The classic Annapurna Circuit Trekking route traverses up along Marsyangdi Valley, crosses over the Thorong La (pass), 5416m and descend down to Kali Gandaki Valley keeping Annapurna, Manaslu and
Dhaulagiri Himalayan Ranges to the north
This globally popular trekking adventure, Annapurna Circuit Trekking is also well known as RAT, Round Annapurna Trek. This is a magnificent trek in Annapurna region that follows Marshyangdi Khola (river) from the subtropical lowlands to the Manang basin and then crosses the Thorung La Pass (5416m) before descending down to the deepest gorge in the world, the Kali Gandaki. Trekkers’ first pick Annapurna Circuit Trekking surpasses any trek in terms of landscapes diversity – from the lush green rice paddies of the Marshyangdi to the arid high altitude Himalayan interior. The ecological and cultural diversity of Annapurna Circuit Trekking provides the complete trekking experience. The common pilgrimage site for Hindus and Buddhist, Muktinath Temple is the sacred highlight of the latter half of the trek. As you hike along the way, the sights of beautiful mountain sceneries and fascinating village life keep you enthralled, day after day.
You will be greeted by a panoramic view of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below once you fly in the sky of Kathmandu. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities. .
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely Boudhanath- the largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal, Pashupatinath- most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva and Patan or Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. At Patan Durbar Square, we delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square. .
Driving along the Kathmandu-Pokhara Highway to Dumre and then following the rough route by the Marsyangdi River, we pass through the low-lying villages and rice fields. After 6 hours’ long drive, we reach Besi Sahar, the headquarter of Lamjung District. From there, we continue our 3 hour journey to Jagat, a village that juts out into the precipitous Marshyangdi valley. .
The trail from Jagat descends until it reaches the river and then continues through a lush forest. Further ascent leads to sharp-edged cliff facing the riverbank. En route, Chyamje comes into picture amidst the glorious backdrop of towering Annapurna mountain ranges. After crossing a suspension bridge, we climb steeply towards the slippery and physically challenging path to Sattale. On treading along a succession of rock-strewn trails, we descend to a grassy riverbank that leads to Tal. As we walk away from Tal, the path becomes rugged and winding. Then we approach steep forested village of Karte. Meandering along the waterfalls and cliffs, we finally reach Dharapani after crossing a suspension bridge. .
We skirt through a narrow field from the village. The Dudh Khola, which originates from the south face of Manaslu and then Marshyangdi veers to the left. Sinuous trails of Annapurna II become visible as we arrive at Bagarchhap, a Bhotia village with colorful prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. As we continue ascending through forests of pine and oak, we pass through Dhanakyu before coming to a thundering waterfall. Further on, the Marshyangdi river enters a gorge and the trails follows rock-strewn path. We can pause for a while and take in the splendor of the picturesque Manaslu. When the steep incline ends, we follow a path amid magnificent rhododendrons and continue on a gently rising path. We cross a stream before entering a pine forest. We then enter the pristine hamlet of Kotho, from where we can capture the most enchanting view of Annapurna II. Treading further, the route reaches a large white gate with a corrugated iron roof, which is the entrance of Chame. Chame is the administrative headquarter of Manang district. There are facilities of electricity, wireless station, schools, shops, health post, post office, police check post, hotels, lodges and banks in Chame. The hot springs are the major attraction of this place. .
After a mesmerizing sight of the glowing Lamjung Himal (6893m) in the morning, we head off for Pisang. En route, we cross a large suspension bridge along Marshyangdi and approach houses and lodges on the northern side of the river. Our trekking trail meanders through barley field leading to Teleku at 2775 meters. As we leave undulating mountain passes, we enter fascinating apple orchard and near a bridge at 2840 meters. On crossing the bridge, the pristine hamlet of Bratang appears. History has it that Bratang used to be a Khampa settlement. A stone memorial of a Japanese climber has been built in this place. After leaving the forested village, the valley changes from a V-shape to a gentle U-shape. Before us, the Annapurna mountain range rears up. Further on, we continue our steep rock-strewn trails to the south side and cross a long suspension bridge at 3040 meters. At this vantage point on the bridge, we get to view Paungda Danda rock rising more than 1500 meters from the river. En route, we get to capture splendid views of Annapurna II rearing up on the east and Pisang Peak on the north-east. We cross a bridge and enter the village of Pisang. .
