Annapurna Circuit Trek

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  • Destination: Nepal
  • Trip Duration: 16 Days
  • Trip Grade: Moderate
  • Trip Type: Trekking
  • Max Altitude: 5,416 m
  • Min Pax: 01
  • Trip Style: Tea House Trek/Lodge to Lodge Trek
  • Transportation: Tourist bus/private car/private jeep/Van
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Highlights of the Annapurna Circuit Trek

  • Cross the well-famed Thorung La Pass which sits at a staggering altitude of 5,416m.
  • Witness some of the world’s highest peaks, namely Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Machhapuchhre, Dhaulagiri, Gangapurna, Tukuche, Nilgiri, Tilicho Peak, Manaslu, and the neighboring peaks.
  • Witness the beauty of the deserted and desolate hills of Mustang.
  • Witness the magical sunrise illuminating the entire Annapurna range from Poonhill.
  • A glimpse of the local culture and traditions of the Gurung and Thakali tribes.
  • Bathe in the natural hot spring of Tatopani.
  • Witness the world’s deepest gorge, the Kali-Gandaki Gorge.

Overview

Embark on a memorable journey along the desolate hills of the Annapurna Region as you witness the magnificent views of the towering icy peaks in the backdrop. The Annapurna Region lies in the western provinces of Nepal and offers some of the best natural landscapes that you’ve never witnessed before!

Voted as one of the best trekking routes in the world, the Annapurna Circuit trek takes you through different textures of landscapes contrasting from lush green vegetation to barren and deserted landscapes. Aside from the natural beauty, the walk also allows you to witness the Buddhist-influenced cultural diversity of the Gurungs, Magars and Thakali tribes settling along the route.

The 16-day Annapurna circuit trek commences with a drive from the capital to Besisahar, from where we will be ascending towards Manang. The trail follows the Marshyangdi valley passing through the settlements of Chame, Pisang, Manang, and Yak Kharka eventually reaching Thorung La Pass. The Thorung La Pass is one of the main highlights of the trek and sits at an altitude of 5,416m.

From Thorung-La, we descend into the desert-like, Tibetan-style hills of Mustang lying at the upper Kali Gandaki Valley. En route, we also visit the holy shrine of Muktinath, which carries a massive religious significance amongst Buddhists and Hindus. The temple also features 108 showers which locals believe that bathing in them cleanses one of all their sins and wrongdoings. The trek finally concludes with a drive back to Pokhara after an early sunrise in Poonhill.

For newbies or infrequent trekkers, the Annapurna Circuit Trek can be a great way to step into the world of challenging treks. For usual trekkers, it can be one of their most exceptional trekking experiences! The sceneries are captivating, and the journey promises to give you an experience that you won’t obliterate in your lifetime!

Read on to find out more about our 16-day Annapurna Circuit Package and the different factors associated with the trek.

Note: We also conduct flights from Jomsom to Pokhara, eliminating the longer itinerary and concluding your trip when you arrive at Jomsom.

Best Time For The Annapurna Circuit Trek

The best time to opt for the Annapurna Circuit Trek would undoubtedly be the autumn season which lies from September-November. During this time of the year, the winds are calmer, and the skies are more apparent, contributing to a crisper and sharper view of the mountains. Also with the end of the monsoon season, the peaks are fully snow-capped, providing a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains!

The spring season (March-May) is another good time to opt for the trek. The skies are open, and the vegetation is blooming, which can help you to capture some unreal photographs. The weather is much calmer and less cold, which makes it blissful to travel.

Try and avoid the rainy season, as the frequent rainfalls create slippery and muddy paths as well as obstruct the views of the mountains. Also, snowfall can occur in higher altitudes which can create unwanted delays in your schedule.

Difficulty Of The Annapurna Circuit Trek

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a moderate trek, and if you are an average healthy person, you can definitely opt for it! However, the trek is not always a breeze and a few days of the circuit demands extreme physical endurance and strength. So if you’re a novice trekker, it is better to opt for a lighter trek before signing up for this one.

One of the main difficulties of this trek is undoubtedly the high-altitude. High-altitude often brings unwanted fatigue and can make ascending seem a lot harder than it actually is. Another grave issue is the altitude sickness, which many people fall prey to during this trek due to a lack of proper acclimatization.

We have prepared this particular itinerary with full priority to acclimatization using short ascents and rest days. However, if you do feel symptoms of it, refer to your guide who will take the necessary actions.

