Annapurna Circuit Trek

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28 days min
Availability : Jan 18’ - Dec 20’
London
Kathmandu
Min Age : 18+
Max People : 10

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is the most popular route in Nepal offering more cultural variety and a clearer sense of journey than the Everest Base Camp trek but still offering amazing mountain views. The Annapurna Circuit Trek is always done in an anti clockwise direction and will take 16 to 20 days. We allow 18 nights on the trek and 1 pre night and 2 post nights in Pokhara making 3 weeks. It is necessary to add up to an extra 7 days to allow time in Kathamandu and also the option of a trip to Chitwan National Park. The starting point is Besisahar and the finish is at Beni.

Tour Details

We trekked the Annapurna Circuit Trek for the first time in year 2000 and the itinerary below follows our steps and we feel the number of nights at 18 is about right if you have a reasonable level of fitness and are used to hiking in hilly areas to fully enjoy the experience which is incredible.

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is considered one of the worlds great trekking routes. To undertake this you will need to spend  a month overall in Nepal and you will also need to have a good level of fitness and be aware the route takes you out of reach and also to high altitude, the summit being going over The Thorung La Pass at 5416 metres. For anyone who is yet to experience this type of altitude certainly after 4900m at first  it is an effort to put one foot in front of the other. Also whilst the Annapurna Circuit Trek route allows for natural acclimatization with a gradual accent from Beisahar 800m it is necessary to manage this process with a 2 day stop around Manang 4000m. The trek starts in a tropical forest with banana trees, passes through areas of temperate vegetation with apple trees, to pine forests on to high mountain rocky paths. There are about 5 climate zones in the space of the accent which takes about 10 days. The toughest part is the final accent from High Camp at 4900 metres over the pass at 5416 but the hardest part is the decent which has to be completed in the same day to Muktinath 3800m. Walking downhill decending over 1600m is a killer on the thigh muscles and you might need a rest over the following day.   Read on the full itinerary below.

Departure & Return Location

London Heathrow Airport (Google Map)

Departure Time

3 Hours Before Flight Time

Price Includes

  • Air fares for International flights
  • 10 Nights Hotel Accomodation 18 nights on teahouse trek
  • Services of Sherpa Guide on trek
  • Entrance Fees
  • All transportation for transfers within Nepal

Price Excludes

  • Guide Service Fee
  • Driver Service Fee
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Room Service Fees

Complementaries

  • Umbrella
  • Sunscreen
  • T-Shirt
  • Entrance Fees
What to Expect

The mission statement of this Nepal adventure is to undertake, enjoy and complete one of the worlds most famous trakking routes the Annapurna Circuit. The Annapurna Circuit Trek itinerary allows sufficient time to complete the trek and also extra time before and after to enjoy Nepal.  The exact plan can be ammemded to suit your wishes, budget and time constraints but for the purpose of this advertised version we lay out below what you can expect to see and do.  Prices could vary according to your hotel choices and flights. The hotels we use at transit points in Kathmandu and Pokhara  are allocated by us.

  • Return flights from UK to Kathmandu with one stop
  • Transit stop overs in Kathmandu and Pokhara
  • Annapurna Circuit 18 day trek staying in Teahouses
  • Internal flights between Kathmandu and Pokhara
  • Services of a guide and a sherpa during the trek
  • Daytrip to Bhaktapur with a guide from Kathmandu

Day 1 Fly from UK to Kathamandu and stay 2 nights in Thamel Hotel Marshyangdi

This itinerary assumes Day 1 is the arrival day in Kathmandu given that flights from the UK depart the previous day. Example flight departs from Heathrow in the afternoon at 4pm via Doha arrival in Kathmandu the following morning at 9am Overall flight duration is approximately 12 hours . On arrival in Kathmandu you will be met by our consierge driver for a short journey to your hotel base in Thamel usually Hotel Marshyangdi or Khatmandu Guesthouse both very well located good hotels.

Day 2Explore Kathmandu as your leisure

The first day gives you time to recover from your long haul flight the previous day and explore the streets of Thamel which is Kathmandu’s old centre. Take in the vibrant culture, sights, smells and colours of this enchanting city. Be ready for a culture shock if you are a first time visitor to Nepal. This day will rest in your mind for many years in the future we can assure you.