As we continue with our trek, further afield from Pisang we head along a steep ridge savoring beautiful sights of the Manang valley and the Tilicho peak towering above 7132 meters. As we descend through Manang's airstrip, we come to Hongde lying beneath the gigantic Annapurna III on the north-east face. The route further leads to the wide plain of the Sabje Khola Valley from where we get the majestic view of Annapurna IV (7525m). Further on, we cross a wooden bridge, as the Marshyangdi Khola gushes below us. We enter the beautiful village of Mungji. We continue treading along the cultivated fields and after a while we arrive at the village of Bryaga with a splendid monastery. On trekking down to Manang, we enjoy the majestic views of the Annapurna range - Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna (7455m) and Tilicho Peak (7134m). .
After reaching Manang, we take a day off for complete rest and adequate acclimatization before crossing the Thorung La. We can spend this day strolling down the river to see the tremendous ice-fall cascading down from the glaciated mountain peaks or by simply take in the panoramic beauty of the Annapurna mountain range and the Manang Valley. A short visit to Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) aid post makes for an interesting visit. .
Thoroughly acclimatized, we advance towards Thorung La. On the way, we cross a stream, climb to Tengi, 120 meters above Manang and ascend further past Marshyangdi Valley turning north-west up the valley of the Jarsang Khola. Amid the spectacular vistas of Annapurna mountain range, we trek beyond the lush vegetation of scrub juniper and alpine grasses to reach the small village of Gunsang. Gunsang is a cluster of flat mud roofs just below the trail at 3960 meters. Along the route, we see several lodges. As we approach picturesque meadows and rich forests of barberry, juniper etc, we encounter horses and yaks grazing. The trail takes us further along a large stream that flows from Chulu West and Gundang, and leads to a rich pasture at 4000 meters. .
Leaving Letdar, we climb gradually to a ridge before descending to the headwaters of the Marshyangdi and crossing via a covered wooden bridge. After a short ascent up the mountain path on the right bank, we follow a narrow trail across an unstable steep slope and then descend to Thorung Phedi. .
We have an early start today for the crossing of Thorung La (5416m). The trail becomes steep immediately on leaving camp, but as local people have used this trail for hundreds of years, the path is well defined. The gradient then eases and after around 4 hours of steady climbing, we reach the chorten and prayer flags of the pass. From the snow-covered mountains above, to the head of the Kali Gandaki valley below and the brown and purple hills of Mustang, which spread out before us, we are presented with a dramatic tableau. The descent to Muktinath is a 1600m trek. But the excellent views of Dhaulagiri, more than makes up for the tiring journey. Eventually the moraines give way to grassy slopes before a pleasant walk along the Jhong Khola Valley to Muktinath, with its shrines and temple. .
We now begin the descent down the dramatic Kali Gandaki valley, initially through arid country in the same geographical and climatic zone as Tibet. After passing through Jharkot and Khingar, villages with typical Tibetan architecture, we follow the valley floor most of the way to Jomsom. En route, we sight tremendous views of both Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri. Jomsom is a large town sprawled along both banks of the Kali Gandaki River, and it is here we will spend the final night of our trek. .
We take an early morning flight to Pokhara (20 minutes). It is a spectacular flight along the Kali Gandaki Gorge and provides wonderful views of both the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges. We then catch a further flight back to Kathmandu (25 minutes). .
Our Nepali support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. On the other hand, if you prefer to stay longer, you can go for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, mountain biking, etc.- please ask us. .
This is a long trek that goes right into high mountain country and over the Thorung La pass (5416m), the highest pass on this trek. Physically quite tiring, it involves approx 6-8 hours trekking along rocky ridges. No previous experience is required, you should be moderately fit, used to some regular exercise and enjoy walking in the high altitude conditions.
We offer several options regarding the organization of your trek:
1) Guide, Accommodation and Porter trek (GAP trek)
Includes: Accommodation, guide and porters
This is an abbreviation of Guide Accommodation and Porters (GAP). This option of the trek is for those who want basic support from us. This is the most economic way to do trekking in Nepal. We provide an English speaking local Sherpa guide, book and pay for the accommodation in local lodges during trek and arrange required porters. Trekkers pay for meals directly to the local lodge owner. Expect to spend around 2000-2500 Rupees a day for food. Guide, accommodation and porters are covered in the price.
