Jomsom to Tukuche: Day Twelve On The Annapurna Circuit

A river flowing through a canyon between mountains

Read on for a detailed account of our twelfth day on the Annapurna Circuit. Today, we trekked from Jomsom to Tukuche, also visiting the pretty village of Marpha, covering a total distance of 13.05 km in around 3.5 hours. This was the start of the quietest stretch of the entire Annapurna Circuit as most trekkers tend to either fly or take the bus from Jomsom. We, of course, decided to do things the hard way!


Our twelfth day walking the Annapurna Circuit was a mostly pleasant one and featured a stop at an unexpectedly pretty town of Marpha. Our route would take us from Jomsom to Marpha and from Marpha to Tukuche. Starting at 2830m, we would descend to 2590m by the end of the day. It’s around 13 km and 3.5 hours walk from Jomsom to Tukuche including all stops as well as time exploring Marpha.

Read on for my experiences, tips and advice from day twelve hiking the Annapurna Circuit Trek.

A suspension bridge over a dried up river bed between on a trail from Jomsom to Tukuche


Day Twelve: Jomsom to Tukuche on the Annapurna Circuit

Jomsom (2830m) – Marpha (2670m) – Tukuche (2590m)

Distance: 13.05 km

Time: 3 hrs 27 minutes (08:50 – 12:17)

We had a slower start than usual today. With the hardest part of the trek over, we didn’t feel that we needed to rush too much. We enjoyed breakfast in the dining area, watching the activity at the airport which the windows we sat at overlooked. Erik and I felt that we already achieved so much but we never considered cutting the trek short. We always planned to trek the entire length of the Annapurna Circuit and even as we watched planes taking off, whisking trekkers back to Pokhara and all the comforts that came with being in Nepal’s second city in just 20 minutes, we felt excited about the next part of out adventure.

I am not exaggerating when I say that, for the next three days at least, we encountered just three other people trekking this part of the circuit. Two of them also happened to be the French couple we met earlier on the trek. We were also travelling in spring – considered one of the best seasons to trek in Nepal – so chances are that no matter when you go, you will likely have this section of the Annapurna Circuit to yourself!

A sign in a forest pointing towards Tukuche

Jomsom to Marpha

Jomsom (2830m) – Marpha (2670m)

Distance: 5.5 km

Time: Around 1 hour 15 minutes

After settling our bill at the guesthouse, we started walking but made a few stops to watch the planes take off and land at Jomsom’s airport strip. The landing approach involved a tight 180-degree turn just before the plane hit the tarmac. As someone who doesn’t enjoy flying at the best of times, experiencing that in a tiny plane wasn’t high on my bucket list.

We made our way out of Jomsom and followed the river towards a village of Martha. It’s not the most eventful of walks, made a bit more exciting by a regular sound of engines whirring above. You’re almost certain to encounter more planes than other trekkers today! Either way, we were quite happy to leave Jomsom behind and continue on our way.

Marpha (2670m)

Arriving in Marpha, we were surprised to find a charming village with traditional stone houses and a monastery overlooking the whole Gandaki River valley. We climbed the steps to the top and looked out over the town’s stone-lined rooftops to the fields and mountains beyond. Colourful stupas were surrounded with prayer wheels and flags.

Marpha is actually well-known for its apple orchards and every shop and guesthouse sold dried apples, jams, juice and even brandy made from the fruit. We bought some dried apple chips to snack on. The town almost had a feel of a village in the Pyrenees and we thought it would have been cool to spend the night here. I would go as far as to suggest bypassing Jomsom altogether (unless you are flying to Pokhara of course) and staying in Marpha overnight. Jomsom may have a wider choice of accommodation and cafes but none of the charm of this little village.

