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Annapurna Circuit

Trip type: 
Walking & Trekking
Trekking level: 
5. Strenuous
Max group size: 
Avg user rating: 
Asia, Nepal | 24 days
Trip code: 
What's included: 

Transport - Minibus, on foot. 

Accommodation- Simple hotel (1nt), basic teahouses (17nts), guesthouses (4nts).

Meals - No meals are included on this trip

Trip Highlights: 
Be amazed by the dramatic views of the Annapurnas
Explore bustling Kathmandu and Durbar Square street markets
Unwind in Pokhara after your trek
see full itinerary >>

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(Departures in 2012-13)
  • Day 1 - Kathmandu
  • Day 2 - Bandipur Village Stay
  • Day 3-19 - Annapurna Circuit Trek
  • Day 20 - Pokhara
  • Day 21 - Return To Kathmandu
  • Day 22 - Tour Ends
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »


Please arrive by 13:00 on day 1 as you will have an important group briefing. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where and when this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information. It is recommended that you have lunch beforehand, as you will be heading out after the meeting to visit Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP). 

Kathmandu, the colourful capital of Nepal, is a fascinating blend of traditional architecture and symbols of the 20th Century. Its rich artistic and cultural heritage is evident where ornately carved balconies mingle with beautiful shrines and temples. 

If you arrive early you might like to check out Durbar Square, home to the palace of the Kumari Devi, who is considered to be a living goddess. It is also worth the climb to visit the Swayambhunath - the 'monkey temple'. Explore the network of street markets and alley bazaars and witness the burning ghats at Pashupatinath. For those with a few extra days in Kathmandu, the neighbouring towns of Patan and Bhaktapur are well worth a visit. 

After the welcome meeting you head out to meet KEEP (Kathmandu Environmental Education Project), a non-profit, non-governmental organisation that aims to minimise the negative influences of tourism by advocating and promoting 'minimum impact' trekking. Its aims are two-fold: to provide impartial and independent information to travellers; and to ensure the future ecological and cultural prosperity of Nepal through positive-impact tourism and outreach project work. At the organisation's information centre you will get practical advice about conservation, trekking, mountain safety, causes of deforestation, ecotourism, and the do's and don'ts of Nepalese society. Guesthouse - 1 night

The Kathmandu Guest House was the first ever hotel in Thamel, and used to be a 'Rana' (the 19th- 20th century oligarchy rulers of Nepal) mansion. It is located right in the centre of Kathmandu and boasts a famous garden and lovely restaurant. 

Bandipur Village Stay

Bandipur Village Stay

You'll set off by bus for a trip to the ancient mountain town of Bandipur (approx. 5 hours). Located high on a ridge (1,000m) above the road to Pokhara lies this little-known Newari trading village. 

Be prepared for simple lodgings and food, but more importantly the genuine friendliness of the locals and the simply stunning views of the Annapurna and Manaslu mountain ranges - the hallmark of this region. Bandipur is a basic village but the surrounding countryside makes for great walks and all the locals will want to talk to you and guide you on your way. 

At the eastern part of the town is the pagoda-roofed Bindabasini temple which acts as the abode of the goddess Durga, Bandipur's guardian deity. The rich wooden carvings and detailed brass-work that adorn the temple are replicas of those found in the many old pagoda structures of the Kathmandu Valley. Guesthouse - 1 night

Your guesthouse tonight is a restored village house in the heart of the old bazaar. The timber and red brick building with carved beams and staircases has pleasant twin and double rooms with separate shared facilities. In front of the guesthouse is a café and bar serving simple, delicious meals from locally sourced organic ingredients.


Annapurna Circuit Trek

You'll begin your trek from Besi Sahar at the end of bumpy Dumre Road. For almost three weeks you'll immerse yourself in the spectacular mountain wilderness that encompasses the Annapurna Range. At 8,091 m, Annapurna 1 is one of the highest mountains in the world. Its surrounding sister mountains are equally imposing, creating magnificent panoramas from any viewpoint. Throughout the trek you'll come across isolated mountain communities, each with different ancestral customs and traditions, resulting in not only a visually superb expedition, but also a culturally rich one. You'll meet warm and welcoming locals herding yaks and goats on the grassy pastures and visit their monasteries and temples. Walk past waterfalls of melted snow, cross icy rivers, walk along broad plains and hike up high mountain passes. The trekking is challenging, averaging 6-7 hours walking a day, often at high altitude. The highest point you'll reach is the 5,416 m Thorung Pass.

