Annapurna Circuit Trekking

Annapurna Circuit Trek: Embark on an Epic Himalayan Odyssey

Overview

The Annapurna Circuit Trek beckons adventure seekers with a journey unlike any other. This epic odyssey traverses the majestic Annapurna massif, offering a breathtaking panorama of snow-capped peaks, diverse landscapes, and a profound connection with the heart of the Himalayas. Prepare to be enthralled by dramatic valleys, cascading waterfalls, ancient villages, and the warm hospitality of the local people as you embark on this unforgettable circuit.

Unveiling the Majesty of the Annapurna Massif:

The Annapurna Circuit Trek unveils the Annapurna Massif in all its glory. Witness the world’s tenth highest peak, Annapurna I (8,091m), pierce the clear skies alongside iconic giants like Machapuchare (Fishtail Peak) and Hiunchuli. As you traverse the circuit, the landscape transforms from lush valleys to arid plateaus, offering a glimpse into the diverse ecosystems that thrive in the shadow of these Himalayan giants.The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a challenging trek, but it is also very rewarding. The scenery is simply stunning, and you will get to see some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, including Annapurna I (8,091m), the world’s tenth highest peak. The trek also takes you through a variety of landscapes, from lush valleys to high-altitude deserts. You will also get to experience the rich culture of the region, as you pass through traditional villages and meet the local people.

A Journey Through Diverse Landscapes:

The Annapurna Circuit is a tapestry of ever-changing landscapes. Descend from the bustling town of Kathmandu to verdant valleys adorned with rice terraces and traditional villages. Hike through dense rhododendron forests bursting with colorful blooms in spring, and cross thundering rivers on quaint suspension bridges. As you ascend, the landscape transforms into dramatic high-altitude plateaus, offering panoramic vistas that will leave you breathless. Cross the world’s deepest gorge, the Kali Gandaki Gorge, carved by the mighty Gandaki River, and witness the dramatic change in vegetation as you enter the rain shadow region. Finally, conquer the challenging yet rewarding Thorong La Pass (5,416m), the highest point of the trek, and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the entire Annapurna massif.

Encountering the Rich Tapestry of Cultures:

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is not just a physical adventure; it’s a cultural immersion experience. Encounter the Gurung people, known for their warm hospitality and rich heritage, in villages nestled amidst the valleys. Learn about their traditional way of life, where ancient monasteries stand as testaments to their faith, and prayer flags flutter in the wind. Interact with the Thakali people, renowned for their entrepreneurial spirit, in villages like Manang, a unique trading hub nestled high in the Himalayas. The genuine smiles and welcoming spirit of the local people will undoubtedly enrich your experience and leave you with a newfound appreciation for Nepal’s cultural diversity.

Challenging the Elements: A Test of Endurance

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a challenging adventure, demanding a good level of physical fitness and a strong sense of adventure. The high altitude, varying weather conditions, and demanding climbs require proper acclimatization and a positive mental attitude. However, the rewards are unparalleled. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel upon conquering Thorong La Pass, and the breathtaking panoramas that unfold before you, will leave a lasting impression.

Beyond the Horizon: An Unforgettable Himalayan Experience

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is more than just a challenging hike; it’s a transformative journey that pushes your limits, connects you with the raw beauty of nature, and leaves you with a profound appreciation for the rich tapestry of cultures that call the Himalayas home.

Detail Itinerary

Upon landing at the international airport, our team will greet you and accompany you to your designated hotel. Before you settle in, we'll provide a brief overview of the day's activities. Once you've checked in and freshened up, you can venture out to Thamel, a renowned tourist hub in Kathmandu. Enjoy your overnight stay at the hotel.

Today begins with a delightful breakfast, setting the tone for a guided tour of Kathmandu's rich historical and spiritual landmarks. Our itinerary covers UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the iconic Durbar Square, the revered Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the famous 'Monkey Temple' (Swayambhunath), and the impressive Bouddhanath Buddhist shrine, renowned as one of the largest stupas globally.

