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How To Reach Annapurna Region
The Annapurna Range is one of the tallest mountain ranges in the world, and is located in the north-central part of Nepal. The Annapurna region was opened to trek enthusiasts from international countries in 1977, and it has since become one of the most sought after hiking trails in the entire world.
The majority of areas surrounding the Annapurna region are presumably a haven for hike aficionados and nature lovers. Most of the trails that lead to the Annapurna region start at Kathmandu and Pokhara, which are easily accessible via air or road travel. Read on to know more about the easiest ways to reach the Annapurna region.
The closest option for air travel to the Annapurna region is either Kathmandu or Pokhara. The Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu is the only international airport in the country, and is the primary spot of arrival for people coming in from India or overseas. From Kathmandu, the rest of the journey to your destination is covered via road.
For those who would prefer to explore other areas of Nepal before heading to the Annapurna, have the option to first travel to Pokhara Airport from the domestic terminal of Kathmandu. Road travel is used to cover the rest of the journey after landing in Pokhara.
To start with any of the trails to the Annapurna region, the first stop most commonly used is Besisahar. While there are direct buses that run from Kathmandu to Besisahar, you can also choose to hire a private taxi or four-wheel drive to reach your destination. The micro buses that run from Ring Road in Kathmandu are also believed to be more comfortable than the larger local buses.
There are occasions when the direct bus services between the two destinations are halted for various reasons, or the timing of the direct buses may not suit one’s itenarary. In such cases, it is possible to take a bus from Kathmandu to Dumre, and then take another bus from Dumre to Besisahar.
After reaching Besisahar, some people prefer to start their trek immediately from here after a short rest or stay. Depending on which trail you choose to hike through, you may also take a shared jeep from Besisahar to the respective start location of your chosen trail. While most treks start from Besisahar, there are some who might choose to take a bus to Jagat or Bhulbule instead, which lie a little ahead of Besisahar. Bus services to Besisahar can be availed from Pokhara as well.
Getting Around & Requirements for Travel
Most of the local traveling in the Annapurna region involves hiking and walking to nearby locations, with no access to public transport. However, jeep rides are available between checkpoints of trails in the lower altitude regions. Additionally, you may come across ponies that can be hired for short rides, which make for a fun travel experience.
All hikers traveling to the Annapurna region are required to obtain the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) Card. This is a rule mandated by the Nepalese authorities and is checked at multiple points along the Circuit trail. Both permits can be acquired from your choice of trek agency or Nepal Tourism Board office in Kathmandu or Pokhara.
It is also advisable to purchase maps to the trails you intend to cover, which are also available in various shops across Kathmandu and Pokhara. The New Annapurna Trekking Trail (NATT) map is a great guide to explore the side trails and villages that one will encounter along their trek trails. Additionally, for those who can't bring their own hiking gear, there are sports shops in the two cities.