Annapurna Circuit Trek is a hike for 21 days in which, you get to adventure in the shadows of the Annapurna massif and to enthrall in its memorizing beauty. Mount Annapurna is a mountain peak which is the 10th highest in the world, which gives a start to a sublime life below. Because of this, and the trekking terrain it has to offer, it has been rated as one of the top 10 trekking destinations on Planet Earth. This region has been attracting avid trekkers for a long now. The trekking routes have all that a hiker would look for in what can be called a trek that includes natural beauties that takes you through remote valleys, ancient villages, Alpine lakes, glaciers, scenic trails and forests. The main feature in the trek, is going through Thorong La Pass at an elevation of 5416 meters. Plus getting to peep into the deepest gorge in the world to the glitter of all around it at Kali Gandaki Gorge.
This highly sought after Annapurna Circuit Trek, starts at Besi Sahar in Lamjung District with a soft climb to Kundi and onto Manang Valley, Muktinath, Marpha, Tukuche along with other cultural and historical places and eventually concluding in Pokhara, the lakeside city. The routes of the hike are well suited for the diehard hiking enthusiasts that are looking for acquaintance with mystical wonders of gigantic mountains in their stay in the country. This trek is a dream that every trekker must have in their basket of wishes, in order, to have done it all. The trek will not make you feel sorry, if you did.
There is much that one can gain with a trip of this sort. The foremost of which is, that it is done in the world famed trekking of the Annapurna Himalayas. The next is it is one of the longest trekking that can be imagined in the Annapurna Himalayan region. The next best part of Annapurna Circuit Trek, is that you get to be practically a part of all other smaller trekking package like Short Annapurna Base Camp Trek Ghandruk Loop Trek Poon Hill Hot Spring Trek. The Annapurna Region below the Annapurna is known for its diverse forest below, thus giving one the pleasure of walking through some best flora and fauna of that region with rare and popular species of birds and animals. The upper parts closer to the various Annapurna ranges allow glaciers to form and the trickle into fast flowing freshwater rivers, which you become a part of in the trek. Not forgetting to mention the rural hamlets that you encounter on the way with the diverse culture, tradition and religion. Then there is the Thorong La Pass one of the highest that you will have the pleasure of passing over. And, when it is all over, not forgetting the experience you had with memorable photographs and videos to share with family and friends back home.
Is such a long hike safe?
Yes, such a hike is some of the safest trekking destinations. As for a matter of facts, any other hiking in Nepal. Besides the people and the hamlets that are one of the most friendly and welcoming if you happening to pass them, you have a guide who not only knows the topography and terrain by the back of his hand, but a native of the area, who might have been born and brought up in one of the villages you will pass on the way. Your comfort is paramount to him and he is answerable to us. So you can rest assured that you are in safe hand. Yes, since the Himalayan terrain is mostly in the high altitude, most of the trekking you would neither have to ascend or descend, and that is the fun of the adventure of hiking. The routes are made in such a way, that it is not telling on the body and any person that is the abled body and physical sound, can do these hiking trips. Yes, like the elevation above three thousand meters, a person needs to get used to the oxygen level so periodic rest on the way is taken for a day. Even, your guide’s body needs the same. Nothing is 100% guaranteed and the 1% chance of anything going, has a plan B for your security. Remember, hiking and trekking is an adventure sport. But, nevertheless, after it all said and done, you will come out with a more relaxed and physically rejuvenated personality.
