Annapurna Circuit - Guide To Nepal's Classic Circuit Trek (2022)

The Annapurna Circuit is one of the most popular and most epic treks in Nepal. This classic trek meanders through Himalayan foothills and over high passes, offering picturesque mountain views along the way.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Route Overview

The Annapurna Circuit is one of the greatest treks in Nepal, if not the world. Although road construction over the past two decades has severely impacted the trekking experience (more on this later). Note: if you are a mountain biker, the road on the western side makes for one of the most exhilarating and scenic mountain biking experiences!

The trek begins at Besisahar (which is a 7-8 hour drive from Kathmandu) and concludes in the Kali Gandaki Gorge – the disputed highest gorge in the world that separates Dhaulagiri (8,176 meters) in the West and Annapurna (8,091 meters) in the East.

The circuit is traditionally followed on an anti-clockwise trail – for acclimatization reasons – that circumvents the Annapurna Massif, taking trekkers through the Annapurna, Manang and Mustang region of central Nepal.

At its pinnacle, the trek crosses the Thorung La Pass (5,416 meters) before descending down to the town of Muktinath. From here the road construction activities that began in 2004 and completed in 2008/09 have had a measurable impact on the Annapurna Circuit trekking experience.

The Nepalese government have realized that the road on both the Western (Pokhara-Muktinath) and Eastern (Chame-Manang) side of the circuit has had a negative impact on trekking tourism. Thus, they have created a number of New Annapurna Trekking Trails (called NATT-trails).

These NATT-trails, marked blue and white or red and white, take trekkers away from the dusty and unpleasant roads and provide a much more pleasant trekking experience. Where possible, we have highlighted these NATT-trails in the Annapurna Circuit itinerary below.

The Annapurna circuit typically takes between 16-20 days to complete (depending if you decide to tack on a diversion toAnnapurna Base Campand theAnnapurna Sanctuary). It covers between 150-240 km depending on when you decide to end the tour or use transportation vehicles.

The scenery on the Annapurna Circuit is extraordinarily beautiful, taking trekkers through rice terraced paddy fields, subtropical forests, and glacial environments. You will see a number of major mountains including the Annapurna Massif (I-IV), three 8,000 metre peaks – Dhaulagiri (8,176 meters), Manaslu (8,156 meters) and Annapurna I (8,091 meters) – as well as numerous peaks of 6,000 to 7,000 meters.

Please Note: The Annapurna Circuit is situated in the Annapurna and Mustang regions of central Nepal. It is home to the Annapurna Massif. The schematic below illustrates Nepal’s trekking regions (not to scale).

Annapurna Regional Map

The Annapurna Circuit is situated in the Annapurna and Mustang regions of central Nepal. It is home to the Annapurna Massif. The schematic illustrates Nepal’s trekking regions (not to scale)

Annapurna Circuit - Guide To Nepal's Classic Circuit Trek (1)

Annapurna Trek Altitude Profile

The schematic diagram below shows the route altitude profile for the Annapurna Circuit.

Annapurna Circuit - Guide To Nepal's Classic Circuit Trek (2)

Annapurna Circuit Itinerary

Below is a detailed Annapurna Circuit itinerary. Where possible we have highlighted the NATT-Trails that can be used to avoid the road. Please note that this is a typical Annapurna Circuit itinerary. Some tour operators offer variations on this route.

Annapurna Circuit - Guide To Nepal's Classic Circuit Trek (3)

Day 1-2: Arrive Kathmandu (Drive to Besisahar / Fly to Pokhara)

(Video) TRAVEL GUIDE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT TREK, NEPAL 🇳🇵| All You NEED To Know!

