Mini Annapurna Trek

The Mini Annapurna Circuit is one of Nepal’s classic treks. Covering the Annapurna massif it passes through virtually every type of scenery that Nepal has to offer. With all the superb views of the Annapurna included we follow the valley of the Marsayandi River, climbing north and then westwards to circle right around the back of Annapurna. We pass though an amazing variety of landscapes; ranging from sub-tropical through alpine to an arid semi- desert akin to Tibet. The climax of the trek is crossing the formidable Thorong La Pass(5416m, with amazing views down to the Kali Gandaki Valley. We trek pass the holy shrine of Muktinath from where we descend to Jomsom and the end of our trek. A short flight bring us to the pretty lakeside resort of Pokhara for a night before flying back to Kathmandu the following morning.

This is a teahouses-based trek, so we spend time in villages inhabited by many Nepal’s different peoples, both Buddhist and Hindu. Though demanding enough for the seasoned trekker, this trek is also an excellent introduction to walking in the Himalaya.

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu
    Arrive Kathmandu, transfer and check in at hotel. After a short rest assemble at the lobby for a briefing by our local Tour Leader on the entire itinerary. Evening free or group dinner. (B)

     

    Day 2: Drive to Besisahar, trek to Bhulebule
    We leave Kathmandu early in the morning and drive towards Pokhara. After leaving Kathmandu valley we follow the river to Mugling. We then continue to Besisahar where we begin our trek. From here we walk down to the river and cross to the east side to avoid the current construction of a new road. Our trail undulates above the river and for about 2 hours walking through quite country side with rice paddies and villages we finally meet the main trail at Bhulebule. (B)
    Day 3: Jagat
    The trail continues up the east bank of the river passing by beautiful waterfalls to Ngaddi. Here we cross a suspension bridge and then begin a steady climb through shrub forest finally arriving at Lampatta, a Manangi village with colourful Buddhist prayer flags hanging all over the village. A final short sharp ascend brings us to the village of Bahundanda, perched on a ridge at 1311m. From the ridge we descend to the river at Syange (1136m) where we once more cross the river. The trail then follows the river to Jagat. (B)

     

    Day 4: Dharapani
    Today our trail leads to Chyamje, after where we cross the suspension bridge and climb through the oak forest. The trail then emerges into a level valley where 'Tal', the next village is situated at the foot of a grand waterfall (1700m). Crossing the river a couple of times we reach the village of Dharapani at 1943m. (B)

     

    Day 5: Chame
    Beyond this village we continue our climb over a spur to Bagarchap, at 2164m. The name of this village means 'butcher's place' and, although Buddhist, the people of this region do hunt animals. Continuing we follow the trail through the green forest to Dhanagyu and climb to Temang, where we have lunch alongwith magnificent views of Manaslu and Peak 29. The trail then descends towards the fir and pine forests to Koto and Chame (2713m),the administrative centre of the Manang district. (B)

     

    Day 6: Pisang
    We now experience a dramatic change of scenery. Leaving the forest and vegetation of the alpine region behind,  we enter the upper district of Manang, known as Nyeshang. At first our trail follows the river closely through a huge canyon before coming to Brathang at 2919m. The trail then follows the steep narrow valley through the deep forest which offers fine views of the Annapurna II. We cross the river where the curved rock face of Paungda Danda rises nearly 1500m from the riverbank, and climb to the village of Pisang at 3,185m. (B)

     

    Day 7: Manang
    There are 2 options today. The energetic can take the high route to Manang via the villages of Gyaru and Ngawal which offers a wonderful walk with great views across of the Annapurna. We drop down to the main trail just before Braga and continue on the main trail to Manang. The second option is to take the shorter main trail to Manang which climbs a low pass into the valley below Pisang Peak. As we continue up the valley, it becomes increasingly barren, and eventually we reach Braga, a picturesque village dominated by a large ancient gompa. Passing carved mani walls we arrive at the village of Manang at 3351m. The longer walk takes approximately 8-9 hours and respectively the shorter walk takes 5-6 hours. (B)

     

