Current as of: July 24, 2024 - 01:09

Annapurna Circuit

Annapurna Circuit Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Nepal
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    5 out of 7 - Challenging

  • 23 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 22 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: TNQ
  • Carbon Footprint: 10kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Tackle this essential Nepal trek, enjoying an unmatched variety of scenery and staying in teahouses

The Annapurna Circuit – considered Nepal’s classic trek – is legendary in the hiking community for its unrivalled variety of landscapes. However, few trekking trips complete the route, often skipping the final leg, which means missing out on deserted trails and unforgettable nights in quiet teahouses. We just couldn’t do that. Join us to tackle the full lap, enjoying superb views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountains and the ever-changing scenery. Based in teahouses throughout, we spend time in villages inhabited by many of Nepal’s different peoples, both Buddhist and Hindu.

Aldo Kane Collection: A hand-selected range of adventures by our Brand Ambassador:

“An absolute must for anyone who loves trekking in high mountain plateaus. You could say, this sort of adventure is a full reset for the mind and body. Passing ancient monasteries, bamboo forests and hushed valleys boasting spectacular views of the Annapurnas and Gangapurna, you’ll also have time to soak in everyday life in remote Buddhist and Hindu mountain villages along the way.”

Why trek with Exodus?

  • One of the highest staff-to-traveller ratios on the trek with one staff member to every four travellers
  • More than 30 years’ experience organising treks in Nepal
  • A carefully designed itinerary to minimise long road journeys and maximise comfort and ascent rates on the trails
  • Exodus annually commissions independent air-safety audits on domestic carriers in Nepal and only use those approved as part of the audit
  • Experienced English-speaking local leaders who are qualified in first aid and trained to recognise and deal with altitude sickness
  • All staff (leaders, guides and porters) are fully insured and paid a fair wage
  • Staff carry oxygen, a first-aid kit, and self-assessment acute mountain sickness cards, used to monitor every traveller at altitude
  • Speak to Exodus office staff who have done the trek themselves

At a Glance

  • Four nights in standard hotels and 17 nights in teahouses
  • 18 days of point-to-point walking with full porterage
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus tour leader and local staff. Minimum age: 16
  • Altitude maximum: 17,769ft (5,416m); average: 9,186ft (2,800m)
  • Travel by private bus and one internal flight
  • Snow and ice may be encountered
  • 16 March 2025 departure led by Valerie Parkinson, Wanderlust World Guide Awards Winner 2021
  • Part of the Aldo Kane collection

Highlights

  • Take the improved route using New Annapurna Trekking Trails (NATT)
  • Cross the formidable Thorong La pass
  • Enjoy the chance to see sunrise from Poon Hill
  • Experience dramatically changing scenery
  • Spend time in Kathmandu and Pokhara

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is rated Activity Level 5 (Challenging), mainly due to the number of days walking and the maximum altitude reached. For more information on our trip gradings please visit the Activity Level Guidelines page. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to contact us.  

It is a lodge-based trek with 18 days of walking and full porterage throughout – you need only carry a backpack.

The maximum altitude is 17,769ft (5,416m) and the average altitude is 9,186ft (2,800m); please 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. It is suitable for those confident of their physical fitness, ideally with some previous trekking experience. If you do not exercise or hill walk regularly, you should do some training or physical preparation beforehand.

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. The Thorong La crossing takes around 12 hours. The walking is almost entirely on well-established trails. During the Thorong La crossing, we may encounter some snow or ice 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 can spend one day waiting. Then, if it is still not possible to cross the pass, we must retrace our steps to Besisahar.

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 dirt road is currently under construction along part of the main Annapurna Circuit route; however, our itinerary takes alternative trails (known as NATT – New Annapurna Trekking Trails) wherever available to avoid the road as much as possible. These are a combination of new trails and previously disused old trails that have recently been cleared. There are a series of small wooden bridges over the Kali Gandaki constructed every November after the monsoon. Treks in October and November use the suspension bridges and trips departing from late November to April use the wooden bridges to cross the river.

This trip includes one or more domestic flights – please refer to the Transport section of the Trip Notes for information about the flying safety in Nepal.

Walking hours stated within the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated exclude lunch stops and vary depending on the group’s pace. Altitude gain given within the itinerary refers to the total ascent that day (ie all the uphill sections added together). Unfortunately, we do not have this data for the altitude loss at present.

To help you better prepare for your Nepal trip, please also see our Nepal Destination Guide.

Nepal flight safety

Many of our treks in Nepal use domestic flights to reach the trekking areas. The mountainous Nepalese terrain is subject to changeable weather, which makes flying conditions complex and challenging, and unfortunately there are significantly more incidents here than in other countries, including fatalities. The EU highlighted the poor safety record in Nepal in 2013 by including all Nepalese-registered airlines on the EU banned list, which prevents them from flying in EU airspace. While no Nepalese-registered airlines currently fly within the EU, the EU instigated this ban to highlight the risk of flying in Nepal to EU citizens. These airlines are unlikely to be members of any internationally recognised safety audit systems and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Nepal does not operate to the same standards as those of Western nations.

Flying within Nepal is therefore a known risk, and we strongly encourage you to consider this carefully before booking. We suggest you refer to the following sources:

In response to concerns over this safety record, Exodus arranges for independent air-safety auditors to visit Nepal annually to assess the suitability of the available carriers. We then restrict our use to only those approved as part of this audit. In emergency situations, we will need to use helicopters, so we also have a list of approved helicopter carriers. Should concerns arise regarding the safety of an airline on our approved list, we will remove the carrier from the list immediately, and it would only be reinstated once our air-safety auditors are confident the airline meets acceptable safety standards.

We appreciate that you may have concerns about flying within Nepal, so we ask that you please consider all the information above when deciding to book this trip.

Group

The group is generally between four and 16 people.

We have representatives in Kathmandu who look after your transfers to and from the airport and are available to answer other questions you may have about your trek. There is an Exodus desk and noticeboard in the Royal Singi Hotel in Kathmandu. The desk is manned morning and evening.

The departure starting in Kathmandu on 16 March 2025 will be led by Valerie Parkinson who has been leading treks in the Himalaya for more than 36 years. Valerie was the first British woman to summit Mount Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain in the world. She will share her mountaineering experience, including her own Everest summit expedition and Everest North Col expedition with you along the way. Valerie won Best Tour Leader in the prestigious annual Wanderlust World Guide Awards in 2021.

