Dumre to Besi Shahar
Today, you’ll be picked up by your guide and transferred to the starting point of the Annapurna Circuit trek, a journey that will take around seven hours. On the way you’ll pass through several small villages and catch your first glimpse of the snowy peaks in the distance. You can grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants before heading to your basic traditional lodge for an early night before your trek begins tomorrow.
During the first few days of the Annapurna Circuit, you’ll trek through the green Marsyangdi Valley. The trail follows the river bed past green rice terraces and apple orchards. As you head deeper into the Annapurnas, you’ll notice more and more snow-capped peaks popping up around you, while you cross wild rivers and wobbly hanging bridges. On the way, you’ll stop to rest at local tea houses, where you’ll be greeted with a welcoming smile and a hot cup of chai. Towards the end of the week, the green valleys will begin to make way for the dry barren plains of the Manang district.
You’ll stay at traditional trekking lodges nestled in small mountain villages, where you’ll meet other trekkers and exchange tales from the trail. Rooms are simple but comfortable with shared bathrooms and toilets. The lodges offer local dishes such as dahl bhaat (lentils with rice), buffalo or yak meat and, increasingly, pizza or pancakes. Your guide will remain with you for the entire trek. He knows the area like the back of his hand and will get you safely from place to place. You’ll also be accompanied by a local porter who will carry your backpack. You will only need to carry a small daypack with water and essentials.
Muktinath Valley & Thorung La Pass
In the second week, you’ll pass through the vast barren valleys of the Manan District. You’ll start with a rest day in order to prepare for the next leg – the gruelling ascent to the Thorung La Pass. By now, you’ll be at 4000m-5000m altitude, so you’ll notice the air getting thinner and nights getting colder. It’s a strenuous hike to the Thorung La Pass, climbing the twisting paths etched into the mountain. When you finally reach the summit, at a whopping 5416m, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the snow-capped Himalayan mountains. The villages, with their colourful prayer flags down in the valley, will look like tiny specks in the far distance.
Kali Gandaki Valley & Departure
During the last few days of the Annapurna Circuit trek, you’ll cross the Kali Gandaki Valley on the other side of the mountain, following part of the popular Jomsom Trail. The side is completely different, with vast cornfields and desert scrub colouring the whole valley a pale yellow. You’ll trek up and down stony paths, stopping at cosy teahouses for a well-earned breather. Towards the end of the week you’ll face one final challenge, the climb to the top of Poon Hill, where you’ll watch the rising sun catch the snowy peaks and give them a fiery orange glow. After just over a fortnight, your trek comes to an end and you’ll make your way back to Pokhara by minibus, where you’re likely to have the best hot shower of your life!
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