Duration : 21 Days / Best season : September to November & March to May / Max altitude : 5416 m / Grade : Moderate to strenuous
The Annapurna Circuit is one of the most popular classic and spectacular trekking trails of the world. Starting at about 800 meters from subtropical mid-hills and green valleys, it gives us a chance to explore the Himalayas from many different angles and perspectives. The Annapurna massif is perhaps the most astonishing and extraordinary mountain range in the Himalayas and walking around this mountain range is simply spectacular. It is well known among the trekking enthusiasts that the Annapurna Circuit trekking is amongst the most highly regarded walking holidays in the world circumnavigating worlds tenth highest mountain, the Annapurna I (8091 m) and several other major peaks of Annapurna massif that offers most splendid Himalayan vistas. From a mere height of 800 meters to the high altitude of 5416 meters, you will pass through a diverse geographical and cultural variation with an amazing range of flora and fauna that prosper within the range.
The 10 to 21 days trek of Annapurna circuit can be started from Besisahar/ Bhulbhule or Chyamje after about 6 to 10 hours of drive from Kathmandu. Then we follow the Marsyangdi River towards north through pretty Nepali villages, beautiful valleys, farmlands and lush forests. As we climb higher we not only perceive the vegetation changes but also notice the change in lifestyle, tradition, culture and costume of the local people. The initial days of the trek involves walking through friendly villages, rice farms, forests and in the lower realms of the Annapurna Conservation Area. The trek continues passing through dozens of lowlands and high mountain villages and some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the world. Just imagine the thrills of crossing the famous high pass, the Thorong La (5416 m/17764 ft) on the way from Manang to Muktinath with Annapurna I, world’s tenth highest mountain rising to 8091 m to the east and Dhaulagiri, world’s 7th highest mountain towering 8167 m to the west accompanied by several neighboring peaks.
Further down from the pass, on the windy Kali Gandaki valley we come along Holy pilgrimage site of Muktinath in a quiet poplar grove. Muktinath is a complex of four main temples scared to both Hindus and Buddhists. At the courtyard of the temple are 108 waterspouts, pilgrims believed to wash away all their sins and gain spiritual merit upon bathing in each of them. The mysterious natural gas fires beneath the altar of Jwala Mai temple amazes the visitors. Trekking ahead from Muktinath passing through the windy Kali Gandaki valley to Jomsom and the apple orchards of Marpha, enter the deepest gorge in the world, and before ending our trek in the foothills, we stop en route in the hot spring of Tatopani to take a dip in and soothe our weary feet and then to Ghorepani to watch sunrise over the mountains from the view tower of Poon Hill (3210 m/10529 ft). Circling back to Pokhara, we further explore more spectacular natural sceneries and culturally rich ethnic villages.
Day 01 : Arrival in Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264ft)
Day 02 : Kathmandu: Sightseeing and trek Preparation
Day 03 : Drive to Khudi (800m/2,624ft): 7- 8 hours
Day 04 : Khudi to Sirung (2200m/7216 ft): 6 – 7 hours
Day 05 : Sirung to Jagat (1,300m/4265ft): 6 – 7 hours
Day 06 : Jagat to Dharapani (1,960m/6,430ft): 7-8 hours
Day 07: Dharapani to Chame (2,710m/8,891ft): 5 – 6 hours
Day 08: Chame to Pisang (3,300m/10824ft): 5 – 6 hours
Day 09: Pisang to Manang : 6 – 7 hours
Day 10: Manang: Acclimatization day
Day 11 : Manang to Yak Kharka (4,110m/13,484ft): 3 – 4 hours
Day 12: Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi (4,600m/15,092ft): 3 – 4 hours
Day 13 : Thorong Phedi to Muktinath (3,800m/12,467ft) via Thorong La pass (5416m/17764ft): 7 – 8 hours
Day 14 : Muktinath to Marpha (2,670m/8,760ft): 4 – 5 hours
Day 15 : Marpha to Kalopani (2,530 m/8,300 ft): 5 – 6 hours
Day 16 : Kalopani to Tatopani (1,200m/3,937ft): 6 – 7 hours
Day 17 : Tatopani to Ghorepani (2,850m/9,350ft): 7 – 8 hours
Day 18 : Ghorepani to Poon Hill to Tadapani (2,700m/8,860ft): 6 – 7 hours
Day 19 : Tadapani to Pokhara (850m/2,789ft) via Ghandruk: 5 – 6 hours trek, 1 hour drive
Day 20 : Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu: 5-6 hours
Day 21 : Final departure
After arriving in Kathmandu, a representative from Kiang Adventures will pick us up from the airport and take us to our hotel.
