The Annapurna Circuit is a classic. With the building of roads from the south on both sides its possible to customize the length of the trek and there are many deviations off the main trail leading you into small villages which to this day are virtually untouched by modern development.
A nice variation of the circuit is the path leading to the villages of Naar and Phu, crossing the Kang La (5322 m) on the way back to the main trail. This area was closed to trekkers until late 2002 and still very few venture off the well-trodden circuit up to these relatively unexplored villages surrounded by many dazzling 7000 m peaks.
From Chame the trek climbs up through beautiful forests, gorges and narrow canyons, past ancient gompas in century old villages. Beyond Manang you can leave the busy trail again by trekking via Tilicho Tal (4920 m), crossing two 5000 m plus passes instead of the customary trail via Thorung La (5415 m).
The main circuit trail has ample guesthouses along the way. If you do plan on deviating from the trail and exploring the two areas mentioned above it’s advisable to check the flow of trekkers at entry point or simply bring a tent in case guesthouse options run out.
If you decide to trek the Annapurna Circuit during the monsoon be aware that the Annapurna region is one of the wetter areas in Nepal and the beginning of the circuit will see quite a bit of rain in the summer months. Manang valley however, receives much less rain than the Pokhara side of the Annapurna range. The driest area in Nepal is Upper Mustang and Manang lies just to the east and is therefore sheltered from the heavy precipitation of the rest of the country. For tips on trekking in Nepal during monsoon head over to the GHT Blog and “7 Tips for Monsoon Trekking“.
March, April, May, September, October, November
Level of Difficulty
Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Permit and Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) Permit. Issued in Kathmandu.
- Day 1 Drive from Kathmandu or Pokhara to Besisahar on blacktop road, then drive Besisahar to Chamje (1430 m) on dirt track.
- Day 2 Chamje (1430 m) - Bagarchhap (2164 m) 6-7 hrs
- Day 3 Bagarchhap (2164 m) - Chame (2730 m) via Timang. 6 hrs
- Day 4 Chame (2730 m) - Pisang (3186 m) 6-7 hrs
- Day 5 Pisang (3186 m) - Manang village (3540 m) via Ghyaru and Ngawal. 7-8 hours
- Day 6 Rest day and acclimatization. Explore Manang.
- Day 7 Manang (3540 m) - Yak Kharka (4050 m) 6 hrs
- Day 8 Yak Kharka (4050 m) - Thorong Phedi (4510 m) 4 hrs
- Day 9 Thorong Phedi (4510 m) - Muktinath (3760 m) via Thorong-La pass (5416 m) 9 hrs
- Day 10 Muktinath (3760 m) - Kagbeni (2810 m) 4 hrs
- Day 11 Kagbeni (2810 m) - Marpha (2640 m) 5-6 hrs
- Day 12 Marpha (2640 m) - Kalopani (2560 m) 6 hrs
- Day 13 Kalopani (2560 m) - Tatopani (1190 m) 8 hrs
- Day 14 Tatopani (1190 m) - Ghorepani (2800 m) 8-9 hrs
- Day 15 Ghorepani (2800 m) - Tikhedhunga (1570 m). Include a sunrise trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill (3200 m). 7 hr
- Day 16 Tikhedhunga (1570 m) - Nayapul (1070 m), drive to Pokhara (3 hrs)
- Day 17 Flight Pokhara to Kathmandu or drive 8 hrs
Specialised Operators offering this itinerary
- AdventureWeek – Promoting adventure travel in Nepal Oct 16, 2015
- On World Tourism Day: 10 Trekker Tales from the Great Himalaya Trails Sep 27, 2016
- Mustang – Himalaya’s Best Kept Secret Nov 04, 2015