This blog is about trekking the Annapurna circuit solo, including a detailed itinerary for the Annapurna circuit trek with Tilicho lake.
In this Annapurna circuit blog, I will describe my itinerary.
As part of my solo trip to Nepal for 6 weeks, more than two weeks, I was in the Annapurna Reserve as part of this beautiful trek.
I was writing another blog on How to travel alone in Nepal, and there I explained exactly all the important things you should know.
Here I will describe my Annapurna circuit trek with Tilicho lake itinerary.
Although Tilicho lake is not part of the official trek of the Annapurna circuit, I can not understand how people miss it.
It adds to the planning of the trip between two and three days, but for me, it was one of the highlights of the trek.
I can only recommend you not to miss this amazing lake. Not only because of the beautiful lake but also because the route to it is stunning in its beauty, so you will only benefit from it.
I did the Annapurna circuit without a guide, and a porter and I met people who became close as friends and some kind porters along the way who was fascinating to hear from the experiences and stories.
Nepal is the trekking capital of Asia. Maybe of the whole world. You have heard or read these superlatives everywhere, and they are true.
This poor, strange and fascinating country is home to 8 of the 14 highest mountains in the world.
Annapurna is one of the mountain ranges of the Himalayas, located in the northern part of Nepal, slightly north of the city of Pokhara, in the center of the country.
The ridge is 55 km long and has many peaks above 6,000 and 7,000 meters, with the highest being Annapurna 1, which reaches a height of 8,091 meters and is the tenth highest peak in the world.
The ridge itself, and the surrounding area, are part of Nepal's first and largest protected nature reserve. The reserve covers 7,629 square kilometers and is one of the main tourist sites in the country.
The Annapurna reserve has a variety of landscapes, animals, local populations, and even a very diverse climate.
The mountain culture in Nepal is fascinating, and they take trekking very seriously.
There are some popular treks among travelers from around the world.
Many people are asking and debating whether to do the Everest base camp trek or the Annapurna circuit trek, and I can understand.
The Annapurna circuit trek is a trek of varying lengths between 12 and 21 days (usually 12-15 days).
Depending on where you start and where you finish. And how many days of rest you do. It's like a semicircle on the map.
Topographically this is a very gradual increase from day to day, a perfect effort bar for those who need to get used to walking before the more difficult days at altitudes above 3,500.
In the trek route are scattered small villages that are a collection of guest houses.
The fact that every two hours, you get to a place where you can sleep/eat (every guesthouse is also a restaurant) allows a lot of flexibility in planning the days.
Although, there are usually specific villages where everyone stops (all this is true until you reach altitudes of 3500 meters - about to Manang. Are declining).
Most of the guesthouses are in good condition. There is usually a hot shower (on gas).
Accommodation and food are very cheap, and the average budget is $ 20-25 per day on the trek.
Number of days: 15 days (excluding arrival and return)
Daily budget: $ 25-30
Extra for Porter (for those who take): $ 20-25 per day
Is it possible to do the Annapurna circuit without a porter/guide? Yes, of course.
Accommodation & food: based on villages/guesthouses.
Walking hours: 7-9 hours a day (including stops and lunch)
Currency: 121 rupees is 1 us dollar
Seasons: Mid-September - Early November & March-May
When did I do it? End of September-October
Possible starting point: Besisahar
Possible endpoint: Jomsom
Some preparations need to be made, before leaving for the trek.
You need to make sure that your travel insurance includes proper coverage for trekking and especially locating rescue.
To enter and walk in the Annapurna Reserve, the authority responsible for the area, the ACAP (short for Annapurna Conservation Area Project), requires every hiker to obtain appropriate permits.
The permits are called Trekkers Information Management System (or TIMS for short), which is 2000 rupees, and next to them, you also need a Permit to enter the reserve, which costs 3,000 rupees.
Their purpose is to carry out orderly tracking and registration of hikers in the Annapurna reserve, thus monitoring the quantity and location of hikers and assisting in the event of a rescue.
The permits can be issued at the travel agencies, which arrange the process within a few hours, or at most a day, at the same price or for a small amount of commission.
The Annapurna range is one of the most popular areas for a trip to Nepal - there are different and varied activities - climbing, rafting, bungee, trekking, and more.
This is not the place to take risks, so you must have travel insurance before going on a trek.
The rescue section of foreign travel insurance should be taken into account.
The main expenses on the trek are food and accommodation.
There may also be unplanned expenses on equipment, electricity, hot water, or an extra blanket.
In addition, there are always expenses for snacks, hot drinks to overcome the cold, and other various and surprising expenses.
