The 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek, also known as Mini Annapurna Circuit, is a shorter version of the standard AC Trek that takes 20 days to complete. This 12 days trekking itinerary around the Annapurna Circuit is designed to favor the time-bound trekkers who are unable to manage an extended vacation and still want to experience the thrill of circling the Annapurna range on foot.
Despite a short itinerary, you won't miss much by taking the 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek, as we follow the usual route passing by Manang, Thorong La, and Muktinath to end the trek at Jomsom. We take a direct flight from Jomsom to Pokhara, skipping almost a week-long hike back to Pokhara.
Gaining popularity after Manang opened its doors to trekkers in the 1980s, the Annapurna Circuit Trekking has become one of Nepal's most traversed trekking routes. The mountain vistas you'll see while hiking around the Annapurna range look like something out of a dream. That is also the reason why the Annapurna Circuit Trek is a dream of trekking enthusiasts all over the globe.
The 12 days Annapurna circuit trek is one of the most gratifying high-altitude treks you can take in Nepal. This should be the trek you take if you only have time for one in your life. One journey will be more beneficial to you than many others. The circuit trip is regarded as the best long-distance trek in the world since it passes through numerous climatic zones, displays a stunning variety in terrain, and, most importantly, encounters a wide range of ethnic groups.
In addition to the fascinating natural beauty, the Annapurna region is equally blessed with gorgeous vegetation serving as a home to unique flora and fauna. Furthermore, the friendly encounter with local villagers from different ethnic backgrounds living in harmony will fill your heart with joy. You can learn about the rich Hindu and Buddhist culture preserved by these communities for generations.
Our Outfitter Nepal experts have gathered all the information for you to efficiently plan your 12 days Circuit trek in the Annapurna region. Let's go ahead and take a look at the special features and more reasons to go for the 12 Days AC Trek. Read along to go through the virtual journey of the Annapurna Circuit before even reaching Nepal. If you have any queries at the end, feel free to reach out to us via mail or WhatsApp. We're always at your service.
What to anticipate from the 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek?
The 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek traverses through Thorong La Pass (5,416 m), the highest trekking pass in Nepal. Similarly, you get to spend the night in Annapurna Region's two most beautiful locations (Manang and Muktinath), which is a terrific way to learn about the locals who live there. We'll get to know the everyday routines of the Nepalese mountain people as we hike day after day across the most isolated area of the nation. This trip lets you experience the magnificence of the majestic Himalayas as well as the culture of small, rural communities.
The circuit hike in Annapurna is regarded as more than just a trek for a variety of reasons. The richness of culture in naturally beautiful places from beginning to end is admirable. The entire Himalayan journey is an adventure where you may see some of the most beautiful mountains on earth and get to know and respect the mountain people's fascinating culture and distinctive way of life.
Beginning with a supervised day trip to Kathmandu, the Annapurna Circuit Trekking starts in Kathmandu. You go by bus to Bhulbhule the following morning to begin the journey. The Marsyangdi River Valley and the Kali Gandaki River Valley are the two principal river valleys that the trail follows. Thorong Phedi is reached after traveling the first portion of the trail, which follows the Marsyangdi River Valley. You then continue walking in the Kali Gandaki River Valley after traversing the difficult Thorong La Pass. Expect to have a lifetime experience on the trip.
What Makes the 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek Unique?
The ever-changing climatic zone, vegetation, and weather pattern of the Annapurna Circuit set it apart from the other treks. The Annapurna Circuit trekking journey begins in a lush subtropical region, where you can hear the rushing sound of a river at a distance. You go past various terraced farms and fields in nice and warm weather. Countless Himalayan villages that are attractively constructed in the traditional manner can be seen along the way. After that, you ascend the Marsyangdi River Valley while traveling through cooler deciduous woodlands. Rich subtropical vegetation, including rhododendron, birch, oak, and juniper trees, make most of the woodlands you travel through. You might as well see some animals at the Annapurna National Park.
After a few days, you'll start to see the Annapurna ranges clearly, including Annapurna I (8,091 m), the highest peak in the area and the tenth-highest peak in the world. Then you trek above the tree line to see desolate ravines and barren hills encircled by snow-capped summits. The Manangis live in a desert-like region of the Himalayas where the air is thin, and the wind is frequently severe. The highest point of the Annapurna Trek is at Thorong La, a mountain pass located 5,416 meters above sea level where the Khatung Kang and Yakawa Kang mountains converge.
You can observe the amazing, desert-like Himalayan slopes with their distinctive purplish color from Thorung La Pass. From this point on, the walk mainly descends. Before returning to Pokhara's picturesque Valley of Lakes, you'll descend the alpine environment and pass through rich subtropical vegetation again.
How is the 12 Days Itinerary of the Annapurna Circuit Trek Designed?