2) Camping trek
On camping trek you will be sleeping and eating on tents. A trekking crew contains one Sirdar, one cook and the numbers of kitchen crew, Sherpa assistants and porters depending on the size of the group. Under the leadership of the Sirdar (the local trek leader) the crew will ensure you take the right path. The kitchen crew will keep you well fed with delicious and nutritious meals. The porters shall transport the gear from camp to camp. Our main aim is to make the trek as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. Sirdar and his assistants speak basic English, good enough to explain to you about the places, local culture or any sight that catches your eyes.
Includes: Guide, Porters, Cook, All meals and tents
3) Lodge or tea house trek
Although simple, the teahouses or lodges do provide shelter and warmth and are normally run by friendly local families. The lodge or tea house treks are less expensive than camping trek and are largely suitable for small groups.
Includes: Accommodation in Lodge, guide, porters and all meals
YOUR TREK CAN BE ORGANIZED IN ALL THE 3 WAYS AS MENTIONED ABOVE.
Trekking in the Annapurna region does not need tremendous logistics in terms of accommodation as you will find plenty of clean and friendly lodges along the trail. We stay in single rooms where possible, but often you will have to share. Rooms are basic, normally just a bed with a pillow and blankets. All lodges have spacious dining room-lounge. We will accommodate you and your group in local lodge available each day. We send a porter ahead of us to book the required rooms for the group (rooms cannot be booked in advance). Please remember that some of them are very basic and a sense of adventure is necessary.
It is cheaper to stay in lodge rather than organizing a camping trek. Camping trek means sleeping in tents. On a camping trek, the tents provided are ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped. Foam mattress with insulation underneath is provided for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu with 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection to this itinerary, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a special choice.
Meals are included in our price and are taken in Lodges available along the trail. You can find a considerable variety of Nepali and Western food as well as drinks (coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, and beer).
Meals are prepared by our cook. We provide three tasty and nutritious meals daily along with drinks.
You will have to make your own eating arrangements in the Lodges available along the trail. Expect to spend around 2000-2500 Rupees a day for food. Guide, accommodation and porters are covered in the price.
On camping trek, our staff will boil water and cook meals treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. On GAP trek and Lodge trek, you will be able to buy bottled water in tea houses.
We recommend you to bring water purification pills.
During trek your main luggage will be carried by porters or pack animals (usually yaks or cross breeds). You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket, etc. - a small load that allows full enjoyment of the trek. A trek bag is ideal for your main luggage, plus a small lockable bag for travel clothes or anything that you do not need during trek which you can leave at hotel’s locker room/safe deposit box in Kathmandu for free of charge. Weight allowance at Nepal’s domestic airlines is 15kgs, excess weight is chargeable at about USD 1.5 or more per Kilo depending on sectors.
We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements:
1) Western leader
2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable)
3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)
The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. On camping trek, there will be 2/3 porters for each members while on GAP and Lodge trek 1 porter for 2 members.
Our trips are available on both fixed departure and private basis. If you are looking for a group to join this trip please check our ‘2018 departures’ link for availability, dates and price. If you would like to travel independently, or with your friends, families & colleagues you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient timeframe for any number of people (minimum 1 & maximum 100 at a time).
If you want to do something that is not included in our trip list we are ready to tailor a trip to suit your exact requirements. In short, we will make every effort to get you on the trip you want, when you want.
If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies: minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 2, the maximum is 12 people.
Personal expenses depend largely on the type of trek, duration and the trekking region.
If you are on Camping or Tea house trek all meals will be provided. You only need money for table drinks (alcoholic/non alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking (a few smaller shops are available along the trail in some areas) tips, souvenirs, hot shower (available in some places).
If you are on ‘GAP’ trek style you need to pay for all your meals. NPR 2000-2500 a day should be enough to cover your meals. We pay for your accommodation at mountain hut (tea house) along the trail and bear all the expenses of staff assigned by us.
Tips are appreciated by your support team after the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise you to allocate 5 - 10% of the total tour cost as tips.