Outline Trekking Itinerary for Annapurna Circuit Trek
Day 01 : Arrival at Kathmandu
Day 02 : Kathmandu Sightseeing and trek preparation
Day 03 : Kathmandu to Besi Sahar 6-7 hours
Day 04 : Besi Sahar to Bahundanda (1300m) 5-6 hours
Day 05 : Baundanda to Chamje (1410m) 5-6 hours
Day 06 : Chamje to Bagarchap (2160m) 5-6 hours
Day 07 : Bagarchap to Chame (2630m) 6-7 hours
Day 08 : Chame to Pisang (3190m) 6-7 hours
Day 09 : Pisang to Manang (3540m) 4-5 hrs walk
Day 10 : Acclimatization day in Manang
Day 11 : Manang to Letdar (4250m) 5-6 hrs walk
Day 12 : Letdar to Thorung Phedi (4420m) 5-6 hrs walk
Day 13 : Thorung Phedi to Muktinath (3800m) 6-7 hours
Day 14 : Muktinath to Marpha (2710m) 5-6 hrs walk
Day 15 : Marpha to Ghasa (2010m) 5-6 hrs walk
Day 16 : Ghasa to Tatopani (1190m) 5-6 hrs walk
Day 17 : Tatopani to Ghorepani (2870m) 5-6 hrs walk
Day 18 : Ghorepani to Poon Hill (3210m) to Tadapani (2710m) 6-7 hrs walk
Day 19 : Tadapani to Pokhara
Day 20 : Pokhara to Kathmandu (Drive or fly)
Day 21 : Transfer to the Airport for your onward destination
- Witness magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks on the cards while flying across Nepal’s sky, and excitement level proliferates as the plane cuts through different hills to land on the Kathmandu Valley
- Enjoy sightseeing tour to various historical/natural/cultural heritage sites along with Nepal’s oldest Buddhist Monasteries
- Catch panoramic views of Annapurna range along with other adjacent mountains.
- Relax in natural hot springs at Tatopani
- Climb Poon Hill to enjoy the most amazing sunrise view
- Pass through gushing rivers, green countryside, alpine meadows, valleys, glaciers etc.
- Witness variety of floras and faunas
- Get along with ethnic people and their culture
What is Included
- Airport pick up/drop by a private vehicle.
- Three night’s accommodation in Kathmandu including breakfast as per the itinerary.
- Guided Kathmandu city tour at 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites with private vehicle and guide.
- Kathmandu - BesiSahar transfers by a local bus. (Option: private vehicle)
- All accommodations during the trek at lodges/Teahouse.
- All meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) during the trek.
- Experienced Government licensed English speaking trekking guide and necessary porters (1 Porter for 2 trekkers) on the trek.
- Trekking staff costs like their transportation, food, accommodation, wages, and insurance.
- Nayapul - Pokhara transfers by a private vehicle.
- One night accommodation in Pokhara including breakfast as per the itinerary.
- Pokhara - Kathmandu transfers by a tourist bus. (Option: Flight or private vehicle)
- Annapurna Conservation area (ACAP) entrance permit fee.
- Trekker's Information Management System (TIMS) card fees. (Please bring 2 passport size photos for TIMS & ACAP Permit)
- First Aid medical kit (carried by your trek guide).
- Trek gears like duffle bag, down jacket, sleeping bag and walking pole. (To be returned after the trek)
- Our souvenir to you - Breakfree Adventures T-shirt, trekking map and trip achievement certificate.
- Farewell dinner in Authentic Nepali Restaurant after the trek completion.
- All government and local taxes, VAT.
What is Not Included
- Lunch or Dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
- Monuments entrance fees while sightseeing in Kathmandu.
- Nepal visa fee (bring accurate USD cash, US$30 per person for 15 days, and two passport photos)
- Extra accommodations in Kathmandu or Pokhara if required.
- International airfare and travel insurance.
- Any kinds of drinks or personal expenses (tea/coffee, hot chocolate, boiled water, bottled water, soft drinks, beer, phone calls, laundry, battery recharge, hot shower etc.)
- Tips for guide and porters.
The best time to do Annapurna Circuit trek is from October to November and mid-March to mid-April though the trek can be done round the year. September, October and November is autumn with October being the best month with dust-free trails. November and December is winter, so be prepared for colder days and nights. January expects heavy snowfall over the Thorong La pass and the route might be blocked. But February, March and early April bring warmer days. May is warm at lower regions but brings the risk of pre-monsoon rainfall. June, July and August is the monsoon season with flooding rivers and landslides to the unstable slopes.