Therefore, one should be prepared with a large enough amount of money to cover expenses and avoid worries or unpleasant situations.
In addition, be prepared that the prices you pay will increase as you progress in height along the trek.
A double room in a guesthouse will cost 100-300 rupees, and a single room usually 100-200 rupees.
Meal prices range from 200 rupees for breakfast to 800 rupees for a good soup and main course dinner (preferably garlic soup, which goes well with the height). A tea ranges from 25 to 70 rupees.
Be prepared for the maximum number of days you plan on the trek, and add a few days to leave a safety margin for each day.
Take with you 2,500-3,000 rupees per person (there will be days when you will spend more or less).
You should add a few more days to the trip calculation, in case you are delayed due to weather, fatigue, or side trips.
You can only exchange money in Manang, but the gate is not worth it.
It is advisable to arrive with all the necessary cash.
The trek is not easy, but also not particularly difficult. In the end, everyone finishes it.
There are harder days due to the rise in heights. But if you listen to the body and do not go higher than recommended, the trek is not particularly difficult.
It's possible to do the Annapurna circuit trek without a guide or porter.
I started the Annapurna circuit trek solo, and already while traveling to the place where the trek begins, I met amazing people.
You will meet lots of people all the time. The feeling of safety on a trip to Nepal is high.
Kathmandu has a lot of ATMs, but many of them do not accept MasterCard.
Highly recommend also bringing a visa just in case.
Pull more than you need to trek. Don't get stuck on the trek without cash.
Markings, people on the way, Maps.Me app
It's hard to get lost on this popular trek.
1 liter of water is enough. Every day you will pass a lot of water stations, there are purified water stations, and there is simply running water from the tap.
Take cleansing accessories or a Lifestraw bottle (or something of the same style) with you. Under no circumstances should you drink untreated water!
The higher the altitude, the recommendation is to drink between 3-4 liters a day per person!
No. You Don't need a tent.
You will stay in guest houses located in each village.
The entire trek is lined with villages that are collections of guesthouses.
Until you reach the Manang area, you can plan the stops wherever you want.
From the 3000-meter area (just before the village of Pisang) the rules of altitude apply - it is not recommended to stay in a place higher than 500 meters than the night before.
Stick to this rule, no matter what your "brave" friends say.
Snacks/drinks/food you can buy in every village about every few hours.
Other things like equipment/batteries/medicines you can find in Chame and Manang.
Manang has an excellent pharmacy, and you can treat what hurts you.
According to many others, Nepali food is not the best. Certainly, if you compare it to Indian food, it is comforting, it is cheap, and for me, it was great.
The Naples eat mostly dal bat - a dish of rice and lentil soup with varying toppings and a free refill. And Momo (like Dim-Sum).
Momo is one of my favorite dishes in Nepal, just a pleasure.
The menu will usually have a variety of stir-fries, rice dishes, desserts, and more.
If you have a sensitive stomach to this area of the world, try to be careful and eat food that is simple and not too fried, especially in the first days.
Eat-in places that look clean and do not be adventurous.
As a rule, I suggest eating local food, especially during the trek, you will pass through small villages and that on the menu you will have dishes of pasta or pizza, but that is not really what you think or know, leave it at home when you return.
In Nepal, and especially on the trek, I recommend eating their local dishes because that is what they know to prepare best.
The 500-meter rule
The Annapurna circuit trek begins in an area that is 800 to 1000 meters high and climbs to a record height of 5416 meters above sea level.
The last 5-7 days of the trek pass at altitudes of over 3000 meters. From this point on, altitude sickness becomes a real risk, and it's a risk you do not want to be realized.
Altitude sickness can erupt in full symptoms - nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, etc., or only in part of the spectrum of fatigue, loss of appetite, and weakness.
At each stage of the trek, at least a few people will feel some of the symptoms of altitude sickness.
In Nepal, unlike elsewhere in the world, the issue of heights is taken very seriously - and rightly so.
It is impossible to talk about the Annapurna circuit trek and not mention this important subject.
The rules are simple: from an altitude of about 3000 meters, do not sleep at night at an altitude of more than 500 meters from the last place they slept.
That means there is no problem to ascend more than 500 meters a day, such as to see Lake Tilicho but go back to sleep in a place that is a maximum of 500 meters more than at the height of last night.
For example, if you sleep in Manang at an altitude of 3,540 m, the next night you can sleep in a Yak Karka at an altitude of 4050 m (510 m difference) but it is not possible to sleep in the next village which is 4,200 m (ascent of 660 m).
So arrange the days accordingly so that the nights are arranged at heights.
