Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal
There may be one trek that has it all: snow-capped peaks of the world’s greatest mountain range, steep rice terraced valleys, active villages along most of the way reflecting two major ethnic cultures, hot springs, holy pilgrimage temples, high mountain passes and much more. It is a trek of epic length, but offers many options for shorter, but still rewarding journeys. This trek is none other than the Annapurna Circuit.
While Mount Everest often captures the general public’s eye, the trek around Annapurna is often considered superior to the shorter Mount Everest Base Camp Trek. As a circuit Annapurna offers another advantage in that you don’t have to double back. You start at a much lower elevation 820m / 2,700’, but still attain high alpine altitude maxing out at 5350m / 17,550’ on Thorung La Pass. From a mountaineering perspective, Everest garners attention for its dangerous summits, while Annapurna proves to be a much more formidable mountain to climb with one person dying for every two who reach its summit.
By following the complete circuit, starting in Besi Sahar and ending in Naya Pul, you experience the delights of the many villages, encounter numerous temples, ecosystems and wildlife. Every day you gain impressive views of some of the most famous mountains in the Himalayas: Annapurna I through IV, Dhalguiri, Machu Puchari, Nilgiri and Gangapurna. By walking around them, you experience multiple views of each massif.
The Annapurana circuit is continuously evolving, but the one constant is its status as one of the world’s greatest treks. One of the most popular variations from circuiting is to fly into Jomsum and trek back. The second most common is to trek into ABC – The Annapurna Base Camp – also known as the Annapurna Sanctuary. The bottom line is that you can’t go wrong in trekking in the Annapurna region.
Access / Local Information
Kathmandu is the gateway for most Himalayan Treks. The Du is an easy flight from Bangkok, a little longer from Hong Kong and a puddle jump from New Delhi, India. You can also cross in to Nepal by land from India.
Kathmandu is a traveler’s paradise. Everything you need is available here. Hotels in any price range, culinary feasts of any world wide cuisine, cheap and fast internet access and a wealth of western bookstores are found in Kathmandu’s honky-tonk backpacker ghetto of Thamel. Furthermore, any trekking gear, souvenir and supplies you need can be had in the myriad of shops around Thamel.
The start of the trek is Besi Sahar which can be reached by a local bus. Some might prefer a tourist bus to Phokara and then a local bus to Besi Sahar, however the local bus was not overly inconvient until it got close to Besi Sahar. Many locals hop on and off there, but whether you take a tourist bus to Phokara or not, you'll still have this experience.
Day to Day Account - Jeff Salvage - Annapurna Circuit
By the time I was ready to start the Annapurna Circuit I had returned to the top of my trekking game. Having just completed Mt. Fitzroy, Torres del Paine and a trek back to the Everest region called Gokyo Ri, I was in shape and acclimatized to altitude. It was indeed a luxury. Unfortunately, it came at a cost. Before my Gokyo Ri trek some of my camera equipment was stolen, but I had enough backup equipment to make due. I only had to replace a lens and hope nothing broke as I ventured around Annapurna. Unfortunately, instead of enjoying my time between hikes, it was spent futilely hassling with the police to get an official police report which was necessary for me to process my insurance claim. The story continues....