This is a there-and-back trek to the awe-inspiring Annapurna Sanctuary, Nepal’s second most popular trek after Everest Base Camp. From Annapurna Base Camp (12,795 feet / 3,900 m), you'll wake up to truly once-in-a-lifetime views. The trek begins at Phedi, after a short drive from Pokhara, and passes through Gurung villages, rhododendron forests, and stunning river valleys set against the backdrop of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri peaks.

Highlights

  • Explore Kathmandu, Nepal's buzzing capital
  • Take a private guided tour of trio of sacred sites in the Kathmandu Valley
  • Trek through rhododendron forests and traditional Gurung villages
  • Enjoy spectacular views of the extraordinary Himalaya
  • Relax in the serene lakeside city of Pokhara

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square Kathmandu
Day 3 Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Trek to Landruk (5,085 ft / 1,550 m) Landruk
Day 4 Trek from Landruk to Chomrong (6,693 ft / 2,040 m) Chomrong
Day 5 Trek from Chomrong to Himalaya Hotel (8,793 ft / 2,680 m) Himalaya Hotel
Day 6 Trek from Himalaya Hotel to Machapuchare Base Camp (11,811 ft / 3,600 m) Machapuchare Base Camp
Day 7 Trek from Machapuchare Base Camp to Annapurna Base Camp (13,550 ft / 4,130 m) Annapurna Base Camp
Day 8 Trek from Annapurna Base Camp to Himalaya Hotel Himalaya Hotel
Day 9 Trek from Himalaya Hotel to Jhinu Danda (5,840 ft / 1,780 m) Jhinu Danda
Day 10 Trek from Jhinu Danda to Ghandruk Phedi, Drive to Pokhara Pokhara
Day 11 Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 12 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

The cityscape of Kathmandu and Boudhanath Stupa
The cityscape of Kathmandu and Boudhanath Stupa

Flying into Kathmandu, you'll have views over the valley, the Himalaya, and the terraced fields below. After completing customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you outside the airport and to guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets to your hotel.

Once you've settled in, head out and explore the city. Kathmandu Durbar Square is a great place to start your exploration, where you'll walk through narrow alleyways teeming with small shops, ancient temples, and local restaurants. If you want to stretch your legs, Swayambhunath, the white stupa rising above the valley, is the perfect spot to catch the sunset over the valley.

In the evening, the tourist hub of Thamel is a good place to grab your first meal, with a variety of restaurants to chose from offering both Western and local Nepali dishes.

Day 2: Explore Kathmandu: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll be picked up by an English-speaking guide for a full-day tour of the Kathmandu Valley, visiting three sacred sites: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square.

This day fits quite a bit in — helpful for maximizing your time in Kathmandu — but doesn't overload you with too many sites. You can spend as much time as you like at each temple (this is a private tour just for you), although most people tend to spend an hour. For lunch, you'll stop at one of our recommended local restaurants. 

Return to your hotel in Kathmandu in the late afternoon and meet your trekking guide who will go over details for tomorrow's adventure.

Tour length: 7-8 hours (including transfers)

Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Trek to Landruk (5,085 ft / 1,550 m)

Trekking through the foothills
Trekking through terraced fields

This morning you'll experience a spectacular half-hour flight along the mighty Himalayan Range to Pokhara.

After you land, you'll have a scenic drive to Dhampus. From here, you'll trek to Pothana and then veer up the ridge at Deurali to gain magnificent views of the Annapurna range, including Mt. Dhaulagiri, the highest mountain in this region.

After enjoying the views and a well-earned rest, you'll descend through forest to the small village of Tolka, a small Gurung settlement rich in culture. Then, head on to Beri Kharka and, from there, the trail descends through scattered forests and villages to reach Landruk, a large Gurung village situated above the Modi River. You'll overnight here in a local teahouse.

Driving time: 1 hour
Trekking time: 5-6 hours

Day 4: Trek from Landruk to Chomrong (6,693 ft / 2,040 m)

Trekking past a waterfall and lush terrain
Climbing stone steps past a waterfall

Your route will now climb quite steeply, high above the river, through bamboo forest and isolated farmsteads. But just ahead of you, the teahouses at Jhinu will provide a welcome opportunity to stop for a drink and a rest on this long, hot, but gorgeous climb.

Ascending farther along a treeless ridge, you will come to Taglung and just a short distance beyond is Chomrong. From this Gurung village, you can take in a great view of Annapurna South, as well as impressive views of Machhapuchhare.

