Annapurna Circuit

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On this challenging and classic trek around the Annapurna massif, you will encounter a fascinating variety of Nepalese and Tibetan cultures set amongst some of the most varied and impressive landscapes in the Himalaya. Although the core route is very popular, we have several opportunities to explore “off the beaten path” trails in traditional expedition fashion, and to interact with the people of the region. All this combined with time in Kathmandu and Pokhara allows you to discover the best of Nepal at a relaxed yet stimulating pace.

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Detailed Itinerary

Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the Kathmandu Guest House. There will be a short arrival briefing to get you oriented and to take care of the necessary bureaucracy for the trek.

1

Free morning to discover the temples, back alleys, shops and people of Kathmandu on your own, followed by a major trek briefing. We can also assist you with the purchase or rental of trekking equipment if required.

2

We take a beautiful drive through the central hills of Nepal to Besisahar (or a little farther depending on the road) in the Marsyangdi River Valley, where we then proceed to our camp above the river near Khudi (2592ft, 790m). Travelling time is about 8 hours with a lunch stop along the way.

3

We follow a dirt road briefly before crossing to the east bank of the Marsyangdi and climbing steadily to the village of Bahundanda (“Brahmin Hill”). There are excellent views of Himalchuli, Peak 29 and extensive rice terraces. Descend to our camp at Syanje (3609ft, 1100m) near the river.

4

The trail crosses the river and heads north through forest and past Tibetan settlements to the village of Chamje. After recrossing the river, we then have a long climb before entering Manang District and camping in the village of Tal (5577ft, 1700m).

5

The trail continues north up the Marsyangdi Valley to Dharapani before swinging to the west and climbing to the village of Danagyu. We leave the main trail here and climb steeply to the small settlement of Temang (8530ft, 2600m) with excellent views of Manaslu.

6

We stay on our unusual side route, visiting Thanchok before rejoining the main trail in the valley bottom. After passing through the district headquarters at Chame, we continue climbing to Bhratang (9350ft, 2850m), a former Khampa (Tibetan warriors) settlement. Camp in the forest near Bhratang.

7

The trail climbs through pine forest before opening out into the broad Manang Valley. We leave the main route once again to visit the medieval village of Upper Pisang (10827ft, 3300m) before camping in a peaceful pine forest beside a small green lake. This is one of our favourite campsites in the Nepal Himalaya, and there are superb sunrise views of the Annapurna massif.

8

A stiff switchback climb brings us to the traditional and atmospheric village of Ghyaru with its interesting monastery. Our reward for this extra effort is a (relatively!) flat ridge contour route with stunning mountain views. We camp near Ngawal (11998ft, 3657m), another medieval Tibetan-style village.

9

Passing rows of ancient mani walls and chortens (religious monuments), we have time to visit a Buddhist Lama school before descending to our camp beside the Marsyangdi River at Braga (11319ft, 3450m). The afternoon is free to explore the village and its 900-year-old monastery.

10

Acclimatisation day in Braga. Although this day can be spent relaxing in camp, the best option for altitude acclimatisation is a hike to higher elevations. One possibility is the climb to a spectacular viewpoint above Manang and the Gangapurna glacial lake, while the second choice is the climb to Milarepa’s Cave and monastery high above Braga and below a glacier tumbling down from Annapurna III.

11

Passing through Manang and Tengi villages, we leave the Marsyangdi Valley and head north up the valley of the Jhargeng Khola to our camp at Yak Kharka (13183ft, 4018m) above the tree line. The name means “yak pasture”, and there are usually herds of these shaggy creatures in the vicinity.

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The trail continues up the east bank of the Jhargeng Khola before crossing a bridge and traversing scree slopes to our camp at Thorong Phedi (14600ft, 4450m). Watch out for bharal (blue sheep) high on the ridges above the trail. The afternoon is free to relax before tomorrow’s pass crossing.

13

The most strenuous yet fulfilling day of the trek – we break camp early in the morning and begin the steep switchback ascent towards the pass. The gradient eases slightly as we continue to climb over false passes to the Thorong La (17769ft, 5416m), festooned with Buddhist prayer flags and offering superb views. The descent is gradual at first, but then steepens as we drop into the valley of the Jhong Khola to our camp at Ranipauwa (12139ft, 3700m) just below the sacred temples of Muktinath.

14

An easy day today, with time to explore both the temples at Muktinath and the medieval village of Jharkot before descending to our camp in Kagbeni (9186ft, 2800m) at the confluence of the Jhong Khola and the Kali Gandaki River. The afternoon is free to explore Kagbeni village.

15

The trail turns south now, following an ancient trading route along the Kali Gandaki. We pass through Jomsom (the administrative centre for Mustang District) before reaching camp in Marpha (8760ft, 2670m), a large whitewashed Thakali village with paved trails and an important monastery.

16

Today’s trail takes us through the deepest valley in the world, as the Kali Gandaki cuts between the peaks of Annapurna I (8091m) and Dhaulagiri I (8167m). We camp in a pine forest at Kalopani (8300ft, 2530m) with wonderful views of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna massifs.

17

Continuing our descent of the Kali Gandaki Valley, we enter a subtropical zone and camp in an orange grove at Dana (4593ft, 1400m) with further views of the Annapurnas.

18

A short hike brings us to Tatopani (hot water in Nepali) and the chance to relax in the therapeutic hot springs. After lunch, we leave the valley of the Kali Gandaki and climb steadily to our camp in the village of Sikha (6562ft, 2000m).

