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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Annapurna Circuit: Introduction

If you like trekking through mountain scenery, then the Annapurna Circuit is an absolute gem. It's a well-known and relatively safe walk, and although it's very popular with foreign walkers, this doesn't detract one little bit from the incredible scenery. It's one of the world's great treks, no doubt about it.

Route details

I took my time walking the Annapurna Circuit, and I was really glad I did. There are people who rush round it like there's no tomorrow, but not only does this increase the risk of getting Acute Mountain Sickness, it also misses the point. Mountain life in this part of the world is all about quiet contemplation and careful footwork, and while you might be able to shoehorn a jog round Annapurna into a hasty two-week holiday, I recommend three weeks as a much healthier and more relaxed proposition. If you really want to squeeze an Annapurna trek into a shorter period, then the shorter but beautiful Annapurna Sanctuary Trek is a good option, as is the Jomsom Trek (this being the section of the Circuit that lies to the west of the Thorung Phedi pass, from Pokhara to Muktinath).

Day Walk km
1 Pokhara to Besisahar Bus
2 Besisahar to Bahundanda 18
3 Bahundanda to Chyanje 12
4 Chyanje to Bagarchap 15
5 Rest day in Bagarchap -
6 Bagarchap to Pisang 16
7 Pisang to Manang 12
8 Rest day in Manang -
9 Rest day in Manang -
10 Manang to Yak Kharka 9
11 Yak Kharka to Ledar 3
12 Ledar to Thorung Phedi 5
13 Thorung Phedi to Muktinath 13
14 Rest day in Muktinath -
15 Muktinath to Kagbeni 10
16 Kagbeni to Marpha 16
17 Rest day in Marpha -
18 Marpha to Kalopani 19
19 Kalopani to Tatopani 24
20 Tatopani to Ghorepani 15
21 Ghorepani to Pokhara 16
Total distance 203

I should point out that measuring distances on the Annapurna Circuit is pretty difficult; there's precious little information available on the ground, and there's no handy leaflet or map you can pick up in Nepal (or at least there wasn't when I did it). However, there is one good source of information which contains pretty much everything you need to know, and I heartily recommend it; it's called The Annapurna Circuit and Sanctuary and it's published by YetiZone. The website is brilliant too, and contains a detailed day-by-day route description as well as information on recommended maps, places to stay and so on. If you're considering walking in Annapurna, make sure you check it out.