although you can identify the pass from 200 meters away. We can find Steel rods on the way to know the level of snow. Luckily, we were faster than the snow fall at that season. From the pass we need to take a descend of 1600 meters to muktinath. It takes 6 hours to 11 hours to reach muktinath depending upon your speed. Since we are descending from a great altitude, we feel our stamina to increase as we go down on our way to muktinath. From Muktinath, you may end the trip and return to pokhara by bus or ypu canvisit Lo Manthang, kagbeni etc. We decided to end our trip here and return back to pokhara from here.
It is strongly recommended to trek through the packages available for more fun, adventure and exploration.