Second only to Mt. Everest, Annapurna is the most popular region in all of Nepal, and for good reason. The biodiversity throughout this region is vast. The surrounding peaks are among the fourteen highest in the world. The rhododendron forests are some of the largest in the world. Clearly, the Annapurna region has much to offer.
In order to protect the vast biodiversity of this region, The Annapurna Conservation Area was set up. It was meant to protect a special place, a meeting place of sorts, for the animals on the west of Nepal and the animals on the east of Nepal. You can experience this great meeting place of biodiversity on the Annapurna Circuit Trek. It is also here that you may have the chance to spot an elusive Himalayan snow leopard. Check out the Snow Leopard Sightseeing Trek for more information.
If you’re looking for an unclose and personal view of Himalayan giants, the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, or base camp trek, is the one to choose. You will first hike to Poon Hill, which offers great views of two 8,000 meter peaks: Annapurna 1 and Dhaulagiri. After you get a glimpse of the massive mountains in front of you, you will then ascend the mountain slopes and venture deep within them. Annapurna base camp is surrounded by towering peaks, giving the feeling that you are protected from the outside world, and hence, the impression that you’re in a sanctuary, a protected place high up in the Himalayas.
Another great way to experience the Himalayas is to hike to Poon Hill. This shorter trek offers great views without excessive altitude. Its proximity to Pokhara lends itself well to adding on other adventure activities such as river running, paragliding, bungee jumping, etc. If you want to see a Himalayan giant with your own eyes but don’t have the time to spend on the trail, this may be an option for you.