Nepal: Annapurna Circuit Trek 12 Days

  • Moderate
  • 5,416 M
  • 7 Days Tea House
  • 4 Days Hotel Days
  • 8 Days Trekking Days

12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek Highlights

  • The Annapurna Circuit Trek lets you explore the entire Annapurna massif. 
  • You will get the chance to walk through the forests of rhododendrons, oaks, bamboo, and highland pastures. 
  • Witness a beautiful sunrise from Poonhill View Tower with mountains in the backdrop.
  • Walk through the Thorong La Pass situated at an elevation of 5,146 meters (17,769 feet).
  • Get to witness the breathtaking panoramic mountain views of Annapurna, Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), Dhaulagiri, and other ranges from Thorong La Pass. 

Annapurna Circuit Trekking is one of the most popular trekking destinations in the Nepal Himalayas. This trek offers a diverse range of landscapes, from lush green forests to arid desert-like regions, and from high-altitude passes to traditional mountain villages. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the trek, starting with the route and the best time to visit.

Route of Annapurna Circuit Trekking

The route of the 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trekking has been modified in recent years to meet the time constraints of tourists. On the first day of the trek, we drive from Kathmandu to Dharapani, the starting point of the trek. This journey takes about 9 to 10 hours by bus or other private transportation. Or we can drive directly to Manang.

Annapurna Circuit Trekking is generally called the Marsyangdi trail, which goes upstream along the Marsyangdi River. The trek starts from Dharapani and follows the river upstream to reach Manang village, which was once a kingdom. The trek provides a glimpse of the region’s diverse landscape, including canyons, gorges, and the north side of the Annapurna Himalayas.

Exploring Manang Village

Once we get to Manang, we stay there for a day to acclimatize to the high altitude. This is because we are going to cross the Throngla Pass, which is 5416m above sea level and is one of the world’s highest passes. Manang is a beautiful village with traditional houses, Monasteries, and Chortens. It is also a hub for trekkers who are on their way to the Throngla Pass. The village provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains, including Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak, and Chulu West.

Crossing Throng La Pass

After acclimatizing to the high altitude in Manang, trekkers are ready to face the challenging Throng La Pass, which stands at a height of 5416 meters above sea level. Throng La Pass is one of the world’s highest passes. It offers stunning panoramic views of the Annapurna Himalayas. Crossing the pass requires physical endurance and mental strength, but it is an unforgettable experience that rewards trekkers with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges.

Descending to Muktinath

Once trekkers cross the Throng La Pass, they descend to the sacred town of Muktinath, located at an altitude of 3800 meters. Muktinath holds great significance in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology and is considered one of the holiest places in Nepal. The town is home to a famous temple, Muktinath. Moreover, it is a popular pilgrimage site for devotees. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, a Hindu deity, and contains a holy flame that is believed to have been burning for centuries.

Final Destination: Jomsom

Jomsom is the final destination of the Annapurna Circuit trek. It is a popular town situated at an altitude of 2800 meters and is known for its unique culture and beautiful scenery. The town is famous for its apples and apple brandy. There are a range of accommodation options for trekkers in Jomsom. From Jomsom, trekkers can take a direct flight back to Pokhara, which marks the end of the trek.

Annapurna Circuit Trek Difficulty

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a difficult trekking route. Trekkers have to ascend and descend through varied terrains. Similarly, the route also goes through narrow trails with steep and slippery sections. As the trail moves higher, the hilly trail changes into a rocky one.  

During the 12 days Annapurna Circuit Trek, trekkers will get the chance to pass by the remote areas of the Annapurna region. There are several suspension bridges that trekkers will have to cross while en route. Trekkers have to walk 7 to 8 hours a day The geographical difficulties are not the only difficult part of the trek. As trekkers get closer to remote areas, facilities such as internet, phone signal connection, and communication also get limited. 

Aside from these, the high elevation also presents difficulties for trekkers. The highest point trekkers will reach during the Annapurna Circuit Trek is 5,416 meters at Thorong La Pass. Many trekkers can come down with altitude sickness problems. Likewise, the weather also becomes unpredictable at higher elevations.  

