Annapurna Circuit is a sought after and popular hike. How difficult is it do do the Circuit trek to Annapurna? The circuit is tough at times, and the high altitude and unpredictable weather of the Annapurna mountain range makes crossing the Thorong La Pass a risky day. So yes, you'll need to prepare yourself for the Thorong La Pass, as it takes hikers to 5,416m. The views constantly change as you make your way higher into the mountains combining stunning views of high mountain peaks like Machapuchre and Dhaulagiri. The Annapurna mountain range lies between the Kali Gandaki and Marsyangdi river valley, forming a solid, mountain bastion. It spans 40 miles and incorporates twelve peaks higher than 7000 m. Surrounded by spectacular vistas and rhododendron forests which give way to bamboo groves, you'll encounter the marvelous traditional people who live in Annapurna region on the base camp trek.

After leaving Kathmandu the incredible and vast mountain vistas that lie before you with the Annapurna range. Walking about six to seven hours each day the trail offers views of temples, monasteries, and photographic landscapes.

The best season for hiking the Annapurna Circuit are October - early December, and late Feb - April. Since the trail opened in 1977, most trekkers have followed an Annapurna Circuit itinerary that begins in Besishahar and heads in an anti-clockwise direction over the Thorong-La Pass and down to the Jomsom Valley.

The main reason for this is acclimatisation.

Classified as a moderate-difficult trek, Annapurna basecamp trek it is one of few treks that give you such spectacular mountain views over a short period of time.


Day-1: Arrive Kathmandu

Day-2: Guided Sightseeing

Day-3: Drive to Besishar

Day-4: Bahunadanda (1310m / 6-7 hrs)

Day-5 Chyamje

Day-6: Bagarchhap

Day-7: Chame

Day-8: Pisang

Day-9: Manang

Day-10: Rest to acclimatize

Day-11: Phedi

Day-12: Cross Thorung La Continue to Muktinath

Day-13: to Jomsom

Day-14: Ghasa

Day-15: Tatopani

Day-16: Tatopani

Day-17: Gorepani

Day 18: Birethanti

Day 19 Pokhara

Day 20 Fly to Kathmandu, Free at leisure (B)

Day 21: Depart(B)

Fast Facts

Because of its location, the northern area of the Annapurna circuit receives much less rain than most parts of the Himalaya which means that trekking is done all year-round, even during the monsoon period. However, having said that no-one wants to trek in the rainy season as that is also when you are bound to find leeches in the lower reaches of the forest. Apart from that, you also don't want to go when it is too cold, which is December through to February. That leaves October through to November and March to April, Of course that also means that the route shall be busier too.
The shortest trek is the Poon Hill Ghorepani trek which is a total 10 daysand only 5 days of hiking. After that is Annapurna base camp trek, where the total tour is 15 days. Then there is the longer and more difficult Annapurna Circuit trek which is almost three weeks. If none of those tours suit, we can always tailor something based on your available time.
The hike is variable around 180km return trip.
From the start of your trek there are stairs. The Thorong La pass is also what makes the Annapurna Circuit difficult. Add to that weather changes and high altitude. This means you must be physically prepared and fit enough.
Although the treks are classified as a 'treks,' they have substantial altitude gain, especially the Circuit trek. They require physical fitness and stamina and most importantly, mental fitness. A good exercise and training program is essential and your training should include a lot of hill walking. The treks should not be undertaken lightly, after all, why spend the money if you are not going to prepare yourself physically as well?
We make use of tea houses along the route unless you specifically want to camp. For treks such as the Dhaulagiri trek however, we camp all the way as sections are too remote to find tea houses. Rooms in the tea house can be booked as a single person.
The route is very clearly marked out with wide paths in most places. The route heads up though stunning forests through small little villages. It is very hilly, and if there is a river to cross the paths head down one side, over the river and up the other side. Endless stairs which meander up steep hill sections are along the route. The treks go from forest to bamboo sections to arid alpine regions.
This really depends on the operator you travel through. The Park authorities do not ask for any medical information on the climbers when permits are purchased. Some operators request the clients complete a medical form, others do not. We require that all of our clients complete a medical form and based on the answers, we may request a letter from your medical practitioner. People suffering with conditions such as severe asthma e.g. should not climb. Regardless, anyone attempting the climb, or any climb for that matter, should ensure that they are medically fit, and convey any medical conditions to the operator they book with.
This is one of the most often asked questions - "how will I cope with the altitude". To be honest, this is an 'unknown' factor as no-one can predict. People who have been to altitude many times in the past without problems, may on one climb suddenly develop problems. There are many factors that play a role. The only way to help combat this, is to take all of the necessary precautions, and walk slowly, acclimatise correctly, don't ascent too quickly and drink plenty of water.
There are several variations.
Poon Hill trek is the shortest trek in the Annapurna region as it can be done in as little as 3 days although 4 is best. The trek starts about an hours drive from Pokhara in the village of Nayapul. Like the other treks there are a lot of steep stairs but it takes you to the top of Poon Hill (3200m) where you get stunning views of 3 of the 10 tallest mountains in the world including Dhaulagiri I (8,167m) Annapurna I (8,091m) and Manaslu (8,156 m).