You should take care and be attentive to the body and if something doesn't feel good, immediately go back a little to a lower height (there is no shame in that).
Manang has a medical center, and for 100 rupees will measure your blood oxygen level and give lectures on altitude sickness, prevention, and treatment.
Even without the threat of an outbreak of the disease, staying at these oxygen-sparse heights does not benefit the human body, complicates the conduct, and requires some preventative activity.
But let's relax - a minority of hikers end up suffering from altitude sickness symptoms.
How to minimize the chances that these will be you?
Once you have passed an altitude of 3000 meters (or a little before), do not sleep in a village more than 500 meters above the place where you slept the night before.
1. Eat garlic and onion - Nepalis swear by it.
It also has a scientific justification so go for it.
Garlic soup at the end of the day is the best!
2. General for carbohydrates, water, and electrolytes. Especially in recent days at high altitudes.
3. Do not try to squeeze too much every day, take your time.
The more you get used to walking and breathing in the first week, the less high altitude will affect you later on.
4. Make a day of rest and acclimatize to altitude in Manang (altitude 3500). After passing Manang - do not run! Slow down a bit, breathe more, and make occasional stops.
It is possible to get organized (through one of the agencies) on a porter or guide or combination (A guide also explains the way). The cost is usually about $ 20 per day, plus a few more extras, and with a tip, it comes out a bit more.
Is it necessary? It's the question that everyone asks themselves.
I did not take Porter because I did not feel the need for someone to carry the bag for me if I could do it myself.
The advantages of hiring someone to carry your bag and know the way are quite clear, so here are the disadvantages I see in the decision to attach a porter to the trip:
1. It's someone else going with you that's affecting the dynamics.
It can affect the places you sleep or eat. It can affect spontaneity, the ability to decide things instantly, connect and disconnect from people and the original plan.
2. Porter is another responsibility and another "team member."
He can get sick, catch altitude sickness, etc. I saw some such examples on the trip.
When traveling in a foreign country with someone who speaks the language it eases all sorts of situations, but on the other hand, can reduce your interaction with the locals. It's less of an "adventure."
There are many different porters, with very different characters.
Not with everyone you will get along and want to spend days on the trek.
3. Going on a trek with more than you can carry alone is also a bit of a risk because there were times when people had to say goodbye to their porter in the middle of the route.
It happened to a girl I knew and walked with her so of course I helped her and carried her bag too and that's fine.
Such things are not supposed to happen, yet there is a small chance that it will happen as it did to my partner.
In the end - this is just my personal opinion.
For me, something in this situation where someone else (sometimes smaller than you) carries your bag that you can carry yourself.
It's something that goes against the whole essence of this "trek in the mountains" experience.
1. "I will not know where to go" - usually you will not be completely alone on the trail.
There are some chances that from the beginning of the trek, you will connect with a couple/group of guys who go with Porter and know where to go.
Use the MapsMe app - it contains offline navigation maps and is your bible for these two weeks (more in the chapter - route planning). The route is marked (for episodes). All the villagers in the area know the route and will direct you if you get confused. If you are apprehensive at first, you can always "connect" to a group that has a porter (s) and follow them until you reset.
2. "It will be heavy to carry my bag" - not bad.
It will be heavy only in the first few days, and these days even if you go without a heavy bag, you will find something to complain about.
You will get used to the weight on your back quickly, and it will not be a factor at the end of the trek. It does not matter what fitness or size or what they carry in their backpack.
If it's hard for you, go a little slower, lag a little behind the group, and take another day off.
3. How do I know where to sleep? It will be pretty clear from the first night.
You will reach the village you are aiming for on the map. There will be a lot of guesthouses, all of which will offer a very similar deal.
Even if you have never experienced it, it will be simple to you.
There will be more travelers in the place. You can ask them if you are not sure about something or about where to stay - this is a great way to meet more friends along the way.
4. Some of the porters who know which guesthouse they are aiming for at the end of the day will call from the trek and book.
So maybe you will arrive, and there will be no place in the "best" guesthouse, but there will always be a place to sleep.
Porter is a respectable job, especially in Nepal, and of course, there is no reason in the world to underestimate them.
They are amazing people with impressive endurance who work hard for their families.
I met a kind Porter who did the Annapurna over 20 times- He has a lot of knowledge, experience, and fascinating stories.
In any case, if you want to take a Porter, look for recommendations in the various Facebook groups or the travel agencies or from someone who has already done the Annapurna trek with Porter in the past.
For most travelers coming for trekking in Nepal, the question arises, Annapurna or Everest, which trek to do?