All departures have an English-speaking Nepali tour leader throughout the trip who will be assisted by Nepali trekking guides. All Exodus leaders are highly experienced and have undertaken Exodus leader training courses and wilderness first-aid training. The trekking guides are licensed by the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) and receive additional training through Exodus. The trekking guides will walk with the group, spacing themselves out to ensure the pace is appropriate for careful acclimatisation and to ensure the safety of all trekkers in the group, helping those who may need some encouragement or support.

On all our Nepal treks, there is one member of trek staff for every four clients – this ratio may change if a guide must stay behind with a group member. The leaders are assisted by additional guides and as many porters as necessary to carry the kitbags. All your main gear is carried for you and you only have to carry what you require for that day’s trek. Porters are given porter clothing for treks above 14,765ft (4,500m) – windproof jacket and trousers (pants), boots, socks, gloves, hats and sunglasses. All the trekking staff are insured by our local partner in Nepal.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 16

Itinerary

TNQ Map

Land Only

  • Start City: Kathmandu
  • End City: Kathmandu

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Kathmandu

The adventure begins in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. We gather at the hotel, where we have a full trek briefing this afternoon/evening. This is our first chance to meet as a group and for you to ask any questions you may have.

Accommodation: Hotel Royal Singi (or similar)

Day 2
A long but scenic drive to Syange via Besisahar

We leave Kathmandu early morning and drive towards Pokhara. Leaving the Kathmandu Valley, we follow the river to Mugling until we arrive at Besisahar. From Besisahar, we change to a high-clearance local bus (due to rough road conditions) and continue onto Syange for our overnight stay before we start our trek tomorrow. The total drive time can vary depending on road conditions and traffic but is approximately nine to ten hours.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 4,133t/1,260m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Visit Tallo Chiple village and cross the Marsyangdi Valley to Jagat

We start our trek today with a short but scenic walk. Our trail crosses the river at Syange by bridge. We climb up through Germu and follow an undulating trail through farmland to Tallo Chiple, where we stop for a tea break. The trail then descends to cross a suspension bridge, from where we have a steep climb towards Maththillo Chipla.

The trail contours round the hillside and we then have a steep descent to the Marsyangdi River, which we cross by a suspension bridge. Walking steeply uphill for approximately 20 minutes, we rejoin the main trail at the village of Jagat, where we spend the night. We arrive in Jagat around lunchtime and the afternoon is free to explore the area. Down by the river are some hot springs!

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 4,265ft/1,300m)

Distance covered: 5mi (8km)

Ascent: 3,323ft (1,013m); Activity hours: 5

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4
Reach the village of Dharapani

Immediately after leaving the lodge, a small, old trail turns off the road up to the left and undulates through forest and farmland all the way to Chyamje, after which we cross a suspension bridge and climb through oak forest. An undulating ascent brings us to a level valley where Tal, the next village, is situated at the foot of a grand waterfall (5,580ft/1,700m). From Tal, we cross the river and climb up to a jeep track which we follow to Dharapani.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 6,200ft/1,890m)

Distance covered: 11mi (17km)

Ascent: 3,215ft (980m); Activity hours: 6hr 30min

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Visit Odar village. Climb to Temang, then descend to Chame

Beyond Dharapani, we leave the jeep trail and turn sharply up to the left and have a steep 40 minute climb up a stone staircase to the pretty village of Odar. Passing traditional farms and homesteads, we trek through Galenchowk before descending to the main trail at Bagarchap at 7,100ft (2,164m). The name of this village means ‘butcher’s place’ and, although Buddhist, the people of this region used to hunt animals.

Continuing, we follow the jeep track for a short while past apple orchards to Dhanagyu. From here, we turn sharply up into the forest and have a fairly long climb to Temang, where we have lunch with magnificent views of Manaslu and Peak 29. The trail then descends through fir and pine forests to Thanchowk and further on through Koto to Chame (8,900ft/2,713m), the administrative centre of the Manang district.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 8,860ft/2,700m)

Distance covered: 11mi (18km)

Ascent: 4,298ft (1,310m); Activity hours: 6hr 30min

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, we enter the upper district of Manang, known as Nyeshang. At first, our trail follows the river closely through a deep canyon on the jeep track for a couple of hours to Brathang (9,577ft/2,919m) where there is now a large apple plantation. We can stop for fresh coffee and cakes (and maybe some fresh apple juice) before we begin our climb this morning. The trail then crosses the river and leaves the jeep track to climb on forest trails through fir and pine trees. Here,  the curved rockface of Paungda Danda rises nearly 4,920ft (1,500m) from the riverbank to Dukha Pokhari, where we stop for lunch.

Next, we veer off to the right and take the trail that climbs away from the road track and to Upper Pisang village, where we stay in a simple lodge for the night. There is an impressive monastery in the village, which we can visit in the afternoon. From here to the pass, we are the closest we will be to the mountains and today the views of Annapurna II are particularly impressive (weather permitting).

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 10,825ft/3,300m)

Distance covered: 9mi (15km)

Ascent: 3,366ft (1,026m); Activity hours: 6hr to 6hr 30min

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Climb high above the valley on a wonderful high trail to Ngawal; afternoon acclimatisation walk

We have a shorter but spectacular day for acclimatisation. From Upper Pisang, we take the fantastic high-level route towards Manang via the villages of Gyaru and Ngawal. This is a wonderful walk with great views across to the Annapurnas. We start with a short descent through the forest to a small green lake and then have a very steep climb up to Gyaru for a tea break. The views across the valley become more spectacular the higher we go. From here, the trail undulates high above the river with magnificent views across the Annapurnas to Ngawal, where we stay tonight. After lunch at our lodge we can explore this pretty medieval village and also have the option for a 6km acclimatisation walk up above the village to a small shrine and cave (approximately two and a half hours) ascending 420m.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 11,975ft/3,650m)

Distance covered: 7mi (11km)

Ascent: 2,198ft (670m); Activity hours: 4hr 30min to 5hr

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
Follow the high trail from Ngawal via Julu to Braga; afternoon acclimatisation walk

We have another half day for acclimatisation. From Ngawal, we take a spectacular high trail, which contours high above the valley with amazing views across to the Annapurnas and Gangapurna. As we leave Ngawal village, we pass a large chorten (Tibetan Buddhist shrine) before the trail drops to Julu village. We take the route that climbs steeply out of Julu onto a wonderful high trail above the valley. The trail climbs to a plateau and we contour through forests with great views across the valley to the Annapurnas and Gangapurna. The trail drops down to the pretty village of Braga, which is dominated by a large ancient gompa.

