Campbell at Yak Kharka on the Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal
HIKING Nepal

Annapurna circuit trek – our detailed 2-week itinerary

Annapurna circuit became one of the most controversial hiking routes in Nepal after some parts of the trail were turned into a road. There used to be many hikers walking from Besi Sahar all the way to Nayapul nowadays the majority of people take a bus or a jeep in the beginning and at the end of the route to make it shorter and to skip walking on the road.

Before we walked the circuit we couldn’t find good information about how much road walk do you get, where is the best place to start and finish and why, how good are the alternative routes, etc. We decided to complete the whole circuit to check all these out and to write the most detailed and comprehensive itinerary. We walked from Besi Sahar to Nayapul it took us 15 days to finish the circuit, we tried to skip walking on the road everywhere we could, out of 260 km we walked on the road only 68 km and only 24 km were on a “busy” road.

This post contains only the itinerary for Annapurna circuit trek for more details about permits, transportation, cost, accommodation etc. go to Complete guide to trekking Annapurna Circuit.

Annapurna circuit trek overview

  • Distance – 260 km/161 mi (if walking the complete route)
  • Time – 15 -18 days (for the entire route)
  • Permits – TIMS card and Annapurna Sanctuary permit required 
  • Starting point – Bhulbhule (7 km from Besi Sahar) 
  • Finishing point – Nayapul 
  • Highest point – Thorong La pass (5400 m)
  • Total ascent (in 15 days) – 11 685 m
  • Total descent loss (in 15 days) -11 358 m
  • Walking on the road – 69 km out of 260 km but most of it wasn’t on the main busy road.
  • Average cost – NRP 2440/US$22 per person per day
  • Accommodation – guesthouses
  • Food – Nepali, Indian, Western, Chinese food

Insurance for the trek

Hiking like any outdoor activity involves risks of getting an injury, breaking or losing your gear, delays or cancellation of the trip due to weather conditions, etc. We faced the delay problem due to bad weather twice in Nepal the first time on Everest Base Camp trek when our flight from Lukla was delayed for more than 3 days and second on the circuit we couldn’t start hiking because of heave snowfalls in March.

It’s important to remember that the Annapurna Circuit is not an ordinary hike, it’s a high altitude trek through some remote and difficult to access areas of Nepal so having travel insurance is highly recommended. In fact, it’s required for getting the hiking permit. When you fill the form you’re asked to provide the name and the phone number of your insurance company.

There are many travel insurance companies but we’d recommend using one that has experience in covering outdoor activities and working in the region like World Nomads. Nepal is one of their top hiking destinations with thousands of people buying World Nomads insurance policies for trekking here so they know local specific. Their insurance is very flexible you can buy one that covers the entire trip or just the period of the trek. You can get insurance just a day before the planned activity or even the same day. It takes just a couple of minutes, quick and easy. Get a quote right now!

Annapurna circuit trek with a company

If you’re not a very experienced hiker and don’t want to do this challenging trek on your own you can join a guided tour. We’d suggest booking a tour with a reliable company like G-Adventures or Intrepid Travel. Both companies have guided tours; Annapurna Circuit trek with G-Adventures and Annapurna Circuit trek with Intrepid Travel or you can combine two iconic Nepal treks by joining Everest Base Camp & Annapurna Circuit trek tour with Intrepid Travel – the ultimate adventure trip. All tours include all transportation, guides, porters, and accommodation.

We didn’t do a tour with any of these companies but we met a G-Adventures group and asked them about the tour. Tourists were very happy with their guide, itinerary, porters, and services. The guide looked very professional, every night he gave a briefing about the next day walk, challenges on the way, etc. He arranged their bills, menu, made sure they have enough blankets, water etc. The group consisted of 7 people it wasn’t too big, trekkers were having a good time, playing board games every night after dinner so it’s a great option for individual trekkers who don’t want to hike alone.

