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Annapurna Circuit Trek

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Duration: 16 days
Grade: 4 - Strenuous
Max Elevation: 17,700 ft
Accomodation: Lodge

The Annapurna Circuit trek (sometimes called “Around Annapurna trek”) takes you through some of the most amazing and diverse landscape in Nepal. The trek begins in densely forested and terraced hills, a region inhabited by Hindu groups of Nepal. But past Pisang the landscape changes dramatically as the dense forests are replaced by barren landscape of the Tibetan plateau. Here you enter the Manang valley which is inhabited by gypsy traders of Tibetan origin. After several rest and short days for acclimatization, head north over Thorung pass and descend to Muktinath village. At Muktinath there is a shrine revered by both Hindus and Buddhists.

The Annapurna Circuit trek ends in Jomsom from where a flight through the Kali Gandaki gorge brings you to Kathmandu. You may opt to continue and complete the full circuit of Annapurna. There is a newly built unpaved road from Jomsom to Tatopani (3 days trek) but views of the Dhaulagiri range from here are awe-inspiring. Beyond Tatopani, ascend to Ghorepani Ridge and to Pun Hill from where a 360 degree view of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountains is possible. This is indeed one of the most spectacular mountain viewpoints in the world!

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Trip at a glance

Brief Itinerary

Day Description Overnight Altitude
Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu Kathmandu  1340m
Day 2 Exploring Kathmandu Kathmandu  1340m
Day 3 Kathmandu to  Jagat Jagat 4,350 ft.
Day 4 Jagat to Dharapani Dharapani 6,500 ft.
Day 5 Dharapani to Chame Chame 8,800 ft.
Day 6 Chame to Pisang Pisang 10,500 ft.
Day 7 Pisang to Manang Manang 11,600 ft.
Day 8 Manang Manang 11,600 ft.
Day 9 Manang to Yak Kharka Kharka 13,500 ft.
Day 10 Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi Thorung Phedi 14,200 ft.
Day 11 Thorung Phedi to Muktinath Muktinath
Day 12 Contingency day
Day 13 Muktinath to Jomsom Jomsom
Day 14 Jomsom to Pokhara Pokhara
Day 15 Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 16  Kathmandu to home
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1Kathmandu

Arrive Kathmandu. You will be met on arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport. Transfer to Hotel. Day Free. Enjoy welcome dinner. Briefing during dinner. (Dinner)

Day 2Kathmandu

Boudhanath- (also called Boudha, Bouddhanath, Baudhanath or the Khasa Caitya) is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu, Nepal. Located about 11 km (6.8 mi) from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa’s massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal. The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world. The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 Tibetan Gompas (Monasteries) around Boudhanath. As of 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with Swayambhunath, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in the Kathmandu area. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many decided to live around Boudhanath. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of Kassapa Buddha.

Then drive to Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, with its two-tiered golden roof and silver door. Shiva, meaning “The Auspicious One”, also known as Mahadeva (“Great God”), is a popular Hindu deity and is considered to be the Supreme God within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in Hinduism. Shiva is regarded as one of the primary forms of God, such as one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition, and “the Destroyer” or “the Transformer” among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and arts. Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam. Shiva of the highest level is limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. However, Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and His two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya, or as the Cosmic Dancer. In fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. The most recognizable iconographical attributes of the God is a third eye on his forehead, a snake around his neck, the crescent moon adorning and the river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru as his instrument. Here, you’ll probably witness a Hindu cremation along the banks of the Bagmati River and many Asetics and Sadhus.

And on to Patan Durbar Square, which is situated in the center of Patan city, also known as Lalitpur, houses the residence of the former Patan royal family. Patan Square and its surroundings is good specimen of ancient Newari architecture. There are three main courtyards in the palace: Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Narayan Chowk. Mul Chowk, the oldest one is at the centre of Patan Durbar Square..
Several multi-sized and multi-styled temples occupy the western part of the complex. Main among these is Krishna Temple, Bhimsen Temple and the Golden Temple of Hiranya Varna. The places to see are mainly; Krishna Temple, Mahaboudha, Kumbheshswor, Jagat Narayan Temple, Rudra Varna Mahavihar and The Ashokan Stupa.

Return to the hotel. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 3Kathmandu to Jagat (4,350 ft.)