Annapurna Base Camp trek is the most popular trek in the Annapurna region offering spectacular views of Annapurna I (the 10th tallest peak in the world) and Machhapuchhre or Fish Tail - the Matterhorn of Asia. The trek is usually done in 10-11days and also includes a visit to Poon Hill.

The Annapurna Circuit is the classic trekking route which encircles the entire Annapurna Massif. The trek is anything from 15 to 20 days depending on you start and end point. It can be done at any time of year but heavy snow fall in the Thorung La during January and February can be problematic.

There are certain essentials that are needed for most treks and these no different. The best way to draw up your list is from the base up, i.e. thermal underwear, then hands and feet (gloves, socks etc). Then boots which must be waterproof with good ankle support, trekking pants, trekking tops, short and long sleeve, thermal jacket, outer shell jacket which likewise is windproof and water proof, hat, scarf, beanie, balaclava. Then consider sleeping, i.e. sleeping bag, etc. Accommodation along the route is in guesthouses, so a bed and mattresses are provided. Some include lovely warm duvets, others not, so a sleeping bag is required. If you are camping, then a sleeping bag is important but we supply the sleeping mat.

Then, the last items to add are personal items like toiletries, camera, medicines, water bottle, backpack, camera etc.

We supply a duffel bag on arrival

Unfortunately this is something every trekker has to consider. Anything from a stomach bug to altitude sickness can quickly stop a trekker in their tracks. If you are ill and need to turn back or even too tired to continue, a porter will walk off the mountain with you and your gear. If you require emergency evacuation, this is contingent on your insurance cover. It is for this reason that insurance cover for this purpose is mandatory.

Yes you do. We (Nomadic Adventures) do not allow anyone to climb with us unless they have adequate travel insurance. Adequate, means you must be covered for

1) trekking or hiking - this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion.

2) altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard option and often limit it to 3500m or less.

3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy - yes, many insurers exclude this, though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for.
4) personal accident - this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients - "if anything happens to me, just leave me there." Bodies need to be brought home or laid to rest overseas, and this can run into thousands of dollars, creating a huge burden on family members.

We will assist in helping you provide good cover. If you need cover or simply a quote, follow the details herewith. Please ensure that you add the requisite adventure sports rider cover etc. Note: we are not insurance experts and it is your responsibility to ensure you have correct and adequate cover. your responsibility to ensure you have correct and adequate cover. If you live in South Africa, we have other cover options

Those who have trekked in the Himalayas, know that the porters are the heart and soul of your trek. Without their hard work and strength we would not be able to fully experience the magnificence of Everest. IPPG aims to improve safety and health for porters working in the mountains for the trekking industry worldwide. We work to eradicate avoidable illness, injury and death. We do this by raising awareness of the issues among travel companies, guides, trek leaders, sirdars (porters foremen), and trekkers.

21 essential things to know - an interesting read

Annapurna Circuit - Wikipedia link

Detailed Itinerary

Day-1: Arrive Kathmandu

Arrival and transfer to Hotel.

Day-2: Guided Sightseeing

Guided sightseeing around the Valley.

Day-3: Drive to Besishar (760m / 5 hrs).

After breakfast we start the drive to Dumre. This drive can take up to five hours and packed is lunch provided. Your adventure vacation truly starts the moment you reach Besishar where your crew will be waiting for you. .

Day-4: Bahunadanda (1310m / 6-7 hrs)

We begin our trek at the foot of the Gaonshahar fortress. Our path takes us along the banks of the Marsyandi river, where we cross two bridges before reaching the village of Khudi (790m). From here the valley narrows and offers stunning views of the Himalchuli. On entering the Annapurna Conservation Area, we cross a hanging bridge to reach Bhulbule, which provides splendid views of Manaslu and Peak 29. We then head north past Ngadi (930m) to the ridge top settlement of Bahundanda (1311 m). The name of this village literally means "Brahmin Hill".

