Trekkers on the mini-Annapurna Circuit

Annapurna Circuit Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Destinations:
Nepal
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TNQA
Activity Rating - Challenging
Challenging

You have a good level of fitness and are looking for a physically challenging holiday.  Previous experience is essential for activity based trips.

23 Days Flight Inclusive
22 Days Land only
16 Min age

Trip Overview

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.

At a Glance

  • 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

 

Trip 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

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. 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 Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: https://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

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.

Group

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

Groups of four or more will have an English-speaking Nepali Tour Leader throughout the trip. Smaller groups will be led by a highly competent English speaking Nepali Trekking Guide. All Exodus leaders are highly experienced and as well as Exodus leader training courses they are all trained in wilderness first aid. The trekking guides are licensed by the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) and also receive additional training through Exodus.

On all of our Nepal treks there will be one member of trek staff for every four clients - this ratio may change if for any reason a guide has to stay behind with a member of the group. 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 whatever you require for that day's trek. Porters carry two client's kitbags each - kitbags should be restricted to 12kg maximum. Porters are given porter clothing for treks above 4,500m (windproof jacket and trousers, boots, socks, gloves, hats, 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 Trip Map

Land Only

Start City:
Kathmandu
End City:
Kathmandu

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • 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.
    Standard Hotel

  • 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.

    Walk profile: 8km / 3hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 8 km / 4 miles
  • 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 (1,300m).

    Walk profile: 20km / 7.5hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 20 km / 12 miles
  • 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 at 1,943m.

    Walk profile: 20km / 6-7hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 20 km / 12 miles
  • 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.

    Walk profile: 19km / 5.5hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 19 km / 11 miles
  • 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.

    Walk profile: 14.5km / 6-6.5hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9 miles
  • 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.

    Walk profile: 19km / 7-8hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 19 km / 11 miles
  • 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.
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 3 km / 1 miles
  • 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.

    Walk profile: 9km / 4-5hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 9 km / 5 miles
  • 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.

    Walk profile: 8km / 4-5hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 8 km / 4 miles
  • 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 switch-backs down to the grassy slopes, before easing off to a gentle descent to Muktinath (3,700m).

    Walk profile: 13km / 10-13hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
  • 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.

    Walk profile: 10km / 3-4hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 10 km / 6 miles
  • 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.

    Walk profile: 16km / 6-7hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 16 km / 9 miles
  • 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.

    Walk profile: 13km / 6-7hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
  • 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).

    Walk profile: 15km / 6-7hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9 miles
  • 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!

    Walk profile:14km / 5-5.5hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 14 km / 8 miles
  • 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.

    Walk profile: 15km / 7-9hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9 miles
  • 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.

    Walk profile: 20km / 6-7hrs
    Basic Hotel (Teahouse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 20 km / 12 miles
  • 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.

    Walk profile: 2km / 45mins-1hr
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 2 km / 1 miles
  • 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.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 21

    Fly to Kathmandu.

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

    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
Altitude charts
TNQ Altitude Profile

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. In Pokhara we usually stay at Hotel Lakefront.

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: https://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/Destination-Guides-Nepal.pdf

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.

If you prefer your own room, we offer a single supplement for the four nights in Kathmandu and Pokhara only, from £110 (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.

Single supplement from £110.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

Breakfast is included throughout the trip.

On trek the breakfast will be a set menu usually consisting of porridge and toast. 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. Although most lodges have almost identical menus, they are reasonably extensive and offer a varied selection, ranging from traditional Nepalese dhal bhat to pizza and apple pie.

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 buy imported food and drink whilst 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 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.

The teahouses also sell boiled water for approx. Rs150-300 per litre (the price increases the higher you trek). This is perfect for a bedtime refill as it can double up as a hot water bottle but we advise to still treat it before drinking.

Transportation

For airport transfers we use a private minibus. For the journey to Besisahar we will use either a privately hired local style bus, or, for smaller groups, the scheduled services of the tourist bus.

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

Flying in Nepal

Many of our treks in Nepal use domestic flights to reach the trekking areas. The mountainous terrain is often subject to changeable weather which makes flying conditions complex. In addition the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Nepal does not operate to the same standards as those of western nations. The EU has recently chosen to highlight the relatively poor safety record in Nepal, and as of December 2013 all Nepalese registered airlines have been included on the EU ‘Banned list’ preventing them from flying in EU airspace. While no Nepalese-registered airlines currently fly within the EU, the EU have instigated this ban to encourage the CAA of Nepal to tighten its systems governing Nepalese aviation. Flying within Nepal is therefore a known risk and the current travel advice issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides an overview which we encourage you to read.

