Half Annapurna Circuit is the shorter version of the classic trek around the Annapurna massif including the main highlights such as crossing Thorong La.
This is one of the classic treks of the world offering a cross section of Nepal from lowland terraced rice fields, pine forest to the arid terrain in the Himalayan rain shadow near Muktinath. The trail starts at Besisahar and follows the Marsyangdi river through Brahmin, Chhetri and Gurung settlements to the Tibetan region of Manang. Along the trek, you will see colourful prayer flags, mani walls and monasteries.
The high point is the challenging day crossing the Thorung La pass at 5,416m followed by the trek down the deep Kali Gandaki gorge located between the Annapurna and Annapurna massifs, stopping at the famous shrine of Muktinath and then finally descending to Jomsom. The mountain views throughout this trek encompass the highest and most beautiful in the world including Lamjung, Himalchuli, Manaslu, Annapurna, Nilgiri and Machhapuchhre.
Upon your arrival the Tribhuvan International airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, you will be greeted by a representative from Nepal Wanders who will take you to our hotel. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner in a traditional Nepali cuisine restaurant where you will be able to enjoy authentic Nepali meal with a brief cultural program. Overnight at hotel in Kathmandu
We leave Kathmandu early in the morning by private bus. It is a scenic drive with several picturesque gorges and occasional glimpses of mountain peaks. There is a new hydro-plant being built at BhulBule by the Chinese and our lodge is a little farther up the Marsyangdi valley near to the village of Ngadi. Overnight in a teahouse lodge
After breakfast we set off for four to five hour walk up the east side of the valley to Syange for lunch at an old camp site now rice fields. There is wonderful bird life and butterflies all along the trail. After lunch, we cross the Marsyangdi river on the first Himalayan bridge of the trek to the west side of the valley and then trek for another three hours through farms, rice terraces and villages to the small village of Jagat. Overnight in a teahouse lodge
Shortly after leaving Jagat, there are views of the impressive 200m Chamje waterfall before dropping to the river and crossing to return to the quieter east side of the valley. A new dirt track, which now runs all the way into the Annapurna Circuit, is on the west side of the valley; we avoid this, enjoying the wildlife, flora, terraces and small farms and an occasionally excellent path of large stone steps climbing and descending the spurs of the valley. The trail passes through huge boulders fallen from the mountains above. There is a steep but spectacular ascent on a good trail to the beautiful and colourful village of Tal, which lies in a wide flat valley. After about four hours walking we have lunch at Tal. After lunch there is a dramatic section of the trail along the base of a cliff next to the Marsyangdi River. Landslides on the east bank make the trail here impassable and we have to cross the river to the west bank where we join the dirt jeep track for a short section into Dharapani. Overnight in a teahouse lodge
We climb to the village of Bagarchap, walk through a forest and then follow the river to Chame. Today, there are great views of Annapurna II (7,937m) and Lamjung Himal (6,932m) up the valley and if you look back you will be able to see the Manaslu (8,154m) and Peak 29 (7,833m). Overnight in a teahouse lodge
Leaving Chame you pass some mani walls and a little further there is a waterturned prayer wheel. After the suspension bridge the valley widens and Pisang Peak (6,091m) will become visible. Overnight in a teahouse lodge
We recommend taking the high level route to Manang (6 to 7 hours) today but there is also the option to take the low route (5 hours) along the valley floor. The high level route starts by crossing the river outside Pisang and follows a path which passes a lake and a long mani wall. There is a long climb along a switch back path to the village of Ghyaru. We will stop at one of the tea houses and enjoy the stunning view of Annapurna II and IV. From Ghyaru we follow a high level trail to Ngawal the next village. Finally you descend back to the valley floor and rejoin the main trail to continue to Braga and Manang. Overnight in a teahouse lodge
It is important to have an extra few days in Manang in order to help acclimatisation for the next few days as we start the climb towards the Thorong La. There are lots of options for day walks around Manang. One possibility is to walk to Khangsar village on the way to Tilicho Lake or a longer walk to Ice Lake above Braga. It is well worth visiting the gompa above Braga as well as attending the Himalayan Rescue afternoon lecture on altitude and acclimatisation. Overnight in a teahouse lodge
It is a shorter day today, about 3 to 4 hours, in order to help everyone acclimatise to the altitude. It is a good idea to go for an afternoon walk which also helps with this process, you can either walk up the valley and back to the lodge or climb the ridge behind the village. Overnight in a teahouse lodge
It is another short day of about 3 to 4 hours walking again to help the acclimatisation process. Leaving Yak Kharka we pass through a few lodges at Letdar and after crossing the river there is a climb to Thorong Phedi. In the afternoon it is a good idea to go for a short walk. Overnight in a teahouse lodge
Today we will leave Phedi at first light for the challenging walk over the Thorong La. The trail is on undulating terrain and after about 4 to 5 hours we should reach the pass. There are spectacular views of the Annapurna Range to the south and the Mukat Himal bordering Dolpo to the west, as we descend on the other side Annapurna (8,175m) and Tukuche Peak (6,920m). The descent to Muktinath is quite steep and will take between 3 to 4 hours. It is a good idea to have walking poles to help in case of a slippery path if there is still snow (depends on the time of year) and to take the strain off the knees. Overnight in a teahouse lodge
Today we have a short walk to Kagbeni, this will probably be welcome after the long day going over the pass yesterday. After breakfast it is well worth going to visit the temples above the village of Muktinath. The trail passes through a beautiful arid landscape in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, this is starkly different to green and lush terrain at the start of our trek a week ago! We descend steeply to the green oasis of Kagbeni. It is a fascinating place to explore with narrows streets and old buildings. One needs a special permit to follow the path north of Kagbeni along the Thak Khola to Upper Mustang. Overnight in a teahouse lodge
The trail follows the Kali Gandaki river down to the town/village of Jomsom. In Jomsom we stay at one of the lodges located near the airport. Overnight in a teahouse lodge
We take an early morning flight to Pokhara then connect onto another flight to Kathmandu. Overnight at Hotel Tibet, Hotel Manaslu or Hotel Ganjong (Meals: B). Important note: there is a significant safety risk to consider when flying on airlines in Nepal, if you would like to avoid STOL flight from Jomsom to Pokhara there is an option to extend your trek by to ing to Beni in three days and then driving to Pokhara. However there are also safety considerations with this option as driving in Nepal is risky too. For further information about the flight safety risk in Nepal please read our “Threat and Risk Assessment” plus “Jomsom STOL flight” sections of this Trip Dossier. Overnight at hotel in Kathmandu
This is a day to explore Kathmandu where we organise guided sightseeing to the Buddhist and Hindu sights in Kathmandu, to Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, Swayambunath – the Buddhist monkey temple and Pashupatinath – a sacred Hindu temple complex on the banks of the Bagmati River. In the Kathmandu Valley the landscape is dramatically sculpted by the contours of the paddy fields. The towns and villages are alive with the colours of farm produce, ranging from pyramids of golden grain to the vivid reds of chilli peppers laid out on mats to dry in the sun. In the streets and towns there is a constant bustle of activity, especially in the bazaars and markets where the farmers sell their vegetables and fruit. You should get back to the hotel after your sightseeing tour around midafternoon and the rest of the day is free for you to explore the city further and pack bags ready for the start of the trek the following morning. You can leave a bag at the hotel with items you will not need on the trek. Overnight at hotel in Kathmandu
Our representative will pick you up at the hotel and transfer you to international airport for onward journey.