The Annapurna region is an absolutely stunning trekking area in Nepal. After the Everest region it is the most popular trekking destination in the country. The region is situated in the middle of Nepal, just north of the city of Pokhara and houses the iconic Annapurna I, the tenth highest mountain in the world at 8,091 meters, and the Kali Gandaki River – the World’s deepest gorge. The scenery in the Annapurna region is characterised by alpine meadows, glaciers and large moraines. There are 13 mountain peaks over 7,000 meters and 16 more peaks over 6,000 meters in the region. The Annapurna Region in north western Nepal has been touted as having the world’s best trekking routes. where begin the finest trekking from the lake city of Pokhara, popular treks lead to Jomsom, Annapurna Base Camp, Mustang, Manang and around the Annapurna mountain. Also do a some short treks to Sikles and Ghandruk are just as popular. The Annapurna region is an area of contrasts comprising the wettest, driest and windiest places in Nepal.
“The Annapurna region is Nepal’s the most popular trekking destination with four of the world’s highest mountains, and the world’s deepest valley within it’s boundaries. Annapurna trek through forests of rhododendron & isolated mountain villages encountering temples, monasteries and taking in breathtaking landscapes.”
I sometimes wonder what it is that motivates a person to desert the comforts of home to camp out under the stars. To venture out onto wild, to wander along paths that are scoured by the elements. Drawn to the raw power and spectacular, pristine beauty of Nature.
For some it may be an excuse to try out their latest addition to their avid collection of hiking gadgets and gear, for others it is a personal challenge. Pushing yourself to find new limits. Determined to emerge triumphant, finding the measure of your soul whilst feasting your eyes on scenery that will brand itself into your memory. For most I imagine, it is the opportunity to reawaken the knowledge of the immense forces of nature, and the unspeakable grandeur and crisp clean air that can only be found far from the sprawling, smog filled cities. Scenes that beg to be captured in some way and shared with friends.
A photographer’s dream.
For photographic enthusiasts, one of the most breathtaking destinations can be found in Nepal, in the Himalayas. The Annapurna peaks, which tower over 8000 feet in places, and considered to be among the world’s most dangerous mountains to climb. Expeditions to conquer the peaks have claimed several lives in history. However, today the danger and discomforts have been mitigated by carefully prepared trails and delightful village guest houses and hotels populate the trails that allow even the most inexperienced adventurer the opportunity to witness the grandeur of these majestic peaks from relative comfort.
Modern day accessibility.
For the locals, Annapurna translates as ‘Goddess of the Harvests’. The Annapurna conservation area is the first and largest conservation area in Nepal, and is home to several world-class hikes, including the Annapurna Circuit. The Annapurna Circuit circles the Annapurna Himal itself, and also includes the Jomsom route, one of the three major trekking routes. There is even an airstrip, and a bus service to speed you along on your journey.
Nowadays it is no longer necessary to hire a guide. A road, and improvements to the trails allow safer travel, simply make sure you have a good guidebook on hand before you set out to absorb the natural sights and fascinating culture and cuisine of the surrounding villages. However, going with a guided group can enhance the overall experience, and a knowledgeable local can provide you with some real insights and entertainment. You can also choose from a selection of short or longer trails.
The local comforts and economy.
Support of the local communities is encouraged, by making use of the hospitality that the villagers offer. There is a generous scattering of tea houses that will provide plenty of hot water for you to sluice off the dust from the day’s travel, before you settle down to a warm meal and comfortable bed.
Annapurna has grown in popularity, and is currently considered one of the top destinations for trekkers. It has been described as “…a visually extraordinary place”. Once you’re armed with your hiking gear, travel permits, documents and passport contact number and so on, grab your camera and brace yourself for the most unforgettable experience as you foray into the ancient heart of Annapurna.
When is the best time to trek in the Annapurna region?
Like the Everest region there are two main trekking seasons in the Annapurnas: September-November and February-May. The monsoon season from June-August is lighter than that experienced in the Everest region which means that trekking can still take place.
Here is a breakdown of what weather to expect during each of the seasons.
As with the Everest region, Spring in the Annapurnas is a fantastic time to trek. Longer dry days become the norm and daytime temperatures rise to the low 20s.
In the Annapurnas, the monsoon is a tale of two regions. To the East the mountains are affected by the monsoon rain, although not as heavily as in the Everest region so it is still possible to trek the full Annapurna Circuit. To the West the mountains create a strong rain-shadow and so they remain dry all year
The real peak season for trekking in the Annapurnas. As the monsoon recedes, the days become a little cooler, less humid and most of the time it will be sunny and warm.
With the onset of winter in the Annapurnas, temperatures fall rapidly and when there is precipitation it falls as snow. The Thorung La pass on the Annapurna Circuit is closed for these months but for the hardy trekker our other treks continue to operate.