We stop here for the night and in the afternoon there will be the option for an additional acclimatisation walk exploring the village. We also visit the 500-year-old gompa.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 11,285ft/3,440m)

Distance covered: 6mi (9km)

Ascent: 1,165ft (355m); Activity hours: 3-4

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9
Trek to Yak Kharka.

Leaving Braga, it’s a 1.2mi (2km) walk on the main trail to Manang village, passing beautifully carved mani (prayer) walls as we head towards the base of the Thorong La. We will stop at Manang for a short while, there are shops and bakeries here giving you the chance to pick up some snacks for the day or treat yourself to apple pie and a coffee. We climb out of the Marsyangdi Valley and turn northwest up the valley of the Jarsang Khola. Looking back, we enjoy ever-more spectacular views as we are above the forests and pass through dry, alpine country, with scrub juniper and occasional clumps of birch. We stop at Gunsang for a light lunch before continuing up the valley.

We spend tonight at a lodge in Yak Kharka. Look out for the blue sheep that inhabit this cold, windy spot. For the energetic, this afternoon we can take an additional walk into the hills behind the lodge.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 13,125ft/4,000m)

Distance covered: 8mi (13km)

Ascent: 2,067ft (630m); Activity hours: 5hr 30min

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 10
Short half-day walk to Phedi, at the foot of the Thorong La

A 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 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.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 14,500ft/4,420m)

Distance covered: 4mi (7km)

Ascent: 1,893ft (577m); Activity hours: 4 to 4hr 30min

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 11
Cross the Thorong La to Muktinath, a place of pilgrimage

We have a very long day as we leave Phedi very early in the 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 17,769ft (5,416m). Ahead there is a magnificent panorama of snow-capped peaks soaring above the Kali Gandaki Valley looking towards Dolpo and Mustang; looking back, we can see several of the main Annapurna peaks. Directly in front of us is the great chasm of the Kali Gandaki (8,200ft/2,500m). It’s a very long descent that begins gently and becomes steeper, as we follow a series of switchbacks down to more grassy slopes. We stop for lunch at Phedi, where there are a few teahouses. From Phedi, it’s another hour and a half of gentle descent to Muktinath. We can visit the local famous temples on the way to our lodge.

Please note, conditions on the pass vary. It can be calm and clear with no snow but there can also be snow and ice and high winds on the pass. We recommend you carry Yaktrax or microspikes in case of snow or ice and take enough warm layers in case of high winds.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 12,140ft/3,700m)

Distance covered: 10mi (16km)

Ascent: 2,953ft (900m); Activity hours: 10-13

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 12
Trek through beautiful barren landscapes to Kagbeni

An easier day after the exertions of yesterday. From Muktinath, we pass through a landscape of bare, eroded hills with a backdrop of snow-capped high peaks. We cross the Jhong Khola and climb up to Chongur, a small traditional village. The monastery was founded by a Sakya monk and the whole village is painted with the colours of the Sakya sect. Continuing along a mixture of trekking trails and jeep tracks, we come to Jhong, another beautiful village. There is a monastery here dating to the seventh or eighth century and the ruins of an old fortress. Passing wind-eroded cliffs in an array of beautiful colours, we continue down the valley through Putak village and finally have a steep descent into the Kali Gandakhi Valley and the interesting village of Kagbeni. We have a long morning today (so take some snacks) and have a late lunch in Kagbeni.

There is time in the afternoon to explore this magical place. With narrow lanes and tunnels between the houses, it has an almost medieval feel.

Please note, in the event we are delayed due to bad weather, this day will be missed out and we trek directly from Muktinath to Marpha.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 9,185ft/2,800m)

Distance covered: 8mi (13km)

Ascent: 623ft (190m); Activity hours: 4hr to 4hr 30min

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 13
Follow the Kali Gandaki Gorge, beneath the great peaks of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna via Dumba Lake to Marpha

The trail now follows the jeep track down the Kali Gandaki River to the outskirts of Jomsom, a large administrative centre at 8,900ft (2,713m). Depending on the seasonal weather, at certain times of the year when the river level is low, we can walk along the rocky riverbed. We do not cross the river into Jomsom but, instead, stay on the left side of the valley and trek to the village of Thini, where we stop for a tea break. From here, it is about 30 minutes to the very small Dumba Lake, which 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. From the gompa, we have two trails – the shorter one descends through Dumba village to the suspension bridge across the Kali Gandaki to Marpha. Another longer trail continues on the same side of the river towards the Tibetan refugee camp of Chairo. A bridge crossing the Kali Gandaki takes us to the pretty village of Marpha 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.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 8,825ft/2,690m)

Distance covered: 13mi (21km)

Ascent: 2,264ft (690m); Activity hours: 6

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 14
Continue following the Kali Gandaki Valley to 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 26,545ft (8,091m), to the west, Dhaulagiri soars above us at 26,795ft (8,167m). Leaving the dry, barren landscapes, we walk through pine, cypress and juniper forest, sometimes on the valley floor and at 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 climb up to the pretty Thakali village of Chimang. Descending to a side stream, we follow the side valley down for a short while before climbing again into the forest. We ascend for about an hour and then the trail undulates for a while before descending to the valley floor at Sauru. We stop here for a break and then cross the Kali Gandaki to Kobang and onto Larjung. We stay tonight in a simple lodge. In the afternoon, we walk up to Naurikot, another traditional Thakali village, for sunset views across the valley on Niligiri.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 8,365ft/2,550m)

Distance covered: 10mi (16km)

Ascent: 1,306ft (398m); Activity hours: 4hr 30min to 5hr

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 15
Cross the Kali Gandaki and trek through Titi Tal, Kunjo to Ghasa

