Annapurna Circuit Trek
Day 1 - KATHMANDU (4,461')
Kathmandu, the incredibly diverse capital of Nepal is a fascinating blend of centuries-old Hindu and Buddhist shrines, traditional architecture and a city embracing the 21 century. Upon arrival, your leader will transfer you to your hotel from the airport. Your hotel is in the heart of the city close to Thamel, a popular choice with tourists, with colorful handicraft stalls, trekking gear shops, and excellent restaurants. In the evening, after your trek briefing, you have the option of going out for a group dinner with your trek leader.
Day 2 - Kathmandu, Sightseeing in Kathmandu
The capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu, being the historical and cultural heart of the country, is a popular destination for tourists, trekkers and other types of adventure seekers. The city is a marvelous amalgamation of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Western cultures and influences. You will be taken on a half-day guided tour of Kathmandu. In Kathmandu, you will be visiting Pashupatinath, the most famous and revered Hindu shrine in the country; Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal, Soyambhunath, which contains both Buddhist and Hindu shrines and stands as testimony to the religious harmony that exists in the country.
Day 3 - Drive to CHAME (8,809')
Today you will wake up early in the morning in Kathmandu where you will have your breakfast. Later you will board a jeep to Chame which is the headquarter of Manang district. Chame lies at an altitude of 2650m and is the starting point of your trek. First, you will drive on a pitched road to Besisahar which is 173 km from Kathmandu. Besisahar is the headquarter of the Lamjung district. Further, the road from Besisahar to Chame is mostly off-road. The distance between Besisahar and Chame is 66 km and it takes about 4 hours to reach. So overall the drive takes about 12 hours which leaves you with not much time for any other activities.
Day 4 - PISANG (11,400')
Trekking: 5 hours
The trail now leads through fields of barley and buckwheat. At the apple orchards at Brathang you stop for lunch. The village, now largely deserted, was a former Khampa (Tibetan rebels') settlement. The valley is extremely beautiful, decorated with thick forest and glimpses of Lamjung and Annapurna high above the trail. Suddenly the forest clears to reveal the huge rock slabs of Paungda Danda, some 4,921' high. Crossing the river, you arrive at Pisang village where your lodge has fine views of Annapurna II and Pisang Peak
Day 5 - MANANG (11,597')
Trekking: 5 hours
As you follow wooden irrigation canals into the lower Pisang village, the environment becomes noticeably more arid. The soils are poor and only one crop per year of barley, wheat, buckwheat or potatoes can be grown. Herds of goats and yaks are grazed on the hillsides high above the valley. You climb to a saddle and enjoy an easy afternoon's walk to Braga (3475m) an interesting village, its houses are stacked on top of each other and perched high on the cliffs. Above the houses is a monastery, the oldest and most interesting in the area, estimated to be over 500 years old. From the village of Braga, it is only a short walk to the village of Manang. You will spend two nights here to aid acclimatization.
Day 6 - MANANG
Rest and acclimatization
In the morning there is an optional side hike ascending above the valley where you may see the elusive Thar and Ghoral on some of the higher slopes. Manang is a tightly compact village of about 500 flat-roofed houses and is picturesquely set amongst the spectacular scenery. The huge icefall of Annapurna rears over the village. Annapurna II (26,040') and Annapurna IV (24,688') tower dramatically above the valley floor to the southeast, with Tilicho (23,398'), Roc Noir (24,557') and the Grand Barrier to the west. Chulu West (21,751') and East (20,341') lies behind the village: a hauntingly beautiful panorama.
Day 7 - KANGSAR (12,204')
Trekking: 5 hours
To add to your acclimatization before crossing the Thorong La you ascend above Manang to the village of Kangsar located on the trail to Tilicho Lake. This traditional village has flat-roofed houses located close together with stunning views of many Himalayan peaks towering above the village.
Day 8 - LETDAR (13,845')
Trekking: 5 hours
From Kangsar, instead of following the main trail back to Manang you descend to the Jarsang Kola and regain the main Annapurna Circuit trail at Yak Kharkhaabove (13,254'). From here it is only a further hour or so to the meadow at Letdar. On today's walk keep an eye open for Thar and Goral that are often seen grazing on the steep hillsides. Again there are great views of the Manaslu and Annapurna range.
Day 9 - THORONG HIGH CAMP (15,616')
Trekking: 4 hours
You head up the valley towards the Thorong Pass crossing the Jarsang Khola on a covered bridge before ascending the screes on the steep-sided valley. You pass the meadows at Phedi (4420m) and continue to the lodge at High Camp where you arrive in time for lunch. This is a tiring day, but one of the stunning mountain views.
