This trek from Mountain Scenery Treks takes you on a circum-navigation of the Annapurna massif in central Nepal. In this trek we will cross Thorong-La Pass at 5,416 meters, one of the highest mountain passes in the world. We will enjoy the desert-like landscape of the Manang Valley, visit the temple of Muktinath, and walk along ever-changing landscapes of the Annapurna region.
The diversity and richness of the Annapurna Region is quite exciting. Mountain Scenery Treks highly recommends this trip for people of all age groups and all fitness levels. Along the route you will see Buddhist mani walls and chortens hemmed with depictions of Hindu gods and goddesses – rarely in the world do you find such a harmony!
On the natural side of things, this trek is at par with similar other treks in Nepal. While the trails are mostly uphill and downhill, it’s the turns and passes that make things interesting – you never know which peak the next right-turn might bring into view! You will come across natural hot spring, waterfalls, frozen lakes, alpine forests, and indeed a high-mountain pass in this Himalayan journey. Culturally and naturally, this region garners international attention every year as one of the best places to trek in the world. Spread over several topographical and climatic zones, this region is the natural habit of a number of flora and fauna not found elsewhere in Nepal. The Annapurna Conservation Area protects the rich biodiversity including its numerous flora and fauna.
The best time to tour the Annapurna Circuit is in autumn and the second best time is in spring. We will also come close to the world’s deepest gorge – the Kali-Gandaki Gorge. Culturally speaking, there are are the ethnic Gurung, Magar, and Thakali people with traditions of their own but share the village with people of not just other casts but of other ethnicities too! So it’s like a mosaic of people – one household is significantly different from the other household in terms of food, lifestyle and even the dialect.
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264ft)
Welcome to Nepal. One of the company representatives will be awaiting your arrival outside the luggage hall at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. This company representative will greet you and transfer you to the 3* standard hotel in Kathmandu (in a private vehicle). After you check into the hotel, you can rest for some time. In the afternoon, we will meet you at our office to introduce you your guides and brief you regarding the trekking. The meeting will be followed by a welcome dinner at one of the finest typical Nepali restaurants in Kathmandu. You can also enjoy ethnic dance and cultural music along with the food. However, if your flight arrives late, both the meeting and the dinner can be scheduled for the next day.
Day 02: Drive to Bhulbhule (840m/2755ft) 7 hours
It takes about 7 hours to reach Bhulbhule from Kathmandu. Therefore, early in the morning you will be transferred to the bus station to catch a local bus to Bhulbhule. The bus head west, leaving Kathmandu. As soon as the bus reaches Naubise, it will continue west on the Prithvi Highway. You can enjoy the beautiful landscape, the settlement of people and the company of the Trisuli River. The bus continues on the highway until it reaches the tourist city in the western part of Nepal, that is, Pokhara. It will also stop twice, for breakfast and lunch, at a roadside restaurant, along the highway. From Pohara, the bus will further continue on a secondary road until it reaches Bhulbhule, our overnight station for today. The remaining day can either be spent resting at the lodge or roaming around the Bhulbhule. Your accommodation and dinner today will be arranged in a lodge in Bhulbhule.
Day 03: Trek to Ghermu Phant (1117m/3665ft) 6 hours
Bhulbhule is the starting point of this trekking. After breakfast, our trekking guide will complete the necessary formalities at the office of ACAP. We will then continue towards our destination. Initially, the trail passes through the green fields, patches of forest and a number of lodges with beautiful small garden, flaunting beautiful flowers. The walk is fairly easy up till Ngadi. However, shortly after Ngadi, we will further continue on a trail that heads towards the hydro-project. After walking for some time, we will continue on a trail that branches off from the trail to hydro project and leads towards Bahundanda
Day 04: Trek to Tal (1,700m/5,577ft) 6-7 hour
After breakfast at the lodge, the trekking continues towards Tal. The trail first descends to a big suspension bridge over the Marsyangdi River at Syange. We will cross the bridge and continue through the gorge to Jagat, located on the ridge. Along the way to Jagat you can enjoy overhanging rocks. Jagat is inhabited by Tibetan Highlanders (Bhotiyas). From Jagat the trail passes through a few crest and troughs and overhanging rocks, before reaching Chamje. From Chamje we walk down to the bridge across the Marsyangdi River. We will cross the bridge and walk through the bamboo forest, on a steep stone trail and finally enter a wide valley with a few houses, Tal, which is located in a narrow high walled rocky canyon. Tonight’s dinner and accommodation and will be arranged in a basic lodge in Tal.
Day 05: Trek to Danakyu (2,300m/7545ft) 5 hours
After breakfast, leaving the wide flat valley, lush green canyons and exotic flora behind, we will soon enter the alpine area, where we will be surrounded by alpine plants, grasslands and the forest of Pine. However, before that, the trail requires us to cross the bridge across the Marsyangdi River and continue on a trail that undulates through bamboo forest and other important small settlements like Dharapani, and Bagarchhap (to name a few) en route to Danakyu. On the way we pass through a number of settlements, where you can spot ancient stone houses built in the traditional style.