All these difficulties of the Annapurna Circuit Trek make the trail challenging. It pushes the trekkers’ endurance level and stamina.  Therefore, trekkers have to be physically and mentally prepared for the trek. 

Is it possible to Do Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake?

Yes, it is possible to do an Annapurna Circuit Trek with Tilicho Lake. Tilicho Lake is the world’s highest lake that lies in the Annapurna region. It lies at an elevation of 4,949 meters (16,237 feet). The trek route is similar to the Annapurna Circuit. But from Manang, the route for Tilicho Lake goes to the main valley to the west instead of the north valley. 

The route passes through the Khanshar Gompa Village (The Last Village of Nepal). Then the trail takes you to the Tilicho Lake. After reaching Tilicho Lake, trekkers will have to retrace their trail back to Khangsar and then to Manang. From then onwards, the trek route will lead you to the Thorong La Pass.

Thorong La pass

Thorong La Pass is the highest point for the Annapurna Circuit Trek. It sits at an elevation of 5,416 meters (17,769 feet) above sea level. Many trekkers flock to the Thorong La Pass every year via Annapurna Circuit Trek. It is a regular pass for the local traders. The Khatung Kang and Yakawa Kang mountains form the Thorong La Pass.  

The pass passes through the route that connects Manag and Mustang. The route of the Annapurna Circuit begins from Dharapani. It goes through several villages and stops before reaching the Thorong La Pass. Similarly, the route passes through Manang and Yak Kharka before reaching the pass. The pass is accessible from both the east and west directions. However, the route from the west is much more difficult than the east. 

The route to Thorong La Pass is difficult. It is physically demanding and trekkers can come down with altitude sickness. But the view from the top is rewarding. From the top, trekkers can witness the panoramic mountain view of the Annapurna Massif and Dhaulagiri ranges. Thorong La Pass hugely contributes to the popularity of the Annapurna Circuit.

Why Should You Trek With A Guide For Annapurna Circuit Trek

There are many other reasons why you should trek with a guide for Annapurna Circuit Trek. The first reason is for navigation. The trail of the Annapurna Circuit is well-established and safe. However, a guide can help you to navigate the route and reduce the chances of getting lost. They also help trekkers to avoid risky areas.  

Another reason for traveling with a guide is they help to provide insights into the region’s culture, traditions, and customs. Guides are usually local to the regions so they have local expertise. Similarly, they can act as a bridge for communicating with the locals. In remote areas, there can be language barriers. They help you to interact with the locals and immerse in the cultural experience. 

Trekking with the guide also helps to ensure trekkers’ safety. In trekking routes like Annapurna Circuit where trekkers have to ascend to high elevations, guides can provide emergency aids. The guides are trained to provide first aid and coordinate evacuations in emergency cases.  

Therefore, guides play a crucial role in the success of the trek. Likewise, they also provide support, motivation, and emergency aid if necessary. Guides help to enhance the trekking experience as well as ensure the trekkers’ safety. Note that it has become mandatory to hire a guide for the Annapurna Circuit Trek under the Government of Nepal.

Final Say

The 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek is an unforgettable experience that takes trekkers through diverse landscapes and cultural experiences. It offers stunning views of the Annapurna Himalayas. Similarly, trekkers can immerse themselves in the local culture and customs of the Annapurna region. The trek is a physically challenging but rewarding experience that is suitable for experienced trekkers and novice hikers alike. The best time to embark on the Annapurna Circuit Trek is from March to May and September to November. The weather is mild and the skies are clear.  

Overall, the Annapurna Circuit trek is a must-do for anyone looking to explore the beauty of the Nepal Himalayas. For an alternative trek in the Annapurna region, the Annapurna Base Camp trek is also a popular choice

Day to day schedule to Nepal: Annapurna Circuit Trek 12 Days

  • Day 01: Arrival at Kathmandu (1350m/ 4429 ft)

    On your arrival our representative will greet & warmly receive you and assist you to transfer to the hotel. After having some refreshment,we will meet in the office and briefly discuss the last-minute specifics of the trek.

