Trekkers on the mini-Annapurna Circuit

Annapurna Circuit

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Challenging
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Trip code: 
TNQ
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Point-to-point
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

This route is said to offer the most varied scenery of any classic Nepal trek

The Annapurna Circuit - rightly known as Nepal's classic trek - offers more variety than any other equivalent length trek, taking us through virtually every type of scenery that Nepal has to offer. There are superb views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri and an amazing variety of landscapes ranging from sub-tropical through alpine peaks to an arid semi-desert akin to Tibet. The climax of the trek is crossing the iconic Thorong La Pass (5416m). Based in teahouses throughout, we also get to spend time in villages inhabited by many of Nepal's different peoples, both Buddhist and Hindu.

Highlights

  • One of the world's classic treks
  • Cross the formidable Thorong La pass
  • Chance to see the sunrise from Poon Hill
  • Dramatically changing scenery 
  • Time in Kathmandu and Pokhara

Key information

  • 4 nights standard hotels and 17 nights teahouses
  • 18 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader and appropriate local staff. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 5416m, average 2800m
  • Travel by private bus and one internal flight
  • Snow and ice may be encountered

 

What's included

  • All breakfasts 
  • Morning bed-tea on trek
  • Welcome drink at each overnight lodge
  • 4 nights standard hotels and 17 nights teahouses
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Internal flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu
  • Tour leader throughout, plus local staff (staff to client ratio of 1:4 on trek)
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Full porterage throughout trek
  • Exodus kitbag 
  • Trekking map (provided locally)
  • Trekking permit and national park fees

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request from £90, Kathmandu and Pokhara only)
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Sleeping bag (hire in advance from £53*)
  • Down jacket (hire in advance from £53*) 
  • *Hire package incl. down jacket and sleeping bag from £74
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

18

Pace:

Approximately 7hrs walking per day

Terrain:

High altitude; including steep, rocky terrain

Day by day breakdown
Day 28.0km/4.0miles
Day 320.0km/12.0miles
Day 420.0km/12.0miles
Day 519.0km/11.0miles
Day 615.0km/9.0miles
Day 719.0km/11.0miles
Day 84.0km/2.5miles
Day 99.0km/5.0miles
Day 108.0km/4.0miles
Day 1113.0km/8.0miles
Day 1210.0km/6.0miles
Day 1316.0km/9.0miles
Day 1413.0km/8.0miles
Day 1515.0km/9.0miles
Day 1614.0km/8.0miles
Day 1715.0km/9.0miles
Day 1820.0km/12.0miles
Day 192.0km/1.0miles
Prayer flags, Nepal

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Exodus has a longstanding relationship with our local partner in Nepal, having worked with the family business, passed from father to son, for over 30 years. We employ local leaders, guides and staff throughout and work with family-run hotels, such as the Hotel Royal Singi wherever possible.

Exodus has set up and supported many projects in Nepal over the decades, from installing solar cookers and donating smokeless stoves (a safer means of cooking, which helps prevent eye and lung problems), to supporting a tree nursery in Braga (in the Annapurnas) and helping supply water and hydro-electric power to several villages.

Following the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Exodus’ emergency fundraising appeal raised over a quarter of a million pounds thanks to our loyal customers and friends. This enabled us to provide emergency relief (shelters, food and medical supplies), to rebuild homes and schools, and to run a medical camp in spring 2016 in the remote village of Thulopatel in partnership with volunteers from Nepal Medical College. Over 1,500 patients from rural communities were treated for a variety of ailments, to whom medical facilities are not normally readily available. Many of our previous projects (both water pipes and stoves) were damaged in the earthquake - in 2017 we started repairing and replacing these.

Exodus also worked with Health Partnership Nepal and sponsored their medical camp in Charikot in 2017 as well as sponsoring more than 400 Freedom Kits (providing sanitary wear) for women in Nepal – we will be continuing with this project in 2018.

To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Kathmandu
to
Kathmandu
  • Day 1

    Start Kathmandu.

