Annapurna, Everest, Langtang, and Manaslu are popular trekking destination in Nepal. Trekking and mountaineering still dominating with over 55% traveler in 2018.
Annapurna as a part of Great Himalayas Range which is have peaks over six-thousanders, become the most popular trek destination among the trekkers around the world. But the question is why? Is trek to other region is not worth to try? Here I try to answer based on my research and interview with some expert trek planner in Kathmandu.
Mount Everest (8,848 meters) as a highest peak in Everest region, Annapurna 1(8,091 metres) as a highest peak in Annapurna region.
Manaslu (8,156 metres) as the highest peak in Mansiri Himal region and Langtang Lirung (7,227 metres) as the highest peak in Langtang.
Most of these mountains offer massif snow caped mountain peaks in the top and dense forest in the lower region. It’s actually difficult for me to define which one is the best mountains to visit for the first time.
It is because every peaks and trails have own uniqueness both bio-diversity and cultures.
Pokhara as a gateway of Annapurna trek and also the second biggest city in Nepal is a peaceful city in Nepal.
Pokhara have a good infrastructure. Its include road access, local and western restaurant, tourist spot and accommodation.
Annapurna legacy also has a role to make this trails become popular among trekker around the world.
Annapurna as the 10th highest mountain in the world, offer Glimpse of snowcap Mountain peaks. You can see 360 degrees-view of Annapurna Massif in Annapurna Base camp. It’s an incredible feeling to standing in the middle of Annapurna massif. After long-cold-days walking up and down through forest and Snow land.
Mount Everest as a highest mountain peak in the world become second popular in Nepal. From my perspective after I read some trekker forums, and talk with travel expert there. I conclude that why Everest become second and Annapurna still in the top destination. It’s not because Annapurna more beautiful and spectacular than Everest or other peaks lay in the great Himalayas. But, it because most of the trek in Everest region such as a trek to Everest base camp and Gokyo Lake is moderate to a difficult level. It means you need to have more days; it takes at least 12 days to reach base camp without helicopter ride.
Annapurna and Everest still become the most demanding trek in Nepal.
I think it’s because the trails and teahouses better and the number is greater, compare to the other area like Langtang or restricted area in Mustang, Manaslu and Dolpo.
So it is not because one mountain is more mesmerizing than others mountain.
Here I try to describe in details about why Annapurna become a hit and the most popular trek destination.
Annapurna Trail Option from Easy-Moderate-Difficult
The Annapurna Conservation Area is home to several world-class treks.
It’s including Annapurna Sanctuary and Annapurna Circuit.
The famous short trek is Poon Hill and the classic one which is also popular is the long trek “Annapurna Circuit”. Many of traveler doesn’t have long holidays and enough time to complete a long trek.
Some of other trails are long and need good fitness level, whereas most people only in average fitness level.
They also have a desire to trek in very high altitude like Annapurna.
The perfection of Annapurna is Annapurna region give us many options of trails from easy to difficult.
Different from Everest, Most of the trails such as Everest Base Camp trek and Gokyo have moderate to difficult trekking level. Most of them need good fitness level and take 12 days more to complete. It because the longer trails and higher altitude compare to Annapurna.
The following are some trekking in Annapurna region that arrange by Mountain-Hike Nepal. One of Local trekking agencies in Nepal. I link to their websites so you can get the information details if you wish.
|Annapurna Trekking||Highest Altitude||Day||Level||Budget|
|Panchase Trek- Pokhara||Panchase Bhanjyang [2065m]||4||Easy||$200|
|Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek||Poon Hill (3210m)||3||Easy||$270|
|Ghorepani Poonhill Trek||Poon Hill (3210m)||6||Easy||$500|
|Khopra Ridge Community Trek||Kaire Lake (4,500m)||9||Moderate||$900|
|Annapurna Circuit Trek – 10 Days||thorong la pass (5416m)||10||Moderate||$1,200|
|Tilicho Lake Mesokanta Pass Trekking||Tilicho Lake(4919m)||13||Moderate||$1,200|
|Annapurna Circuit With Tilicho Lake and Annapurna Base Camp||Thorong La Pass (5,416m)||23||Moderate||$1,800|
|Annapurna Base Camp Short Trek||Annapurna Base Camp(4130m)||6||Moderate||$700|
|Annapurna Base Camp Trek||Annapurna Base Camp(4130m)||7||Moderate||$625|
|Mardi Himal Trek||Mardi Himal Base Camp(3580m)||9||Moderate||$700|
|Jomsom Muktinath Treks||Muktinath(3802m)||12||Moderate||$1,400|
|Annapurna Sanctuary Treks-14 days||Annapurna Base Camp(4130m)||14||Moderate||$750|
|Annapurna Circuit Trek 13 days||thorong la pass (5416m)||13||Difficulty||$1,400|
|Annapurna Circuit Trek 18 Days||thorong la pass (5416m)||18||Difficulty||$1,600|
|Upper Mustang Trek-The Forbidden Kingdom||Drakmar Ghar Gompa (3810m)||14||Difficulty||$3,000|
The other reason makes Annapurna region become a popular is infrastructure.