    Day 8: Acclimatisation day Manang
    We spend this day around Manang acclimatising to the high altitude. Most people climb the hill behind Manang to enjoy the magnificent views of the whole Annapurna range and the enormous icefall that crashes and rumbles down from Gangapurna. This part of the trek is where we are closest to the mountains. Across the valley the huge bulk of Gangapurna and the Annapurna tower way above us- the sunset and sunrise over this great amphitheatre is one of the most beautiful experience one could always cherish in their memories of Nepal. (B)

     

    Day 9: Yak Kharka
    Leaving Manang we head towards the base of the Thorong La. We climb out of Marsyangdi valley and turn northwest up the valley of Jarsang Khola. We are above the forests now and pass through dry, alpine country, with shrub juniper and occasional clumps of birch. We spend tonight at a lodge in Yak Kharka. We will reach the lodge by lunchtime and in the afternoon we will have an acclimatisation walk into the surrounding hills. Please ! Look out for the Blue Sheep that inhabit this cold, windy spot. (B)

     

    Day 10: Thorong Phedi
    Another short day to aid acclimatisation. The scenery becomes more wild as we continue ascending the valley. At one point we descend to cross the Jarsang Khola, and traverse a scree slope to the lone teahouses at Phedi at the foot of the Thorong La (4,400m).Thorong Phedi can be very cold and windy. In the afternoon we can go for a walk up to Thorong High Camp which is the last lodge and is about an hour above Phedi. (B)

     

    Day 11: Muktinath
    A long day as we leave Phedi very early the next morning for the climb to the pass. The first part of the ascent is very steep, but it eases somewhat as we approach the top, although the altitude still makes the going tough. Eventually, after numerous false summits, we reach the pass itself at 5416m. Ahead there is a magnificent panorama of snow-capped peaks extending northwards into Tibet, and looking back we can see several of the main peaks of the Annapurna. Directly in front of us is the great chasm of the Kali Gandaki, 2,500m. It's a very long descend that begins gently and becomes steeper, as we follow a series of switch-backs down to the grassy slopes, before easing off to a gentle descent to Muktinath (3802m). (B)

     

    DAY 12: Jomsom 2700m
    Today is the last day of the trek as we head towards Jomosom. It is an easy trail
    passing through the settlement of Jharkot (3550m) down to the Kali Gandaki Valley. The wind blown rock formations surrounding us are reminiscent of Tibet. The last part of our walk takes us along the rocky Kali Gandaki to the town of Jomsom. (B)
    DAY 13: Flight from Jomsom to Pokhara 
    We take a flight to Jomsom to Pokhara. (B)

     

    DAY 14: Fly to Kathmandu from Pokhara
    A free day in Kathmandu for individual sightseeing. Recommended are the Monkey temple also known as Swayambhunath, the largest Buddhist stupa at Boudhanath and the Hindu temple at Pashupatinath. (B)

     

    DAY 15: Depart Kathmandu.
    Final departure . Transfer to airport .

Date & Price

Includes & Excludes

  • Profile
    11 days walking with full porterage. Altitude maximum 5416m, average 2800m.

     

    Accommodation
    3 nights hotels, 11 nights Tea house

     

    Food
    Breakfast included in Kathmandu, Pokhara and while on trek.

     

    What to Know
    This is a C grade trek with 09 days walking.
    The maximum altitude is 5,416m, and the average altitude is 2,800m. Apart from the Thorong La, a high pass with quite a steep approach, the walking on this trek is relatively moderate, and the first few days do not involve any long or steep ascents at all. We strongly recommend this trek to those who want to get a general sense of Nepal, are confident of their physical fitness but are also prepared to put in the necessary physical preparation.We organise this trek at the best times of year for crossing the Thorong La. However, it may very occasionally be too dificult to cross the pass if there is an unseasonable snowfall, and in this event, we would have to retrace our route back down the Marsyangdi River.
    The Annapurna Circuit trek involves walking under quite a variety of conditions, but almost entirely on well-established trails. Except for the crossing of the Thorong La the walking is at intermediate altitude, but it is likely to fall below freezing on several nights. During the crossing of the Thorong La it will be extremely cold so please come prepared! Some snow or ice may be encountered on the pass.

