The Annapurna Circuit trek, encircling the Annapurna Range, passes through country inhabited by a diverse range of people and offers spectacular mountain scenery. Starting in the tropical Pokhara Valley, you climb from lush lowland forest to the arid valley of Manang. The high pass of Thorong La at 5400m offers a breathtaking view of the entire Annapurna mountain range and northwards into Tibet as just reward for your efforts.
“….the world’s highest and most beautiful mountains”
The Annapurna region north of Pokhara in Central Nepal includes some of the world’s highest and most beautiful mountains. These include the Annapurna range, Dhaulagiri (8167m) and Machhapuchhre (6998m) – the famous fishtail mountain that dominates the skyline above Pokhara city.
On either side of the Thorong La pass (5400m) there are fascinating Tibetan villages built almost entirely of stone. The trail descends to the Buddhist and Hindu pilgrimage site at Muktinath where you join up with the Jomsom trek. You can choose to trek on from this point, hire mountain bikes for the trail or get an automobile onwards towards Pokhara.
Day 0 – Arrival in Nepal
It is strongly advised that you arrive in Nepal at least 1 full day before the intended start date of your trek. This will give you the opportunity to allow for any jetlag and to obtain any additional items you may require in the numerous trekking and climbing supply shops in Kathmandu.
An airport pick up and hotel on arrival can be arranged easily for you if you wish and we will be on hand to assist you in picking up any items you need or want and to arrange tours of Kathmandu’s numerous cultural sites.
Day 1 – Kathmandu to Pokhara - 910m
To being we will travel to Pokhara by tourist bus from Kathmandu, which will take about 7 hours. There you will have a free evening to explore the town, take a walk around Lakeside or go boating on Fewa lake before overnighting at a hotel.
You may choose alternatively to take the 25-minute flight to Pokhara from Kathmandu, which while saving you a day of the itinerary, comes at an additional cost. Contact Us to learn more about customising your trek.
Day 2 – Pokhara to Bahundanda via Besi Sahar - 1310m
We will take a bus from Pokhara to the start of our trek at Besi Sahar (820m) and continue on to the Gurung village of Khudi where we cross the Khudi Khola. From here we follow the trail northwards up the Marsyangdi valley to Bhulbule where we stop for lunch.
The trail then crosses the Marsyangdi via a long suspension bridge and continues up the east bank of the river. From here there are good views of Manaslu (8156m) to the north-east. The trail then leads up through the villages of Ngadi and Lampata and past rice paddies before reaching Bahundanda (1310m) where we spend the night.
Day 3 - Bahundanda to Chamje – 1430m
From Bahundanda the trail drops to eventually cross a stream and then climbs to the settlement of Lili Bir. The trail continues high above the river for some time before eventually dropping to cross over to the western side of the Marsyangdi at Syange (1190m). Beyond Syange the trail becomes steep in parts, reaching the ancient village of Jagat at 1250m.
From Jagat the trail descends to the Marsyangdi, and follows the riverbank before climbing back up through the forests to Chamje at 1430m.
Day 4 - Chamje to Bagarchhap – 2160m
Today the trail continues northwards before eventually turning to the north west as it follows the Marsyangdi to Bagarchhap. The trail initially crosses the river to the east bank and climbs up to the large settlement of Tal at 1675m, where there are many shops and lodges.
From Tal the trail crosses and then re-crosses the river as it makes its way to Karte, and finally crosses again to the west bank before continuing through the village of Dharapani at 1920m, and on to Bagarchhap at 2160m.
Day 5 - Bagarchhap to Chame – 2630m
From Bagarchhap the trail continues in a general westwards direction up the Manang valley following the Marsyangdi river where we obtain views of Annapurna II (7937m) and Annapurna IV (8091m) to the west. Initially the trail climbs through forests to Dhanakyu at 2290m, and continues steadily to the settlement of Lattemarang at 2360m.
The track then climbs over several forested ridges to reach the village of Kotho at 2590m and from here it is an easy half-hour walk to Chame at 2630m, the administrative headquarters for the Manang district.
Day 6 - Chame to Pisang – 3190m
After leaving Chame we cross to the northern side of the river and trek west on an easy trail to the village of Bhratang at 2840m. The valley is steep and narrow and leads through dense forests before the trail eventually crosses back to the south side of the river on a suspension bridge at 3040m and then continues on to our destination for the evening, the large village of Pisang at 3190m.
