The Annapurna Circuit Trek is considered one of the world’s finest treks for a reason. It offers an incredible variety of scenery – ranging from Hindu villages in the lush foothills through the Tibetan Buddhist settlements in the far west and into the heart of the towering Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri.
Starting from the foothills of Lamjung with the magnificent Annapurnas along the way and crossing over the Thorong-la Pass at the maximum altitude of 5614 m, the Annapurna Circuit Trek gives you a geographically and ethnically varied experience and you will immerse yourself completely in the spectacular mountain wilderness of the Annapurna Circuit. You will walk down the valley of Kali Gandaki, one of the world’s deepest gorges (three times deeper than the Grand Canyon). On the way back, we will admire the beautiful sunrise and views from Poon Hill (3210 m). The trek ends in the beautiful lakeside city of Pokhara.
All our Nepal and Himalaya treks are private departures, so you are free to choose your date (between September and May), and companions (minimum group size is 2 people) and our trekking support crew will be with you during the entire trek – we provide one of the highest staff to client ratios on the trek: one trekking guide per party, one Sherpa assistant for every four trekkers and one porter for every two trekkers. During the trek, you will need to carry only your daypack.
On this classic Annapurna Circuit Trek, you will spend 3 nights in a nice hotel in Kathmandu, 1 night in a comfortable hotel in Pohkara (both on a twin share basis) and 16 nights on a twin share basis in traditional mountain lodges (tea houses).
- Explore vibrant Kathmandu and lakeside Pokhara
- Experience authentic Nepali villages, meet locals during tea house stays and soak up the unique local culture
- Trek through magnificent forests and terraced fields abundant in hot springs
- Ascend Marshyangdi River valley
- Visit the oldest Buddhist monastery in Braga village
- Cross the Thorung-La Pass over 5416 m
- Visit the pilgrimage town of Muktinath
- Bathe in natural hot springs at Tatopani
- Admire the sunrise views of Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhare and the Annapurnas from Poon Hill
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu
Upon arrival at Kathmandu Airport (you can choose any flight you wish), our representative will meet you and transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu. Relax at your hotel, then explore the streets of Kathmandu.
Day 2: Kathmandu Sightseeing & Trek Preparation
After a lovely breakfast in the morning, we start a guided sightseeing tour to four UNESCO World Heritage sites of Kathmandu that have historical and spiritual values. We will visit Pashupatinath, Temple Swoyambhunath Stupa, Kathmandu Durbar Square and Bouddhanath Stupa.
Day 3: Transfer to Tal | 1700 m
After breakfast, we will drive past river valleys and roadside settlements to Besisahar. We swap to local 4WD jeep in Besisahar as the road to Tal is rough and bumpy. We drive following the Marshyangdi River upstream past tunnels, small villages and waterfalls. The long and tiresome drive (around 8 h in total) is over as we reach Tal, a small village located on the other side of Marshyangdi River.
Day 4: Tal to Bagarchhap | 6 h | 2160 m
Follow a rough trail along the roaring Marshyangdi River. Cross it near Dharapani and enter into the lush green forest following the uphill trail. The beautiful Bagarchhap village awaits us, surrounded by lush forest.
- Walking for the day: 6 hours, final elevation 2160 m
Day 5: Bagarchhap to Chame| 6-7 h | 2670 m
Ascend through a mixed forest of pine and oak, admiring the breathtaking mountain views. When the steep incline levels out, we’ll find ourselves in a rhododendron forest that eventually gives way to pine. Next, is a hamlet called Kotho, which offers an excellent view of Annapurna II. The roaring sound of the Marshyangdi river marks the arrival in Chame. Explore the small township of Chame.
- Walking for the day: 7 hours, final elevation 2670 m
Day 6: Chame to Pisang| 6 h | 3200 m
We’ll cross the Marshyangdi River via a large suspension bridge and follow the jeep track that gains height gently through fir and pine forest. Apple farms along the trail accompany the view of Pisang Peak (6091 m), Annapurna II and waterfalls.
- Walking for the day: 6 hours, final elevation 3200 m
Day 7: Pisang to Manang| 5-6 h | 3540 m
From Pisang, our trail climbs up towards Manang along a steep ridge overlooking the Manang Valley, with views of Tilicho Peak in the distance. Then we walk through beautiful yak pastures, barley fields and Tibetan monastery, with the magnificent views of Annapurna II, III, IV, and other snowcapped mountains.
- Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, final elevation 3540 m
Day 8: Acclimatisation Day at Manang | 4 h| 3540 m
Acclimatization is crucial before proceeding to higher elevations. Feel free to ask your guide to take you to Bhojo Gompa and Gangapurna Lake. Also, don’t forget to visit the Himalayan Rescue Association post. Once back down in Manang, there will be plenty of time to enjoy some good coffee and some of the excellent pastries available here.
