Arrive Kathmandu, usually spend a day sightseeing in the capital city. Drive from Kathmandu (1,300 meters) to Besisahar / Khudi (circa 800 meters) via bus. The trip takes between 7 and 8 hours, meandering through countryside villages. The Annapurna Circuit typically starts at Besisahar, an hour’s trek from Khudi. Some operators may drive you to Khudi and commence the trek from there.
Trek from Besisahar (820 meters) to Khudi and onto Bahundanda (1,310 meters). This traditional route has been impacted by the road construction so some operators have started using new trails that bypass the road and take you to the village of Sikrung (2,200 meters). The latter is a fairly steep climb to a rather high altitude, but does offer a more untainted Annapurna trekking experience. Expect to trek between 6-7 hours.
Trek from Bahundanda (1,310 meters) / or Sirung (2,200 meters) to Jagat (1,300 meters) or potentially Chamje (1,410 meters). If, on day 4 you followed the traditional route to Bahundanda, you will trek to Ghermu (1,130 meters) and onto Jagat where you might stay the night or take a steep hour-long trek up to Chamje (1,410 meters). We recommend staying the night at Chamje instead of Jagat, which is a dirty and crowded village. If on day 4 you stopped at Sikrung you will likely follow a route via Syange (1,100 meters) to Jagat and up to Chamje. Expect to see great rice terraced landscapes and views of the Manaslu Range during early stages of this day’s trekking.
Trek from Jagat / Chamje (1,300 / 1,410 meters) to Dharapani (1,960 meters). Continuing north into the Manang region you will trek through agricultural fields of corn and potatoes and then forests of rhododendrons up to the quaint village of Tal (1,700 meters). From Tal you will trek for another 6 kms (circa 3 hours) via Karte to the village of Dharapani (1,960 meters).
Trek from Dharapani (1,960 meters) to Chame (2,710 meters) via Bagarchap and Danakyu, and then either along the lower trail or upper trail to Koto (2,640 meters). From Koto you trek a further hour to the busy village of Chame. Some trekkers and operators prefer an overnight stay in the quieter village of Koto. On this rather steep trekking day you will get some great views of Annapurna II and IV, as well as Lamjung Himal.
Trek from Chame (2,710 meters) to Pisang via Bhratang (2,850 meters) and Dhukur Pokhari (3,240 meters). From Dhukur Pokhari the trail splits and you may either trek to Upper Pisang (3,310 meters) or to Lower Pisang (3,250 meters) for an overnight stay. If you take the latter to Lower Pisang we highly recommend re-joining the upper trail on day 8 as it provides arguably the best views of the whole Annapurna Circuit.
Trek using the upper trail from Pisang (3,310 meters) to Manang (3,450 meters) via Ghyaru (3,730 meters), Ngawal (3,680 meters), Humde (3,330 meters and Bhraga (3,450 meters). The mountain views on this portion of the Circuit are exceptional, as are the quaint villages along the trail. A visit to Barge monastery is worthwhile before the final stretch to Manang.
Manang is one of the main towns on the Circuit. Many trekkers take this opportunity to spend a rest acclimatization day in the town. Short excursions to the Gangapurna Lake and Bhojo Gompa (a Buddhist ecclesiastical fortification of learning) are common among trekkers, as well as day trips around the town. You might want to consider visiting the offices of the Himalayan Rescue Association
for a talk on high altitude risks.
Trek from Manang northwest out of the Marshyangdi Valley and up to the small village of Yak Kharka (4,110 meters). If you haven’t started feeling the effects of altitude yet, you might start doing so from today. Some trekkers continue onto the tiny village of Letdar (4,200 meters). Teahouse accommodation is limited in both these villages.
Trek from Yak Kharka (4,110 meters) to High Camp (4,850 meters). This is a fairly tough and steep day. Some tour operators will stop for the night at Thorang Phendi (4,450 meters), particularly if trekkers are struggling with the altitude, but continuing on to High Camp is, in our opinion, preferable as it makes the next day’s treks to Muktinath (3,800 meters) a lot shorter and easier. Accommodation facilities and amenities in Thorang Phendi and High Camp are both good. Please note: continuing onto High Camp means sleeping at high altitude which is not advised if you are suffering from acute mountain sickness (AMS) symptoms
Trek from High Camp (4,850 meters) across the Thorung Pass (the highest point on the trek at 5,416 meters) and then back down to Muktinath (3,800 meters) via Charabu (4,230 meters). Prepare for a tough, icy-cold day of trekking. The descent from Thorung Pass is steep and trekking poles come in handy. Muktinath, although an important pilgrimage site for both Hindu’s (see the Vishnu Temple) and Buddhists (see the Monastery), is a rather characterless village. Depending on your operator you will likely stay overnight in Muktinath. For independent trekkers, the Bob Marley Guesthouse in the centre of town is a great shout!
Trek from Muktinath (3,800 meters) to Marpha (2,665 meters) via the awesome village of Kagbeni (2,800 meters). From Kagbeni to Jomsom we recommend taking a jeep to avoid the unpleasant dusty roads. Once you get to Jomsom you can join the ne NATT-trail (which is 2 hours longer than the road option) to Marpha. Marpha is famous for being the centre of the apple region in Nepal. Do try the apple brandy if you get a chance.
Trek from Marpha (2,665 meters) to Kalopani (2,530 meters), via Chokhopani, and continue to Kokhethanti to avoid the road. Some trekkers grab a jeep from Marpha all the way to Tatapani (see day 15).
Trek from Kolapani (2,530 meters) to Tatapani (1,200 meters). Using a new NATT-trail (marked in red and white), you can avoid the road and follow a trail that climbs steeply before joining a path that will take you through the towns of Kopochepani, Rupsechhahara, Dana and finally Tatapani.
Trek up from Tatapani (1,200 meters) to Ghorepani (2,870 meters), via the towns of Ghara, Sikha and Chitre. You will most likely stay overnight in Ghorepani in preparation for an early start the next day.
Trek from Ghorepani (2,870 meters) up Poon Hill (3,870 meters) and back down to Tadapani (2,710 meters). You will start this days trekking early so as to get up Poon Hill for the impressive sunrise that illuminates surrounding rice terraces and Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs. The classic Annapurna Circuit trek then descends to Tadapani for an overnight stay. Note: we have heard that instead of heading up Poon Hill, the hill opposite in the direction of Chomrong provides an equally impressive (if not better view) without any crowding issues.
Trek from Tadapani (2,710 meters) to Naya Pul (1,070 meters) via Gandruk and then catch a short bus ride back to Pokhara. This is the end of the Annapurna Circuit and an extraordinary 18 days!
Note: It is possible to follow the old Annapurna Circuit from Ghorepani to Phedi via Landruk, although this takes an extra 2 days compared to the direct exit from Ghorepani to Naya Pul.