Pokhara, besides being one of the major city of the Himalayan kingdom, NEPAL, is the place from where one can start the most exciting treks to the Annapurna region, which is seen hanging out in front of you as you enter the Pokhara.
1. Round Annapurna ( Thorongla Pass )
Annapurna region is best described as the most happening incentive trekking destination of Nepal. The Annapurna Circuit Trek has been proved as a highly praised and spectacular trekking route in the Annapurna region since it opened to foreign trekkers in 1977. This three weeks trek starts right from Besishahar and goes along the Marshyangdi River, with great view of Manashlu and Himal Chuli to the east. This magnificent trek leads you to the fine village inhabited by a wide diversity of people from different ethnic groups, offering spectacular and majestic view of the white Himalayas. As it continues to the north of the main Himalayan range on to the high and dry Tibetan Plateau, the scenery is equally breath taking.
The highest point of the trek is Thorong-la pass at the top of the valley at 5416m high. Due to the difficulties of crossing the pass, the circuit is usually walked in a counter clockwise direction. Traveling clockwise the longer ascent and shorter descent from west to east is too much for many peoples to manage in one day.
2. Annapurna Basecamp
This is one of the most favorite trekking destinations among the trekkers. It takes about 5 days to reach the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). They can visit Machhapuchhre Base Camp before reaching ABC and enjoy other several small mountains on the way.
Annapurna Conservation Area: The Annapurna Conservation Area covers aobut 7629 square kilometers. It is the largest protected are in Nepal containing 1226 species of plants (including 38 orchids and 9 rhododendrons, 101 mammals, 474 birds, 39 reptiles and 22 amphibians. The highest and lowest evaluation of the ACAP area is respectively 8091 meters (Annapurna-I) and 790 meters (Khudi).
3. Ghorepani Poon Hill
This winter, treat yourself to a festive Christmas or New Year break in Nepal. Enjoy a warm Nepalese welcome and the snowy surroundings of the Annapurnas. Before it’s too late, book an extraordinary Christmas holiday this year!
This short itinerary introduces the first time trekker to Nepal’s highest and finest mountain ranges – the Annapurnas. Besides a picturesque scenery, this trek also gives travellers an opportunity to observe the local people’s lives and culture. Trekking along the foothills of the Annapurnas makes any hiker look up in awe at this majestic Himalayan range dominating the surrounding geography.
The short trek begins the day after you arrive in Pokhara. A taxi will take you to Nayapul from Pokhara. Once you get on the dirt road heading down to the village and suspension bridge the trail is pretty straight forward. You’ll cross another bridge to Birethanti, check in at a check post and walk along a trail that follows the river. Next morning you drop sharply down to the river, cross one more suspension bridge (you’ll come across several on this trek) and start the long climb up to Ulleri, Banthanti and then walk through a rhododendron forest before reaching Ghorepani. From Ghorepani, the views keep getting better and there is no backtracking . After a good night’s sleep in Ghorepani, a morning ascent will take you to Poon Hill, one of the most popular places in the entire Annapurna region. From Poon Hill you can see the sun come up over the remarkable mountains – which is breathtaking in every way!
From Ghorepani you’ll walk along a long ridge through rhododendron forests, impressive river gorges and a winding stone staircase before stopping at Tadapani. The next day, you’ll walk along a forest trail, followed by patches of maize and potato fields to Ghandruk. Ghandruk is a popular Gurung settlement, whose many members have served or are now serving the British Army. After staying overnight in Ghandruk you’ll walk towards the village of Phedi and catch a coach to Pokhara. However, if you have more time at hand, you can go to Lhandruk and possibly Chomrong for a taste of higher mountain culture and landscape.
4. Machhapuchhre Model Trek
Machhapuchhre Model trek is the newly opened trekking area in Nepal, this fresh trekking trail offers you enchanting views of mountain ranges, rich vegetation along with the culture and lifestyle of the ethnic dwellers then this is just the perfect offer for you.
After half an hour drive by Jeep or Public bus from Pokhara, trekking can be started immediately crossing the Mardi River, if the trekkers want to get immediately close mammal. So the trekkers can experience the perfect natural sites.
The blending of rich cultural heritage of diverse ethnic groups like Gurung, Tamang, Magar, Damai, Kami, Sarki, Chetri, Newar, and Brahmins, etc with the eye catching views of snowcapped mountains like Mt. Mardi, Mt. Machhapuchre, and Annapurna Himalayan ranges from the close proximity. The opportunity to experience the combinations of rich flora & fauna, mountain forest, varied birds species, wild flowers, wild animals, and natural hot spring are supplementary attractions for visitors of all kinds.
