Embark on a magical 21 days Annapurna Circuit Trek which takes us around the entire Annapurna massif reaching the Zenith at Thorong La Pass (5,416m/17,769ft). Just imagine the thrills of walking through world's deepest Kali Gandaki Gorge, with Annapurna I rising to 8091m to the east and Dhaulagiri hovering at 8167m to the west! Cross the highest pass, Thorong La on the way from Manang to Muktinath, savor the fabulous mountain views from the summit of Poon Hill at 3,210m (10,531ft) and discover more than ten different culturally rich ethnic groups that reside in different climate zones of Annapurna Circuit. Annapurna Circuit Trek, one of the most popular classic treks in the world takes us within the world's tenth highest mountain, the Annapurna. From a mere height of 800 meters to the high altitude of 5, 416 meters, we will pass through a diverse geographical and cultural variation with an amazing range of flora and fauna in between. Beginning the trek from Khudi after about 8 to 9 hours of drive from Kathmandu, the initial days of the trek involves walking through rice farms, forests and friendly villages in the lower realms of the Annapurna Conservation Area.
So what makes our trip different? Road construction in Annapurna Region has been a matter of disappointment to many trekkers who aspire to trek in Annapurna Region. Thus, recognizing trekkers's concern Everest Trek Nepal has designed this itinerary taking utmost care to avoid the road construction sites. While we avoid the new road construction sites, the various new and off-beaten rural routes are being discovered which is matter of delight for keen trekkers. Such as, to avoid the vehicle roads we take the route through Khudi to Sirung Village in the initial stage of our trek. While bypassing the traditional trekking route through Bahundada which has now been linked by a road, we enjoy home-stay at Sirung Village, where the villagers would welcome us with several ethnic cultural programs. Similarly at later part of trek, this itinerary takes us through unspoiled route at Kalopani whilst avoiding the dusty new roads around Marpha. Besides these, as Everest Trek Nepal's guides are experienced and thoroughly knowledgeable about the area, the alternative routes can be taken whenever a need is felt. Hence, Everest Trek Nepal assures that trekkers need not bother regarding the road construction in some sections of Annapurna Circuit Trekking route.
Everest Trek Nepal's 21 days Annapurna Circuit Trek is a great introductory trek for experiencing the Annapurna regions. If we want shorter trek but in the same route, we may like Annapurna Circle Trek - 14 Days. Depending on the time, we can spend on vacation or we may also find it interesting to try Everest Trek Nepal's other trek itineraries such as: Annapurna Sanctuary Trek - 14 Days or Annapurna Sunrise Trek - 9 Days.
Spring (March to mid May) and Autumn (mid Sept to Dec) are the best seasons for the Annapurna Circuit Trekking. The weather is sunny and warm, with outstanding views. But the nights are cold and can fall to freezing point in higher elevations. Winter (Dec, Jan, Feb) is also good for Annapurna Circuit trek. Only issue is cold (obviously) and might be problem due to obstructed pass due to ice or snow. The trekking routes are crowded during Spring and Autumn but during Monsoon and Winter the routes are not packed and we could enjoy rather best of nature.
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu [1,300m/4,264 ft]
Upon our arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, we will be warmly greeted by a representative from Everest Trek Nepal. After completion of our custom formalities (Visa, etc), we pick up our luggage and look for our representative with Everest Trek Nepal Trekking display board at the arrival gate. We will be then escorted to Hotel Yak & Yeti or a similar rating hotels in kathmandu. After check in, we can either take a rest or visit Everest Trek Nepal's office. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner hosted by Everest Trek Nepal at Nepali Kitchen Restaurant. For dinner, you will be served excellent authentic Nepalese cuisine which will introduce you to the Nepalese food culture.
Day 02: Kathmandu: Sightseeing and Trek Preparation
Today upon our breakfast, we will start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu. Some of these landmarks are considered the World Heritage Sites; including the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupati Nath, the famous 'Monkey Temple' (Swayambunath) and Buddhists shrine (Buddha Nath) which is one of the largest Stupas in the world. At the noon, there will be a pre-trip discussion where we can meet our trek leader and other team members. Everest Trek Nepal briefs us regarding our trek as well as provides us opportunity to ask any questions we may have regarding our upcoming adventure.
Day 03: Kathmandu to Besisahar to Khudi [800 m/2624]: 8 - 9 hrs drive
We start our journey into the hills through the winding roads along the Trishuli River. Enroute we see more of countryside of Nepal that offers greenery, rivers, villages, farms and beautiful mountain scenarios. Upon arrival at Mugling, we head along the road toward Pokhara. We leave the highway to Pokhara at Dumre, and head north to Besisahar. A half-an-hour's drive from Besisahar takes us to Khudi, the starting point of our trek. Alternatively, we can get off at Besisahar, and then trek for an hour to get to Khudi along the wide trail. Khudi offers us a first glimpse of the gorgeous Manaslu range.