A suspension bridge on the way to Thorong Phedi, Annapurna Circuit trek
One of the suspension bridges on the Annapurna Circuit trek

The complete Annapurna circuit trek itinerary

Day 0. Bus Pokhara – Besi Sahar, 5h., 108 km/Bus Kathmandu – Besi Sahar, 184 km

Buses leave from the terminal in Pokhara. In order to get here from Lakeside, you can take a taxi for NPR 300/US$3 or a local bus – NPR 25/US$0,2 pp.  We weren’t in a hurry and took a bus, we were planning to start walking the next day. We arrived at the terminal around 10.30 the next bus to Besi Sahar was at 11.45 we bought tickets (NPR 265/US$2,5 pp.) and waited outside.

By then we already had some experience with Nepalese buses but we couldn’t imagine that it can take 5 hours to drive 100 km on one of the main roads. The ride was very bumpy with many stops, people getting on and off, loading and unloading stuff, etc. Buses make a couple of stops on the way so you can buy some snacks and water or use the toilet. We heard from people who took a bus early morning that their ride wasn’t that long so maybe it’s better to go earlier. 

You can get to Besi Sahar directly from Kathmandu, the journey will probably take the same 6-7 hours, bus ticket about NPR 500/US$5.

We arrived in Besi Sahar at 5pm and decided to stay here for the night. The town is a bit of a dump compared to Lakeside there are a couple of guesthouses and local restaurants. If you arrive not too late I’d suggest rather walk or take a bus to Bhulbhule, Ngadi or another village on the route outside Besi Sahar those places are much nicer. 

We stayed at one of the guesthouses on the main street, there are several all offer more or less the same facilities. Our guest house was nice with a very friendly young lady in charge. For a double room with attached bathroom (quite big) we paid NRP 700/US$6 and we had to eat dinner and breakfast here.

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes, not really hot more warmish
  • Flush toilet – no
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, several in the rooms
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Blankets – yes
A detailed 2-week itinerary for the Annapurna Circuit trek
Our suggested 15-day Annapurna Circuit trek itinerary

Day 1. Bus Besi Sahar – Bhulbhule 7 km, walk Bhulbhule – Ghermu, 15 km

Besi Sahar (760 m) – Ngadi (840 m) – Lampata (1017 m) – Bahundanda (1223 m) – Ghermu (1108 m), 15 km/9 mi

  • Starting point – Bhulbhule
  • Finishing point – Ghermu, guesthouse 10 min. before Syange
  • Distance – 15 km
  • Time – 4 hours
  • Total ascent – 663 m
  • Total descent – 324 m
  • Walking on the road – 6 km out of 15 km at the beginning from Bhulbhule to Lampata
Elevation profile of the first day of the Annapurna Circuit trek
Elevation profile of day 1 of the Annapurna Circuit trek. Bhulbhule – Ghermu (Rainbow Hotel)

In Besi Sahar, there is a check-point where hikers supposed to show their permits we didn’t even notice the place first. We started walking from Besi Sahar but after a couple of kilometres decided to catch a bus the road was very dusty with many buses, jeeps and construction vehicles driving both ways. We took a bus to Bhulbhule, 7 km from Besi Sahar.

The road is very bad it took us about 30min. to drive 7 km, price NPR 100/US$1 pp. (they tried to charge NPR 200/US$2). It was the only bus we took on the route, the part from Besi Sahar was the busiest with the most traffic we had on the whole circuit. Somewhere on the way, there is another check-point where you show your Annapurna park permit that one is difficult to miss even if you go by bus it’ll stop there and as you to get off the bus.

We got off the bus at Bhulbhule and started walking from there. Bhulbhule is a small place with a couple of guesthouses and restaurants. About 2 km from Bhulbhule there is another small village with several guesthouses that look really nice (green garden, flowers, tables outside etc.) in my opinion it’s a much better option to stay than Besi Sahar if we had known about this place we’d have rather come here the day before.

The first 6 km of walking was on the road with buses and trucks driving by we were not very impressed and got quite negative thinking it’s going to be like this for the whole day. After 6 km there is a split; the route that goes right is for hikers and the left one for transport. The scenery on the way was beautiful; rice terraces, small villages, a couple of waterfalls – a great change after the dusty road. We really enjoyed the walk but it was quite hot +30°C, make sure to wear a hat, sunglasses and take enough water (there will be places to buy or refill water on the way).