Annapurna Circuit trek difficulty level is a moderately difficult trek. The trekking trails of Annapurna Circuit trek are rocky, steep or slippery which also includes a lot of stairways which can add difficulty compared to walking on straight paths. Plus, the high and changing altitude makes the trek a bit difficult. Depending on the season, there can also be snow and ice on the trails especially during winter at Thorong La pass.
Though the trek is a moderately difficult graded hike, anyone with good physical fitness can accomplish this trek. Also, no previous trekking experience or technical experience is required. You are required to walk for four to six hours per day over hilly terrain. If you don’t have a previous trek experience or do not exercise regularly, we recommend that you go for a little exercise and daily walking before your trip. The hardest part of the trek is during the crossing over Thorong Phedi and Thorong La Pass.
Absolutely! You are recommended to get travel insurance that covers even at higher altitudes i.e. up to 5000m. The insurance policy usually doesn’t cover over 3,000 meters of altitude. So, make sure these things while purchasing travel insurance for Annapurna Circuit and read their policies.
At higher altitudes, anyone might experience altitude sickness regardless of how you fit you are or age-difference. Those who haven’t lived at high altitudes may also suffer from altitude sickness (also called as AMS or altitude motion sickness). The highest point on this trek is Thorung La at 5,416 meters so altitude sickness can occur. The best thing to do is walk slow and proper hydration altitude sickness on Annapurna Circuit trek can be prevented.
Family-run lodges often called ‘Teahouses’ are in the Annapurna region. Especially the higher you go accommodation is limited, so the room may differ from a private single/double room to a bed in a dormitory. Annapurna Circuit trek accommodation is very basic accommodation and usually be shared shower and toilet facilities. All lodges have a communal dining hall. Though basic, these teahouses are clean and welcoming, friendly and warm resting place after a tiring day’s trek.
Lodges on the trail offer wide choices for foods and drinks. These contain typical Nepali meals to the continental dishes. Nepali dish ‘Dal Bhat’ with season vegetable and pickle. Or, go for pizza, momo, noodles, macaroni, sizzler, sandwich, burger, etc. Different types of coffee, fruit juice, and alcoholic drinks are also available. If you have booked a package tour then the company handles all costs. But if booked on service only then Annapurna circuit trek food cost to US$25-30 per person per day for lunch/dinner, where breakfast will be included. But on high altitude treks, avoiding alcoholic drinks is a good idea.
Bottled water can be bought or you can take along a bottle and fill the bottle with tap water with purifying tablets. These can be bought in Kathmandu before the trek. Most brands of purification tablets take just 30 minutes before you can drink. Drinking a minimum of 3 to 4 liters of water per day is recommended.
Bringing snacks and protein bars is good. Daily meal includes Dal Bhat – Nepali meal which is already high in carbohydrate. If you bring your own food, lodges may charge you an additional cost.
Yes, and trekking permit for Annapurna Circuit trek includes ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) entry fee and TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) card. Annapurna conservation area entry fee is US$30 per person. TIMS card is US$10 per person. Both of the permits are already included while booking so you don’t have to worry about it.
Showers are available at Lodges. Especially the higher up you go there will usually be shared bathrooms in most lodges. A hot water shower needs to be paid per person. As you go higher, the colder it gets and you may have to think for the second time for a shower. Wait just a few days until your descent. Wet wipes can be used to clean your body but in trek it might come expensive. So it is good to buy them in Kathmandu.
You can bring trekking gear from your home country. They can also be bought in Kathmandu at many trekking shops around there. But, most of the trekking gears you get here are not up to standard though are comparatively cheaper. So, it’s up to you to decide.
All the electronics can be charged in lodges with an extra cost of US$2-6 per hour. Further up you go, the price for charging increases.
