Annapurna circuit trek is admired as one of the best trekking routes in the world. But because of time-constraint or countless other reasons, some travel enthusiasts cannot make up for it.
Therefore, skipping the relatively uninteresting trail, we have come up with an ideal itinerary suitable for every those who wish to revel in the exotic setting of the exquisite Himalayas and vivid lush sceneries (just 16 days).
Following the incredible sight-seeing of UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu, kick-off on your trekking venture on Day 4 from Syange. Relish in the roar of deep canyons and gorges (Kaligandaki Gorge-world’s deepest gorge) and traverse a multitude of suspension bridges vibrant with the prayer flags.
Reveal the hidden secrets of the mysterious caves (Mahendra Gufa) on the way and wander above the dancing clouds with the incredible vistas of soaring snowy giants: Annapurna II, III and IV, Mardi Himal, Macchapuchre Massif, and zillions of other anonymous ranges.
Experience the rural lifestyle with the indigenous inhabitants (Tamangs and Gurungs- the clan of ancient brave Gurkha warriors) and savor their unique delicacies-Dhindo, Bhaat, Daal, Tarkari. Taste the local yak cheese and proceed along with the vibrant Monasteries, Temples, and chortens.
Need any help and information on the Annapurna Circuit trek, or looking for even a short itinerary? 16 days (not 10 or 12 days) Annapurna half circuit trek itinerary is prepared painstakingly with the help of local guides and travel-kings to offer you the best trip you have ever had in a relatively short time. However, even if you wish to customize, we are always inclined in your favor.
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu (1,338 m/4,390 ft)||Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Kathmandu Sightseeing Tour||Kathmandu|
|Day 3||Drive Kathmandu to Besisahar to Syange (1100/3600 ft)||Syange|
|Day 4||Trek start Syange to Dharapani (1,860m/6100 ft)||Dharapani|
|Day 5||Dharapani to Chame (2,710m/8890 ft)||Chame|
|Day 6||Chame to Upper Pisang (3,300m/10824ft)||Upper Pisang|
|Day 7||Upper Pisang to Manang (3,540m/11611 ft)||Manang|
|Day 8||Acclimatization day at Manang village||Manang village|
|Day 9||Manang to Yak Kharka (4,110m/13,484ft)||Yak Kharka|
|Day 10||Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi (4,600m/15,092ft)||Thorong Phedi|
|Day 11||Trek to Muktinath (3,800m/12,467ft) via Thorung La pass (5416m/17764ft)||Muktinath|
|Day 12||Trek to Kagbeni (2800m/9184ft)||Kagbeni|
|Day 13||Trek to Jomsom (2700m/8856 ft)||Jomsom|
|Day 14||Jomsom to Pokhara Flyout||Pokhara|
|Day 15||Drive Pokhara to Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
|Day 16||Depart Kathmandu-Airport drop|
As you descend to the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, randomly scattered myriad of houses among the lush paddy fields appear mesmerizing to the eyes.
One of our airport representatives will be waiting for your arrival at the exit point of the airport. He will welcome you with a beautiful smile and Namaste, and then accompany you towards your hotel, where you may ease up your jet-lagged body.
In case you feel good to go out, you may stroll around the tourist hub of Thamel, or Kathmandu Durbar Square (ancient Royal Palace of Kathmandu Kingdom), which epitomizes the fusion of antique artifacts with primeval lifestyle.
Kathmandu is an abode for dozens of classic architectural marvels (7 of which listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites), saturated by hundreds of visitors from all over the globe every day.
Because of time constraint, we won’t be able to accommodate your visit to all these sites in a day. But we promise to take you to some of the best sites among the bests-Patan Durbar Square (brilliant blend of Newari Style architecture with delicate wooden carvings), Swayambhunath Temple (perfect vantage points of Kathmandu Valley), Pashupatinath Temple (dotted with zillions of inscriptions and sculptures), and Boudhanath Chaitya (Massive mandala inside a large dome).
You may as well shop around the souvenirs and handicrafts displayed on nearby vendors. Some of those popular are Thangka Paintings, Singing Bowl, Khukuri and Pashmina. Make sure you purchase the right size of Khukuri (you may not be allowed to carry large sized Khukuri in the airplane).
By the time sight-seeing is over, you will be guided towards your hotel for the overnight stay.
[Remember, our trips are customizable. You may add a few more days for sightseeing if you want to. For that, we are there to assist you. Feel free to be in touch with us.]
Early in the morning, you will leave the Kathmandu valley to make an appearance at Besisahar. Until there, the trail is fairly good. The drive takes you along the vivid lush sceneries and occasional villages perched by the indigenous inhabitants. From the charipauwa, the aggressive river of Trishuli joins you on your trip. The overall trip is great.