    Those on the group flight from London will arrive into Kathmandu in the evening and will be transferred to our hotel. Those not travelling with the group from London will meet us in the hotel. There will be a full trek briefing at the hotel tonight.

    Hotel Royal Singi (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Scenic drive to Besisahar. Trek to Bhulebule.

    We leave Kathmandu early in the morning and drive towards Pokhara. After leaving the Kathmandu Valley we follow the river to Mugling. We then continue to Besisahar where we begin our trek. From here we walk down to the river and cross to the east side to avoid the new road which is currently under construction. Our trail undulates above the river, continuing northwards up the Marsyangdi Valley with Himalchuli and Peak 29 dominating the horizon. We follow a quiet trail through rice paddies and villages for two hours until we meet the main trail at Bhulebule.

    Teahouse

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Start the slow ascent of the Marsyangdi Valley to Jagat.

    The trail continues up the east bank of the river to Ngaddi, where a large hydro project is being built. From here we begin a steady climb through scrub forest finally arriving at Lampatta, a Manangi village with Tibetan style prayer flags. A final short sharp ascent brings us to the village of Bahundanda, perched on a ridge. From the ridge we descend to the river at Syange where we once more cross the river. The trail then follows the river to Jagat.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 1,300m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Reach the village of Dharapani.

    An undulating trail leads to Chyamje, after which we cross a suspension bridge and climb through oak forest. The trail then emerges into a level valley where 'Tal', the next village is situated at the foot of a grand waterfall (1,700m). Crossing the river a couple of times we reach the village of Dharapani.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 1,943m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Steady climb through forest to Temang, then descend to Chame.

    Beyond this village we continue our climb over a spur to Bagarchap, at 2,164m. The name of this village means 'butcher's place' and, although Buddhist, the people of this region do hunt animals. Continuing, we follow the trail through forest to Dhanagyu and climb up to Temang, where we have lunch with magnificent views of Manaslu and Peak 29. The trail then descends though fir and pine forests to Koto and Chame (2,713m), administrative centre of the Manang district.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 2,713m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Continue ascending through forested hillsides past the rock face of Paungdi Danda to Upper Pisang.

    We now experience a dramatic change of scenery. Leaving the forests and vegetation of the alpine regions behind we enter the upper district of Manang, known as Nyeshang. At first our trail follows the river closely through a deep canyon before coming to Brathang at 2,919m. The trail then crosses the river and climbs through deep forest from where the impressive curved rock face of Paungda Danda rises nearly 1,500m from the riverbank, to Dukha Pokhari, where we stop for lunch. From here we take the trail that climbs away from the road track and to Upper Pisang village, where we stay for the night. There is an impressive monastery in the village which we can visit in the afternoon.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 3,300m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Ascend the Marsyangdi Valley to the village of Manang.

    From Upper Pisang we take the high level route to Manang via the villages of Gyaru and Ngawal. This is a wonderful walk with great views across to the Annapurnas. We start with a steep climb up to Gyaru. From here the trail undulates up the valley with magnificent views across to the Annapurnas to Ngawal, where we have lunch. We descend from Ngawal to Mungi and drop down to the main trail just before Braga, a picturesque village dominated by a large ancient gompa. We can stop for a cup of coffee at the Super Bakery and visit the gompa and the small tree nursery, a project that Exodus has supported for many years. Passing carved mani walls we arrive at the village of Manang at 3,519m.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 3,519m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Acclimatisation day in Manang.

    We spend this day around Manang acclimatising to the altitude. Most people climb the hill behind Manang to enjoy the magnificent views of the whole Annapurna range and the enormous icefall that crashes and rumbles down from Gangapurna. This is the part of the trek where we are closest to the mountains. Across the valley the huge bulk of Gangapurna and the Annapurnas tower way above us- the sunset and sunrise over this great amphitheatre is one of the most beautiful mountain views in the country. There is also a chance to walk up to the huge glacial lake below Gangapurna. Manang has many bakeries and coffee shops and is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 3,519m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Start heading towards the Thorong La. Half-day trek to reach the lodge in Yak Kharka; afternoon acclimatisation walk.