- Walking for the day: 4 hours, final elevation 3540 m
Day 9: Manang to Yak Kharka| 5 h | 4050 m
Today the trail goes up through barley and buckwheat fields to Tenki Manang. Leaving the Marshyangdi valley behind, we’ll cross over into the Thorung Khola valley. Then the trail climbs gently through more arid landscape to Yak Kharka.
- Walking for the day: 5 hours, final elevation 4050 m
Day 10: Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi High Camp | 5 h | 4550 m
From Yak Kharka, our trek heads towards Thorung Phedi High Camp. We start slowly along the bank of Jorsang river until we descend to cross the bridge. We then follow the narrow path for about an hour until we finally reach Thorung High Camp.
- Walking for the day: 5 hours, final elevation 4550 m
Day 11: Thorung Phedi to Muktinath via Thorong-La Pass| 6-7 h | 3760 m
We start walking early in the morning and climb a long, yet gentle uphill stretch to Thorong-La Pass which stands 5416 m high. The pass itself is decorated with many colourful prayer flags. Enjoy the best views of snowcapped mountains and start descending to Kalagandaki valley. Visit Muktinath temple, where Vishnu is revered by both Hinduists and Buddhists.
- Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, final elevation 3760 m
Day 12: Muktinath to Kagbeni | 3-4 h | 2810 m
Follow Kaligandaki river bank and walk past, arguably the deepest canyon on earth. Kagbeni is located on Kaligandaki river bank and stands as a gateway to Upper Mustang. You will have enough time to explore this authentic village in the afternoon.
- Walking for the day: 3-4 hours, final elevation 2810 m
Day 13: Kagbeni to Marpha| 5 h | 2670 m
After breakfast, we walk down towards Jomsom. Jomsom is quite large compared to most of the villages so far. After lunch here we follow the jeep track that negotiates Kaligandaki river downstream. Marpha is quite famous for its apple farms and apple products. In the afternoon, explore the typical Thakali houses and small alleys of Marpha.
- Walking for the day: 5 hours, final elevation 2670 m
Day 14: Marpha to Larjung| 5 h | 2010 m
We keep on following Kaligandaki river downstream walking past some of the beautiful villages on the way.
- Walking for the day: 5 hours, final elevation 2010 m
Day 15: Larjung to Ghasa| 5 h | 2525 m
Kaligandaki river still accompanies us as we lose height. The vegetation turns green and we can see pine forests in the surrounding area. Ghasa is a beautiful village close to Kaligandaki river.
- Walking for the day: 5 hours, final elevation 2525 m
Day 16: Ghasa to Tatopani| 5 h | 1190 m
We follow the gentle downhill trail and reach Tatopani for lunch. After lunch, we enjoy the natural thermal springs at the heart of this small town.
- Walking for the day: 5 hours, final elevation 1190 m
Day 17: Tatopani to Ghorepani| 6-7 h | 2860 m
Enjoy the breakfast and start climbing up to Ghorepani. The trail zigzags and climbs all the way to Ghorepani steeply. Ghorepani is a small village inhabited by Magar people that sits atop the ridgeline and backdrops Mt Dhaulagiri and the Annapurnas.
- Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, final elevation 2860 m
Day 18: Climb Poon Hill; Ghorepani to Tikhedhunga| 5-6 h | 1540 m
An amazing pre-dawn trek to Poon Hill (1.5-2 h, 3210 m) reveals a stunning sunrise over the Himalaya. After a well-earned breakfast in Ghorepani, we start our walk following the downhill trail through mixed forest and past small villages all the way to Tikhedhunga.
- Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, final elevation 1540 m
Day 19: Tikhedhunga to Nayapul; Transfer to Pokhara| 3 h
The trail today undulates down the Modi River Valley. We begin our trek with a comfortable downhill walk to the New Bridge and follow the trail through terraced fields and small villages. After arriving in Naya Pul, we drive back to Pokhara (1 h). The lakeside town of Pokhara is the perfect place to relax, enjoy a cold beer and celebrate your successful completion of the Annapurna Circuit Trek.
- Walking for the day: 3 hours
Day 20: Transfer Pokhara – Kathmandu & Overnight
Recall the memories from the trek and enjoy the bus ride back to Kathmandu (7 h). You can alternatively opt for a flight. Back in Kathmandu, you can spend some leisure time.
Day 21: Departure
Private transfer to Kathmandu Airport or optional extension.