From our lodge we cross the Kali Gandaki to Sirkung. It’s then an easy climb up through the forest to Titi Tal, a very small lake (pond) but an important marsh zone for waterbirds in the Mustang area. We follow the trail through Taglung to Kunjo, where we have a simple Nepali lunch. After lunch we descend steeply through the forest to a rocky riverbed. Crossing a suspension bridge, we have a gradual climb up to Jhipre Deurali. The trail then descends to cross the Kali Gandaki where we join the road. We have approximately one hour of road walking until we reach the start of the trail to Ghasa. We leave the road and walk through the old part of Ghasa to reach our lodge for the evening.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 6,400ft/1,950m)

Distance covered: 14mi (23km)

Ascent: 1,493ft (455m); Activity hours: 5hr 30min to 6hr

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 16
Follow an undulating trail through small settlements to Tatopani, famous for its hot springs

From Ghasa, we follow the road for 30 minutes and then cross the river on a suspension bridge. The trail now climbs high above the river to Pairothaplo and then descends to Kopchepani. Across the river, we can see the huge waterfall at Rupse Chhara. We continue on the same side of the river and follow the rollercoaster trail up and down all morning. We have lunch in the small village of Narcheng before continuing past a hydroelectric project just before Tatopani. A suspension bridge brings us right into Tatopani, where we spend the night. Tatopani means ‘hot water’ and is famous for its hot springs just below the village. There is time in the late afternoon to enjoy a welcome soak – guaranteed to ease any aching limbs!

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 4,100ft/1,250m)

Distance covered: 10mi (16km)

Ascent: 1,516ft (462m); Activity hours: 6

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 route. Today is a sting in the tail as we have a long climb to Ghorepani. We climb all day through small hamlets and terraced fields, starting with a short descent on the road track for 45 minutes to a couple of bridges. From the second bridge, we have 30 minutes along a track and then the trail starts climbing on a series of stone staircases. It’s fairly steep up to Durbin Danda from where we have a short descent through Ghara. We then mostly follow the old trail as it climbs up through the villages of Shika and Chitre. From Chitre, we enter a huge rhododendron forest and the last couple of hours takes us up to Ghorepani. Meaning ‘horse water’, Ghorepani was once 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.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 9,515ft/2,900m)

Distance covered: 11mi (17km)

Ascent: 6,037ft (1,840m); Activity hours: 7hr 30min to 9hr

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 18
Optional early morning walk up Poon Hill for sunrise before a long descent to Birethanthi

There’s an optional early start for those who want to climb Poon Hill for sunrise (approximately two hours’ return trip including stops – in addition to the 7hr 30min walking to Birethanthi). The effort is well worth the 1,015ft (310m) climb (again, in addition to the 1,050ft/320m of total ascent today) for the superb views over the Annapurnas, Dhaulagiri and Machhapuchhare. We return to our lodge for breakfast and then it’s all downhill through the forest to Banthanti and then down a stone staircase through Ulleri and Tirkhedunga to Birethanti by the Modi Khola, where we stay in a very simple lodge.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 3,360ft/1,025m)

Distance covered: 12mi (20km)

Ascent: 1,050ft (320m); Activity hours: 7hr 30min (9hr 30min including Poon Hill)

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 pick up transport back to Pokhara. We usually arrive by lunchtime and have the afternoon to explore this pretty lakeside town.

Accommodation: Hotel Lakefront/Hotel Dahlia (or similar)

Distance covered: 1mi (2km)

Activity hours: 1

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). Alternatively, visit the Mountaineering Museum, the Gurkha Museum, take a trip to the nearby Tibetan refugee settlement and craft centre, or simply relax in one of the many lakeside restaurants and stroll around the shops.

Accommodation: 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.

Accommodation: Hotel Royal Singi (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 22
End Kathmandu

The trip ends after breakfast and we begin our return journeys home, full of tales and memories to last a lifetime.

Meals included: Breakfast

Altitude Charts

TNQ Altitude Chart

Altitude warning

This trip includes one or more nights over 11,480ft (3,500m) above sea level, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by acute mountain sickness (AMS). If left untreated, AMS can be life-threatening. We expect most clients to experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches, shortness of breath while walking or sleeplessness. Our leaders are trained to identify symptoms of severe AMS and if a client requires extra care, arrangements such as rapid descent, will be made immediately.

On some days, this trip climbs faster than commonly published ascent-rate recommendations. Based upon an assessment by our external safety and medical advisors and our risk-assessment process, we consider the ascent rate acceptable due to the additional safety measures in place for our customers. All our trips operating at high altitude meet our internal altitude-safety standards, which minimise the risk of serious incidents occurring while travelling at altitude.

Several medical conditions or medications can reduce your body’s ability to acclimatise. This may affect your performance and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing conditions, such as heart conditions, or your overall physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking. The drug Diamox (also known as acetazolamide and normally only available on prescription) has been shown to aid acclimatisation in some individuals, and therefore may reduce the risk of AMS. Clients considering using Diamox should speak to their doctor about the drug, its side-effects and a prescription. While we endeavour to assist all our clients in achieving their goals, there may be times when your leader decides to delay or stop your ascent based on your overall condition or the onset of AMS.

If you are not taking out Exodus Travel Insurance, make sure your policy covers you up to the maximum altitude on this trip (if trekking in the Himalaya your policy should also cover the use of a helicopter for emergency medical evacuation).

Ascents, descents and distances: All ascents, descents and distances listed in the daily itinerary have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. However, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these Trips Notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Accommodation

Hotels and teahouses

Annapurna Circuit

We stay in teahouses for most of this adventure, a classic experience for trekkers in the Himalaya. We spend the rest of our time in hotels. The accommodations we typically use are on the day-to-day itinerary; however, below are a few of the notable places we stay on this trip.  

Kathmandu: Royal Singi Hotel (nights 1 and 21)  

The Royal Singi, a quality three-star hotel, has been welcoming our groups for more than two decades. The name is inspired by the Snow Lion, a mythical creature in Tibetan Buddhism, which represents immense joy, positivity, delight and comfort. The hotel embraces the name with a restaurant, bar, outdoor courtyard, and complimentary wifi throughout. There’s also an Exodus desk in the lobby and an Exodus representative is usually available daily in the mornings and evenings. The Royal Singi is well located near the Thamel district, close to banks, restaurants, shops and attractions.  