A large stone gate framed by colourful prayer flags on the trail from Jomsom to Tukuche
An ornate colourful stupa surrounded by prayer feels at its base
A path running between stone houses
Navigating the path through Marpha
A view over the rooftops of a small village towards mountains
The views over Marpha and the surrounding area from the monastery

Marpha to Tukuche

Marpha (2670m) – Tukuche (2590m)

Distance: 7.5 km

Time: Around 1 hr 35 minutes

We left Martha and crossed the bridge, following the trail away from the road. The landscape was becoming greener and more spectacular with every kilometre. The path meandered along streams, through forests and across suspension bridges with snow-covered mountains providing a stunning backdrop. This was in stark contrast to the more arid landscape we saw over the last couple of days. This second half of the day is in complete contrast to the first. The views are phenomenal and the path winds through some beautiful landscapes. The lack of other hikers also makes a difference.

A small stream snaking through a green landscape alongside the trail from Jomsom to Tukuche
A fresh water stream running alongside the path
A path running along a stone wall from Jomsom to Tukuche
After Marpha, the trail winds through some beautiful landscapes
A path heading towards a forested mountain slope
The trail darts in and out of forested areas looking more akin to somewhere like Spain or Portugal than Nepal!
A river flowing through a canyon between mountains
Those that fly back to Pokhara from Jomsom miss out on spending time taking in vistas like this!

Tukuche (2830m)

We arrived in Tukuche and dropped our bags at the guesthouse. We were the only ones staying there so took our time to shower, get changed and have lunch in the pleasant courtyard.

Afterwards, we took a walk around town. Cows wandered about and kids played football on the street and at the local playing field. There wasn’t anything particularly remarkable about the village  It didn’t seem like a touristy place but there were a couple of guesthouses around. We spotted a sign for a bakery and naturally had to go in. As we walked in, we ran into the French couple that we have seen on the trek and spent the next while catching up over a delicious apple crumble and coffee.

A black cow standing in the middle of a street
One of the local residents

Jomsom to Tukuche Key Notes

  • It’s possible to cross the river in Jomsom but we would need to double back on ourselves a bit in the morning. Plus, we also wanted to check out Marpha as we heard good things about it so were ok to sacrifice some trail time. If you would rather get more nature time, then you may want to find the crossing. The first hour until Marpha isn’t exciting.
  • There are a couple of detours you can do such as a visit to Chhairo – a Tibetan settlement a little away from the trail.
  • If I did the trek again, I would spend more time checking out Martha. It’s a really pretty village with loads of little alleyways and cool spots to explore.
A view of distant mountain peaks
Plenty of gorgeous landscapes in the second half of today’s trekking

Staying in Tukuche: Tukuche Guesthouse

Located near the middle of the village but tucked away on a side street. The place is cosy and has a courtyard for relaxing/eating in. There is a rooftop with good views of the area. Food was good and owners friendly. Rooms are small but comfortable. Hot showers and wifi are available.

Up Next: Tukuche to Ghasa

A coffee and a slice of cake on a flower-patterned tablecloth
Delicious cake and coffee at the bakery near our guesthouse

Related Posts

Annapurna Circuit Itinerary: Complete Day By Day Trekking Guide

Kathmandu to Besisahar and Bhulbhule: Starting the Annapurna Circuit – Day One

Bhulbhule to Jagat on the Annapurna Circuit – Day Two

Jagat to Dharapani on the Annapurna Circuit – Day Three

Dharapani to Chame on the Annapurna Circuit – Day Four

Chame to Lower Pisang on the Annapurna Circuit – Day Five

Lower Pisang to Manang on the Annapurna Circuit – Day Six

Manang Rest Day and Ice Lake Hike on the Annapurna Circuit – Day Seven

Manang to Yak Kharka on the Annapurna Circuit – Day Eight

Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi (Base Camp) on the Annapurna Circuit – Day Nine

Thorong Phedi to Muktinath via Thorong-La – Day Ten

BONUS: Feel the Energy of Nature: Crossing Thorong-La Pass by Erik Bertrand Amme

Muktinath to Jomsom on the Annapurna Circuit – Day Eleven

Tukuche to Ghasa on the Annapurna Circuit – Day Thirteen

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A pinnable image of a stone gate and prayer flags hanging above
A pinnable image of a river snaking through a forested valley and mountains

 

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