Apart from the altitude, the other difficulty of this trek is the long days of trekking which can wear you out if you do not have adequate physical strength. So it is best to train yourself a few weeks before the trek to increase your physical endurance.

Some Tips For The Annapurna Circuit Trek

  • Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the trip.
  • Get a good pair of hiking boots and a sturdy backpack.
  • Be sure to pack as light as possible. Heavyweight invites unwanted fatigue.
  • If possible, carry Diamox and Ibuprofen tablets for speeding acclimatization.
  • Be sure to greet any Nepali passerby with the local phrase “Namaste”.
  • If you feel any signs of AMS, immediately alert it to your guide.

Day to day itinerary:

  • Day 1:Arrival at Kathmandu
  • Day 2:Drive from Kathmandu to Besisahar
  • Day 3:Drive from Besisahar to Syange to Chame
  • Day 4:Chame to Pisang
  • Day 5:Pisang to Manang
  • Day 6:Manang: Acclimatization Day
  • Day 7:Manang to Yak Kharka
  • Day 8:Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi or High Camp
  • Day 9:Thorong Phedi/ High Camp to Muktinath via Thorung La Pass
  • Day 10:Muktinath to Marpha
  • Day 11: Marpha to Ghasa
  • Day 12:Ghasa to Tatopani
  • Day 13:Tatopani to Ghorepani
  • Day 14:Ghorepani to Poon Hill, Back to Pokhara
  • Day 15:Pokhara to Kathmandu
  • Day 16:Kathmandu: Departure Day

Detail Itinerary

  • Day 1Arrival at Kathmandu
    Elevation: 1400m

    Upon landing at Tribhuvan International Airport, our representatives will pick you up and escort you to your hotel. After checking-in, you can check out the glorious city on your own or casually relax in your hotel room.
  • Day 2Drive from Kathmandu to Besisahar
    Elevation: 760m

    Distance: 184 km

    Walking Time: 6-7 hours drive

    The circuit officially begins with a 6-hour scenic drive from Kathmandu to the settlement of Besisahar. The drive provides fantastic views of the verdant and steep landscapes of Nepal as we drive along the banks of Trishuli.

    On reaching Mugling, the road separates into two directions. We continue on the path following Pokhara. After 6-7 hours of traveling on the twisting and winding roads, we finally reach Besisahar where we will be staying overnight.
  • Day 3Drive from Besisahar to Syange to Chame
    Elevation: 1,110m (Syange) & 2,650m (Chame)

    Travel Distance: 65 km

    Walking Time: 4 hours drive

    We leave for Chame early in the morning in a jeep passing through the settlement of Syange. The roads are serpentine with winding bends all the way to the destination. The road is also not pitched but fully rough and rugged, contributing to an odd-road experience.

    After an approximate 4 hours drive, we reach Chame after passing through small village settlements and verdant landscapes. Chame offers even more precise views of Annapurna II, Mount Macchapuchhre and Mount Lamjung from this village. Overnight stay at Chame.
  • Day 4Chame to Pisang
    Elevation: 3,250m

    Walking Distance: 13 km

    Walking Time: 5-6 hours

    From Chame, we stop driving and starting walking towards Pisang. On this day, the trail blesses you with some of the best views of the entire circuit. The trek begins with an uphill climb through the lush green forests and light settlements until we reach the village of Pisang.

    Enroute we pass through the settlements of Bhratang and Dhukur Pokhari. The trail is pretty simple during the first two hours but gets challenging as you near Pisang. After 5-6 hours of walking, we reach Pisang and stay overnight.
  • Day 5Pisang to Manang
    Elevation: 3,540m

    Walking Distance: 16 km

    Walking Time: 6-7 hours

    On the fifth day of the circuit, we leave Pisang and head to the well-famed village of Manang. As the altitude crosses the 3,000m mark, most people start the feel the altitude-induced fatigue. We walk along the trail for 4-5 hours until we reach Ngawal.

