Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the finest and most scenic treks in the world and attracts trekkers from all over the globe. A total of 85kms, a trek amidst – the Annapurna Massif (Annapurna I at 8,091 metres, Annapurna II at 7,738 metres, Annapurna III at 7,555 metres, Annapurna IV at 7,525 metres, Annapurna South at 7,220 metres, Dhaulagiri at 8,167 metres, Machhapuchhre at 6,993 metres, Mansalu at 8,156 metres – the 8th highest mountain in the world, Gangapurna at 7,455 metres, Pisang peak at 6,091 metres, Langtang Himal (7,205 metres) and around 29 more peaks ranging from 6000 to 7000 metres. Annapurna is the 10th highest mountain in the world. The entire massif falls between the 2 river systems: starting in Marshyangdi river valley and concluding in the Kali Gandaki gorge.
A lot of trekkers also attempt the Annapurna Base Camp trek which is a different route compared to the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Other than Annapurna sanctuary, most people attempt the Everest Base Camp and Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Ri treks in the Sgarmatha National Park region The Annapurna Circuit trek offers amazing local food, beautiful and scenic views that keep getting better each day as we progress, drives through the mountain roads crossing many beautiful waterfalls (at least 100's of them), trekking through subtropical forests, Rhododendrons & Oaks, various gigantic cliffs, crossing over – ThorongLa (17,770 feet), a temple visited by Budhist and Hindu followers – Muktinath Temple. There are a lot of people who hire bikes between Muktinath and Jomsom and enjoy riding on these beautiful mountain roads.
Day 1) Arrive at Kathmandu and check in hotel (4,600 feet)
Reach Kathmandu and check in the hotel with the rest of the team. After relaxing for a while, we have our first brieifing and introduction session. Later in the evening, explore the streets of Thamel to taste the local and amazing street food. If any trekking gears need to be bought, there are many outdoor gear shops in thamel with genuine products.
We suggest to avoiding smoking and consumption of alcohol during the trek, especially here in Kathmandu. Being the first day, we would want to have light and nutricious meals as they work best for acclimatization.
Day 2) Kathmandu to Besisahar (180kms/ 5 to 6 hours) (4,600 feet – 2,500 feet)
Kathmandu to Besisahar is a beautiful drive through the scenic foothills along the Trishuli river. After Munglin, we follow the Pokhara highway till Durme and turn towards Besisahar right along the Marshyangdi river. We drive through mountain villages offering scenic views of snow capped mountains to reach Besisahar. It is a major town in the area and the road till Besisahar is quite nice.
We have our meal on the way or after reaching Besisahar (depending upon the time we start from Kathmandu).
Day 3) Besisahar to Chame (drive) (75kms/ 5hours) (2,500 feet – 8,700 feet)
This drive in terms of kilometres in not much however, it would take about 5 hours to cover the total distance. These are mountain roads with mud, trails, stones, waterfalls, mountain cliffs, valleys and is filled with adventure. Although, it is quite a bumpy drive, the views are simply amazing. Our drive goes along the Marshyangdi river with lots of ups and downs. On reaching Chame, we are in the alpine zone full of pine trees.
It is important that we start for this drive early in the morning. The sooner we reach Chame, the better it would be for our bodies to recover and we can rest well.
Day 4) Chame to Pisang (14.3kms/ 6 – 7 hours) (8,700 feet – 10,700 feet)
After breakfast, we start our trek through the forests. These are dense forests of Oaks and Rhododendrons of the Masang valley. We cross the Yak pastures, green meadows, some deep gorges and get to the beautiful Marshyangdi valley.
Our trek passes through Talekhu into the forest and head to Bhartang. We cross Dhikur Pokhri and get to lower pisang and after a 100 metres ascend, we reach upper Pisang. We enjoy the sunset and the next day's sunrise views from upper Pisang.
Day 5) Pisang to Manang (16kms/ 6 to 7 hours) (10,700 feet – 11,560 feet)
Today's trek is more of a flat trail. We cross many villages and monasteries giving us a cultural tour of the nearby places. Budhist shrines, temples with amazing views are an add-on for today's trek. We trek through Narodhara, Humde, Mugje and get to Bhraka. Bhraka is a spectacular village with a beautiful monastery. The homes here are designed in the typical tibetian style adding to the beauty of the village. We cross over the Marshyangdi river over a wooden bridge, and reach Manang. Manang is a comparatively small town.
Peaks like Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna, Tilicho are a few to name that can be spotted from Manang village.
Day 6) Manang rest day/ Acclimatization
We utilize today as a rest/ acclimatization day as from here we gain altitude on the next days to come. Depending upon the weather and the team pace, we can do a day hike to an icy lake just above Bhraka. This would be good for acclimatization as well. We could get to the "Chongkor view point" and enjoy the beautiful views from here.
There is also a side trip from Manang village that goes up to the Tilicho, which happens to be the highest lake in the world at 16,300 feet.
Day 7) Manang to Yak Kharka (11kms/ 4 to 5 hours) (11,560 feet – 13,500 feet)
Today's trek is through Mani walls (walls built up by placing stones with Tibetian budhism inscription "Om Ma Ni Padme Hum"), yak pastures and diverse flora and fauna. We climb to the Tenki village and continue our ascend. Post Manang we reach above the tree line and reach the trail through grass, bushes and rocks. We cross Ghusung, Ghyanchang and cross a wooden bridge to get to the village Yak Kharka. We cross a Mani wall just before getting to Yak Kharka.
