Annapurna Circuit Trek Nepal: Itinerary, Map, Cost and More

By Sierd van der Bij

Find that one special trekking

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the most legendary trekking routes in the world and although some of the route is tarred these days, it still attracts thousands of trekking enthusiasts every year. In terms of numbers, it is the second most popular trek in Nepal. You can find in this blog post everything you need to know about trekking the Annapurna Circuit Trail: itinerary and altitude per day, cost, map, best season and much more.

The total distance of the Annapurna Circuit varies between 160 and 230 kilometers (100-145 miles), depending on the options one chooses to trek. Because of the fact that some of the Annapurna Circuit Trek is tarred, trekkers choose to cover some of the route with motorized transport. Other than logistics it also serves a gentle break after a long day of trekking.

Almost all trekkers do the Annapurna Circuit Trek in an anti-clockwise direction. This way the altitude gain is less and people are less prone to the effects of altitude sickness. The Thorung La Pass, at 5416 meters (17769 feet) is the highest point of the Annapurna Circuit Trek and is, together with the various peaks you will see on the route, an absolute highlight of the trek.

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Where Is The Annapurna Circuit Trek?

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a trek on the Annapurna Circuit. Simple as that. But where do you find the Annapurna Circuit? When you think Nepal and the Himalaya, your first thought is probably the Everest Base Camp trek. The Himalaya are of course massive and on the other side of Nepal, you can find mountains that are almost just as high as you would find in the Everest Region, the Khumbu region. You can find the Annapurnas close to Pokhara, about 6 hours northwest of Kathmandu. The small city, known as the City of Lakes, is the gateway to the Annapurna Massif.

This mountain is named after Annapurna, the Hindu goddess of food and nourishment, who, is said to have her home in the Annapurnas. The name Annapurna is derived from the Sanskrit. It is a combination of the words purna ("filled") and anna ("food"), and can be translated as "everlasting food". Many streams descending from the slopes of the Annapurna Massif provide water for the agricultural sector located at a lower altitude.

Mountains on the Annapurna Circuit

The Annapurna Massif is the main supplier of huge peaks on the Annapurna Circuit. This massif is home to one peak over 8000 meters, thirteen peaks over 7000 meters and sixteen more over 6000 meters. To give you some perspective: Mount Kilimanjaro is 5,896 meters high. The following peaks you can see when you are trekking the Annapurna Circuit.

Annapurna I Central (8,041 m – 26,414 ft)

Annapurna II (7,937 m – 26,040 ft)

Annapurna III (7,555 m – 24,786 ft)

Annapurna IV (7,525 m – 24,688 ft)

Gangapurna (7,455 m – 24,457 ft)

Annapurna South (7,219 m – 23,684 ft)

Annapurna Fang (7,647 m – 25,089 ft)

Khangsar Kang (7,485 m – 24,557 ft)

Tarke Kang (7,202 m – 23,629 ft)

Lachenal Peak (7,140 m – 23,425 ft)

Tilicho Peak (7,135 m – 23,409 ft)

Nilgiri Himal North (7,061 m – 23,166 ft)

Nilgiri Himal Central (6,940 m – 22,769 ft)

Nilgiri Himal South (6,839 m – 22,438 ft)

Machhapuchchhre a.k.a. Fish Tail Mountain (6,993 m – 22,943 ft)

Hiunchuli (6,441 m – 21,132 ft)

Gandharba Chuli (6,248 m – 20,499 ft)

Annapurna Circuit Trail Length

The total length of the Annapurna Circuit is anything between 160 and 230 kilometers (100-145 miles). The length of the Annapurna Circuit depends on where ground transportation is used and not. Because a part of the circuit is tarred these days, some trekkers decide to skip this. For the same reason, a lot of trekking enthusiasts decide to do the Manaslu Circuit trek instead. Most itineraries offered for the Annapurna Circuit Trek these days are shorter than three weeks, which used to be the common duration of trekking the circuit.

When you are browsing itineraries, it makes more sense to look at the number of days than the distance. If you want to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek the right way, make sure to do it in at least 15 days. Below we give you a great example of a 15-day itinerary. If you have more time, you can also do it in 18 days. Both will allow for perfect acclimatization while being able to fully soak up the beauty of the Annapurna Massif.