Today after breakfast we start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu which are also listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. We visit the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the famous ‘Monkey Temple’ (Swayambhunath) and Buddhist shrine (Bouddhanath), which is also one of the largest stupas in the world. At noon, we get our equipment checked by our climbing leader, get introduced to fellow participants, and discuss our trip.Overnight in Kathmandu.
We start our journey into the hills on a winding road along the Trishuli River. On the way we admire terraced farms and beautiful huts. After reaching a juncture at Mugling, we move straight ahead towards Pokhara. At Dumre, we leave the previous trail and head north to Besisahar. A half-an-hour’s drive from Besisahar takes us to Khudi, the starting point of our trek. Alternatively, we can get off at Besisahar, and then trek for an hour to get to Khudi along the wide trail. Khudi offers us a first glimpse of the gorgeous Manaslu range.
Our first day’s walk involves crossing a few suspension bridges and waterfalls including several ascents and descents across rice paddies and a subtropical forest. Initially, the walk is gradual but is then followed by steeper trails. The mountains that we see from Khudi seem a lot closer now. Before reaching Sirung village we pass an ethnic Tamang settlement of Taranche. We admire close-up views of Nadi Chuli and Manaslu mountains from Sirung.
We leave Sirung for Jagat on a relatively easy trail. We leave behind the terraces of the village and hit forest, ferns and woodland. On the forest trail we spot a variety of birds. We also pass through several small villages and a few temples on the way. We cross a suspension bridge over Sangu Khola at Mipra then again at Syange over the Marshyangdi River. There is also a waterfall nearby the bridge. Now our trail moves alongside the mighty Marshyangdi River and we cross one more bridge before reaching Jagat.
After breakfast, we slowly begin our trek today. The trail from Jagat descends until it reaches the river and then continues through a lush forest. Further ascent leads to sharp-edged cliff facing the riverbank. En route, Chyamje comes into picture amidst the glorious backdrop of towering Annapurna mountain ranges. After crossing a suspension bridge, we climb steeply towards the slippery and physically challenging path to Sattale. On treading along a succession of rock-strewn trails, we descend to a grassy riverbank that leads to Tal. As we walk away from Tal, the path becomes rugged and winding. Then we approach steeply-forested village of Karte. Meandering along the waterfalls and cliffs, we finally reach Dharapani after crossing a suspension bridge. Overnight in Dharapani.
Today we walk through a few forested ridges on our way to Chame, which is the headquarters of the Manang District. Throughout the trek we can admire amazing views of the Himalayas including Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, and Annapurna IV (7,525m/24,688ft). On today’s trek we also come across small hot springs where we can dip in and soothe our aching muscles. Overnight in Chame.
A steep and narrow path through a very dense forest will bring us to the dramatic curved rock face, rising 1500m from the river. This is probably the steepest part of the Marshyangdi Valley, so steep that the trail is carved into the vertical rock. After passing this last bit of rock, the valley opens up with majestic vistas. And right where the valley widens stands the Paungda Danda, a massive sloping rock face that rises over 5,000ft (1500m) above the trail. We trek for a while before reaching Lower Pisang where we spend the night.