Day-5 Chyamje (1410m / 6 hrs) (B, L & D)

Today is a day of contrasts as we climb from the tropical forests at the beginning of the walk to the mountain forests of the higher valleys. Along the way we pass through the villages of Khane (1180m) and Syang (1136m). A stunning path cut into the sheer rock walls leads us to Jagat and then onwards to the tiny settlement of Chyamje

Day-6: Bagarchhap (2160m / 6-7 hrs) (B, L & D)

The trail descends to cross the Marsyandi river and then climbs towards the Manang Valley where Tibetan buildings and costumes become a familiar sight. We cross the plateau of Tal and the village of the same name with magnificent views of the Kang Guru massif. We then begin a steep climb along the stairway above the river. We reach a crest at 1860m from where we descend into forest to cross a bridge and begin the climb to Dharapani (1943m). We pass through the village of Thonje and continue to our destination of Bagarchhap. Bagarchap means "Butcher's place".

Day-7: Chame (2670m / 5 hrs) (B, L & D)

Now in the Manang District we continue our trek through forests with views of Manaslu and Annapurna II. We climb up through dense forests to Danejung (also known as Syal Khola 2290m) which houses a furniture factory. From here we pass through Tyahgja (2454m) and Kurpa Kodo (2590m). The climbing levels out a little and we reach the administrative capital of the Manang district, Chame (2685m) with its bank, shops, school and impressive views of the Annapurnas. Chame also has a police check post and bank.

Day-8: Pisang (3300m / 6 hrs) (B, L & D)

From Chame the trail condition changes, somewhat. The continuing trail is not as well maintained as the one up to Chame. Pass through pine forests, over fairly level ground, through the village of Taleku to Bhratang. Like all villages since Dharapani these predominantly Buddhist villages have an entrance chorten and an exit chorten. Annapurna II can be seen to the south and you are now behind the main Himalaya peaks in their rainshadow area. After crossing a series of wooden cantilever bridges you enter a spruce and fir forest that eventually gives way to a pine forest. After days in the gorge the forests provide a welcome change. Crossing the river to its left bank you reach your lodge at the village of Pisang. You may want to visit the village before dinner.

Day-9: Manang (3540m / 5 - 7hrs) ) (B, L & D)

You are now in the dry arid region of Manang called Nyesyang. Since this area falls in the rainshadow area of the Himalaya it seldom rains in the summer months, though it snows in the winter and the snow remains on the ground for a long time. The population is mostly farmers and traders though it is the men that do most of the trading. People in this area keep comparatively less domestic animals and the consumption of meat is very limited. There are two routes leading out of Pisang towards the Manang valley. The one you will follow stays to valley floor, on the left bank. Spectacular views of Annapurna III and IV along with Gangapuran and Tilicho peaks abound. This is possibly the best day for viewing mountains. You will pass through the village of Hongde where there is a STOL airfield servicing the Manang district.

Day-10: Rest to acclimatize (B, L & D)

Today is a day for rest and acclimatization. Those who want may take a short half-day hike from Braga. Retrace your steps to the Manang Mountaineering School and walk up the gully, past the powerhouse, which supplies electricity to upper Manag valley, towards the base of Annapurna III for a real, close up look at this mountain.

Day-11: Phedi (4450m / 6 -7 hrs) (B, L & D)

This is a reasonably long and tiring day. We quickly reach the village of Tengi (3660m) and a section with vast pastures of the Jarsang Khola valley. Passing through Gunsang, a series of pastures leads to Leder (4250m) where we continue up and over a bridge across the mountain stream to reach the plateau of Phedi (4420m) at the foot of the Thorung La.

Day-12: Cross Thorung La (5416m / 6 hrs). Continue to Muktinath (3800m / 2 hrs) ) (B, L & D)

Leaving the river valley you set out early in the morning provided the weather is good and it is not snowing. From Phedi ascend to a notch and turning left head for the Thorung La. A chain of rocks marks the pass, which might not be visible if there is snow. Beyond the pass you enter the river valley of the Kali Gandaki River. The descent from the pass to Muktinath is steep but not difficult. Muktinath is a sacred pilgrimage site to both Hindus and Buddhists who flock there annually for their respective festivals. A rest day here allows you the opportunity to explore the area and the ancient shrines. Of particular interest is the temple of the Hindu God Vishnu and the one hundred and eight waterspouts where devotees bathe. From Muktinath there are beautiful views of Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m).