At noon, we'll convene for a pre-trip discussion where we'll meet our trek leader and fellow team members. Touching Mountain Treks will provide a detailed briefing about our upcoming trek, allowing us to ask any questions and ensuring we're fully prepared for the adventure ahead. We'll spend the night in Kathmandu, gearing up for the start of our trekking journey.

Driving Hours: (200km / 124 miles) 7-8 hrs.

The trek kicks off early in the morning with a hearty breakfast before boarding a bus from Kathmandu bound for Bhulbhule. The journey unveils stunning vistas along the Trishuli River, leading through Besisahar and finally arriving at Bhulbhule, nestled alongside the Marsyangdi River. En route, you'll be treated to the sight of terraced farms, quaint villages, and the majestic Ganesh and Manaslu snow peaks. Upon reaching Bhulbhule, the first order of business is registering permits at the check post for trekking entry.

Trek Distance: 16km / 9.9miles, Highest Altitude: 1,300m / 4,265ft, Trek Duration: 5 hrs

After enjoying a hearty breakfast, we'll begin our journey on the trails. The path leads us through lush jungles and terraced fields, following the Marsyangdi river's gentle flow. Along the way, we'll take a relaxing break for lunch and continue through quaint rural settlements and expansive farmlands until we arrive at the serene village of Jagat, which once served as a bustling trading hub.

Trek Distance: 15km / 9.3miles, Highest Altitude: 1,860m / 6,200ft, Trek Duration: 5 hrs

On our third day of trekking, we trace the Marsyangdi River, ascending steeply until we enter the enchanting Manang region, arriving at the picturesque Tal village. Here, the landscape is adorned with cascading waterfalls that converge into a serene river, bordered by sandy shores. Our trail meanders through fields of barley, rice, and potatoes, leading us to Kodo, a bustling village nestled in the expansive Manang valley. Continuing our journey, we traverse a suspension bridge and ascend a stone Kani, finally arriving at our day's endpoint, Dharapani.

Trek Distance: 15.5km / 9.6miles, Highest Altitude: 2,610m / 8,890ft, Trek Duration: 6 hrs

Leaving Dharapani behind, we traverse through lush forests adorned with pine, fir, oak, and maple trees alongside the Marsyangdi River until we arrive at Chame, the administrative center of Manang district. Enveloped by verdant forests and towering peaks, including Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, and Annapurna IV (7,525m), the scenery is nothing short of breathtaking. Along the way, we pause at a quaint hot spring for a brief respite, adding a touch of relaxation to our journey.

Trek Distance: 13.2km / 8.2miles, Highest Altitude: 3,115m/10,200ft, Trek Duration: 5 - 6 hrs

Today, following breakfast, we embark on a trek through a rugged and narrow valley, leading us to a remarkable sight: the Paungda Danda Rock, revered as highly sacred by the nearby communities. This massive rock formation arches upward, towering 1500 meters above the Marshyangdi River. Along the way, we are treated to breathtaking vistas of Annapurna II to the south and Pisang Peak to the northeast. Our journey continues as we descend, bringing us down to the serene Manang Valley floor and into the charming Pisang village, where we will settle for the night.

Trek Distance: 17km / 10.6miles, Highest Altitude: 3,540m / 11,300ftTrek Duration: 5 - 6 hrs

On the sixth day of our trek, we'll venture along the upper trails through Upper Pisang via Geru. This route treats us to breathtaking vistas of Annapurna II, III, IV, Gangapurna, Tilicho, and Pisang Peak's north face. As we ascend, the air transforms into a colder, drier, and more rugged environment. We'll traverse Tibetan settlements, offering insights into Buddhist culture. Our journey includes a visit to Barge Monastery, the region's largest, and we'll encounter numerous Buddhist shrines and monasteries before arriving at Manang bazaar, a bustling hub catering to tourists.