Day 04: Khudi to Sirung [2200m/7216 ft]: 6 - 7 hrs
Our first day`s walk involves crossing a few suspension bridges, waterfalls, several up and down hill sections across rice paddies and subtropical forest. Initially, the walk is gradual then it becomes steeper. The mountains that we see from Khudi become closer as we walk higher. The villages and people are an interesting. On the way to Sirung, we come across an ethnic Tamang settlement, Taranche. We enjoy the close-up views of Nadi Chuli and Manaslu in Sirung. Sirung offers us a home-stay where we also enjoy the cultural program organized by the villagers for the visitors. If the number of visitors is more than four, the group may have to split to stay at different houses for the night. At this juncture, we will have first glimpse of the gorgeous Manaslu range.
Day 05: Sirung to Chamje [1,410m/4,626ft]: 5 - 6 hrs
We trek through amphitheater-shaped rice terraces, along a steep vertical cliff, lush forests, and some culturally intriguing villages. Always following the Marsyangdi River, we walk in a fantastic landscape through little waterfalls, forests and villages. We will not feel tough until we reach Syange (1100 m), but after Syange the climb gets tougher up to Jagat (1300 m). From Jagat, we make a steep climb to Chamje. Overnight at Chamje.
Day 06: Chamje to Dharapani [1,960m/6,430ft]: 5 - 6 hrs
Today we enter the Manang region passing through fields of corn, barley and potatoes, and then through forests of bamboo and rhododendrons. On the way is the village namely Tal. Tal lies on a flat plain next to the sandy beach and river at the base of a large waterfall. While hiking, sometimes we may have to give a pass to a large group of donkey caravan. Overnight at Dharapani.
Day 07: Dharapani to Chame [2,710m/8,891ft]: 5 - 6 hrs
Today we negotiate a few steep forested ridges along with several landslides on route on the west. We should not forget to look up though, as we will be treated to some of the most sensational views of Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, and Annapurna IV (7,525m/24,688ft). Small hot springs add relief on our long day hard trek. Overnight at Chame.
Day 08: Chame to Pisang [3,300m/10824ft]: 5 - 6 hrs
A steep and narrow path through a very dense forest will bring us to the dramatic curved rock face, rising 1500m from the river. The forests and heavy vegetation would now be gone. We cross and re-cross the river again and again on suspension bridges. As the trail opens up we get surrounded by majestic Himalayan Peaks. We find ourselves in U-shaped valley of Manang hanging between two giant snow peaks. Upon walking through these wonderful sites we reach at Pisang. Overnight at Lower Pisang.
Day 09: Pisang to Manang : 6 - 7 hrs
Today, we will have disjunctures of two routes that we follow. If taken upper route (Everest Trek Nepal recommends), i.e., the route through Upper Pisang via Geru, we will have outstanding sceneries. We feel like we are horizontally in front of the majestic peaks. The panoramic views of the mountain peaks, such as Annapurna, Pisang peak, and several others will definitely allure us. We experience a contrast with the landscape and vegetation from today. On the way, the cold and dry climate creates a much harsher environment. Our short visit to Barge monastery, the largest in the entire district of Manang will be memorable. Overnight at Manang.
Day 10: Manang: Rest
Today is the scheduled acclimatization day. It is not recommended to stay idle but a short walk to higher altitude is suggested to get acclimatized with the altitude. The upcoming next two days will be very challenging and tiring trek for us with rapid gain in altitude. We should never be confident with the altitude and always be cautious. Bhojo Gompa or Gangapurna Lake is worth visiting sites from acclimatization point of view. Further, we pay an easy excursion to a little distance away to a village called Vraga, upon wherre we will be at a village's monastery. At this site, we also visit at the Himalayan Rescue Association where we can get some ideas about Mountain Sickness. Overnight at Manang.
Day 11: Manang to Yak Kharka [4,110m/13,484ft]: 3 - 4 hours
From Manang village, the trail crosses a stream, climbs to a village of Tenki above Manang, and then continues to climb out of the Marshyangdi Valley turning northwest up the valley of Jarsang Khola. The trail follows this valley northward, passing a few pastures, a scrub of juniper trees, as it steadily gains elevation. The trail further passes near the small village of Ghunsa, a cluster of flat mud roofs just below the trailhead. Now the trail goes through meadows where horses and yaks graze. After crossing a small river on a wooden bridge, the trail passes an ancient old Mani wall in a pleasant meadow and then reaches another small village of Yak Kharka. Little but Gradual ascent is the key to avoiding altitude problems. Overnight at Yak Karka.
Day 12: Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi [4,600m/15,092ft]: 3 - 4 hrs
We make our way to the foot of the pass, Throng Phedi today. Thorong Phedi is a small busy settlement catering to the needs of tired trekkers and climbers. Trekkers like us use this point as a base camp. Some visitors also attempt a hike to the High Camp today so that the next day can be easier for them. But, Everest Trek Nepal's team leader does not advise for this. Although we will have a tough day tomorrow, we stop at Thorong Phedi so that we can sleep sound rather than a risky sleep in higher altitude at High Camp. Overnight at Thorong Phedi.
