Annapurna Circuit Trek After Road Construction

Annapurna Circuit Trek after road construction has made the road access available to Manang and Mustang. While many have complained that the road construction ruining the natural beauty, has it truly destroyed the beauty of the Annapurna Circuit?

Dumre is the trek’s starting point and Beni is the ending point. It can be done vice-versa but starting from Dumre is better for acclimatization point of view. The road construction on the north of Beni and Dunre began in the early eighties. Now the road construction has reached Chame in Manang and Phedi in Mustang. But the construction has become a topic of discussion as many trek enthusiasts have blamed the construction for ruining the beauty of Annapurna Circuit Trek.

For adventure and thrill-seeking trekkers, the Annapurna Circuit Trek still provides a unique and adventurous experience as before the road construction. It has also opened new opportunities for biking companies. The Government of Nepal has been collaborating with the Annapurna Conservation Area Project to open new trails to keep the natural beauty intact. As a result, many new alternative routes known as New Annapurna Trekking Trails (NATT) have opened.

The newly constructed road has opened other off-the-beaten-path trekking routes like Nar Phu Valley, Tsum Valley, Upper Mustang, and Manaslu Circuit. However, these routes are controlled by the tourism industry. The permits for these routes are limited and expensive. Similarly, these new trekking routes have compensated for the damages done by the road construction.

In this post, we will explore about Annapurna Circuit Trek after road construction, the latest routes, and roads you should avoid during the trek. Then you can decide for yourself whether the Annapurna Circuit Trek after road construction is still worth taking or not!

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The Annapurna Circuit Trek first opened its trail in 1977 and soon became popular among trekkers. The trail circles Mount Anpurna which is the tenth-highest mountain in the world. The scenic natural beauty, landscapes, deep gorges, and mountain views of the trek are popular among nature enthusiasts and adventure-seeking trekkers.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The original Annapurna Circuit Trek’s starting point is at Dumre which sits at 605 meters. The ending point of the trek is Beni. You can also start the trek clockwise. The whole circuit trail is 150 miles long and offers a majestic view of the Annapurna massif. It used to take 18 to 23 days to complete the circuit trek. However, the road construction has reduced the trek duration to only five days. If you want to check the Annapurna Circuit Trek package, click here!

Here are some of the highlights of Annapurna Circuit Trek:

Scenic Landscapes And Villages

Some of the famous villages the trail will take you through are Marpha (known as the apple capital of Nepal), Tatopani (known for its natural hot springs), Kagbeni, Dharapani, and many more. While en route, trekkers will pass by Tilicho Lake and Dhumba Lake. On the northern side of Larjung lies the picturesque village of Naurikot. You can take a side trip to the village which has recently become popular among Nepalese youth. The highest point of the Annapurna Circuit Trek is at Thorong La Pass at 5416 meters (17,769 feet). The trail goes from sub-tropical vegetation to alpine meadows and to semi-desert terrains

Ancient Caves And Petroglyphs

The trail also passes through Nawal village which is one of the oldest villages of Manang. An hour away from the village lies the Ne Guru Cave which locals believe to be connected with Gurusampo Cave, Mustang. There are many centuries-old caves in Mustang. The Gurusampo cave is one of them. The Gurusampo cave is right below the Dhaulagiri Icefall and has weird shapes formed inside it. There is a petroglyphs in a rock at Eaklebhatti which is situated between Kagbeni and Jomsom.

Biodiversity

Annapurna Circuit Trek also offers the opportunity to witness the biodiversity and wildlife of the region. If you are traveling during May and June, you can participate in honey hunting. Meanwhile, in October and November, you can witness migratory birds like cranes flying back to Nepal. There are also chances for trekkers to spot musk deer, blue sheep, snow leopard, Himalayan griffon, and lammergeier. They can also witness the unique and diverse flora and fauna.