In response to general concerns over this safety record, Exodus asked independent air safety experts to visit Nepal on our behalf to assess the suitability of the available carriers. Following these comprehensive audits (undertaken approximately every 2 years), Exodus decided to restrict our use of airlines to only those approved as part of the most recent audit. It remains our firm policy to only use these approved carriers for our customers and further audits will take place regularly. For emergency situations, we also have an approved list of helicopter companies for our use.

Exodus is supportive of the EU’s move to put pressure on the CAA of Nepal in this way. We are hopeful that, alongside our own risk control measures, this will make a difference to all who fly in Nepal. Please consider the information above when deciding to book this holiday.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

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 15 to 35degC in the Kathmandu Valley to around 10degC at 3,600m and progressively lower the higher we go. Different seasons offer different advantages for trekking.

Weather Information

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.

Weather Charts

Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 23 days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Jet Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Internal flights during the trip are with a local airline.

Travelling land only: 22 days starting and ending in Kathmandu

Your trip normally starts at our hotel in Delhi in the morning of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure. The usual, standard check-in baggage weight allowance is 20kg.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Free Transfers

Exodus offers FREE airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip, for both Land Only and Flight Inclusive clients, so no matter which flight you choose to arrive on you will be met and transferred to your hotel. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance; unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus start (or pre-tour) hotel; transfers to other hotels in the same city may attract an extra charge; transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times.

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.

Transfers Details

The cost of a taxi is likely to be about £6/US$10 should you decide to make your way independently.

Location start:
Kathmandu
Location end:
Kathmandu

What to Take

Essential Equipment

All luggage for the trek should be packed in the kitbag provided or a soft bag. Each porter carries two kitbags, therefore please respectfully limit your kitbag to 12kg maximum per person whilst on the trek. Any baggage not needed on trek can be left in storage at the hotel in Kathmandu free of charge. The weight allowance on the flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu is 15kg check-in baggage and 5kg hand baggage. If your luggage exceeds these weight limits then you will have to pay excess.

Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful on this trip. It is NOT an exhaustive list.

Please note that many Nepalis are still traditional in the way they dress so we suggest you dress conservatively. T shirts are preferable to sleeveless tops and it is not advisable to wear tight or revealing clothing. Although long shorts are acceptable, we recommend a skirt for women rather than shorts for the trek.

2 passport photos for your trekking permit (plus an additional 1 if getting your visa on arrival)
4 season sleeping bag (with liner for December departure)
3/4 season jacket (4 season for late November and December departures)
2 x 1 litre water bottles (ideally with a wide opening, e.g. Nalgene or similar)
Waterproof walking boots (worn in)
Waterproof jacket and trousers
Gaiters for winter and spring departures
Trainers/sandals 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 - mid weight trousers (warmer for winter)
Shorts or skirt for women
Shirts, t-shirts, base layers
Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve with sun protection
Daypack
Towel
Head torch
Plastic bags (bin liners) to line daypack and for packing clothing in the kitbag
Toilet paper
Trekking pole(s)
Small personal first aid kit
Plug adaptor

If while packing you find a spare bit of space in your bag please be sure to check out our partner ‘Pack for a Purpose’ to identify items that are needed locally by schools and medical clinics. Your Tour Leader can assist with donating the items. http://www.packforapurpose.org

Duvet jackets and sleeping bags are available for hire from Trek Hire UK http://www.trekhireuk.com/</Hyperlink. Trek Hire UK can also provide a range of trekking essentials and accessories, from rucksacks to trekking poles. Please note that supplies are limited, and it is advisable to reserve any equipment as early as possible. For trips to Kilimanjaro, Nepal and Peru, certain items such as duvet jackets, sleeping bags and thick mattresses (mattresses not available in Nepal) can be hired through our local agents. For Kilimanjaro and Nepal trips these must be pre-booked through the Exodus office to ensure availability. For trips to Peru there is no need to pre-book these as they can be arranged locally through your tour leader in Cuzco. Please call for details.

Optional Equipment

Water treatment: We highly recommend a SteriPEN for water treatment on trek. See the ‘Food’ section for details. Otherwise, you should take some water purification tablets.

Hand washing gel
Biodegradable soap/shampoo
Swimsuit (for the hot springs)

Although the Thorong La is often clear of snow and ice, there can be snow and ice at any time of year especially in winter and spring. Snow can make the steep descent slippery. If you are unsure of your footing you may like to carry a pair of Microspikes, Yaktrax or similar with you just in case.