Day 13: Thorong Phedi to Thorong La (5416m/17764ft) to Muktinath [3,800/12,467ft]: 7 - 8 hrs
We reach the climax of our Annapurna circle trek today. It will be a lifetime unforgettable experience- crossing the famous high pass, Thorong La (5416m/17764ft). An early start is important to complete the mission. Each moment we have to work hard today through the icy high-altitude trail. But the outstanding high Himalayan scenes are such tempting that our eyes love to watch more over the horizon than on our trail. Upon setting sun we will be at Muktinath. Muktinath is an important pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhist. The area hosts a Vishnu temple and a Monastery nearby. Muktinath itself demonstrates the religions harmony in Nepal. Overnight at Muktinath.
Day 14: Muktinath to Marpha [2,670m/8,760ft]: 4 - 5 hrs
Muktinath is an important pilgrimage for both Hindus and Buddhists. In the morning, we pay our visit to Vishnu Temple and Gompa. Descending from Ranipauwa village down the steep and barren hillside, we tumble down toward Kagbeni and then to Jomsom finally arriving at Marpha. The trail today is quite surreal as we trek along a plateau above Kali Gandaki, the world`s deepest gorge. The barren landscape of this area resembles Tibet. Marpha is also famous as the apple capital of Nepal where one can enjoy different items made from apple. The local apple brandy of Marpha is famous all over Nepal. Overnight at Marpha.
Day 15: Marpha to Kalopani [2530 m/8300 ft]: 5 - 6 hrs
From Marpha, we take a new route toward Kalopani via Chokhopani village. Today, we come across traditional villages of the ethnic Thakali people. Also, we get to see apple gardens. Waiting here is the 360 degrees panorama of Himalayan peaks: Dhaulagari, Tukuche Peak, the three Nilgiris, Fang and Annapurna I. From Chokhopani, we continue to Kokhethanti. Upon crossing a river, we come across the newly constructed road site before reaching Kokhethanti of Kalopani. Overnight at Kalopani.
Day 16: Kalopani to Tatopani [1,200m/3937ft]: 6 - 7 hrs
Again to avoid the new roads, we take a new route to Tatopani from Kalopani. The journey is mostly downhill. We cross the bridge at Ghasa. As we drop to lower elevations, we emerge back into subtropical forests, lush with vegetation. We continue along Rupse Chahara (popular waterfall). We avoid the road and continue down the east bank from Kopchepani via Garpar to a bridge at Dana. At Narchyang Besi, we get to see a powerhouse that supplies electricity in the area. We experience more villages in this area where we can observe the everyday lives of the local people. Upon reaching Tatopani, we relax and have a bath in the hot spring.
Day 17: Tatopani to Ghorepani [2,850m/9,350ft]: 7 - 8 hrs
While walking, we observe the lifestyle of the people in the midland villages of Nepal. Ghara and Sikha are the villages with terraced and inclined farmlands. We gradually walk steep up to ascent Ghorepani. While traversing through the Phalate, Chitre and a no-habitation area, we encoounter with rhododendron, brich, magnolia and some meadows on the way. As we gain height, the peaks ahead look wonderful. We stay at Ghorepani for we have to make the climb to Poon Hill early tomorrow morning. Overnight at Ghorepani.
Day 18: Ghorepani to Tadapani [2,710m/8,891ft]: 6 - 7 hrs
Early at dawn, we ascend to Poon Hill (3,210m. /10,531ft) to catch the moment of spectacular sunrise over the whole Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs and surrounding rice terraces. Nick name of Poon Hill is itself a photographer`s paradise. Upon breakfast, we continue ups and downs trail trek to Tadapani for overnight through the rhododendron forests. We like to keep inspecting at the horizon as sceneries are equally dazzling throughout the day at the trek.
Day 19: Tadapani to Ghandruk to Pokhara [850m/2,789ft]: 5 - 6 hrs trek, 1 hr drive
The trail leads all the way down through the Rhododendron forest to Ghandruk. This is the second-largest Gurung settlement in Nepal. Upon our lunch, we continue trek to Nayapul to complete the trail which is fllowed by a short bus ride back to Pokhara, a peaceful lakeside city harboring a unique setting of tropical climate and vegetation with the dramatic backdrop of the Himalayas. Overnight in Pokhara (850m/2,789ft).
Day 20: Pokhara to Kathmandu : 6 hrs drive
After breakfast, we start our drive back to Kathmandu. It will be better to hold on the left pane of the vehicle to enjoy the sceneries through the route. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, we will be escorted to our hotel; and we spend the afternoon leisurely, perhaps catch up on some last minute shopping. To celebrate the successful completion of our journey, we will have a farewell dinner at Nepali Kitchen Restaurant where we can pick our meal from their carefully crafted menu that offer a wide range of choices. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 21: Farewell Friend
Our journey in Nepal comes to an end today! Everest Trek Nepal escorts us to the airport for our flight time. Approximately 3 hours before our scheduled flight, a representative from Everest Trek Nepal will escort us to the airport and bid farewell greetings. On our way to home, we will have plenty of time to plan our next adventure in the wonderful country like Nepal.