Annapurna Circuit Trek Stage 1

Stage One – Besi Sahar to Manang

Distance – 52 Miles
Total Elevation – 2700 Metres
Duration – 6 Days + 1 extra acclimatisation day in Manang

Day 1 – Besi Sahar to Lily

We had no real sense of what was ahead of us at this stage, what we did know was that it was extremely hot, humid and hard going…already!

After half a day walking from Besi Sahar, we entered the Annapurna conservation area.

After half a day walking from Besi Sahar, we entered the Annapurna conservation area.

We saw no trekkers, just locals going about their business.

We saw no trekkers, just locals going about their business.

On the lookout for leaches, but none so far.

On the lookout for leaches, but none so far.

Almost at the end of the day and after some steep climbs we're getting our first taste of the ascent ahead of us.

Almost at the end of the day and after some steep climbs we’re getting our first taste of the ascent ahead of us.

Day 2 – Lily to Chamje

After pushing ourselves too hard on day one, trekking for over 10hrs and ending up with a night at a terrible tea house, we decided today we would be a bit kinder to ourselves and have a shorter day. We ended up staying in possibly our favourite lodge of the trek. Little did we know what was in store for us on day 3.

From a distance it could have been a snow leopard, but it turned out to be a dog admiring the view.

From a distance it could have been a snow leopard, but it turned out to be a dog admiring the view.

One of many suspension bridges. This one took us over to the Marsyangdi river to Syange.

One of many suspension bridges. This one took us over to the Marsyangdi river to Syange.

The scenery today was still very green and lush, you couldn't escape the sounds of thundering rivers and crashing waterfalls and deafening cicadas.

The scenery today was still very green and lush, you couldn’t escape the sound of thundering rivers, crashing waterfalls and deafening cicadas.

We were happy to reach our destination of Chamje and were over the moon with our room at the Tibet Lhasa guest house. Here was our view from the room.

We were happy to reach our destination of Chamje and were over the moon with our room at the Tibet Lhasa guest house. Here was our view from the room.

Day 3 – Chamje to Dharapani aka ‘Day Of The Leach’

We woke well rested, happy and content, excited about the next stage of the trip. Within 10 minutes of leaving Chamje and taking the old trekking trail to avoid the jeep road, we realised we were taking on passengers. After what felt like a mad 3-4hrs dash through leach infested tropical trails, we between us must have fought off over 100 leaches all after our blood. The end result; Anna 1 bite, Ryan 7 bites. Our lunch stop in Tal marked a few changes; the scenery changed from tropical to alpine, signs of Buddhism were ever present with prayer flags, chortens and mani walls a regular feature and also a very welcome farewell to the leaches.

One of many leach checks of the morning. I think I must have discovered one hard at work here.

One of many leach checks of the morning. I think I must have discovered one hard at work here.

Handy signs are found quite frequently along the trail.

Handy signs are found quite frequently along the trail.

A view through Tal, definitely the start of a very different part to the trek.

A view through Tal, definitely the start of a very different part to the trek.

We found out we were trekking in harvest season which made for some beautiful scenes.

We found out we were trekking in harvest season which made for some beautiful scenes.

We also started to notice Maoist (communist party) relics, possibly from the times of Nepal's civil war.

We also started to notice Maoist (communist party) relics, possibly from the times of Nepal’s civil war.

Day 4 -Dharapani to Chame

The terrain continued similarly on this section of the route, with some fantastic geological features and landscapes emerging. The day began with an interesting and unexpected experience, as you will see…

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On leaving Dharapani, locals insisted on blessing us with a scarf, a tikka, an apple, flowers and a hat! Who knew it was the 36th world tourist day!

...and here's the result!

…and here’s the result!

Mules ready to carry supplies to remote villages started to become a feature.

Mules ready to carry supplies to remote villages started to become a feature.

An example of the Buddhist features we started seeing along the trail.

An example of the Buddhist features we started seeing along the trail.

Anna with another good example!

Anna with another good example!

Day 5 – Chame to Pisang

The intriguing landscapes continued and got ever more impressive. Yesterday had the cultural blessing and today ended with a full cultural dance programme courtesy of a group of secondary school children from Chame.

Both prayer flags and suspension bridges now on the increase...

Both prayer flags and suspension bridges now on the increase…

Chortens aplenty!

Chortens aplenty!

Locals lads off to collect the fruits of the harvest?

Locals lads off to collect the fruits of the harvest?

A view down through the Marsyangdi river valley, showing us where we have trekked from.

A view down through the Marsyangdi river valley, showing us where we have trekked from.

Scary looking trekking trails blasted out of sheer cliff faces!

Scary looking trekking trails blasted out of sheer cliff faces!

Geographical features are starting to become even more awe inspiring.

Geological features are starting to become even more awe inspiring.

The first good glimpse of the himalayan giants up ahead.

The first good glimpse of the himalayan giants up ahead.

One shot of the 3hr cultural dance show that was unexpectedly held at our guest house. Seemed lovely to begin with, but with our room directly above the stage, we had no escape.

One shot of the 3hr cultural dance show that was unexpectedly held at our guest house. Seemed lovely to begin with, but with our room directly above the stage, we had no escape.

Day 6 – Pisang to Manang

Today felt both like we were about to reach a milestone on the trek, with the traditional and advised rest / acclimatisation day in Manang but also a hard slog due to the late night after yesterday’s cultural extravaganza.

Mani wall, chorten, prayer flag, mountains and trail combo.

Mani wall, chorten, prayer flag, mountains and trail combo.

Landscapes starting to change again and the ascent is becoming steeper.

Landscapes starting to change again and the ascent is becoming steeper.

Feeling like a mountaineer (kind of)

Feeling like a mountaineer (kind of)

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A 360 shot while en-route to Manang

Approaching Manang we saw lots of 'moving bushes' or people carry in the harvest.

Approaching Manang we saw lots of ‘moving bushes’ or people carry in the harvest.

Day 7 – Acclimatisation day in Manang

Finally, a day off, kind of…

Looking back through the tourist part of Manang.

Looking back through the tourist part of Manang.

It's recommended to take day trips to aid acclimatisation while in Manang. There's lots of options.

It’s recommended to take day trips to aid acclimatisation while in Manang. There’s lots of options.

We chose to climb up to a viewpoint 400m above Manang, close to a glacier which gave us spectacular mountain views.

We chose to climb up to a viewpoint 400m above Manang, close to a glacier which gave us spectacular mountain views.

Here's the glacier!

Here’s the glacier!

Looking back down to Manang.

Looking back down to Manang.

Anna's prayer flag continues, this time paired with mountains!

Anna’s prayer flag problem continues, this time paired with mountains! (Taken at the top of the viewpoint).

Click here for Stage 2 – Manang to Muktinath (over the Thorang La pass at 5400m)

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3 thoughts on “Annapurna Circuit Trek Stage 1

  1. Wow! I have been looking forward to seeing this first stage of the circuit for a long time. What an experience for you both. The commentary and photos really bring the journey to life. Thanks

    Like

  2. Pingback: Reflections: Top Wildlife Encounters | WHERE ARE RYAN AND ANNA?

  3. Pingback: Reflections: Most Memorable Journeys | WHERE ARE RYAN AND ANNA?

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