Hiking Nepal's Annapurna Circuit is one of the most stunningly beautiful, life-changing experiences you can have on your travels, and we're pretty sure that, like us, you'll be absolutely captivated by the area from the very first day. But take it from us wanderers, this is not a simple walk in the park (pun intended), and there's a great deal to factor into your planning before you even take those first few steps. While it’s super tempting just to turn up, hire a sleeping bag and lace your boots and take off, there are a few more incredibly useful things you need to consider before commencing Nepal’s best trek.
Trekking to mounts like Annapurna becomes a great deal. From preparing for altitude sickness and deciding whether to hike solo or in a group, to organizing your permits and accommodation. In this blog, we have provided the full pack of insider knowledge you need before tackling the long, epic and beautiful Annapurna Circuit trek for yourself.
Day 1 : Drive to Bhulbhule 200 km west of the Kathmandu
Height: (845 m / 2,815 ft)
Our first day of the Annapurna Circuit Trek starts the early morning after breakfast we take a local bus to Bhulbhule. The route goes out of the valley along the picturesque Trishuli river to Pokhara from where we head north to the large bazaar to Besisahar to Bhulbhule, situated along the Marsyangdi river. Throughout the ride, we will be able to see the beautiful scenery of terrace farms, villages and catch a sight of the snowy mountain peaks of Ganesh and Manaslu. At Bhulbhule we register our permits at the check post. Overnight at lodge. This is how our first day of Annapurna circuit trek will go down along with the sun.
Day 2 : Trek to Jagat - 5hrs
Height: (1,300m/4,265 ft)
After a nourishing breakfast meal, we will inaugurate our first steps on the trail. The route follows a pleasant trail through fertile jungle and terraced fields upriver, along the flowing Marsyangdi river. We take a leisurely lunch break and pass through several rural settlements and more farmland to gradually reach the peaceful village of Jagat, a former trading post. Overnight at Lodge thinking about our destination- Annapurna Circuit Hike. In this way, our 2nd day of Anappaurna Circuit Trekking will be successful around Jagat village and hill stations.
Day 3: Trek to Dharapani -5 hrs
Height: (1,860 m/6,200 ft)
After breakfast we begin our 3rd day of Annapurna circuit trek, we go along the Marsyangdi river after a steep climb we enter the vicinity of Manang region at the village named tal .here we see several waterfalls forming a river by the sandy beaches. We follow the trail through barley, rice and potato fields. and pass through the village of Kodo which is one of the biggest villages in the Manang valley. We cross a suspension bridge, and after a short climb of the stone Kani we reach Dharapani. Overnight at Lodge -, meals, Finally we complete 3rd day of our Annapurna trek with energy and enthusiasm.
Day 4 : Trek to Chame - 6 hrs
Height: (2,610 m/8,890 ft)
Today we follow the trail through forest with pine, fir, oak and maple trees along the Marsyangdi river to reach Chame, the district headquarter of Manang district. Well be surrounded by the green forest around us and over us, we'll see remarkable views of Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, and Annapurna IV (7,525m). We'll also stop by a small hot spring where we can relax for a while. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 5: Trek to Pisang - 6hrs
Height: (3,115 m/10,200 ft)
We walk through a steep and narrow valley to have our first view of a massive wall of rock that is considered very sacred to the local people, Paungda Danda rock face, a curved rock face rising 1500m from the river. From here, we also see clear views of Annapurna 2 at the south and Pisang Peak at the northeast. Next, we descend to the Manang Valley floor Overnight at Lodge.
Day 6: Trek to Manang – 5hrs
Height: (3,540 m/11,300 ft)
We trek on the upper trail through upper Pisang via Geru, we choose this trail as it offers outstanding views of north face Annapurna II, III, IV, Gangapurna, Tilicho and Pisang Peak .as we ascend well feel the air turn cold, dry and harsher. The trail goes through Tibetan settlement and we get a chance to explore Buddhist culture in a short visit to Barge Monastery, largest in Manang. The trail is dotted with Buddhist shrines as we mass below more monasteries and reach the large settlement of Manang with a lively bazaar area that caters to tourists. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 7 : Manang: Acclimatization day
For our body to acclimatize we spend this day exploring Manang, early morning we hike up to Gangapurna Lake and Base Camp spend the day admiring Annapurna III, Tilicho, Pisang and Chulu Peaks ,roam around Manang Village and Monasteries.during the afternoon we may visit the Himalayan Rescue Association in Vraja village where we will be briefed about acute Mountain Sickness., its symptoms and preventions Overnight at Lodge in Manang with meals and again we'll be ruled by Nightlight and Our Acclimatization day of Annapurna Circuit Trek will be Successfully spent.