Sickness depends upon its nature. For mild sickness usually descending to a lower altitude with the help and support of the guide or porter is done. For serious illness, emergency helicopter evacuation service is arranged. Our guide will be in constant contact with us and takes immediate action as per the situation. This is where travel insurance comes covering for a medical evacuation service and other medical expenses. Our guides carry first aid kit with basic medication like simple painkillers, altitude sickness tablets, bandages, balm for muscle aches and medication to treat diarrhea and vomiting. They are experienced trek guides and will take care of you if anything happens to you
Solo trek in Annapurna circuit is possible. You can trek without joining a group or you can even trek without any trekking guide too. The trek is completely safe for solo trekkers. But please keep in mind that it will be safe only if you have prior experience of high altitude treks. Otherwise, chances are a novice trekker walking alone may go through several unexpected complications.
The trail to the Annapurna Circuit is safe if certain precautions are taken. The riskiest and difficult part is Thorung la pass crossing which is one of Nepal’s highest passes. It’s safest to cross from east to west in terms of acclimatizing. Up till Manang trek is not so difficult but it’s a long way up at the pass in high altitude which might cause problems.
Booking the trek with us, we shall provide our experienced trek guide and necessary porters. Hiring a trekking staff or booking an organized trek is not mandatory but doing it individually without experienced staff completely depends upon you.
If you are fit and can carry your own baggage which comes to 15 kg maximum and walking the high mountain terrains then hiring a porter isn’t necessary. Otherwise, hiring a porter is a good idea where you only have to carry your day-pack. The maximum load is 15 kgs each porter.
No luxury accommodations are available at Annapurna Circuit trek trail up till now. But we use the best available lodges which also offer the finest services and the best food.
Tipping is not mandatory but let’s not forget that it has become a custom to show gratitude towards your guide and porters who made it all possible for you to finish the trek. You can give them a certain amount as tips for trekking Annapurna Circuit trek as per your desire at the end of the trek.
Wifi on Annapurna Circuit trek is available but they might charge you for it. Free wi-fi might be found higher than Manang. WiFi can be infrequent, slow or unusable.
Taking along children for this trek is an unwise decision. But if they are old enough to trek for days at high altitudes in a cold climate, it shouldn’t a problem. Make sure, they have prior experiences of a few days hike and high altitudes.
Our trek guide carries a comprehensive first aid kit with basic medication for altitude sickness, cold, diarrhea, headache, etc. All of our guides are trained on mountain wilderness medication.
Your lodge where you get a room provides a blanket. But the blanket can’t be sufficient at all times. To be on the safe side bringing along sleeping bag is suggested which we shall provide and already included in the tour cost.
You do not have to carry much cash if you have booked a full tour package from your travel company since your trek guide shall take care of your accommodation and daily meals. Besides that only a few extra costs incur like for bottled water, charging mobile phones/cameras, shower, extra tea/coffee and of course alcoholic drinks also tipping your guide and porters. So, carrying Nepalese Rupees equivalent to a few hundred USD is recommended.
No, there is no ATM on Annapurna Circuit trek. Exchanging into Nepali rupees before the trek in Kathmandu is the only option.
Usually, it’s about 4-6 hours in most of the days. The walks must be slow and steady.
The maximum number is 15 trekkers. Yes, you can also do this trek privately with your personal guide and porter.
Your hotel where you stay in Kathmandu will store your luggage that you don’t want to take to trek without any charge. Later on, you can pick up your luggage after the trek.
Annapurna circuit trek gear list depends upon the season you travel. During winter warm clothes are suggested. These include down jacket, thermal longs and top, comfortable trekking trousers, t-shirts, fleece, windproof jacket, hat, scarf, and gloves. In monsoon requires rain gears are suggested and in summer, still requires light warm clothing. In most cases, your company already provides down jacket and sleeping bag. Besides, clothing can be purchased in Kathmandu at the Thamel area as well where numerous trekking shops exists with both local and foreign brands.