Day 3: Trek from Besisahar (820 meters) to Khudi and onto Bahundanda (1,310 meters)

Day 4: Trek from Bahundanda (1,310 meters) / or Sirung (2,200 meters) to Jagat (1,300 meters) or potentially Chamje (1,410 meters)

Day 5: Trek from Jagat / Chamje (1,300 / 1,410 meters) to Dharapani (1,960 meters)

Day 6: 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)

Day 7: Trek from Chame (2,710 meters) to Pisang via Bhratang (2,850 meters) and Dhukur Pokhari (3,240 meters)

Day 8: 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)

Day 9: Acclimatization day in Manang

Day 10: Trek from Manang northwest out of the Marshyangdi Valley and up to the small village of Yak Kharka (4,110 meters)

Day 11: Trek from Yak Kharka (4,110 meters) to High Camp (4,850 meters)

Day 12: 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)

(Video) Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal - THE HIGH PASS

Day 13: Trek from Muktinath (3,800 meters) to Marpha (2,665 meters) via the awesome village of Kagbeni (2,800 meters)

Day 14: Trek from Marpha (2,665 meters) to Kalopani (2,530 meters), via Chokhopani, and continue to Kokhethanti to avoid the road

Day 15: Trek from Kolapani (2,530 meters) to Tatapani (1,200 meters)

Day 16: Trek up from Tatapani (1,200 meters) to Ghorepani (2,870 meters)

Day 17: Trek from Ghorepani (2,870 meters) up Poon Hill (3,870 meters) and back down to Tadapani (2,710 meters)

Day 18:Trek from Tadapani (2,710 meters) to Naya Pul (1,070 meters) via Gandruk and then catch a short bus ride back to Pokhara

Please Note: From Muktinath onwards the classic Annapurna Circuit has been severely impacted by the road that joins Jomsom to Muktinath. If you choose to trek this route be prepared for an unpleasant and dusty experience, as jeeps wiz by you. Thankfully there are alternative options via the New Annapurna Trekking Trails (NATT-trails).

Suggested route options from Muktinath

If you are not on a set tour we suggest the following route:

  • Trek to the charmingly wonderful town of Kagbeni (2,800 meters) for an overnight stay. We recommend taking the high trail out of Muktinath via Jhong, as this offers better mountain views
  • From Kagbeni to Jomsom take a jeep as dust driven from the common winds in this region and the constant flow of vehicles on the road make for unpleasant trekking
  • From Jomsom take the new NATT-trail (marked in red and white) to Marpha (2,665 meters) where you can stay overnight and then continue following the route set out from Day 13 below

Also Note: As the road starts in Muktinath, you can cheat and catch a truck all the way to Jomsom to continue your trek or catch a flight to Kathmandu if you need to shorten your trek (we highly recommend not skipping Kagbeni though).

You can also get a bus from Muktinath all the way back to Pokhara if you have run out of time. If you are a mountain biking fanatic you can rent a mountain bike to take one of the most amazing rides down and out of Muktinath – this area of Nepal is fast becoming mountain biking Mecca

Annapurna Route Variations

There are a number of route variations on the Annapurna Circuit. Here are three worth mentioning.

If you don’t have much time in the Annapurna Circuit you may want to consider the Poon Hill Trek,The Royal Trekor theGhorepani Poon Hill Trek (also called the small Annapurna Circuit).

(Video) Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

  • Annapurna base Camp Trek
  • Naar-Pho Valley
  • Tilicho Lake

It is possible to include a five day diversion to Annapurna Base Camp onto the Annapurna Circuit trek. This involves continuing north from Tadapani so as to join the old Annapurna Circuit at Landruk.

Read more about the Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Recommended Guidebook

Annapurna Circuit - Guide To Nepal's Classic Circuit Trek (4)

If you would like to get an up-to-date guide book with maps that include the NATT-Trails then we recommend either Andrées de Ruiter and Prem Rai’s guide, Trekking the Annapurna Circuit, or Sian Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons guide, Annapurna: A Trekker’s Guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the trek cost?

Are permits required for this trek?

When is the best time to trek?

Is altitude sickness a risk?

(Video) ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT TREK - ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT, NEPAL'S MOST ADVENTUROUS HIMALAYAN TREK

How difficult is the trek?

What gear do I need?

What travel insurance do I need?