We leave Kathmandu in our chartered vehicle through Nagdhunga, the gateway to central, eastern and western Nepal, for Besisahar and on to Jagat. The road winds downhill to Naubise and into the hills through the winding roads along the Trishuli River. Enroute we see more of the countryside that offers greenery, rivers, villages, farms and beautiful mountain vistas. At Mugling, we cross a bridge to enter Tanahun district and head towards Pokhara. We leave the highway to Pokhara at Dumre, and head north to Besisahar. About 2 hours drive from Besisahar takes us to Jagat, the starting point of our trek. You will stay overnight at Jagat. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 4Jagat to Dharapani (6,500 ft.)

Today you trek past several waterfalls and forests towards Chamje. Chamje is at an elevation of 1430m/4691ft. From Chamje you hike on towards Tal which is the first village into Manang district. Tal is at an elevation of 1700m/5577ft. From here, it is a grueling 5kms (2.5 to 3 hours) climb on switch backs to Tal where the valley opens into a large plateau of sandy beach and a river at the base of a waterfall. There will be a brief halt for lunch at Tal. After lunch at Tal, you continue to Dharapani. The hike takes you through fields of corn, barley, and potatoes, and further on through bamboo and rhododendron forests.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 5Dharapani to Chame (8,800 ft.)

Today is a long day of hiking. You leave Dharapani for Chame. On the way you will cross Bagarchhap (2160m/7086ft.) It is 2kms and around 1 to 1.5 hours hike from Dharapani. At Bagarchhap you will get to witness the typical flat roofed houses of local Tibetan design. Most of the day, you will be treated with the mountainous views of Lamjung, Annapurna II and Annapurna IV. Camp is at Chame, the district head-quarters. The walk from Bagarchhap to Chame is 21 kilometers and will take you around 7 hours. As you approach Chame two small hot springs by the town will add relief to your long day trek. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 6Chame to Pisang (10,500 ft.)

Today’s highlight is the Paungda Danda rock face (1500m/4921ft.), an interesting and large rock slab rising from the river. You start from Chame through a deep forest in a narrow valley. We will leave back the heavy vegetation as we go on. You will cross several suspension bridges on the way. After you sight the Paungda Danda the trail leads you to climb to Pisang. As you surface in the open from the narrow valley you will be surrounded by beautiful Himalayan peaks. You will then soon arrive at a U-shaped valley of Manang between two giant snow peaks. You then reach the camp at Pisang. Here the Pisang peak (6,091m/19983ft.) looms over Pisang village. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 7Pisang to Manang (11,600 ft.)

Today, you will find yourself above tree-line. The mountain views from here are marvelous: Hiunchuli, Annapurna South, Annapurna I (8,091m) , Annapurna III (7,555m) and Gangapurna (7,454m) are visible. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 8Manang (11,600 ft.)

Acclimatization day in Manang. Overnight Lodge. (Dinner)

Day 9Manang to Yak Kharka (13,500 ft.)

A short day of 3 to 4 hours hiking to Yak Kharka. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 10Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi (14,200 ft.)

Another short trek day of 3 hours to the base of the Thorung la pass. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 11Thorung Phedi to Muktinath

The day begins early with wake up call usually around 3:00 am. The steep ascent to the pass can take up to 5 or 6 hours. Then it is a long arduous descent to Muktinath. As you walk towards Muktinath, views of the Dhaulagiri massif dominate the horizon. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 12Contingency day

Contingency day for health or weather delays. If this day is not required, you can make a side trip to Kagbeni – the gateway to Lo in Mustang. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 13Muktinath to Jomsom

Descend to Jomsom. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 14Jomsom to Pokhara

Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara. Day free in Pokhara. Overnight Sampada Inn or similar. (Breakfast and Dinner)

Day 15Kathmandu

After breakfast, fly to Kathmandu. Sightseeing in Kathmandu. Farewell dinner in Kathmandu. Overnight Hotel Tibet. (Breakfast and Dinner)

Day 16Kathmandu to home

Arrive breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. (Breakfast)

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Detailed Cost Information

Per person price (valid until December 31, 2019)

1 persons: $2,700 per person (includes single supplement)

2 – 7 persons: $2,160 per person

4 or more persons: $1,890 per person

Single supplement: $300

 