The treks whose sons stand out the most are Everest Base camp and the Annapurna circuit.
I decided to go on the Annapurna circuit trek.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is actually a trek of fewer than two weeks with options to extend the trek even to 3 weeks or shorten it.
1. The trek is circular compared to the Everest Base camp trek, which requires repeating your steps part of the way.
2. The Annapurna Circuit is easier than Everest, that does not mean it is a walk in the park, but it is considered easier.
You must come prepared for difficult days and be aware of the danger of heights.
3. The Annapurna trek is shorter than Everest Base Camp which can last up to 3 weeks. The classic Annapurna circuit trek is about two weeks.
4. In the Annapurna circular trek, the height increase is more gradual, which makes it easier for the body to adapt to those who are not used to heights.
Arrive after a bus ride from Pokhara (4-5 hours) / Kathmandu (8-9 hours to Besisahar) - which is a small town from which the Annapurna trek begins.
The ride is not simple and involves a slow ride and many shakes.
In this town you get the permit for the Annapurna Reserve.
After you have finished with the permit, you have several options:
1. Stay overnight in Besisahar and start the trek the next day.
2. Start walking for 2-3 hours to Bhulbhule, the first village of the trek.
3. Take a jeep to the village of Syange.
I chose the third option and spent the first night at Syange.
I had no particular reason. I chose to start from there because I went out to do the Annapurna circuit trek solo, and already on the way to Besisahar, I met people that I had a good connection with, and we continued to hike together.
Note that In recent years it has been paved through jeeps along the route that it is possible to shorten the start of the trek in the lower areas.
Today, it is possible to get by jeep to the big town of Manang, but this is not recommended at all.
Syange (1160m) - Tal (1700m)
About a 5-7 hours walk along the river, you can stop for lunch in the village of Chamje. After the small village Chamje, there will be a narrow and long bridge (the first of many) that will take you to the other side of the river. It is also possible not to cross the bridge and continue on the jeep route, but it is less recommended.
After the bridge, the last hours of walking are a relatively difficult ascent (in both ways) . It is not an easy day, but when you reach the spectacular view of the village Tal, you will not regret it.
Tal is a small and charming village with lots of guesthouses, located on a wide river bank. You can explore and walk around the charming town and the lawns.
Accommodation: Father and son hotel
Tal (1700m) - Danakyu (2200m)
About 4-5 hours walk. On the way, you pass several villages, the road continues to be abundant with waterfalls and vegetation, but you begin to see a change of direction of the forest environment.
An easy and beautiful day. The hostels in Danakyu are very basic, but the food is relatively tastier.
This day is relatively short, take advantage of the days when you are not yet at altitude and the weather is suitable for sitting outside.
Accommodation: New Sunrise Hotel and Restaurant
Danakyu (2200m) - Chame (2710m)
About 4-5 hours walk, there is a split at the beginning of the road, and you should find out if the two roads are open, sometimes one of them is blocked due to landslides. The road has a relatively steep ascent, but is short, and the view is beautiful.
Chame is the largest village on this part of the route, and is considered the “capital” of the area. You will find cellular reception in Chame and more shops than in the previous villages.
There are a number of attractive hostels a few hundred meters before entering Chame, you can sleep in them or continue up to the town.
If you choose to stay overnight at the entrance to town, consider adding the extra way the next day.
Accommodation: Oasis Guesthouse
Chame (2710m) - Upper Pisang (3310m)
This day is one of the most impressive and beautiful days on the trek!
The village of Pisang is located at an altitude of about 3,300 meters and is divided into two villages - Upper Pisang at 3,310 meters and Lower Pisang at 3,2500 meters.
You can choose where to stay. During the day, about 200 meters after Hotel Heaven View, the path splits. The right path starts to ascend gradually (not a difficult ascent) and eventually reaches Upper Pisang, the left path will take you on the jeep road to the lower Pisang.
If you made a mistake in the path and reached Pisang (lower or upper) do not worry, the villages are connected by a (very) long staircase.
If you arrive early, it is possible and desirable to walk in the second village and the area.
Just above the upper village is a small and special temple built by the villagers.
It overlooks the Annapurna peak, and the view from it is breathtaking (despite the cold, do not forget to take off your shoes at the entrance).
Keep in mind: In the upper village, the view is more beautiful and overlooks the summit of Annapurna 2, but it has fewer guesthouses than the lower one, so you have to hurry a little to take a place in them.
There is a relatively new hostel built of wood, right on the top of the mountain. The hostel has two amazing balconies overlooking the snow-capped peaks, but the services in it are very basic.
