The early part of your journey crosses the terraced farm fields of the Gurung, Magar, Newar and Tamang. From the Gurung heartland village of Ghandruk, you plunge into canyons and then back up above the tree line and the permanent settlements, emerging onto stretches of grassy meadows and ancient moraine, stopping at Chomrong, Dovan, and Deurali as you approach your goal: the base of the 1970 British Annapurna Expedition. You’ll retrace your steps back down from the high barren terrain to the pretty villages of Landruk and Majhgaon, then back to Pokhara and a flight to Kathmandu.
This well-travelled extension from the main Annapurna circuit is one of the most rewarding and pristine treks in Nepal. Your two-week journey covers an unrivalled range of landscapes, immersing you in a variety of cultures and people. At Ghandruk, you’ll say goodbye to the comforts of the Mountain Lodges, but the simpler accommodations, winding uphill climb and depleting oxygen are well rewarded by the sweeping scenery, as the great flanks of the Annapurnas, Gangapurna and Machapuchare dominate the cobalt skyline. Annapurna Base Camp, “Cradle of the Gods”, is your ultimate goal. Wherever you stand in this glacial basin, the magnificent 360-degree views are unspeakably beautiful.
The early part of the Sanctuary trek has you following terraced farm fields, pausing in stone flagged villages, and tracing foaming rivers fed by snow melt and waterfalls. As you head into the ‘Sanctuary’, you’ll ascend carved steps, hike lush forests of hanging moss. Emerging above the tree line, you’ll be met by grassy meadow, ancient moraine, and the crunch of snow. After reaching your stunning goal, you’ll retrace your steps, making a detour to soak tired muscles in the natural hot springs of the Modhi Khola. At Landruk, say yes to some natural honey offered by the bee-keeping families.
Visit October–November and March–April to avoid the storms and snow of winter. Your guide will keep watch for any pre-monsoon avalanche risks. Although clouds roll in early in these months, the curtain often parts at sunset and sunrise to reveal radiant, molten peaks.
Equipment: duffel bag, daypack, walking stick, water bottle, rain poncho, first aid kit, souvenir hat and scarf, down jacket, hat & gloves in MLN lodges, and sleeping bags with liners & hot water bottles for the tea-house accommodations