Trekking time: 6-7 hours 
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 5: Trek from Chomrong to Himalaya Hotel (8,793 ft / 2,680 m)

Looking out onto the valley below
Looking out onto the valley below

After you drop down to the Chomrong Khola on steep stone steps, you'll climb with the trail up again, initially through terraced fields and then through a forest of bamboo and rhododendron. Today's walk is always either up or down on steep paths that are often paved. You will occasionally find tantalizing glimpses of the Annapurnas and Machhapuchhare ahead, but more often, you'll be treated to the lush and verdant forest canopy.

After reaching the village of Khuldigar, you will descend a stone staircase to a section of exceptionally thick bamboo forest that leads to the settlement known as "Bamboo Lodge." From here, you will climb steeply through bamboo and rhododendron forest, following the trail high above the river to day's end at Himalaya Hotel.

Trekking time:  6-7 hours 
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 6: Trek from Himalaya Hotel to Machapuchare Base Camp (11,811 ft / 3,600 m)

The moonlit Himalaya
The moonlit Himalaya

You'll start the day with a steep climb, but will soon reach a fire-blackened overhang which has been walled-in to make a small lodge. This place is known as Hinku Cave. The trail will continue to rise as you near the entrance to the Sanctuary. After passing the lodges at Deorali and Bagar, you will arrive at the level and grassy moraine platform known as Machapuchare Base Camp.

Trekking time: 5-6 hours 
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 7: Trek from Machapuchare Base Camp to Annapurna Base Camp (13,550 ft / 4,130 m)

The route will likely become snowier today
Today's snowy route

You'll wake up in and have breakfast at Machapuchare Base Camp and then will set out for Annapurna Base Camp. Any living vegetation that you may have encountered on previous days will likely be replaced with snow, rocks, and boulders. Dress warm and take the trail slowly so you can acclimatize to the higher elevation.

The path widens as you enter the Annapurna Sanctuary; you'll follow a stream and then continue uphill. Your ascent promises a rewarding finish with unobstructed views of Machapuchare, Annapurna south, Annapurna I, Hiuchuli, and other peaks. 

Trekking time: 2-3 hours (2 miles / 3.2 km)

Day 8: Trek from Annapurna Base Camp to Himalaya Hotel

The trail to Himalaya Hotel
The trail to Himalaya Hotel

Today, it's all downhill as you retrace your steps back to Himalaya Hotel. Watch the landscape and vegetation change as you descend down the mountain. 

Trekking time: 4-5 hours 
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 9: Trek from Himalaya Hotel to Jhinu Danda (5,840 ft / 1,780 m)

Meandering through the stunning valley
Meandering through the stunning valley

You'll continue to retrace your steps today, ending the day at Jhinu Danda. In the afternoon, you can relax in the natural hot springs about a 15-minute walk down (and half-hour walk back up) from the teahouse. It's well worth the walk, though! The springs are contained by simple cement slabs, with a small shed nearby where you can change your clothes. A soak is sure to rejuvenate you after your time on the trail. 

Trekking time: 6 hours 
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 10: Trek from Jhinu Danda to Ghandruk Phedi, Drive to Pokhara

The waters of Phewa Lake in Pokhara

This morning, the trail drops down to the river and onward to Ghandruk Phedi, where your vehicle will be waiting to take you back to Pokhara.

Back in Pokhara, the rest of the day is yours to explore and relax. Stretch out in a yoga class, tuck into a delicious meal at one of the city's many wonderful eateries, enjoy some water activities at Phewa Lake, or poke around Pokhara's funky shops. Celebrate the end of your trek with a well-deserved beverage as you watch the sun sink behind the mountains.

Driving time: 3 hours
Trekking time: 2 hours

Day 11: Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu

The dense buildings of Kathmandu City
The dense buildings of Kathmandu City

After breakfast, you may have time to do more sightseeing, relax, or check out one of Pokhara's coffee shops. About 1.5 hours before your flight, you'll be picked up from your hotel and taken to the domestic airport to catch your flight back to Kathmandu.

In Kathmandu, you'll be transferred to your hotel and can enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure. Explore Kathmandu's streets on foot, bicycle, or rickshaw, perhaps shopping for souvenirs or seeing anything you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.

In the evening, choose from a selection of Nepali, French, Vietnamese, and Middle Eastern dishes in the city.

Day 12: Depart Kathmandu

The all-seeing eyes of Buddha at Swayambhunath
The all-seeing eyes of Buddha at Swayambhunath

It's time to say farewell to Nepal. Enjoy your last moments in Kathmandu with breakfast in a café, a final stroll through the narrow alleys and temples, and some souvenir shopping. A driver will be waiting for you at your hotel to take you to the airport for your return flight home. It's best to be at the airport at least two hours prior to departure.