As you arrive at Besisahar, the trail becomes crowded with the locals and trekkers as it is the starting point for most of the treks in the Annapurnas. You will check your permit and then proceed towards Syange.
The road is worn off and bumpy, but the Himalayan lush terrain pleasures you throughout the trek. Along the river of Marshyangdi, you will traverse Khudi, Taraphu, Arkhale, and Kabre to arrive at Syange at the end of the day. On the way, you will encounter some of the beautiful temple sacred among the Hindu and Buddhist Devotees.
Your guide will arrange your accommodation in one of the hotels there for overnight stay.
As the sun shines over the skyline, you will kick off on your trek to Dharapani. This is the first day of your trek.
You will walk along the graveled road until Jagat, where there is a beautiful temple. Following the steep climb along the furious Marshyangdi River, you will come to Chamje (chyamche). Notice the giant Marshyangdi feeding other small tributaries along the way.
After a short walk, you will arrive at Sattale, where the fields of Marijuana embellish the atmosphere with charm and beauty. Subsequently, the trail leads you to Tal (literally translates to a lake) and everything from there appears spectacular. I don’t think this is the effect of Marijuana, you came across before.
Continuing the way along the Mani wall, you will make an appearance at Dharapani at the end of the day. Have a good night sleep in one of the lodges there.
A beautiful Tibetan influenced Chorten marks the entrance to Dharapani. There is an ACAP checkpoint, where you will register your name. Within a couple of distance lies the confluence point (at Thoche) of beautiful Dudh Khola (Milk River) with Manang Circuit Trail.
As you leave Thoche, you will arrive at Danakqu after Bagarchap. Climbing the steep trail takes you to Timang. Through a silent wood, you go past the traditional villages of Thanchowk and Koto to make an appearance at Chame.
A beautiful Mani wall adorned with prayer flags inkles the arrival at Chame. Rest well for the next day climb.
Chame to Upper Pisang is incredibly an awesome journey, which takes you along Bhratang and Dhukur Pokhari.
Mind-blowing vistas captivate the soul of the observer all the way up to the Bhratang. The length of the road is about 7 km, which takes about 2 hours to reach. Plenty of snow-capped ranges above the rushing turquoise river adorn the skyline.
Massive rocks are all around. As you come close to Bhratang, apple trees saturate the surrounding with a sweet taste. Bhratang is famous for its apple pie.
While you gain the elevations, surrounding sceneries grow with splendor while the vegetations start becoming sparser. Marching along the road carved on the side of the rock takes you to Swagadwari within a couple of distance. As you reach Dhukur Pokhari after about 6 hours of an arduous climb, your steps begin to shorten.
Dhukur Pokhari to Upper Pisang is not a long way, but the altitude pays a great deal in making it the way it isn’t. To walk 1.5 km, it might take nearly 1 and a half hour. You may predict what it means to climb there. At the end of the day, you will stay on one of the lodges at Upper Pisang.
For the first few hours, the trail is relatively easy. Eventually, in the middle of nowhere, you will encounter a turquoise lake. But, as you proceed along the Mani wall, the trail meanders around until Ghyaru, which opens up the incredible vistas of Annapurna II, III, and IV.
This beautiful village of Ghyaru is thinly inhabited by locals and the houses are made up of stones with flat roofs. As you move to Ngawal, you may begin to feel the symptoms of altitude sickness, so it is better to drink plenty of water.
Following a steep descend from Ngawal, you will see a few shrubs and bushes on the way until Humde, which boasts an airport. Series of switchbacks feature the trail until Braga, where you may stroll around the monastery and few other sites to freshen up.
Braga to Manang is not very far. Within an hour of walk, you will arrive at Manang. Take a rest in your hotel room.
Manang is a geographically suitable place to acclimatize. Unlike others, this region receives most of the sunlight and during the winter, it is one of the least snow-covered regions assisting the vegetations to grow well.
There are plenty of sites, which are just worth visiting. Beautiful monasteries and Chortens embellish this region with Himalayan grandeur.
Gangapurna Tal lies within a walking distance. There is also a medical center specializing in altitude sickness. If you feel like you should call on there, then don’t skip; altitude sickness can be severe ahead.
Enjoy the marvelous outlook of Gangapurna Glacier.
Manang to Yak Kharka is although a short distance, but the steep trail makes it a long way.
Crossing a few suspension bridges paves your way to Ghusang (Gunsang). Subsequently follows a small plateau saturated with the goats and their herder.