Price Includes

All airport transfers, Two full days sightseeing in Kathmandu as indicated in the itinerary and entrance fees to monuments., 3 nights twin sharing hotel accommodation at Hotel Tibet (3 star) in Kathmandu, 1 night twin sharing hotel accommodation at Hotel Temple Tree (4 star) in Pokhara, Chartered Transfer: Kathmandu to Besi-Sahar, Airfare: Jomsom to Pokhara to Kathmandu, Meals as indicated in the itinerary, Lodge trekking as indicated in the itinerary, Three meals a day, Boiled water for your bottles twice a day, Guide and staff wages, equipment and meals, Guide and staff insurance, Use of Steripen for water sterilization, Annapurna Conservation Area Fee, Trekkers Information Management Card

Price Excludes

Your international airfare, Nepal Visa, Meals not indicated in the itinerary, Tips and gratuities, Personal equipment (a suggested list will be mailed to you), Travel insurance (Required), Other expenses of a personal nature

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Map
Trip Gallery

Options

The above is technically the half circuit. We would gladly arrange to extend the trek to:

  1. End at Tatopani.  This would add 3 more days to the trip stopping at Tukche, Kalopani and Tatopani and driving to Pokhara on the next day. Add US$ 300 per person.
  2. End at Nayapul via Ghorepani. This would add 6 more days to the trip stopping at Tukche, Kalopani, Tatopani, Chitre, Ghorepani, Ulleri and then driving to Pokhara. Add US$ 550 per person.
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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

When is the best time to do this trek?

There are two preferred seasons for the Annapurna Circuit Trek: Spring (March through June) and Fall (October through November). Day time temperatures range in the 50’s and 60’s (10 to 15 Centigrade) while night-time temperatures are in the 30’s and 40’s (0 to 5 Centigrade). Expect night time temperatures of below Freezing near the Base Camp. Expect some late-afternoon showers in the Spring which is the season for rhododendrons and magnolias. October is historically regarded as the best month to trek with clear skies and better views of the mountains.

How much does the Annapurna Circuit Trek cost?

You can: A) organize your own trek B) choose a Nepali company or C) choose a western guided trek. Option A is the cheapest. If you’re doing the Everest Base Camp trek on your own look to pay around $30 – $40 per person per day (without alcoholic beverages) for meals and accommodations. Add cost of guide and/or porter plus airfare and permits. There are a few luxury lodges on the trail that charge around US$150 per person per day for room. Meals are extra. Option B is mid-range and can cost between $1,000 – $2,500 with varying inclusions and exclusions. Make sure you understand what is included and what is not included in the package. The best way to choose a Nepali company is to ask for references. Option C would cost above $3,000.

How fit do I need to be to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek?

Anyone who is reasonably fit and can hike 10-12 miles a day can sign up for the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Allowing for optimal acclimatization is the key. Most of the trek is on relatively level trail with some steep ascents and descents. That said, the better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy the trek. It is advised that anyone with a pre-existing condition consult their doctor before signing up for a trek.
We rate the Annapurna Circuit Trek a 5 on a scale of 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging).

Can I drink tap water on the Annapurna Circuit Trek?

Nepali tap water is NOT safe to drink. Even if you see the locals drinking water straight from the tap, never drink water before boiling or sterilizing. Bring water purifying tablets or other water purifiers. At higher elevations during the coldest times of year the water will freeze, so you’ll need to buy boiled water from teahouses. If you plan to use a STERIPEN, bring wide mouth water bottles. You would need at least 2 one-liter water bottles for the trek. Even if you plan to bring a hydration pack, bring 1 one-liter water to sterilize the water before pouring into your hydration pack.

Crystal Mountain Treks will provide you with a Steripen to use on the trek for no charge.

What kind of food should I expect on the trek?

Meals on the Everest Base Camp trek start out being quite varied especially at the beginning of the trek in Lukla. But it becomes sparser as you ascend to the Everest Base Camp. In general, expect porridge (Oatmeal), toast, eggs (any style), muesli, hash browns, sausages etc for breakfast. And sandwich, pizzas, momos, noodles (dry and with soup), rolls, fried rice, Indian bread with vegetables etc for lunch and dinner. And expect Nepali dal-bhat (rice-lentils with vegetables and/or meat) at all the lodges.
Ours is an OPEN menu. Meaning we allow our clients to order anything from the lodge menu besides bottled beverages, specialty coffee and packaged snacks. We also don’t limit the number of items per meal as long as you aren’t wasteful. When choosing your trekking company, ask if meals are fixed or if you are only allowed to order one item from the menu. If this isn’t the case, costs can add up over 15/16 days.

