Here is some information on 4 of the most popular trekking routes in the Annapurna region. I have also lead treks in Tsum Valley, Ghorepani Circuit, Langtang, Sikles, Lower Mustang & Upper Mustang. As well as shorter treks of 1-2 days.
Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) / Annapurna Sanctuary
The Annapurna base camp trek is one of the most popular treks in the world. For good reason! The awe inspiring Annapurna massif includes the world’s tenth highest peak. Annapurna I (8,091 m).
The Annapurna range whets your appetite for mountain views even before you start the trek at Pokhara. At Ghandruk, you get distinct views of Machapuchare, Annapurna South and Hiunchuli. As you burst out of the forest past Himalaya and Deurali, Machapuchare appears before you in its full glory.
Machapuchare, the “fish tailed mountain”, is revered by the Nepalese for its exquisite beauty. It is believed to be one of the homes of Lord Shiva. It has never been officially summitted! At the Machapuchare base camp, in addition to Machapuchare, you will see Annapurna I, Annapurna South, Gangapurna and Hiunchuli up close.
The Annapurna Base Camp is a small cluster of lodges opposite the Annapurna glacier. As you look up from the edge of the glacier, you come face to face with the Annapurna massif. Annapurna I, III and South, Gangapurna, Gandharvachuli and Machapuchare are all there to meet your gaze when your eyes rest upon them.
Duration: 7 – 12 days depending on itinerary
Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 treks in the world, the Annapurna Circuit is a stunning blend of flame-red rhododendron forests, shady stands of oak, crystal-clear alpine rivers, ancient teahouses and jagged Himalayan peaks. It’s a demanding trek, but the rewards speak for themselves. Visit tiny mountain hamlets, sample local delicacies and bathe in steaming thermal hot springs beneath an impossible blue sky.
It is rightly known as Nepal’s classic trek and offers more variety than any other equivalent length trek, taking us through virtually every type of scenery that Nepal has to offer. There are superb views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri and an amazing variety of landscapes ranging from sub-tropical through alpine peaks to an arid semi-desert akin to Tibet. The climax of the trek is crossing the iconic Thorong La Pass (5416m). Based in teahouses throughout, we also get to spend time in villages inhabited by many of Nepal’s different peoples, both Buddhist and Hindu.
Duration: 10 – 17 days depending on route & itinerary
Situated just east of one of the most popular treks of Nepal, the Annapurna Base Camp trek, the Mardi Himal trek is a hidden gem. Few trekkers make their way to the Mardi Himal Base Camp spectacularly situated at the base of Mardi Himal and the impressive Machapuchhre.
The trail goes along small winding paths, through magical rhododendron forests until you climb out of the forest at an elevation around 3,300 m. The landscape changes quite abruptly into a rugged high mountain landscape, with amazing views of Mardi Himal, Machapuchre, Annapurna South and Hiunchuli. From High Camp (3580 m; some maps incorrectly mention 3900 m) you can climb up to Mardi Himal Base Camp in about 3-4 hours, which offers spectacular close up views of the entire Annapurna Range. There are simple guesthouses and homestays along the entire route.
Duration: 4 – 7 days
A superb and quieter circuit trek of an 8000m peak. It’s a challenging trek with some long walking days at high altitudes.
In many ways the Manaslu Circuit feels more “remote” and wilder than the Annapurna Circuit. Being a less busy Nepal trek, many of the trekking lodges are much simpler and more basic by default. To the serious and experienced mountain walker this will be a “mere incidental” with the attraction being some of the best mountain walking to be found anywhere in the world.
Stupendous views of Himalayan giants as well as an opportunity to experience life in isolated villages where the Tibetan culture remains unspoilt. A trek for the walking connoisseur with a good level of fitness who thrives in a high mountain wilderness.
Duration: 14 – 16 days