    Leaving Manang we head towards the base of the Thorong La. We climb out of the Marsyangdi Valley and turn northwest up the valley of the Jarsang Khola. We are above the forests now and pass through dry, alpine country, with scrub juniper and occasional clumps of birch. We spend tonight at a lodge in Yak Kharka (approx. 4,000m). We will reach the lodge by lunchtime and in the afternoon we will have an acclimatisation walk onto the surrounding hills. Look out for the Blue Sheep that inhabit this cold, windy spot.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 4,000m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Short half day walk to Phedi, at the foot of the Thorong La.

    Another short day to aid acclimatisation. The scenery becomes wilder as we continue ascending the valley. At one point we descend to cross the Jarsang Khola, then traverse a scree slope to the lone teahouses at Phedi (4,420m) at the foot of the Thorong La. Thorong Phedi can be very cold and windy. In the afternoon we can go for a walk up to Thorong High Camp which is the last lodge and is about an hour above Phedi.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 4,420m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Cross the mighty Thorong La (5416m) to Muktinath, a place of pilgrimage.

    A long day as we leave Phedi very early the next morning for the climb to the pass. The first part of the ascent is very steep, but it eases somewhat as we approach the top, although the altitude still makes the going tough. Eventually, after numerous false summits, we reach the pass itself at 5,416m. Ahead there is a magnificent panorama of snow-capped peaks extending northwards into Tibet, and looking back we can see several of the main peaks of Annapurna. Directly in front of us is the great chasm of the Kali Gandaki, 2,500m. It's a very long descent that begins gently and becomes steeper, as we follow a series of switchbacks down to the grassy slopes, before easing off to a gentle descent to Muktinath (3,700m).

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 3,700m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Trek through beautiful barren landscapes to reach Kagbeni.

    From Muktinath we pass through a landscape of bare, eroded hills with a backdrop of snow-capped high peaks. After visiting the temples above Muktinath, we cross the Jhong Khola and climb up to Jhong - a beautiful village. There is a very old monastery here dating back to the 7th or 8th Century and the ruins of an old fort. The village has a small lodge where we can get a very simple lunch. Passing wind-eroded cliffs in an array of beautiful colours we continue down the valley arriving at the interesting village of Kagbeni (approx. 2,800m). (This route avoids the newly built road).

    Please note that in case we are delayed due to bad weather this day will be missed out and we will trek direct from Muktinath to Marpha.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude  2,800m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Walk along the Kali Gandaki Gorge, beneath the great peaks of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna via Dumba Lake to Marpha.

    The trail now follows the Kali Gandaki River down to Jomsom, a large administrative centre, at 2,713m. As you walk down the rocky riverbed look out for ammonite fossils amongst the pebbles. These are sacred to Hindus who call them 'shaligrams'. After lunch in Jomsom we cross the river to the village of Thini, where there is a small monastery. We cross a wooden bridge to Samley, from where it is about half an hour to Dumba Lake. This very small lake is considered holy by the local Thakali people. A short climb brings us to Dumba Gompa for magnificent views of the Kali Gandaki Valley, Dhaulagiri and Tukuche Peak. On treks departing in October and November we will drop down through Dumba village to the suspension bridge across the Kali Gandaki to Marpha. From December to May we continue on the same side of the river towards the Tibetan refugee camp. A wooden bridge crossing the Kali Gandaki takes us to the pretty village of Marpha (2,667m) with its clean paved streets and white-washed houses. Marpha is famous for its locally-made apple and peach brandy, which you might like to sample to celebrate your crossing of the Thorong La.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 2,667m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Continue to follow the Kali Gandaki Valley; overnight in Larjung.

