Duration: 22 days
(18 days tented trek, 4 days in Kathmandu)
This is the trek that
everyone is talking about, a classic that takes you
through high passes and deep gorges and all around the
Beginning at Beshisahar
and ending at Pokhara, the Annapurna circuit is a sacred
pilgrimage for the trekking faithful and a trip to remember
for a lifetime. The walk takes you up Kali Gandaki Gorge
(the deepest gorge in the world), over the Thorung-La
Pass (5416m) across the dry Tibetan Plateau 'behind'
the Himalaya and back to the green forests of your starting
The Annapurna Circuit offers the ultimate in variety
of terrain and cultural diversity. Taking off from the
lush rhododendron forests and terraced rice paddies
of the mid-hills, the route follows the Kali Gandaki
upriver with Dhaulagiri(8167m) to the left and Annapurna
I(8091m) to the right to the dry Tibetan Plateau. Gurung
and Magar villages give way to settlements resembling
old Tibet. The landscape changes from thick greenery
to bare rock and windswept plains.
The way up the Kali Gandaki Gorge follows the ancient
trade route to Tibet. On leaving the Thakali village
if Tukuche(2590m), a dramatic change occurs in the vegetation,
from pine and conifer forests to dry and desert-like
terrain. Marpha is another important Thakali village
of flat-roofed houses and narrow stone-paved alleys.
Further up the trail, the Tibet-like country north of
the Himalaya is a magical experience-bizarre rock formations
carved out by the wind, vertical rock faces pockmarked
with cave dwellings and high- altitude turquoise lakes.
Muktinath(4100m) is a highly revered Buddhist and Hindu
pilgrimage spot. Traversing over the Thorung-La Pass,
the highest point on the trail, is an intense experience
of accomplishment. Following the courseof the Marsyangdi
River, the trek ends at Pokhara. Bird-watchers will
also find the trek most interesting (there are over
800 species in Nepal). White-capped river chats, red-starts,
little forktails, whistling thrushes Camp at Muktinath(3750m)
and large pied kingfishers crisscross the skies.