Is there mobile signal on the trek? Is wi-fi available?

Most of the places on the Annapurna Circuit trek route now has cell coverage. Lodges in some locations will offer wi-fi for between $1 to $10 per hour. You can also buy a Sim card with 5GB or 10GB data for under $25: do this in Kathmandu.

How should I prepare for the trek?

The more physically fit you are, the more you will enjoy the trip. There are three aspects to training for any trek. 1) Cardiovascular Training will make your body more efficient in using oxygen. Running, walking, swimming or biking, or any combination of these are great for cardiovascular conditioning. 2) Strength Training by either using free weights or machines at the gym will build hiking strength. Walking stairs, especially with a pack will simulate the hiking environment. We also recommend practicing squats. Trekkers will encounter low hanging obstacles to duck under, and many toilets are at ground level, which requires a low squat.
3) Endurance Training is where you build endurance in the months leading up to your trek, slowly increase your length of training sessions. By the time you are 2 weeks from the scheduled trek date you should be able to ascend 3,000 ft. in a 3-4 hour period.

In the end, the more your training simulates a trek, the better off you will be. So hiking 4-5 hours outdoors, uphill and downhill, about once or twice a week in addition to other cardio vascular training at the gym or at home will greatly benefit and prepare you for the trek.

What are the toilet facilities like? Will I have a chance to shower?

Most tea houses have a common toilet. Some tea houses, especially those at the beginning of the trek, have en suite rooms. While squat toilets are more prevalent, newer lodges have Western style toilets.

It is possible to shower in almost all the lodges. And hot shower usually means a bucket of boiled water. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $2-$5 for this service.

What kind of gear do I need for the trek? Is it possible to buy or rent in Kathmandu?

Layering is key. And it’s always recommended to trek with good branded gear. A good pair of hiking boots that’s been broken in is very important. Good top and bottom base layers, a mid layer (fleece or capilene), and an outer layer (Gore-tex or other material). If you tend to get cold quickly, bring a down parka especially for the evening at the lodge. On most days, you’d be hiking in a convertible hiking pant that can be converted into shorts and one or two top layers.

if you’re trekking with Crystal Mountain Treks, we provide a sleeping bag (rated to 0 degree F or -17 degree C), duffel bags, down jacket and Steripen for water purification to our clients for no charge.

It is possible to buy cheap and relatively functional gear in Kathmandu – convertible pants, down jackets, fleece, Gore-tex jackets. But remember, you get what you pay for. Wool gloves, hats, socks are available too.

There are quite a few branded stores too. North Face, Moutain Hardwear, Marmot and Sherpa. If you’re coming from Australia or Europe, items in these shops are probably cheaper than back home. But if you’re coming from the US, it’s better to buy branded gear at home.

1 Review
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Nan Tubb, Australia

Group Traveller

Our Annapurna Circuit hiking adventure was the most challenging 5 week trek we have ever completed, but also the most awesome experience – one which we will never forget. The intent of trekking in Nepal was to experience all that Nepal had to offer in terms of people, culture, food and the beauty of the Himalayan mountains. Our experiences with Crystal Mountains Treks exceeded these expectations – well done for the excellent organisation. Ram is an excellent guide and a very good recommendation. He did an amazing job to ensure our experience was safe at all times, was always very considerate of our needs and flexible in every approach. His constant advice to khripaya bistaari tala jhara was excellent advice. What’s the hurry? Take is slowly, enjoy the scenery, stop for a cup of tea. Many cups of tea were drank throughout the trip. The tea bill alone must be one of the biggest you have seen! Ram’s level of leadership with Sune, Raju and Sujan was outstanding. The accommodation, local hospitality and food (mitho, mitho) was perfect and we enjoyed every day. Ram was always willing to explain the Nepalese culture and go out of his way to show the historical and religious aspects of Nepalese life.

August 18, 2016