Annapurna Circuit Trek with Mountain Drive
Annapurna Circuit Trek is popular for long-distance trekking but it got shortened after the construction of a motor road from Besi Sahar to Chame and Muktinath (a famous pilgrimage site) to Beni. It requires 12 to 14 days to complete this trek without taking a flight from Jomsom to Pokhara, but it does require some off-road drive travel. This trek option is suitable for those who have less time and are hesitant to walk on motor roads; they can use overland transport where motor roads are available. There is no problem going from Kathmandu to Besi Sahar by public bus, but there is an off-road from Besi Sahar to Chame where a four-wheeler jeep (vehicle) is required. From Muktinath or Jomsom to Tatopani you will travel by bus to experience the Himalaya bus service, if you want to travel by private transport then package cost will be expensive.
The trek starts with an off-road-drive journey from Besi Sahar to Chame, but it takes 6 to 7 hours to reach Besi Sahar from Kathmandu by car or bus and 4 to 5 hours to reach Chame from Besi Sahar by local jeep. Chame village is the headquarters of the Manang District in the Gandaki region of northern Nepal. From here the trek enters Manang Valley, a beautiful valley that offers spectacular views (every turn offers a different view of the Annapurna and Manaslu Mountains), An amazing variety of landscapes, from subtropical through alpine peaks to arid semi-desert similar to Tibet, picturesque Farming villages, river basins, glacier lakes, a great variety of cultural diversity, Buddhist monasteries, and a challenging Thorong La Pass (5416 m).
The trek from Chame to Manang is a gradual climb but from Manang to Thorong La pass with a challenging climb. Thorong La Pass is the thrilling and most popular difficulty pass of this trek but it does not require any technical experience. After the Thorong La pass, we will descend to the spiritual place Muktinath. Muktinath is a Vishnu temple, sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists, which is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. People believed that bathing in the 108 water streams in the back courtyard of the Muktinath temple would purify the soul and attain salvation.
After Muktinath, we descend into Kali Gandaki River and follow the trail to Jomsom, on this day see an eyeful landscape view of the Mustang, and immense views of Mount Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri Himal, and Tukuche peak. Jomsom has daily flight connections with Pokhara and has a tenuous road connection with Beni and onwards to Pokhara. Tourists can hire a four-wheel-drive jeep from Jomsom to go Pokhara but also the availability of bus service, so we use the bus to go Tatopani, this is on the way to Beni. Tatopani has the best natural hot spring beside the Kali Gandaki river, Trekkers can take a natural hot spring bath here.
After crossing the Kali Gandaki river, we need to ascend to Ghorepani (2855 m). It is a long day trek but beautiful provides good views of Mount Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, and other snowy peaks. On arrival at Ghorepani, you will forget your tiredness because you rarely get such a beautiful place on earth. From Ghorepani in the early morning, we need to hike up to Poon Hill at 3210 meters, to see the wonderful sunrise with good views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalayan ranges. After enjoying Poon Hill then we will back to Ghorepani and continue the trek downhill to Tikhedhunga (1540 m).
The last day of the trek is short and easy walking to reach Nayapul where the trek ends. Nayapul to Pokhara distance is of 46 kilometers and for this you will get a lot of options for traveling, but we use taxi or private vehicle instead of public bus. Pokhara to Kathmandu traveling by tourist bus is our original plan, but if you prefer to take a flight also possible but you need to pay flight fare.
Annapurna Circuit Trek with Mountain Drive Itinerary
Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu
Day 02: Sightseeing to Swayambhunath, Kathmandu and Patan
Day 03: Drive to Besi Sahar (820 m)
Day 04: Besi Sahar drive to Chame (2670 m) - Not in Monsoon
Day 05: Trek to Pisang (3200 m)
Day 06: Trek to Manang (3540 m)
Day 07: Acclimatization in Manang (3540 m)
Day 08: Trek to Yak Kharka (4110 m)
Day 09: Trek to Thorung Phedi (4420 m)
Day 10: Trek to Muktinath (3800 m) Over the Thorung La Pass (5416 m)
Day 11: Trek to Jomsom (2713 m)
Day 12: Drive Jeep/bus to Tatopani (1190 m)
Day 13: Trek to Ghorepani (2855 m)
Day 14: Visit Poon Hill (3210 m) then trek to Tikhedhunga (1540 m)
Day 15: Trek to Nayapul then drive to Pokhara (850 m)
Day 16: Drive tourist bus to Kathmandu (1350 m)
Day 17: Sightseeing to Boudhanath, Pashupatinath and Bhaktapur
Day 18: Depart Kathmandu