     

    Group size and age
    Min. 1 max. 16, plus leader and appropriate local staff. Minimum age 18.

     

    Challenging
    Fitness is important and you may have to improve yours before departure. Previous trekking experience is desirable, but not vital if you are confident of your physical condition. Walking & Trekking: Trips are wholly trekking-focused or simply include a significant number of walking days during the itinerary.

Trip Notes

  • Do I need to take walking poles?
    If you are used to walking with trekking poles then take them with you, as you will probably find them useful especially on the way down. They are not essential though and the walk is manageable without them. It is mostly a personal preference but do remember to pack them as part of your main luggage to be stowed in the hold. If you decide later you'd like to have some, they are available to buy in Kathmandu.

     

    Any good tips for eating out in Kathmandu?
    Head down to the Everest Steak House in southern Thamel for a mouth watering steak and chips, well earned if you’re just back from trek. Finish it off with a cocktail in the legendary Tom & Jerry bar up the road! You can also head to Fire and Ice Pizzeria in Thamel, a great place with casual indoor and outdoor eating which is popular amongst travelers and locals alike. This restaurant is a great place to meet for a morning cup of Italian espresso, or a hearty meal of delicious pizzas, pastas, ice cream and even a Grappa!

     

    Is there anywhere to store luggage while on trek?
    You will be packing your kitbag for the trek before you leave Kathmandu, and can leave your main luggage at the hotel in Kathmandu, where it will be stored securely free of charge. However, as with any destination, we recommend you keep valuables with you at all times.

     

    Any special food I should try in Kathmandu?
    Momos
    This Nepalese version of dumplings/ wantons is a traditional delicacy and a must try local dish while you are in Nepal. Momo dumplings are either steamed or fried with chicken/or buff (water buffalo) as well as stuffed with vegetables for vegetarians and have become the most famous fast food amongst Nepalese and can be found on the menus of most restaurants serving locals and tourists alike.
    Kwanti soup
    This mixed bean soup is usually served during festivals and gatherings and now has made its way in many of restaurant menus. Goes well with Naan or roti bread.
    Choela
    This is a typical Newari dish smoked meat (chicken; lamb or buffalo meat) tossed with spices and mustard oil. Easily available in most Nepalese and local restaurants in Kathmandu around Hotel.

     

    I have some free time in Kathmandu?
    If you are looking to do something off the beaten track just for half a day around Kathmandu, head out to Bungmati and Khokana. Just an hour drive on the outskirts of Kathmandu and you will find yourself in this sleepy little twin village where not much has changed in terms of construction, profession of people (most are still farmers, woodcarvers and weavers) or the pace of life. The twin villages are 15 minutes apart and you walk through the dirt trails, with farms and fields on either side. Should you have extra time and still want to do something, the Tibetan Refugee Settlement where you can see carpet weaving to a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery falls half way on the way back from here to the Hotel.

     

    On a lodge or teahouse trek, how much spending money should I allow ?
    US $ 40 – US $ 50 per day is ample, but it is possible to spend less (and more!). Meals are usually pretty cheap but extras such as sweets or snacks will add a bit more to your budget. There are plenty of ATMs in Kathmandu, so you can withdraw more Nepalese currency if you are running short towards the end of your trip.

     

    Can I buy any equipment in Kathmandu before the start of the trip?
    Yes. There are dozens of trekking shops in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. Depending on how good your bartering skills are, you can usually pick up items for about one third of the price that you'll pay in the Europe / America and its more fun to bargain! However, please note we cannot guarantee the quaility of anything you may purchase so buyer beware.

     

    Should I get my Nepalese visa in advance or at the airport?
    Most of our clients choose to get their visas at Kathmandu airport. This may mean some time queuing, but the transfer bus won't leave for the hotel until all arriving passengers are through Immigration and have collected their bags. So if you have your visa in advance, you will avoid the visa queue but you won’t get to the hotel any earlier. If you'd like to get your visa in advance, please contact the Nepalese embassy direct.

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