The starting point of the trek is Jagat, which is connected by a 7/8 hours’ drive from Kathmandu. On your return, you will fly from Jomsom to Pokhara. You can choose between flying and driving back from Pokhara to Kathmandu. We will arrange the transportation from your hotel to the airport (Kathmandu). Please check with us for price difference between flying and driving back to Kathmandu.
There are a plenty of telephone facilities in the Annapurna region. Cell phones work fine throughout the trek in the region. If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, we can provide you a sim card or rental satellite phones if necessary.
You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sun-screen and day pack.
Comprehensive list of gears will be provided once you book your trip or check CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT LIST LINK.
It's not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu.
Each morning after packing our bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the day's walk. After walking for 3-4 hours we stop for lunch at around midday. Post-lunch walk is generally shorter and we usually arrive at our destination in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the village, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days we will arrive at our destination by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and reliving the day's adventures, before heading off to bed for a well-earned sleep.
However, on a camping trek, you begin your day with a hot cup of tea which will be served to you in the tent at 6 am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. Other day activities are the same as mentioned above.
You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass on the Customs and come out of the Terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland.
The best seasons to trek in the Annapurna region are Autumn (from mid-September till November end) and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher every day. The nights are cold (between -20 C to 5C) but the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 30C). The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. Trekking during the monsoon is not recommended, as the visibility during monsoon is limited. Trekking in the winter is possible; however, it is much colder than Autumn and Spring.
March, April, October and November are the most popular and favored months for traveling. Please choose the date that is convenient for you.
The itineraries for each trip should be taken as a guideline only. Depending on the prevailing situation, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original.
We ensure liability as per indicated itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay extra for hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases.
In addition to your trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal and other neighboring countries. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet, India or Bhutan, whichever seems more appealing to you. Since the trek ends in Pokhara, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal, it would be nice and relaxing for you to spend a day or two taking in the sights and sounds of this scenic city.
All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. Visa is also issued at the entry points. It can be extended at the Department of Immigration, Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu. Children under 10 years need not pay any visa fee. People willing to get entry Visa at the air port or any of the land entry points are required to fill a visa form with passport photograph. So, please download form from the link below (visa form) and get ready while you are passing through the immigration Point.
Gratis visa for 30 days available only for tourists of SAARC countries
Multiple entry 15 days - US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 30 days - US$ 40 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 90 days - US$ 100 or equivalent convertible currency
Tourist Visa Extension
* Visa extension fee for 15 days or less is US $ 30 or equivalent convertible currency and visa extension fee for more than 15 days is US$ 2 per day
* Tourist visa can be extended for a maximum period of 150 days in a single visa year (January - December).
As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you to consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.
We supply a medical bag with standard medicines prescribed by trekking doctors. Since our staffs/guides are not qualified for suggesting medications to western clients, we would request you to use the medicines upon your own risk. It is safer and more reliable if you have your own medicine kit and not depend on what we have. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly be of help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions.
The main health consideration in high altitude is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor and purchase them in Kathmandu. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate. If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you consult your doctor about your suitability for traveling to this area before booking.
In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we believe will not happen; we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu.
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation.
Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible.
As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have camp fires and use kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far more eco-friendly alternative.
Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strewn with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. We carry out all our garbage, apart from that which can be safely and easily burnt at the campsite. Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.
Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) has been conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal.
Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agriculture, culture preservation and fund raising. Explore Himalaya encourages its clients to contribute for the development of Nepal.
We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. We are the first ever company to supply high-altitude porters with crampons.
We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG - www.ippg.net).
For more details on our responsible initiatives, please visit https://www.explorehimalaya.com/csr/
1) It is fundamental you acknowledge that this is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which could be decided upon mutual agreement. If an agreement cannot be made, Explore Himalaya shall only be responsible for refunds after deducting the expenses already incurred.
2) Your booking will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of USD 300 and the signed copy of booking form and contract.
The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.
3) If you cancel, the following scale of charges will apply:
2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 300)
29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost
10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost
Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost
If you still have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours. If you want to book a trip, you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us directly by phone: 977-1-4418100.
Very professional, clear instructions & on time - we were all very satisfied with the entire crew and had a wonderful time. Service was excellent everywhere and the quality of food varied. We had good drivers managing very difficult roads. Thanks for a wonderful experience in Nepal!
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.