    From Ngawal, we continue walking along the steep path of the moraines towards Manang. You can observe here that the vegetation and landscapes start getting different from the ones below. After walking for 2-3 hours, we finally reach Manang after passing the Manang airstrip and the ancient monastery of Braga. Overnight stay at Manang.
  • Day 6Manang: Acclimatization Day
    Elevation: 3,540m

    Since we are at a lofty altitude, we need to give our body time to acclimatize to the thin air all around. So we take this day off and spend the day acclimatizing to the surrounding environment. This rest day also allows giving your feet some rest after a few days of uphill climbing. Overnight stay at Manang.
  • Day 7Manang to Yak Kharka
    Elevation: 4,018m

    Walking Distance: 10 km

    Walking Time: 5-6 hours

    After a wholesome breakfast, we continue our journey on the Annapurna circuit as we leave the town of Manang and head towards Yak Kharka. This is the point when the trek starts getting a bit challenging due to the steep climb and high altitude. However, the majestic views of the snow-clad mountains and the surrounding landscapes seem to make every step worth it!

    A majority of this track is relatively smooth with occasional steep climbs. After 5-6 hours of walking, we finally reach Yak Kharka, where we will be spending the night. Many people opt to go higher up to Ledar for the day, but for proper acclimatization, Yak Kharka is the perfect option.
  • Day 8Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi or High Camp
    Elevation: 4,540m

    Walking Distance: 6km

    Time: 4-5 hours

    On this day, we commence our trek by climbing steadily along the edge for a few hours and then move down towards the Marshyangdi river. After crossing the connecting bridge, we continue our journey along the thin track that leads to an uphill climb leading to Thorung Phedi. The surrounding views are absolutely exquisite, and you can occasionally stop to click some admirable pictures of the giant peaks. Overnight stay at Thorung Phedi.
  • Day 9Thorong Phedi/ High Camp to Muktinath via Thorung La Pass
    Elevation: 5,430m (Thorung-La Pass) & 3,800m (Muktinath)

    Walking Distance: 12 km

    Walking Time: 6-7 hours

    The ninth day is the most challenging day of the entire circuit. We need to walk long distances and cover high altitude. We begin our journey early in the morning as we leave Thorung Phedi and make our way to the well-famed Thorung La Pass.

    The trail is moderately steep, and the occasional winds also pose as a challenge. After a few hours of a shaky incline, we finally reach Thorung-La Pass which sits at an altitude of 5,430m. After some well deserved photographs, we begin our descent to the holy shrine of Muktinath.

    The path down is a steep downhill track. Enroute we pass the village of Chirabu which lies beneath the pass. After a few hours, we finally reach Muktinath for spending the night. Throughout the downhill path, we can observe the magnificent view of the Dhauligiri Mountain range.
  • Day 10Muktinath to Marpha
    Elevation: 2,650m

    Walking Distance: 22 km

    Walking Time: 8-10 hours

    After offering our prayers to Muktinath, we finally head back home to conclude the journey. Our destination today will be Marpha, which is a small stone-housed settlement further from Jomsom.

    The trek today will be the longest, as we have to cover 22 km. We start by descending along the desolate hills from Muktinath heading towards Kagbeni. From Kagbeni, the path diverges into two trails. One leads to Jomsom and the other one to Upper Mustang.

    We follow on the trail to Jomsom alongside the banks of Kaligandaki river. It takes roughly 2-3 hours to reach Jomsom as we pass through the settlement of Eklebhatti. After reaching Jomsom, we take quick refreshments and head towards Marpha. Marpha is another 1-2 hours from Jomsom. While you’re in Marpha, don’t forget to taste their local apple brandy! Overnight stay at Marpha.
  • Day 11 Marpha to Ghasa
    Elevation: 2,010m

    Walking Distance: 22 km

    Walking Time: 6-8 hours

    We continue the journey leaving the settlement of Marpha towards Ghasa. En route, we pass through the settlements of Larjung, Kalapani, and Lete. The trail follows alongside the Kali Gandaki river and is a pleasant descent.

    Throughout the journey, you can catch incredible views of Mt.Nilgiri and the Dhaulagiri’s Eastern face. After a few hours of walking along the path covered with pines, oaks and rhododendron trees and crossing numerous suspension bridges, we reach Ghasa. Ghasa is a broad settlement covered with Thakali tribes. Overnight stay at Ghasa.
  • Day 12Ghasa to Tatopani
    Elevation: 1,190m

    Walking Distance: 13 km

    Walking Time: 4-5 hours

    We start the trip early as we pass through the abundant forest-covered trails witnessing the Annapurna massif gleaming in the backdrop. Our destination for the day will be Tatopani which stands for “ Hot Water “ due to the presence of its natural hot water spring.

    We descend along the terraced paddy fields amidst the captivating natural landscapes.

