Annapurna Circuit Trek
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a renowned and diverse trekking adventure encircling Nepal’s majestic Annapurna Massif. Typically lasting 15 to 20 days, this iconic trek offers a stunning array of landscapes, from lush subtropical forests and terraced fields to arid high-altitude deserts and alpine meadows.
Beginning in the lakeside city of Pokhara, trekkers gradually ascend through charming villages such as Besisahar, Manang, and Pisang, all while enjoying breathtaking mountain vistas. The highlight of the trek is the crossing of Thorong La Pass (5,416 meters/17,769 feet), one of the world’s highest trekking passes. The journey then descends to the sacred temple town of Muktinath and continues through the dramatic Kali Gandaki Gorge, one of the deepest on the planet. As you descend further, you’ll pass through subtropical forests and terraced fields before completing the circuit in Nayapul or Phedi.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek promises diverse experiences, from challenging high mountain passes to serene village encounters, making it suitable for trekkers of various skill levels. It provides a remarkable opportunity to immerse yourself in Nepal’s natural beauty and cultural richness while savoring awe-inspiring views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges.
Your adventure begins with a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Besisahar, the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit. Enjoy the changing landscapes as you leave the bustling city behind and enter the serene hills of rural Nepal.
The trek starts with a gradual ascent through terraced fields and quaint villages. Bahundanda, perched on a ridge, offers the first glimpse of the stunning mountain scenery you'll encounter on your journey.
Today's trail takes you through lush forests and terraced fields as you descend to the Marsyangdi River. Cross the river and trek through bamboo groves to reach Chamje.
Trek along the riverbank and pass through subtropical forests. The trail offers glimpses of the towering Annapurna and Manaslu ranges as you head to Dharapani.
As you ascend through pine forests, you'll enter the Manang District. Chame, the district headquarters, provides a lovely backdrop of the Lamjung Himal.
Today, the trail offers spectacular views of Annapurna II and Pisang Peak as you trek through dense forests and charming villages, finally reaching Pisang.
The trail divides into two routes today: the Upper Pisang route, offering panoramic views, and the Lower Pisang route, passing through traditional villages. Both lead to the thriving village of Manang.
Spend a day acclimatizing in Manang. Explore the village, visit the Himalayan Rescue Association for altitude advice, and take short hikes to Gangapurna Lake or nearby viewpoints.
Ascend gradually along the Marsyangdi Valley, passing meadows and crossing the river. Yak Kharka is a picturesque spot for acclimatization.
Trek to Thorong Phedi, the base for your Thorong La Pass ascent. The trail takes you higher into the alpine zone, with rugged mountain views.
This challenging day involves an early morning ascent to Thorong La Pass, the highest point of the trek. The pass offers breathtaking views before you descend to the sacred town of Muktinath, known for its temple and natural springs.
Descend further through arid landscapes and charming villages. Marpha, famous for its apple orchards and traditional architecture, is your destination for the day.
Trek along the Kali Gandaki River, known as the deepest gorge in the world. Enjoy the scenic beauty as you pass through apple and walnut orchards.
Descend into the subtropical zone, following the Kali Gandaki River. Tatopani is famous for its natural hot springs, a perfect place to relax and soothe your muscles.
Trek through rhododendron forests and traditional Gurung villages to Ghorepani. The village offers stunning sunrise views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.
Early morning, hike to Poon Hill for a spectacular sunrise panorama. Then, continue to Tadapani through beautiful forests.
Descend to Ghandruk, a picturesque Gurung village known for its rich culture and terraced fields against a backdrop of Annapurna and Machapuchare.
Trek to Nayapul, where you'll conclude your trek. From there, drive to Pokhara, the beautiful lakeside city.
Either enjoy a scenic drive or take a short flight back to Kathmandu, where you can relax, reflect on your journey, and
- Airport pick-up and drop-off in Kathmandu by private vehicle.
- Welcome and farewell dinners with cultural programs in Kathmandu.
- Tourist standard hotel accommodation in Kathmandu.