The lower village is very similar to the villages that have characterized the trek so far and in contrast, the upper village has a more ancient and special look, reminiscent of medieval construction.
It consists of small houses made of bricks of uneven sizes and with flat roofs on which grain accumulates.
The surrounding landscape consists of snow-capped peaks and colorful agricultural fields.
When you arrive at Pisang, you reach a height above 3,000 meters for the first time, and you should slow down and start taking steps to prevent altitude sickness and pay attention to the symptoms.
I highly recommend staying in Upper Pisang - the view from it is more beautiful, and the atmosphere is more special.
Accommodation: Mandala Hotel And Organic Cafe
Upper Pisang (3310m) - Manang (3540m)
The landscape becomes drier and more mountainous, herds of yaks, horses, and goats, the rivers become streams and small lakes appear from time to time along the way. And the highlight - the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas are beginning to unfold in all their glory.
The trail starts from the upper village of Pisang and passes through the two ancient villages of Ghyaru (height 3,730) and Ngawal (height 3,680), quiet and special villages, somewhat similar to the upper village of Pisang. Both have several restaurants and guesthouses.
The ascent to these villages is difficult and long (but rewarding). Because of the difficulty, this trail is longer and can take 7-8 hours.
Another advantage of ascending to these villages is the elevation gain, which helps the body to adapt and reduces the chance of altitude sickness (as long as sleeping at a lower altitude).
From Ngawal you can continue on the trail and reach within 2-3 hours to Manang or choose the trail that goes down the slope and thus join the lower trail route.
At the end of the day, you arrive in Manang, the largest village in the area, where you can spend the next day resting and acclimatizing.
Most of the time, the porters will go the shortest and least impressive way, note that you have with you in the small bag everything you need for an easy ascent, you can ask the porters or people who go the shortest way to save accommodation in Manang.
Accommodation: Manang Hotel & Lodge
A rest day in Manang at 3540 meters.
Manang is the largest village in the area, and that is the name of the province where you have been hiking in recent days.
Due to the height of this village, one should stay in it for at least one day for acclimatization, which is necessary for the prevention of altitude sickness.
Accommodation in Manang will be slightly more expensive than in other places, and at the height of the season, most of the guesthouses will be full.
In Manang, there are several hotels/hostels of a higher standard, and if you want to stay in them you have to book this in advance before leaving for the trek.
You will find restaurants and bakeries here, shops selling snacks, food, hygiene products, winter clothing, and basic equipment.
You will find porters for rent here for the coming hard days and even horses for a few thousand rupees.
In the village, there are several attractions for the day of rest:
Sitting in cafes that serve inverted coffee and excellent apple pie.
In addition, you will find in the menus (also in hostels) a new dish that will refresh the Dal Bat routine - Veggie Burger in a real burger bun!
There is a movie theater that is a cubicle with a projector and a series of regular movies about mountain climbing or American comedies and even popcorn and hot tea - a unique and enjoyable experience.
Along with enjoying Manang itself - the bakeries, quality coffee, and relaxation, you can take advantage of the rest day to walk in the Manang area in several lakes (the most famous of which is right nearby and is called Gangapurna Lake), this lake is worth coming with a book.
Note that from Manang there is a side trip to Tilicho lake, the highest lake in the world, which lasts about three days and has the most spectacular views on the Annapurna circuit trek.
Manang (3540m) - Tilicho Base Camp (4200m)
Tilicho lake is located at an altitude of 5000m, and most hikers in the Annapurna circuit do not reach it.
In my opinion and in the opinion of the travelers who were with me, the way to Tilicho are the most beautiful days of the trip - highly recommended!
From Manang, take the left trail (west) towards the inside of the Annapurna Reserve.
After about three hours of walking, you reach the village of Khangsar, 3,734 meters high, nice and quiet, with several guesthouses and restaurants.
Two hours from the village, after a steep but short ascent, you come to a temple and a small number of buildings called Sri kharka (4150m) and there are some guest houses designed to accommodate hikers walking to the lake.
About 200 meters before the buildings, you will notice a sign in the direction of the village of Yak Kharka, when on the way back to the main path of the Annapurna area you will turn for it.
The guesthouses are a nice option for refreshments, lunch, or if you want to split the trek into additional days.
About half an hour after leaving Sri kharka, you will notice a sign that splits the road to Tilicho Base Camp.
The left road leads to the lower trail, the Lower Trail.
Note that the upper road is no longer active, and walking is extremely dangerous!
The lower route is dangerous too, but much less so.
The paths in it are narrow, some along a slope with the danger of slipping, so be extremely careful when walking.