Given the dangers of altitude sickness, it is imperative that you take at least eleven days to ascend to this height. A couple of days are also allowed for rest and acclimatisation. Please note that the following itinerary can vary due to unforseen circumstances including weather conditions or bandhs (strikes) called by the political parties. All trekking times are approximate. 

Day 3 - Khudi/Bulbule (840 m) (approx. 3 hours)
Set-off to Besisahar after breakfast (50 kms/3 hrs). Start off the trek through the bazaar leading down the stream, climbing up the steps and making your way through forests and rice fields to arrive at Bulbule.

Day 4 - Bahun Danda (1,310 m) (approx. 4 hours) 
A gentle day's walk, if not for the heat, penetrating deep into picteresque mountain countryside with sub-tropical forests, rice fields and Gurung villages. Steep climb at the end to reach Bahundanda.

Day 5 - Chamje (1,430 m) (approx. 7 hours)
Today you'll pass dazzling cascades en route as the trail makes it's way through a deep wooded canyon; no definitive mountain views, with villages few and far between, and some steep stretches.

Day 6 - Bagarchap (2,160 m) (approx. 7 hours) 
The trek continues through the deep wooded canyon embellished by stunning waterfalls as you venture into the Manang district. Much of the trail ascends throughout the day.

Day 7 - Chame (2,710 m) (approx. 6 hours) 
Marking the end of the great Marsyangdi gorge, make a steep climb to Timang, then the trail settles into gentler slopes as the vegetation transforms from dense pine forests to drier slopes. The district headquarters of Manang, Chame, is the largest settlement after Besisahar.

Day 8 - Pisang (3,300 m) (approx. 5 hours) 
A slew of breathtaking scenery today as the trail goes through a deep gorge, then past the great sweeping slope of Paungi Danda. Mostly easy walk with few ascending stretches of trail.

Day 9 - Manang (3,540 m) (approx. 6 hours) 
Trek the northern trail via upper Pisang and Ghyaru, an area renowned for its spectacular views. It is now drier and you are sure to come across local farmers herding yaks. (Tip: Tibetan yaks take a special interest in people wearing red!).

Day 10 - Manang (3,540 m) 
You spend a day here to acclimatise to the altitude by doing some high climbing then returning to the lower altitude of Manang to sleep. Manang, a village of about 500 flat-roofed houses offers excellent views of Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Gangapurna and Chulu East.

Day 11 - Manang to Yak Kharka (4,018 m) (approx. 5 hours) 
Covering approximately 7 km, you steadily climb into the alpine region, taking around five hours.

Day 12 - Phedi (4,450 m) (approx. 5 hours)
Due to the altitude, you'll take the next section of the climb at a leisurely pace, which means you'll have time to admire the magnificent views from this part of the route. Once at Phedi, there will be plenty of time to rest and acclimatise to the higher elevations ready for the next part of the climb, where you will encounter the Thorung La Pass, the highest point on the Annapurna Circuit. 

Day 13 - Trek to Muktinath (3,800 m) (approx. 8-9 hours)
Setting off very early to cross the Thorung La Pass (5,416 m), the trail is steep but easy to follow. After between four to six hours climbing you'll reach the Pass's peak, adorned with prayer flags, a traditional stupa (chorten) and stone cairns built by travellers. Stop to admire the stunning views and marvel at how far you've climbed. Further along, the trail descends steeply proceeding towards Chabarbu. From here on, the trail crosses meadows, drops into a deep ravine, climbs out and follows a wide trail into Muktinath, a pilgrimage site held in great reverence by both Hindus and Buddhists. 

Day 14 - Trek to Kagbeni (2,800 m) (approx 3.5 hours)
You make a late morning start from Muktinath to let you get some much deserved rest and for time to visit Muktinath's temple complex.

Day 15 - Trek to Tukuche (2,590 m) (approx. 6.5 hours)
Trek to Tukuche taking the recently discovered route through Thini, without crossing over Kali Gandaki river to Jomsom and bypassing the motor track. Continue via Dumba Lake to Chhairo and Chokhepani before crossing the riverbed to Tukuche. In times of Kali Gandaki gaining in breadth and volume, you'll cross the trail bridge mid-way between Chhairo and Chokhepani to emerge on the motor track on the western bank of the river, following which you'll reach Tukuche in 45 mins.

