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Annapurna Region Tourism And Travel Guide
28° C / 82.5° F
October to November
7 to 20 Days
Pokhara Airport (183 kms)
International Nepal Railway Station Janakpur
The Annapurna region located in the north-central part of Nepal features some of the tallest and most magnificent mountain ranges in the world. Brilliant views of the entire Annapurna range and the fascinating fish-tailed Machapuchhare are some of the main tourism prospects for those who venture in to Annapurna Region.
Trekking through the wide range of trails on offer here is one of the most sought after activities in the country and provides the opportunity to admire the splendid landscapes and hillsides from a closer perspective. The Annapurna region features treks that range from a few days long to those that can go on for weeks. The chance to explore charming little villages of Manangi and Thakli adds a cultural highlight to everyone’s trip.
Listed below is a complete travel guide to help you out on your next holiday to Annapurna region.
How to Reach
Kathmandu and Pokhara are the usual stops from where people choose to begin their journey to the Annapurna region. For people traveling from outside the country, the most convenient option is to land in Kathmandu at Tribhuvan International Airport, and hit the road to the nearest starting point of your trekking trail. For those traveling within the country, they can reach Kathmandu or Pokhara through the domestic terminals within these cities and complete the rest of the journey to their trek origin point via road.
From both Kathmandu and Pokhara, there are local buses and the relatively more comfortable micro buses that operate between the above mentioned cities and the town of Besisahar. Besisahar is the most commonly used stay over spot to start any of the trails in the Annapurna region. Depending on your choice of trail, you can opt to start your trek directly from Besisahar or hire a jeep to take you onwards to the starting point of your chosen trail.
Before traveling to the Annapurna region, the Nepal authorities require all hikers to obtain the Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) Card and the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP), which can be purchased from travel agencies or Nepal Tourism Board offices around Pokhara and Kathmandu.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Autumn (September – November):
One of the best times to travel to the Annapurna region is in the autumn months of October to November. The daytime temperatures are perfect for hiking opportunities, and because of the passage of monsoons, the landscapes and atmosphere appear alive and refreshed. The clear skies make for brilliant views of the landscapes and the towering hills. Peak season also means inflated rates in all commercial outlets and lodging options, with crowded trails and hiking routes.
Winter (December – March):
The months of January and February see the coldest time of the year in the Annapurna Region. The days are cold, with nights that witness temperatures in the negative digits; especially in the higher altitude areas. However, the clear skies and minimal precipitation provide brilliant views of the snowy scenery and snow-capped peaks.
However, the best part about winters here is that the trekking trails get gradually quieter with much less crowds, making it the perfect time for hikers who prefer solitude. It is important to practice caution with all hiking activities in this season though, since snow tends to block a lot of trails and avalanches become quite common.
Spring (March – May):
The colorful season of spring marks the second best time to visit the Annapurna region. After the passage of bitter winter chills, the weather clears up with temperatures that gradually rise with each passing day and call for enjoyable treks among the hills. However, the month of May marks the beginning of pre-monsoons and can get considerably hot towards the end, making treks in the lower regions an uncomfortable experience.
Summer (June – August):
Summers in the Annapurna region involve a hot and humid weather alternating with frequent monsoon showers, depending on the area of the Annapurna Circuit. The southern section witnesses heavy rainfall, while the northern areas like Mustang, Manang and Muktinath experience minimal precipitation making them optimal regions to go trekking even during the monsoons.
Bugs like leeches and mosquitoes abound in this season so it is advisable to practice cautionary measures against them. However, the rains are also associated with wonderful views of the forests that flourish along with the blossoming of seasonal wildflowers that are a sight for sore eyes.
Things to Do
Annapurna Circuit Trek:
The longest and the most elaborate trek in Nepal, the Annapurna Circuit Trek takes about three weeks to complete and includes stunning views of the tallest peaks in the world like the Annapurna Range, the Dhaulagiri and the fish-tailed Machapuchhare. It also features the passage through beautiful rice field paddies and forests leading up to the icy desert terrain of Mustang, with an opportunity to mingle with the locals in the native villages of Manang.
The highest crossing point is located at the Thorung La Pass, which is situated at an altitude of 5400 m, and forms one of the key highlights of this trek.
One of the best aspects about trekking in the Annapurna region is that you will never come across a dearth of lodging options. Over the years, this has turned into a fun activity in itself wherein you spend every night of your trek in a different teahouse and find the opportunity to explore different kinds of accommodations. With teahouse trekking, you simply move from village to village without needing to bring any kind of camping gear or food with you. It is also a wonderful way to make new friends from all over the world; fellow hikers and even locals who gather in these places every night make memories worth cherishing.
Some of the teahouses even provide free accommodation if you opt to purchase all your meals from them.
Muktinath is an important religious pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus, and is situated near the village of Ranipauwa at the base of the Thorung La Pass. It houses a Vishnu Temple, a Buddhist Gompa and the Jwalamai Temple dedicated to the Goddess of Fire. It is located at an altitude of 3800 m and is the most important pilgrimage site in the Himalayas.
Visit Mustang and Jomsom:
Mustang is a district with dry and icy terrain in the Annapurna region and Jomsom is its headquarters. It is one of the remotest areas in the country and witnesses minimal rainfall throughout the year; settlements are located in the selectively fertile areas. It is an amazing locale to explore the native villages and communities, and the sky caves on the valley walls along the Kali Gandaki River, which is a highlight of the region.
What To Eat
The Annapurna region doesn’t feature many restaurants along its trails. Most food options are available in the lodges and accommodations that are present in the local villages. While Dal Bhat remains the staple in these areas, you can also get varieties like pasta, soups and omelets. It is also advisable to carry some snacks like energy bars and biscuits on the road with you.