Annapurna Circuit Trek
As one of the top-rated trails in the world, the Annapurna Circuit is a must-do for any avid trekker visiting Nepal. Our 12-day package is the shortest Annapurna Circuit Trek with Tilicho Lake. While most companies’ Annapurna Circuit Trek package takes 15+ days, ours is 12 days and includes a trip to the sublime Tilicho Lake. Make your outdoor adventure dreams come true by joining us on the quickest Annapurna Tilicho Lake Trek.
The Annapurna Circuit, ACT Trek connects the colorful, full-of-life Annapurna region with the desolate, yet enchanting Mustang region. Following the Marsyangdi River Valley, majestic waterfalls dot the forested trail. As you move up and along, you’ll see typical Nepalese families living off the land and farming on the picturesque terraced hills.
Crossing into the Manang district, Tibetan Buddhist settlements appear and the landscape starts to shift. Then, the breathtaking mountain views are shown right before your eyes. Two days after reaching Manang village, you start the Tilicho Lake trek segment. Descending from there, you feel well-prepared for the challenging Thorong La Pass (5416 meters), with views of Dhaulagiri (8167m), Manaslu (8156m), Annapurna II (7937m), Annapurna III (7555m), Annapurna I (8090m), Annapurna South (7219m), Tilicho (7134m).
Descending from the Thorong La Pass, we reach Muktinath. You have officially entered the Mustang region of Nepal. Muktinath Temple, with its 108 water spouts, is a famous pilgrimage destination for both Hindus and Buddhists. It is said that those who bathe in the water become liberated (Muktinath, itself, means ‘place of liberation’). You will definitely feel the positive vibes from all of the bliss-filled pilgrims who have accomplished a bucket-list moment by reaching Muktinath.
The hiking portion of the 12-day Annapurna Circuit Trek with Tilicho Lake ends in the Jomsom. Celebrate a successful trek in the evening before taking a flight back to Pokhara on Day 11. On the 12th day, you head back to Kathmandu to rest and have another celebration. Again, the beauty of this journey cannot be understated. It is a trekker’s dream that takes you across two river valleys and around the massive Annapurna massif, with the bonus of visiting Tilicho Lake.
About Tilicho Lake Trek
Tilicho Lake is an underrated side trip on the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Not many tourists know about Tilicho Lake before embarking on the Annapurna Circuit, and even fewer decide to take on the adventure. However, for those who visit the majestic lake, it is well worth it.
We recommend trekking to Tilicho Lake for several reasons. First, it is an outright gorgeous alpine lake – one of the highest in the world, in fact. The lake, which consists of glacial melt from the northern slopes of the Annapurna massif, has an eye-popping blue-green color. Being surrounded by towering mountains at all 360 degrees will make you feel like you’re in heaven. When you arrive, take a deep breath and listen to the wind. You will feel at peace, taking in the grandeur at the lap of the 10th highest peak in the world.
In addition to its beauty, the Tilicho Lake Trek also makes for a perfect acclimatization hike to cross the Thorong La Pass. At 4949 meters (16,236 feet), the climb is not easy. However, the effort put forth makes the Thorong La Pass that much easier when its time comes. Of course, the Thorong La Pass is 500 meters higher than Tilicho Lake, but you will certainly be more prepared for the pass than if you had not visited Tilicho Lake.
Last, but not least, Tilicho Lake has a spiritual, mythic quality to it as well. Hindus believe that Tilicho Lake is the ancient Kak Bhusundi Lake that was mentioned in the epic Ramayana. The myth tells that Kak Bhusundi (a sage) first told of the happenings of Ramayana to Garuda (king of birds) near this lake. So, not only does Tilicho Lake have aesthetic value, but it is also a legendary destination for Hindus.
To reach Tilicho Lake, we divert to Tilicho Base Camp from Manang. Cradled by the mountains, Tilicho Lake Base Camp itself is an incredible spot to stay for the night. You wake up and have a steady climb up to the lake and enjoy for a few hours before heading back to Shree Kharka to continue along the Annapurna Circuit Trek path.