There are two routes to Manang but we follow the trail that takes us to Upper Pisang via Geru. This trail guarantees excellent views of the beautiful landscape and the mighty mountains including Annapurna and Pisang. We begin to notice a contrast in the landscape and vegetation from today. The cold and dry climate also creates a much harsher environment. Our short visit to Barge monastery, the largest monastery in the entire district of Manang will be memorable. Overnight at Manang.
In order to keep fit on the trails that follow, we keep ourselves busy today with a short hike to either Bhojo Gumba or Gangapurna Lake. If we have the energy, we can even hike to Vraga Village where we can visit the Himalayan Rescue Association which will give us some idea about Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Overnight in Manang.
From Manang village, the trail crosses a stream, climbs to a village of Tenki and continues to climb out of the Marshyangdi Valley turning northwest up the valley of Jarsang Khola. The trail follows this valley northward, passing a few pastures and a scrub of juniper trees, as it steadily gains elevation. The trail further passes near the small village of Ghunsa, a cluster of flat mud roofs just below the trailhead. Now the trail goes through meadows where horses and yaks graze. After crossing a small river on a wooden bridge, the trail passes an ancient old Mani wall in a pleasant meadow and then reaches another small village of Yak Kharka. Overnight at Yak Karka.
It is an uphill walk to Thorang Phedi. After walking for some time we cross a suspension bridge and reach Ledar village. We ascend furthermore and pass through towering cliffs before reaching Thorang Phedi, the last village before Thorong La pass. On this trip we are rewarded with one of the best views of Mt. Gundang, Mt. Syagang, Thorung Peak and Mt. Khatungkan. The word Phedi in Nepalese is referred to as the foot of a mountain. Overnight in Thorong Phedi. Overnight in Thorang Phedi.
Crossing Thorong La pass, one of the highest passes in the world, will be our ultimate objective today. We will be crossing the pass from east to west (Manang to Muktinath) which is the easiest and safest direction. We get up around three in the morning and walk up the mountain. When we finally make it to the top, we realize that our journey was worth it. We can take a few photos before heading to Muktinath Valley at the foot of the Thorong La pass. Overnight in Muktinath.
Muktinath is an important pilgrimage for both Hindus and Buddhists alike. In the morning, we pay our visit to a Vishnu Temple and a Gompa. Descending from Ranipauwa village down the steep and barren hillside, we tumble down toward Kagbeni and then to Jomsom finally arriving at Marpha. The trail today is quite surreal as we trek along a plateau above Kali Gandaki River, the world’s deepest gorge. The barren landscape of this area resembles Tibet. Marpha is also famous as the apple capital of Nepal where one can enjoy different items made from apple. The local apple brandy of Marpha is famous all over Nepal. Overnight at Marpha.
From Marpha, we take a new route toward Kalopani via Chokhopani village. Today, we come across traditional villages of the ethnic Thakali people. Also, we get to see beautiful apple gardens. From here we get panoramic views of Dhaulagari, Tukuche, Nilgiri, Fang and Annapurna I mountains. From Chokhopani, we continue to Kokhethanti. We cross a river and come across the newly constructed road site before reaching Kalopani. Overnight at Kalopani.
Our journey today is mostly downhill. During the early part of today’s trek, we cross the bridge at Ghasa. As we drop to lower elevations, we emerge back into subtropical forests, lush with vegetation. Our trail continues along Rupse Chahara (waterfall). We continue down the east bank from Kopchepani via Garpar to a bridge at Dana. At Narchyang Besi, we get to see a powerhouse that supplies electricity in the area. There are bigger villages in this area where we can observe the everyday lives of the local people. Upon reaching Tatopani, we relax and have a bath in the hot spring.
We leave the Kali Gandaki and head up the Ghar Khola valley. The trail leads us through a terraced farmland with mountains all around. We pass through the villages of Shikha and Chitre before reaching a beautiful rhododendron forest. When in bloom the rhododendron trees with its average height of up to 100″ will be covered with pink or red flowers. Walking further we reach Ghorepani, a beautiful village located at a ridge top. Overnight in Ghorepani.