Tarred Road on the Annapurna Circuit

Tar on the Annapurna Circuit? Correct. When you think of trekking in Nepal, you don’t think you would need to hike on tarred roads, would you? When talking about trekking, we talk about seasons. In a good season, it’s absolutely fine to hike the most remote trails but imagine the low season, when there is Monsoon and trails are muddy and inaccessible. A tarred road can make all the difference in the lives of locals. The trails you use for trekking and for fun are used by the local community to live their daily lives. A road which enables for quick access to goods and supplies is a massive upgrade.

“The Annapurna Circuit is currently tarred between Muktinath to Tatopani and from Besishar to Chame”, says Chhatra Karki of Nepal Eco Adventure. Nepal Eco Adventure has a 15-day Annapurna Circuit Trek on offer and Chhatra knows that the roads are not there to ruin the trekking experience. “The local communities profit a lot from upgrading the infrastructure. The area can not just live from the trekking industry alone.”

18-day or 15-day Annapurna Circuit Trek: Differences in difficulty and length

“Back in the day we used to offer an 18-day version of the Annapurna Circuit Trek but these days it makes more sense to do the 15-day version. The parts that are tarred can be bridged by a car. This allows trekkers to rest their legs a little bit and to recharge their batteries for the next stretch of trekking”, explain Chhatra of Nepal Eco Adventure. “In the past, people have said that you should do the Manaslu Circuit instead because it is a lot less touristy and it doesn’t involve any driving. However, the Manaslu Circuit is also very busy now and all the highlights of the Annapurna Circuit are still there.”

“Also,” Chhatra elaborates, “The Annapurna Circuit is not that busy as it used to be. The number of trekkers has reduced on the Circuit and in terms of difficulty one can say that the Annapurna Circuit is not too difficult.”

Chhatra is right. The Annapurna Circuit is not a very technical trek and in terms of difficulty it isn’t ranking very high either. “It really is for everyone”, Chhatra says. Below you can find an itinerary for the 15-day Annapurna Circuit Trek as offered by Nepal Eco Adventure.

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Annapurna Circuit Trek Itinerary. Including Altitude (height) per day.


Drive to Bhulbhule

Our trekking guide will come to pick you up at your hotel about 7 AM in the morning, we then drive along the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway to Dumre and then follow the narrow and paved road by the Marsyangdi River to Besisahar. We then drive to Bhulbhule where you will spend the night at an hotel.



Trek to Chamje

Duration: 08:00 h
Distance: 21.5 km
Ascent: 1000 m
Descent: 460 m
After breakfast we start trekking to Chamje. This will take us about 6 hours. The trail goes flat for the first part then climbs steeply and the path is cut into the sheer cliff-face some 200-300m above the riverbed. Eventually we descend to the stone village of Jagat (1330m.) situated on a shelf which juts into the precipitous Marsyangdi valley. Now the trail begins to observe small ups and down to Chamje through the forests.



Trek to Bagarchhap

Duration: 06:20 h
Distance: 14.3 km
Ascent: 980 m
Descent: 240 m
As we move past narrow and steep valleys, through rhododendron, pine and bamboo forests, in the rocky folds of a mountain, we come across a bridge that takes us to a quick ascent and finally atop a climb to reveal a widening valley. After reaching the village of Tal, we have to move across barley, wheat and potato farms for a while before we reach Dharapani. From there we turn west through the fir and pine forests to reach Bagarchhap.



Trek to Chame

Duration: 05:00 h
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 780 m
Descent: 200 m
From Bagarchhap we start ahead to reach a Danaque village and then a steep climb to reach a Tamang village with exquisite views of Manaslu, Lamjung , Annapurna and other mountain beauties. As we trek through a Tibetan village that acts as a transition between the lowlands and high hills, we follow a gradual flat path to Thanchowk, Kolo and finally to Chame.



Trek to Pisang

Duration: 06:00 h
Distance: 14 km
Ascent: 800 m
Descent: 180 m
We start our trekking from Lamjung Himal as we see it glittering in the morning sunshine with the first rays hitting us warmly in the face and we set off for Pisang, The mountain disappears as we climb the path up the valley, passing a huge apple orchard. We continue through fir and pine forests, climbing to a high, rocky area as the opposite bank becomes an impassable cliff. From this point the valley becomes extremely steep-sided as we follow the path to Bratang (2950m). A short climb from the village brings us to a rock-strewn area where we cross a wooden bridge and follow a high, winding trail, before crossing back to the right bank again. We now trek through a pine forest and as the forest ends, the valley changes from a V-shape to a gentle U-shape, opening up wonderful vistas and then we come to a long mani wall by a bridge and the lower village of Pisang, overnight at Guesthouse.



