The short Annapurna circuit trek is one of the most popular treks in Nepal, located within the Annapurna range of central Nepal. One of the longest trekking trails in the world, the Annapurna circuit offers close iconic views of Annapurna I Central (8046m), Annapurna II(7937m), Annapurna III(7555m), Annapurna IV(7525m), Gangapurna(7455m), Annapurna south(7219m), Tilicho Peak(7135m), Khangsar Kang(7485m), Tarke Kang(7202m), Nilgiri Himal North(7061m), Nilgiri Himal central(6940m), Nilgiri Himal south (6839m), Machhapuchhre(6993m), and Gandharba Chuli (6248m). The short Annapurna circuit trek is one of the most extended treks in the world, with a length of 160km-230km (100miles-145 miles) depending on your trek route.
Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the most challenging trekking in the Annapurna region of Nepal, leading over to the Himalayan mountain range. This adventure will take you through the lush subtropical area of Nepal. Your trek around this stunning mountain terrain is full of rewarding moments, including stunning views of Mt. Dhaulagiri, the Annapurna range, and parts of Machhapuchhre.
The trails pass along paddy fields, subtropical forests, gigantic cliffs, several waterfalls, and various villages. The Thorong La passes (5416m) is the highest point on the trail and cultural differences from Hindu villages at the low foothills to the Tibetan Buddhist culture of Manang Village and lower Mustang. Continuing construction of a tarred has shortened the trail and changed the villages. With the construction of roads, mountain biking is becoming popular these days. The Beisahar-Manag road has been built, often passing through the trekking trail.
The Annapurna Circuit Short Trek begins with a 6-hour drive from Kathmandu to Besisahar. The trails follow the densely-forested uphill route to Chame. Enjoying the majestic view of the surrounding landscape, Annapurna massifs, and Pisang Peak, you'll head over to Pisang and later follow the upper trails to the ethnic village of Manang.
Thorong La Pass
Thorong La Pass is the highest point of the Annapurna Circuit trek, at an elevation of 5,416 meters (17,769 feet) above sea level. It is a mountain pass that lies between the peaks of Thorong Ri and Yakawa Kang in the Damodar Himal range. It connects the Manang district to the east with the Mustang district to the west.
The Thorong La Pass is a challenging and rewarding part of the trek, as it offers spectacular views of the Annapurna Massif, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and other mountains. However, it is also a potentially dangerous part, as it requires proper acclimatization, physical fitness, and weather conditions to cross safely. The pass is usually crossed from east to west, which is easier and safer than the opposite direction. Trekkers usually spend two nights at Yak Kharka and Thorong Phedi or Thorong High Camp before attempting to cross the pass early in the morning. The ascent from Thorong Phedi to the pass takes about 3 to 4 hours, while the descent from the pass to Muktinath takes about 4 to 5 hours.
Difficulties you might face during hiking on Annapurna Circuit
Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a common problem that you may face during the Annapurna Circuit trek. Altitude sickness can happen from as low as 2500 meters in height, along with the side effect of climate. The highest point of the Annapurna Circuit trek is Thorong La Pass (5,416 meters), which is a major cause of acute mountain sickness. Some of the ways to prevent altitude sickness are:
The Annapurna Circuit trek takes you through high-altitude areas where the temperature can drop below freezing point, especially at night. You must be prepared for the cold weather by bringing warm clothes, sleeping bags, and good-quality insulated jackets.
Long and Challenging Walking Days
The Annapurna Circuit trek involves long and challenging walking days, where trekkers may have to walk for 6-8 hours a day. It requires a good level of physical fitness and endurance. Training for the trek by walking or hiking regularly can help prepare your body for the challenge.
The Annapurna Circuit trek crosses several high passes, including Thorong La Pass (5,416m). Crossing these passes can be physically and mentally challenging due to the altitude, weather conditions, and steep and narrow trails. You must be prepared for the challenge by acclimatizing properly and carrying appropriate gear.
Narrow and Steep Trails
The Annapurna Circuit trek also involves walking on narrow and steep trails, which can be slippery and challenging, especially during monsoon season. Trekkers must be careful while walking on these trails and use appropriate footwear.
The Annapurna region is home to various ethnic groups, including Gurungs, Thakalis, and Tibetans. Communication with locals can be challenging due to language barriers. Learning some basic phrases in Nepali or the local dialects can help in communicating with the locals and showing cultural respect.
The Annapurna Circuit has best trekked during the months of October and November or April and May. These months are the peak trekking seasons when the weather is generally clear and dry, making it easier to trek through the high altitudes. The temperatures are moderate during these seasons, with pleasant days and cool nights. Additionally, the trek offers stunning views of the rhododendron forests and lush green landscapes during the spring season.