Annapurna: Teahouses (nights 2-18)  

Staying in teahouses is a time-tested tradition for hikers in the Himalaya. They may be basic, but they’re a welcome sight after a day of walking among the spectacular peaks. The hub of teahouse living is the dining room, which is usually decorated with traditional rugs, sometimes with a stove or heater (some lodges charge a fee to put the heater on). Most teahouses sell snacks and other essentials such as tissues, soap and toilet paper.  

We stay in twin-share bedrooms, which come with foam mattresses, bedsheets and a pillow. Remember to bring (or hire) a sleeping bag, rooms are unheated so they can get cold at night.  

Worth knowing  

  • Some teahouses above 9,845ft (3,000m) may not be heated due to local environmental restrictions. Occasionally, kerosene burners can be used to heat common areas if requested. We recommend against using these due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Your leader will not offer this to you.  
  • Most teahouses have electricity, but it is not wholly reliable, and lighting may not be bright enough to read by – a torch (flashlight) is essential. Charging facilities are generally only available in the dining room (charged at approximately 200-500 Nepalese rupees/US$1.50-US$3.80 per hour per device). Many of the teahouses use solar power, so sometimes there is not enough electricity for charging. Many also have wifi, though it can be slow and temperamental.  
  • Most teahouses have Western-style toilets, though some may have squat style. Toilet paper is not provided, so you should bring your own or buy it locally (please dispose of it in the receptacle provided). If there is not a flush handle, there should be a container of water to pour down – if it is empty (or frozen), please refill it or ask the lodge to.  
  • Some teahouses have hot ‘showers’ (charged at approximately 250-500 rupees/US$1.90-US$3.80 per shower). Sometimes this is simply a bucket of hot water.  
  • 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 teahouse staff and be vigilant in your personal hygiene regime – use soap or hand gel before and after toilet breaks, snacks and mealtimes.  
  • Generally, the higher the altitude, the more basic the teahouse and the more expensive food and services.  

Extra accommodation  

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

Single accommodation  

If you prefer your own room, we offer a single supplement for the hotel nights in Kathmandu and Pokhara only (subject to availability). While in the teahouses, single rooms cannot be guaranteed so these have not been included in the single supplement price paid in advance. However, if a single room is available on arrival at a teahouse, you can pay locally on a day-by-day basis. 

Single supplement from £ 155

Food & Drink

Breakfast is included throughout the trip.

In the teahouses, breakfasts comprise of a choice of bread (a slice of toast, chapatti or Tibetan bread), a choice of egg (boiled, fried or omelette), and a choice between either muesli or porridge each day. Hot tea/coffee is also served. On some days, a pancake with jam/honey is served. You may also be able to supplement your included breakfast with additional items on the teahouse menu should you wish, additional items not included in the set menu should be ordered and paid for separately.

Please note, some more remote teahouses/lodges are unable to provide an extensive menu due to irregular delivery schedules and during periods of bad weather or a high volume of trekkers, there may be a more limited menu choice. Also, the higher altitude the more expenses the menus and extras generally are.

Lunch is at a teahouse en route – sometimes one of your guides will go ahead with the group’s order to make it more expedient. Dinner will be in the same teahouse that you sleep at (this is custom in Nepal as teahouses base their room rate on it).

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 curried lentils and meat or vegetables, rice, and a pickle/chutney. Another popular snack is momos, a type of Nepalese dumpling, fried or steamed and 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.

If you have a gluten-free diet, we strongly recommend you bring extra food and snacks with you to supplement the food on trek as there will be little variety available to you, particularly for breakfast. Even many of the soups are from powder/packets and contain gluten. If you buy imported food and drink on trek you will spend more than the suggested amount.

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 100floz to 135floz (three litres to four litres) per person per day.

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

A few villages along the Annapurna Sanctuary route have safe drinking water stations selling UV-treated water for about 50 rupees (US$0.40) per litre but these are not always open.

The teahouses also sell boiled water for approximately 150-300 rupees (US$1.15-US$2.30) per litre (the price increases the higher you trek) which should not require treating. This is also perfect for a bedtime refill as it can double up as a hot-water bottle.

Alternatively, all teahouses provide free cold water. Although this should not be drunk untreated, we recommend you bring a reusable bottle/water bladder/Camelpak (ideally two) and use an effective form of water treatment. There are a wide range of products available including Steripens or purification tablets, which are the quickest and easiest options to use on trek – we recommend talking to an outdoor retailer for the latest advice as technologies are improving all the time. Make sure to check the product’s performance in cold/freezing conditions and consider battery life (lithium batteries are best in cold conditions).

Exodus has partnered with Water-to-Go, a filtration system that eliminates more than 99.99 percent of all microbiological contaminants from any non-saltwater source – visit Water-to-Go for more information. Exodus customers can claim 15 percent off their first order and, better still, 15 percent of the purchase value will be donated to the Exodus Travels Foundation. These bottles filter the water as you drink through the spout may not be the most efficient while on the go on a trek. Please note, if the water freezes it will clog up the filter. In this event, defrost before use by sitting the filter in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes.

Transport

For airport transfers, we use a private minibus. For the journey to Besisahar, we use a privately hired bus. For the journey from Besisahar to Syange, we swap into a local-style public bus as these are better for negotiating this section of road that is in a poor condition. Please note, the buses are not equipped with seatbelts.

For the flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu, we use the scheduled services of one of the airlines operating within Nepal.

This point-to-point trekking trip requires you to walk between each overnight stay under your own steam. Other forms of transport may be available along the route (horses, jeeps etc) but Exodus is not able to take responsibility for the safety or the cost of any transport that you choose to take even if provided with the assistance of our leader or staff.

Nepal flight safety

Many of our treks in Nepal use domestic flights to reach the trekking areas. The mountainous Nepalese terrain is subject to changeable weather, which makes flying conditions complex and challenging, and unfortunately there are significantly more incidents here than in other countries, including fatalities. The EU highlighted the poor safety record in Nepal in 2013 by including all Nepalese-registered airlines on the EU banned list, which prevents them from flying in EU airspace. While no Nepalese-registered airlines currently fly within the EU, the EU instigated this ban to highlight the risk of flying in Nepal to EU citizens. These airlines are unlikely to be members of any internationally recognised safety audit systems and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Nepal does not operate to the same standards as those of Western nations.