    Today we follow the Kali Gandaki Valley, a major trade route. We are now in the deepest gorge in the world - to the east Annapurna I rises to 8,091m, to the west the peak of Dhaulagiri at 8,167m soars above us. Leaving the dry, barren landscapes we walk through pine, cypress and juniper forest, sometimes on the valley floor and other times on a trail high above. From Marpha we cross back over the Kali Gandaki to avoid the road. Walking through fir and pine forests we continue onto Chokhepani. In October and November we must cross the large suspension bridge just before Chokhepani to Tukuche for lunch. From December to May we can continue on to a small wooden bridge which takes us directly into Tukuche. The village is surrounded by apple and apricot orchards and the fruit brandy is famous throughout the area. After lunch we have a short walk to Larjung. In October and November we will stay on the same side of the river. From December to May we cross the river and follow a trail through Sauru village onto Larjung (2,550m). We stay tonight in a simple lodge. It is definitely worth walking up towards Thasang this evening to see the sunset on Niligiri.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 2,550m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Cross the Kali Gandaki and trek past Titi Tal to Lete; descend to Ghasa.

    Today we leave the main trail and trek via Titi Tal and Titi Gaon to Kurje Gaon. In October and November we will start with a short walk along the road to the large suspension bridge below Larjung. After crossing the river, the trail climbs up through the forest to Titi Tal, a very small lake. From December to May we can cross the Kali Gandaki using a small wooden bridge to Sirkung from where we have a fairly steep walk through the forest to Nupsang Kharka. From here we get fantastic views of Dhaulagiri, Tukuche and Dhampus peaks. Dropping down through the forest we come to Titi Goan and Titi Tal. Following an easy trail we pass through Taglung to reach Kurje Gaon. We will either carry a packed lunch or have a very simple lunch in a local teahouse at Kurje . We then head towards the Lete Khola and trek on a new trail to Ghasa (2,010m).

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 2,010m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Follow an undulating trail through small settlements to Tatopani, famous for its hot springs.

    From Ghasa we drop down and cross the river. The trail climbs high above the river through a narrow gorge to Kopchepani. We continue on the same side of the river and follow an ancient trail up to Bhalebas. The trail then undulates and passes a hydro electric project just before Tatopani. A suspension bridge brings us right into Tatopani (1,190m). We usually have a longer morning today and late lunch in Tatopani, allowing time in the afternoon to enjoy a welcome soak in the hot spring baths here - guaranteed to ease any aching limbs!

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 1,190m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 17

    A long climb up through the villages of Ghara, Shika and Chitre to Ghorepani.

    The last stage of the trek takes us over a high ridge to the end of the trek. Today is a bit of a sting in the tail as we have a long climb to Ghorepani (2,855m). The trail climbs all day through small hamlets and terraced fields. Passing through Ghara, Shika and Chitre the trail climbs all day. From Chitre we enter a huge rhododendron forest and the last couple of hours take us up to Ghorepani. Ghorepani means ‘horse water’ and was a stopping place for the huge mule trains that used to ply this route. As we climb today the mountains start to appear and from Ghorepani we get fabulous views of the Annapurnas from the lodge.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 2,855m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 18

    Optional early morning walk up Poon Hill for sunrise before a long descent to Birethanthi.

    An early start for those who want to trek the hour up to the top of Poon Hill for the sunrise. The effort is well worth it for the superb views over the Annapurnas, Dhaulagiri and Machhapuchhare. We return to our lodge for breakfast and then its all the way downhill today through the forest to Banthanti and then down a stone staircase through Ulleri and Tirkhedunga to Birethanti by the Modi Khola.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 1,037m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 19

    Short walk to Naya Pul and drive to Pokhara; afternoon free.

    From Birethanti it is a very short walk to Naya Pul, where we will pick up transport back to Pokhara. We usually arrive by lunchtime and have the afternoon to explore this pretty lakeside town.

    Hotel Lakefront / Hotel Dahlia (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 20

    Free day in Pokhara.