Day 8: Trek to Yak Kharka – 3-4hrs
Height: (4,050 m/14,275 ft)
After a day in and around Manang, acclimatizing to the high elevation, and allowing our bodies time to rest and get used to the environment, From Manang we cross a stream and climb up to Tenki village then head out of Marshyangdi valley northwest up Jar Sang Khola valley .the trail ascends slowly as we head northward. we will pass a few pastures and juniper trees. Following the trail we will pass through a small village called Gunsan with houses made of flat mud roof and then pass pastures with yaks and horses. After crossing a small river on a wooden bridge, we make our way up the spectacular valley to an open, peaceful meadow known as Yak Kharka Overnight at the lodge.
Day 9: Trek to ThorongPhedi –4-5hrs
Height: (4,525 m/14,525 ft)
Today we head to the foot of Thorong La pass, Throng Phedi. We climb up to a ridge then head down and cross the Marsyangdi river on a wooden bridge. After a climbing up the mountain path, we follow a narrow trail across a slope and descend to Thorung Phedi. The uninhabited, rugged terrain is otherworldly and much different than the lush lowlands that we passed on the way up during the initial phase of the tree overnight at Hotel.
Day 10: Trek to Muktinath Temple by way of the Thorung La high pass (5,416 m/17,756 ft) 9hrs
Height : (3760 m/12623 ft)
Today's the most challenging part of the trip, we cross Thorong La pass, one of the highest passes in the world, and the highest point of the trek.we have to wake up at very early morning complete this challenge. we have to push ourselves through the icy air, and high altitude but the view from the pass will make it totally worth it. We will see a panorama of majestic Himalayan peaks extending northwards into Tibet, at the back we can see several of the main peaks of Annapurna.
We then descend all the way to Muktinath a sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists. The Buddhists call it Chumig Gyatsa, which in Tibetan means "Hundred Waters".Overnight at Lodge.included meals(B,L,D).
Day 11: Trek to Jomsom – 5 hrs
Height : (2,720 m/8,915 ft)
We explore the temple that has long been a pilgrimage destination for Hindus and Buddhists alike. The temple’s walled complex has a Buddhists monastery and Hindu shrines, 108 bathing spouts and even an ‘eternal flame’. We then make a journey down the valley as we lose elevation and gradually join the Kali Gandaki River valley bottom and the trail to Jomsom, district headquarters of Mustang. Jomsom market area may seem like a big change from the serene trails and villages that we have visited. Rest and refresh at the lodge or explore Jomsom bazaar.Overnight at Lodge.included meals:(B,L,D)
Day 12: Drive to Tatopani – 5-6hrs
Height : (1,200m / 3,940 ft)
We have a break from trekking today as we board a local bus for a ride to Tatopani. It will be a rough ride through the deepest gorges in the world. We will go from the arid highlands to lush green forests. We can see spectacular views of deep gorges, Mountains and green hills. Tatopani is famous for natural hot spring; it is the place where we can soak in the hot springs. Overnight at Lodge included meals.
Day 13 : Trek to Ghorepani – 6-7 hrs
Height : (2,860 m/ 9,385 ft)
We leave the hot springs behind and cross to the east side of the Kali Gandaki River. We ascend to Ghorepani through villages of Sikha and Chitre, the villages of ethnic thakali people.we go through a terraced farmland with mountains all around. Then pass lush forests filled with rhododendron, birch, magnolia we stop at Ghorepani, a beautiful village located at a ridge top. Overnight in Lodge.
Day14:: Early morning hike to Poon Hill ¾ hr, then trek to Nayapul – 6hrs, Drive to Pokhara - 1½ hrs
Height : (3,210 m / 10,525 ft)
This will be our final day on the trail. We ascend to poon Hill (3,210m) early morning to view sunrise over the whole Annapurna , Dhaulagiri massif including Mt Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), Mt Manaslu and surrounding rice terrace A favourite spot among photographers After visiting Poonhill, we return to our Ghorepani lodge for breakfast then we will trek back to Nayapul then drive to Pokhara , overnight at Pokhara Overnight at Hotel near the Lake.