Flying within Nepal is therefore a known risk, and we strongly encourage you to consider this carefully before booking. We suggest you refer to the following sources:

In response to concerns over this safety record, Exodus arranges for independent air-safety auditors to visit Nepal annually to assess the suitability of the available carriers. We then restrict our use to only those approved as part of this audit. In emergency situations, we will need to use helicopters, so we also have a list of approved helicopter carriers. Should concerns arise regarding the safety of an airline on our approved list, we will remove the carrier from the list immediately, and it would only be reinstated once our air-safety auditors are confident the airline meets acceptable safety standards.

We appreciate that you may have concerns about flying within Nepal, so we ask that you please consider all the information above when deciding to book this trip.

Weather & Seasonality

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 15C to 30C (59F to 86F) in the Kathmandu Valley to around 10C (50F) at 11,800ft (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. Sometimes the pass is clear of snow and there is no wind while at other times it is covered in snow (or ice) and is extremely windy and cold. We cannot predict the weather, so you must have adequate clothing and equipment for very cold temperatures. We cannot guarantee you will need them but we suggest you take YakTrax or microspikes (the ones with spikes, not coils) in case of snow or ice as it is best to be prepared.

Snow can be expected on any departure, usually at the higher altitudes above Manang.

Post monsoon/autumn (Mid-September to November): This is the main trekking season in Nepal. Day temperatures in Kathmandu are typically above 20C (68F). 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 -5C (23F) at higher altitudes.

Winter (December to end of February): An ideal time to trek in Nepal, despite the colder conditions. 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 -10C (14F) or lower at the highest altitudes but days are pleasant and sunny. The trails are also much less busy at this time of year. In Kathmandu, maximum daytime temperatures are 19C (66F).

Pre-monsoon/spring (March to May): Both day and night temperatures are warmer in general but haze often builds in the afternoons. It is very hot in the lowlands and temperatures rise to 35C (95F) 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.

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start hotel: Royal Singi Hotel, Lal Durbar, Kamaladi, Kathmandu
Phone: +977 144 24190
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Kathmandu Airport (KTM)

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately 30 minutes’ drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start hotel from the airport for all customers.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Kathmandu Airport (KTM) from the end hotel.

Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Kathmandu
Location end: Kathmandu

What To Take

Essential Equipment

All luggage for the trek should be packed in the Exodus kitbag provided or in a similar soft kitbag. Many people find it easiest to pack the Exodus kitbag inside a wheelie case, which can be left at the Kathmandu hotel for free with anything not needed for the trek, while the kitbag is carried by your porter on the trek.

When packing, please consider the quantities/volume of the items you bring. Decant larger toiletries into small reusable bottles to limit weight and volume, take a lightweight travel towel etc. Each porter carries two kitbags, therefore, please respectfully limit your kitbag to 22lb (10kg) maximum per person. Your leader will weigh each bag before departing Kathmandu and may ask those with overweight kitbags to remove non-essential items and leave them in Kathmandu.

The weight allowance on the flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu is 22lb (10kg) check-in baggage and 11lb (5kg) hand baggage. If your luggage exceeds these weight limits, you will have to pay the excess (approximately US$1.30 per kg).

Many Nepalis are still traditional in the way they dress. You should, therefore, dress conservatively. Tight, revealing clothing is not advised and T-shirts are preferable to sleeveless tops. Long knee-length shorts are acceptable. Trousers (pants) or a long skirt are preferable for women.

  • Two passport photos for your trekking permit (plus an additional one if getting your visa on arrival in case the electronic visa kiosks are out of order)
  • Four-season sleeping bag (with liner for December departure)
  • Three/four-season jacket (four-season for late November and December departures)
  • Refillable water bottle/water bladder (also known as a hydration pack/CamelBak, which are useful for rehydrating on the go)
  • Water purification treatment/Steripen
  • Waterproof walking boots (worn in)
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers (pants)
  • Gaiters for winter and spring departures
  • Comfy shoes for the evening
  • Warm hat
  • Scarf/buff (which can be pulled over your nose and mouth to protect against fine mountain dust)
  • Warm gloves
  • Several pairs of walking socks
  • Tracksuit or thermals
  • Mid layer (fleece)
  • Light to mid-weight trousers (pants) – warmer for winter
  • Shorts
  • Shirts, T-shirts, base layers
  • Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve with sun protection
  • Mosquito repellent (see advice on dengue fever in the vaccination section)
  • Backpack for carrying belongings during the day
  • Towel
  • Headtorch (head lamp)
  • Plastic bags to line backpack and for packing clothing in the kitbag
  • Toilet paper
  • Trekking pole(s)
  • Small personal first-aid kit
  • Hand-washing gel
  • Biodegradable mini toiletries for the trek (please do not bring full-size items and limit to essentials)
  • Universal plug adaptor (there are three different electrical socket types in Nepal)
  • Swimwear (for the hot springs)
  • Solar charger/spare batteries/power bank

Although the Thorong La is often clear of snow and ice, there can be snow and ice at any time of year, but particularly in winter and spring. Snow can make the steep descent slippery. We recommend carrying a pair of microspikes, Yaktrax or similar (with spikes, rather than coils) just in case. Theses are readily available in Kathmandu and are cheap to buy.

Equipment hire

There are many equipment shops in Kathmandu where you can buy much of the above clothing. The quality does vary and cannot be guaranteed so you should choose carefully.

The following equipment can be hired through Exodus – the equipment is good quality and will keep you warm but it is bulky and you should take this into account when packing due to the weight limits for both porterage and domestic flights. Hire equipment should be requested and paid for in advance of travel but will be provided locally in Kathmandu. Approximate hire prices are as below:

  • Down jacket (approximately 3.9lb/1.8kg): From £63
  • Four-season sleeping bag (approximately 5lb/2.3kg): From £84
  • Package including a down jacket and a four-season sleeping bag: From £105

Donations for porters, children and the elderly

If while packing, you find a spare bit of space in your bag then you may be interested in donating to one of Exodus’ projects. Exodus supports a Porter Clothing Bank in Kathmandu and school children in Kathmandu and various villages, and an old people’s home in Kyanjin Gompa in the upper part of the Langtang Valley. If you have any old walking gear this can be donated to porters. Similarly, any warm clothing or blankets would be appreciated by the old people’s home – please leave these items with your leader or at the Exodus desk at the Royal Singi Hotel. Books, stationery, games, warm clothes/underwear etc suitable for children aged five to 18 should be taken to the Ambassador Garden Home in Thamel and given to Prakash Lammichanne. Contact number: +977 1 4700724.