    We have the whole day in Pokhara. There are many options to choose from today. You might want to hire a bike and cycle around part of the lake, or you could take a boat across the lake and walk up to the Japanese Peace Pagoda with great views of the mountains and the lake (from the pagoda carry on up the ridge to Raniban Resort for lunch), or you might want to visit the Mountaineering Museum, the Gurkha Museum or simply relax in one of the many lakeside restaurants and stroll around the shops.

    Hotel Lakefront / Hotel Dahlia (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 21

    Fly to Kathmandu.

    We fly to Kathmandu. Weather depending there should be good views on the flight.

    Hotel Royal Singi (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 22

    End Kathmandu.

    The trip ends after breakfast. Those not on the group flight will leave us after breakfast.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Nepal

Most nationalities require a visa for Nepal, which can be obtained in advance or on entry. If you wish to apply before departure the current visa cost is £20 for a 15 day visa and £35 for a 30 day visa for UK passport holders. The current cost of a visa on arrival is US$25 for 15 days, US$40 for 30 days or if extending your stay $100 for 90 days. All are multiple entry. The visa on arrival fee can be paid for in cash in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros. You will also need a passport photo. Application forms are available in the immigration hall (or for electronic passports there are visa registration machines which, after inserting your passport, automatically fill out a form for you). You must firstly join the queue to pay the visa fee, and then go to the relevant immigration desk to obtain your 15, 30 or 90 day visa stamp. There can be long queues for visas on arrival.

Non UK nationals should check requirements with their nearest embassy (a few nationalities are not permitted visas on arrival).

Vaccinations

Nepal

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

There is low to no risk of malaria throughout Nepal and antimalarial tablets are not usually advised although may be considered for certain higher risk groups; you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. The risk is highest in the low lying southern ‘terai’ districts bordering India.

A yellow fever certificate is only required if travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission or for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through a country with risk of transmission.

Dengue fever is a known risk in Nepal. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Most of our trips to Nepal go to high altitudes where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please refer to the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes for further advice on AMS.

Eating and Drinking

Breakfast is included throughout the trip. On trek the breakfast will be a set menu usually consisting of porridge, toast and egg. Any additional items that are not included in the set menu should be ordered and paid for separately. We do not include lunch and dinner on trek allowing you to choose what you want to eat and when. The menus in the lodges are almost identical to one another but offer a varied choice, ranging from traditional Nepalese dhal bhat to pizza and apple pie.

Dhal bhat is the staple diet in Nepal and comes in many different forms but generally comprises some curried lentil dhal and meat or vegetables, some rice, and a pickle/chutney. Another popular snack is momos; a type of Nepalese dumpling, fried or steamed, filled with meat or vegetables.

Although meat is available in the teahouses, we advise against eating it on trek. The meat has often been carried in the heat from lower altitudes for several days before reaching the lodges, and can cause stomach upsets or illness. Germs can also be spread by handling dirty money - we recommend using hand sanitiser.

Drinking Water

Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity but particularly so at altitude where it is generally recommended to drink at least 3-4 litres per person per day.

We strongly encourage you not to buy bottled water on trek as this contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution in Nepal’s trekking areas.

Some villages along the Annapurna Circuit route have safe drinking water stations selling UV treated water for Rs40-50 per litre but these are not always open.

All teahouses will provide cold water free of charge, if requested. Although this should not be drunk untreated, we recommend that you bring a reusable bottle with a wide opening (Nalgene or similar) with you and use a SteriPEN to treat it with. A SteriPEN is a handheld UV water purifier – small, lightweight and battery powered so easy to pack for a trek. In Nepal’s trekking regions most of the bottled water isn’t strictly ‘mineral water’ anyway but is UV treated, so it’s exactly the same technology. It’s quick to use, far more effective than purification tablets, and the water is ready immediately. It’s fine to use a SteriPEN on non-boiled water so long as it isn’t cloudy or full of sediment (which is uncommon in these regions).

