Annapurna Circuit Trek

Trip Duration 12
Max Altitude 5416M
Group Size 2 to 20
Best Time for Visit March to May, Sep to February

Trip Overview

Overview

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a popular trekking destination in Nepal, offering some of the most spectacular mountain views in the world. The trek is a classic journey through the Annapurna region, taking you through diverse landscapes, from subtropical forests to high mountain passes. The trek usually takes around 15-20 days, and covers a distance of approximately 160-230 km, depending on the exact route taken. The starting point of the trek is usually the town of Besishahar, which can be reached by road from Kathmandu. From there, the trek follows the Marsyangdi River through beautiful villages and lush forests, until it reaches the town of Manang. From Manang, the trail climbs up to Thorong La Pass, which is one of the highest mountain passes in the world at an altitude of 5,416m. The pass is a challenging but rewarding part of the trek, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains. After crossing the pass, the trail descends to the holy site of Muktinath, which is a popular pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. From there, the trek follows the Kali Gandaki River through beautiful villages and natural hot springs, before reaching the town of Tatopani. The trek then climbs up to the Poon Hill viewpoint for panoramic views of the Himalayas at sunrise, before descending to the town of Nayapul, where a road leads back to Pokhara. From Pokhara, it's a short flight or bus ride back to Kathmandu.

Conclusion and Summary

Overall, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is a challenging but rewarding trek, offering stunning views of the Himalayas and a chance to experience the rich culture and traditions of the Nepalese people.
 

 Trip Highlight

  • Stunning views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.
  • Crossing Thorong La Pass at 5,416m, the highest point of the trek.
  • Immersion in diverse cultures of Gurung, Thakali, Tibetan,and Magar communities.
  • Charming villages like Manang, Marpha, and Ghorepani along the way.
  • Relaxing in natural hot springs at Tatopani.
  • Sunrise panorama from Poon Hill.
  • Walking through the world’s deepest gorge, Kali Gandaki.
  • Picturesque terraced fields and forests.
  • Encountering unique flora and fauna, including rhododendron forests.
  • Exploring the ancient monasteries and temples en route.
  • Crossing suspension bridges over roaring rivers.
  • Sampling local delicacies like apple brandy and Tibetan bread.
  • Engaging with friendly locals and experiencing their hospitality.
  • Capturing the beauty of the landscape in every direction.
  • Witnessing traditional farming and herding practices.
  • Admiring waterfalls cascading down rugged cliffs.
  • Trekking through diverse terrain, from alpine meadows to barren landscapes.
  • Glimpsing snow-capped peaks at every turn.
  • Experiencing the thrill of high-altitude trekking.
  • Creating lifelong memories in the heart of the Himalayas.

Itinerary

We take a bus for the five-hour drive to the end of the road, either at Besi Sahar or a bit farther depending on the road conditions, where we stay the overnight. At Bhulbhule.

After early breakfast we hit the trail. We have about three hours of hot but pleasant walking; we are trekking in the typical Nepali middle hills now, and the scenery is gentle, muted.  After crossing a suspension bridge at Bhulbhule, the trail passes a cascading waterfall, and as we traverse the rice terraces, the views of Manaslu are magnificent.  Following a gentle incline we come to the village of Ngadi with its picturesque shops,From here we climb, steep and hot, to Bahundanda. Bahundanda literally means “hill of the Brahmins” and it is the most northerly Brahmin settlement in the Marsyangdi Valley, situated high up on a ridge.
A steep trail descends from Bahundanda through green rice terraces before crossing a stream at the bottom of a small waterfall. It then climbs again and traverses the hillside high above the river before reaching the village of Hani Gaon. Ahead, the Marsyangdi valley forms a steep V-shape, and we follow the winding mountain path down through Syange and along the river for some distance. The trail then climbs steeply and the path is cut into the sheer cliff-face some 200-300m above the riverbed. Eventually we descend to the atmospheric village of Jagat, situated on a shelf which juts into the precipitous Marsyangdi valley, where we spend the night at a Tibetan-run lodge.

