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Things To Do In Annapurna Region
The Annapurna is the tenth highest mountain range in the world, and forms an important part of Nepal’s geographical heritage. Thousands of visitors travel to the Annapurna region each year to catch a glimpse of the snow-capped peaks from a closer perspective and experience nature in all its glory. One of the best ways to do so is to trek through the hilly terrain of the mountain range.
Trekking through the Annapurna region will help you familiarize yourself with a wide range of geographical wonders, coupled with a diverse cultural experience within the native villages that you will encounter throughout your hikes. Here, we have compiled a list of some of the best things to do, or rather, the most popular treks to explore that range from a few days to a couple of weeks long, in the Annapurna region to pacify even the most intense wanderlust in you.
Annapurna Circuit Trek
Considered one of the best treks in Nepal, the Circuit Trek loops around the entire Annapurna Massif and takes roughly three weeks to complete. The highlight of the trek is the ability to get up close and personal with some of the tallest peaks in the world; the entire Annapurna range, the fish-tailed Machapuchhare, and the Dhaulagiri are some of the notable mountain peaks clearly visible along these trails.
It is common practice to travel through this trail in an anticlockwise direction to help with gradual acclimatisation of the increase in altitude; the highest point crosses over Thorung La Pass at over 5400 m. Another aspect that helps with the acclimatisation is taking mini excursions to adjoining villages belonging to the Manangis, Thakalis and Gurungs, which makes the Circuit Trek one of the most culturally diverse trails in Nepal. Trips to Muktinath and Jomsom on the way also form a highlight of the trek. Depending on the origin and end point of the trek, the length of the trail ranges from 160-230 km.
There are numerous accommodation options along the trail with cafes and tea houses present at regular intervals to guarantee a comfortable and pleasant trekking experience.
Annapurna Base Camp/ Annapurna Sanctuary Trek
A shorter alternative to the Circuit Trek, the Base Camp Trek can be completed in around 10 days and provides stunning close up views from the base of the Annapurna I and the Machapuchhare. The trail follows the Canyon of Modi River and includes a stopover at Poon Hill that can either be done on the way up or back. Also known as the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, the trail starts from the greens of rice fields, through gorges and forests, to end among the towering peaks and glaciers.
Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek
Ghorepani is a quaint little village located in the Annapurna Sanctuary with amazing views of the hills and charming hospitality of the native Gurung people. Most visitors on this trek stay a night in Ghorepani and then hike up to Poon Hill that is a popular vantage point to view the Annapurna range along with the Dhaulagiri and Machapuchhare. Those who start their day early will also be rewarded with brilliant sunrise views and sunsets that are just as glorious.
The trek begins from Nayapul, which is located about an hour’s drive away from Pokhara and can be completed within three to four days.
Mardi Himal Trek
This week long trek is a relatively new trail that has a starting point close to Pokhara, and offers amazing views as it takes you from the forest greens to the rocky hills. High Camp is situated at a height of 3900 m and after a trek of three to four hours will take you to the Mardi Himal Base Camp at 4250 m.
Khopra Danda Trek
Another popular viewpoint, Khopra Danda is located a little farther away from Poon Hill. On a bright clear day, one can enjoy views of the entire Annapurna Massif, along with Mt. Everest. With rising popularity of the Khopra Danda Trek, it has become one of the most crowded trails in the region.
The trek can take anywhere from five to seven days; but despite being a relatively short trail, you can reach really high into the alpines and enjoy the magnificence of the hills around you. The Khopra Danda trek can also be added to the more common Annapurna trails to include even more stunning viewpoints to the existing scenery.
This two day trek is the perfect addition to an amateur hiker’s itenarary that will take you through Gurung villages to the stone-walled village of Ghachok at an altitude of 1260 m. It begins from the hilly terrain north of Pokhara and ends with a return to Pokhara via Batulechaur.
Lasting around three or four days, the Ghandruk Trek starts from Phedi, which is about an hour’s drive from Pokhara, and will take you through native Gurung villages to the heritage village of Ghandruk, located at an altitude of around 2000 m. The trail also has options with comfortable and quality-oriented lodging so you can make the most out of this relatively easy trek.
The trekking trail to the highpoint located at Panchase Danda, at an altitude of 2500 m, can be accessed through a number of routes around Pokhara, especially Lakeside, with no special permits required for the hike. The entire trek can be completed in three to four days through charming villages at a relaxed pace, with an overnight stay at Panchase Bhanjyang. The place has five lodges to choose from. The trek from Panchase Bhanjyang up to the Hindu temple at Panchase Danda makes for a perfect sunrise view among the Himalayas.