The Annapurna Circuit takes you right around the Annapurna Massif. It is widely regarded as Nepal’s ‘trek-with-everything’.Green forests, tremendous mountain scenery with a mosaic of fascinating cultures, from Hindu farmers to Tibetan Llamas.
The trail leads northwards initially through some fascinating villages, crossing fields of paddy before dissecting the Marshyangdi river gorge.
The ascent towards The Manang Valley is fairly steady before it eventually emerges into the valley with a dramatic change of scenery. The valley is predominantly Tibetan in lifestyle and outlook, the following few days are spent traveling through some delightful Tibetan like settlements with tremendous views.
A day is taken side trekking for acclimatisation before the taxing ascent of the Thorong-La (5416 m). This day over the pass is a long but a very rewarding one, with splendid views of Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri and Dhampus Peak, among others.
From the pass, a steep descent of two to three hours leads to the pilgrimage site of Muktinath. The settlement has been a holy place for both Hindus and Buddhists for many centuries. Our return follows the Kali Gandaki River gorge (the deepest gorge in the world) through some very interesting Lower Mustang and Thakali villages. Kagbeni for example has great Tibetan style architecture and culture. Marpha is renowned for its production of world class (and extremely potent !) brandy and Tatopani (which means ‘hot water’) is a great place for food and also where you can take a bath in the hot springs..
Tatopani has been a stopping point for pilgrims for many years, it has been regarded as an idyllic halt for trekkers since trekking began to become popular in the early 1980s.
We spend a day enjoying the hot springs – and some great food before a further two days hike upwards to Ghorepani.
The next morning we need to be up early for the trek to Poon Hill, one of the best spots to see and photograph the sunrise over the Himalayas.
On our return we rest for our final night in the beautiful large Gurung village of Ghandruk.
The last day is an easy descent to Nayapul where transport awaits for the one and a half hour journey back to Pokhara.