Annapurna region is just amazing. The varying geography, culture and nature as you hike up and around will keep keep fascinating you. There are many trails and many properly planned itineraries to show you the best of Annapurna. Here are the best among them.
Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Circuit Trek is a popular name among trekkers. It has often made the list of best treks in the world. Due to the road construction deep into the region, the overall experience is said to have decreased and its reputation endangered. However, many who have trekked there still recommends it as the most amazing experience ever.
The route combines a range of climate zones from the green valleys to barren landscape at the heights. It takes you through the Hindu settlement at the low foothills to Tibetan culture at Manang and Mustang and past some beautiful waterfalls, gigantic cliffs, glacier lakes etc. The best scenery, however, is the spectacular view of mountains like Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Manaslu, Gangapurana and others.
Annapurna Circuit Trek, as the name suggests, goes round the Annapurna massif in counter clock direction. This makes the daily altitude gain slower and passing the Thorong La Pass easier. The time frame may vary from around 3 to 4 weeks due to different side trips and transportation facility. Typically, it starts from Besisahar in Marshyangdi river valley and concludes in the kali Gandaki Gorge, the deepest gorge between two of the highest mountains- Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. The highest point reached is the 5,416m pass Thorong La which is also the highest pass in the world. This pass may close down due to the snow in mid-winter. The best time to do this trek is March-May and October-November.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Annapurna Base Camp Trek (ABC) is another popular trek route in Annapurna region. It is fairly easy and very rewarding.
The trek starts from the beautiful city of Pokhara. A short drive to Nayapul and from there, up through the terraced farmlands to forests of pine and rhododendron until the snowy heights is reached. Along the way is Poonhill that offers a great view of the mountains. This is a rest point. People spend a night here and look forward to the sunrise that turns the peaks golden. The trail continues through many traditional Nepali villages and you can see high cascading waterfalls, deep Kali Gandaki Gorge and rest in hot spring. Then, finally, in the base camp at the height of 4,130m, you get a panoramic view of different high peaks including an up-close view of the huge Annapurna.
Ghorepani Poon Hill
This is a short trek, popular with those who do not have much time or who are not much of a hiker. Both ABC and Annapurna Circuit Trek includes trek to Poon hill. Therefore, it is also known as short Annapurna Circuit trekking or just Ghorepani trekking. The main highlight of this trip is Poon Hill. Poon hill is a vantage point for the most spectacular view of Annapurna range along with other peaks like Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), Himchuli, Gangapurna etc. People usually spend a night here to watch the sunrise next morning. Annapurna peaks turning golden in the rising sun and the sunrise itself are very beautiful to behold. South view of Annapurna from Ulleri is also popular. Terraced farms, beautiful orchids and other flowers, Himalayan bamboo and dense rhododendron forest, natural hot spring, villages inhabited by Gurung people and a Gurung museum are other attractions of this trip.
Annapurna region has many amazing places for tourists to explore. You can tailor your own route plan too. Many of these places such as Jomsom, Mustang, Kagbeni, Muktinath are or can be incorporated into Circuit Trek. Else, you could trek targeting these specific places. Check what the whole region has to offer before you go.