The Annapurna Region is the largest protected area in Nepal. It rivals the Everest Region as one of the best areas for trekking in the world. Over 100,000 travelers come to the region each year, and for good reason. It is easily accessible from Pokhara, which is a pleasant 7-hour drive from Kathmandu. Pokhara is a laidback lakeside city– a perfect launching point for adventure tourism in Nepal.
As suggested in the name, Annapurna I (8,019 meters/26,545 feet) is the centerpiece in which all treks in the Annapurna Region revolve around. Soaring high above the clouds, it is the 10th highest mountain in the world. West of Annapurna I lies Dhaulagiri (8,167 meters/26,795 feet), the 7th highest mountain in the world. “Dhaulagiri” comes from the Sanskrit word Dhawala, meaning dazzling, white, beautiful. These two colossal mountains make up the Kali Gandaki river gorge, said to be the deepest gorge in the world.
Of course, there is much more to the Annapurna Region than snowy peaks. Most of the treks start out in villages surrounded by lush, fertile farmland. Interactions with villages are what make the trip worthwhile. There is much to learn about the residents of these villages, as their smiles brighten your mood and their kindness is unsurpassable. Most of the residents are ethnically Magar and Gurung, both groups are notably hospitable and will make you feel welcome to their wonderful homes. Their many shrines to Buddhism – including prayer flags, chhortens, and stupas – add much charm to the trails.
After ascending above the farmland, trekkers pass through verdant forests, where the many animals of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) can be seen. Trekkers have the chance to see several types of deer, the Himalayan bear, blue sheep, snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan tahr, among others. While on the lookout for these creatures, pass through blooming rhododendron forests that are nearly blinding with their bright red color.
The scenic and cultural diversity of the region make it one of the top trekking destinations in the world. We would love to give you the time of your life in the amazing Annapurna Region. September to November and March to May are the best seasons to trek through the Annapurna region, though trekking throughout the year is possible.
Please keep it your priority to trek with strong concern to the villages and remember that you will come and go, but this is their home. The area is fragile and under great pressure from tourism and development, so trek with care.