Annapurna

NEPAL
15 days in November, 2010

This classic trek is often called "the world's best trek". And if you are looking for a trek that is both comfortable (nice huts, good food etc), with views of high mountains (8000+ m peaks), interesting ancient cultures and just stunning landscapes, then I'm prepared to agree :)
You won't find wilderness along the main trail, but the above factors makes this a trek that everybody would enjoy. Also, it's a good place to make new friends, as you will meet a lot of other trekkers in the evenings in the huts.


 
We walked the circuit from Bhulebule via Thorung La pass to Tatopani.
Then we continued east via Ghorepani to Naya Pul.


 

 

 
 

A giant moth on the guesthouse in Bhulebhule.

 
 

Bhulebhule main street

 
 

Soon after Bhulebhule we saw our first 8000 meter peak: Manaslu (8156 meters, the 8th highest in the world)

 
 

A huge swing made of bamboo,
and a nice waterfall in the background...

 
 

It was some sort of holiday (Diwali?) so the kids made this game where they would force us to pay money for them to let us through :)

 
 

Not recommended by Lonely Planet? :)

 
 
 
 
 

The incredible rice terrasses

 
 

A mantis (bönsyrsa)

 
 

Colorful bug

 
 

In a tiny restaurant we got the best and cheapest Dal Baat (rice, lentils and vegetable curry) on the whole hike + a glas of buffalo milk.

 
 

The valley is getting narrow and steep!

 
 

Sadly, they have built a road here. Even more sad is that they have built it in a way that has created huge wounds of erosion and landslides on the mountain slopes, making parts of this section of the circuit less attractive :(

 
 

Fresh mint tea is one of many nice drinks you can buy in the tea houses and guest houses along the trail.

 
 

 

 
 

This is how nice the guesthouses can be.
We were surprised to see how good the standard of the accommodation was.
A double room only cost about 2½ Euro!
And the beds are comfy & clean.

 
 

Maoist propaganda

 
 

Another view of Manaslu peak

 
 

Tea break

 
 

Cool path through a canyon

 
 

A small lake with a huge glacier-polished
mountain in the background.

The trek started in the "tropics" with rice terasses, banana trees, papaya and hot weather... But now we were walking through nordic pine forests and with frost in the mornings.

 
 

One of the best views ever...

 
 
 

We met a young couple from Luleå (northern Sweden) that we walked with a couple of hours

 

 

Talking to a British couple and the Duth couple Alfons & Wieke

 
 

An amazing stone village with medieval narrow streets.
And a pretty good view as well... :)

 
 
 
 

The village seen from a distance.

 
 

The structure to the left in the foreground was an ancient fortification with a strategic view of the entire valley

 
 

Temple

 
 

The huge, glacier-polished "wave mountain"

 
 

The landscpe is getting dry and canyon-like.
An incredible change in climate and landscape in just a few days of hiking.

 
 

 

 
 

Fresh seabuckthorn juice (havtorn).
Very tasty!

 
 

Braga village climbing on the rocks

 
 

Braga village from above

 
 

Kids in Braga

 
 

Window in Braga

 
 

Dayhike towards Kilicho Tal ("the ice lake")

 
 

Yaks

 
 

From a "German Bakery"

 
 

The upper lake

 
 

The lower lake

 
 

We saw (and heard) an avalanche from that mountain.
Also, note the nice layering in the mountain to the left.

 
 

That's where we came from

 
 

A lake in the outskirts of Manang

 
 

Manang

 
 

Our guesthouse in Gunsang

 
 

Such a nice guesthouse at this high altitude!
They put a kettle of glowing coles under the tables
while we were having dinner, to keep us warm :)

 
 

Dinner with Alfons & Wieke (Netherlands)
and Benjamin & Eva (Germany)
- our companions for the rest of the hike, and the rest of the trip until Varanasi!

 
 

Pizza

 
 

Waking up on my birthday - 32 years old.

 
 

The world's best girlfriend :)
<>

 
 

 

 
 

Thorung Pedi

 
 

My birthday dinner

 
 

 

 
 

Coffee, fresh seabuckthorn juice and some sort of apple cake with custard. Or should I say custard with apple cake... :)

 
 

On the way to Thorung La pass.
We could really feel the altitude, and how difficult it was to breathe.

 
 

A tea shop on the way to the Torun La pass.
Must be one of the highest shops in the world :)

 
 

We made it!
Torung La pass - 5426 m altitude.

 
 

Nice nearby peaks and glaciers

 
 

Heading deeper into Mustang - "the forbidden kingdom".
A mysterious land in the rain-shadow of the Great Himalayan Range.

 
 

What's the fourth item from the bottom?
I don't remember ordering THAT?!?!

 
 

Our first view of Dhaulagiri mountain
(8167 m - the 7th highest peak in the world!)

 
 

Jharkot village

 
 

 

 
 

Details on a door

 
 

Creepy statues would guard some streets...

 
 

Are those real human teth?!?!
Creepy...

 
 

A female standing on the other side of the street

 
 
 

More snow leopard tracks...

 
 

The famous Yak Donald's restaurant... :)
In Kagbeni village.

 
 

This was (surprisingly) probably the best guesthouse along the whole trail. They hade excellent food, the best (real) homebaked bread and the cleanest rooms with private (clean!) bathroom for only 2 Euro for a double room!

 
 

I don'y eat meat very often,
but I had to try the Yak burger...

 
 
 
 
 

Medieval streets

 
 

Prayer wheels

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The entrance to Upper Mustang - a forbidden area which you can only enter if you have a guide and pay a huge amount of money for a permit...
 
 

Another one of those creepy statues on the streets...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The west part of the Anapurna circuit has been replaced by a road... But in the future the trail will follow some higher trails, so that the road won't be noticed. We managed to find some of them already, and they were really nice! Some say that they will be nicer than the original route.

 
 
 
 
 

After a while we got a bit lost, so we waded the Kaligandaki river to get to the road.

 
 

Marpha village.
A good place for tasting good alcoholic fruit drinks :)

 
 
Once more we found some of those trails which the circuit will use in the future. This was probably the best path on the whole trek :)
 
 
And on the original route the view of Dhaulagiri mountain probably wasn't this nice!
 
 

Dhaulagiri
8167 m, the 7th highest mountain in the world!

 
 

Seabuckthorn berries

 
 
Tatopani. With a great view of the peak Nilgiri (7061 m).
Great food, great company and great view. Life is good!!! :)
 
 

Nilgiri peak (7061 m)

 
 

Drinking lassi in the hot springs of Tatopani

 
 

The trek towards Ghorepani passed many picturesque villages

 
 

More signs of Maoists, and a buddhist (I hope) swastika

 
 
 
 
 

The view from Poon Hill.
This is a classic viewpoint where you will see all the major peaks of the central Nepalese Himalayas - on a clear day that is :(
But we did get to see the famous Machapuchare peak for a while, when the clods temporarily cleared.

 
 

Back in the rainforest. Here Benjamin is looking at langurs.

 
 

Village life

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Traffic jam in a village.