Day 3Transfer from Kathmandu to Pokhara

Catch a flight or take an 8 hour drive to Pokhara from Kathmandu

Day 4Discover Pokhara

Spend a pre-trek night in Pokhara and take the day to explore the area.

Day 5Besi Sahar to Bhulbule (3 hours)

Take the morning to transfer from Pokhara to Besi Sahar to then begin your first day of trekking. Aim to leave Besi Sahar on foot by midday so you can arrive with plenty of time to spare in Bhubule for some sightseeing. The 3 hour trek follows a dirt road that drops down to Khudi, the first Gurung village on the trek. At Khudi cross a sidestream and continue to Bhulbe where you will enter the Annapurna Conservation Area.

Day 6Bhulbule to Ghermu (5-6 hours)

Beyond Bhulbule the trail travels up the east back of the river, past an impressive 60 metre waterfall surrounded by palm-like trees where you can watch out for languar monkeys playing in the tree tops. The mountain views disappear as you near Ngadi where it is worth taking a moment to see the old flagstoned bazaar. Then cross the Sisne Khola for a good look at the Upper Marsyandgdi A hydro project, before crossing the Ngadi Khola.

Eventually the trail leaves the road to meet it again at Lampata. As you curve around the hillside you can see Bahundanda to the right of the conical hill. The trail then winds through groves of bamboo to Bahundanda (‘Hill of Brahmans’), the northern most Brahman settlement in the Marsyangdi valley. From here descend on a steep, rocky trail, pass through a stream with enticing-looking cascades and pools then make a short climb to Lili Bhir. From here it is only a short traverse to Ghermu where there are several restaurants, shops and guesthouses.

Day 7Ghermu to Tal (5-6 hours)

From Ghermu the trail drops quickly past the Summit Restaurant to cross the Marsyangdi on a long, rattling suspension bridge at Syange. Follow the road past a small waterfall to Jagat, an inhabited tightly packed stone village with a lovely medieval feel. From here, the trail descends to the Ghatta Khola and then is a stiff climb to fantastic views of explosive cascades opposite the Super Rainbow Guesthouse.

Continue the trek through Sattale and through the bamboo fields before Tal Besi where you can see an underground waterfall beneath huge boulders. The trail crests a ridge before opening into a fertile plain. In this dramatic setting, at the foot of a large waterfall is Tal. The town gets its name from the lake that once filled the flat-bottomed valley.

Day 8Tal to Dharapani (3-4 hours)

From Tal the trail heads north over a wooden bridge and then makes its way along the riverbed to Sirantal. Follow the riverside trail to a 60 metre long suspension bridge across the Marsyangdi. Trek past several bhattis, cross a bridge over a side cascade and pass by the Manaslu Lodge at Khotro before descending to a long, high suspension bridge that leads to the east bank of the river and the village of Karte.

The main trail heads left from Karte and climbs over a ridge, entering the churning river gorge before dropping to a suspension bridge that takes you back to the west side of the Marsyangdi. From here, it is just a short walk to Dharapani which has a post office and some great lodges for a nights stay.

Day 9Dharapani to Chame (3-4 hours)

Just 10 minutes on from Dharapani is an ACAP checkpost where you will need to register and show your ACAP permit. This upper section of Dharapani marks the junction of the Marsyangdi and Dudh Khola. Follow the path for a few hours and cross the the remote village of Odar, the stone houses of Bagarchhap, the pine and fir forests of Danaque. the scruffy settlement of Timang and the stone walled village of Thanchowk.

At the edge of Thanchowk follow the the easy wide trail down past the fields of Chhetipu to the entrance kani of Koto. You’ll need to stop and register at the police checkpoint opposite the gompa. It’s an easy 25 minute stroll on to the large village of Chame, the administrative headquarters for the Manang district, where you’ll find plenty of good accommodation and guesthouses.