You will cross another suspension bridge after Ghyanchang and travel parallel to the Thorong Khola. Snowy vistas appear no less enticing from this region. The vegetations are apparently nowhere around except for some of the short bushes.
As you cross the Mani wall, you make an appearance at Yak Kharka. Only a handful of people live here. Yaks are found grazing around.
This is probably the shortest trek in the Annapurnas.
The track gradually rises from the Yak Kharka. In the middle of nowhere, you will see the incredible view of Annapurna III and Gangapurna peak. Subsequently, after crossing a suspension bridge, the trail follows along the landslide threatened road until Thorong Phedi.
Trinity of Chortens treasure this region. You will notice a number of trekkers heading to cross the pass at the Thorong La. Have a good night sleep in one of the lodges in the Thorong Phedi.
Crossing the Thorong La Pass is not an easy ordeal. The steepness isn’t the real problem, but surely the altitude. Every single breath feels like running in a marathon. As you make up to the Thorong La pass, incredible vistas come at the sight.
Do not confuse yourself by comparing the pass with the peaks. The pass is a wide flat land in the middle of Yakwakang (6482 m) and Thorong Peak (6144 m). Trekkers generally become emotional here. Purbung and Chulu west appear mesmerizing to the eyes. Then, you will gradually descend to Muktinath along the never-ending trail.
At the end of the day, as you arrive at Muktinath, make sure to visit the temple there. It is worth a million dollars.
It is always good to rise early in the morning because the sight of incredible Sangdache Himal from the hill of Ranipauwa appears mind-blowing during sunrise. You will leave Muktinath along the way to Kagbeni.
Gazing at the brilliant Dhaulagiri peak, you will march over the hill of Muktinath and pass the vibrant Gompa at Ranipauwa. Along the way, you will see the houses with flat roofs built in Tibetan style.
As you arrive at Kagbeni, you will spend your night there.
Many people choose to go to Jomsom by vehicle because of the dusty lane. You will come across the deepest gorge of the world at Kaligandaki. Following the scenic route, you will make an appearance at Jomsom at the end of the day.
Submerge yourself into the cultural ambiance of Jomsom. This region is famous for its markets, and make sure you ramble around the monasteries, which are just spectacular in its own way.
Grabbing a flight to the Pokhara, you will reach there and have enough time to surf around the lakes and caves in Pokhara. For the adventure and fun, there is a multitude of programs such as Bungee Jumping, Paragliding, Boating, Rafting etc.
Do not miss any of these. Revel in the exotic settings of Pokhara.
Pokhara to Kathmandu follows the scenic route along lush valleys and rushing rivers. Chew chat with other fellow trekkers about the whole trip and gather some memorable moment in the vehicle.
At the end of the day, as you arrive in Kathmandu, you will be escorted towards your hotel for overnight stay.
Spend your last few hours in Kathmandu. If you wish, you may extend your stay and go for other adventures.
However, for now, it is time to say goodbye to all the amazing people, mountains, lakes and culture until next time you revisit Nepal.
Annapurna Circuit locates in the north-central part of Nepal, in between Manang and Mustang districts circling around the valleys of Annapurna Mountain ranges. The trek begins at Lamjung/Manang district of Marsyangdi valley and ends at Jomsom/Tatopani/ Nayapual of the Kali Gandaki valley.
Most of the time, you will follow the banks of Marsyangdi (on the Manang side) and Kali Gandaki (on the Mustang side) frequently crossing the rickety bridges depending on the human settlements, hydroelectric power plants and escaping the landslide-prone areas.
Annapurna Circuit Trek usually completes around 12- 21 days, leaving Kathmandu with a stopover in Pokhara before getting back to Kathmandu again. The length of the Annapurna Circuit Trek widely differs upon where do you begin and end the trek, how many side trips you choose to hike, how many days you spend on acclimatization, the pace you maintain during the trek, etc. The whole Annapurna Circuit begins at Bensishahar and ends at Nayapul and it takes a minimum of 21 days covering 230 kilometers.
Annapurna Circuit Trek is a moderately difficult journey that reaches the elevation of 5416m above sea level passing some cultivated lands, rocky ridges, lush valleys, and steep and slippery paths somewhere. Choosing the right season is crucial for the Annapurna Circuit trek. In the off-seasons, it adds more difficulties.
Of course, Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the most demanding treks of entire Nepal. Along with the panoramic views of the entire Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, trekkers are welcomed by sub-tropical to alpine vegetation, beautiful wildlife inside Annapurna Conservation area, ever-smiling people at the teahouses, cultivated lands, pristine lakes of Tilicho, Gangapurna, and Phewa, scared religious sites as Braga monastery, Muktinath Temple, river valleys and several other rhododendron blossoms entire the hills (in spring).