To catch the sunrise over the Himalayas, we make an early morning climb along the steep trail to the viewpoint of Poon Hill (3,210m/10,529ft), the most popular trekking destination of the Annapurna region. It is also a great viewpoint to enjoy the amazing views of Mustang, Pokhara and more than 20 of the highest mountains including the close-up views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. The snowy peaks of the high mountains loom above and around us glowing in the morning light. After taking photographs, we return back to Gorepani. After breakfast, we head east and climb a nearby ridge. We descend through rhododendron forests, pass by spectacular waterfalls and reach Tadapani to spend the night.
From Tadapani, we make a steep descent through the dense and dark forest. This part of the trek will be through a thick forest of old rhododendron trees. When the rhododendron trees are in bloom, theforests actually turn into amazing gardens. By afternoon, depending upon the season of travel, we also get to enjoy cherry blossoms in bloom on the slopes on the other side of the ravine. After trekking a few more minutes, we enter the village of Ghandruk, a slope settlement with stone houses mostly inhabited by the Gurung people. Here, we enjoy the stunningly close-up towering views of Fishtail, Annapurna South, and Hiunchuli mountains. We continue our trek to Nayapul from where we drive to Pokhara. Overnight in Pokhara.
After breakfast, we say goodbye to the beautiful lake city of Pokhara and drive towards Kathmandu. After reaching Kathmandu, we have the rest of the day off to rest or do some souvenir shopping. To celebrate the successful completion of our journey, we will have a farewell dinner in the evening. Overnight in Kathmandu
|NUMBER OF PAX||PRICE BY PERSON|
|1 - 2||1900 €|
|3 - 5||1825 €|
|6 - 8||1775 €|
Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Kiang Adventures / Authentic Adventures. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is
deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health condition of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.
Included in the Cost
- Airport pickups and drops in a private vehicle
- 3-star hotel accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara with breakfast
- Teahouse accommodation during the trek
- All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the trek
- All ground transportation on a comfortable private vehicle as per the itinerary
- Welcome and farewell dinners
- Guided city tour in Kathmandu by private vehicle
- Entrance fees for sightseeing/monument visits as per the itinerary
- An experienced, English-speaking and government-licensed trek leader and assistant trek leader (from 5 trekkers : 1 extra assistant guide)
- Porter service (2 trekkers: 1 porter)
- Staff costs including their salary, insurance, equipment, food and accommodation
- Down jacket and sleeping bag (to be returned after trip completion)
- All necessary paperwork and trekking permits (ACAP, TIMS)
- Medical kit (carried by your trek leader)
- All government and local taxes
Not Included in the Cost
- Nepalese visa fee
- International airfare to and from Kathmandu
- Excess baggage charges
- Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara
- Extra night accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara in case of early arrival, late departure, and early return from the mountain (due to any reason) than the scheduled itinerary
- Travel and rescue insurance
- Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, extra porters, bottle or boiled water, shower, etc.)
- Tips for guide(s), porter(s) and driver(s)
The Trekking Group
For this trek, there will be one leader, 1 assistant leader (5 trekkers : 1 assistant) and Sherpa porters for carrying luggage (2 trekkers : 1 porter). This arrangement ensures that should anybody in the group is sick, the trip can still go ahead as planned. Our experience has led us to believe that a maximum of 6 people is the maximum number to fully enjoy a trip and respect ecological system.
We will be accommodated in 3-star hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara; and teahouses during the trek. All accommodations are on twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost an additional € 350. We will arrange rooms with attached washrooms; however, teahouses in some places only have shared washing and toilet facilities. Also note that single rooms are readily available in Kathmandu, Pokhara and the trekking regions at lower elevation but it might be difficult to find them at higher elevations.
During our trek, we can enjoy authentic Nepalese food as well the more common international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.). Breakfast and dinner will be provided from the teahouse or from a lodge menu where we spend the night whereas lunch will be provided on the way to the next destination. All meals including breakfast, lunch and dinner, will be provided during trekking while only breakfast will be available in Kathmandu and Pokhara. There will also be welcome and farewell dinners.