Optional Chitwan Jungle Safari Extension (2 nights)
Experience the other side of Nepal in the jungle of the Chitwan National Park. Once home to a royal hunting reserve, Chitwan is now widely recognised as one of the best national parks in Asia. The park offers protection to numerous species including the one-horned rhinoceros, Bengal tiger, leopard, sloth bear, wild elephant, striped hyena, Gangetic dolphin, crocodile and wild bison.
- Take a boat along the Rapti river, which shelters about a quarter of the world’s remaining gharial population
- Jump on a jeep safari and spot a range of wild animals
- Spend some time in a local village, visiting the wildlife display centre and learning about local life
- Accommodation on twin share basis in a comfortable local hotel
- Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners (excl. beverages)
Important: You will see other tour operators offering elephant riding activities and many tourists taking part in them during your time in Chitwan. However, we have an elephant welfare policy, and as such, we discourage travellers from riding elephants in Nepal or anywhere in the world. See the Responsible Travel section for more information.
Day 1: Kathmandu – Chitwan National Park
We walk off to the tourist bus stand, which is around 15 min walk from your hotel. Take the tourist bus and ride past river valleys, terrace fields, and highway settlements to southern lowlands (5 h). Upon getting off the bus, meet the staff, who will drive you to the resort. After having checked in, enjoy the lunch and make yourself comfortable amidst the beautiful garden. The manager will brief you about the activities schedule. In the afternoon, drive to the nearby river where alligators, birds, and rhinos can be spotted along with the mesmerizing sunset view. Overnight.
Day 2: Chitwan Activities
Early in the morning, we drive to the river and start canoeing through the jungle to spot alligators and various species of birds. After canoeing, we walk through the forest and take the jeep back to the resort. After lunch enjoy a jeep drive into the national park where we can spot more wild animals, and if lucky, Royal Bengal tigers. After we drive back to the resort, enjoy the dinner, and walk to the community hall to view the cultural show. Overnight.
Day 3: Chitwan – Kathmandu
After breakfast, the staff will drive you to the bus station and you will board the tourist bus. You can get back to Kathmandu or opt for Pokhara.
What to Expect
On this classic Annapurna Circuit Trek, you will spend 3 nights in a nice hotel in Kathmandu on a twin share basis, 1 night on a twin share basis in a comfortable hotel in Pokhara and 16 nights on a twin share basis in traditional mountain lodges (tea houses). Lodges are comfortable except for a few nights at higher elevations when they are fairly basic. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
Tea houses are mountain lodges that are located along many of the trekking routes in Nepal that provide meals and lodging. They are similar to mountain huts in the Alps except that in Nepal you primarily get private rooms and a wide choice of food. The tea houses in general offer simple but adequate accommodation; please be realistic about what to expect in the high mountains and in remote areas. Most tea houses are built specifically for trekkers, but some, in the more remote regions of Nepal, may double as the family’s home.
The teahouse’s centre is the heated eating hall (some lodges charge a fee to switch the heater on). The bedrooms are almost all twin-share (note that you may still be asked to share with 2 or 3 during peak season on very rare occasions). Bedrooms are not heated, and you will need to bring or hire a sleeping bag.
Most tea houses have only one or two basic toilets and sometimes these are located outside the main building. Toilet paper is not provided so you should bring your own or buy it from the tea house. If there is not a flush handle, there should be a container of water to use.
The owners make most of their income from the meals and beverages. For this reason, you are expected to eat all your meals at the teahouse at which you’re staying. Most teahouses sell snacks, soft drinks, tea, coffee and other essentials such as soap and toilet paper. Almost all tea houses have electricity, but power outages are quite frequent. Electricity is available to charge your cameras and other electronic devices for a small fee at the dining rooms of most tea houses. A few of the lodges on this trek have WiFi which varies in quality of signal. Some lodges now have hot showers (you will be charged a small fee for using them). Note that sometimes this is simply a bucket of hot water and not a proper shower head.
Several years ago, tea houses’ choices were limited and pre-booking the lodge fixed menu was often the only option. Since then, as the lodges have improved in quality, so has food choice, with most tea houses now offering an extensive menu. To give our customers choice, we now operate our trek on a lodge only basis (welcome dinner and breakfasts in the Kathmandu and Pokhara hotels are included). You will need to plan £25-30 per day in total for all meals.
- For breakfast, you can have toast, tea, eggs, and porridge. It gets served at around 7-8 am which is ideal for the early morning trek.
- Dal Bhat which consists of rice, dal (pulses), lentils, spinach, gundruk, optional meat, and others is a typical meal offered for lunch, or you can opt for a noodle soup.