We awake to a morning climb, head steeply up through a forest to a wonderful teahouse just before Chamje and marked by a magnificent waterfall on the opposite bank. Chamje is an atmospheric village of traditional-style teahouses, often packed with saddled local horses. After descending to the river and crossing a suspension bridge, we begin a steep climb to some small teahouses at Sattale. After chai, we continue on an undulating path above the river, climb the switch-backing path to the top of the hill, and are treated to the sight of Tal below us on a wide plain by the river. Though it is enclosed by cliffs, the level area is reassuring after the slightly harrowing mountain paths on which we have just traveled. Beyond Tal and the checkpost, the valley narrows and the path becomes high and winding, and in several areas is actually hewn from the rock. Beyond the small village of Karte, there is a bit more exposed trail walking before the path drops again to the river. We cross a suspension bridge, and climb the short distance to the stone kani marking the entrance to Dharapani

Continuing to climb through forests of pine and oak, we pass through Danagyu before coming to a thundering waterfall, where we turn left and head up the high trail to Koto. After an hour of lovely, open forests, we reach a clearing at the top of the trail and a charming Tibetan teahouse where we will stop for a break. Pausing for breath, we can look back for views of Manaslu. An hour away is the wonderful Gurung village of Timang, where the villagers might be harvesting their crops of buckwheat or stuffing local sausages. Heading back down to the village of Koto Qupar, our base for the trek up to Nar Phu, we can look straight up at nearby Annapurna II – a stunning sight convincing us that we are deep in the Himalayan mountains! Many of the villagers are the from Nar Phu valley; this is the gateway to their region. Less than an hour brings us to Chame, the local administrative center of Manang, and a large village packed with small shops and tea-houses, an army post and a large school. We bed down here for the evening.

Trekking through pine forests while traversing the Annapurna Circuit is a breathtaking experience that immerses trekkers in the natural beauty of Nepal. As hikers navigate through the dense foliage of towering pine trees, the crisp mountain air carries the scent of pine needles, enhancing the sensory journey. The trail winds alongside a glistening river, presenting numerous opportunities to cross over on sturdy suspension bridges, each crossing accompanied by the soothing sounds of rushing water. Amidst this serene landscape, trekkers are treated to awe-inspiring vistas of towering peaks, notably Annapurna II and Pisang Peak, their majestic silhouettes dominating the horizon. The juxtaposition of verdant forests, tranquil river crossings, and panoramic mountain views creates a scene of unparalleled beauty, leaving a lasting impression on all who venture along this unforgettable path.

6 hours walk past a series of unique and colorful chortens to Manang, at 3500m, a village of 500 or so flat-roofed houses, the headquarters for the region, and an interesting village packed with trekkers, bakeries and lodges. Manang is dominated by high peaks – Annapurna III and Gangapurna tower over it, and a dramatic icefall sits just across the river. There is an old gompa on the edge of town, many local teahouses, and some atmospheric, winding streets in the village leading out toward the Thorung La. Finally, guest houses, showers, cold beers! There is a 3 o’clock lecture on altitude by the Himalayan Rescue Association for anyone interested. Overnight.

Upon reaching the village of Manang along the Annapurna Circuit, trekkers are afforded a well-deserved opportunity to rest and acclimatize to the high altitude. Nestled amidst the rugged Himalayan terrain, Manang provides a tranquil haven for weary travelers to recuperate and adjust to the thin mountain air. With its charming stone houses and prayer-flag adorned streets, the village exudes a sense of timeless serenity, inviting visitors to unwind and soak in the peaceful atmosphere. During this essential acclimatization period, trekkers have the option to embark on a short hike to explore nearby viewpoints. These excursions offer a chance to stretch one’s legs and revel in the surrounding natural beauty while gaining further insight into the local landscape. Whether strolling along winding trails or ascending to higher elevations, these brief explorations provide trekkers with a deeper appreciation for the breathtaking vistas that await them on their journey through the Annapurna region. A long day-hike to the Ice Lake, a visit to the ‘Hundred Ruppee Lama’ at the cave gompa above Manang, a two-hour hike to Milarepa’s cave across the river from Braga, the HRA talk, or a tour of Manang’s many bakeries. A hike up 300 meters or so for acclimatization is recommended, but nothing too strenuous is required. The guest house is wonderful, a sunny and warm place to gaze at the peaks in the afternoon. Overnight in Manang

It’s not a long day today, but we gain some altitude, so should take it slowly. En route, we will undoubtedly be passed along the trail by galloping Manangi horses, saddled with wonderful (and expensive) Tibetan wool saddle blankets, and their jubilant Manangi riders, bells jingling as they gallop by. We climb past Tengi and Gunsang to Yak Kharka. Overnight.