The Mardi-river Valley in Rivan & Lahachok area is an appropriate place for swimming, fishing and watching migrant birds. A natural Cave formed by rock and limestone and Tea garden are the other attractions of the areas. It seems to be the most pleasurable resting place on the lap of Nature. It is here that one can enjoy perfect peace and silence; while resting one feels like meditating.
Ghandruk: Situated at the elevation of 1960 meters, the trekkers going for Ghodepani-Punhill, Jomsom, Muktinath and Annapurna spend a night or two at Ghandruk. The trekkers can observe the whole range of Annapurna Mountains from Ghandruk. A trek to Ghandruk from Pokhara can be completed in one day.
5. Mardi Himal
Trek through many ethnic group village seeing their culture, custom, ritual & norms. After finishing village walk you will enter in the jungle area where you can see many types of the orchids , NTFP, with enjoy of the wildlife observation along the dense rhododendron forest. Your destination is up to brown pasture land via top ridge of the hill seeing many other trekking trail as Annapurna sanctuary, Ghandruk loop, Annapurna panorama, Machhapuchhare taan model trek, Tara hilltop trek other places to be seen from here are sarangkot, pokhara valley,7 districts of the western Nepal. In the mountain whole Annapurna range (Annapurna i-iv, Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Tent Peak, Gandarwa Chuli, Singu Chuli, Holymount Fishtail, Mardi Himal, Lamjung Himal, Manaslu & Dhawalagiri) can be seen from the nearer point with enjoying peaceful &non crowded environment. Mainly Brahmin, Gurung, Chhetri, Tamang & blacksmith caste people stay in this area.
6. Dhaulagiri Ice Fall
There are six peaks in the entire range of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Mt. Dhaulagiri-I (8167 meter), Mt. Dhaulagiri, Dhaulagiri-II (7751 meter), Mt. Dhaulagiri, Dhaulagiri- III (7715 meter), Mt. Dhaulagiri, Dhaulagari IV (7661 meter), Mt. Dhaulagari, Dhaulagiri-V ( 7618 meters), Mt. Dhaulagari, Dhaulagiri- VI (7268 meter). It may take about 12 days to reach the base of Mt. Dhaulagiri. These mountains are the chief attraction among the trekkers.
7. Upper Mustang ( Lomanthang )
Mustang is a very popular trekking region in Nepal and has been described as desert in the mountain" The trek to this region is a very rewarding one for those who want to experience the hospitality of the people living in this remote region. Department of immigration issued only a small number of special permit since 1991. This is a perfect destination where ample scope is offered for visiting Buddhists monasteries. This semi autonomous and heavily Tibetan influenced region was described by Tilman as fascinatingly ugly country, the more fascinating for being so little known" indeed, the trek to LO Manthang is through an almost treeless barren landscape, a steep rocky trail up and down hill, panoramic view of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several others peaks make your trek memorable. A liaison officer is needed for this trek. This trek begins from Jomsom – accessible by air, Pokhara – accessible by road or Besisahar – accessible by road (If starting from Besisahar includes Annapurna circuit too). Upper Mustang is also known as" The last forbidden kingdom of Nepal".
8. Sikles Trek
Sikles Trekking made us to be pride ourselves on creating new and innovative treks that break away from the norm. For this camping trek we venture into rarely visited valleys deep within the Annapurna range. Sikles Trekking leads the wilderness exploration away from traditional Gurung villages. Upper areas further of Pothana will be walking through untouched primary forest is a rare joy anyway, but in the foothills of Nepal it is exhilarating.Along the Sikles Trekking going and coming back you will encounter and experience typical cultural villages.
Sikles trekking we start from Pokhara heading due north towards the holy mountain Machapuchare. Our ridgeline route offers wonderful views of the Annapurna and Manasulu ranges. Climbing though oak, rhododendron and bamboo forest we follow ancient trails to the Madi Khola valley and stay in the villages of Sikles, TangTing and Bhujung.
The trail follows the high alpine summer grazing route the shepherds use to herd their flocks above the treeline. The views from the ridges of the endless blue foothills as they roll southwards are unsurpassed anywhere in the country. This new trek offers a truly captivating village experience where we get to see the real rural Nepal. We camp at unique sites, eat the local dishes and witness daily life unfold around us. We also get to see a side of the Himalayas rarely seen.
9. Tangting To Bhujung (Experienced by Rup Narayan Dhakal)
When I didn’t get enough drinking water to exhaust my thrust It made me remember a television episode- Man versus Wild in the Discovery Channel where Bear Grylls strands himself in popular wilderness destinations where tourists often find themselves lost or in danger. His show comes with some interesting visuals.