Leader(s) & Staff Arrangements
The most significant thing that makes our Annapurna Base Camp Trek successful, enjoyable and memorable is the skilled, experienced, courteous and helpful trek leader and the crew members with ability of operating our days in the mountain smoothly. Our trek will be led by the best and most professional leaders. All of our trekking leaders are carefully selected on the basis of their appropriate experience, leadership skills and personal aptitude. With an objective of sustaining local communities, Kiang Adventures / Authentic Adventures only employs local staff who have adequate knowledge about culture, ecosystem, flora, fauna, geography, and history of their local region/s. The trek and expedition leaders have undergone the following trainings:
- Intensive Wilderness First Aid
- Trekking Guide Training
- Eco Trekking Workshop and Adventure Meet
- English Language
- Conservation and Biodiversity
- Rock climbing, Ice Climbing and Mountaineering (for expedition leaders)
Kiang Adventures / Authentic Adventures is firmly committed to porter rights. We make sure that all our porters are well treated and well paid. Furthermore, We also provides the required level of shelter, clothing and footwear that these harsh environments demand. Porters who become sick are treated with the same care and attention as other team members. We have previously used helicopters at company’s expense to rescue porters from dangerous situations. And for the porter’s sake, all trekkers keep the weight of their luggage under 15kgs/33 pounds. We also support the work of International Porter Protection Group (IPPG), making our resources available to them to help improve the working conditions of the porters.
The Annapurna Region is stunningly beautiful, but equally fragile. Future generations have just as much of a right to appreciate it as we do and so the tourism industry has an obligation to protect and preserve it. Kiang Adventures / Authentic Adventures employs a ‘zero impact’ policy on the natural environment and the traditional communities that live there.
It is a condition upon joining any of Kiang Adventures / Authentic Adventures trips that all clients be insured for comprehensive expenses that might incur due to medical issues or accidents (this includes air ambulance, helicopter rescue, and treatment costs). Please note that we don’t arrange or sell insurance.
Our treks are planned with high degree of awareness of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Going up at higher altitude too fast causes a medical condition serious enough to kill. We understand that for a safe trek, it is essential to allow sufficient time for acclimatization. Sensible planning is therefore required to minimize the risk of AMS. Kiang Adventures / Authentic Adventures itineraries are designed to prevent AMS as much as possible. But, it is important to remember that some visitors are more vulnerable than others.
Physical Condition & Experience Requirements
This is a moderate trek suitable for passionate walkers who have the ability to walk at least 5-7 hours a day with a light day pack. Walking in higher altitudes is more physically demanding than walking in lower altitudes; however, if we are in excellent health with average physical fitness and have a positive attitude, self-confidence and strong determination, we can accomplish this trek successfully. Exercising and jogging regularly for some weeks prior to the trip is a good idea to enhance our strength and stability. Past hiking experience would be an asset but no technical skill is required for this trip. It is vital for participants with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, lung, and blood diseases to consult their doctor before taking the trip. It is also advised that you inform Kiang Adventures / Authentic Adventures of any conditions before booking the trek.
Best Time to Travel
Autumn (Sept. to Nov.) and Spring (March to May) are the best seasons for trekking in the Annapurna region. The weather is sunny and warm with outstanding views. If you wish to avoid crowds and enjoy some alone time with nature, then taking this trip during winter (Dec., Jan., Feb.) could also be an option. However, the temperature during winter could be harsh for most guests. Trekking in the summer or monsoon season (June to Aug.) will be affected by rain but the summer trek could be a boon for a keen botanist.
Equipments & Packing List
This list is a guideline to help you pack for your adventure. Also understand that the items listed below will vary a little according to the season and the trek duration. Those items marked by an asterisk (*) are provided by Kiang Adventures / Authentic Adventures inclusive in the service. The weight limit for your luggage is 33 pounds or 15 kg. Remember that your luggage will be carried by your porter but you are required to carry a day-pack (with your valuables or anything important) on your own. We also suggest that you pack only what is necessary.
