Side trips during Annapurna circuit trekking highlights of this trek. The Annapurna circuit trekking is known as one of best trekking trail in Nepal. Since the route was opened in 1990 AD it became very popular among the trekkers from all over the world. Still the numbers of new trekkers hitting the trail of annapurna circuit is increasing annually. Starting at the sub alpine climatic zone of Beshisahar (760m/2492 ft) and crosses through the world largest pass called Thoroung-La (5416 m /17764 ft). This trek takes around two week or more. We have many choices for this trek that how many days we would like to spend in the mountain. We have option of taking jeep from Muktinath or fly out from Jomsom or we can walk through the region exploring landscape and people. There are bunch of side trips during annapurna circuit trekking below we going to talk about them one by one.
I) Milarepas Cave 4000m/13120 ft: This cave is located at foothill of Annapurna III at north faced side of the mountain. This cave name Milarepa belongs to buddhist saint Milarepa. It is believed that Milarepa had meditated under this cave. This cave can be reached after walking 3hrs from Manang. During the hike to cave we can see beautiful scenery of the Marsyangdi valley, Chulus & Pisang peak as well.
II) Ice Lake 4600m/1588 ft: This Lake is located at the connecting neck of Chulu Far East. It takes 4hrs to reach the lake from Manang via Braga. The scenery from the lake is very stunning as we can see Annapurna II, Annapurna IV, Annapurna III, Gangapurna, Khangsahar, Tilicho peak and Chulu east. The lake used to frozen during night and morning time in winter and springs thus this lake is called Ice lake.
III) Gangapurna lake 3500m/11480 ft: This lake is located at the foothill of Mt Gangapurna Glacier. This lake we formed due to the meltdown of Glacier Gangapurna. To reach this place it takes 20min from Manang. Alpine migratory ducks can be seen at this lake usually. Marsyangdi River flows just through the side of this lake.
IV) Tilicho Lake 4900m/16072 ft: This lake is known as one of the highest lake on earth. The scenery is so stunning surrounded by beautiful mountain. To reach this lake it takes around 10hrs from Manang so we have to stay in the Tilicho base camp for first night which is 4150m/13612 ft and next day early morning we go to visit Tilicho lake then we come back down to Manang.
V) Kagbeni 2800m/9184 ft: This village is located at the bank of river Kaligandaki. After crossing Thoroung-La Pass we can reach this place next day. Many trekkers don’t care about this village while going to Jomsom or further but for sure this is one of the worthy places to visit and explore in Kaligandaki valley. We can see medieval village, monastery, temple, apple orchard and farming.
VI) Marpha 2670m/8758 ft: This village is located some 6km further of Jomsom which is the head quarter of Mustang district. There are bunch of things to explore in Marpha village. The first thing that fascinates visitor in Marpha is the the typical house and the dried wood on the roof top. Then there are numerous things to explore like Monastery, apple orchard, Apple brandy brewery, Marpha spinach, Himalayan herbs.
VII) Titi Lake 2550m/8364 ft: This Lake can be reached after hiking 1.5hrs uphill from Kokhethanti. The walk to Lake Traverse through pine trees forest. When we reach the lake we get surprise by the surrounding beauty. From the lake we can see Mt Dhaulagiri, Tukuchey Peak, Thapa peak, Dhaulagiri Ice fall.
As we discussed about the possible side trip and place of interest in Annapurna circuit in the above paragraph. There are still lot more possible place of interest which we haven’t mention in the above paragraph.