I was trekking as part of an exploration trip from Tangting, a Gurung village in the northeast of Nepal’s touristy capital Pokhara, to Beshishahar via Bhujung and Ghalegaun, in the world famous Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) in mid Nepal. There I hardly could get water on the way that has been walked by herdsmen for years and the ACAP is trying to explore and develop this route as an alternative of those routes which were overlapped during road building in this project area.
I melted snow and ice over there to drink and survive myself in the trek. It was actually a six day long trek, organized by ACAP. However, I and my friend Ram dai completed it within five days. Before entering the tent erected for 3rd night in Wanje Kuna, a proposed camping site on this way, I along with my trekking team members including 10 porters who are actually supporters shouted loudly in the evening.
It was because seven of our team members were lost somewhere in the dense jungle miles far from our camp site and the shouting could help them trace us. Shepherds and the herdsmen speak loudly like oohu and ohho to get in touch to each others in the jungle and we also relied on same tactics. Before arriving to the campsite, we had trekked in snow for more than 3 hours that day.
As they were found by local herdsmen the next morning, they told us that they passed their night under a rhododendron tree having snow-water without any food items in the rainy and chilly environment. It was my 2nd experience of losing friends during the trek for one night and I had to face the same kind of incident during the Doodhpokhari trek, some two years ago. The exploration campaign was started with a jeep riding from Pokhara to arrive at Tangting in the first day on 31st March of 2009.
Tangting saw our first night stay in a building of mother’s group. I used sleeping-bag that night instead of woolen quilt that I have been using in my bed in Pokhara for years. The cultural program took place here as part of Tangting festival and forced us to vigil up to midnight, however I slept to fulfill my sleep later.
The 2nd morning began with a beautiful sunrise, and I left Tangting having some breakfast. The whole uphill trek of the 2nd day was tough. But the snowcapped mountainsâ€™ view made me feel relaxed. During uphill trek, I had chocolates, beaten maize, rhododendron flowers and buttermilk to get energy that brought me up to Karpu (2,960m). Our supporters and herdsmen found a water spring nearby a dharamshala (Pilgrim’s Rest House) for cooking and drinking purpose.
Earlier the team had carried bottles of locally brewed millet liquor that we drank before entering the sleeping-bag inside that rest house situated in the jungle. Vulgar jokes that our friends called non-vage jokes and playing cards also made the journey funny to some extent.
We walked more than 8 hours in most of the days. Fourth and fifth nights in Bhujung (1600m), a village development committee covering a single village with 350 households, were striking. Before arriving Bhujung, I took a dip in Midim Khola water that was so cool I couldn’t stay in it for even a minute. Cultural programs and dances from Gurung community were mind blowing in this village.
It was also the birth-land of Mr. Tek Gurung, who was our team leader as well as a tourism officer of ACAP. Tek is actually a funny guy who also has a skill of playing guitar. A male goat was be-headed for food purpose here in Bhujung. Handicrafts like Radi (a thick shirt made of mountain goat’s or sheep’s wool) and Bakhkhu (a thick sack made of mountain goat or sheep’s wool is used to be saved from rainwater or cold environment) is also available here in Bhujung.
Snowcapped mountain views, rhododendron forests, wildlife, Midim Khola (stream), dense Gurung villages, Goth culture (in the summer season, herdsmen stay in a temporary built shacks in the top of the mountains to watch their cattle) are the major attractions of that proposed route. Ghale Gaun is another attraction which has been picked up by Nepal Tourism Board as a touristy village in Lamjung district.
Ghalegaun (2070m), Bhujung and Tangting offer home stays since there are no modern hotels. Access in this whole route is very hard, so a local guide is recommended. Organized trekking with tents would be better. Training to the villagers regarding hospitality, improvement of trails and tracing out of water springs along the trails are necessary before organizing a professional tourist trekking here in this trail.
On 5th of April, I left Bhujung to arrive Beshishahar via Ghalegaun. As I arrived to Beshishhar after 7 hours of hiking, I took a bus for Dumre to arrive Pokhara. But our team was still in Ghalegaun as I arrived to Pokhara.
10. Royal Trek
The Royal Trek is one of the shortest treks that start from the foothills of Annapurna. During 1930s, the Prince Charles of England had trekked this route, which gave it its name, The Royal Trek. The Royal trek starts by crossing the Vijaypur River to reach Thulakot. It offers many splendid views of the hillside terrace and magnificent Annapurna Himalayan Range, ending the trek at the scenic Begnas Lake, west of the Pokhara City.