Day 15 : Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu - 6-7hrs
Height : (820 m/2,690 ft)
After breakfast, we drive back to Kathmandu on a tourist bus. Its a 200 Km route that first follows first along the Marsyangdi River and then the Trishuli River. You may also choose to return by a 25-minute flight (not included in the package). Our trek package completes at Kathmandu
-- Route Overview of Annapurna Circuit Trek---
The Annapurna Circuit is one of the greatest treks in Nepal, if not the world – although road construction over the past two decades has severely impacted the trekking experience (more on this later). Note: if you are a mountain biker the road on the western side makes for one of the most exhilarating and scenic mountain biking experiences!
The trek begins at Besisahar (which is a 7-8 hour drive from Kathmandu) and concludes in the Kali Gandaki Gorge – the disputed highest gorge in the world that separates Dhaulagiri (8,176 meters) in the West and Annapurna (8,091 meters) in the East.
The circuit is traditionally followed on an anti-clockwise trail – for acclimatization reasons – that circumvents the Annapurna Massif, taking trekkers through the Annapurna, Manang and Mustang region of central Nepal.
At its pinnacle, the trek crosses the Thorung La Pass (5,416 meters) before descending down to the town of Muktinath. From here the road construction activities that began in 2004 and completed in 2008/09 have had a measurable impact on the Annapurna Circuit trekking experience.
The Nepalese government have realised that the road on both the Western (Pokhara-Muktinath) and Eastern (Chame-Manang) side of the circuit has had a negative impact on trekking tourism and have thus created a number of New Annapurna Trekking Trails (called NATT-trails). These NATT-trails, marked blue and white or red and white, take trekkers away from the dusty and unpleasant roads and provide a much more pleasant trekking experience (where possible we have highlighted these NATT-trails in the Annapurna Circuit itinerary below).
The Annapurna circuit typically takes between 16-20 days to complete (depending if you decide to tack on a diversion to Annapurna Base Camp and the Annapurna Sanctuary), and covers between 150-240 km (depending on when you decide to end the tour or use transportation vehicles).
The scenery on the Annapurna Circuit is extraordinarily beautiful, taking trekkers through rice terraced paddy fields, subtropical forests, and glacial environments. You will see a number of major mountains including the Annapurna Massif (I-IV), three 8,000 metre peaks – Dhaulagiri (8,176 meters), Manaslu (8,156 meters) and Annapurna I (8,091 meters) – as well as numerous peaks of 6,000 to 7,000 meters.
--- The Annapurna Circuit Trek Highlights: ---
The grandiose view of a series of mountains ranging from 6000 m to 8000m in the Annapurna region. The trekkers can enjoy the best views of Annapurna I (8,091m) – the 10th highest mountain in the world, Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Machhapuchhre, Dhaulagiri, Gangapurna, Tukuche, Nilgiri, Tilicho Peak, Manaslu and other sister peaks in the region.
Thorong-La pass (5,415m), the highest point on the Annapurna Circuit although, is the most challenging section of this trek, it is one of the famous viewpoints in the Annapurna region.
Tilicho Lake (side trip required), the lake situated at the highest altitude (4,919m) in the world and the Kali Gandaki Gorge or Andha Galchi (between the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna), the deepest canyon in the world.
The trail between two of the highest mountains in the world: Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.
The Muktinath Temple, one of the most important shrines of both Hindus and Buddhists.
Natural Hot Spring at Tatopani to relax your tired muscles.
Poon Hill the second famous viewpoint in Nepal after Kala Patthar in the Everest region. (Side trip required)
Sunrise/sunset view from Poon Hill and Thorung La pass.
Beautiful and interesting ethnic Gurung, Thakali and Magar settlements, like Ghorepani, Marpha, Jomsom and Manang.
A huge variety of landscapes from lush green paddy field, subtropical rainforest, deep valleys, alpine slopes to an arid Tibetan plateau and the deepest gorge in the world.
Pokhara, the Lake City, a relaxing place to end the trip.
Trekking around Annapurna is one of the main reasons, why tourists come to Nepal. Unique long-distance trek through villages, with a picturesque view of mountains, runs for about 250 km and gives you an opportunity to live far away from civilization. However, a lot has changed since this trek was first opened in the 1970's. Trekking trails became the road for the jeep, you could find wifi in some villages, gas shower with hot water and many other facilities. But nevertheless, for many, this track is still a sort of challenge and if you are reading this, you must accept it.