On this day, we'll focus on acclimatization while staying active with explorations around Manang village. Our morning will be dedicated to visiting Gangapurna & Ice Lakes, offering stunning vistas of Annapurna III, Tilicho, Pisang, and Chulu Peaks. Later in the day, we might also drop by the Himalayan Rescue Association in Vraja village for a briefing on acute mountain sickness, its symptoms, and preventive measures.

Trek Distance: 9.4km / 5.8miles, Highest Altitude: 4,050m / 14,275ft, Trek Duration: 3-4 hrs

After a day spent acclimatizing in the Manang region, allowing our bodies to adjust to the high altitude, we proceed towards Yak Kharka. Our journey starts by crossing a stream and ascending to Tenki village, then veering northwest out of the Marshyangdi valley into the Jar Sang Khola valley. The path gradually climbs as we head northward, passing through lush pastures and fragrant juniper forests.

Enroute, we traverse the charming village of Gunsan, distinguished by its houses with flat mud roofs and surrounded by yak and horse pastures. Crossing a small river via a wooden bridge, we ascend further into the awe-inspiring valley until we reach the serene expanse of Yak Kharka, a tranquil meadow nestled amidst the mountains.

Trek Distance: 8.5km / 5.2miles, Highest Altitude: 4,525m / 14,525ft, Trek Duration: 4-5 hrs

Today, we're trekking towards Thorong Phedi, situated at the base of Thorong La pass. Starting from Yak Kharka, we'll ascend to a ridge before descending and crossing the Marsyangdi river via a wooden bridge. As we climb up the mountain, we'll traverse a narrow trail along a slope, eventually reaching Thorong Phedi. The landscape here is stark and rugged, a stark contrast to the verdant lowlands we traversed earlier in the trek.

Trek Distance: 15.6km / 9.6miles, Highest Altitude: 5,416m /17,756ft, Trek Duration: 9 hrs

This day promises to be unforgettable as we embark on a challenging trek from Thorong Phedi (4,525m/14,525ft) to Muktinath Temple (3,760m/12,623ft) via the renowned Thorung La high pass (5,416 m/17,756 ft). This pass stands as one of the world's highest, marking the pinnacle of our trekking journey.

We kick off early in the morning, braving the frigid air and high altitudes, but the breathtaking vistas from Thorung La Pass make every step worthwhile. To the north, a stunning panorama of Himalayan peaks unfolds towards Tibet, while a glance backward reveals the majestic Annapurna range.

Descending towards Muktinath, we enter a sacred realm revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. Buddhists know Muktinath as Chumig Gyatsa, translating to Hundred Waters in Tibetan, symbolizing its numerous natural springs. The Muktinath Temple boasts 108 stone sprouts, each with water flowing from the Kaligandaki River, alongside an eternal flame that has flickered for over two millennia, adding to the spiritual allure of this revered site.

Driving Hours: (113km / 70miles) 6-7 hrs, Highest Altitude: 3,760m / 12,623ft

In the morning, we'll start our day with a visit to Muktinath Temple, followed by a scenic local bus ride to Tatopani. Brace yourself for a bumpy journey as the road takes us through some of the world's deepest gorges. Along the way, we'll transition from arid highlands to verdant forests, experiencing a dramatic change in landscapes. Tatopani is renowned for its natural hot springs, offering a perfect opportunity to unwind and rejuvenate. The mineral-rich waters of Tatopani are believed to have healing properties, particularly beneficial for skin ailments.

Trek Distance: 17km / 10.5miles, Highest Altitude: 2,860m / 9,385ft, Trek Duration: 6-7 hrs

We'll depart from the hot springs and cross over to the eastern bank of the Kali Gandaki River, climbing towards Ghorepani through the charming Thakali settlements of Sikha and Chitre. Our journey unfolds amidst terraced fields framed by majestic mountains and leads us through verdant forests teeming with rhododendron, birch, and magnolia trees. Ghorepani awaits us, perched atop a ridge, offering breathtaking views and a serene setting for our overnight stay.