- For dinner (normally, it’ll be served around 7:30 pm to 8:00 pm), where once there was a choice of 2-3 different rice or lentil-based meals at the lodge, most now offer a menu of 20 or more choices from the basic (such as dal bhat) through western-style (pizza, spaghetti) to more sophisticated (yak steak with blue cheese sauce).
Difficulty & terrain
Although you are not expected to hike more than 6 hours per day, this holiday is graded moderate to strenuous, due to the extended length of time spent trekking at high altitudes. You should be in good physical shape and have some experience in multi-day trekking before undertaking the Annapurna Circuit Trek (read more about difficulty grades).
Acute mountain sickness
AMS is a significant concern when trekking above 3500 m. Although you will spend only a couple of days above 3500 m and our itinerary is designed to minimise the chances of you suffering from AMS by providing enough acclimatisation days and ensuring a gradual increase in altitude, each individual is affected differently by height. If you have any pre-existing health conditions that you think may make you more susceptible to AMS, we recommend that you consult your doctor before booking this trip.
When to go
The main trekking season in Nepal is from September to May when daytime temperatures at most altitudes are generally comfortable for walking; the sky is clear much of the time and rain and snow are occasional occurrences. Different seasons offer different advantages for the Annapurna Circuit Trek. The best times are in spring ‘pre-monsoon’ (March, April and May), and in autumn ‘post-monsoon’ (September, October and November). The summer months are very wet as it is the monsoon season and winter is extremely cold. Please note that the Thorung-La Pass is occasionally closed in winter months due to heavy snowfall; alternative arrangements will be made by your group leader if this occurs.
- Post Monsoon: September to November. This is the main trekking season in Nepal. Skies are usually clear and days on trek are sunny and mild with clear mountain views. Nights will be colder with temperatures dropping as low as to minus 10ºC at the highest altitudes.
- Winter: December to February. Despite the cooler conditions, this is a good time to trek in Nepal. Skies are usually very clear especially in December and the mountain views are at their best. Nights will be very cold with temperatures down to minus 15ºC to minus 20ºC at the highest altitudes but days are pleasant and sunny. The trails are also much less busy at this time of year. If you want to trek during the winter months you need lots of warm clothes.
- Pre-monsoon: March to May. Both day and night temperatures will be warmer in general but often a haze will build up in the afternoons. Flowers bloom in this season and this is one of the reasons many people chose to trek in spring.
It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the quality of service. All our staff in Nepal (guides, assistant guides and porters) are fully insured and paid a fair wage; however tips are not a substitute for wages. The amount is purely a personal matter but we would suggest a tip per day of 15-20 USD for your guide, 8-10 USD for your porter and 5-6 USD per day for assistants and other staff. These apply to the whole party, not per person. Obviously this is very much a rough guide and you are completely free to give whatever you feel is appropriate.
- All ground transfers as listed in the itinerary (one arrival and one departure airport transfer per party)
- 3 nights quality accommodation on a twin share basis in Kathmandu
- 1 night quality accommodation on a twin share basis in Pokhara
- 16 nights twin share accommodation in the mountains
- Full day sightseeing tour of Kathmandu including entrance fees
- Welcome dinner in Kathmandu
- 3 breakfasts in Kathmandu
- 1 breakfast in Pokhara
- All national park fees and trekking permits
- 1 English-speaking tour guide in the lowlands
- 1 English-speaking trekking guide in the mountains
- 1 Sherpa assistant for every 4 trekkers
- 1 porter for every 2 trekkers
- Detailed pre-departure information pack including guide book, city maps and trekking maps
- International flights and international airport departure fee
- Visa fee
- Lunches and dinners in Kathmandu (except for the welcome dinner) and all meals in the mountains (plan £25-30 per day in total for all meals)
- Hot shower, water, WiFi, charging mobiles and cameras etc during trekking (if you plan on using the internet and showering every day, then you should budget around £8-10 per day)
- Drinking water (beverages)
- Extra expenses due to unforeseen events such as natural disaster, roadblocks or health conditions of a fellow traveller
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses and tips
- Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme
Options, extras & supplements
- Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room (Kathmandu and Pokhara only – ask our experts for a quote); in the tea houses you may ask the owner if there are single rooms available and you can pay locally for them
- Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate solo travellers on the Annapurna Circuit Trek
- Kathmandu upgrade to a superior 4 or 5-star hotel
- Breakfasts in the mountains (add 16 breakfasts)
- Full board in the mountains (add 16 breakfasts, 17 lunches and 16 dinners)
- Flight Kathmandu-Pokhara instead of bus transfer on Day 20
- Extra nights in Kathmandu
- Optional Chitwan Jungle Safari Extension