Alya with Syange waterfall on the background
Alya in Ghermu our first stop on the Annapurna Circuit trek

Highlights

  • Beautiful scenery; rice terraces, river, small waterfalls, forest, etc.
  • Syange waterfall, a big and powerful fall at Syange village, worth taking the time and getting closer. We walked there from our guesthouse that was on the opposite side of the river, it took us about 45min. to walk to and back.

Challenges

  • First 5 km walking on the dirt road
  • Heat, it made us quite tired

Rainbow Hotel, Ghermu

We decided not to go to Syange (it didn’t look too nice from the top) and stayed at Rainbow hotel, the last guesthouse in Ghermu. The place was nice with a great view of the mountains and the Syange waterfall (we could see it from our room). Prices between NRP 400-600/US$4-6 for two people, we got a room with the attached bathroom for NRP 500/US$5.

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes, only outside
  • Flush toilet – yes, outside
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, in the rooms
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Blankets – yes
Places to stop on day 1 of the Circuit trek
Stops on the route on the first day of the Annapurna Circuit trek

Day 2. Ghermu – Tal, 18 km

Ghermu (1108 m) – Jagat (1250 m) – Chyamch (1367 m) – Tal (1633 m), 18 km/11 mi

  • Starting point – Ghermu (Rainbow Hotel)
  • Finishing point – Tal
  • Distance – 18 km if walking on the footpath or 15,4 km if walking on the road from Rainbow Hotel (Ghermu) to Jagat.
  • Time – 5h30min. on the footpath or 4h30min. on the road (from Ghermu to Jagat).
  • Total ascent – 1291 m if walking on the footpath and 892 m if walking on the road from Ghermu to Jagat
  • Total descent – 807 m (on the footpath) or 354 m on the road
  • Walking on the road – 2,5 km out of 18 km if taking the footpath from Rainbow Hotel (Ghermu) to Jagat and 6,5 km out of 15,5 km if following the road from Syange.
Elevation profile walking from Ghermu to Jagat on the footpath
Elevation profile Day 2, part 1, trekking route from Rainbow Hotel (Ghermu) to Jagat
Elevation profile walk from Jagat to Tal. Day 2 of Annapurna circuit
Elevation profile Day 2 of the Circuit trek. Part 2, Jagat – Tal

We decided to take the footpath from Rainbow Hotel in order to skip the road, we knew it was longer but we didn’t expect to get some very steep ascends and descends. The total distance of the footpath from Ghermu to Jagat is 7,6 km compared to 4 km on the road, total ascend 646 m vs 250 m on the road and total descend 513 m vs 100 m on the road. It took us 2h30min. to get from Ghermu to Jagat (we walked quite fast), I believe on the road it would take us no more than 1h30min.

The scenery on the footpath was very nice, the route is remote, no other hikers, no cars but it makes your walking day much harder and if you’re scared of heights it’s better not to take the alternative route as some parts of it are really narrow and close to the edge.

Trekking route map from Ghermu to Jagat. Annapurna circuit itinerary
Map of the trekking route (alternative to the road) from Rainbow Hotel in Ghermu to Jagat

At Jagat, we stopped for a real coffee at Hotel Mont Blank (right at the entrance to the village) and continued walking. We walked for about 2 km on the road till the split; the trekking route goes uphill, you walk on it for about 1,5 km till Chyamch where it joins with the road again but just for a little while, right after the village the trekking route continues on the other side of the river. Both routes meet again just before Tal. 

Highlights

  • Rice terraces and beautiful views over the river on the way from Ghermu to Jagat (on the footpath)
  • Many big waterfalls on the way but it’s impossible to get closer to any of them
  • Several breathtaking hanging bridges
  • The beautiful mountain scenery on the way from Chyamch to Tal; big river at the bottom, bizarre mountain formations, waterfalls.

Challenges

  • If you take the trekking route from Ghermu it’s quite demanding with two long ascends and descends all the way back to the river
  • Last part from Chyamch to Tal there was quite a lot of walking uphill

Manang Guesthouse, Tal

There are many guesthouses and restaurants in Tal we stayed at Manang Guest House, NRP 300/US$3 for a double room with bathroom.