Trek Distance: 12.5km / 7.7miles, Highest Altitude: (3,210m / 10,525ft), Trek Duration: 4-5 hrs, Driving Hours: 2 hrs

On our last day of trekking, we'll start early to reach Poon Hill (3,210m) for a breathtaking sunrise view of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massif, along with Mt Machhapuchhre (Fishtail). Poon Hill is renowned for its stunning panoramas, making it a photographer's paradise. After capturing the beauty around us, we'll head back to Ghorepani lodge for breakfast. Following that, we'll trek to Birethanti and then catch a bus to Pokhara, concluding our memorable journey.

Driving Hours: (200km / 124miles) 6-7hrs

Your Annapurna Circuit adventure concludes today. We begin the day in Pokhara, where we enjoy breakfast before embarking on a scenic drive back to Kathmandu via a tourist bus. The 200 km journey showcases breathtaking views along the Marsyangdi River and later the Trishuli River. Alternatively, travelers can opt for a 25-minute flight (not part of the package) from Pokhara to Kathmandu. This marks the end of our trek package as we arrive back in Kathmandu.

Today marks the conclusion of our amazing adventure in Nepal! A knowledgeable guide from Touching Mountain Treks will accompany us to the airport, making sure we arrive about three hours prior to our flight. On our journey back, we'll have ample time to reflect on our experiences and begin plotting our next thrilling expedition to the captivating land of Nepal.

What is included?

  • 3 nights hotel accommodation in Kathmandu with Breakfast
  • Sight seeing as per itinerary with Tour guide, Entrance fee and Transportation
  • Kathmandu to Bhulbhule (trek start) by Privet Transportation
  • Birethanti (Trek ends) to Pokhara by private transport
  • Muktinath to Tatopani by local transport
  • Pokhara to Kathmandu on a privet transportation
  • One night accommodation at Hotel in Pokhara with Breakfast
  • Accommodation and lunches, dinners, and breakfasts during the trek
  • Government licensed, experienced trek leader (guide), and porters to help trekkers’ luggage (1 porter for 2 trekkers, combined porter weight limit -20kg.)
  • Guides’ and porters’ expenses – meals, insurance, salary, lodging, transportation, and other necessary equipment.
  • Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) fee.
  • Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) card fee
  • All government, local taxes, and official expenses
  • Rescue operations arrangement in case of complicated health conditions (funded by travel insurance).

What is excluded?

  • International flight costs
  • Nepal entry visa fees required on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport- USD50 for 30-day stay.
  • Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu, before and after the journey
  • Lunch and dinner in Pokhara
  • Extra night accommodations, meals in Kathmandu and Pokhara due to early arrival or late departure, or early return from the trek.
  • Personal expenses – shopping, snacks, hot (tea, coffee) and cold drinks, bar bills, bottle or boiled water, shower, Wi-Fi, laundry, telephone call, battery recharge costs, extra porters, etc
  • Personal clothing and gear
  • Travel insurance which has to cover emergency high-altitude rescue and evacuation compulsory
  • Tips for guide and porters
  • Additional costs or delays caused by circumstances beyond our control like landslides, bad weather conditions, itinerary modification due to safety concerns, illness, change of government policy, strikes, mass movements, etc
  • All the costs and expenses not listed in – “What is included section?” above.

Equipment List

General Gears

  • Four-season (zero degree) sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Puffy down jacket
  • Daypack (35-45 liters recommended) with rain cover

Upper_body Gears

  • Sun hat or cap
  • Scarf/Neck Gaiter
  • Headlight
  • Sunglasses

Gears

  • Technical fabric base layer (light for warmer months, heavy for colder months)
  • Technical fabric short (2) and long sleeve (2) shirts
  • Waterproof, windproof shell
  • Fleece jacket or pullover

Lower Body

  • Technical fabric base layer (light for warmer months, heavy for colder months)
  • Hiking pants (2)
  • Comfortable pants for inside the teahouses
  • Hiking shorts

Hand Gears

  • Wool or technical fabric liner gloves
  • Hard-shell outer gloves (insulated for colder months)

Feet Gears

  • Wool or technical fabric warm socks
  • Hiking socks
  • Liner socks (optional such as silk)
  • Trekking/hiking boots (waterproof recommended)
  • Casual shoes
  • Gaiters (lightweight for dust or heavy for snow in colder months)

Undergarments Gears

        Note: The quantity of each article of clothing can be adjusted to suit the preferences of each
                 participant.