Day 10 - THORONG PASS (5416m) & MUKTINATH (12,467')
Trekking: 7 hours
There is a very early start today so you can proceed slowly and safely. The trail is not steep and the long, gradual approach passes several false summits before reaching stone cairns marking the crest of the pass at 17,769'. The views from the pass are fantastic. The entire Annapurna range to the south; the Mukut and Mustang Himal to the west; the incredibly deep Kali Gandaki Valley below; the peaks of Chulu West and East to the north, and, either side of the pass, Thorungtse (21,266') to the north and the snow dome of Thorong Peak (21,272') to the south. The descent from the pass is steep and there are more fantastic mountain views of Dhaulagiri (26,794') and Tukche Peak (22,703'), as you descend to Muktinath. Muktinath is an important pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists and you visit the temples before heading to your lodge.
Day 11 - JOMSOM (8,923')
Trekking 6 hours
From Muktinath, the trail descends towards the Kali Gandaki valley. You pass through the village of Jharkot backdropped by sensational views of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri. The yellow, barren, almost moonlike landscape is dotted with patches of green cultivation, man-made canals cut across the terrain, irrigating the crops and fruit trees. A short steep descent leads to the Kali Gandaki valley and lunch at Eklaibhati. In the afternoon you follow the river south heading through the wide, windswept and barren valley that has little fertile land to Jomsom.
Day 12 - MARPHA (8,759')
Trekking 8 hours
So now, we are at the other side of the Thorong La Pass, most of the land we see will be dry and looks somewhat like the desert. We will continue our trek walking by the bank of Kali Gandaki River. Most of the time, we will descend with a closer view of stupas and old traditional houses and civilization of Mustang. Marpha is the home to the legendary apple orchids. We will be able to taste the apples and the myriad apple products like pies and wine. Apple Brandy is another local specialty that we may be lucky enough to taste en route.
Day 13 - KALOPANI (8,300')
Trekking 7 hours
We descend through the valley following the Kali Gandaki River. On this trail, we will have an opportunity to view Annapurna I and beautiful landscapes.
Day 14 - TATOPANI (3,904')
Trekking 6 hours
We still continue to descend through the Kali Gandaki River Valley. On the way, we will encounter the world’s deepest gorge, Kopchepani. Tatopani is famous for its hot springs. This is the best place to relax our bodies after a long trek. We will spend another day relaxing at this spot.
Day 15 - Rest Day at Tatopani
Take a shower, dip into the natural hot springs, enjoy drinks and local food.
Day 16 - Trek to Ghorepani (9,219')
Trekking 6 hours
Today is another big day. It will take about 7 hours to walk from Tatopani to Ghorepani. From Ghorepani, we will be able to see Annapurna South, Himchuli and Tukuche Himal. We will pass a couple of Magar and Gurung villages on the trail.
Day 17 - Hike to Poon Hill (10,531') and Trek to Tikhedunga (5,150')
Trekking 5 hours
Very early in the morning, we start an hour hiking to Poon Hill – a brilliant spectacle. This vantage point provides unobstructed views of the early morning sunrise over the high Himalayas, weather permitting. There we spend about an hour. We return to Ghorepani where we take a hot breakfast at the hotel. We trek down towards Tikhedunga, walking down along the ridges and through rhododendron forests before finally reaching Tikhedhunga.
Day 18 - NAYAPUL (3,313') Drive to Pokhara
Trekking 4 hours
After some light trekking, we reach Nayapul. An hour drive takes us to Pokhara.
Day 19 - Guided Sightseeing in Pokhara
After breakfast, a full day sightseeing tour of Pokhara city begins. There will be a local guide and a private tourist vehicle at your disposal.
Day 20 - KATHMANDU (4,461')
After breakfast, we say goodbye to the beautiful lake city of Pokhara and fly back to Kathmandu. After reaching Kathmandu, we have the rest of the day off. There will also be a farewell dinner hosted by Namaste Treks in the evening to celebrate the successful completion of our journey.
Day 21 - Leisure day in Kathmandu
Today, you have leisure day to relax or shopping in Kathmandu so you can do your own activities by yourself or consult with the company to arrange extra activities.
Day 22 - DEPART KATHMANDU
Your trip ends today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements. A departure transfer to the airport is provided.