Annapurna Circuit 23 Daysfrom
The Annapurna Circuit, considered one of the best trekking/hiking trails
in the world, is the classic long distance trek in the Annapurna region of
Nepal. The trek is one of contrasts between the green, terraced farmland of
the Marshyangdi valley and the semi-arid environs of Lower Mustang. The two
areas are separated by the Thorong La River (5416m), which we must cross
on a long day, to reach the sacred site of Muktinath. The temple complex is
a pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists and when seen from here
the sunrise on Dhaulagiri is particularly striking. We descend into the world’s
deepest river gorge, carved by the mighty Kali Gandaki, as it slices between
the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs. The river meanders to the relaxing hot
springs at Tatopani before ascending to Poon Hill for our last sunrise over the
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
The Annapurna Circuit is a classic trek on ancient trade routes. Ascending the
Marshyangdi valley. Passing Manaslu and Hinchuli. Visit old Buddhist monastery
in Braga. Explore beautiful Manang village. Crossing the Thorung-La (5416m).
The Pilgrimage town of Muktinath, View of Dhawagiri Ice-flow. The world’s
deepest gorge and the Kaligandaki valley. Natural hot spring at Tatopani.
Sunrise at Poonhill with magnificent mountain views.
- Airport pick-up and drop-off
- Four nights hotel accommodations with breakfast in Kathmandu and Pokhara
- Licensed and trained trekking guides
- Porters for carrying goods and supplies
- All accommodation during trek
- All meals and hot beverages whilst trekking
- Transportation to and from trail head
- All necessary documents and permits for trekking (where applicable)
- National Park/Conservation Area entry permit
- Equipment such as sleeping bag, tents, mattresses
- Cooking equipment (if required)
- Camp-site charges (if required)
- Insurance, medication, and equipment for staff
- Coordination of Quick Rescue service (costs covered by your insurance plan)
- International airfares
- Travel/trekking insurance
- Excess baggage charges more than 16kg and hand bag more than 5kg in domestic flights
- Visa fees
- Airport departure tax
- Rescue charge
- Drinks (cold and alcoholic)
- Expenses of personal nature
- Permit and liaison officer fee (where applicable)
- Lunches and dinners whilst not trekking
Arrival in kathmandu
Upon arrival at Kathmandu International Airport transfer to your hotel. A short
briefing will follow concerning the necessary formalities and your Annapurna
Circuit trek itinerary. Depending upon your arrival time you may spend free
time visiting nearby sanctuaries or resting.
Sightseeing / Cultural Day in Kathmandu Valley
Half day sightseeing around Kathmandu where your guide will escort you on
a tour of Buddhist and Hindu temples and shrines reflecting ancient local
traditions. There is time to explore the city’s many places of interest on your
own or take a rest while trekking permits are finalised. In the evening sample
a delicious traditional Nepali dinner. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu to Besi Shahar (830m)
Breakfast. Our trekking guide will come to the hotel at 07:00 hrs to pick you
with private transport to leave for Besi Shahar (185km) and will take us about
6 hours. Along the journey you will witness some spectacular scenery of white
mountains, green hills, rivers and hamlets. We overnight at a guesthouse.
Besi Shahar to Bahundanda (1430m)
Our first day’s trekking introduces us to the diverse cultural elements of Nepal
and we pass by many typical local houses and the faces of varied ethnic tribes
exchanging greetings (Namaste) as we pass. We will share the trail with mule
caravans that transport supplies to the remote villages. Our route makes its way
through subtropical forests and the rice terraces of Sera to the village of Khudi
(840m). After we pass the village of Bhulbule we will see a majestic 60m high
waterfall. Along the way we have views of Manaslu (8156m). The mountain
views disappear as we come closer to the small town of Ngadi, here we will have
to cross the Ngadi Khola by a long suspension bridge. From here on the trail
moves gently upwards to Bahundanda, an attractive village in the saddle of a
long ridge at 1300m (7 hrs).
Bahundanda to Chamje (1410m)
We start the day by descending on a steep slippery trail past amphitheatreshaped rice terraces. There will be a small hot spring after this descend. The
rest of today’s trek will have us pass the river a few times and we will see a
few waterfalls as well. As we near the village of Jagat we will have a steep
200m climb to a trail that has been blasted out of the rock face. 15 minutes
below this village we can visit another small hot spring. From Jagat we climb
up to Chamje (6 hrs).
