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annapurna circuit trek

The Annapurna Circuit is one of the iconic and best-loved treks in Nepal.  It can be done in a relatively short time – like this 10 days itinerary shows.  Or over a larger number of days, with much more trekking involved. The choice is yours.

This 10-day trek takes you through Manang and Mustang areas of Nepal.  The peoples in both areas are Buddhist so there are a lot of Buddhist prayer flags, Chortens (cairns) and Mani (prayer) stones on the way.

The medieval town of Kagbeni is an interesting stop, with its paved, covered walkways and strange effigies. And among this land of Buddhists, Muktinath is a pilgrim spot for Hindus, who come from all over the country and beyond to bath in the 108 water spouts.

But before coming to these interesting places in Mustang, you have to cross the high Thorong La pass which links Mustang with Manang.

This can be challenging depending on the weather conditions so an acclimatization day is recommended in Manang village first. And of course, there are the mountains!

Some of the majestic mountains that can be seen on this trek are Annapurna III, Annapurna II, Chulu Peak, Gangapurna, Khangsahar, Nilgiri North and Dhaulagiri Massif. And many more.

The trek starts with a long bus ride and, basically an off-the-road, jeep ride over a two day period.  And ends with a much faster plane journey out of the Jomsom in Mustang to Pokhara.

annapurna circuit trek thorong la pass

Highlights

  • The scenic drive from Kathmandu to Beshi Sahar along the Trishuli River.
  • Changing scenery from farmsteads to snow and ice.
  • Get close to the mountains.
  • Cross the Thorong La pass at 5,416 m/ 17,764 ft.
  • Fly out of Jomsom Airport through high cliffs.

Annapurna Circuit 10 days Trek at Glance

Duration  10 days
Max Elevation   5,416m/ 17,764ft
Trek Start/ FinishKathmandu/ Pokhara
Difficulty   Moderate to Difficult
AccommodationTeahouses

beshi sahar annapurna circuit trek

Day 01: Drive to Beshi Sahar (760 m/ 2,493 ft): 7 hours drive

This morning head out to the bus station at Gongabu in Kathmandu to catch an early morning (around 6.30 am) bus to Beshi Sahar.  You should reach there around 2 pm, assuming there are no hold-ups on the road.

On the way, the bus will stop for lunch but you will probably want to take some snacks with you. The journey is an interesting one as it travels along a winding road above the Trishuli River flowing far below.  The mountains appear on and off through the clouds in a long game of hide-and-seek! Overnight in Beshi Sahar.

chame annapurna circuit trek

Day 02: Drive Beshi Sahar to Chame (2,670 m/ 8,759 ft): 5 hours drive

Today is another day on the road.  But this time not as smooth as yesterday!  Five hours of a bumpy ride over a rough road is tough, even if the vehicle is a four-wheel drive.  Overnight in Chame.

pisang annapurna circuit trek

Day 03: Trek Chame to Pisang (3,200 m/ 10,496 ft): 5-6 hours trek

Finally a chance to get out and walk!  After breakfast, the trek starts from Chame, Manang District Headquarters.  Walking through the left of the valley and through apple orchards, the trail crosses a suspension bridge and uphill to Dhikur Pokhari village.  From here Annapurna II, Annapurna IV, and Pisang Peak are on view.  Overnight in Pisang.

manang annapurna circuit trek

Day 04: Trek Pisang to Manang (3,540 m/ 11,283 ft): 5-6 hours walk

There are two ways the trail goes today, so you can choose whether to go high above the valley on the right. Or take the trail on the left.  The scenery is of villages and a monastery.

Once you reach Humde, the landscape becomes drier.  The mountains are stunning: Annapurna III, Chulu Peak, Gangapurna, and Khangsahar are on display.  Near Manang, there is a Chorten (Buddhist shrine) and a long Mani wall (wall with Buddhist payers carved into the stone).  Overnight in Manang village.

gangapurna annapurna circuit trek

Day 05: Acclimatization Day

Today it is recommended you take a day to acclimatize to the high altitude.  And the best way to do that is not to rest, but to remain active.  There is a 5-6 hour hike to Ice Lake (4,600 m/ 15,088 ft).  On the way you can see the Marsyangdi Valley as well as the mountains.  Overnight in Manang.

ledar annapurna circuit trek

Day 06: Trek Manang to Ledar (4,200 m/ 13,776 ft): 5-6  hours trek

The trail today is quite dry and at higher altitude, so it’s good to walk slowly as the trail ascends up to Ledar.  Today some of the Chulu range can be seen, along with a glacier dome. Overnight in Ledar.

thorong phedi annapurna circuit trek

Day 07: Trek Ledar to Thorong La Phedi (4,450 m/ 14,596 ft): 5-6  hours trek

The trail goes along the side of the valley, first on the left then on the right.  To achieve this, you have to cross another suspension bridge.  From here you will see the Thorong Peak.  In fact, if you are feeling good, you can hike up for about an hour to visit High Camp.  Overnight at Thorong La Phedi.

thorong la pass annapurna circuit trek

Day 08: Trek Thorong La Phedi to Muktinath (3,760 m/ 12,335 ft): 8 hours

In order to go over the pass before the afternoon winds, it is recommended you get up around 4 am.  If you can, take breakfast to give you fuel for the climb.

Today the walking can be hard; there can be snow on the pass and the altitude is high (5,416 m/ 17,764 ft).  Once over the pass descend to Muktinath.  But take time to take in the Dhaulagiri Massif on the way.

Muktinath is famous for its 108 water spouts, Hindu temple, and never dying flame.  Perhaps it’s a good idea to visit in the morning when you are less tired.  Overnight in Muktinath.

kagbeni annapurna circuit trek

Day 09: Trek Muktinath to Jomsom (2,720 m/ 8,923 ft): 6 hours trek

After a good breakfast and exploring Muktinath, take a straightforward hike down to the walled village of Kagbeni, with its small monastery and strange effigies.  Here you can have lunch and look up the valley to Upper Mustang or stand on the top of the nearby hill to see Nilgiri North and Dhaulagiri Massif and others.  Continue on another couple of hours to Jomsom.  Overnight in Jomsom.

pokhara annapurna circuit trek

Day 10: Fly Jomsom to Pokhara (827 m/ 2,713 ft)

Early this morning take an exciting, 25-minute flight from Jomsom to Pokhara.  On the way, the plane will pass through the Kali Gandaki Valley and close to steep cliff faces.  This is a different way to see the mountains.  Finally, you are in the lake town of Pokhara with its good restaurants, bars, and entertainment.  Overnight in Pokhara.