At the end of the route, you will reach the Tilicho Base Camp, where there are only two guesthouses and a few dozen beds for the locals, porters, and hikers.
Accommodation: tilicho base camp
Tilicho Base Camp (4200m) - Yak Kharka (4050m)
It is advisable to start the day early in the morning, the ascent is relatively long, and the lack of oxygen makes it even more difficult.
The trail to the lake is a zigzag trail that leaves the Tilicho Base Camp after about 3 hours of hard and strenuous ascent.
After the difficult ascent, there is a 30-45 minute walk in a relatively flat area.
At the end you will reach the spectacular lake.
It is best to hike to the lake only with the necessary equipment and leave everything else in the guesthouse at Base Camp.
The lake itself is spectacular in its beauty, and you will be impressed by the snow-capped peaks that are really close to you as well as the Tilicho Glacier that spills into the lake. Near the lake is a small tea house for refreshment, food, and hot drinks.
From the lake, you descend back to Base Camp the way you arrived (about an hour and a half) and most of us already choose to continue that day back to Yak Karka.
The trail starts back on the route we came from, but you get to a split where there is no need to go back to Manang, and there is a trail that goes north towards Yak Karka.
The saddle has an amazing vantage point over the entire area that overlooks the formidable mountains of the Annapurna Range.
Please note: If you walk with a porter, the porters take an extra charge for the risk and the extra days added to the trek.
The extra money is paid directly to the porter and not to the agency.
Accommodation: Gangapurna hotel
Yak Kharka (4050m) - Thorung Phedi (4450m)
The route is not difficult but exhausting. There are ups and downs that eventually reach a magical place with stunning views.
Thorung Phedi is not a village, but one guesthouse, open only in season and intended for travelers.
The atmosphere in the guesthouse is special.
You can feel it, on one hand, there is excitement towards the peak of the Annapurna circuit trek, and on the other hand, an atmosphere of relaxation in the hostel.
The guesthouse has several dozen rooms, but note that during the trekking season, they fill up already in the afternoon.
Most rooms are shared and can accommodate between 4-15 beds.
In addition, there is one restaurant with delicious but relatively expensive food, because of the high altitude.
It is better to sleep early that night because the next day is the most difficult, during which you reach the peak of the height (Thorung La), and to make it the hard and long way, you have to start walking as early as 4-5 in the morning.
Another option is the accommodation on site, the high camp, the "high camp" at an altitude of 4,850 meters, which is only 30-60 minutes away from Thorung Phedi, but this is a steep and challenging ascent, which is the most difficult section of the entire trek.
For those who are not in a hurry, maintain caution or feel unaccustomed to altitude, you can split the route and spend the night in both Thorung Phedi and High Camp.
Anyway, if you've got to high camp and you feel bad, do not think twice and go back to Thorung Phedi!
Accommodation: Thorong Phedi Base Camp Lodge
Thorung Phedi (4450m) - Thorung La (5416m) - Muktinath (3,800m)
This day is the most difficult day on the trek, where you reach the peak of the altitude, and there begins a long descent, which will end after a few days at the end of the trek.
It is very worthwhile to stock up on plenty of water, food, and energy snacks during the long day, during which there are no restaurants, but only 2-3 expensive tea houses, which sell hot drinks and snacks.
You should wake up and set off early (4-5 am) because, from noon, strong winds will begin to blow in the strip as visibility is impaired.
The day is divided into three parts:
Thorung Phedi to High Camp - A challenging ascent (400m).
Due to the long day, it should be started very early, but should not be overdone.
Starting at 3:00 is excessive and will create a lot of walking in the dark and cold, so it is advisable to leave from 4:00 to 5:00, so you can get to the summit early and also see the views along the way.
During these hours it is still dark and very cold, and there may be a layer of ice on the track.
You should bring a flashlight and take care of the slides along the dark road.
The Thorung Phedi restaurant is set for early departure and offers very early breakfasts starting at 3:30 am. You will need to book an evening before a certain time.
High Camp to Throng La - Characterized by a snowy and spectacular landscape, high peaks surrounding the route.
There is a small and expensive tea house for buying water and hot drinks.
Along the way, there are horses for rent for struggling travelers, their price is flexible and negotiable, but it will be expensive anyway (about 100$).
At the end of the ascent, you reach the Thorung La at an altitude of 5,466 meters - the highest point on the trek, which provides an outstanding view.
We did it! Perhaps the most amazing feeling I have experienced in my life. A feeling that it is impossible to explain what it is like to be so high above 5000 meters that everything around you is snowy, and the Himalayan peaks are at their glory.
That’s how I felt at that moment in utter euphoria reaching a climax.