We get to spot additional peaks as, Chulu, Thorong peak and many more.
Day 8) Yak kharka to Thorong Phedi (7.8kms/ 4 to 5 hours) (13,500 feet – 15,100 feet)
We trek to our highest campsite of this trek at 15,100 feet. As we gain altitude we take it slow and steady. We start with a gradual ascend along Thorong Khola crossing the suspension bridge. We get amazing views of the Annapurna Himalayan range – Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna, Pisang peak, Thorong peak, Chulu, Tilcho peak, and many more. As we trek at a gradual pace we acclimatize well and trek towards the high camp.
An alternate to that is we stay at Thorong Phedi, however it only makes our next day's trek to the Thorong La more difficult. We take a call on the basis our team's acclimatization and fitness.
Day 9) Thorong Phedi to ThorongLa to Muktinath (17kms/ 8 to 9 hours) (15,100 feet – 17,700 feet – 12,300 feet)
Today is the longest and the most difficult part of the trek. We start as early as 5am to get to the Thorong La and enjoy some amazing views. We take packed lunch for the day. The initial part of the trek involves a steep climb to cross the high camp and get to the Thorong La (La – means a mountain pass). We start early as the wind speed tends to increase post 9.30am. We should take nearly 4 hours to reach the pass. On getting to the pass we get a beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayas further into Tibet. Looking back from where we came we see the main peaks of the Annapurna range. We also get to see the Dhaulagiri range from this height. After spending some time we start our long descend to Muktinath, and reach by late afternoon.
Thorong La pass is the highest point of the Annapurna circuit trek. We trek this day from the Marshyangdi valley and get into the Kaligandaki valley (Manang & Mustang). For people who love photography, they get some amazing opportunity to click some amazing shots of the peaks visible.
Day 10) Muktinath to Jomsom (12kms/ 5 to 6 hours) (12,300 feet – 9,000 feet)
We visit the holy temple at Muktinath and spend some time here. This temple is a sacred place for Hindus and the Budhists. It is famous for the cold water springs, ancient fossils & facts along with natural methane fires. The cold water springs is said to flow from the sacred Mansarover lake near Mount Kailash (Lord Shiva's abode). Muktinath is also known as "Chumih Gyatsa" meaning a hundred odd springs – by the Budhists. It is known to them as the site of Lokeshwar (the protective Deity of Tibet), hence is holy for them.
If time permits, we shower under the cold springs and start our journey downwards to Kagbeni. A cold shower will be relaxing and refreshing. We get to witness the wonderful views of Dhaulagiri. We get to see a lot of sky burial caves on the cliff walls on the bank of the river – Kali Gandaki. 3 to 4 hours and we reach Kagbeni and we trek further down to get to Jomsom on the bed of Kali Gandaki river. Jomsom is a small town and we spend the night here.
Day 11) Flight from Jomsom to Pokhara (30mins) (9,000 feet – 4,650 feet)
After breakfast, we take our 25 to 30 mins flight to Pokhara – the land of lakes. This flight provides excellent views of the Annapurna range. On reaching Pokhara, we get into the hotels and relax. For some people who would want to do some adventure activities – kayaking in Phewa lake or even paragliding are available.
Day 12) Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu (210kms/ 6 to 7 hours) (4,650 feet – 4.600 feet)
We drive for approximately 6 to 7 hours and get to Kathmandu. The road offers amazing views and having said that it's important to start as early as possible. If we start late, we might get stuck in traffic. We reach Kathmandu by afternoon and rest. We meet up early evening and have a closing ceremony with the entire team and have a good time.
Day 13) Kathmandu check-out
Next morning after breakfast we check-out and end this beautiful journey, only to start another one...!!
Meals : All the meals mentioned above from Kathmandu to Kathmandu
Accommodation : Hotels/ home-stays all throughout
Kathmandu to Besisahar by road
Besisahar to Chame by road
Pokhara to Kathmandu by road
Flight from Jomsom to Pokhara
Airport transfers to and fro Kathmandu to TIA (Tribhuvan International Airport)
Permits and permissions for the entire trek
Camping tea house on double/ triple sharing basis
A certified wilderness first aid responder for any medical emergencies
An experienced and certified skilled mountaineer as the trek leader
1 trek lead for a group of maximum 08-10 trekkers
2 guide for a group of maximum 12-14 trekkers. Generally it is 1 guide to about 6 members.
All our guides and trek leads are professionally trained/ skilled and have many years of relevant experience in guiding and leading treks.
2:1 (trekker to porter ratio to carry rucksack – each sack weighing not more than 9kgs)
Proper rooms with beds and blankets
Toilets – well maintained, clean and hygienic
First aid medical kit with medical assistance for the trekkers
Oxygen cylinder with oxy meter for a close daily check-up
Camping & trekking permits and permissions from the local administrations/ authorities
Service tax 5% (as per the current in GST)
Travel expenses to reach and fly out from Kathmandu
Any meals/services not mentioned above
Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances as emergencies & evacuations, rescue operations due to natural calamities, mishappenings, injuries or health problems
Health Insurance, travel insurance, personal insurance
Alcohol, soft drinks, beverages, etc.
Personal expenses like tips, telephone calls, laundry, etc.
Any charges for video cameras, still cameras, etc.
Additional accommodation, food and travel expenses if flights get delayed due to weather, flight cancellation, health or any other reason.