Off the Beaten Path of the Annapurna Circuit Trek

Off the Beaten Path of the Annapurna Circuit Trek

The Annapurna Circuit trek is a breathtaking trek you shouldn’t miss if you come to Nepal! It’s considered to be one of the most extraordinary treks on earth because of its diverse landscapes. You’ll get to see lush valleys, windy canyons, hidden waterfalls, and of course the majestic Himalayas. You also have the challenge of crossing Thorong La Pass, the world’s highest navigable pass at 5,416 meters!

After you make it across the pass you’ll see some of the world’s highest mountains, including Annapurna III and Gangapurna. After spending a day in the mythical village of Manang and exploring its otherworldly lakes and valleys, don’t forget to visit the world’s highest lake, Tilicho lake, which sits at 4,919 meters. This eerie still lake makes you feel like you’re on another planet when you’re finally sitting at its edge, hearing nothing but the sounds of distant avalanches.

 

Just hangin’ out on one of the cool suspension bridges

Here’s Your Typical Trekking Itinerary

 

Day 1: Bus to Besisahar

Day 2: Trek to Bhulbule

Day 3: Trek to Syange

Day 4: Trek to Tal

Day 5: Trek to Latamrang (Or Chame)

Day 6: Trek to Pisang

Day 7: Trek to Bragga (Or Manang)

Day 8: Rest/Acclimatisation

Day 9: Trek to Lether

Day 10: Trek to Thorung Phedi

Day 11: Cross Thorung La pass to Muktinath – The big day, reaching 5,400 metres at the summit of the pass

Day 12: Trek to Jomson

Day 13: Trek to Kalopani

Day 14: Trek to Tatopani

Day 15: Trek to Ghorepani

Day 16: Hike to Poonhill (3200m) to see sunrise and panoramic views and trek to Ulleri or Hile

Day 17: Trek to Birethanti and drive to Pokhara

 

Nepal is beautiful in the monsoon season…

 

How Long Does the Trek Take to Finish?

 

The average time it takes to finish the Annapurna Circuit trek is 12-16 days. We managed to finish the trek in just 8 days. There are lots of ways to finish earlier if you’re on a time crunch. One of these is going the opposite way from Jomsom to Besisahar. Instead of hiking up from Besisahar, you can take the bus from Pokhara to Jomsom. This bus ride is grueling 12-15 hours and is super uncomfortable. We even broke down a few times on the edge of the mountain. If you take this route, you need to take enough time to acclimatize, since you’re ascending to such an extreme height in such a short amount of time.

 

 

 

Always stop and smell the flowers

 

Muktinath village

My Best Tips For Trekking the Annapurna Circuit

 

Make sure you take plenty of altitude sickness tablets with you, since you’re ascending much faster going from Pokhara to Jomsom than if you trek the typical way up from Besisahar. You can take the altitude sickness pills before you even start the trek just to be on the safe side. I made the mistake of not taking any medicine at all, and after crossing Thorong La pass I woke up in the middle of the night and my vision was almost completely gone. I also had a fever of over 101F and had to descend the mountain immediately.  Luckily my vision came back after a few days, but if I would’ve taken the tablets beforehand and taken enough time to acclimatize, all that could have been prevented.

If you ever start having any symptoms of altitude sickness (Difficulty walking, confusion, headache, nausea) you should start descending immediately. I was lucky since I was able to get down the mountain just in time for my vision to come back. Feeling out of breath and having a faster heartbeat is normal when you’re trekking at heights of over 5,000 meters. Just make sure you’re aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness, and take some medicine before you start or at the first sign of any symptoms.

 

Spinning Buddhist prayer wheels in Jomsom

Finally made it across Thorong La Pass, I was out of breath with every step! – World’s highest pass (5,416m)

One of my favorite villages in Nepal – Manang

Here’s the Route We Took

 

Day 1: Bus from Pokhara to Jomsom

Day 2: Jomsom to Muktinath

Day 3: Muktinath to Thorong Phedi and cross Thorong-La Pass

Day 4: Throng Phedi to Manang

Day 5: Manang to Tilicho Base Camp

Day 6: Tilicho Base Camp to Tilicho Lake

Day 7: Tilicho Lake to Khangsar

Day 8: Khangsar to Manang (You can catch a jeep from here to Besisahar on the same day if you can if you want to get down the mountain faster; keep in mind you might need to keep changing jeeps on the way down)

Day 9: Bus from Besisahar to Pokhara

 

Sherpas following behind us up to Tilicho lake

 

Magical monasteries on the way to Muktinath

 

Caught a glimpse of the breathtaking Himalayan peaks before the fog came back

 

Tilicho lake is the one place you simply can’t miss out on! Of all the amazing natural wonders I was able to witness on the Circuit, Tilicho lake was by far the most astounding! You just need to be careful when going to Tilicho, since you have to cross lots of landslides to get there, but in the end it’s worth it!  Make sure you have at least one walking stick with you to help you balance on the narrow landslides. Also make sure to always finish before it gets dark, since you don’t want to be stuck walking on the landslides at night.

 

Tilicho lake (World’s highest lake at 4,919 meters)

 

I recommend taking my route if you don’t have a whole lot of time and want to finish faster. We managed to finish in just 8 days. I also recommend this route for its unique challenges, and the fact that not many people use this route, so if you’re an adventurous spirit you should try it!

 

Your thoughts? I hope this article was helpful to you in some way! Let me know what you think in the comments section or by sharing my article with the social media links. I’d love to keep giving you tips and advice so feel free to subscribe by email in the subscribe box below. Don’t forget you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!”

 

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