Trek to Manang

Duration: 10:00 h
Distance: 20 km
Ascent: 710 m
Descent: 500 m
We start our trekking with climbs to steep ridge which affords good views of the Manang valley and Tilicho peak. Descending past Manang’s airstrip at Humde we will arrive and then we come to a level area from where the north-east face of Annapurna III rises to the skies above us. From the wide plains of the Sabje Khola Valley, Annapurna IV also becomes visible. Just beyond this point we cross the considerably reduced flow of the Marsyangdi Khola via a wooden bridge to the tiny village of Mungji. Cultivated fields appear on both sides of the path and off to the right, below a craggy mountain, we will see the village of Braga with its splendid monastery, Large Chortens and mani walls abound and the tall peaks of the Himalaya spread out before us. After a short steep climb we will reach Manang.



Acclimatisation in Manang

Today we will gives our lungs a breather while we rest our weary bones a bit till we do some short hikes to get used to the thin air. Today, we hang around town; this is an important rest and acclimatization day before crossing the Thorung La. There are optional day walks such as crossing the river to see the tremendous icefall coming down from the Annapurna, or climbing high above the village for a full panorama of the Annapurna range and the Manang Valley. There is also a Himalayan Rescue Association [HRA] aid post in the village which makes for an interesting and educational visit. Moreover you can visit Ganagapurna Glacier Lake to make your rest day a memorable one.



Trek to Yak Kharka

Duration: 05:20 h
Distance: 9.6 km
Ascent: 550 m
Descent: 60 m
Today the trail ascends gently all the way to Yak Kharka passing through Gunsang village. En route, we will see panoramic views all the way and it seems it is short hiking, however, we will feel a bit fatigued as we are going higher and find less oxygen in the air.

Yak Kharka


Trek to Thorung Pedi

Duration: 04:00 h
Distance: 7 km
Ascent: 520 m
Descent: 50 m
We start our trekking with a gradual climb to a ridge before descending to the headwaters of the Marsyangdi and crossing via a covered wooden bridge. After a short ascent up the mountain path on the right bank, you follow a narrow trail across an unstable spree slope and then descend to Thorung Phedi.

Thorung Phedi


Trek to Muktinath via Thorung La Pass

Duration: 10:00 h
Distance: 15 km
Ascent: 910 m
Descent: 1660 m
Today, we start our trekking quite early in the morning crossing the Thorung La (5416m). The trail becomes steep immediately on leaving camp but as this trail has been used by local people for hundreds of years the path is well defined. Zero struggle. The gradient then eases and after around 4 hours of steady climbing, we will reach the chorten and prayer flags of the pass. The views are dramatic to say the least, from the snow-covered mountains above, to the head of the Kali Gandaki valley below and the brown and purple hills of Mustang which are spread out before us. The descent to Muktinath is a knee pounding 1600m but it’s compensated for with excellent views of Dhaulagiri. Eventually the moraines give way to grassy slopes before a pleasant walk along the Jhong Khola Valley to Muktinath and its shrines.



Trek to Jomsom

Duration: 06:30 h
Distance: 19 km
Ascent: 110 m
Descent: 1130 m
From Muktinath, we follow a trail part of the Jomsom trek where we descent through meadows, streams and fruit trees to finally reach Kagbeni. We look around the old village and then moving downwards. From Kagbeni we reach Jomson, Kali Gandaki valley.



Drive to Tatopani

The road from Marpha to Kalopani goes via a new trail past Chokhopani village which is a traditional Thakali village. The panoramic views of the Himalayas include Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, Annapurna and many other snow capped peaks. From here we cross a river and a newly constructed road that will make us finally reach Kalopani.



Trek to Ghorepani

Duration: 07:00 h
Distance: 15 km
Ascent: 1700 m
Descent: 70 m
We start our trek for today by covering some flat trails for some distance. Then the trail begins ascending steeply for at least one hour until it goes up through different villages inhabited by the people of different caste and a lot of agricultural land that shows this village is pretty well off. The majority of the people here are Gorkhalis who serve in the Indian army. Then the trail ascends gently all the way to Ghorepani passing through small villages like Phalate, Chitre and so on. While trekking you pass through rhododendron forests and come across the wild life such as monkeys and birds of various species. You are accompanied by more panoramic views of different mountains.