SteriPENs are widely stocked on Amazon, outdoor shops and other online retailers; look for the latest models but avoid USB charging ones. Better still, a SteriPEN will pay for itself over the course of the trek and you won’t leave behind a single plastic bottle – you will end up spending the same or even less than you would on bottled water, plus you can keep it for future trips.

If you prefer not to invest in a SteriPEN, the teahouses also sell boiled water for approx. Rs150-300 per litre (the price increases the higher you trek), which in theory does not need to be treated. This is perfect for a bedtime refill as it can double up as a hot water bottle.

Weather

The main trekking season in Nepal is from October to mid-May when daytime temperatures at most altitudes are generally comfortable for walking, the sky is clear much of the time and rain and snow are occasional occurrences. Daytime temperatures will vary from 15ºC to 35ºC in the Kathmandu Valley to around 10ºC at 3,600m and progressively lower the higher we go. Different seasons offer different advantages for trekking.

The crossing of the Thorong La can be cold at any time of year. There is sometimes a high wind over the pass which makes the crossing extremely cold and you must have adequate protection for very cold temperatures whilst crossing the pass.

Post Monsoon/autumn: Mid September to November. This is the main trekking season in Nepal. Day temperatures in Kathmandu are approximately above 20ºC. Skies are usually clear and days on trek are sunny and mild with clear mountain views. Nights will be colder with temperatures dropping as low as to minus 5ºC at the higher altitudes.

Winter: December to end February. Despite the colder conditions this is an ideal time to trek in Nepal. Skies are usually very clear especially in December and the mountain views are at their best. Nights will be very cold with temperatures down to minus 10ºC at the highest altitudes but days are pleasant and sunny. The trails are also much less busy at the time of year. In Kathmandu maximum daytime temperatures are 19ºC.

Pre-monsoon: March to May. Both day and night temperatures will be warmer in general but haze will often build up in the afternoons. It is very hot in the lowlands and temperatures rise to 35ºC in Kathmandu. Flowers bloom in this season and this is one of the reasons people chose to trek in spring. A buff is highly recommended as protection against the dusty winds that can occur on certain sections of the trip.

Snow can be expected on any departure, usually at the higher altitudes above Manang. Very occasionally the Thorong La may be blocked by snow. If this happens we can spend one day waiting, and then if it is still not possible to cross the pass we must retrace our steps to Besisahar.

Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal

Is this trip for you?

This is a Challenging grade (Activity Level 5) lodge-based trek with 11 days point-to-point walking and full porterage throughout – you need only carry a daypack. Please read a description of our Activity Levels, found on our website.

The maximum altitude is 5,416m, and the average altitude is 2,800m - we ask you to refer to the 'altitude warning' within the Trip Notes. Much of the walking is at moderate altitude with the exception of the Thorong La - a high pass with a steep approach.

The Annapurna Circuit is renowned for offering particularly varied scenery and we recommend it to those who want a thorough overview of the Nepalese Himalaya and have three weeks to spare. It is suitable for those confident of their physical fitness, ideally with some previous trekking experience. If you do not partake in regular exercise or hill walking then you should do some training or physical preparation beforehand. You may find our Walking & Trekking Fitness Training Guide a useful reference.

Apart from the Thorong La, the walking is generally quite moderate, and the first few days do not involve any long or steep ascents. On most days we walk for between approximately five and seven hours a day but the Thorong La crossing is a long day, taking around twelve hours. The walking is almost entirely on well-established trails. During the crossing of the Thorong La some snow or ice may be encountered and it will be extremely cold. It is also likely to be below freezing on several nights.

Although we schedule this trek at times of the year when conditions should be favourable, there can be unseasonal snowfall which very occasionally makes the Thorong La impassable. In this case we would retrace our route back down the Marsyangdi River.
The trail crosses numerous modern suspension bridges, all of which have mesh sides and none are especially high, however anyone with a strong fear of heights or vertigo may find them difficult.

