Different Alternatives of the Annapurna Circuit Trek

  • Karan Gurung
  • Last Updated on Feb 20, 2024

The Annapurna Loop is a phenomenon of a hiking station that captivates every nature enthusiast to travel there. Its unfinished beauty and the warm hospitality of the locals make this adventure more special, which encourages people to visit it again and again. It’s for sure that this journey gives you a once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

The Annapurna Circuit offers a wide range of natural beauties. The walkway leads you through terrace fields, rhododendron forests, towering waterfalls, settlements of mixed ethnic groups, etc. in the beginning and slowly to the treeless area in the alps. During the journey, the splendid panorama of snow-capped mountains, along with the picturesque landscape, gives you goosebumps

If you are mapping out your leisure destination as the Annapurna Circuit, the venture offers several itineraries ranging from 9 days to 21 days. Its your choice. How many days do you want to spend in the mountains? Backpackers with less vacation can do the short Annapurna Circuit Trek, whereas trekkers with more days in Nepal can do the Annapurna Circuit with the Tilicho Lake Trek.

Tilicho Lake


Table of Contents

What are the alternatives to trekking routes and hiking spots during the Annapurna Circuit Trek?

The Annapurna Circuit is a legendary and iconic trekking spot in Nepal, where thousands of visitors visit every year. As part of this adventure, you have different alternative itineraries to choose from according to your leisure time in Nepal. Touring can last anywhere from nine days to a month.

Before selecting the Aannapura Circuit routes, get the proper information and the best itinerary from the travel agent you choose. They are experts, and they must have been there many times, and they will suggest the best route according to your leisure time and physical fitness.

Choosing such an adorable place as the vacation, go through it thoroughly. Everything is mentioned and explained in detail. The best itinerary, trekking route, trekking map, height and elevation of mountains, cost of permit, etc.

Is it possible to do both the Manaslu Circuit and the Annapurna Circuit?

The answer is yes! The journey will be longer and tougher due to combining two different routes into one. Many backpackers have done this adventure many times. If you have enough time in Nepal and good physical fitness, then this itinerary could be a perfect one.

Similarly, if you join the two destinations into one, the venture starts on the Manaslu Circuit. The itinerary of the Manaslu Circuit is also modifiable. It can be from 12 days to 21 days. Once the Manaslu Circuit is completed, continue the Annapurna Circuit from Dharapani (the end point of the Manaslu Trek and the start of the Annapurna Circuit Trek).

Another thing is that while doing this joint venture, an excursionist needs to get two different permits and TIMS cards. MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Permit) for the Manaslu region and ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit) for the Annapurna region.

Besides, a traveler needs to be fully prepared for the adventure, both physically and mentally. The tour will go longer, and there will be immense ascent and descent on a rough and rocky trail. In addition, Larke La Pass and Thorng La Pass are the two high passes that rise above 5,000 meters.

What is the shortest itinerary for the Annapurna Circuit Odyssey?

Begins with attention: the shortest itinerary for the Annapurna Circuit trek will be 9 days. There are many alternatives to choose from, but if the vacation period is limited, Short Annapurna Circuit Trek 9 Day is a perfect itinerary. We have illustrated below the detailed outline itinerary of it; go through it in detail.

The outline itinerary for the short Annapurna Circuit trek over nine days, along with a map, is:

Day 1: Drive from Kathmandu to Chame via Besisahar (9–10-hour drive).

Day 2: Trek from Chame to Upper Pisang (4-5 hours)

Day 3: Trek from Upper Pisang to Manang (7-8 hours)

Day 4: Rest day at Manang

Day 5: Trek from Manang to Leader (4-5 hours)

Day 6: Trek from Leader to High Camp (4-5 hours)

Day 7: Trek from High Camp to Muktinath via Thorong La Pass (9–10 hour)

Day 8: Drive from Muktinath to Pokhara (7-8 hours)

Day 9: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu (7-8 hours)

In contrast, during this short Annapurna Circuit trek, gaining height is quick. We strongly advise the backpackers to prepare themselves before this adventure. Regular jugging, gym, cardio training, swimming, cycling, etc. It increases your stamina and keeps you fit and fine, which helps you a lot during your entire journey.

Short Annapurna Circuit 9 days trek

What is the best itinerary for two weeks around Annapurna?

Analyzing the best itinerary around Annapurna for two weeks might be either the short Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake 12 Days or the Annapurna Circuit. Both the destinations are equally beautiful and amazing. They will give you a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Firstly, the short Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake Trek (12 days) is a challenging and rewarding itinerary. Drive from Kathmandu to Dharapani, start hiking from here, and follow the regular itinerary. The adventure offers the adobeable beauty of mother nature along with a delightful glimpse of a highly located lake (Tilicho Lake, 4,919 m/15,138 ft) and Thorong La Pass (5,416 m/17,769).

Secondly, Annapurna Circuit is an easy and comfortable journey that starts with a drive to Jagat from Kathmandu and a hike from the place. The route offers a magnificent landscape, towering waterfalls, a vibrant hill, and crystal-clear white mountains. Along with the culture of the locals, caves, and monasteries, an immense number of prayer flags and memorials make this voyage more attractive and interesting.