Day 7 - Pisang to Manang – 3350m
Today our route continues along the south side of the river and brings us on a long trek over a ridge to reach approx 3400m. The trail then descends to the valley floor and continues on to Hongde at 3325m where there is an airstrip, several lodges and a police check-post, although the main feature of the village is a long mani wall.
Crossing over to the north bank of the river near Mungli we continue on to the stunning Tibetan-style village of Bryaga at 3475m, where there is an ancient Buddhist Gompa. From here it is only a short walk to Manang at 3500m, a large and locally important village located in a valley with numerous shops and lodges.
Day 8 - Acclimatisation day at Manang
The main purpose of today is to acclimatise to the thinning air and reduced levels of oxygen at this altitude before we continue upwards towards the Thorung La. Ascending too quickly can bring forth the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), which can be fatal and so it is very important that we take today to allow our bodies some extra time to adjust, grow some more red blood cells and rest before we continue on our journey upwards.
A lot of people take today to climb the hills behind Manang to enjoy magnificent views of the whole Annapurna range, beautiful mountain lakes and the enormous icefall that comes down from Gangapurna nearby. The sunset and sunrises experienced from within this great amphitheatre provide some of the best mountains views in the country.
Day 9 - Manang to Yak Kharka – 4090m
From Manang we trek slowly up to Tengi at 3620m and continue steadily onwards to Gunsang at 3930m. The trail becomes distinctly alpine and the vegetation consists of scrub juniper and alpine grasses. The views en route include the immense peaks of Gangapurna (7454m) and Annapurna III (7555m) as we continue up to Yak Kharka at 4090m.
Whilst it is possible to reach Thorung Phedi in one day from Manang we split the journey in two in order to aid the acclimatisation process. Although it makes for a short day containing about 4 hours of trekking, there are several lodges in Yak Kharka and it is a convenient place to stop before trekking higher.
Day 10 - Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi – 4420m
Today we continue very slowly upwards reaching the small settlement of Letdar at 4250m, after about one hour. The trail then continues to climb along the east bank of the Jarsang Khola, making its way steadily up to Thorung Phedi, a small collection of lodges, at 4420m. This cold and windy settlement is our last stop before crossing the Thorung La, as “phedi” means “foot of the hill”, and this will be our starting point for the long trek up to the pass at 5416m tomorrow.
This is another short day, and allows us to rest and relax before ascending to the Thorung La pass tomorrow. Lodges here are usually very crowded and there is an air of excitement and a lot of activity as most trekkers arrive here by lunchtime.
Day 11 - Trek to Muktinath, crossing Thorung La (5416m) – 3800m
We set off early at 6am and begin the long climb up to the Thorung La (“la” means “pass”) 1000m above us. We trek slowly and steadily with the aim of reaching the pass in 4 hours from Phedi, although it can take less or more depending upon your levels of fitness and acclimatisation. This trail has been used for centuries by local people and while it can be covered in snow depending on the recent weather, it is usually well defined in the trekking seasons.
Eventually after numerous false summits we reach the pass at 5416m. Upon reaching Thorung La we are greeted by the traditional chorten and prayer flags, as well as a magnificent panorama of snow-capped peaks extending northwards into Tibet, and looking back we can see several of the main Annapurna peaks. Today marks the highest and most rewarding point of our trek as we rest atop the pass and take in the beautiful surrounding among those few other lucky souls who have made it this far.
After taking pictures and some well deserved rest we begin the descent to Muktinath 1600m below. We gain our first views of the immense Kali Gandaki valley to the west and the reduction in altitude becomes obvious as soon as we leave the Thorung La granting us an increase in energy levels. The decent is long and tiring but not too difficult and we obtain great views of Dhaulagiri to the south-west and Tukuche Peak at 6920m.
3 hours after leaving the pass we find ourselves down in Muktinath and Ranipauwa. There are a number of well stocked lodges here and we spend the evening relaxing and looking back with satisfaction on a great achievement – crossing the Thorung La.
Day 12 – Drive from Muktinath to Pokhara, via Jomsom and Tatopani
For those looking to get back soon, you can take a full day’s journey by jeep and bus from Muktinath and then overnight at your Pokhara hotel.
Alternatively, you can continue trekking onwards to Jomson, Kalopani,Tatopani and Ghorapani as part of the Annapurna Sanctuary Trail or you can even rent mountains bikes in Muktinath and cycle the rest of the way back down!
Contact Us to learn more about customising your trek.