Insurance Information

Trekking insurance is a must in Nepal. This is particularly the case in the Annapurna Region, which at stages is very remote. If an accident should occur that requires medical assistance and evacuation you will definitely want trekking insurance that can cover the costs of air ambulance and treatment.

Moreover, it is prudent to have insurance that covers you for any travel related risks, like lost, stolen, damaged or delayed baggage; flight delays and interruptions; and tour operators default.

This article ontravel and trekking insurance in Nepal provides detailed information on what type of insurance you need, as well as provides a quote calculator from a leading travel operator.

Other Routes

Everest Base Camp Trek

The Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular and iconic treks in Nepal. Trekkers get to retrace the early footsteps taken by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on their historic Everest expedition in 1953. Discover the Everest Base Camp Trek.

Langtang Valley Trek

The Langtang Valley Trek is a relatively easy trek and is often far less busy than other popular treks in the Everest and Annapurna region. The trek can be done in seven days, however, it usually takes 10 to 12 days. Discover the Langtang Valley Trek.

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Robin Boustead, author of Nepal Trekking & the Great Himalaya Trail: A route and planning guide, pronounced, “Many would argue that the Manaslu Circuit trail is the best general trek in the country.” Discover the Manaslu Circuit Trek.

Annapurna Circuit - Guide To Nepal's Classic Circuit Trek (8)

(Video) Annapurna Circuit (Nepal) - Deel 2 - Wereldreis vlog #10

FAQs

Do I need a guide for Annapurna Circuit? ›

The Annapurna Circuit trek is a well-traveled route so I found a guide was not necessary. I traveled with a group, and found whenever we lost our way, there were friendly locals to point us in the right direction. However, a quality guide can be very helpful.

How difficult is the Annapurna Circuit trek? ›

Annapurna Circuit Trek is a moderate and one of the longest trekking routes in the region. So, it can be a bit harder for a beginner trekker to complete the journey without prior training and preparation. Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the most exciting and adventurous trekking journeys for any trekker.

Can a beginner do Annapurna Circuit? ›

Annapurna Circuit Trek is also suitable for beginners as well as first-timer hikers. The route of Annapurna Circuit Trek opened for foreign nationals in 1977 AD. This trail starts from less than 1000 meters and goes up to the height of 5,416 m.

How long does it take to complete Annapurna Circuit? ›

The Annapurna Circuit is a long-distance trekking route that circles the Annapurna massif. Depending on what route you choose, it can take anywhere from 12-22 days, and span from 160km-230km.

Is Annapurna Circuit still worth it? ›

Despite the new roads going up the Marsyangdi and Kali Gandaki valleys, the Annapurna Circuit trek is still very much worth it. Although many things have changed with the new road, a lot also remains the same. People are just as friendly, the villages just as authentic and the mountain views just as spectacular.

Which is harder Everest base camp or Annapurna? ›

The Everest Base Camp trek is harder than the Annapurna Circuit trek as it's overall the far longer route.

How do you prepare for the Annapurna Circuit? ›

10 tips for trekking the Annapurna Circuit
  1. Train strategically.
  2. Pack like a pro.
  3. Bring altitude meds.
  4. Pack the right footwear.
  5. Bring trekking poles.
  6. Take things at your own pace.
  7. Drink lots and eat everything.
  8. Protect your skin and eyes.
4 Oct 2022

Why is Annapurna so hard? ›

It is a mountain pass situated at an elevation of 5416 m. With high altitude comes extreme weather, cold climate, and the risk of altitude sickness. All these factors combined take the Annapurna trek difficulty level to strenuous.

Can you do the Annapurna Circuit on your own? ›

The Annapurna Circuit can be hiked solo without any issues, even as a solo female. If you prefer to trek the Annapurna Circuit with others, it is easy to find another trekkers in Pokhara or Kathmandu. If you're in Nepal during trekking season, just chat with people from your hostel.

