Highlights of Annapurna Circuit Trek
- 4-day trekking (5 – 8 hours daily) around Annapurna Mountain
- At the 5,416 m, high pass Thorong La reach the highest point of the Annapurna Circuit Trek
- Getting to know Hinduism and Buddhism in the place of pilgrimage Muktinath
- Walkthrough the fertile valley of the Marsyangdi River to Manang
- Annapurna South and Dhaulagiri from Poon Hill shine in the sunlight
- Trek from Marpha to Kalopani through the wide Kali Gandaki valley
- In the Kathmandu valley, admire the seven UNESCO World Heritage monuments
Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the admired trekking in the world. Annapurna Circuit Trekking is rich in magnificent views and culture. On the suspension bridge are hustle and bustle. Heavily packed mules cross the rocking metal grid. While we let the animals go by, the wind carries the blessed words of the colorful prayers into the sky. The roaring of the falls still drowns out the silence – but not for long. Breathe in. Exhale. Let go.
We make our way and follow one of the most beautiful trekking routes in Nepal, the Annapurna Circuit Trek, which once leads us around the Annapurna Himal. Let’s start with lush green rice terraces behind Jagat, continue along the subtropical Marsyandi Valley, and through lush shrub forests in the highlands of Manang. We internalize the rhythm of the mountains, silently accompanied by the mighty eight-thou sanders.
At the Thorong Pass, the landscape becomes ever more alpine, gray rock pushes into the scene and snowfields are not uncommon in summer. The further north we go, the more Buddhism characterizes the predominantly Hindu Nepal. In Muktinath we meet both religions, get to know the holy spring and the eternal fire, and inspect in Kagbeni the defiant gompa that characterizes the medieval mountain village.
Even in Tatopani nature is greener again, fern jungle and spruce forests are pushing into the picture. We admire the unapproachable Annapurna and the majestic Machhapuchare from all sides. From the lookout point on Poon Hill, the Himalayan giants illuminate the sunrise in a particularly impressive way. And finally, when we review the last days in Pokhara on Lake Phewa,
Annapurna Circuit Trek character and requirements
This trip around the Annapurna massif focuses on the different landscape facets of the region. Along rushing rivers and through deep valleys, the path leads from the village to village. From Thorong La Pass and Poon Hill Lookout, you can admire the Himalayan mountains. The pilgrimage Muktinath and villages such as Manang and Ghandruk provide insights into the world of beliefs and everyday life of the people living there. The Annapurna circumnavigation on the Circuit Trek is a true classic. The comfort of a lodge overnight makes the tour around a good start to Annapurna trekking.
Annapurna Round Trek Requirements
Conditions for this trip are condition and endurance for walks with up to 10 hours of walking time on unpaved roads. There are no special technical requirements for trekking on the Annapurna Circuit Trek. The ascents and descents in the orbit lead across a number of natural stone stairs are sometimes steep and the ground can be slippery when wet. Passing the Thorong La also poses no technical challenges in good conditions.
From December to March, however, there may be snow at the pass, and in other months sudden snowfalls and storms are possible. Due to adverse weather conditions and depending on the condition of the group, the walking time can be extended, but the trekking stages are regularly interrupted by restful breaks.
Annapurna Trek Altitude
Due to the altitude of more than 2,500 m, there is the possibility of altitude sickness. In order to reduce the risk, the itinerary is designed in such a way that at the beginning of the journey the possibility of adaptation is given and the body can get used to the changed circumstances. This includes slow and steady walking and intake of sufficient fluid. Nevertheless, there remains a burden on the body and we ask you to contact your family doctor before departure.
Lodging in Annapurna Circuit Trek
We stay in Kathmandu and Pokhara in middle-class hotels. The rooms have a bathroom. During the trekking, we are lodged in lodges. These are simple and functional. The rooms have two beds (with mattresses and pillows) and no bathroom. The sanitary facilities are usually located in the corridor or away from the accommodation in the yard. Toilets are mostly available in dry toilets and no toilet paper is provided. The lodges offer running cold water.
As a shower opportunity, there are often shared showers (hot water for a fee) or bowls of heated water that are provided for freshening. The rooms are not heated, additional blankets are usually available. In the main building of the lodges in the dining room/lounge, which can be heated by means of an oven. This is usually only cheered in the evening from about 18 clocks, as fuel is limited.
Annapurna Round Trek Meals
Breakfast is included in this trip and lunch and dinner during the trek. In the cities, we eat in the accommodation or stop in traditional restaurants. During the Annapurna Circuit Trekking, we eat in the lodges. For breakfast, there is toast / Tibetan bread, jam, porridge (oatmeal), cereals, eggs (fried or fried eggs) or pancakes. For lunch and dinner, Dal Bhat (lentil soup with rice and mixed vegetables), soup or pasta dishes. For all meals, tea is served in varying variations. During the hikes, boiled water must be purchased in the lodges for bottling in your own drinking vessel.
