- Descend into one of the deepest gorge's in the world - the Kali Gandhaki
- Reach 5,400 m over Thorung La, the highest point of the trek
- Take a side trip to Tilicho, a high-altitude lake at 4,919 m
- Veer off into the remote valleys of Nar & Phu
- Customize this trek in a variety of ways to match your interests
|Min. duration||20 days|
|Max. elevation||5,400 m (Thorung La)|
Known as one of the most diverse treks in Nepal, the Annapurna Circuit ascends 4,622 m before dropping down onto a high-altitude plateau that takes you south along the Kali Gandkhi river valley. Road construction has changed the nature of this trek over the years (pushing as far north as Muktinath in the west and Manang in the east), but it still remains a beautiful trek that can be done in many different ways - from a short 9-day itinerary to a month-long journey around the entire Annapurna massif.
From Pokhara, you'll take either private jeep or public transport to Besisahar, from where you officially start your trek.
|Day 1||Welcome to Kathmandu!||Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Explore Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
|Day 3||Drive from Kathmandu to Besishahar, Trek to Khudi||Khudi|
|Day 4||Trek from Khudi to Bahundanda||Bahundanda|
|Day 5||Trek from Bahundanda to Jagat||Jagat|
|Day 6||Trek from Jagat to Dharapani||Dharapani|
|Day 7||Trek from Dharapani to Chame||Chame|
|Day 8||Trek from Chame to Pisang (10,466 feet / 3,190 m)||Pisang|
|Day 9||Trek from Pisang to Manang (11,548 feet / 3,520 m)||Manang|
|Day 10||Acclimatization day in Manang (11,482 feet / 3,500 m)||Manang|
|Day 11||Trek from Manang to Khangsar Village (12,323 feet / 3,756 m)||Khangsar Village|
|Day 12||Trek from Khangsar Village to Tilicho Base Camp (16,138 feet / 4,919 m)||Tilicho Base Camp|
|Day 13||Visit Tilicho Lake, Return to Base Camp (16,138 feet / 4,919 m)||Tilicho Base Camp|
|Day 14||Trek from Tilicho Base Camp to Yak Kharka (13,156 feet / 4,010 m)||Yak Kharka|
|Day 15||Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi (14,599 feet / 4,450 m)||Thorung Phedi|
|Day 16||Trek from Thorung Phedi to Muktinath (12,467 feet / 3,800 m) via Thorung La (5,400 m)||Muktinath|
|Day 17||Trek from Muktinath to Jomsom||Jomsom|
|Day 18||Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara||Pokhara|
|Day 19||Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
|Day 20||Depart Kathmandu|
Generally, the best (and busiest) time to trek the Annapurna Circuit is the spring and the fall, although a shortened itinerary (focusing on the northern, drier region of the circuit) is a great option during the monsoon. It's only during the winter that causes issues as Thorung La pass if often closed due to snow.
Accessing this Trek
The safest direction to complete this trek is counter-clockwise, which allows for gradual acclimatization as you make your way toward Thorung La. Traditionally, the route starts in Besisahar and ends in Tatopani, but road construction has opened up a number of options at both the beginning and end of your trek.
Over the past few years, road construction has made much of the western and eastern sections of the Annapurna Circuit accessible by bus and jeep. The roads are bumpy dirt tracks, at best, but many trekkers now opt for a shorter version of this trek by starting farther up the valley (3-4 days into the traditional route) and ending even as early as Jomsom (then taking a bus to Beni or flying to Pokhara).
Permits & Regulations
If you're trekking in the Annapurna region, you'll need to purchase a TIMS card ($10) and an Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) ($20 USD) before you go. There will be multiple checkpoints along the way where you'll need to show these.
Accommodation & Meals
As with other treks in Nepal, teahouses are available along the entire Annapurna Circuit, and all your meals, snacks and water can be purchased along the way.
Variations to this trek
There are a variety of ways to do this trek, a few of which are listed below.
A shortened version
Given the road construction, this trek can now be done is as few as 8-9 days by starting as far north as Manang (3,520 m) and ending as early as Muktinath. If you decide to shave off the initial days of the trek, be sure to follow a proper acclimatization schedule before you attempt to cross Thorung La pass.
The 'full' Annapurna Circuit
From Tatopani (Day 18), you can continue east by following the local village trails along the Ghorepani trekking route, to Ghandruk, and finally ending in Nayapul from where you can take a jeep or bus back to Pokhara. This adds an extra 4-5 days onto your trek. If time is not an issue, you can even consider continuing farther to Annapurna Base Camp.
Including Nar Phu Valley
These two remote valleys of the Annapurna region are a great way to experience a desert-like landscape of Upper Mustang without paying for the $500 permit. From Kota Uppar (Day 5 of the Annapurna Circuit), branch north up the valley toward the villages of Nar and Phu. It's possible to complete a small circuit and link back up to the Annapurna Circuit by crossing the Kang La (5,300 m) and re-connecting at Humde.