Generally, you can start your trek anywhere between Bensishahar and Manang. Remember! Buses are available up to Nagdi only. Onwards, your choice is to walk or take a jeep. These days, most of the trekkers begin their journey from Dharapani, a 5-6 hours’ drive from Bensishahar. Reaching Bensishahar is quite easy; you can take a private car, tourist bus, local HIACE, or local bus according to your comfort. Walking 8-9 days, you reach Thorong La pass. Thus, Bensishahar is considered the entrance of the Annapurna Circuit.
The average temperature of the Annapurna Circuit is around 5-10°C. As you ascend higher, the temperature decreases gradually, in the uppermost part of the trek (Thorong Phedi, High Camp, and Thorong La Pass) declines as low as negative 20°C. So, before walking to Annapurna Circuit, the right preparation is obligatory.
The highest point of the Annapurna Circuit trek is Thorong La Pass that sits at the elevation of 5,416m/17,769ft. Standing at the high pass, trekkers feel as if they are higher than the clouds, any other villages, and even the sources of gushing rivers.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek takes you to the base of the Annapurna I whereas Annapurna Circuit Trek leads you circling the entire Annapurna range viewing them from different angles. The highest altitude to gain in Annapurna Base Camp Trek is 4130m whereas trekkers need to reach 5416m in Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Both of them pass through Annapurna Conservation Area and have almost equal side trips. For the novice trekkers, Annapurna Base Camp will be more comfortable than Annapurna Circuit in terms of elevation, risk of altitude sickness, number of trekking days, and length of the trek.
There will be a long list if we mention the pros and cons if we compare both of these treks however there are key issues that differ from them and it is all up to the trekkers to decide which trek they should choose.
If you want to escape mountain flight, then Annapurna Circuit Trek is the perfect option. Not only is it, the jeep ride possible up to Manang village and from Muktinath. In case you are a novice trekker, Annapurna Circuit Trek is recommended. In terms of elevation gained, Annapurna Circuit reaches slightly higher than Everest Base Camp.
In terms of sceneries, the Everest Base Camp trek offers 4 of the 10 tallest peaks, Sherpa villages, Himalayan wildlife and vegetation, and a couple of river valleys. On the other hand, Annapurna Circuit trek offers 2 of the 10 tallest peaks of the world, countless pristine waterfalls, exotic wildlife, and changed vegetation (from sub-tropical to alpine), choices of accommodations, dozens of freshwater lakes, wide and large river valleys and different ethnic villages.
In the Annapurna Circuit trek, you need not repeat the same trail but in Everest Base Camp, it needs unless you take an alternative route to Gokyo via high passes.
March to May and October to December.
Each month and season has its own features and things to offer plus nothing can go wrong when it’s the beauty of the nature with mountains. Weather and temperature are always unpredictable in the Himalayas but there are two adorable seasons in the year for Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Spring (March to May): Days are warm, skies are crystal making the less chances of precipitation or snowfall, mesmerizing views, and entire hills are covered by the rhododendrons and other seasonal flowers. People seem busy working in their fields/farms and wildlife in the conservation area enjoying the fresh nature.
Autumn (September to November): The cleanest and clearest season of the year, autumn brings everything in novice way. The dust particles in the environment are swept away by the rainfall during past three months. People seem busy harvesting their crops and preparing to celebrate their great festivals; Dashain and Tihar. Trekkers can join to celebrate such ceremonies with the locals. The mountain peaks just uncover their face after long vacation of monsoon, nature looks lustrous green and valleys look just awe.
In short Yes! There is always a risk as you move above 3000m above the sea level from the sea surface. It is possible for everyone regardless of any fitness level, gender, physical strength, and age group. So, you should understand and learn what altitude sickness is and what the symptoms are previously.
You can ask your local travel medicine experts, go through online or attend one of the lectures organized in Kathmandu. There’s also an option to attend the high altitude sickness lecture in Manang organized by the Himalayan Rescue Association.
Annapurna Circuit Trek is possible on your own but not recommended. Hiring a guide and porter makes your journey more comfortable, enjoyable, and more convenient. Carrying your own backpack and hiking on the unknown trail makes your journey even riskier.
Beautiful views!!! Amazing views, unique people with their traditional values, lustrous river vales made may Annapurna Circuit trek fantastic. It was possible with our guide Ram. He was an amazing person with multiple knowledge of Nepal and Nepalese people. I highly recommend Ram and his company Holy Mountain Treks for any treks and tours in Nepal. The mountain views were breathtaking. We could see Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Mountains from different angles. Seeing an apple orchids, rhododendron forests, giant rocks and different religious shrine made our trip brilliant.