The safety tips for the short Annapurna Circuit Trek are:
You need two permits for the short Annapurna Circuit Trek: the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) permit and the Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card. You can obtain both permits at Nepal Tourism Board offices in Kathmandu, Pokhara or through a registered trekking agency. The ACAP permit costs NPR 3000 (about USD 25) for foreigners and NPR 1000 (about USD 8) for SAARC nationals. The TIMS card costs NPR 2000 (about USD 17) for foreigners and NPR 1000 (about USD 8) for SAARC nationals.
Packing List for Short ACT
Here is a list of essential items that you should pack for the Short Annapurna Circuit Trek:
Annapurna Circuit is a trekking circuit that passes through many ethnic villages of Nepal. The trek begins from Chame in the Lower Mustang and meanders along the Annapurna Valley towards destinations like Upper Pisang, Manang, and Yak Kharka. It presents trekkers with the beautiful attributes of Manang and the Mustang districts, where they traverse along the Nepal-Tibet border. Chame, Pisang, Manang, and Muktinath are notable stops on this route.
The first day marks your arrival day in Kathmandu. Clear all the visa requirements and customs clearance, if any, at the arrival section of the airport. As you come out, you will find a representative from World Alpine Treks waiting for you holding a board with your name. You will then be transferred to your hotel in Kathmandu. The representative will inform you shortly about the plans ahead.
The drive from Kathmandu to Chame by jeep is a thrilling journey that takes you through the diverse landscapes of Nepal. The trip starts in Kathmandu and heads towards the west, passing through several small towns and villages along the way. The journey is quite long and can take up to 10-12 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. However, the scenic views of the Himalayas and the lush green hills make it worth the effort (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
After breakfast, we continue our journey towards Pisang. With the fantastic views of LamjungHimal and Pisang Peak, we follow a trail that goes steeply into the dense forests. On the way, we pass a waterfall and cross suspension bridges over the river with amazing views of meadows and mountains on sight. We also get some soaring views of PaungdaDanda rock that begins to appear as we climb up towards Pisang. As you open up to the valley of Pisang, you will be blessed with some close views of Pisang Peak and Mt. Annapurna II. After relishing the fantastic views, we stay at a guesthouse/ lodge in Pisang for the night. (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
Today, we leave Pisang and head towards the upper part of the Manag district, which is drier and arider. The route offers some astounding views of majestic mountain peaks in the Annapurna range. With these views on sight, we take an upper path to Manag that goes through Ghyaru – Ngawal and Munji. As we move up, we can notice the change in climate, landscape, and vegetation. We come to dry places with a harsh environment. Though sharp, the dry and arid landscape looks very compelling, with the close views of mountains in the backdrop. On the way, we come across a large monastery of the region – Barge Monastery. We visit the monastery and continue our walk until we reach our guesthouse/ lodge in Manang. Tonight, at a guesthouse/ lodge in Manang. (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
We spend an extra day in Manang as a part of our requirement for proper acclimatization. And there are so many places around Manang to explore. Manang, in itself, is a delightful village that offers some fantastic views of mountains and rocky terrain. Today, we explore the villages around and hike up to visit Gangapurna Lake. We can even visit a monastery and mountaineering school on the way. In the evening, we return to our guesthouse/ house in Manang. (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
Today, we leave Marshyangdi Valley and head towards Thorong La pass. at first, we cross a stream and climb up steadily to the village of Tenki lies just above Manang. Then we come out of the valley and turn to the north to climb up the valley of the Jarsang River. We follow the pastures and head towards the north, which will take us to the village of Ghunsa. Further, the trail extends through the meadows, where we can see some yaks grazing along with the yak herders busy with their stuff. We then cross a wooden bridge over a river and pass some ancient mani walls before we arrive at the village of Yak Kharka. The town is the summer settlement of the yak herders. Crossing the Yak Kharka and heading towards Thorong La Phedi. Thorong La Phedi is a small settlement in the high altitudinal region that caters to the food and accommodation need of the trekkers visiting the Thorong La pass. it is a stopping point to cross the Thorong La Pass tomorrow. Thorong La pass is the highest pass in the world. It is challenging to cross the path. Its rocky and slippery terrain with ever-changing weather conditions makes it one of the toughest parts of the journey. Today, we will stop at Thorong la Phedi for an early walk of the pass tomorrow. (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
The pass is prone to sharp and harsh winds after the afternoon. Hence, we wake up early to cross the pass. We walk along the rocky ridges of the past with outstanding views of mountains and glaciers in the Annapurna region. From the pass, we will be able to get 360-degree panoramic views of mountains that extend to Tibetan plateaus in the north. After crossing the path, we descend to Muktinath, which is a trendy spiritual hub of the Annapurna region. The place holds a high value amongst Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. Many Hindu pilgrims visit this place early with high dedication and devotion. Tonight, we are staying at a guesthouse/ lodge in Muktinath. (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
Early in the morning, we walk to Muktinath for amazing views of the mountains in the Annapurna range. Fater appreciating the glories of the mountains, we descend to Jomsom and complete our circuit walk around the Annapurna. Hence, we accomplish our walking journey of Annapurna Circuit Trek. Tonight, enjoy your time in Jomsom with the warm hospitality of the local people. (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
Today, we take an early flight to Pokhara. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the hotel. Enjoy your time at the hotel in Pokhara. In the evening, you can walk to the lakeside and enjoy the serenity of the environment. (Inclusive of breakfast).
