Perhaps one of the most scenic treks in the world, the combination of not so difficult hiking and the majestic scenery makes this trek to Annapurna Base Camp (4200m) in the Annapurna Sanctuary, one of the most popular treks in Nepal. Walking through thick bamboo and rhododendron forests, at the same time you can admire beautiful mountain views of some of the highest mountains in the world. You pass small villages and meet locals with a mix of cultures unparalleled by any of the other treks as you venture deep into the Annapurna Himal.
|Day 1||Arrive in Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Kathmandu sightseeing: Boudhanath, Pashupatinath, Patan|
|Day 3||Bhaktapur and Panauti|
|Day 4||Drive to Pokhara (235 Km, 7-8 hrs drive)|
|Day 5||Drive to Birethanti, trek to Tirkhedhunga (1540m, 5hrs)|
|Day 6||Trek to Ghorepani (2987m, 7 hrs)|
|Day 7||Hike to Poon Hill (3190m), trek to Tadapani (2590m, 6-7 hrs)|
|Day 8||Trek to Chhomrong (2170m, 5 hrs)|
|Day 9||Trek to Himalaya Hotel (2920m, 6-7 hrs)|
|Day 10||Trek to Annapurna Base Camp (4130m, 6-7 hrs)|
|Day 11||Annapurna Base Camp - Rest Day|
|Day 12||Trek to Dobhan (2505m, 6 hrs)|
|Day 13||Trek to Chhomrong (1951m, 5 hrs)|
|Day 14||Trek to Dhampus (1650m, 6-7 hrs)|
|Day 15||Trek to Phedi, drive to Pokhara (915m, 3 hrs)|
|Day 16||Fly Pokhara to Kathmandu|
Trekking: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail condRead More...
Trekking: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail conditions. The guide in charge of your trip may have to alter the schedule if necessary and any such changes are at the discretion of Royal Mountain Travel and your guide.
The trekking day
Your day starts with a wakeup call, followed by breakfast and baggage pickup. You are then driven to the start point of your trek. While trekking, your day starts with breakfast at the tea house where you are staying. You need to pack up your baggage before breakfast as porters usually set off early.
Normally you are on the trail by 8 am and stop for a leisurely lunch around noon, with the chance to stop along the way for short breaks. Lunchtime usually lasts a couple of hours to give you time to relax or to explore the village where you have stopped. The afternoon walk is shorter and you can expect to arrive around 4 pm to allow time for short excursions to nearby sites, monasteries, exploration of the village or for relaxing with a book or catching up on your diary. Dinner is generally around, 7 pm.
Everyone walks at different speeds and you should always go at the pace that is comfortable for you. The grade of the trek is only an approximate indication of what to expect, based on the altitude and the hours of walking per day. In general, the condition of trails is good as these are the main routes between villages.
What you carry?
Each porter carries 15kg so you should pack 7.5 kgs of baggage, sharing one porter between two persons. These things will not be available to you during the day as the porters usually leave early and do not walk with you. Your daypack should contain all that you need during the day. This should consist of warm clothes for when you stop, a water bottle, camera, sunscreen, lip salve and maybe waterproofs depending on when you’re trekking. Your guide will let you know each evening about any extra items you might need for the following day. You should take a comfortable daypack to carry just a few kilograms of things you need along the way.
Food and drink
No meals are included on your trek. These are available in tea houses, lodges and bhattis that may sometimes have quite limited menus. There are a lot of tea houses and lodges along the way while you are trekking. Meals are generally simple, but filling, but you may wish to stock up on ‘trail munchies’ before leaving Kathmandu or Pokhara. Although mineral water in plastic bottles can be found along the way in many places, you should try to avoid using this. Plastic bottles are a serious problem on the trekking routes as there is no way to dispose of them. Instead you should use water purification tablets, a water filter or ask for boiled water at the lodges. It is a good idea to bring a heat resistant water bottle which can double up as a hot water bottle when you go to bed at night too!
It is not recommended to drink alcohol at altitudes above 3,000m or so, where altitude sickness can start to have an effect.