Pokhara as the second biggest city in Nepal and closest city to Annapurna.
Not only has domestic Airport, the road facilities from Kathmandu to Pokhara also better compare to other like Langtang.
Pokhara also have so many tourist spots.
It includes Paragliding, Ultra flight, Bungee Jumping, Sarangkot, Tibetan refugee camp.
Pokhara also has some famous monastery, beautiful fewa lake, and yogas center.
Pokhara is like an oasis in the middle of the desert. After back from long trek through forest, villages and mountain without connectivity to outer world.
Pokhara also has over 814 hotels from USD$5 to USD$133 for a night. Now government still build International Airport in Pokhara that serve inter-continental flight. Government schedule to finish the airport’s development in 2021.
For now, we only can have a domestic flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara. So if you are from the other country, you need to flight to Kathmandu first before reach Pokhara.
Not only Pokhara, trekking style in Annapurna is teahouses trekking style. It’s mean that you will stay overnight in villages with teahouses or lodge.
Because Annapurna is famous, there are easy to find teahouses compare to the other region like Manaslu, Dolpo, langtang and mustang.
Some of remote area and restricted areas like Manaslu, Dolpo and Mustang and other remote areas, don’t have teahouse so we need to overnight in camp.
Annapurna Legacy and story behind Annapurna
The origin of a word and the historical development of Annapurna is “Hindu goddess of food and nourishment”.
The name Annapurna comes from Sanskrit-language words purna (filled) and anna (food) and translated as “everlasting food”.
The streams going down from the hills of the Annapurna Massif provide water for the agricultural at lower altitudes.
Annapurna massif in the Himalayas locate in north-central Nepal. It includes one peak over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft), thirteen peaks over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft), and sixteen moreover 6,000 metres (20,000 ft). Annapurna Sanctuary, a high basin, enclose these Annapurna massif.
Historically, the peak of Annapurna has been one of the most dangerous mountains in the world to climb. Southern surface of Annapurna 1 is very steep. A towering stone wall of 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) making these peak become the most strenuous climbs in the world. March 2012, there have been 191 climber summits of Annapurna 1, and 61 climber lost on the mountain. The fatality ratio to this summit is 32%. That is the highest fatality ratio among of the eight-thousanders.
October 2014, avalanches killed at least 43 people, and some 175 injured, because of snowstorms and avalanches on and around Annapurna. Between 10 and 50 people were missing. They believed that about 100 trekkers had left a teahouse at 4,800 metres (15,700 ft), to climb to the top of Thorong La pass and then descend.
Even though Annapurna is dangerous, because of terrible weather can lead to avalanches and landslide.
Annapurna still become a hit for peoples whose curious about the beauty and legacy of Annapurna.
My Final Thought
Trekking and mountaineering is the most travel activities in Nepal. These based on the statistic from Nepal Government Database in 2018. It is over than 55%.
Annapurna and Everest location is Conservation area and National park.
It’s easier for us to get permits and it’s also possible to go individually, compare with a Restricted area in Manaslu, Dolpo, and Mustang.
If you want to do trekking in these restricted areas, you need to follow government’s regulation.
Infrastructure and many options of trails become a key factor in why Annapurna become hit.
It is suitable for a beginner to advance trekker, depends on time, budget and fitness level.
How about you? Do you like to trek in famous destination or less-crowded trails like Langtang and remote area like Manaslu, Dolpo and Mustang?
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