Annapurna Conservation Area
The Annapurna Conservation Area is Nepal’s largest protected area reaching across the Manang, Mustang, Kaski, Myagdi and Lamjung districts. The area is home to some of the world’s highest mountains including Annapurna 1 (8091m), Niligiri (7061) and Machhapuchchhre (6993m), Kali Gandaki, the world’s deepest gorge and a diverse set of local flora and fauna.
Level of Difficulty
This is a long trek to the remote and high Thorung La pass (5416m), which can be moderate to strenuous depending on the level of fitness of an individual. The walking duration can be from 6 to 9 hours. While most people can manage this trek, some regular walking and hiking exercise beforehand definitely helps. People with any chronic or heart disease should not consider undertaking this trek.
Travel to and from Trek
To start your trek, you can choose to take the 8-hour tourist bus drive to the city of Pokhara from Kathmandu or a 25-minute flight. Whilst the bus is the more common means of transport, by choosing to fly you can, for an additional cost, shave half a day off your intended itinerary.
Food and accommodation
Guest Lodges, sometimes called Teahouses, along the way provide good accommodation and a considerable choice of well-prepared meals. However, it is advisable to bring your own sleeping bag, as during the high season, bedding can be in short supply and it can get very cold at the higher altitudes.
Best time to Trek?
March to May is one of the best times to trek with lots of flowers in bloom, especially rhododendrons in the mountains. While the sky may not be crystal clear as during the autumn months, it is the second busiest season for trekking and mountaineering.
June to August are wet but the mountains and hills are covered with lush, full green forests and vegetation. The daily cloud coverage means that mountain views are not guaranteed but as very few people travel during this time it can present the perfect opportunity for people to explore the trails and nature in quiet.
September to November are the busiest trekking months due to predictable weather and mostly clear skies. The mountain views are spectacular but the most popular trails can become quite busy.
The winter months of December to February are good to trek due to the clean skies and the reduced number of trekkers. However, you should be prepared for cold temperatures.
Safety on the trail and Acclimatisation
Our guides are trained in First Aid and have significant experience in trekking this and many other routes throughout Nepal. Safety is our foremost priority and our staff will be available for any issues, and alert to any symptoms of illness that may come up.
Altitude problems, Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), can be life threatening and can occur at any point above 3000m. Our trip itinerary has been designed specifically to allow you to have enough time to acclimatise to the altitude as our height increases. Our guides are very experienced and will act in accordance with the seriousness of any mountain sickness suffered. The easiest and best remedy for AMS is to descend quickly, so never ignore the symptoms and please talk to your guide or leader if you feel unwell. They are trained to manage the logistics and assess the situation continually to make sure that you have a safe trip and enjoy yourself.
For more information on the trip and on trekking in Nepal, please visit out FAQ section.
Trek Cost: $1200 / person
This is based on a twin sharing basis for a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 12 people.
- An experienced, English-speaking trek leader/guide
- Porter service and support staff for above 4 person
- TIMS trekking permit and national park fees
- Land transportation as per itinerary (tourist bus –KTM/POK/KTM and taxi/car to Nayapul and back to Pokhara at the end of trek.
- Staffs food, wages, accommodation and insurance coverage
- 3 meals a day and accommodation in local lodges along the trail
- Any applicable government taxes
DOES NOT INCLUDE
- Hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara
- Airport transportation, visa, international or international flights, airport tax
- Bottled and hard drinks
- Meals in Kathmandu and Pokhara
- Your travel insurance
- Expenses of a personal nature
- Costs incurred due to any unforeseen events
- Emergency evacuation and rerouting
Annapurna Circuit Trek: Completely unique and wonderfully enjoyable experience
Having never been on any sort of serious trekking trip before, I was slightly nervy before setting off on the 14 day Annapurna Circuit trail. However any and all doubts were hastily forgotten within a couple hours of setting off. So many factors made the trip an unforgettable experience for me. From the spectacular scenery that changed dramatically from day to day, to the diverse villages offering a wonderful insight into Himalayan life and culture, and to the physical challenge and satisfaction of completing the trek and ascending so high.
The Annapurna circuit trek was such completely unique and wonderfully enjoyable experience for me that I really hope to return to Nepal to push myself even further!
Annapurna Circuit was SpectacularThe Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal was one of the hardest but best things that I have ever done. Walking through the valleys and over the passes along the Annapurna Circuit was both relaxing and very tiring at the same time. While I suffered from some altitude sickness on the last two days, looking back I am so glad that I completed it. I will look back on the pictures from this adventure forever!