Day 10Chame to Upper Pisang (4-5 hours)

Trekking west from the bridge you pass an older part of Chame and the impressive kani that marks the entrance to the village. Climb past mani walls, looking back for an impressive view of Manaslu. There is then a long but leveled walk to Bhratang where you can have a lunch stop at the local tea house. From here, cross the bridge and follow the trail round to the first views of the dramatic Paungha Danda rock face, a tremendous curved slab of rock rising more than 1500 metres from the river.

Cross the south bank over a suspension bridge, descend through Dhukur Pokhari and then follow the road out towards Lower Pisang. Here you will find a cluster of lodges and a long mani wall with prayer wheels. A little further on and you’ll reach the other lodges of Upper Pisang which offers bags of atmosphere and incredible mountain views.

Day 11Upper Pisang to Manang (6-7 hours)

From Upper Pisang the high trail enters pine groves to reveal views of the small turquoise lake of Mring Tso and a connector trail that leads to Ghyaru. This stunning village has a gleaming white Jhunji Chorten and an interesting gompa. From here you will continue your trek through villages like Ngawal, the Ney Guru Sang Phuk cave, Julu village, Bragha and its gompa until you finally take one final climb to the plateau and village of Manang.

Day 12Acclimatisation Day in Manang

Take another day in Manang to give yourself and your body a chance to acclimatise. You can spend the day exploring the narrow alleyways of the town and tasting some food at the local restaurants. There are also several day trips you can do including an excursion to Praken Gompa high on the hillside above Manang, a visit to the 400 year old Karki Gompa or for those happy to push themselves there is the 4 hour climb to the Ice Lake. For something less strenuous, the town’s Manang Cultural museum is worth a visit with guided walks around the town.

Day 13 Manang to Yak Kharka (3-4 hours)

The trek now begins its ascent of almost 2000 meters to the Thorung La. It is possible to reach Thorung Phedi in a single day from Manang but in order to acclimatise you must first spend a night in either Yak Kharka or Letdar. The Gangapurna Lodge at Yak Kharka is a finer choice of accommodation then anything you’ll find at Letdar so we recommend stopping here.

From Manang village, the trail climbs to a chorten and then continues to Tengi, out of the Marsyangdi valley, through the small village of Gunsang. The route enters pastures and miniature forests of juniper, rose and barberry before swinging into a side valley to Yak Kharka.

Day 14Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi (2-3 hours)

From Yak Kharka it is just an hours trek to Letdar before climbing along the east bank of the Jarsang Khola. The route then follows a narrow trail across an exposed slope and climbs the Thorong Phedi (4540m), a desolate rock strewn meadow surrounded by cliffs. There are two lodges at Thorung Phedi, both with a range of comfortable rooms.

Day 15Thorung Phedi to Muktinath and Ranipauwa (6-8 hours)

The trail becomes steep immediately after leaving Thorung Phedi, switch backing up moraines and following rocky ridges as it ascends to the pass. From High Camp the trail climbs and climbs, traversing in and out of canyons formed by a maze of moraines. It takes between 3-5 hours to climb from Thorung Phedi to the pass and a set of prayer flags will tell you when you are 15 minutes away from the top. Once at the top, the views are outstanding. You can see the long Great Barrier ridge which separates the drier, Tibet-like region of Manang from the rest of Nepal as well as the Annapurnas, Gangapurna and the heavily glaciated peak of Khatung Kang.

On the descent you will get further views of Dhaulagiri across the valley and eventually Muktinath on the south side. The trail crosses meadows, drops into a deep ravine that marks the start of the Jhong Khola, climbs out adn follows a wide trail into Muktinath and its large walled temple complex. There is no accommodation here but if you head 10 minutes further to Ranipauwa there is plenty suitable accommodation.

Day 16Ranipauwa to Jomsom (5 hours)

It’s an easy down hill walk from Ranipauwa to Jomsom with a possible alternative route through Lubra, hidden in the side valley of Panga Khola. Lubra has managed to preserve a pocket of Bon religion since the 12th century and still boasts two Bon monasteries, one in the centre and another 15 minutes above the town. From Lubra, the trail continues down the valley crossing back to the north bank on a suspension bridge, before dropped to the river bed. After 90 minutes the trail joins the Jomson road near Eklai Bhatti.

