The Annapurna Region
The Annapurna region is located in the north of central Nepal in Kaski, Manang, Mustang, Lamjung and Myagdi districts. Annapurna Himal and Dhaulagiri Himal (both above 8000 metres) tower above the Kali Gandaki River. The Kingdom of Lo Manthang is behind the Himalayas on the Tibetan Plateau and is a part of the Annapurna region. The Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) encompasses the Annapurna Himal range as well as the many villages and towns. The major ethnic groups that live in this area are Gurung, Thakali and Manangba.
The Annapurna area is another region of great biodiversity. Snow leopards, blue-horned sheep and musk deer all live here. The Himalayan griffon, various species of pheasant and many other bird species can be seen. Rhododendron forests, Himalayan orchids, edelweiss, and plants used in ayurvedic medicine are plentiful in this region.
The city of Pokhara is the starting point of many treks in this area. Pokhara is a 6 hour drive or 30 minute flight from Kathmandu. There are usually daily flights from Pokhara to Jomsom and less frequent flights to Humde (Manang). The road from Pokhara goes to trailheads at Naya-pul, Beni Bazar and Besisahar.
Popular trekking areas are the Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Base Camp, the Annapurna foothills, Jomsom, the Dhaulagiri Circuit, Lo Manthang, Sikles and short treks around Pokhara. There are also many high pass trails. These include the Thorong La Pass (5416m); Dhampus Pass (5210m); Tilcho Tal (5010m); Kang La Pass (5320m) and Namun Bhanjyang (5560m). Some of the 6000m climbing peaks in this region are Pisang Peak (6091m); Chula East (6584m); Chulu West (6419m); Hiunchuli (6441m) and Singu Chuli (6501m).
As in the Everest region, the best time to visit the region is Spring and Autumn when the fine weather means that the views of the mountains are clear. The high altitude flowers and plants are best in the summer, but again, at this time, the monsoon obscures the mountain vistas. However, Lo Manthang can be visited during the monsoon, because the clouds do not reach behind the mountains.