Day 16 - Trek to Ghasa (2,010 m) (approx. 6 hours)
Head back down to the riverbed and across Kali Gandaki on make-shift wooden bridges to get on the trail that goes along the riverbed to Kokethanti. Diverting away from the mainstream trail, ascend to Titi Lake and later passing via Kunju descend to the next village, Chhayo. Here you'll cross the trail bridge, which puts you briefly on the motor track, before crossing another trail bridge on to the off-road to Ghasa. In case the swollen Kali Gandaki doesn't allow you to get through the riverbed, you'll have to walk on the motor track up to the trail bridge to Kokethanti.

Day 17 - Trek to Tatopani (1,160 m) (approx. 5 hours)
You'll be walking on the motor track to start off with, shortly taking the old walking trail through a village to cross the trail bridge to the high route above Kali Gandaki to Tal Bagar and then the knee-jerking descent to Kopchepani. Take the rising trail to Bhalebas, descend down to the river and follow the eastern flank. With numerous minor ups and downs, you cross the trail bridge over the Misti river and walk through lower Najing village past powerhouse to meet another trail bridge that puts you on the motor track to Tatopani. Spend some time relaxing your much used muscles in the hot springs.

Day 18 - Trek to Ghorepani (2,785 m) (approx. 8 hours)
Ghorepani, also known as Poon Hill, is a traditional stopping place for horses, mules and ponies that carry loads between Pokhara and Jomsom. The settlement forms the crossroads between various trekking routes and has become a favourite stop for travellers looking to have a quick drink or two at one of the many inns in the area. 

Day 19 - Trek to Birethanti (1,025m) (approx. 7 hours)
For those wanting to, there's an optional early morning climb up to Poon Hill (3,195m) to watch the glittering views of Dhaulagiri and the entire Annapurna Range in the gorgeous dawn pink light. Climb down in time for a good cup of tea and breakfast at the teahouse. Setting off on the trail, the path today is fairly easy-paced and descends via a winding stone staircase through the surrounding dense forest to the town of Ulleri. After passing another vertical section down to Hille next to the Bhurungdi River, you then continue alongside the river to your penultimate destination - Birethanti.

Teahouses - 17 nights Your accomodation along the way is at local lodges, better known as teahouses, where accommodation is comfortable without being luxurious. Toilets and washing facilities are shared and rudimentary, and the food is plain and filling. In a teahouse, you are provided with small private rooms with twin beds, mattresses and pillows. At times, in high seasons, and in places where there are a limited number of teahouses, you may spend some nights in dormitories. In some places, teahouses don't have access to electricity and depend on solar powered lighting. In remoter regions, teahouses don't have running water and toilets can mean just a hole in the ground. Hot shower facilities are available in the majority of the teahouses for a price although in most of the places, a hot shower just means a bucket of hot water!



Returning from Birethanti by private bus (approx. 1.5 hours) you'll toast your achievement over a celebratory dinner in the character-filled Nepalese town of Pokhara (827 m). Pokhara is a peaceful lakeside location which rests beneath the snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna Range. Sip on a cold brew and gaze up at the dramatic pass that you have just conquered. There are plenty of lakeside cafes where you can enjoy international cuisine, while the main street is full of shops and stalls selling a wide range of Nepali and Tibetan souvenirs. 

Pokhara is part of a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalaya. This is the land of Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and valorous warriors who have earned worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship. Take time to wander around the town and get to know its friendly residents. Guesthouse - 1 night

Your simple hotel in Pokhara is set 300m back from Fewa Lake and with a back-drop of Machhapuchhare (Fishtail mountain) rising beyond. It has twin-bedded rooms with attached bath and a hot shower facility.

Return To Kathmandu

Return To Kathmandu

You'll return to Kathmandu by tourist bus (approx. 7 hours including stops) for further sightseeing or for some last minute shopping for friends and family at home. The options are plentiful - Kathmandu has many markets where Nepali specialties include clothes, embroidery, carpets and ceramics. On arrival in Kathmandu you'll check back into the Kathmandu Guest House. Guesthouse - 1 night


Tour Ends

The tour ends for Land Only pax at the guesthouse's check out time of 12:00pm. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.