An easy two or three hour walk up to the Thorung La Base Camp Hotel at Thorung Phedi, and after an early lunch, another hour or so to hike up to the lodge at High Camp, where we will stay the night, getting to bed early for our early morning start the next day; pass day! If anyone is having problems with altitude, we have the option of staying at Thorung Phedi Base Camp, where we had lunch, a nice spot to spend the afternoon with its glass windows. Overnight.

Up early for the three or four hour walk to the top of the Thorung La at 5400m, where we are treated with spectacular views over Mustang and the surrounding peaks. The descent is almost as demanding as the ascent to the top of the pass, so a cup of chai and a snack at the local tea house at Chabarbu, at the bottom of the descent, is a required stop. And on to lower Mustang, which we have actually reached just after the pass, and the serene temple complex of Muktinath.

Muktinath is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus situated in a tranquil grove of trees, and contains a wall of 108 waterspouts in the shape of cows heads spouting sacred water, the Jwala Mai temple with a perpetual spouting flame and the pagoda-styled Vishnu Mandir, all of which make up the auspicious combination of earth, fire and water. We stay just five minutes down the trail from Muktinath at Ranipauwa

We have a nice morning’s walk down the Kali Gandaki riverbed, looking for saligrams along the way, to Jomsom, the administrative center for the region. The Kali Gandaki valley gets incredibly windy in the early afternoon, so important to arrive before noon; we’ll have lunch in Jomsom, and there is a bank if anyone needs to change money. Here there is an airport with regular flights to Pokhara, a bank, post office, hospital and few hotels. Permits are checked here. Overnight at Muktinath.

We have a nice morning’s walk down the Kali Gandaki riverbed, looking for saligrams along the way, to Jomsom, the administrative center for the region. The Kali Gandaki valley gets incredibly windy in the early afternoon, so important to arrive before noon; we’ll have lunch in Jomsom, and there is a bank if anyone needs to change money. Then another few hours to Marpha along the same riverbed. Marpha is a white-washed village of cobbled streets, small shops, horses and donkeys, a recently rebuilt gompa and caves above the village, and a wonderful place to stop for the evening. Overnight.

We continue descending the Kali Gandaki Gorge to Tukuche, a delightful village with a large gompa. Beyond Tukuche we walk along the west bank of the Kali Gandaki towards Larjung. Here, as in many of the villages in this area, narrow alleyways and tunnels connect houses with enclosed courtyards, providing protection against the winds blowing up the valley. We make our way through pine, juniper and cypress forests to Kalopani, enjoying fine views of Annapurna I and Fang. Ghasa, our next desination, lies an hour beyond Kalopani. Overnight.

Another long day, but well worth the effort to get to Tatopani, where the double hot springs are situated scenically next to the riverbed, well-deserved massages are offered by the hot springs, the bakeries are heaven, oranges and lemons fall from the fruit trees and the monkeys play across the river. Overnight.

Get ready for some more hills! Today’s walk is a hot one, and quite strenuous as we branch off after an hour of walking from Tatopani from the trail heading to Beni, and take the Ghorepani trail, starting straight up hill.

Those who want can hike up Poon Hill for a 360 degree Himalayan panorama; one of the best view point in Nepal. You can spot whole annapurna range with Dhaulagiri. After breakfast, we have a half day’s walk to Tadapani, where we’ll be treated to spectacular views of Machapuchare. Watch for monkeys on the way up! Overnight.

We descend through an old, open forest – and it’s important to trek in a group today, as this region used to be know for ‘dacoits’ – to the village of Gandruk, a Gurung village still existing in its traditional state. Again, perfect views; as well, there is a Gurung museum, worth a visit, and several small restaurants serving traditional Gurung fare such as fermented, sour spinach soup. Yum!

A golden, scenic last day of trekking through the terraced rice fields below Gandruk on the way to Kimche. We can look back on the way up to Annapurna Base Camp, far above. About four hours should be enough for us to make it to Naya Pul (new bridge), where we check out of the Annapurna Sanctuary Area, cross the bridge, and catch our ride back to Pokhara, just an hour or so down the road. We spend the night in a nice guest house with hot showers, and eat out at the one of the cool Cafe, where the beers are really cold, the food delicious and the atmosphere great.

Important note on itinerary: Although Ever effort will be made to follow the schedule above, this itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions, route conditions, conditions of trekkers, conditions of staff and other factors which is beyond our control.

Enjoy Trek!