Chamje to Bagarchhap (2160m)
Today we will do the 940 meter ascent to Bagarchap through bamboo and
rhododendron forests, on a trail high above the river bank. We will pass the
village of Tal at 1700 meter which lies at the foot of a large waterfall. The trail
crosses a broad, flat valley that was once a lake (Tal means lake) after which we
will cross the Marsyangdi by a 60 meter long suspension bridge. The trail will
climb up from a second suspension bridge to a stone kani (an arch over the
trail) which marks the entrance to Dharapani at 1960 meter. All old villages
from here to Kagbeni have these arches and they become more elaborate and
picturesque as the Tibetan influence becomes stronger. The trail slowly climbs
from here on through a forest of blue pine, spruce, hemlock, maple and oak to
Bagarchhap. This is the first village on the trek with typical Tibetan architecture:
closely spaced stone houses, with flat roofs piled high with firewood. (7 hrs).
Bagarchhap to Chame(2170m)
We will first follow the south bank of the river climbing to Syal Khola (the river
of jackals) at 2210 meter, after which we will cross the river over a cement
bridge near a spectacular waterfall. The route crosses several landslides as it
works its way uphill through a walnut tree forest and aside apple orchards
until we arrive at Chame. At the entrance of the village is a long wall with
many prayer wheels. Throughout the day there are nice views of Lamjung
Himal, Annapurna II and Annapurna IV (7525m) (6 hrs).
Chame to Pisang (3190m)
We will first pass the older part of Chame and climb up to Telekhu at 2840
meter and continue with a long pleasant and mostly level walk through the
forest to Brathang, which lies at 2950 meter. After the trail rounds a bend
here we will see the first view of the dramatic Paungda Danda rock face, a
tremendous curved slab of rock rising more then 1500 meter from the river.
We will cross back to the south bank of the Marsyangdi on a suspension
bridge at 3080 meter and then make a long gentle climb over a ridge through
blue pine forests. After this the trek will be reasonably level as it heads to the
upper part of Manang valley to Pisang. This town marks the beginning of the
region known as Nyesyang, the upper portion of the Manang district (5 hrs).
Pisang to Manang (3540m)
Today our trek will slowly climb up to the Tibetan-style village of Bryaga at
3500 meter following the valley floor. At Bryaga we will see houses stacked one
atop the other, each with an open veranda formed by a neighbour’s rooftop.
The gompa, perched on a high crag overlooking the village, is the largest in
the district and has an outstanding display of statues. We then continue
through a very arid countryside, dominated by weird cliffs of yellow rock,
eroded into dramatic pillars alongside the trail to reach today’s destination, the
village of Manang, where the shops are surprisingly well stocked with all the
things you might want to refuel on (5 hrs).
Today we stay in Manang where we can do a short hike to ascent slightly
higher to for instance Khangsar, which is a 200 meter ascend. It is important
to have a relatively restful day today, to allow your body to acclimatize to the
higher altitudes and thinning air. It also gives us the possibility to wash some
of our clothing.
Manang to Letdar (4250)
Trekking slowly upwards to Thorung La we will leave the large trees behind
and see vegetation consisting mainly of scrub juniper and alpine grass and we
will pass a few meadows where horses and yaks graze. After we reach Yak
Kharka we will see herds of blue sheep grazing the steep slopes as well. About
an hour after passing Yak Kharka we will arrive at Letdar (4:30 hrs).
Letdar to Thorang Phedi, or Thorang High Camp
Again a relatively easy day to get used to the altitude before we have to cross
the highest point in the trek, and possibly the highest point you have been on
in your life. From Letdar we will continue to climb along the east bank of the
Jarang Khola to Thorung Phedi, a rock-strewn meadow surrounded by vertical
cliffs at 4420 meter. Blue sheep and even snow leopards can be sometimes
seen in this valley. High in the skies above us we can see lammergeyers and
Himalayan griffons circling around (3-4 hrs).
Thorang-Muktinath (3800m) via Thorang La Pass (5416m)
Today is a long trek starting before sunrise at maybe 04:00 hrs to reach the
pass by 09:00/10:00 hrs at the latest, as otherwise weather conditions will
greatly affect the journey. We cross over at an altitude of 5416m so can be
exposed to strong winds if crossing too late. Local people have used this trail
for hundreds of years to bring herds of sheep and yaks in and out of Manang. Thus the trail, while often steep, is well defined and easy to follow. Snow can
block the pass at any time of the year if there has been an unseasonable
storm. It takes from four to six hours from Thorung Phedi to the pass, but the
many false summits mean the climb seems to go on for ever.