Just a tremendous experience I will never forget in my life.
Instead, a large sign marking the place and thousands of prayer flag chains, which according to locals give luck as they hang higher.
We stay at the top for 10-15 minutes, impressed by the view, take pictures and hurry down due to the extreme cold and lack of oxygen due to the high altitude.
Throng La to Muktinath - the last part of the day lasts about 4 hours and is mainly a relatively long and steep descent, during which you descend an altitude of about 1,600 meters to the village of Muktinath (3,800 meters).
The descent lasts about four hours, and along it is a desert landscape and one small village with a few restaurants and guesthouses.
You should be careful and walk with your knees bent to prevent injury or use walking sticks. Travelers who have knee problems should be equipped according to this day.
Muktinath is a large village with many guesthouses, prices are starting to drop, and conditions are improving.
In Muktinath, there is a famous guesthouse in the village called Bob Marley. The best place to stay after such a tough day. You will find delicious and varied food and a hot shower.
Accommodation: Hotel Bob Marley
Muktinath (3800m) - Marpha (2800m)
The walk from Muktinath to Marpha passes through a beautiful desert landscape along an almost dry stream, in a wide canyon laden with pebbles.
The route is deserted and special, which is hard to understand. yesterday the landscape was glaciers and snow, and today it is desert and arid.
Many give up this part, and it's a shame because the desert landscapes are impressive and very different from what you see on the rest of the trek.
In the afternoon, strong winds start, and with sandstorms, prepare accordingly.
Marpha is a cute little village, considered by many to be the most special village on the entire trek, and is what I think too.
The village sits in an area called the Apple Valley because is surrounded by apple orchards.
Accordingly, the restaurants in the area are famous for the fine and fresh apple cakes, which are served in them and the place also produces delicious and excellent apple brandy and apple liquor.
Accommodation: Paradise Guest House
Marpha (2800m) - Kalopani (2480m)
This part of the desert route gradually ends up and becomes more vegetative, which creates interesting natural phenomena along the way, passing by colorful rocks and beautiful waterfalls.
There is a section on the path that goes on a narrow cliff, and there are railings on the side, which gives a beautiful view.
Accommodation: Kalopani Guest House
Kalopani (2480m) - Tatopani (1200m)
The day continues with the river from the village, you cross the path through an ancestral forest with huge boulders, and it is easy to lose the trail until you reach a large and crooked bridge - cross it. Should be alert to markings.
The trail continues on the east bank of the river. It's a calm day with lots of space and lots of green. There are lots of villages on the way that look different from the other villages in Annapurna because they are more authentic to locals and less understood for tourism. It is an opportunity to rub shoulders with locals and experience Nepali culture.
We arrived in Tatopani in the evening and immediately went to the hot springs. It is a bigger place than we thought and it is arranged with lots of people, but because there are lots of pools - no crowding is felt, and it is definitely worth getting there after many days of walking.
Accommodation: Trekkers Inn
Tatopani (1200m) - Ghorepani (2850m)
The route to Ghorepani (the village closest to Poon Hill) is difficult, long, and full of stairs!
On this day, we ascend from an altitude of 1200 m to an altitude of 2874m, so that the whole day is one long ascent.
We thought that because it is a route of 15 km, we could do it easily but the ascent and the endless stairs proved otherwise.
The route is beautiful with a green view and passes through beautiful villages.
You can divide this difficult day into two days, stop in the village of Shikha for the night and the day after to reach Ghorepani.
Accommodation: Hotel Snowland
Ghorepani (2850m) - Poon hill (3210m) - Nayapul (1070m)
From Ghorepani, we leave early in the morning for a hill called Poon Hill. From Poon Hill, you can witness an impressive sunrise over the mountains in the valley.
We got up in the morning to climb Poon Hill, left our bags at the hostel, and set off. The climb took about an hour on a long but comfortable staircase, with lots of other people - mostly adults, all with good cameras waiting to arrive and photograph the sunrise.
The ascent path to the observation point starts from a stupa located in the Ghorepani center, and then climbing to the summit takes about 40 minutes to an hour.
When we arrived, we would see a snowy peak beyond the clouds.
The Poon Hill at sunrise created a beautiful scenic experience from the refraction of sunlight rays that provided stunning colors in the snow-capped peak.
When the sun rises, you will see a large part of the Himalayas, including the Annapurna, Chulu West, Dhaulagiri, and more.
We went back down to Ghorepani to pick up the bags and then down to Nayapul, a drop of 2200 meters in one day.
It was a tough day for the knees but worth the effort because it's the last day.