19

The trail climbs through extensively terraced farmland and ancient rhododendron forests to our camp at Ghorepani Deorali (9416ft, 2870m). The afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the views.

20

Up early and hike to the summit of Poon Hill (10476ft, 3193m) to enjoy the spectacular sunrise on the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges before returning to camp for breakfastWe then head east through more rhododendron forest to the village of Ghandrung (6362ft, 1939m) in the valley of the Modi Khola.

21

A mix of climbs, descents and contour trails take us past several Gurung villages and then away from the main trail to our picturesque campsite at Thulo Kharka (6726ft, 2050m).

22

The trail follows a ridge with farewell views of the Annapurnas before descending steeply to meet the main road to Pokhara at Dhampus Phedi. From here, it’s only half an hour by private vehicle to our comfortable hotel in the Lakeside area of Pokhara.

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Free day to explore the Pokhara area.

24

Fly to Kathmandu and transfer to the Kathmandu Guest House.

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End of the Annapurna Circuit programme.

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Trip Note: The itinerary description above is not written in stone. The route described is the traditional Circuit trek with some interesting side excursions. We endeavour to go off the beaten path and change itineraries to make your experience special, so treat above itinerary as a basic guide only. Twenty days trekking around Annapurna!

PLEASE NOTE: On adventure trips of this type, weather, local politics, transport or a multitude of other factors beyond our control can result in a change of itinerary. It is, however, very unlikely that the itinerary would be substantially altered; if alterations are necessary, the leader will decide what is the best alternative taking into consideration the best interests of the whole group. Where a change does occur, we do everything we can to minimize its effect, but we cannot be responsible for the results of changes or delays.

Synopsis

Trip Grading:

Length: 26 days total, 20-day trek

Max. Altitude: 17,700 ft / 5400m

Begins/Ends in Kathmandu

Land Cost: $2995 Full-service tented trek (includes everything). Standard "Tea-house" trek is 40% less.

International Airfare: Apx. $1800 to Kathmandu (from North America)

Apr 03 - Apr 28, '16
May 01 - May 26, '16
Oct 09 - Nov 03, '16
Nov 06 - Dec 01, '16
Mar 05 - Mar 30, '17
Apr 02 - Apr 27, '17

May 07 - Jun 01, '17
Oct 08 - Nov 02, '17
Nov 05 - Nov 30, '17
Mar 04 - Mar 29, '18
Apr 01 - Apr 26, '18
May 06 - May 31, '18

Note: (Trips start two days earlier and end one day later from North America).

Single supplement: $245

Included in the land cost: 20 days trekking including all meals and major equipment; 5 nights accommodation in Kathmandu and/or Pokhara; flight from Pokhara, internal transportation to and from trek starting and ending points; airport transfers for all group flights; services of an experienced trip leader, cook, porters, and local guides. (Meals are not included in Kathmandu and Pokhara only).

'FULL-SERVICE CAMPING' vs. 'TEA-HOUSE' TREKKING: THIS IS A FULL-SERVICE CAMPING TREK, WITH PRIVATE KITCHEN, FOOD, AND STAFF, COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF "TEA HOUSES". IF YOU WANT TO DO THIS SAME TREK STAYING AND EATING IN "TEA-HOUSES", THE COST IS ABOUT 40% LESS THAN FULL-SERVICE, BASED ON A MINIMUM OF 4 PARTICIPANTS DEPARTING ON ANY DATE YOU WISH. PLEASE INQUIRE.

You can also contact Canadian Himalayan Expeditions directly for more information.

Synopsis

Trip Grading:

Length: 26 days total, 20-day trek

Max. Altitude: 17,700 ft / 5400m

Begins/Ends in Kathmandu

Land Cost: $2995 Full-service tented trek (includes everything). Standard "Tea-house" trek is 40% less.

International Airfare: Apx. $1800 to Kathmandu (from North America)

Apr 03 - Apr 28, '16
May 01 - May 26, '16
Oct 09 - Nov 03, '16
Nov 06 - Dec 01, '16
Mar 05 - Mar 30, '17
Apr 02 - Apr 27, '17

May 07 - Jun 01, '17
Oct 08 - Nov 02, '17
Nov 05 - Nov 30, '17
Mar 04 - Mar 29, '18
Apr 01 - Apr 26, '18
May 06 - May 31, '18

Note: (Trips start two days earlier and end one day later from North America).

Single supplement: $245

Included in the land cost: 20 days trekking including all meals and major equipment; 5 nights accommodation in Kathmandu and/or Pokhara; flight from Pokhara, internal transportation to and from trek starting and ending points; airport transfers for all group flights; services of an experienced trip leader, cook, porters, and local guides. (Meals are not included in Kathmandu and Pokhara only).

'FULL-SERVICE CAMPING' vs. 'TEA-HOUSE' TREKKING: THIS IS A FULL-SERVICE CAMPING TREK, WITH PRIVATE KITCHEN, FOOD, AND STAFF, COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF "TEA HOUSES". IF YOU WANT TO DO THIS SAME TREK STAYING AND EATING IN "TEA-HOUSES", THE COST IS ABOUT 40% LESS THAN FULL-SERVICE, BASED ON A MINIMUM OF 4 PARTICIPANTS DEPARTING ON ANY DATE YOU WISH. PLEASE INQUIRE.

You can also contact Canadian Himalayan Expeditions directly for more information.