Day-13: to Jomsom (2710m / 4 hrs) ) (B, L & D)

Today we continue our descent in the Jhong Khola valley passing through small settlements on the way until we reach the ancient village of Kagbeni (2810m) with houses of pounded earth stacked against each other and the ruins of Sakyapa Monastery. From here a long, level path leads to the administrative capital of the Kali Gandaki Valley, the village of Jomsom (2743m).

Day-14: Ghasa (2010m / 6-7hrs) (B, L & D)

Our trail today takes in some of the most stunning scenery in the Kali Gandaki Valley with superb views of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna 1. We cross a number of streams before reaching the whitewashed houses and paved streets of the village of Marpha. From here we trek to the welcoming village of Tukucha (2592m). We descend through several more villages before reaching our destination of Ghasa.

Day-15: Tatopani (1190m / 5hrs) (B, L & D)

Skirting the river, our path rises and falls to pass the waterfalls of Rupse Chhara, past the village of Titre (1524m) and the larger settlement of Dana (1463m) and onwards to Tatopani.

Day-16: Tatopani (1190m / 5hrs) (B, L & D)

Rest day. This low altitude town also boasts a number of good restaurants and teahouses where there is a chance to relax and unwind before the final part of your journey.

Day-17: Gorepani (2853m / 7hrs) (B, L & D)

Today we climb up to Ghare and continue on our trek to the high Ghorapani pass and the settlement of Ghorapani (2853m). This is a great location from which to take the walk to the viewpoint of Poon Hill from which Dhaulagiri and Tukuche Peak are seen in all their glory.

Day 18: Birethanti (1050m / 7hrs) (B, L & D)

Today we descend through tropical forest passing small settlements along the way until reaching a 'stairway' that leads onwards to Birethanti.

Day 19 Pokhara (900m / 5-7hrs) (B, L & D)

We begin our day climbing to the village of Chandrakhot (1567m) and beyond before a descent which offers brilliant views of Annapurna. Our final descent takes us through forest and rice fields through the town of Suikhet and on to Pokhara (900m). Overnight Hotel.

Day 20 Fly to Kathmandu, Free at leisure (B)

You may want to buy souvenirs, explore around or just sleep at your hotel. Overnight: Hotel

Day 21: Depart (B)

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight home

End of services

What's Included

Price includes

Airport transfers by private vehicle
Thamel Eco Resort in Kathmandu, twin sharing with breakfast
Kathmandu sightseeing tour, entrance fees, guide, private transportation
Flights: Kathmandu to Pokhara return
Annapurna NP entrance fees
Teahouse trek arrangement (staying in lodges)
Breakfast, lunch and dinner on trek (we do not restrict the orders) Meals include coffee or tea but not soft drinks, beer, milo etc
Guide and porter (s) on trek; their wages, insurance and expenses
Welcome dinner with live Nepali cultural show
Duffel bag on trek

Price Excludes

International flights, departure taxes and any excess baggage charges.
Mandatory travel and medical insurance
Tips, baggage and porterage
Expenses of a personal nature such as bottled drinks, mineral water, morning and afternoon teas etc laundry etc.
Meals while staying at the hotels in Kathmandu (only breakfast is included along with accommodation).
Extra expenses and/of additional days caused due to unexpected events (such a flight delays, porterage because of land slides and other natural events.)
Entry Visa $50
Rescue and evacuation
Tips and gratuities
Costs incurred for returning to the hotel earlier than expected (From $35 per night)
Single supplements if applicable
Cost for giving up the trek (and any unused portions which are not refundable), additional hotel accommodation as a result or costs incurred for changing the itinerary, if applicable, extra costs incurred for landslides and delays beyond our control etc.

Route Profile Map

Annapurna base camp route profile map
Annapurna Circuit query

Book your Annapurna Circuit Trek
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Trekking Peaks in Nepal
These two peaks are called trekking peaks. Unfortunately, this has led many to believe that there is no difficulty involved. This is not the case. Anything involving the use of ropes, crampons, climbing gear, climbing skill, snow gullies etc is difficult, even if it is just for one day.

Mera Peak is the highest trekking peak in Nepal at 6654m. Island Peak is slightly lower at 6160m.

If you are looking at something tougher than a standard trek and are keen to try adding a peak, these are good options.

Island Peak Itinerary Mera Peak Itinerary

Other treks nearby
In Tibet there are options such as Mt Kailash, the Kharta Valley Trek or Everest Advanced Base Camp Trek. In Bhutan, there is everything from the Laya Ghasa Trek or Dagala Lakes, to the long and difficult Snowman Trek