The cost of services to be purchased in the lodges increases with increasing altitude. For example, drinking water at low altitudes costs about 100 NPR, in higher altitudes about 300 NPR. This is the same for the use of electricity and Wi-Fi as well as for general meals and consumables such as toilet paper. For food intolerances, we ask you to take care of appropriate food. Vegetarian food is possible, vegan food unfortunately not feasible. We ask for your understanding!
The power supply in Trekking
In the vast majority of lodges are sockets for charging electrical appliances available (partly for a fee). Periodic power outages affect availability. Depending on the power requirement, it is recommended to take an external battery (power bank) with you.
It has become a nice touch during our Annapurna Circuit trekking, the escort team after the trekking no longer needed, but still, well-preserved clothing to give. The joy is also great about party favors for women and children of the team members. Your tour guide can arrange a raffle for the farewell evening with the accompanying team so that a fair distribution is guaranteed.
Respect is particularly important in unknown cultures and should be self-evident for all participants and we ask for tactful behavior towards the local population.
Upon arrival with the group flight, the transfer will take place with our tour guide to the hotel in Kathmandu. Depending on the arrival time with the group flight or other flights, there is an opportunity for rest and a first stroll through the old town of Kathmandu. The hotel rooms may be available after noon. In the evening we meet for a welcome dinner in the hotel or in a nearby restaurant – a good opportunity to get to know and discuss the things to do in the following days.
This day is free to travel with your tour guide (optional) or individual trips and visits in the Kathmandu Valley. We recommend visiting Kathmandu with Durbar Square and a walk to Swayambhunath.
We take the bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara. We cross the Thankot Pass (1,500 m) before descending serpentines to the Trisuli Valley. The river follows the partly bumpy, partly modern road through constantly changing scenery to Mugling. From there we follow the Marsyangdi Khola up the valley to Besisahar. Here we change to a local bus or jeeps and drive over a gravel road through the Marsyangdi Valley via Bhulbhule to Jagat (1,300 m). Already on our journey through small settlements and terraced fields, we gain a first impression of the village life of the Gurung people. On the way there are wide views of the glittering snow peaks of Manaslu and Annapurna Himal. Via Ngadi and the village of Bahundanda we drive up the valley. Between Manaslu and Annapurna, the Marsyangdi has made a very deep ravine. Sometimes you can hear only the sound of the water, but you can not see the river. Finally we reach over Syange our lodge in Jagat.
In the morning we start our Annapurna circumnavigation in Jagat. The farther we go upstream, the more striking are the features of this Buddhist culture – eg. For example, the stone-built houses with their flat roofs. The vegetation becomes less subtropical. At the bottom of the valley we walk through the deeply buried gorge. Between the village Chamje and our destination Dharapani (1,860 m) we cross the river several times on stable suspension bridges.
We follow the left bank of Marsyandi, passing through small villages and settlements. During our lunch break in Timang we have a nice view of the whole Manaslu massif. After lunch, it goes in constant ups and downs to the 2,670 m high administrative Chame. There are many small shops that offer almost everything the Trekker heart desires.
At first we stay on the right side of the valley and continue on charting. Again on the left bank of the river it goes through sparse spruce and pine forest uphill. As we head up from the narrow valley to the village of Pisang (3,300 m), we have a magnificent view of the imposing summit silhouette of Annapurna II and Pisang Peak (6,091 m). In the afternoon we can visit the Buddhist monastery in the district of Upper Pisang. There we are directly opposite the Annapurna – a fantastic view!
We follow the path on the eastern side of the river, hiking through beautiful coniferous forest and past a green pond. Then it goes in serpentines in about 1.5 – 2 hours up to Ghyaru. From there we follow a high trail for 2 hours, which offers magnificent views of the Annapurna Himal, to the traditional village of Ngawal (3,660 m). Below us lies the plateau of Hongde in a plateau where sheep and goats graze. If you want, you can climb up to a nice lookout point in the afternoon and promote acclimatization.
A descent takes us to Braga (3,440 m). Here, the “German Bakery” attracts with delicious apple pie. A short distance further, we reach the administrative center Manang (about 3,500 m), a pretty mountain village with narrow streets and densely packed flat roof houses. It is located above a glacier lake fed by the melt waters of Gangapurna and Annapurna III. After getting our lodge, we climb up to Chongkor View Point. From there we have a wonderful view of the entire high valley of Manang and are directly opposite the Annapurna and Gangapurna.
Well rested our way now leads northward in the Kone Valley towards Thorong La. Willow bushes and shrub junipers shape the route through the alpine landscape. For a long time, we are accompanied by a magnificent view of the high valley of Manang with the Annapurna group, and in the background the Manaslu appears again! Past summer settlements we hike to the hamlet of Yak Kharka, where we spend the night in a lodge at 4,018 m altitude. It is recommended that today and tomorrow afternoon possibly in the vicinity of the lodges only a bit to walk and rest otherwise. This benefits the further height adjustment, so that we are fit for the “Queen Stage”, the crossing of the Thorong La, and can enjoy the long day.
From the last small village of Churi Lattar (4,150 m) we come to Thorong Phedi (4,450 m), the last simple accommodation in front of the pass Thorong La. Before the crossing we are only half a day on the road today, so we can rest for the rest of the day and recharge our batteries.