Annapurna Circuit trek temperatures from October to November at lower regions are generally warm with an average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. But areas above 4000 meters have a minus degree with freezing weather. March to May is good with crystal clear views with colorful blossoms of rhododendron and other wildflowers of the regions. Lower regions have 10 degrees temperature above 4000 meters is a freezing climate. From June to August is monsoon but Annapurna Circuit is at the rain-shadow area so receive less rain compared to other parts of Nepal. In December and January is the winter season and depending upon the altitude, the temperature varies with an average of 7-12 degrees Celsius on the lower regions and higher elevation has minus degrees even during day time.
We will provide you with comprehensive information on the every trek and tour we arrange. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require more information or have any questions, we are more than happy to assist you in anyway.
When to go:
Spring (mid-February, March, April, May) and Autumn (October, November) are the best seasons for the Annapurna Circuit Trekking. Trekking in summer/monsoon (June, July) will be affected by rain but summer trek could be a boon for a keen botanist. Though Himalayan rain shadow areas like Upper Mustang and Kailash can be good during monsoon.
Travel insurance is highly recommended and is in fact compulsory should you be going trekking, rafting, paragliding etc. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for personal injury, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, helicopter rescue, loss of luggage, etc. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Please check with your insurance company that adventure activities and trekking above 3000m are covered in your policy, as some companies do not cover such things. You must carry proof of insurance (e.g. your insurance certificate) with you on the holiday; if you cannot provide this at the start of the holiday, you will be required to take out a suitable policy at that time.
Meals and Accommodation:
In Kathmandu, we normally use 3 stars hotel with breakfast but can upgrade upon request. During the Annapurna Circuit Trekking, we provide the best available guest house which is called Tea house (lodge). Tea Houses are more like hotels, with hot showers, western food, and private rooms (twin sharing). Some guesthouses are basic with shared washing and toilet facilities. If you are travelling in a group, you will share a room with someone else of the same gender from your group. If you prefer a single room, you may indicate your preference on request and pay a supplement. Keep in mind that there are several places which do not allow single accommodations during peak season, but we will try our best to accommodate your preferences if possible. In this arrangement overnight halts with dinner and breakfast will be in Tea-houses (Lodges) and lunches in local restaurants en-route. Furthermore as you will be staying in locally owned lodges you will be benefiting and interacting with the local community. It will give you a true feel for the Nepalese people and their lives.
We provide quality food in sufficient quantities (breakfast, lunch and dinner) from guesthouses chosen from a menu. While Royal Trekking, your guide will help with menu selection and ensure that you get the best value meals possible. Although the food is usually plentiful and delicious, you should be aware that the menu is not normally extensive due to the extreme locations. Most teahouses offer a variety of rice and noodle dishes, as well as soup and seasonal vegetables. A variety of cereals, bread and egg dishes are generally available for breakfast. There will also be plenty of snacks available such as biscuits, chocolate and soft drinks and in some areas you will find fresh fruit in season. You can buy bottled mineral water from local lodges and shops en route or you can also ask your guide to fill your water bottle with boiled water and treat with water purification pills.
Fitness and Experience Required:
Our 21 days Annapurna Circuit Trekking is moderate trek suitable for passionate walkers who have ability to walk at least 4-5 hours a day with a light day pack. Walking in higher altitude is physically demanding than walking in the lower altitudes; however, if you are in excellent health with average physical fitness and have positive attitude, self confidence and strong determination, you can accomplish the 21 days Annapurna Circuit Trekking successfully. Exercising and jogging regularly for some weeks prior of the trip is good idea to enhance your strength and stability. Past hiking experience would be an asset but no technical skill is required for this trip. Participants with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, lung, and blood disease should inform us before booking the trek.