Accommodation is in lodges and teahouses and is of a basic standard. Rooms may be twin or multi-share with basic shared toilet facilities. Hot showers are available in some places for a small charge. It is a good idea to pack wet-wipes to freshen up, especially useful when you reach high altitudes where the water can be very cold. It is not recommended to wash your hair when you are at higher altitudes and where the outside air is cold, as you run the risk of getting a chill when your wet hair takes a long time to dry.
Lodges usually have a common room where later in the day, when people start to arrive from their day’s trek there might be a stove that is lit to keep warm. Bedrooms, however, are not heated. Lodges provide clean bedding, but you may want to pack a sheet sleeping bag for peace of mind.
The main means of transport is on foot, or in some cases by horse, with mules or donkeys sometimes carrying baggage. On most trekking routes, your baggage will be carried by the porters. You should ensure that anything you might need during the day is in your day pack as you will not see the baggage that is being carried again until the end of each day.
You will be provided with government licensed experienced trek guided assisted by the porters who transport your baggage with one porter for every two trekkers. The guide is in overall charge of the trek and looks after you. This is the person you should go to with any problems, concerns or questions. Our guides are highly trained in all aspects of trekking, conservation, high altitude medicine, first-aid and emergency procedures. They are professionals selected for their knowledge and passion for Nepal and its peoples. However, you should remember that they are local guides and their English may sometimes be quite basic and limited to trek-related topics. Usually, porters will have a more basic understanding of English. Please try to speak slowly and clearly to make communication easier.
Trek grading and preparation
It is impossible to have a ‘foolproof’ grading system as everyone has different expectations and perceptions of their own fitness level. Remember that no trek in the Himalaya is a stroll as all involve going up and down, often at altitude. Altitude affects everyone differently, and even if it has not affected you much before, each time can be quite different in how it affects you.
Regardless of age or fitness, preparation, before you arrive, is a good idea. Aerobic activity, swimming, cycling or brisk walking is recommended or, at the very least, walking up and down stairs in your trekking boots to be sure that they fit well and are comfortable. Try to use hiking boots that you have already broken in to avoid blisters. Remember that the trek should be fun and you should go at your own pace.
It is best to bring cash in major currencies such as US, Canadian or Australian dollars, Euros, or Pounds. Ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations. Everyone’s spending is different, but as a guide we suggest about USD 8 – 10 per meal in Kathmandu and Pokhara and USD 30 – 35 per day whilst trekking. If you drink or smoke you need to allow a bit more.
You should exchange enough money into Nepalese Rupees to last the entire time of your trek before leaving Kathmandu. You can find the money exchange counters near your hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara but there are no exchange facilities in villages along the way.
Communication: mobile phones and internet
Please note, as you will be often trekking through valleys and will not always be close to mobile towers, mobile phone reception can be very patchy. NCELL, the local mobile company has quite good coverage, but sometimes the signal can be very weak. Usually, lodges have powerpoints to recharge your mobile, although this sometimes can be at an extra charge.
Tipping is a personal and voluntary matter and is not included in the trip price. If you wish to reward the efforts of those who have worked to make your trek the best they can, we suggest the following: USD 4 per day for groups of 8+, USD 5 per day for smaller groups which will be shared amongst the whole staff, including porters.
Travel insurance is not included in the trip price. It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your trek. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation (including helicopter evacuation) and personal liability. We also recommend that it cover cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Be careful to check the small print of your insurance regarding altitude as some policies only provide cover up to 2000m.
There are no specific health requirements for entry into Nepal. Your health condition must be sound as you will be climbing to above 4000m. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date information regarding vaccinations, high altitude medication and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Nepal. Be aware that some drugs, including anti-malarial, have side effects at altitude. Please discuss this carefully with your doctor.
Please be aware that you will be in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal First Aid kit as well as sufficient quantities of any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses)
AMS (acute mountain sickness) is a serious issue. It is the result of the failure of the body to adapt to high altitude and can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness. It usually occurs above 1,800 meters and the likelihood of being affected increases as you ascend. The way to reduce the affects of altitude is to ascend slowly, 300 meters per day above 3,000 meters until you have acclimatized. Poor acclimatization can result in headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, difficulty breathing and swelling of fingers and glands. The only cure for AMS is to descend to lower altitude and your guide’s decision on this matter is final. There is a possibility of AMS in any trek that passes through altitudes above 4000 meters.
