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 one of the longest and definitely the dustiest of the entire trek. 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 Martha.
Read on for my experiences, tips and advice from day twelve hiking the Annapurna Circuit Trek.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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