    Overnight stay in 3*/ 4* Hotel in Kathmandu
    Included standard meals (Breakfast)

  • Day 02: Drive to Dharapani (1,860m/ 6,102 ft)

    Driving Hours: 9 hours
    Driving Distance: 212km (132 miles)
    Maximum Altitude: (1,860m/ 6,102 ft)

    Today you will be picked up from your hotel for the drive to Dharapani. Your journey takes you through deep gorges as you trace the Trisuli River westwards. You will pass through the small town of Mugling where the Trisuli and Marshyangdi rivers meet. The town also serves as the crossroads between Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitwan in the South. Upon arrival at Mugling, we head along the road toward Pokhara. We leave the highway to Besisahar and head to Dharapani, the starting point of our trek.

    Overnight stay in Guest House
    Included standard meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 03: Trek from Dharapani (1,860m/ 6,102 ft) to Chame (2,650 m/ 8,694 ft)

    Trek distance: 18 km
    Trek Hours: 6 hours
    Maximum Altitude: 2,650m/ 8,694 ft

    After breakfast, we start our trek following the Marsyangdi river. The trail continues in a westward’s direction up the Manang valley. Throughout the day one can enjoy spectacular views of Annapurna II (7937m/ 26040 ft) and Annapurna IV to the west. Initially the trail climbs through forests to Dhanakyu (2290m) and to the settlement of Lattemarang (2360m)
    eventually to the village of Koto (2590m/8,497 ft) over several forested ridges. After easy walk for half hour we will reach Chame (2650m/ 8,694 ft), the administrative headquarters for the Manang district.

    Overnight stay in Guest House
    Included standard meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 04: Trek from Chame (2,650 m/ 8,694 ft) to Pisang ( 3190m /10465 ft )

    Trek distance: 14 km (8.7 miles)
    Trek Hours: 5 hours
    Maximum Altitude: 3190 m / 10,465 ft

    This day is a shorter trek to Pisang. However, as it is so beautiful most trekkers take their time to admire the scenery and take lots of photographs. You will pass through a series of mani walls. The trail is pretty even until the apple orchards of Brathang. The trail heads uphill for about 45 minutes through the forest, leveling off before reaching a suspension bridge. A moderate climb follows after crossing the bridge through a forest consisting of Juniper, Pine, and Fir. The valley begins to broaden and Pisang Peak 6091m/ 19983 ft stands out in front of you. You pass a couple of small lakes where sometimes birds can be seen wading. Pisang is divided into upper and lower.

    Overnight stay in Guest House
    Included standard meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 05: Trek from Pisang (3190 m / 10,465 ft) to Manang ( 3540m/ 11614 ft)

    Trek distance: 17 km (10.5 miles)
    Trek Hours: 5 hours
    Maximum Altitude: ( 3540m/ 11614 ft)

    After breakfast, we climbed steadily up the hill from Lower Pisang passes a lovely little green lake, and then more steeply, zig-zagging over the open ground all the way up to Ghyaru. We then walk along a contour path high up on the valley side, stop for lunch at Nawal. Here we can see the paranomic view of Annapurna II, Avalanche, Annapurna 3, Annapurna 4, Gangapurna, Lamjung Himal, Humde valley. After crossing to the north bank of the river near Mungli we will reach Braga at (3475m) – A Tibetan-style village with an ancient gompa. After a short walk, we will reach Manang.

    Overnight stay in Guest House
    Included standard meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 06: Rest day at Manang

    To adjust to the thinning air and lessening pressure, the day is kept aside for acclimatization to continue upwards towards the Thorung La the next day. On this day, we can walk around to a number of the interesting areas near Manang, though it is also important to rest before the trek to a higher altitude.

    Overnight stay in Guest House
    Included standard meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 07: Trek from Manang ( 3540m/ 11614 ft) to Yak Kharka (4018 m/ 13,182 ft)

    Trek distance: 9.4 km (5.8 miles)
    Trek Hours:4 hours
    Maximum Altitude: 4018 m/ 13,182 ft

    Ater breakfast, we continue our trek by climbing out of the Marsyangdi Valley. The trail follows the valley of north side, passing a Goths as it steadily gains elevation. We have left the large trees below; the vegetation now consists of scrub juniper and alpine grasses. We can keep high and follow a track above Khangsar village passing through the ruins of old Khangsar and follow an unmarked trail which will lead you around and down to cross the river on an old log bridge between Gunsang and Yak Kharka. It’s fun to see large yaks grazing at Yak Kharka. The view of Annapurna III is excellent.