Important documents and items
- Valid passport, 2 extra passport size photos, airline tickets
- Separate photocopies of passport, visa form (easily obtained at Kathmandu airport), proof of insurance
- Dollars, pounds or Euros in cash for purchasing Nepalese visa at Kathmandu airport, for paying for restaurants and hotels, for gratuities, snacks, and to purchase your own drinks and gifts
- Credit cards, Bank/ATM/Cash machine cards for withdrawing funds from cash machines (bring a photocopy of your cards), traveler’s checks, etc.
- Bandana or head scarf, also useful for dusty conditions
- Warm hat that covers your ears (wool or synthetic)
- Headlamp with extra batteries and bulbs
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Prescription sunglasses (if required)
- Polypropylene shirts (1 half sleeve and 2 long sleeves)
- Light and expedition weight thermal tops
- Fleece wind-stopper jacket or pullover
- Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
- Down vest and/or jacket *
- Gore-Tex jacket with hood, waterproof and breathable
- 1 pair of lightweight poly-liner gloves.
- 1 pair of lightweight wool or fleece gloves
- 1 pair of mittens, consists of 1 Gore-Tex over mitt matched with a very warm polar-fleece mitt liner (seasonal)
- Non-cotton underwear briefs
- 1 pair of Hiking shorts
- 1 pair of Hiking trousers
- 1 pair of lightweight thermal bottoms (seasonal)
- 1 pair of fleece or woolen trousers
- 1 pair of waterproof shell pants, breathable fabric
- 2 pairs of thin, lightweight inner socks
- 2 pairs of heavy poly or wool socks
- 1 pair of Hiking boots with spare laces (sturdy soles, water resistant, ankle support, “broken in”)
- 1 pair of trainers or running shoes and/or sandals
- Cotton socks (optional)
- Gaiters (winter only), optional, “low” ankle high version
- 1 sleeping bag (good to -10 degrees C or 14 degrees F)*
- Fleece sleeping bag liner (optional)
Rucksack and Travel Bags
- 1 medium rucksack (50-70 liters/3000-4500 cubic inches, can be used for an airplane carryon)
- 1 large duffel bag *
- A small daypack/backpack for carrying your valuables, should have good shoulder padding
- Small padlocks for duffel-kit bags
- 2 large waterproof rucksack covers (optional)
- Small, personal first-aid kit. (simple and light)
- Aspirin, first-aid tape, and plasters (Band-Aids)
- 1 skin-blister repair kit
- Anti-diarrhea pills
- Anti-headache pills
- Cough and/or cold medicine
- Anti-altitude sickness pills: Diamox or Acetylzolamide
- Stomach antibiotic: Ciprofloxacin, etc. Do not bring sleeping pills as they are a respiratory depressant.
- Water purification tablets or water filter
- 1 set of earplugs
- Extra pair of prescription glasses, contact lens supplies
- 1 small roll of repair tape, 1 sewing-repair kit
- 1 cigarette lighter, 1 small box of matches
- 1 compass or GPS(optional)
- 1 alarm clock/watch
- 1 digital camera with extra cards and batteries
- large Ziplocs
- 2 water bottles (1 liter each)
- 1 small folding knife
- Binoculars (optional)
- 4 large, waterproof, disposable rubbish sacks
- 1 medium-sized quick drying towel
- Toothbrush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
- Multi-purpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
- Nail clippers
- Face and body moisturizer
- Female hygiene products
- Small mirror
- Wet wipes (baby wipes)
- Tissue /toilet roll
- Anti-bacterial hand wash
- Reading book
- Trail map/guide book
- Journal and pen
- 1 modest swim suit
- Binoculars (optional)
- Voltage converter (from 220 to 110)
- Plug adapter (2 round pegs to 2 flat pegs)
- Lightweight pillow case (in case your teahouses provide you with pillows) or use your own stuff as a pillow