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

The following equipment can be hired through Exodus. It 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: from £53

4 season sleeping bag: from £53

Package including a down jacket and a 4 season sleeping bag: from £74

If you book this trip, we provide an Exodus kitbag to pack your luggage in whilst on trek. If you book via an agent, it is at the agent’s discretion and you should speak directly to them to arrange delivery. Please note that if you book less than three weeks before the departure date we cannot guarantee that your kitbag will arrive before your trip starts, so if this is the case please contact us on [email protected] to let us know. For full T&Cs see www.exodus.co.uk/kitbags.

Prayer flags, Nepal

Practical Information

Passport

Nepal

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

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).

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Nepal

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is present in certain regions only (such as Chitwan); you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. 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 TRIP NOTES for complete advice on AMS.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The risk of malaria on this trip is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Altitude warning

This trip includes one or more nights over 3500m 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 and 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 is acceptable due to the additional safety measures that are in place for our customers. All our trips operating at high altitude meet our internal altitude safety standards that minimise the risk of serious incidents occurring whilst travelling at altitude.

A number of 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. Please note that 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 that 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).

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Nepal's Timezone:
Asia/Kathmandu NPT (GMT +05:45)

Electricity

Nepal's Electricity:

230V, 50Hz. Mains electric 'load shedding' (planned temporary power‐cuts) occurs 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 (around Rs150-350 per hour). Battery life can be affected by cold - lithium batteries are best.

Voltage: 230V. Frequency (Hz): 50Hz. Mains electric 'load shedding' (planned temporary power-cuts) occurs regularly throughout towns and cities in Nepal. During the trek, most of the lodges now have electricity and charging facilities in communal areas for batteries. The cost is approx. Rs150-350 per hour to charge an item. Please be aware that battery life can be affected by cold - lithium batteries are best.

Money

Nepal's Currency

The national currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 130 to the UK£ and 100 to the US$.

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 ATM machines in Kathmandu and Pokhara only. You can change cash in Jomsom. Please do not rely wholly on ATM machines as many are broken or have run out of money and all have a limit of less than £100 which you can withdraw at any one time. If you are on the group flight you will only have 1 night in Kathmandu before leaving for trek and it is difficult to withdraw all the money you need for the trek through ATM’s. Please note that travellers cheques can NOT be exchanged in Nepal. We recommend you bring most of your money for the trek in cash and change it at the hotel or airport. Credit cards are also accepted in many of the larger shops and restaurants in Kathmandu.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

It is illegal to import or export rupees, but foreign currency is not limited, provided it is declared on arrival. We recommend taking your personal spending money in cash (dollars, sterling or euros can all be changed easily). Please note £50 notes or any Scottish or Irish Currency cannot be changed in Nepal. Cash can be changed easily at the airport on arrival in Kathmandu or at the hotel in Kathmandu. Our staff will advise you about how much money to take with you on the trek. Keep your change receipts, as you will need them if you want to change rupees back into hard currency at Kathmandu airport.

Please allow £20-30 per day for lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks, showers and charging on trek, and for meals not included in Kathmandu and Pokhara. This amount is given as a rough guideline only. If you plan to take a SteriPEN to treat non-boiled water on trek you will spend less than this, whilst if you buy imported snacks and drinks you may spend a few pounds extra each day. There are teahouses selling drinks and snacks along the entire length of the trekking route.

Optional Excursions

We have various sightseeing tours on offer to make the most of your free time in Kathmandu. Prices for a full day sightseeing tour which includes the three major temples in the Kathmandu Valley start at £25 (approx. US$40) per person, based on a group of 6 and above.  For all trips we include transport there and back and a qualified sightseeing guide. The cost does not include lunch or entry fees. More details of the tours and entry fees are in the Kathmandu information booklet you will be given on arrival in Kathmandu and on the notice board in the hotel in Kathmandu. Bookings are made in Kathmandu with your leader.

Tipping

Tipping is of course entirely at your discretion, but it is customary in Asia. Tipping can be an awkward affair especially when you are not familiar with the country. Your leader will help with tipping and will provide a list of suggested tips. This will include tips for drivers, hotel porters and other hotel staff, local sightseeing guides, and if trekking will include staff such as guide, assistants, cooks and porters.

Sometimes your leader will collect a kitty during the trip and sometimes they will collect the tips towards the end of the trip. (Occasionally for very small groups the leader may need to collect a little more than the suggested amount). We suggest you allow about RS6000 (approx. £40/US$60) for this trip.

Tipping of the leader is not included in the above and is at your discretion. However we suggest around Rs1500-3000 (aprox. £10-20/US$15-30) per person for the leader.

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

 

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake 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.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances 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.

On all trips

In 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 you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 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.

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; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, 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.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For further information, please visit us at www.exodus.co.uk/travel-safety-advice

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 www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, 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. Book with confidence: 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 monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.