A road is currently under construction along part of the main Annapurna Circuit route, however our leaders and Base Manager have recce'd the route and our itinerary takes alternative trails down the tremendous Kali Gandaki River Gorge wherever available to avoid the road as much as possible. There are a series of small wooden bridges over the Kali Gandaki which are constructed every November after the monsoon. Treks in October and November will use the suspension bridges and trips departing late November to April will use the wooden bridges to cross the river.

Walking hours stated within the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated exclude lunch stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Why Trek with Exodus?

• Over 30 years’ experience of organising treks in Nepal.
• 99% of clients who did this trek with Exodus in 2016 would recommend us.
• ‘Ask an expert’ – talk to Exodus office staff who have done the treks themselves.
• Experienced English-speaking local leaders who are qualified in first aid and trained in recognising and dealing with altitude sickness.
• One of the highest staff to client ratios on trek - 1 staff member: 4 clients.
• All staff (leaders, guides and porters) are fully insured and paid a fair wage.
• Carefully planned ascent rates and itineraries with built-in acclimatisation and contingency days.
• Staff carry oxygen, a Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC bag) and first aid kit.
• Self-assessment AMS cards used to monitor every client at altitude.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Lodges

This tour spends four nights in standard hotels and seventeen nights on trek in lodges (teahouses).

In Kathmandu we usually stay at the Hotel Royal Singi, located within walking distance of the Thamel district. All rooms have en suite facilities and there is a restaurant, a bar and an outdoor courtyard. There is complimentary Wi-Fi in the hotel lobby and Wi-Fi codes are available from reception for the rooms. There is an Exodus desk in the hotel reception area and an Exodus representative will usually be available daily in the mornings and evenings. In Pokhara we usually stay at Hotel Lakefront or Hotel Dahlia.

The teahouses are basic but adequate; please be realistic about what to expect in the mountains. We ask that you read our Nepal Destination Guide for further details about the lodge facilities. 

The hub of the teahouse is the dining room, usually decorated with colourful traditional rugs, sometimes with a stove or heater (some lodges charge a fee to put the heater on). All teahouses sell snacks and other essentials such as tissues, soap and toilet paper. Most lodges have electricity but it is not wholly reliable and lighting may not be bright enough to read by – a torch is essential. Electrical charging facilities are generally available only in the dining room (charged at approx. Rs150-350 per hour per device). Many lodges have Wi-Fi these days but it is generally slow and temperamental and often cannot cope with more than a couple of people logging into it at once.

The bedrooms are mostly twin-share but occasionally during peak seasons you may be asked to share a dormitory room (3-5 people max) for the odd night. Beds with foam mattresses, bedsheets and a pillow are provided. Bedrooms are generally unheated and can get cold at night so you will need to bring or hire a sleeping bag.

Most lodges have only one or two basic toilets and sometimes these are located outside the main lodge building. Toilets are usually Asian ’squat’ style; although many lodges have now installed ‘western style’ seated ones. Toilet paper is not provided so you should bring your own or buy it locally (please dispose of it the bin provided – do not put it in the bowl). If there is not a flush handle, there should be a container of water to pour down – if it is empty (or frozen) please either refill it or ask the lodge to.

Some lodges now have gas or solar hot showers (charged at approx. Rs250-500 per shower) but don’t expect them every night. Sometimes a hot shower is simply a bucket of hot water and not a shower head.

Standards of cleanliness vary especially in the peak trekking season and in winter when the water freezes at night. Please report any problems to your leader or the lodge and be vigilant in your personal hygiene regime – use soap or hand sanitizer gel before and after toilet breaks, snacks and meal times.

As a general rule, the higher altitude you go to, the more basic the lodges and the more expensive food and services become.

Extra Accommodation

If you require any additional accommodation in Kathmandu either before or after the tour, we can book this for you (subject to availability), please enquire with your Sales Consultant.