Although our routes are carefully planned to allow proper acclimatization you may feel some effects of altitude for the first few days or at higher altitudes. Breathlessness, lethargy and mild headaches are not uncommon and generally decrease as your body adjusts. Maintaining adequate fluid intake is essential. Please advise your guide if you feel more severe symptoms and do not medicate yourself without discussing it with them first.
Variation of climate is directly proportional to the altitude. For this trekking, trekking routes are often passing through a range of altitudes from 850m upwards. Between about 2700m and 3000m a cool temperate climate prevails, and you should expect a cool summer and very cold temperatures in the winter. Above 3000m, even if the daytime is sunny and quite warm, the temperature will drop sharply as soon as the sun goes down.
The weather in mountains is notoriously changeable so always be prepared for a change in conditions and note that if severe or dangerous weather conditions occur your guide’s decision on any course of action is final.
Trekking permits are required for almost all treks and will be obtained by Royal Mountain Travel. The Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) is essential for the record of Nepal Tourism Board keeping in mind about probable hazards to occur. You need to provide your full name, nationality, home address, passport number, sex, date of birth and 2 photographs for each permit. Royal Mountain Travel also pays any fees required for entry to national parks, conservation areas or restricted areas.
Packing for your trek
You will need to bring a comfortable medium sized daypack to carry the things you will need during the day. This should have a waist strap or (better) a padded waist belt.
You should limit your baggage to about 7kg. You will find the following items useful.
Royal Mountain Travel is a Nepal-based sustainable tourism operator. We specialize in curating once-in-a-lifetime experiences to showcase indigenous and community based tourism projects. We work with travel agents and tourism companies to help plan travel experiences that highlight authentic, local lifestyles throughout some of the most unique landscapes on earth.
Arrive in Kathmandu
Your first impression of arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport is an experience in itself. But don’t be worried by the apparent confusion as your airport representative will be waiting to welcome you with your name written on a placard. Depending on traffic, you will be at your hotel within 20 minutes or so.
You have time to relax and enjoy the ambience and comfort of the hotel until your evening Group Meeting. This is when we collect your insurance details and discuss how the trip will run for the coming days. After the meeting, we go for our first group dinner. Your tour leader will take you to a nice restaurant in Thamel. This is not compulsory but is highly recommended, giving you an opportunity to get to know your tour leader and your fellow group members. (Traditional Comfort hotel or equivalent)
Kathmandu sightseeing: Boudhanath, Pashupatinath, Patan
Boudhanath is the largest Buddhist stupa in Asia and a hub of Tibetan culture in Nepal. The 36-meter high stupa is one of the largest stupas in South Asia. It was built on the site where ancient Tibetan merchants used to rest and offer prayers over the centuries and formed a kingdom within a kingdom. Refugees from Tibet settled here and there has been the construction of over 50 gompas (Tibetan convent) around Boudhanath.
Close by Pashupatinath Temple, considered one of the sacred temples of Hindu faith sits on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu. The seat of the national deity, Lord Pashupatinath, the temple complex has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1979. It is a collection of temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions scattered along the banks of the holy Bagmati. A major festival celebrated here is Maha Shivaratri when over 800,000 devotees visit here.
Continuing on to the third World Heritage site of the day, you are taken to Patan Durbar Square. Patan is now part of Kathmandu but used to be another of the three independent kingdoms. Very different in character from the rest of the city, Patan’s Durbar Square is surrounded by the most superb of Newar architecture. It is a beautiful ensemble of temples and shrines beside the old royal palace that now serves as a little museum. In Patan, you can see a mixture of both Hinduism and Buddhism, with people worshipping both at the same time. Renowned for the “Birth to Death” shops, these are where to shop for every little item that Nepalese rituals require from birth to death. There are many interesting festivals and traditions that are observed here.
Bhaktapur and Panauti
Starting the day with a visit to Bhaktapur, (another World Heritage site), you then are taken to the charming old town of Panauti where you will be made very welcome by your homestay host.