- Kathmandu-Pokhara-Kathmandu transportation by tourist bus or domestic flight.
- Lodge/guesthouse accommodation (best available) during the trek.
- Full board meals 3 times a day (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) while on the trek.
- Trekking permits (ACAP and TIMS) and necessary entry fees.
- Professional and highly experienced government-licensed local trekking guide.
- Necessary porters as per your group size (usually 2 guests = 1 porter).
- All expenses of the trekking staff (guides/porters) including food, accommodation, salary, insurance, and equipment during your travel period.
- Comprehensive First Aid Kit.
- Group trekking equipment.
- All government taxes, VAT, and tourist service charges.
- Trekking Map.
- International airfare to and from Kathmandu.
- Nepal tourist visa fees and international airport departure tax.
- Extra nights in Kathmandu.
- Travel insurance that covers emergency rescue and evacuation.
- Personal expenses such as additional meals, snacks, hot and cold drinks.
- Personal trekking equipment (e.g., trekking poles, sleeping bags, down jackets, etc.).
- Optional activities or side trips beyond the standard trek itinerary.
- Any expenses incurred due to flight delays, cancellations, or other factors beyond the control of the trekking company.
- Tips for the trekking staff (tipping is customary but not mandatory).
- Any other expenses not specifically mentioned under the 'Inclusive' cost heading.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek offers a diverse and rewarding adventure, but it's essential to be prepared. Adequate acclimatization is key, so take time to ascend gradually and recognize the symptoms of altitude sickness. Ensure you have the right gear, including warm clothing layers, a quality sleeping bag, and comfortable hiking boots. Travel insurance covering trekking and potential evacuations is crucial. Respect local customs, ask permission before photographing people, and carry enough Nepalese Rupees (NPR) as ATMs are limited on the trail. Accommodations are typically teahouses and lodges, and a sleeping bag liner can add comfort during peak seasons. Enjoy local cuisine, stay hydrated with herbal teas, and reduce single-use plastics. Obtain required permits in Kathmandu and be prepared for limited Wi-Fi and mobile network coverage at higher elevations. Consider hiring local guides and porters to enhance your trekking experience while supporting the local community.
1. How long does the Annapurna Circuit Trek take to complete?
The trek typically takes around 15 to 20 days, depending on the specific itinerary and trekking pace.
2. What is the best time of year to undertake the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
The ideal times are the pre-monsoon (March to May) and post-monsoon (late September to November) seasons when the weather is relatively stable, and the views are clear and beautiful.
3. Do I need prior trekking experience for this trek?
While prior trekking experience is beneficial, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is considered suitable for trekkers with moderate fitness levels and limited high-altitude experience.
4. What permits are required for the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
Trekkers need the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Trekkers' Information Management System (TIMS) card, which can be obtained in Kathmandu or Pokhara.
5. How can I handle altitude sickness during the trek?
Adequate acclimatization is crucial. Ascend gradually, stay well-hydrated, and be aware of altitude sickness symptoms. Descend if severe symptoms occur, and consult your guide for guidance.
6. Are accommodations and teahouses readily available along the trail?
Yes, there are numerous teahouses and lodges along the Annapurna Circuit Trail, providing basic but comfortable accommodations and meals.
7. Can I hire guides and porters for the trek?
Yes, you can hire experienced local guides and porters in Kathmandu or Pokhara to enhance your trekking experience and ease the load.
8. What is the level of physical fitness required for the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
Trekkers should have good physical fitness and stamina, as the trek involves both ascents and descents. Regular cardiovascular and strength training can help with preparation.
9. What are the highlights of the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
Highlights include crossing Thorong La Pass, breathtaking mountain views, diverse landscapes, cultural encounters in charming villages, and serene moments along the trail.
10. What are some essential items to pack for the trek?
Pack essentials like warm clothing, a sleeping bag, hiking boots, rain gear, a first-aid kit, and a water purification system. Consult your trekking agency for a comprehensive packing list.