Single Accommodation

If you prefer your own room, we offer a single supplement for the four nights in Kathmandu and Pokhara only (subject to availability). While in the tea-houses, single rooms cannot be guaranteed but if a single room is available that night, you can pay locally on a day by day basis.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

It’s hard to choose ten highlights in a land so full of wonders, but we did our best…

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

  • Reviewed November 2017
    Nick Holloway

    A great and memorable Annapurna Circuit

    The whole trip was excellently organised, the accommodation generally better than expected as was the food. The scenery was breathtaking. We were lucky to have perfect weather the whole time. The group leader was excellent being always good humoured, friendly and helpful. Slight downsides were the amount of road walking where occasional buses, lorries and jeeps would tend to hoot at us and then cover us in dust as they passed. Also, some tea houses made hygiene difficult by having very poor or no hand washing facilities in the toilets.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first close up view of the high snow capped peaks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was excellent and always had his finger on the pulse of the group. He was pro-active in seeking continuous feedback from the group and dealing with any issues promptly and effectively. He also clearly was effectively managing the guide and porters. He was excellent on safety issues especially those relating to altitude. He also ensured that an appropriate pace was set at all times.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have adequate clothing for very cold nights and make sure you bring plenty of socks. In general, the packing list in the trip notes is very good including its recommendation for using a Steripen for water purification.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Meena Jefferys

    Annapurna circuit

    I have just returned from a very exciting three week trip to Annapurna circuit. Every day was different and full of adventure. With excellent guide in Gum, we all managed theTharong La pass without any altitude problem. The people of Nepal and all the staff including porters are really happy to help and always smiling. Just make sure you take enough clothes for the cold weather. If you forget there is plenty of opportunity to buy anything you need.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Throng La pass, lovely lunch stops on the way.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gum was the best leader I have ever had. He was always relaxed, smiling and was able to deal with all our needs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure you have plenty of clothes for the cold and include a tshirt for the warmer days.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed March 2017
    William Cowburn

    Annapurna Circuit Feb 17

    This classic trek is not for the faint hearted. Although the distances covered are not great, the fact that much of the trek is above 3000m means that effort required is significant and the day crossing the Throng La Pass at over 5400m is by far the most strenous with a 4am start and 1500m climb - equivalant to climbing Ben Nevis from the summit of Mt Blanc. The trek has been very well thought out with slack included just in case there are delays on the pass due to weather or sickness. The mountain views are awesome but there are also stretches of near desert where the going isn't quite so good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sunrise on the snow covered mountains was spectacular

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Prem, was outstanding. He organised everything to run like clockwork. He took great care of the group especially when some of us were suffering the effects of altitude thus ensuring everyone achieved their goal of completing the trek. His sense of humour was just what was needed to keep spirits up, we could have wished for better. Not sure how he influenced the weather but it was almost perfect for us - but just one day behind us every day the weather had closed in with heavy snow on the Pass just a few hours after we crossed it. We named him 'Prem the Lucky'!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    February turned out to be a good choice - clear weather (mostly) and deserted tea houses that we had to ourselves. From what we saw of other folk on the trek, Exodus was a good choice. Having seen other trekkers trying to tackle the high passes independently I was glad we were in the hands of competant leaders and had a happy support team of sherpas.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our trip was the first to spend more time in Pokhara at the end and less time in Kathmandu at the start. That was welcome, the hotel at Pokhara is great and the town is a much better place to relax after the trek than Kathmandu. The Qatar flights to Kathmandu allow some extra time there as they leave at night rather than the morning group flight.
  • Reviewed November 2014
    Anonymous

    Bill McOwan

    An excellent trip even though we could not complete the circuit because of the disaster on the Thorong La pass. My and I am sure the rest of the groups thoughts are with the families and friends of those who died or were injured in the storm.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views of the mountains at Manang. Our Nepalise guides and porters who were always very helpful and always had a ready smile.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kumar is an excellent leader and a credit to Exodus. He should be commended for a job well done.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure your kit is in good condition as you never know what weather you will get in the mountains - Monsoon rain to snow blizzards. Get your visa before you travel as the process at Kathmandu can take a very long time.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 020 8772 3936