    Overnight stay in Guest House
    Included standard meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 08: Trek from Yak Kharka (4018 m/ 13,182 ft) to Thorungla Phedi (4450m/ 14,600 ft )

    Trek distance: 9.6 km (6 miles)
    Trek Hours: 4-5 hours
    Maximum Altitude: 4450m/ 14,600 ft

    Today after having morning breakfast, we headed towards Thorungla Phedi. The first small settlement we reach after a steady walk upwards is Letdar (4250m/ 13,943 ft). With a climb along the east bank of the Jarsang Khola, we will reach Thorung Phedi (4450m/ 14,600 ft) which means “foot of the hill”, and indeed this is the starting point for the long trek up to the pass at 5416m/ 17,769 ft.

    Overnight stay in Guest House
    Included standard meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 09: Trek from Thorungla Phedi (4450m/ 14,600 ft ) to Muktinath via Thorung La Pass (5416m/ 17,769 ft) and drive to Jomsom (2800m/ 9186 ft)

    Trek distance: 11 km (6.8 miles)
    Trek Hours: 6 hours
    Driving Hour: 1.5 hours
    Maximum Altitude: 5416m/ 17,769 ft

    Depending on the fitness and acclimatization, the walk to Thorung La could take less than 3 hours, but we will make a steady climb up to the Thorung La (“la” means “pass”) with the aim to reach the pass in 3 hours from Phedi. The site one can see upon reaching the pass is of traditional Chorten, prayer flags, cairn, and the panorama of Himalayan giants along with the first view of the immense Kali Gandaki valley to the west. As we descend we can have great views of Dhaulagiri (8167m/ 26,794 ft) to the south-west, and Tukuche Peak (6920m/ 22,703 ft) as we reach down to Muktinath and Ranipauwa. After visiting Temple we take drive about 1 and half hours to reach Jomsom.

    Overnight stay in Guest House
    Included standard meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 10: Flight from Jomsom (2800m/ 9186 ft) to Pokhara (822 m/ 2697 ft) to Kathmandu (1350 m/ 4429 ft)

    Flight Hours from JOM-PKR : 30 minutes
    Flight Hours from PKR–KTM : 35 minutes

    On this day, we will take early morning flight from Jomsom to Pokhara that will take 30 minutes. And after reaching Pokhara will take next flight for Kathmandu. We arrive at Kathmandu after 35 minutes of Flight from Pokhara.

    Overnight stay in 3*/ 4* Hotel in Kathmandu
    Included standard meals (Breakfast)

  • Day 11: Sightseeing in Kathmandu valley

    After breakfast, we will start sightseeing tours around Kathmandu Valley. The sightseeing program is all about introducing some highlights and UNESCO World Heritage sites of Kathmandu such as Durbar Square, Swoyambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Bouddhanath.

    Overnight stay in 3*/ 4* Hotel in Kathmandu
    Included standard meal (Breakfast)

  • Day 12: Departure

    We will arrange for your transfer to the Tribhuwan International airport three hours before your scheduled departure time. Enjoy your flight back home, and may you cherish the memories from your trip for a lifetime.

    Included standard meals (Breakfast)

What is included?

  • Arrival and transfer transport from to international and domestic airport in Kathmandu
  • Hotel with bed and breakfast in Kathmandu
  • Government licensed english speaking trekking guide and necessary porters during trekking (1 porter for 2 clients)
  • 3 meals a day during trekking (B, L, D)
  • Government licensed guide with privet transport during sightseeing in Kathmandu valley
  • Accommodation in hotel and lodge
  • Conservation fee and TIMS
  • Domestic flight ticket JOM-PKR-KTM
  • Private transport to trek starting point and from ending point to hotel

What is excluded?

  • International flight ticket and airport tax
  • Sleeping bag
  • Nepal visa fees
  • Personal expenses, personal travel insurance
  • Tips for local staff
  • and other expenses not mention above
  • Personal insurance for helicopter rescue in case of emergency
  • Lunch and dinner in city

Best Seasons Listing

Best Season
February to June, August to November

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Nepal Trekking

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