  •  Technical fabric/quick drying is best for underwear
  • Sports bras (women)
  • Pajamas or sleeping clothes

First Aid Kits and Medications

       (Note: Our Company Guides carry medications and first aid kits during the trip. However,
                  personal kits and medications are highly recommended.)

  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • ointment
  • Cough Syrup (recommend for Khumbu Cough)
  • Mosquito repellent cream (for Kathmandu and Phakding)

Other Essentials

  • Passport
  • Extra copies of passport-sized photos
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Toiletry kits
  • Water purification tablets or UV water purifier (if you plan to treat water)
  • Hydration bladder
  • Towel
  • Pillowcase
  • Toilet paper
  • High protein snacks (such as protein bars or nuts)
  • Waterproof/dry bags for carrying important documents and money
  • Airline tickets (Please leave a copy at our office in Kathmandu. This can be useful if there is a
    change in the date of the flight.)

Optional

        Once you are in Nepal, you have the option to purchase supplies and gear for hiking if you have
          spare time. Our guide will assist you in buying the equipment..

  • Power bank or extra batteries
  • Cameras and mobile phone
  • Cards/book
  • Binoculars
  • Pee bottle/ pee funnel for women
  • Trekking poles
  • Whistle
  • Thermos for hot water

FAQ

The Annapurna Circuit trek typically takes around 12-18 days to complete, depending on the route taken and individual pace.

The Annapurna Circuit trek is considered moderately challenging, with varying terrain and altitude changes. It requires a good level of fitness and acclimatization to high altitudes.

Accommodation along the Annapurna Circuit varies from basic teahouses to more comfortable lodges in popular trekking villages. Rooms may have basic amenities like beds and shared bathrooms.

Altitude sickness is a concern on the Annapurna Circuit due to the high elevations reached during the trek. It's essential to acclimatize properly, stay hydrated, and be aware of symptoms.

Essential items to pack for the Annapurna Circuit trek include appropriate clothing, sturdy hiking boots, a good quality backpack, water purification tablets, first aid kit, and snacks.

Yes, it is possible to trek the Annapurna Circuit independently without a guide or porter. However, it's important to be well-prepared, have a good understanding of the route, and take necessary precautions.

Some of the highlights of the Annapurna Circuit trek include stunning mountain views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, crossing Thorong La Pass, visiting traditional villages like Manang and Marpha, and experiencing diverse landscapes.

The weather along the Annapurna Circuit trail can vary significantly due to the diverse terrain and altitudes. It's essential to be prepared for changing weather conditions, including rain, snow, and strong winds.

Yes, there are several alternative routes and side trips that can be taken during the Annapurna Circuit trek, such as visiting Tilicho Lake, exploring the Annapurna Base Camp, or taking a detour to Upper Mustang.

Dining options along the Annapurna Circuit trail mainly consist of teahouses and lodges that offer a variety of local and international dishes. Meals are typically hearty and cater to trekkers' dietary needs.

To prepare for high altitude trekking on the Annapurna Circuit, it's recommended to engage in physical training beforehand, stay well-hydrated, ascend gradually to higher altitudes, and be aware of symptoms of altitude sickness.

Wildlife commonly encountered along the Annapurna Circuit trail includes various bird species, Himalayan Thar, snow leopards (rarely seen), and yaks used for transportation in some areas.

EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK ROUTE MAP

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