How much does it cost to do the Annapurna Circuit? ›

Annapurna Circuit Trek Cost

Whether you are interested in a 15-day or an 18-day Annapurna Circuit Trek, the cost of the trek sits around a 1000 EUR or 1100 USD per person.

How technical is Annapurna? ›

Annapurna is one of the world's most technical mountains; for that reason, it has a lousy fatality to summit ratio. Climbing Annapurna is a severe adventure and one of the most difficult 8000m peaks in the world.

Where do you start Annapurna Circuit? ›

The trek begins at Besisahar or Bhulbhule in the Marshyangdi river valley and concludes in the Kali Gandaki Gorge. Besisahar can be reached after a seven-hour drive from Kathmandu. The trail passes along paddy fields and into subtropical forests, several waterfalls and gigantic cliffs, and various villages.

Can you see Mt Everest from Annapurna Circuit? ›

Welcome in Nepal. I was guided since 1992 to 2008, I am extremely sorry mat to hear about it, you are not able to see MT:Everest from Annapurna trekking. Because, you are going to western part of Nepal But Everest is eastern part of Nepal. Thank you for your traveling, but do not confuse to see Everest .

Which Annapurna trek is best? ›

The best Annapurna treks
  • Annapurna Sanctuary trek. Best trek for: The most popular trekking route in Nepal. ...
  • Annapurna Circuit trek. Best trek for: Classic scenery, good facilities. ...
  • Poon Hill trek. Best trek for: Easier-going route with classic sunrise views. ...
  • Khopra Ridge trek. ...
  • Tilicho Lake trek. ...
  • Nar-Phu trek.

Do I need a sleeping bag for Annapurna Circuit? ›

You'll need a winter sleeping bag that can handle below-freezing temperatures for the Annapurna Circuit trek. If you have a sleeping bag that's rated around -6º or -10ºC you can bring that along for an autumn trek.

Can you do Annapurna Circuit in 10 days? ›

The Annapurna Circuit Trek 10-Day Itinerary allows you to explore the fantastic circuit in such a short duration. Now, trekkers having less than TWO weeks can give it a try. And the best part is, Shorter trek doesn't mean skipping major highlights or destinations.

How much does it cost to trek in Nepal? ›

Here are some cost ranges for the most popular treks in Nepal: Everest Base Camp Trek 15 days– $1,100 per person. Annapurna Circuit Trek 20 days – $ 799 per person. Langtang Valley Trekking 11 days– $560 per person.

How much does it cost to do the Annapurna Circuit? ›

Annapurna Circuit Trek Cost

Whether you are interested in a 15-day or an 18-day Annapurna Circuit Trek, the cost of the trek sits around a 1000 EUR or 1100 USD per person.

How do you get to the Annapurna Circuit? ›

Where to Start the Annapurna Circuit Trek
  1. Start in Besisahar – The historical trail between Besisahar and Bhulbhule is now a road with lots of vehicle traffic. ...
  2. Start in Bhulbhule – You can take a public bus from Besisahar to Bhulbhule (200 NPR), which takes just over an hour.

How much of the Annapurna Circuit is road? ›

Annapurna Circuit trek overview

Walking on the road – 68 km/42 mi out of 260 km but only about 24 km/15 mi are on a road with significant traffic.

How much does it cost to summit Annapurna? ›

The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is because of its average duration and difficulty not the most expensive trek in Nepal. Prices vary between the 700 USD and 1000 USD or 600 EUR and 900 EUR.

Videos

1. Annapurna Trek, Nepal - 14 Tage Himalaya Wanderung
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2. Starting a new Adventure | Preperations - Nepal: Annapurna Circuit #01
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3. Annapurna Base Camp Trek Information Guide | Budget, Itinerary, Tips & Complete Trekking Detail
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4. Annapurna circuit trekking is classic trekking in Nepal Himalaya
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5. What is the Annapurna Circuit: DIY Annapurna circuit (Episode 01)
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6. ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT TREK - WITH TILICHO LAKE IN 9 DAYS (MARCH 2021)
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