11/ 12-Day Annapurna Circuit Trek ACT with Tilicho Lake Difficulty
The 12-Day Annapurna Circuit Trek with Tilicho Lake falls under the Strenuous category. The Annapurna Circuit Trek alone is a strenuous one, and with the added Tilicho Lake bit, it is even a bit more difficult. It is recommended to have previous trekking experience before taking on this nearly two-week Himalayan journey. No doubt, regardless of the amount of trekking experience you have, you will be challenged on this trek – but that’s part of the fun!
If you want to be well-prepared, it wouldn’t hurt to spend a month or two working on your cardio (i.e. running, swimming, stair-climbing, etc.). Some clients get ready by packing their backpacks and climbing hills. Just keep in mind that their level of oxygen is much lower when you trek high into the mountains, so even walking on flat gets a bit more difficult.
All this being said, we do the best we can to help you accomplish the Annapurna Tilicho Lake Trek. More important than anything is the combination of your determination to complete the trek and our expertise on how to minimize health risks while doing the trek in a timely manner. If any problems do arise, we will support you to the best of our abilities.
If you are unsure about whether or not you should take the Annapurna Circuit Trek via Tilicho Lake, feel free to talk to us about your experience/fitness level, and we will help you decide.
Best Time to Trek
The Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake Trek is possible throughout the year. Of course, there are seasons that are far more favorable for trekking than others.
Summer (May-August) brings the monsoon rains to Nepal. In terms of views and overall comfort, summertime is not ideal for trekking. You may face torrential downpours during the day, less clear views, and leeches may find their way into your boots. On the plus side, there are far fewer tourists on the trails, giving you more solitude and bringing you closer to the locals. Also, you certainly won’t have to worry about freezing at night, as it is the warmest time of the year.
Winter (December-February), not surprisingly, is the coldest season to trek in Nepal. Temperatures dip below freezing in the high-altitude regions, with snowstorms possible as well. However, like summer, few tourists are on the trail during winter. Also, clear blue skies make for prime snow-capped mountain views.
Spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November) are the best times to trek in Nepal. The climate is most favorable, typically staying between 5 to 20 degrees Celsius. The weather is stable and dry, providing the most spectacular mountain views. You will be blessed with sunny, blue skies and aromatic air, especially in the spring while the flowers are in bloom. On the downside, spring and fall bring the most tourists to the trails, and teahouses are often packed full.
Each season has its pros and cons, so it’s up to you to choose the season that suits your interests or is most convenient for you!
Why take the 12-day Annapurna Circuit Trek via Tilicho Lake?
The Annapurna Circuit does not offer world-class facilities or extreme solitude, so what makes this trail so special? Few trails offer the geographic diversity that is witnessed on this trail. On the roughly 210 kilometers (130 miles) of the trail, you’ll witness more than a dozen ethnic groups, countless unique landscapes, and even different climates.
As the landscape shifts from low, subtropical forests to high and dry valleys, the mix of Brahmin, Chhetri, and other ethnic groups become Tibetan Buddhists of Thakali and other descents. Each coming day on the Annapurna Circuit Trek is completely different from the day before. You will be in awe and the unparalleled, constantly changing beauty throughout the trek.
Also, the Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake Trek makes you work for your reward. The further you go, the more kilometers you walk, the better the views get. Starting from the lush forests and terraced hills, mountains may not even be visible yet. But a couple of days of grueling climbing takes you to one of the highest passes in the Himalayas for a jaw-dropping panoramic view.
Lastly, the Annapurna Circuit trail is constantly changing, and becoming more modern. Roads are encroaching into higher villages, following the Marsyangdi and Kali Gandaki River Valleys. It is natural for the local villages to want more development and access to make their lives easier. For many visitors, this may take away from the allure of hiking the Annapurna Circuit. If you want to complete the trail in its purest form, it’s best to come sooner than later!
Annapurna Circuit Trek with Tilicho Lake Cost
The cost of the Annapurna Tilicho Lake Trek depends on your budget/the amenities you choose to have. If you prefer to travel in a private car/jeep, it will be a little more costly. If you go via bus, on the other hand, the package will be cheaper. Similarly, if you choose to drive from Jomsom to Pokhara, it will be cheaper, but keep in mind the road is unmaintained and could take an entire day to reach Pokhara. Please let us know your budget and preferences for transportation and we will inform you about the price of the package.