One of the most fascinating and important World Heritage Sites in Nepal, Bhaktapur is made up of three large squares filled with historic shrines and temples, Newar architecture and fine art. Famous for its clay pots and exquisite wood carvings, Bhaktapur is also legendary for its colourful festivals and its delicious and unique cuisine. Bhaktapur retains its medieval feel and the local people are still engaged in farming and traditional crafts like pottery, metalwork, art and woodwork which have supported the city since it was established in the 12th century. This is a ‘must see’ place to explore! You will be shown the magnificent Golden Gate in Durbar Square (square of the palaces), the Palace of 55 Windows, the Nyata Pola Temple, Newar houses and pottery square. Although the town was damaged in the 2015 earthquake, there has been a lot of work to repair the old buildings.
After having sightseeing of Bhaktapur city we will drive to Panauti. After being introduced to your Homestay host, you visit the old town centre. Panauti is an old traditional Newari village where you can see a large number of Hindu and Buddhist religious monuments and temples. Originally a small state given by King Bhupatindra Malla as a dowry to his sister, it is still largely unchanged over the passage of time. You visit Indreswor temple and Durbar square in the town centre. Situated at the confluence of the two rivers Rosi and Punyamati, it has been regarded as an important religious site since very early times.
You have plenty of time to explore the narrow streets and medieval ghats with your homestay hosts. Panauti is surrounded by scared rivers and is birthplace to a number of legendary figures and to a traditional Newari confection produced only during a harvest festival each year. Panauti is also famous for its 40 temples and 28 festivals. The temples are dedicated to various and are deities spread around the small one-kilometre town centre. Rich in Newari culture, many of the town’s festivals are similar to those of Kathmandu while some are unique to a completely local character. (Panauti Homestay)
Drive to Pokhara (235 Km, 7-8 hrs drive)
After breakfast, returning via Kathmandu (35km) you continue your drive on one of the country’s oldest and busiest highways. The construction of the Prithvi Highway started in 1967 with the help of the Chinese government and completed in 1974, made it possible to travel to Pokhara by road (until then it took at least two weeks on foot). The highway is named after King Prithvi Narayan Shah. Weather permitting, you may catch glimpses of the Himalayas along the way. Driving first along the Trishuli River, the main tourist attraction for white water rafting, you then follow the massive Marshyangdi River. During the drive, you have the opportunity to stop for photos and lunch. Arriving in the afternoon, the rest of the day you have free in Pokhara.
Drive to Birethanti, trek to Tirkhedhunga (1540m, 5hrs)
After breakfast, you are taken on the two-hour drive to the start of the trek at Birethanti. Birethanti is a large and prosperous town beside the Modi River. We head up the wide trail through bamboo forests and lush pastures to Sudami where you climb gradually up the side of the valley to reach Hile (1495m), and then Tirkedhunga where you stop for the night.
Trek to Ghorepani (2987m, 7 hrs)
The next morning you descend to cross the Bhurungdi Khola before climbing the steep stone staircase to the Magar village of Ulleri. It is said that there are 3,767 steps (who’s counting?), but this is the toughest section of the trek. As you climb, the peaks of Annapurna South and Hiunchuli emerge from behind the foothills. Pasture and cultivated fields start to give way to deep forests of oak and rhododendron.
It should take about 3-4 hours to reach Banthanti (2824m) where you stop for lunch. Then after a break, you continue for another hour and a half to Ghorepani. One of the biggest villages in the area, the views of the Himalayas from here are amazing. You may see 360° views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalayas on a clear day. Dhaulagiri I, II, III, IV, V, Tukuche, Dhampus, Nilgiri, Annapurna South, Barah Sikhar, Machhapuchhre (aka Fishtail) are some of the major peaks seen from here.
Hike to Poon Hill (3190m), trek to Tadapani (2590m, 6-7 hrs)
Poon Hill is the major attraction of this area. Visiting Poon Hill early in the morning for the sunrise is a memorable experience. You start early to hike the hour up to Poon Hill in the morning to admire the sun rising over the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges. After spending about half an hour or so on the top of this hill, you return to your lodge in Ghorepani for breakfast.