The descent is partly in a thicket of trees with lots of waterfalls and water. In the second part, the descent opens to a path with an amazing view over the whole area.
The trail is relatively wide and busy with the movement of hikers and donkeys with equipment, which allows seeing culture on the path.
After a few hours of endless descent, we reached Nayapul for the main road and took a bus to Pokhara, thus ending a 15 day of a powerful hike in the Annapurna Reserve.
From Ghorepani, you can get one day back to Pokhara, with a strenuous walk of about 2,100 m (about 6-7 hours), to the village of Nayapul and from there by bus that takes about two hours or a taxi.
Pokhara, the second-largest city in Nepal, located west of Kathmandu, feels like a resort town for tired trekkers.
The lakeside is for the most part the street along the lake and the alleys and streets that branch off from it.
The whole area is full of guesthouses, restaurants, pubs, bars, agencies, bakeries, trekking and hiking equipment stores, ATMs, and supermarkets.
The lakeside is like the Thamel in Kathmandu but more spacious, quiet, and peaceful without the chaos.
Kiwi Backpackers Hostel - Great hostel in Pokhara. easy to meet people for and after trekking. Beautiful views from the rooftop, which also has a bar and hammocks.
Pokhara Backpackers Hostel - Another great hostel to stay. Comfy beds, hot shower, good wifi and amazing value for money.
Hotel Middle Path & Spa - The place is clean, the staff is welcoming, very cozy, central and quiet location, with a nice pool and a beautiful lake view.
Bar Peepal Resort - A little more expensive but an excellent hotel with an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center. located away from hustle but walking distance to main market and attractions.
1. Trek is considered an extreme sport in terms of insurance. It is important to take care of appropriate insurance.
2. Walk slowly, the trek is beautiful, and it's a shame not to enjoy it as much as possible.
3. Take a camera. After all, this is one of the most beautiful treks in the world.
4. Buy a Lifestraw - It saves plastic and saves tampering with water purification. You fill the bottle with any running water (even from a random stream on the trek) and drink straight from the straw.
5. It is advisable to prepare before going on the trek and practice walking and climbing
6. Do not go on a trek alone! This is an environment with a lot of effort on the body. Even simple things can develop during the trek into something serious.
7. The trek is not a race. Everything should be done at a comfortable pace, not to burden the body. At the same time, it is always best to get out as early as possible so as not to get stuck in the dark in the middle of the trail.
8. It is important to maintain a good and comfortable sleep. Sleeping has a tremendous effect the next day.
9. It is important to be equipped with medications to prevent/deal with altitude sickness. These drugs are life-saving.
You should consult a traveling doctor/family doctor as there are a variety of medications, and you should check if there is a sensitivity or not.
10. During the trek, a high-fat, high-calorie diet should be adhered to. It is advisable to adhere to a local diet (dal-bat) and don't eat the tourist's dishes to avoid an upset stomach.
11. Before the trek and during it, especially if you are alone, take a selfie with who you are traveling with, tag the people being photographed and add a location. That way, if the connection breaks down there is some idea as to where you are and with whom you are.
12.Take cards with you or a travel diary notebook. You will have plenty of time to burn while waiting for food or in the evenings.
Do not be afraid to go on the Annapurna Circuit trek without a guide or porter, this is a popular trek, so you will not be the only ones on the trails. You will surely meet people along the way.
As mentioned, I went on the Annapurna circuit solo, and luckily I already met partners on the first day of the trek, and we became good friends who continued to travel together for a whole month in Nepal.
The Annapurna Reserve, like similar places in the world, is fighting for its life against the destructive effects of nature's number one enemy - waste.
It is difficult to dispose of garbage from such remote and high places, so we must all be held accountable. Do not use disposable plastic, do not produce unnecessary garbage, and certainly do not leave anything in the field.
Bring a reusable water bottle, and not only will you save a lot of money, but you will also help maintain this place for generations.
The locals you meet in the villages, while most of them are "tourism workers," are simple and traditional people.
Everything is going at a different pace in this area, and if you are critical or stressed, you will hurt your experience and the people who host you.
Do not speak disparagingly, do not enter their kitchen without an invitation, and do not make a mess.
Be kind and patient, and try to help them to help you.
New guesthouses pop up every year, and some of the locals are quite new to this business. Be open to conversation.
A large portion of the guesthouse owners you will meet speak fairly basic English and will be happy to practice a bit.
And now you only have to visit and go for the Annapurna circuit trek solo and experience one of the most beautiful treks in the world!
I hope this guide to the Annapurna circuit solo will help you plan your trek in Nepal in the best way.
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