Concluding our trip, we drive back via the same route along the Prithvi Highway to Kathmandu. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel in Kathmandu. Tonight, we are staying at a hotel in Kathmandu. (Inclusive of breakfast and lunch).
Before a few hours of your scheduled flight, you will be transferred to the international terminal of Tribhuwan International Airport. (Inclusive of Breakfast).
The short Annapurna Circuit Trek is a modified itinerary of the classic Annapurna Circuit Trek that skips some sections of the trail by using jeep or bus transportation. This way, you can save time and energy while still enjoying the highlights of the circuit, such as crossing the Thorong La Pass (5416m), visiting Muktinath Temple, exploring Manang Valley, and witnessing the sunrise over the Annapurna range.
The trek is moderately difficult and requires good physical fitness and endurance. It is recommended for experienced trekkers, but beginners with a positive attitude and willingness to push themselves can also enjoy the trek.
The starting point of the short Annapurna Circuit Trek is Chame, a town in the Manang district, about 235 km west of Kathmandu. You can get to Chame by taking a bus or a jeep from Kathmandu or Pokhara, which takes about 10 to 12 hours.
The duration of the short Annapurna Circuit Trek can vary from 6 to 12 days depending on your starting and ending point, your pace, your acclimatization, and your personal preference. The shortest possible itinerary is 6 days, starting from Besisahar and ending in Jomsom, but this requires a very fast pace and good physical condition. A more comfortable and recommended option is 8 to 10 days, which allows you to enjoy more of the scenery and culture along the way.
main attractions of the short Annapurna Circuit Trek are: The Thorong La Pass (5416m) is the highest point of the trek The Muktinath Temple (3760m) is a sacred site for both Hindus and Buddhists and attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. The Manang Valley (3519m) is a beautiful valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks and home to diverse flora and fauna. The Kali Gandaki Gorge (2700m) is one of the deepest gorges in the world and was carved by the Kali Gandaki River.
The accommodation on the short Annapurna Circuit Trek is teahouses, or lodges, which are simple but comfortable guesthouses that provide basic facilities such as beds, blankets, pillows, toilets, and showers. Some teahouses may also have electricity, wifi, and hot water. The cost of a teahouse ranges from NPR 500 to NPR 1500 (about USD 4 to USD 12) per night. You may have to share a room with other trekkers depending on availability.
Altitude sickness can be a concern during the trek as you ascend to high altitudes. Acclimatizing correctly, drinking plenty of water, and listening to your body is essential.
There is limited mobile network coverage during the trek, especially in higher altitudes. It is advisable to carry a satellite phone or a personal locator beacon (PLB) for emergency communication.
Yes, several monasteries and temples are along the trekking route, such as the Buddhist monastery in Braga and the Hindu temple in Muktinath.
Several options exist to extend or combine the trek with other treks or areas, such as the Annapurna Base Camp Trek or the Upper Mustang Trek.
Excellent trip to ABC & EBC with a professional Guide
A very special thanks to my really good guide, Deepak. I don't think I can find a better one. I traveled solo and he was always there advising me on things to buy, also taking good care of me and answering all my queries during my trek. When I had blisters and walked with so much pain, he always made jokes to make me feel better. Would definitely choose Alpine Treks because of Deepak on all my future Nepal trips as my trip was a success! The Alpine Treks team is amazing and everyone showed more care than interest in money which I found truly amazing. They always prioritized my safety, and food and made sure I was always contented with everything. They definitely give very good service. Deepak personally sent and fetched me from the airport and they always had lovely greetings and farewells.
My trip went very well because I made the decision to go with World Alpine Treks. It's really important to find the right trekking company and I especially recommend them as they were more interested in my well-being and to enjoy my stay in Nepal more than anything else. There was full transparency from the start to the end & Deepak always answered every query I had even before my arrival in Nepal. World Alpine Treks is a trustable, honorable company and I would recommend it to all. Have been on a hiking trip to EBC, ABC & Annapurna Circuit with them.