Overall, both itineraries are perfect on their own and follow the same journey. The only difference is that the Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake has an extra few days of itinerary that goes towards Tilicho Lake.

Tilicho lakeAnnapurna circuit

What is the itinerary for the Annapurna Circuit, including Nar Phu Valley?

Nar Phu Valley, the hidden gem of Nepal, lies northeast of Annapurna Circuit, which offers an authentic off-the-beaten-path hiking experience to nature enthusiasts. It is a less-known leisure destination but requires a special permit.

In addition, travelers will have the opportunity to encounter the organic Tibetan culture, traditions, ancient monasteries, prayer flags, and traditional practices. The valley offers a diverse range of landscapes, from alpine meadows to high mountain deserts, along with a breathtaking glimpse of the pristine Himalayas.

However, joining Annapurna Circuit with the Nar Phu Valley Trek gives an opportunity to experience both: popular with a crowd of travelers and less known with fewer hikers along the trail. It will be a perfect itinerary for those travelers who love unique hiking experiences.

The outline itinerary for the Annapurna Circuit with Nar Phu Valley is:

Day 1:  Drive from Kathmandu to Jagat via Besisahar

Day 2: Trek from Jagat to Dharapani

Day 3: Trek from Dharapani to Koto

Day 4 Trek from Koto to Meta

Day 5: Trek from Meta to Phu Gaun

Day 6: Trek from Phu Gaun to Nar Village

Day 7: Explore Nar Village

Day 8: Trek from Nar to Ngawal via Kang La Pass

Day 9: Trek from Ngawal to Manang

Day 10: Trek from Manang to Yak Kharka

Day 11: Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorang Phedi

Day 12: Trek from Thorang Phedi to Muktinath via Thoronh La Pass

Day 13: Trek from Muktinath to Jomson via Kagbeni

Day 14: Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara

Day 15: Drive back to Kathmandu

Above is the day-to-day outline itinerary for Annapurna Circuir with Nar Phu Valley Trek. It will help travelers organize and plan for this adventure.

Nar Phu Valley

Is there any acclimatization day during the Annapurna Circuit Journey?

Notably, while hiking in the alps, acclimation days or acclimation hikes are very important to make your body friendly to nature and to minimize the altitude problem. On this adventure, there is an acclimation at Manang Village. On your rest day, you have the option to do either Chhonkar View Point, which is at a height of 3,900 m, or Ice Lake, where the lake is located at a height of 4,600 m.

What is the benefit of hiking at Chhonkar View?

Chhonkar view points stand at the lap of two stunning mountains: Annapurna III and Gangapurna. On the rest day at Manang, the maximum number of hikers visit to explore the beauty of nature at this point. It takes around an hour to an hour and a half to reach there from Manang Village.

The view point offers a glorious landscape of Manang Valley, Gangapurna Lake, and towering snow-capped mountains like Annapurna I, Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna, Chulu Peak, Pisang Peak, and Tilicho Peak. The outstanding vista from the point makes the journey more beautiful and memorable.

Another reason to visit Chhonkar View Point is for an acclimation hike. Acclimation hikes are more essential for travelers while rambling around high altitudes. The viewpoint is approximately 3,900 meters high, which helps travellers in the coming days.

These are the reasons why the leader of the team took the trekkers to Chhonkar View Point on the rest day.

Is it worth it to do an Ice Lake hike?

Yes, hiking to an ice lake is 100% worth it if you are a true nature enthusiast. It is a hidden gem of the Annapurna Circuit trek that surprises each traveler with its adorable beauty.

Ice Lake prevailed over the magnificent sight of Annapurna II, Chulu Peak, Gangapurna, Ice Lake, beautiful meadows, monasteries, and many more. This is the perfect place to witness the best view ever during the entire journey. It will take 6-7 hours in total for a whole-day visit to the place.

Normally, journeys start as early as possible for the Ice Lake. It is quite far from the lodge, and the routes are also difficult. Starting with a small falt up to Brakha and ascent steep up hill till the lake in a narrow and rough trail. The journey is tough and challenging, but fully rewarding once you reach the top.

Another crucial reason to do this hike is to acclimatize your body to the environment and avoid altitude problems in the coming days. The lake is located at a height of 4,600 meters; hiking to this place helps a lot on the day of Tilicho Lake or Thorong La pass.

ice lake

Do I need a map for the Annapurna Circuit Excursion?

Annapurna Circuit is one of the most demanding trekking destinations in Nepal, which lies in the central northern part of the country. Every year, thousands of backpackers visit here and return with precious memories and happiness. Trekking to Annapurna Circuit comes under the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), so travelers require an ACAP permit and TIMS card to enter the valley.

While issuing permits, the cost for foreign travelers is 3,000 Nepali rupees, 1,000 for SAARC nations, and 100 for Nepali travelers. Whereas, the TIMS card costs you 2,000 rupees for all travelers and 1,000 rupees for SAARC nations. Check out the map below.


Conclusion for Annapurna Circuit alternative routes

In conclusion, the Annapurna Circuit remains one of the favourite leisure destinations among backpackers. There are an immense number of alternatives in the Annapurna Region, according to your preferences and priorities. Exploring the different alternatives in the region provides a wide range of trekking experiences in the Himalayas of the Annapuna region.

Karan Gurung

Karan Gurung

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