At the Thorung La pass, with its traditional prayer flags and stone cairn we will
have outstanding views. You can see the Annapunas, Gangapurna and Khatung
Kang, a heavily glaciated peak. Amazingly there is a teashop here on top of the
pass at 5416 meter. From here we start a long descend of about 1600 meter
with outstanding views of Dhaulagiri mountain standing alone in the distance
across the valley. After the trail becomes less steep we will enter grassy fields
and cross meadows to our final destination of Muktinath, which means place of
Nirvana and is home to the Muktinath temple as well as several monasteries. It
is said that all sorrows you feel are relieved when visiting the Temple, which is
a scared pilgrimage site to both Hindus and Buddhists. The main pilgrimage
normally takes place in September. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu
and has 108 waterspouts around it from which Holy water pours. Another
attraction nearby is the Jwala Mai Temple and this contains a spring and an
eternal flame fed by natural underground gas (9 hrs).
Muktinath to Marpha via Jomsom (2665m)
From today we will follow the “Jomsom trek” in reverse order. We will first go
down to Kagbeni, which is a 990 meter descend through meadows, streams and
fruit trees like peach orchards. Then we will continue going down to Jomson
(more correctly Dzongsam, or “new fort”). Our descend continues through the
Kali Gandaki Valley to Marpha. Marpha is home to many apple orchids as well as
all the various food products made from the fruit. Apple Brandy is a local
specialty that you may be lucky enough to taste en route (6 hrs).
Marpha to Ghasa (2080m)
This day will be a rewarding day when we trek further down the Kali Gandaki
valley alongside the Kali Gandaki river to Ghasa. We will pass the villages of
Tukuche at 2580 meter and Larjung at 2560 meter. We then cross the the
Kali Gandaki river by a high suspension bridge and continue through an area
covered with fir, juniper and cypress trees. Towards the village of Kalopani
(2530m) we will have splendid 360˚ views of Dhaulagiri, Tukuche Peak, the
three Nilgiris, Fang and Annapurna I. After crossing another very long
suspension bridge (107 meter long) we will reach Ghasa, our base for this
night (6 hrs).
Ghasa to Tatopani (1190m)
Today our trek leads us through the steepest and narrowest part of the Kali
Gandaki valley; much of the way is cut through solid rock and subject to
frequent landslides. Before we reach the village of Dana (1450m) we pass the
Rupse Chhahara (‘beautiful waterfall’). Descending further down past several
landslides we will reach Tatopani, meaning hot water, which is situated on
the riverbanks where we will stop to make the most of a well deserved hot
bath (5 hrs).
Tatopani to Ghorepani (2834m)
Leaving the hot springs behind us we have a day of climbing ahead of us to
Ghorepani. We leave the Kali Gandaki valley and we will follow the Ghar
Khola river and cross this river on an old swaying bridge. We will continue
ascending to Ghara (1780m) and Shika (1935m) where there still is a British
army training centre. The last part of the trail today will have us climbing
through rhododendron and magnolia forests to Ghorepani, where we will
arrive mid afternoon (7 hrs).
Ghorepani (2834m) to Poon Hill (3210m) to Tadapani (2520m)
An early start and an hour’s hiking to Poon Hill (3195m) leads us to a brilliant
spectacle, this viewpoint provides an unobstructed beautiful sunrise over the
high Himalayas. After spending about 40 minutes on the hillside, we come
back to Ghorepani for a hot breakfast, and start walking to Tadapani. From
Ghorepani the trail climbs along ridges and through pine and rhododendron
forests and if the weather allows it we have a panorama all the way south to
the plains of India. The trail follows a stream bed which becomes larger as we
continue. The stream has some clear pools alongside the trail and finally
becomes a series of waterfalls. Today’s final destiny is the village of Tadapani,
meaning ‘far water’ and the water supply for this village is a long distance
below (5 hrs).
Tadapani to Ghaundrung (1950m)
The Ghaundrung trail descends steeply through forests to the village of
Ghaundrung where we will arrive around noon. We will overnight here so have
the afternoon to visit the Annapurna conservation office and museum. As well
as take time to explore this maze like village (3 hrs).
Day 20 & 21
Ghaundrung to Pokhara via Pothana (1910m) and Phedi (910m)
Our last two days of trekking on the Annapurna Circuit take us through the
village of Pothana (2110m) before reaching Phedi (950m).. On arrival in Phedi,
mid morning, our private transportation meets us before driving to Pokhara.
Pokhara to Kathmandu by plane.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Departure from Kathmandu.
The trek program is – because of weather or unforeseen events – subject to change