Departures & Availability

The set departure dates listed are specially quoted and specified for group joining option. Let us know if the set departure dates are not suitable for you- another dates which are suitable for you can certainly be added by us.

Check Available Dates
Start Date Price Availability

All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.

Price include

1. Airport Pick-up and Drop Off,
2. Licensed and trained trekking guides,
3. potters for carrying goods and supplies,
4. Meal on full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea & coffee) basis during the trek
5. 3 Nights Accommodation in the 3/4/5 Star Hotel in Kathmandu with B & B. (Bed
& Breakfast)
6. All accommodation during the trek.
7. All meals and hot beverages during the trek.
8. Transportation to and from the trail head.
9. All necessary documents and permits for trekking (where applicable)
10. National Park/Conservation Area entry Permit, Insurance, and equipment for the staffs.
11. Coordination of quick Rescue service (Costs covered by your Insurance Plan)
12. Trekking staffs wages etc.
13. 1 hr. trekker massage after your trek.
14. Welcome and Farewell dinner in a Nepali Cultural Dance restaurant in Kathmandu.
15. Flight Ticket Kathmandu to Lukla to Kathmandu
16. Trekking Staff Insurance of $10,000 Per Person.
17. Trekking Map, T-shirt, and Trekking certificate.
18. Exclusive of Medical Kit Bag
19. All Government and Local Taxes
20. International Flight ticket re-confirmation.
21. Meals will be Start when your Trek starts.

Price Excludes

1. International Airfares,
2. Travel/Trekking Insurance,
3. Excess baggage charges More than 16kg and handbag more than 5 kg in
domestic flights.
4. Visa fees.
5. Airport Departure Taxes.
6. Drinks (Cold and Alcoholic) Rescue charge.
7. Tips for The staffs.
8. Expenses of Personnel nature and Permit and Liaison officer fee (where Applicable.
9. Meals during stay in the Kathmandu and Pokhara.
10. Domestic Ticket Etc.
11. Extra Hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Gears And Equipment

Trip Information

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a renowned trekking route in the Annapurna region of Nepal, offering stunning mountain vistas, diverse landscapes, and rich cultural experiences. Here’s some key information about the trek:

  • Location: The trek is located in the Annapurna region of Nepal, in the central Himalayas.
  • Duration: The trek typically takes around 15 to 20 days to complete, depending on the chosen route and pace.
  • Difficulty: The Annapurna Circuit Trek is considered moderate to challenging in terms of difficulty. Altitude sickness can be a concern due to the high elevation, especially when crossing Thorong La Pass at 5,416 meters (17,769 feet).
  • Best Time to Trek: The best time to trek the Annapurna Circuit is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons when the weather is generally clear, and the views are spectacular.
  • Permits: Trekkers need to obtain the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card before starting the trek.
  • Accommodation: Accommodation along the trekking route varies from basic teahouses to more comfortable lodges in larger villages. Camping is also an option for those seeking a more adventurous experience.
  • Altitude Sickness: Adequate acclimatization is essential to prevent altitude sickness. It’s recommended to ascend gradually and take rest days for acclimatization.
  • Highlights: Some of the highlights of the trek include Thorong La Pass, Muktinath Temple, the Kali Gandaki Gorge, natural hot springs at Tatopani, and panoramic mountain views from viewpoints like Poon Hill.
  • Guides and Porters: While it’s possible to trek independently, many trekkers choose to hire local guides and porters for navigation, cultural insights, and to share the load of carrying gear.
  • Preparation: Trekking the Annapurna Circuit requires physical fitness and adequate preparation. Training for endurance and carrying a well-packed backpack with essential items are crucial.
  • Safety: Trekkers should be mindful of weather conditions, trail conditions, and potential hazards such as avalanches and landslides. Travel insurance with coverage for trekking at high altitudes is recommended.
  • Responsible Trekking: Trekkers are encouraged to practice responsible trekking by respecting local culture, minimizing environmental impact, and supporting local communities through responsible tourism practices.

Overall, the Annapurna Circuit Trek offers a memorable adventure for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a challenging yet rewarding trekking experience amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the Himalayas.

Annapurna Circuit Trek Route Map

Annapurna-Circuit-Trek-Map

FAQS

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Traveler Reviews

These full and frank reviews are from travelers who have traveled with Ace the Himalaya previously. The reviews and experiences shown here are from reputable travel websites like TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, and Trust Pilot, etc.