Scared Site And Festival

You will also pass by ancient monasteries, temples, and the holy pilgrimage site of Muktinath. Muktinath is a sacred temple for Hindus and Buddhists alike. Thousands of devotees visit the temple every year and take baths in the 108 taps behind the temple. If you are traveling in August and September, you can be part of the Yartung festival that takes place in Upper Mustang, Kagbeni, and Muktinath. People dress up in their traditional attire, gather, and celebrate together. Men and women take part in races separately.

As you can see, there are so many things you can observe and be part of during the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Although the road construction may have affected some of its serene charms, the experience is still one of a kind and remains unaffected.

Avoid Road During Annapurna Circuit

With the opening of New Annapurna Trekking Trails, there are a few ways you can avoid the road during the Annapurna Circuit Trek. The new trails are marked with red and white or blue or white color paints. Following them ensures that you will remain in the off-the-beaten-trail of the Annapurna Circuit.

Red and White Markers

The red and white markers signal the main trails. It helps to avoid the road and has an arrow that trekkers can follow.

Blue and White Markers

The blue and white markers are for the secondary trails. It also helps trekkers to avoid the road and stay on the trail.

The Latest Annapurna Circuit Route

The government of Nepal is looking to construct roads on the Annapurna Circuit’s eastern and western sides. The new road construction will join Chame to Manang in the east. Similarly, it will join Pokhara and Muktinath in the west. In comparison to the eastern part, the western part has been larger impacted by road construction. The new road connecting to Muktinath has made the route dusty.

Thorong La Pass

It has discouraged trekkers but locals feel positive about the roads. The good road accessibility has provided locals with access to health services and trading of local products. Locals can now use the road to ship their products at a lower cost. The new road has also made the Annapurna Circuit become more accessible to the people of Nepal as well as India.

There have been a lot of complaints about the Annapurna Circuit Trek after road construction being noisy and dust flying around. The western part of the circuit route has been more affected than the rest. However, the complaints are mostly from trekkers who traveled through the main trails where the road is nearby. Vehicles pass by the route frequently so it can cause noise and air pollution.

The New Annapurna Trekking Trails (NATT) has provided an ideal solution for this problem. The Government of Nepal and Annapurna Conservation Area have come up with these NATTs to provide the serene experience trekkers look for. To help trekkers avoid the busy road, the trail has been marked with red and white main markers and also blue and white secondary markers. These markers are easily identifiable and trekkers can simply follow the directions.

Similarly, the new trails also have alternative routes. Many trekkers who have tried the new alternative routes for Annapurna Circuit Trek have raved about them. They have provided positive feedback. So, despite the Annapurna Circuit Trek after road construction, trekkers can still enjoy the tranquil and scenic natural beauty of the trek. Trekkers can still pass through the rhododendron forests while enjoying the spectacular mountain views. The road construction has brought minor changes but the trek remains the same.

2015 Earthquake and its Effect

The devastating 2015 earthquake affected almost all the regions of Nepal. Despite the 7.9 magnitude earthquake, a large portion of the Annapurna region was fortunately unaffected. Similarly, the Annapurna Circuit trail was spared from the damage of the 2015 earthquake. A structural and earthquake engineering firm from California, Miyamoto International did the risk valuation of the Annapurna region. It was reported that only 1% of the route was affected while 3% of the settlements were affected. The Annapurna Circuit Trek route is open for trekkers and operating normally.

Final Say

There is no denying that the Annapurna Circuit Trek after road construction has been affected. It has disturbed the region’s serenity. But the construction is important for the region’s development. It has made the lives of the locals more easier. The newly opened trekking trails have helped the trail retain its former glory. The newly opened alternative routes have further made the trek adventurous. Trekkers can try these new routes and get new experiences.

Therefore, do not think that the Annapurna Circuit Trek after road construction has been ruined. The trek is still worth taking. So enjoy your trek to Annapurna Circuit with its scenic beauty and mountain views. Also, get to explore the culture, tradition, and local hospitality. So, trekkers who are wondering if the Annapurna Circuit Trek is still worth their time, it is in every way worth it!

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