The Trekking Group:
For the Annapurna Circuit Trekking, there will be one Guide, assistant Guide (8 trekkers: 1 assistant guide) and porters for luggage carrying (2 trekkers: 1 porter). This arrangement ensures that should anybody in the group is sick, the trip can still go ahead as planned. We can run the Annapurna Base Camp trek for group of any size, but generally have a maximum of sixteen people, as weve found this to be the optimum size for a successful trip. However, if youd like to make a group booking for more than twelve people together, we can arrange this too.
Trekking Guides and Staff:
The most significant thing that makes your Annapurna Circuit Trekking successful, enjoyable and memorable is the expert, experienced, courteous and helpful trek and Guide and the crew members who have ability of operating your days in the mountain smoothly. Your trip will be led by the best and most professional Guide. All of our Trekking Guides are carefully selected on the basis of their appropriate experience, Guiding skills and personal aptitude. With an objective of sustaining local communities Breakfree Adventures employs staffs who have plenty of knowledgeable about culture, flora and fauna, geography, and history of Nepal. Trekking Guide of Breakfree Adventures are also trained with following trainings to make them educated on potential medical issues during their trek, biodiversity and environmental issues, English language, etc:
• Intensive Wilderness First Aid – KEEP (Kathmandu Environmental Educational Project)
• Trekking Guide Training – Nepal Governments Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation department of Hotel Management and Tourism Training Centre of Nepal
• Eco Trekking Workshop and Adventure Meet TAAN (Trekking Agents Association of Nepal)
• English Language – KEEP(Kathmandu environment education project)
• Conservation and Biodiversity TAAN
• Rock, Ice Climbing and Mountaineering (Climbing leaders) Nepal Mountaineering Association
Our Trekking Guides obviously speak English sufficient enough to communicate but please consider this is not our mother language. The guides and porters know the routes and locality like the back of their hand, they practice the local culture themselves and they are extremely passionate about their country and its cultural aspects.
Climate and Weather:
The climate of Nepal is as varied as its geography. The low-lying Terai has a sub-tropical monsoonal climate. The Himalayan foothills, where most of our treks take place, are best in the cool dry season from September to May. The traditional trekking season in Nepal is late September to December, with October and November generally recognized as having the best weather. Spring is also a popular time of year with warmer weather and the advantage of seeing spring flowers and rhododendrons in bloom. The visibility is good and days are pleasantly warm, although nights can be cold, and snow is possible above 3,000 meters.
Himalayan weather can be unpredictable where nights are generally cooler and days warmer. It’s a bit colder during the winter season (Jan to Feb) but days can be quite warm and lovely if the sun is shining. You can expect a bit of snow in the months of January/February and December. Expect the unexpected! The temperature could be as high as 20 deg C to -15 deg C low.
Safety and Security:
Security and safety are a high priority of our company however there are risks associated with adventure travel, that you should consider before booking. Our trip operators constantly monitor their areas of operation and will cancel or re-route a trip if they feel a destination is unsafe. The decision to travel to a particular country or region is a personnel one.
Breakfree Adventures is a leading trekking and travel agency with dedicated travel Professionals who are well trained to give you the best of what Nepal has to offer. Our professional team follows a social philosophy that accepts responsibility for the local people and the environment in which we work. We respect the natural environment and the culture of our country, and we help travellers from around the world discover the natural beauty and cultural treasures of Nepal. We know that responsible travel tries to minimize the impact of tourism on the environment and maximize employment and income-generating opportunities for local communities. The whole of Nepal, including those living in remote rural areas that have very few other opportunities for development, benefits from sustainable tourism.
Breakfree Adventures is passionate about preserving the environment. As responsible tour guides in Nepal, we strive to maintain a symbiotic relationship with the local communities through which we travel. While trekking to different destinations, we choose environmentally- friendly lodges that respect the needs of their staff members. We take care of our staff as well as our valued clients. During our treks and other trips, we follow a zero garbage policy (“pack in, pack out”) and leave nothing behind in the campsites. We always welcome your feedback and comments regarding responsible travel, so please send an e-mail to let us know what you think.