Ghorepani – Poonhill – Nayapul

Duration: 08:45 h
Distance: 21 km
Ascent: 480 m
Descent: 2220 m
We have an early morning ascent of Poonhill for the sunrise. This has to be the highlight of the trek as we make our trip to the vantage point early in the morning with sunrise. Once you see the snow capped peaks highlighted in the changing golden rays of the sunrise, it will be one of the most unforgettable moments of your life. The peaks in the scenery include the Annapurna range and Dhaulagiri. Known as a photographer’s paradise, we can spend some time here taking breathtaking pictures of the spellbinding surroundings, capturing the spectacular moments in a frame. We then descend to Ghorepani for breakfast and then trek for 5 hours down to Nayapul. The first part of the trek down until Tikhedhunga is quite steep down hill. From there we move past terraced fields for a few hours to reach Nayapul. From there a short drive will finally take us to Pokhara.



Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu

We take a tourist bus at 7 AM to drive to Kathmandu and the driving will be fantastic along with many towns and we are able to see the settlements, rivers, terraces and landscapes, after 6 hours driving we will arrive Kathmandu and overnight at Hotel.
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Best Season for the Annapurna Circuit Trek

The Annapurna Region, along with the rest of Nepal has 4 distinct seasons. Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. The months from March to May and from October or November are the most popular for trekking at the Annapurna Massif. If you are thinking of doing the Annapurna Circuit in the wet season, know that this is possible. The Annapurna Circuit sits in a rain shadow, which allows for trekking during monsoon as well.

Spring (March - May)

Spring is the perfect season for the Annapurna Circuit Trek. It is your best chance to see rhododendron in full bloom and to spot the most beautiful birds. You can expect it to be quite busy on the trials.

Summer (June - August)

When talking trekking in Nepal, not many people would advise you to go trekking in summer, which is the time of monsoon. However, as the Annapurna Circuit finds itself in a rain shadow, it is perfectly suited for trekking during the wet season.

Autumn (September - November)

Autumn is by far the most popular trekking season in Nepal. Because of the little bit of rain that the Annapurnas received (it doesn’t get much), everything is vibrant and has come back to life. Teahouses book up quickly and it is generally very busy on the circuit.

Winter (December - February)

Winter is the trickiest season when it comes to trekking the Annapurna Circuit. Although teahouses remain open, it can happen that the wintery conditions cause the Thorung La Pass to close. This, however, doesn’t have to mean that you can’t do or complete the circuit. Just make sure to plan in a few days of margin. Else you might get late for work.

Annapurna Circuit Map. Trekking the Annapurna Trail.

The following map by Nepal Eco Adventure of the 15-day Annapurna Circuit gives a good impression of which way to go.

Tips for the Annapurna Circuit Trail

At the offices we know a lot about trekking in Nepal and about the Annapurna Cricuit. Our knowledge can’t beat the expertise of our local partners though. We spoke to Chhatra to ask him what we definitely shouldn’t miss when doing the Annapurna Circuit. “One of the absolute highlights are the Tatopani Hot Springs. The springs are situated at the border of Nepal and Tibet and it is here were trekkers get a chance to fully relax and recharge the batteries. Hot water, perhaps a nice drink. It is what makes the Annapurna Circuit special”, says Chhatra.

Another highlight according to Chhatra is the cuisine in the area. “On the Annapurna Circuit you will meet the Gurung and the Thakali people. The Thakali are famous for they ways with food. Their cooking is very famous in Nepal. In Kathmandu you also have to go to a Thakali restaurant if you watn to taste the best food. In the Annapurna Himalaya you find yourself among the Thakali, so you can imagine how good the food is on the Annapurna Circuit.”

But there is more. “There definitely is,” agrees Chhatra. “People often forget that one of the highlights in the whole area is in fact Pokhara. After doing trekking in the Annapurna this is a great place to relax, get a massage and enjoy the lakes.”

How To Cross the Thorung La Pass

We also spoke to Chhatra about the famous Thorung La Pass. This pass is for many people an obstacle needs to be overcome. Chhatra, who has years of experience in the Nepali Himalaya, the Thorung La Pass is much more than just a challenge for trekkers. “You mustn’t forget that the Throung La Pass is a famous trading route. The trails is quite wide, not too technical and it is used for the movement of goods and supplies.” It is not hard to cross the pass and only in winter there are moments when the pass is closed. For trekkers this can mean that their Annapurna Circuit Trek gets delayed. “Sometimes you have to wait a day or two before you can continue your way. This is part of the excitement that comes with the Annapurna Circuit. It is just important that people have some days to spare after the trek, just in case”, explains Chhatra calmly.