The 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek starts with a drive to Dharapani, after which you begin your trek following the Marshyangdi River Valley. The hike continues to Manang village, stopping for the nights in Chame and Pisang. You have a rest day in Manang to get used to the high altitude before continuing your walk to the Thorong La Pass. After spending 2 nights at Yak Kharka and Thorung Phedi, you reach Thorong La Pass, the highest point of the 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trekking.
Thorong La Pass has become a significant tourist attraction as it is the highest trekking pass in Nepal. You trek ahead to reach Muktinath, where you visit the holy Muktinath temple, also known as "the God of Salvation" in Hinduism. You then trek to Jomsom via Kagbeni and take a morning flight from Jomsom to Pokhara the next day. You can relax at Lakeside, Pokhara, for the rest of the day. Your trip ends with a 6-8 hours bus ride from Pokhara to Kathmandu the following day.
Best Features of the 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek
- Scenic drive from Kathmandu to Dharapani
- Trekking through the Marshyangdi River Valley
- Visiting Manang village and looking over the charismatic Gangapurna Glacier and Lake
- Crossing the rugged Thorong La Pass at 5416 meters
- Seeking blessings from the holy Muktinath temple
- Observing village life of different ethnic groups
- Hiking through the alluring forests of Rhododendron and Oak
- Exploring beautiful lakes, viewpoints, and relaxing lakeside cafés in Pokhara
Major Attractions of the 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek
Mesmerizing vistas of the Annapurna range and surrounding mountains
It is given that you'll witness the mountains of the Annapurna range during the 12 Days Annapurna Circuit trek. This 55-kilometer-long massif houses several peaks like Annapurna (8091 m), Machhapuchchhre (6993 m), Gangapurna (7455 m), Nilgiri Himal (7061 m), Tilicho Peak (7135 m) and others. In addition to these mountain peaks, you'll also get to enjoy the view of Dhaulagiri (8167m), Mt. Manaslu (8163 m), Mt. Lamjung Himal (6986m), and more. You're, in fact, surrounded by snow-capped mountains in all directions.
Enchanting Himalayan landscape with diverse vegetation
The 12 days Annapurna Circuit Trek begins in a lush subtropical region where you can hear the river rushing down somewhere. Enjoying the nice and warm weather, you hike past countless terraced paddy fields and farms. After that, you ascend the Marsyangdi River Valley while traveling through cooler deciduous woodlands.
You can now clearly see the Annapurna ranges, including Annapurna I (8,091 m), the highest peak in the area and the tenth-highest in the world. Then you climb above the tree line to see desolate ravines and barren hills encircled by snow-capped summits. Overall, you'll traverse through the uniquely diverse vegetation of the Annapurna region.
Hospitable locals of culturally rich villages
Along with a stunning perspective of the tallest mountain peaks, the trek offers an intriguing peek at the region's customs, traditions, and rituals. You will experience the authentic culture practiced by Gurungs, Brahmins, Manangis, Thakalis, and Magars while on the 12 days Annapurna Circuit Trek. This excursion will allow you to learn about the region's customs, values, and age-old traditions from the friendly locals. Numerous stupas, gumbas, and chortens are examples of the area's cultural diversity.
Rest day at beautiful Manang village
Manang itself is renowned for its magnificent splendor. Trekkers tend to spend a few days in this lovely village tucked away by the Marsyangdi River, hearing the soulful sound of the river as it flows. Manang offers various activities for your acclimatization day here, from exhilarating mountain biking to quick hikes to adjacent charming villages. You can as well visit the significant locations of Braga Bhojo Gompa and Milarepa's Cave on your leisure day in Manang.
Thorong La Pass (highest point in Annapurna Circuit Trek)
The trek's highest point, Thorong La Pass, is tucked between Khatung Kang and Yakwa peaks at an elevation of 5416 meters. It is acknowledged as the region's most challenging hike, as you have to walk along a rugged, steep trail to get to the top of the pass. Once you reach the top, the compelling view of the surrounding mountains will make you feel as though your perseverance and effort were fairly rewarded. The accomplishment you feel after seeing the breathtaking view from the pass cannot be described in words. You should see it for yourself.
Holy Muktinath Temple in all its glory
Muktinath Temple is one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimage destinations, located at the base of Thorong La Pass. This highest temple in the world (3,800 m) is regarded as Mukti Kshetra (place of liberation). According to mythology, going to the Muktinath Temple will cleanse you of all your sins and grant you good fortune. Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple from various parts of India and Nepal to take a bath in the pond and the taps present at the site. The 12 days Annapurna Circuit Trek is a great chance for you to pay a visit and seek blessings yourself.
Exciting Drive from Jomsom to Pokhara
Since Jomsom is the last hiking location as per our 12 days Annapurna Circuit Trek, we take a jeep from Jomsom to Pokhara. The drive is an adventure in itself. You get to drive under the great Himalayas and land in a beautiful Kali Gandaki River to Pokhara. The aerial view of the places you fly by is delightful to watch from a window seat of your adventure drive.