Day 06: Trek to Chame (2,670m/8,759ft) 5 hours
If the weather is clear, you will wake up to the view of highly impressive Annapurna II. After breakfast at the lodge, the trekking will continue up on a steep stone case trail that will lead us towards the village of Timang, located on a hilltop about 300-400m above Danakyu. It’s a very famous vantage point in the Annapurna circuit route as it presents a 3600 view of the mighty Annapurna, Manaslu and other smaller ranges.
Day 07: Trek to Pissang (3,060m/10,039ft) 5 hours
Starting Chame, after breakfast, the trail through the apple orchard till Bhratang is fairly easy. Thereafter, the trekking will continue up the steep, narrow trail into the dense Oak and Maple forest. As we reach Dhikur Pokhari, you will be amazed by the splendid views of Pisang Peak and Annapurna IV. You can also enjoy the beautiful view of Pangdi Danda- a 1,500m black rock that rises from the riverbed below, that emerges immediately after the forest. Leaving Dhikur Pokhari behind,
Day 08: Trek to Manang (3,440m/11,286ft) 5 hours
After breakfast at the lodge, the trekking starts with a long but fairly easy ascent. Be ready to enter the drier part of the Manang district. Manang can be reached via two routes: i) via Ghyaru and ii) via Humde. Both routes eventually meet at Mugje. However, taking the easy route, that is, via Humde, we continue up the valley, through wide and dusty trail all the way to Manang. During the walk you will be accompanied by magnificent Mani walls and the enthralling view of Pisang Peak and Annapurna III. As we reach Manang, you will be greeted by a large Tibetan village with a number of stupas and monasteries. Manang is also surrounded by mountains, like Chulu peaks to the northeast and Gangapurna to the south. From Manang, you can also enjoy one of the best sun set and sun rise views.
Day 09: Acclimatization day at Manang
Before heading further, it’s very necessary to acclimatize to the increasing altitude and thinning air and the best way to do it is to keep you active and moving. Manang offers plenty of places to hang out. Some possible options are: i) visiting Milarepa’s cave to receive blessing from Lama ii) a half-day hiking to Khangsar for the magnificent view of Tilicho peak iii) climbing Chhongar viewpoint to enjoy the views of Annapurna and Chulu peaks iv) visiting ancient monasteries or v) simply exploring the settlement of Manang. Tonight’s dinner and accommodation are arranged in a lodge in Manang.
Day 10: Trek to Yak Kharka (4,050m/13,287ft) 4-5 hour
After a full one day acclimatization at Manang, we are now ready to head further. Therefore, after breakfast at the lodge, leaving the Marsyangdi Valley behind, the trekking will continue towards Yak Kharka. The steep uphill climb through the alpine forest with juniper bushes continues for about 1.5 hours. We walk past Tangki and Ghusang, after which, the trail becomes fairly easy, until we reach Yak Kharka.
Day 11: Trek to High Camp (4,833m/15,856ft) 5 hours
After breakfast at the lodge, leaving Yak Kharka behind, we will continue on a wide, but steep trail leading to Ledar. Before reaching Ledar, we also walk past the trail leading to Chulu Peak. Continuing to ascend the trail we will now cross the bridge across the Kone River, walk past a scree slope and walk all the way up to Thorung Phedi. From here, we further hike up to the high camp that presents mesmerizing panoramic view of Annapurna peaks, Yakwakang and Chulu West. Tonight’s dinner and accommodation will be arranged in a lodge in the high camp.
Day 12: Trek to Muktinath (3,760m/12,335ft) via Thorung La Pass (5,416m) 8 hours
This day is the most awaited day, during the circuit trekking. Long and very challenging, yet very rewarding. We start earlier than usual, when still dark outside. We will continue up on a thin steep trail for about four hours, before reaching the Thorung La Pass. Fluttering prayer flags mark the top of the Thorung La Pass and you will be greeted by the grandeur view of summits rising above 6000meter; pleasant view of Kali Gandaki Valley to the west and Yakwakang to the north. From the pass to Muktinath is a long descent, which is initially gentle, steep in between followed by a fairly gentle trail again.
Day 13: Trek to Jomsom (2,720m/8,923ft) 5-6 hour
After breakfast, we will begin our day with a visit to the famous Hindu and Buddhist shrine Muktinath. After exploring the temple area for some time, we will first descend to Jharkot, where you will get a chance to explore the ruins of the original palace of King of Mustang and some chortens and Gompas around Jharkot. We will further continue downwards to Kaagbeni, situated at the confluence of Kali Gandaki and Jhang River. From Kaagbeni, following the old trading route of Mustang and Tibet caravan we will walk all the way down to Jomsom past Ekle Bhatti.
Day 14: Fly to Pokhara and to Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264ft)
Flights to and from Jomsom are only possible in the morning. Therefore, after breakfast, we take a thrilling mountain flight that flies through the Kali Gandaki gorge, from Jomsom to Pokhara. From Pokhara, we will again take a flight to Kathmandu. From the airport you will be transferred to the hotel in Kathmandu. The night will be spent in a tourist standard hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 15: Final departure
You will be served breakfast in the morning. If your flight is scheduled in the morning, then one of our company representatives will escort you to the airport, as per your flight schedule. However, if the flights are scheduled in the evening, you can go shopping and collect a few souvenirs for your family and friends or simply hang around shopping areas in Kathmandu. Moreover, if you are planning to spend some extra days in Nepal, we can make the arrangement of some top adventure activities in Nepal.