How To Train for the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal

If you live anywhere else other than the Himalayas, it will be hard to get your legs ready for higher altitudes. After all, it doesn’t get much higher than Nepal. This is why we have to be clear upfront: Unless you have hiked at a higher altitude before, it will be difficult to get a 100% ready for your adventure. If that sounds bad to you, then comfort yourself with the fact that there is absolutely no need to be 100% ready.

You are not climbing K2 or Mount Everest and you are not running a mountain race. This is trekking. You are actually supposed to take it easy. Taking it easy is a rule of thumb when you want to prevent altitude sickness while out in Nepal. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, once you are out there on the trails, you have to stick to your own pace. But of course, the fitter you are, the more you can enjoy your days. Get fit!

Hike and Hike Even More

One solid approach to get the hang of what you do is to rehearse. The best practice for climbing is climbing. Seeing that you are keen on a multi-day trekking experience, we accept that you enjoy walking. Awesome, do it more. If you are fortunate to be encompassed by some hills or even mountains, the time has come to see them all the more frequently. When? In the event that you are new to this, we recommend beginning a half year before the start of your trek, essentially going for a 60 minutes (or two) hike every seven days.

When you get the hang of it, after around three weeks, you will have an ideal opportunity to reinforce your power. Convey a pack of 10 to 15kg and include a more drawn out climb of three hours to your week. On the off chance that this way of life is different to you, you will before long receive the rewards of this moderate exercise.

Health Benefits

Some of the health benefits of trekking and hiking include a lower risk of heart disease, improved blood pressure and sugar levels and of course it helps to control your weight. Once you are ready for the hills, it only gets better. According to Gregory Miller, president of the American Hiking Society, ”a 5% to 10% incline equals a 30% to 40% increase in calorie burn.” Our personal health benefits are a clearer mind and an elevated mood. Trekking keeps us sane.

After a good few months of solid hiking, it is time to put your endurance to the test. Do back to back long hikes. You can simulate a few days of constant trekking by going hiking for a few days. Easy at that. Plan a smaller trekking holiday or keep it simple by hiking your favorite route on repeat. If you are comfortable hiking for 4 hours a day, 3 days in a row while carrying a 10kg to 15kg backpack, you will be fine.

Get Stronger

One misconception about trekking is that the ascent is the hardest on your body. Wrong. Descending is actually very demanding. When you hike downhill, your quadriceps is being put to work. If you notice any overly sore muscles and weak spots in your quads while going out on hikes, it can be wise to add some strengthening exercises to the mix. If your quads and glutes are suffering, your knees and ankles might also take too much strain.

One way to get stronger is to do some basic exercises. You don’t need a gym membership, as merely using your bodyweight can already give you the results you are looking for. Once or twice a week, depending on how you are feeling, you can do two sets of 10 lunges, 10 squats, and 10 step ups. If you want to push yourself a bit more, you can try to add some pull ups and push up to your routine. Going the extra mile in your strengthening is, however, really not necessary. You can already enjoy trekking when you just stick to the basics. This is not a fitness competition.

Simulate Altitude Training

One sure way to up your training is to mimic elevation training. As we said before, unless you live at altitude, it is extremely hard to pretend you are in Nepal. This is not about your legs but about your lungs. If you can’t find mountains to hike on, you can always find plenty of stairs. That’s not the point, the point is to create a similar oxygen situation. The reason why your body is showing symptoms of altitude sickness (AMS) is that you are short on oxygen. If you want to know what it is like to hike in thin air, you can use an elevation mask.

Elevation Simulation

An elevation mask is an elevation reproduction gadget that restrains your intake of oxygen. Usually utilized by endurance athletes who contend at a higher altitude. Likewise, hikers and trekker can also benefit from it. When you are going trekking in Nepal, there is definitely no compelling reason to go this far, yet in the event that it settles your stresses, you out it an attempt.

Packing List for the Annapurna Circuit Trek

Trekking in Nepal requires decent gear. Especially the basics like an 80-90 L backpack and quality trekking socks. We highly recommend that you read our suggestted packing list to hike in Nepal.

  • Documents

  • Sleep

  • Footwear

  • Clothing

  • Accessories

A professional guide and the logistics, accommodation, food and even equipment for your route are organized from start to end. Everything is under control when you do one of our guided tours. Check it out right here!

Where Can I Book the Annapurna Circuit Trek?

At you can book this trek and many others. Our guided options come with experts on the ground, and offer you a convenient, stress-free, safe, and educational way to explore the outdoors. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is this not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our blog posts:

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