The most exhausting, but probably the most spectacular part of the tour is about to happen: the crossing of the Thorong La. Today we have to tackle the long leg to Muktinath. Even before dawn, we start with headlamps. The path leads in serpentines over stony terrain up to a large lateral moraine. For centuries this route has been used by the locals on foot and on horseback. It is very important to walk slowly and steadily. The height and possible snowfall or snow-covered paths can make matters worse. Depending on the condition, altitude and weather we need about 4 – 6 hours for the 1,000 meters of altitude, before we stand on the decorated with stone pyramids and fluttering prayer flags pass height (5,416 m). In good weather, we have a magnificent panorama. On both sides of the pass enthroned snow covered 6. 000er. A break in the tea house at the pass (if open) rewards us for the hardships of the ascent. The descent is leisurely, then steeper downhill. Via scree fields we reach the beginning of the high valley and walk down the green valley floor down to Muktinath (3,800 m). About 1,600 vertical meters, it goes downhill until we arrive after about 3 – 4 hours in a lodge in the famous pilgrimage.
After the long and exhausting day, we sleep a bit longer today and then explore the monastery complex of Muktinath. The sacred site is mentioned in the early Hindu scriptures of the Mahabharata epic. Hindus worship the sacred springs of the Krishna Gandaki River, which emerge around a temple courtyard made up of 108 bronze gargoyles, while Buddhists worship the ever-burning sacred fire fueled by a natural gas well. After an extensive visit to the area decorated with many colorful prayer flags, we will have lunch in Muktinath. In the afternoon we will hike via Purang or Dzong, formerly the capital of this region, down to Kagbeni (2,800 m), above the Kali Gandaki River. A gloomy gompa, stone houses and dark, winding streets characterize the medieval village.
This morning brings us a short drive by jeep or minibus to Marpha. This will bridge a section that is unattractive for trekking. We reach Marpha (2,650 m) and walk from here through the rugged landscape of the Kali Gandaki Valley. On the less traveled path on the east side of the river, with great views of the Dhaulagiri Range, we hike to the village of Sauru, where we stop for lunch. In clear weather, there are always beautiful views of the mighty walls of the Dhaulagiri in the west and on the Nilgiri in the east. Shortly after Sauru, the wide Kali Gandaki Valley narrows, and abruptly the strong winds abate. Via Kokethanti we reach Kalopani (2,500 m). Here we are now exactly at the point between the eight-thousanders Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, which marks the deepest valley in the world.
By jeep or bus we drive down the Kali Gandaki gorge to Tatopani (1,190 m). The climate here is already subtropical. The long-drawn-out place with many lodgings owes its name to the nearby hot springs in the river gravel. In the source area, stone pools with a relaxation bath beckon. In the afternoon, behind Tatopani, we cross the Kali Gandaki for the last time over a large steel cable bridge and leave the huge gorge towards the northeast. From the mouth of the Ghar Khola we hike in the valley towards the Ghorapani pass and arrive at the ascent by a varied cultivated land with individual farmsteads and small towns. After a steep climb we reach Sikha (1,935 m).
Over Chitre (2,390 m) we reach the village Ghorepani (2,860 m). If you want, you can climb to the evening mood in about 45 minutes on the 3,200 m high Poon Hill. A magnificent panoramic view covers the ice flanks of the Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu groups. The sunset can be spectacular.
In the light of our headlamps we rise in the morning to Poon Hill and admire how the mountains are slowly bathed in light at dawn. For breakfast we are back in Ghorepani. Then you continue on a scenic ridge path to the hamlet of Deurali (2,990 m). After lunch, we descend on narrow paths in the rhododendron and bamboo jungle to the houses of Banthanti, and soon after in the jungle ascend to Tarapani (2,690 m). Finally, it goes steeply down to Ghandrung (1,940 m).
The scattered village of Ghandrung is a popular destination due to its excellent location in the face of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli and Machhapuchare. After a hopefully atmospheric sunrise towards the Annapurna Sanctuary, we wander through the sprawling Gurung village. Then we descend on the western slope of the Khola Valley and reach the valley floor via Khimche. Soon we are in the village of Birethanti (1,040m). After the lunch break, we cross the steel cable bridge over the noisy Khola mode and hit the river downstream at Nayapul. In the late afternoon we reach our hotel in Pokhara by bus via the 1,700 m high Khare Pass.
The full day is at leisure to travel with our tour guides (optional) or individually to visit and visit Pokhara. We recommend a boat tour on Lake Phewa followed by a hike up to World Peace Pagoda.
After breakfast we drive to the airport and fly along the Himalaya chain to Kathmandu. The rest of the day can be used as freetime.
This day is free to travel with your tour guide (optional) or individually for excursions and sightseeing in the Kathmandu Valley. We recommend visiting Patan, Pashupatinath and Boudhanath Stupa or alternatively Bhaktapur. In the evening we can meet for a farewell dinner in a restaurant (optional).
Transfer to airport and return flight to you home town with memorable experience of Nepal.