Exodus kitbag: If you book this trip, we provide a free Exodus kitbag to pack your luggage in while on trek. Once you have booked, you will be sent instructions on how to claim your bag (they are not sent automatically). Please note, if you book less than three weeks before the departure date, we cannot guarantee your kitbag will arrive before your trip starts. If this is the case, please contact us on customerops@exodus.co.uk (or customeroperations@exodustravels.com if you’re based in the US or Canada). See www.exodus.co.uk/kitbags for full T&Cs.

Practical Information

Passport

Your passport must be valid for at least six months when you submit your application for a visa. You should also ensure your passport is up to date, is valid for the entire length of your stay and that you have completed the emergency contact details page inside your passport.

Visa

Nepal

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally need a visa to enter Nepal. Visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

You can obtain your visa in advance or on arrival. If possible, apply in advance as queues on arrival can be very long and the Immigration Department of Nepal has suspended visas on arrival for certain nationalities – please check if this applies to you with your nearest embassy or consulate.

Visa in advance: Apply for this through your local consulate or embassy. The Nepalese government has an online application system, but it is currently only accepting payments through Nepalese payment channels.

Visa on arrival: When you arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, there will be three lines. If you have already secured your visa, go straight to the Immigration line. If not:

  1. Fill in a tourist visa form at the electronic kiosks. After inserting your passport, the machine will automatically fill out an application form, take an electronic photograph of you and print a paper slip. If the machine won’t read your passport, complete the details manually using the touchscreen. We recommend taking a passport photo with you just in case.
    • This process can be completed through the online immigration portal (click ‘Visa On-Arrival’) within 14-days prior to arrival in Kathmandu, helping you to avoid lengthy queues at the kiosks when you come through immigration – ensure you print and bring the confirmation with you. If you have completed your visa on arrival form in advance, go directly to the visa fees counters with your printed confirmation and skip the kiosk queues.
  2. Proceed to the visa fees collection counter and pay the visa fee (in cash, if possible). Make sure to keep the receipt. Card payments are not always possible, so paying in cash is easiest, most currencies are accepted but US dollars are preferred.
  3. Go to the relevant immigration desk and present your tourist visa form, payment receipt and passport to obtain your 15-, 30- or 90-day visa stamp. Please check you have been given the correct visa duration.

Vaccinations and Health

Nepal

There are no required vaccinations. However, recommended vaccinations include tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, cholera, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and tuberculosis. You will also need a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you’re arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission or transiting for more than 12 hours through a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Some travellers may also need proof of a polio vaccination. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

There is little to no risk of malaria in Nepal; therefore, antimalarial tablets are not usually advised although may be considered for certain high-risk groups. You may wish to consult your doctor or travel clinic for further advice.

Additionally, dengue fever, a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes, is a known risk in Nepal with an outbreak in September 2022. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis, so take extra precautions (such as wearing full-length trousers, long sleeves and applying insect repellent during the day, dawn and dusk) to prevent being bitten.

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.

When trekking at altitude, and particularly in cold weather, there is a higher chance of developing a cough (sometimes referred to here as the Khumbu cough) or cold symptoms. These symptoms could be a result of inhaling cold mountain air or dust (in the Everest region). You can mitigate against picking up coughs and colds by washing your hands with soap and water at available opportunities and using hand sanitiser. Also wear a buff over your neck and mouth when walking at altitude, particularly in colder weather, which will help limit cold, dry air entering your airways and keep your neck and chest warm.

Ticks are known to be present in this region and can carry lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and other diseases. Please take care to protect yourself. You can read more about ticks here.

Local Time

Nepal's time zone: Asia/Kathmandu (UTC +05:45)

Electricity

Nepal's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard), D (three round pins) and M (three round pins) – 230V, 50Hz Mains electric 'load shedding' (planned temporary power cuts) occur regularly throughout towns and cities in Nepal. On teahouse treks, the majority of lodges now have electricity and charging facilities in the communal areas for batteries, for a fee. Battery life can be affected by cold; lithium batteries are best.

Annapurna Circuit

Money

Nepal's currency: Nepalese rupee (NPR) It is illegal to import or export rupees, but foreign currency is not limited, provided it is declared on arrival. Keep your change receipts, as you will need them if you want to change rupees back into hard currency at Kathmandu airport.

ATM Availability

There are ATMs in Kathmandu, Pokhara and other major towns but there are none on the Annapurna Circuit trek itself so you have to carry cash.

Do not rely wholly on ATMs as many are broken or run out of money. Often there are ATM lounges (a small room with several ATMs). Some banks have a withdrawal limit equivalent to only US$125 per time. If you need to withdraw more, look for another ATM with a higher limit as there are transaction fees (others have a maximum withdrawal limit equivalent to about US$380 per time).

Credit cards are accepted in many of the larger shops and restaurants in Kathmandu and Pokhara but are no use on trek.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We recommend taking your personal spending money in cash (US dollars, British pounds or euros can all be changed easily). Please note that any marked, torn or damaged notes may not be accepted. Please remember, £50 notes, Scottish or Irish currency cannot be changed in Nepal. Cash can be changed easily at the airport on arrival in Kathmandu or at money changers in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. Hotels in Nepal can also change up to US$300 per person. Please note, travellers cheques can NOT be exchanged in Nepal. Our staff will advise you about how much money to take with you on the trek.

You need to withdraw/exchange enough money in Kathmandu to last the duration of your trek – to cover meals, drinks, tipping and other incidentals. It is a good idea to carry spare cash on the trek in case of an emergency. Carrying a large amount of cash is unavoidable so we suggest splitting it up into a few different places – but remember to keep track of how much you have stashed where.

Prices of food and amenities in teahouses generally become more expensive the higher altitude/more remote you are and access to ATMs/money changes are extremely limited. Please allow 4,000 – 5,400 rupees (US$30-US40) per day for lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks, showers, toilet roll and charging on trek, and for meals not included in Kathmandu and Pokhara. This amount is given as a rough guideline only.

Your expenditure will be towards the top end if you buy boiled water rather than treating cold water, and depending on how many hot showers you take, if you pay to charge electrical devices, drink alcohol, use wifi on the trek and so on.