Day 17Jomsom to Marpha (1-2 hours)

This is a very short day with plenty of time to explore Marpha on the other end. The trail leaves southern Jomsom by the Mustang Eco Museum and follows the road over the low ridge to cross the Syang Khola. The foot trail detours right to Syang where the interesting and picturesque old town and large Dechenling and Tashi Lhakhang monasteries are on a ridge above the road. At the southern end of Syang, rejoin the road and follow it all the way to Marpha.

Day 18 Marpha to Larjung (3-4 hours)

Head south through Marpha’s entrance and turn off at the bridge to Chhairo and Chimang. For a more direct route you can continue south for 90 minutes directly to Tukuche but its well worth taking the alternative east-bank trail via Chhairo and Chimang to avoid road traffic and for the great views of Dhaulagiri en route. Pass through Chhairo, Chimang and Chokapani before crossing the bridge towards Tukuche.

it is worth spending some time in Tukuche and paying a visit to the 200 year old Tukuche Distillery and the Mahakala Gompa. From Tukuche the road takes numerous ups and downs to Larjung but provides great views of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri North. The three villages of Kanti, Khobang and Larjung blur into one but there is plenty to see in this area including a series of crumbling retreat caves behind the village.

Day 19Larjung to Ghasa (5-6 hours)

From Larjung, join the road as it swings into the wide mouth of the Ghatta Khola. When the road returns to the bank of the Kali Gandaki, the trail crosses the river on a high suspension footbridge and climbs through fir, juniper and cypress tress to descend to Kokhethati. Ten minutes past Kokhethati, brand left onto a path signposted for Titi Lake and climb for 45 minutes to get beautiful views of this water mass.

Pass through the traditional village of Konjo, through Chhayo and Lete until you eventually reach the main road south to Ghasa. The village of Ghasa marks a cultural and ecological milestone not only because it is the last Thakali village on the trek or the southernmost limit of Tibetan Buddhism but from here on the mountain pine and birch of the middle valley start to give way to subtropical trees and shrubs.

Day 20Ghasa to Tatopani (4-5 hours)

From Ghasa you can avoid the road by crossing the suspension bridge south of the Eagle’s Nest Guesthouse and following the trail down the eastern side of the valley. The trail climbs the rocky cliffside to a ridge, leaving Mustang district, to make a long descent on steps to a bridge at Kopchepani. Follow the trail that zigzags upwards to a bridge across to Dana before finally reaching Tatopani.

Tatopani means ‘hot water’ in Nepali and the village gains its name from the hot springs below the village. There are two stone pools and a bar restaurant that have been a favorite stop for weary travelers along this route. It is definitely worth taking some time to soak in one of Tatopani’s incredible hot springs.

Day 21Tatopani to Beni (5-6 hours)

From Tatopani backtrack a short distance, cross the bridge across the Kali Gendaki, and then the Ghara Khola. Continue along the trail that follows the Kali Gendaki down-river. The trail passes some hot springs and in places rises high above the river and along steep cliffs. There are a few small villages and a waterfall along the way to Tiplyang. You cross the river on a bridge here. The trail then goes through many marijuana fields before reaching Baisari (basic lodges only) and then Galeshore. From here it is only an hour or so to Beni, which is at the end of the trek.

Day 22Transfer by road back to Pokhara

Catch a transfer back to Pokhara and celebrate your achievements with some drinks!

Day 23Explore Pokhara

Take the day to relax in Pokhara with possible choices of a lakeside rowing excursion before enjoying some cocktails, tea and cake.

Day 24 Air transfer to Chitwan National Park

Catch a flight to Chitwan and visit the famous World Heritage site. There are some incredible pieces of wildlife to see here including elephants, rhinos and tigers.

Day 25 Explore Chitwan

Take the day to enjoy Chitwan with the possibility of an additional Safari excursion or river trip.

Day 26Transfer by Air to Kathmandu

Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu and enjoy some time in the city.

Day 27Visit Bhaktapur from Kathmandu

The stunningly preserved micro city of Bhaktapur offers a taste of what Kathmandu was like before the modern world arrived. This is a must see destination and we allow a full day to discover Bhaktapur.

Day 28 Fly back to UK

Say goodbye to Nepal and fly back to UK

Itinerary
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