From Ghorepani, your trail winds upwards along ridges and through pine and rhododendron forests first to Deurali (2960m) and then down to Banthanti before reaching Tadapani (2540m) on a trail that descends steeply through dense moss-covered forest rich with bird life.
Trek to Chhomrong (2170m, 5 hrs)
The trail descends from Tadapani, through dense rhododendron forest. Towering above the villages you see the mighty peak of Annapurna South, with the Fishtail facing it across the valley. Chhomrong (2040m) is a Gurung village and the last permanent settlement on the way to the Sanctuary.
Trek to Himalaya Hotel (2920m, 6-7 hrs)
The trail first drops down a set of stone steps to Chhomrung Khola and then goes upwards again through Sinuwa and on through a rhododendron forest to Kuldi (2470m). Entering the upper Modikhola valley alongside bamboo thickets, you walk through largely untouched forests of oak and rhododendron as you climb and then descend to Bamboo (2335m). This section of the trail can be a bit of a bottleneck as there are just a few lodges here that only open during the high season. You follow the track steeply upward through deep bamboo and rhododendron forest to the village called Himalaya Hotel (2920m).
Trek to Annapurna Base Camp (4130m, 6-7 hrs)
Starting with a hike up through bamboo and then rhododendron forests to Hinko cave, the track stays on the west bank of the Modi which is now flowing through a more open valley to eventually emerges into the Sanctuary. Straight in front, you can see the high lateral moraine of the South Annapurna glacier while the Modi follows a deep cliff to the right of this. This is Machhapuchhare base camp (3480m). It is then just another two hours trek through the Sanctuary to reach ABC or Annapurna Base Camp (4130m). This final stretch to Annapurna Base Camp follows an ablation valley, a corridor-like hollow between the glacier and the flank of the mountain. Here too you have unobstructed views of the most spectacular mountain scenery.
Annapurna Base Camp - Rest Day
You have the day to explore. Take a look at the glaciers and take your trip further by visiting the base of the mountains. You might want to visit the ridge overlooking the base camp from where Chris Bonington led the first ascent of Annapurna’s South Face. The spectacular 360-degree panoramic view includes Annapurna I (8091m) and III (7555m), Machhapuchhare, Varaha Shikar (7647m), Khansar Kang (7485m) and several other peaks standing like a screen of snow and ice. If you are lucky, you may see tahr, Himalayan weasels or pika (mouse-hare).
Trek to Dobhan (2505m, 6 hrs)
From Annapurna Base Camp you retrace your route down, an easy walk of about 6 hours down to Dobhan.
Trek to Chhomrong (1951m, 5 hrs)
Carrying on down the way you came, you continue on to Chhomrong where you have more comfortable lodges and the chance to relax from your high altitude adventures.
Trek to Dhampus (1650m, 6-7 hrs)
Carrying on from Chhomrong, you now follow a different route along the east side of the valley via Landrung to Dhampus. Dhampus is nearly at the end of your trek. This village offers you an opportunity to interact with local people and get a close up look at the daily lives of the villagers, seeing them working on their farms.
Trek to Phedi, drive to Pokhara (915m, 3 hrs)
On the way down you pass the Tibetan Refugee camp at Hyangja. It is an easy three hours to where you are picked up and driven back to Pokhara. Here you can get a hot shower and relax in one of the many bars and cafes along Lakeside.
Fly Pokhara to Kathmandu
Flying back to Kathmandu takes only about 35 minutes. You have the rest of the day free, so maybe you can visit Swyambhunath Temple, otherwise nicknamed the ‘Money Temple’. On a hill overlooking the city, it is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the country. Not for the faint-hearted, there are 350 steps to the top, though you can cheat and take the back route, though less steep it doesn’t offer such good views. Lose yourself in Asaan, the area between Thamel and Kathmandu’s Durbar Square which is a warren of narrow streets where Nepalis come to shop for everything from the kitchen sink to saris and vegetables. If you want to go shopping, Thamel is where you can find all sorts of souvenir shops selling handicrafts, local organic tea and coffee and other mementoes. (Traditional Comfort)
You transfer to Tribhuvan Airport to connect with your onward flight. Please note that you should check in three hours prior to your flight time.