    After a few hours of walking, we pass the glittering waterfall of Rupsi eventually into Tatopani. Tatopani features numerous hot natural springs beside the Kali Gandaki river where you can relax your muscles and nerves after the strenuous trekking days. Overnight stay at Tatopani.
  • Day 13Tatopani to Ghorepani
    Elevation: 2,874m

    Walking Distance: 14 km

    Walking Time: 6-7 hours

    We start moving away from the Himalayas as we leave Tatopani and head towards Ghorepani. Ghorepani is an attractive village with a majority of Gurung tribes. On a clear day, it offers jaw-dropping views of the Annapurna mountain range.

    We start the trek by crossing the suspension bridge over the Kali Gandaki river. The trek then leads to an uphill climb. The climb is steep for a few hours and then is generally more comfortable and gentle. After 6-7 hours of walking, we finally reach Ghorepani passing the settlement of Chitre. Overnight stay at Ghorepani.
  • Day 14Ghorepani to Poon Hill, Back to Pokhara
    Elevation: 3,210m (Poon Hill) & 1,400m (Pokhara)

    Walking Distance: 3 km & 35 km

    Walking Time: 8-10 hours

    Poon Hill is a hill perched just beside the village of Ghorepani. It offers a fantastic panoramic view of the Annapurna massif range. We start the journey early in the morning to catch the sunrise. The hike is a moderate uphill climb and takes about 1-2 hours to finish.

    If the weather is clear, you will witness the magical sunrise as the sun gleams through the mountains illuminating the entire Annapurna range. After spending some time on Poon Hill, we trek back to Ghorepani from where we will be driving back to Pokhara. After 5-6 hours of driving, we finally reach Pokhara.

    You can spend the rest of the evening in any one of the local pubs, sharing your stories with fellow travelers. Overnight stay at Pokhara.
  • Day 15Pokhara to Kathmandu
    Elevation: 1,400m

    Travel Distance: 200 km

    Walking Time: 6-7 hours drive

    The Annapurna circuit trek finally comes to an end, as we drive from the Pokhara back to the capital. The journey takes about 6-7 hours with occasional stops on the way. You can spend your time indulging in the beauty of the passing verdant landscapes and the fading snow-capped mountains.
  • Day 16Kathmandu: Departure Day
    Elevation: 1,400m

    As the trip concludes, our representatives will drop you at the Tribhuvan International Airport bidding you farewell, with a hope to see you very soon!
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Trip Note

Frequently Asked Questions About The Annapurna Circuit Trek

What is the highest point during the circuit?

The highest point we will be venturing during the Annapurna Circuit Trek is the Thorung-La Pass which stands at an altitude of 5,430m above sea level.

How much distance does the total circuit cover?

The total circuit covers anywhere between 180-230kms. These numbers fluctuate depending on the furthest locations up to where you have used the motor transportation.

What permits do I require for the Annapurna Circuit Trek?

Since you will be entering the Annapurna Conservation Area, which the Government of Nepal highly prioritizes, you will require two different permits. These are the TIMS card and ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit). You can obtain the permits from the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu or Pokhara. However, if you are traveling with a tour operator, you do not require to get them personally.

How is the accommodation along the route?

The Annapurna circuit trek is a tea house trek. So you will find plenty of tea houses and lodges along the way. Since it is a popular trekking destination, the quality of the accommodations is also pretty good. You will find rooms with double sharing and a shared bathroom. Some tea-houses also provide Wi-Fi and hot water services at some additional cost.

Are there Wi-Fi facilities?

Yes, as long as you are in low altitude areas. As you travel higher, the internet strength is not so good, and some lodges even do not even have Wi-Fi, so don’t rely on it!

Are there ATMs along the route?

No, there are no ATM’s along the route. So be sure to carry an adequate amount of cash by withdrawing from any one of the ATM’s in Kathmandu or Pokhara.

How likely is it to catch altitude sickness?

Since the trek is at a lofty altitude, there is a potential of catching altitude sickness. However, we have designed the itinerary to reduce the risk as much as possible. You can also carry Diamox or Ibuprofen tablets to help speed acclimatization. Staying hydrated can also eliminate the chances of catching AMS.

Finally,

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is voted as one of the most beautiful trekking destinations of the world, and it rightfully deserves to be so! The contrasting landscapes, glittering streams, and the towering snow-capped peaks guarantee to provide you with an experience like never before! So, pack your bags and gear up for the Annapurna Circuit Trek, which can be the ultimate trekking experience of your life!