Trek​ to Annapurna Circuit and Sanctuary

Nepal’s Annapurna trekking range boasts several of the world’s tallest mountains, from Dhaulagiri (sixth tallest) and Manaslu (seventh tallest) to Annapurna I (10th tallest). Embark has years of experience trekking here, and we offer scheduled trips as well as custom adventures around the famous Annapurna Circuit as well as into the awe-inspiring Annapurna Sanctuary.

A small cliff town in front of the Himalayas in Nepal.
Climbers and sherpas making a glacier traverse on the way to Mera Peak.
Yaks carrying supplies to Mt. Everest Base Camp, Himalayas, Nepal
Sunrise view of Annapurna Range from Tharpu Chuli high camp, Nepal.

Highlights

  • Experience once-in-a-lifetime best treks in Nepal, for 7, 14 or 21 days
  • Taste the exotic and remote Nepalese and Tibetan cultures that exist high in the Himalayans
  • Experience high altitude trekking in the comforts of Nepalese tea houses

Description

The horseshoe-shaped Annapurna circuit dips down into the world’s deepest gorge, the Kali Gandaki, and weaves through a choppy ocean of 20,000-foot peaks that stretch from horizon to horizon.

With no road access, this remote valley trek locked deep in the heart of the Annapurna trekking range provides encounters with a tremendous diversity of landscapes (from jungle to the dry Tibetan plateau) and cultures maintained through stark isolation – the very quality that keeps the Annapuma circuit one of the world’s most lauded since it was first opened to foreigners in the early 1980s.

We also offer many other Annapurna treks, such as Jomson to Mukitnam, Ghorepani Poon Hill, and Annapurna Base Camp. A great highlight here is the Annapurna Sanctuary, a glacial basin above 12,000 feet in elevation, surrounded by 20,000-foot peaks. Trekking into the Sanctuary means walking from rhododendron and bamboo to alpine rock and snow.

Itinerary Summary

Day 01: Kathmandu / Besisahar
Day 02: Besisahar / Bahun Danda
Day 03: Bahun Danda / Chamje
Day 04: Chamje / Dharapani
Day 05: Dharapani / Chame
Day 06: Chame / Pisang
Day 07: Pisang / Manang
Day 08: Rest at Manang
Day 09: Manang / Yak Kharka
Day 10: Yak Kharka / Throng Phedi
Day 11: Thorang phedi / Thorang pass
Day 12: Muktinath / Kagbeni
Day 13: Kagbeni / Jomsom / Marpha
Day 14: Marpha / Kalopani
Day 15: Kalopani / Tatopani
Day 16: Tatopani / Shikha
Day 17: Shikha / Ghorepani
Day 18: Ghorepani / Ghandruk
Day 19: Ghandrunk / Pothana
Day 20: Phedi
Day 21: Kathmandu

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I travel with Embark?

We are a team that lives and breathes travel; we know what our clients want, and as such we see them as travelers, not tourists. We have organized hundreds of adventures around the world, focusing on destinations we know and understand. Ask us for some of our references.

Many companies provide region-standard trips; Embark goes above and beyond. We organize unique itineraries along the roads less traveled, designing adventures that allow our travelers to be pioneers and explore the depth of any given destination.

We focus on finding and training the best guides in the industry, with specialists who are prominent in several fields – mountain guides, historians, archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, and much more.

What is being on trek like?

Upon arrival in country, you will be met by an Embark representative at the airport exit and driven by private vehicle to your lodge or hotel.

On trek, each day you will be awakened by the porters, who will bring warm wash water and a hot drink to your tent. Breakfast is typically around 7 a.m., and you will hit the trail by 8 a.m. You will be given a pack lunch for the trail, and during the day the porters will pass you on the trail, then have camp waiting for you at the end of the day.

How hard is it?

While we believe that anyone in good physical condition can complete our treks, this trip is strenuous. While travel always entails some level of adventure and challenge, when we say “strenuous” we mean there will be long, difficult hikes; occasional significant physical barriers such as climbing; sleeping outside; and the chance of falling or some other injury. To complete this trip, especially with any enjoyment, one must be in good physical shape – in particular, able to handle strenuous hikes on several consecutive days.


What do we eat?

Tea house meals are basic, filling, and don’t vary much from place to place. Breakfast will typically be pancakes, porridge, eggs and bread. Lunch and dinner are also pretty consistent, although the spices and flavoring will vary. The main meal is daal baht: rice, vegetables (often spinach and potato), and lentil soup. This is usually all-you-can-eat.

There will be other options available at dinner, such as fried rice, soups, noodles, potatoes, and occasionally such extravagances as pizza, spring rolls or dumplings.

In Kathmandu, hotel meals will be much more standard tourist fare, particularly at breakfast. For dinner we will typically eat out as a group or on our own.

Not included are snacks such as bars, trail mix, and electrolyte drink mixes. If you like to those or other snacks, bring them!

Do I need a visa?

All US citizens entering Nepal do need a visa. You can get this ahead of time from a Nepali consulate or embassy, or you can attain one upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport. We recommend the latter. Embark trips can be covered by a one-month multiple-entry visa, which is currently $40. (A three-month version, should you want to extend your journey, is $100).

An important note: Your passport must be valid for six months after your arrival date. Be sure it’s up to date!

For more information, check the Nepali USA Embassy website.

What is the sleeping arrangement?

While on trek, we will be staying in tea houses. These are family-run, very traditional places, featuring rooms with two twin beds, and sometimes a double. (You may have a private room if you wish). The room may have a shelf, coat hooks, a chair, or a small table. Each tea house also has a common area where meals are served.

What is included in the trip cost?

Your cost includes transportation, lodging, guide and porter fees, and most meals. While on the trek, all your meals are included, although you might want to bring some snacks that you like to have during the day. Before and after the trek you will have some time (and meals) on your own in town. Also not included in the cost is your airfare, souvenirs, and tips for the guides and porters.

How far ahead should I book this trip?

You want to commit to this trip at least six months ahead of time. It takes a lot of preparation, both logistical and physical. Beginning at this point, you should be booking your airplane tickets and planning your training regimen.

What is the best time of year for weather?

The main tourist season in the Himalayas is the fall, September and October. This is when the weather is clearest and most moderate, and the summer monsoons have washed away the dirt and dust and left snow on the mountains. There are also two major festivals during this time. Of course, this means that fall is also the most crowded and expensive time.

The next most popular time is spring, which here is from February to mid-April. This time is warmer than fall, with longer days, and the rhododendrons are blooming in the high country. It will be ever warmer during these months, and often a haze will obstruct the view of mountains from the low country. Most trekking routes are above this, however.

Summer, roughly June through September, is monsoon season, when the rain falls, fields come alive, flowers bloom … and bugs are out in force, roads get blocked by landslide, and often flights are cancelled due to weather.

Winter is a wonderful time to visit the lower elevations, but the higher regions are extremely cold (though clear), and much of the tourist infrastructure will be closed.

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