If you’d like to purchase a trekking map for 500 rupees (US$4), please speak to your Leader at the welcome briefing and he will provide the relevant map for you.

Optional excursions

Several optional tours and activities are available from Kathmandu.

Prices for a half-day sightseeing tour start from approximately 4,650 rupees (US$35) per person, based on a group of six or more. For all trips, return transport and a qualified sightseeing guide are included. The price does not include lunch or entry fees. Please enquire with your leader in Kathmandu, who can provide further information.

An optional Everest sightseeing flight is available on your free day (weather permitting) from around 27,810 rupees (US$210) per person (price subject to change). If you intend to book, please refer to the Transport section for information about the safety of flying in Nepal.

Tipping

Tipping is part of the culture in Nepal and usually expected. Tipping can often be an awkward affair, especially when in an unfamiliar country where you are not sure when or how much to tip. As such, your tour leader usually offers to arrange and look after a group tipping kitty, which is used to tip porters in hotels, local guides, assistant guides, porters and the drivers. Your leader will suggest how much to contribute, depending on group size, but a rough guideline is provided below.

Tipping of the leader is at your discretion and separate to the amount he suggests for the other staff. We suggest you send an envelope around the group at the end of the trip and you can put in what you like and give it to the leader on the last evening.

The following are guideline amounts received by each staff member from the group as a whole…

  • Tour leader: 40,000-45,000 rupees (usually tipped on the last night in Kathmandu)

Your trekking crew (tips are usually given on the last evening of the trek in Birethanthi)

  • Trekking guides: 25,000-30,000 rupees for each guide
  • Trek porters: 16,000-18,000 rupees for each porter

General tipping guidelines:

  • Drivers: Kathmandu to Besisahar (full day): 2,000 rupees in total from the group; Nayapul to Pokhara (half day): 1,000 rupees in total from the group
  • Hotel porters: 100 rupees each time for each room
  • Teahouses and lunch stops on the trek: It’s customary to round your bill up to the nearest 50 or 100 rupees
  • Restaurants: 10% of the bill if good service

To help budget for the tips, generally there is one member of trek staff (leader/guide/assistant) for every four clients. You also have one porter for every two clients to carry your luggage. If you are unsure on how much to budget, check with your leader when you arrive in Kathmandu. Please try to ti in local currency.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that improve life for the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local leader and trekking support staff (guides, porters/yak herders) means our customers are well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, teahouses and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food, and by supporting other local enterprises.
  • Following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Exodus has been able to support Karma, our local partner’s Food Package Project in Nepal, which has distributed food parcels to those in need on the streets of Kathmandu at a time when lockdowns and a lack of tourism left many without an income.
  • It was not until 2005 that the ancient tradition of chhaupadi (banishing menstruating women and girls to huts or sheds during their period) was made illegal in Nepal. In rural parts of the country, menstruation is still a taboo subject. Since 2018, Exodus has supported the Freedom Kitbag Project, providing reusable sanitary wear and education in reproductive health to many hundreds of women and to their wider communities.
  • Exodus has had a deep connection with Nepal since the 1980s and over the years has supported, and continues to support, many Himalayan Community Projects, including an elderly persons home, the High Altitude Workers Welfare Association, providing solar cookers, smokeless stoves and running medical camps in hard-to-reach communities, to name but a few.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels.
  • By travelling in a small group and on foot, for the most part, led by a local leader, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We buy our trekking permits and pay our Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) fees, the income from which helps to preserve the region.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy is found here.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead recommending that you refill your own reusable bottles with boiled water on the trek or that you treat tap water. Bottled water is technically banned in the Annapurna region and some villages along this route have safe drinking water stations selling UV-treated water.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

  • In Kathmandu, we stay at a family-run Nepali-owned hotel, rather than using a large international hotel chain, and during the trek we stay in small locally owned teahouses, which helps reduce the carbon footprint of this trip.
  • Few crops grow nor do animals graze at these altitudes, and as there are no roads to the more remote villages, food is often carried in along the trails by porters or yaks/mules, making its transportation footprint inherently low carbon.
  • A vegetarian diet is common in Nepal, especially in the mountains where eating meat is not generally recommended due to hygiene concerns and a lack of refrigeration facilities. The staple diet is dal baht, which comes in various forms but generally includes lentil dal, vegetable curry, and rice.
  • The provision of solar cookers to many villages along the popular trekking routes in Nepal has helped prevent further deforestation in the pursuit of wood used for cooking.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you. When trekking, biodegradable soap, shampoo and toilet paper are recommended. Keep to paths to reduce damage to plants and disturbances to wildlife.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Avoid using plastic bottles or buying mineral water and instead use refillable water bottles wherever possible. Buy boiled water or carry water purification treatment (we recommend a Steripen or similar type of handheld UV water purifier).
  • Try to buy locally made handicrafts but be wary of items made from wild animals eg shahtoosh shawls made from endangered Tibetan antelope.
  • If while packing, you find a spare bit of space in your bag then you may be interested in donating to one of our projects. Exodus supports a Porter Clothing Bank in Kathmandu and also distributes clothing to villages and schools.

 Cultural respect

  • The Nepalese greeting is namasté with hands held in front of the face, the higher they are held, the more respect it exudes. Men shake hands with men but not with women.
  • Walk in a clockwise direction around temples or monuments. Ask permission before entering places of worship and remove your shoes. Leave leather behind before entering Hindu temples.
  • Pointing your feet (the least sacred body part) at people or religious places or pointing or beckoning with a single finger is considered impolite.
  • Displays of affection should be kept at bay, and loose-fitting clothing that covers legs and shoulders is advisable, especially when visiting homes, monasteries or temples.
  • Do it like the locals! The left hand is associated with toilet duties, so eat, wipe your mouth, pass food, give and receive with your right hand. Only handle your own food and drink.
  • Ask before you capture people on camera. Exchanging a few words or gestures beforehand can go a long way. Offering (and actually sending) a copy via post is a great way to benefit both parties!

Important Information

Optional activities and excursions

If you would like to join an optional activity or excursion outside those listed in the itinerary, your leader may be able to assist with selecting a provider. However, Exodus has not assessed the safety standards of activities or excursions that are not listed in the Trip Notes. All optional activities or excursions are undertaken at your own risk.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.