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes, attached bathrooms have solar panel shower, the outside shower is heated by gas
  • Flush toilet – yes
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, in the rooms
  • Wi-fi – yes but the whole village didn’t have wi-fi because the tower was broken after heavy snowfalls
  • Blankets – yes
Stops on the route on the day 2 of the trek
Places to stop on the second day of the Annapurna Circuit trek

Day 3. Tal – Timang, 21 km

Tal (1633 m) – Karte (1781 m) – Dharapani (1844 m) – Odar (2131 m) – Bagarchhapad (2059 m) – Danque (2139 m) – Timang (2578 m), 21 km/13 mi

  • Starting point – Tal
  • Finishing point – Timang
  • Distance – 21 km
  • Time – 4h45min.
  • Total ascent – 1297 m
  • Total descent – 376 m
  • Walking on the road – 7 km out of 21 km, we again took an optional route (marked with white and blue) and cut off about 2 km of road walking, from 14 km to Timang it was all the way on the road (except on steep ascend up the stairs).
Elevation profile walk from Tal to Timang
Elevation profile Day 3 Tal – Timang

The beginning of the day, first 11 km, was great you walk on the hiking trail along the mountains, past small waterfalls on the right side and some impressive waterfalls on the opposite side. There was quite a lot of up and downhill walking but the scenery was great. Once you reach Dharapani the trail joins with the road. In Dharapani there is a check-point where they check your Annapurna permit, about 100 m after that there is an optional trail that goes up through Odar village. It will take you away from the road which is nice but it’s a very steep uphill walk with subsequent steep but not as long descend back to the road, you’ll walk about 100 m extra up and down.

From Bagarchhap on there will be mostly walking on the road with one short steep part where you go upstairs. Unlike at the beginning of the circuit, the road here is not dusty but very muddy.

Views of the mountains from our guesthouse in Timang
Stunning view of the mountains from our guesthouse in Timang

Highlights

  • First 11 km from Tal to Dharapani was a beautiful walk on the trail past several small waterfalls
  • Many big and small waterfall all the way
  • Spectacular views from Temang, the village is surrounded by the mountains with snow peaks

Challenges

  • A lot of walking uphill
  • Last 7 km from Bagarchhap to Timang on the muddy road but with not much traffic occasional construction vehicles and few motorbikes

Timang

We were planning to walk all the way to Chame but the distance turned to be longer than we thought (22 km on the road vs 29 km if taking all alternative hiking trails) plus it started raining quite hard so we decided to stop in Timang and were really happy about it. The village is famous for incredible views and they are truly breathtaking. 

Tibet Lhasa Guest House

We paid NRP 200/US$2 for a simple double room, the place was nice but the rooms were quite cold.

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes, outside
  • Flush toilet – no, outside hole toilet
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, in the dining room
  • Wi-fi – yes worked fine in the room
  • Blankets – yes, have to ask for
Stops on the trek on the third day
Stops on the third day of the Annapurna Circuit trek

Day 4. Timang – Upper Pisang, 27 km

Timang (2578 m) – Chhitepu (2636 m) – Koto (2656 m) – Chame (2726 m) – Talekhu (2830 m) – Bratan (2932 m) – Dhukurpakhari (3211 m) – Upper Pisang (3303 m), 27 km/16,7 mi

  • Starting point – Timang
  • Finishing point – Upper Pisang
  • Distance – 27 km
  • Time – 5h43min.
  • Total ascent – 1081 m
  • Total descent – 451 m
Elevation profile of the walk from Timang to Upper Pisang
Elevation profile Day 4 Timang to Upper Pisang. Annapurna circuit trek itinerary

Walking on the road – 20 km out of 27 km, basically, all the way from Timang to Dhukurpakhari you walk on the road, here and there is 1 km on the trekking route that goes away from the road. The last 7 km from Dhukurpakhari to Upper Pisang is on the footpath. I must say that walking on the road didn’t bother us at all there were some cars and trucks on the way between Timang to Chame but after that, we saw very few cars and some motorbikes.

The day was quite easy but long it was one of our longest days on the circuit. To Bhratang it was pretty flat with slight ups and downhills so we progressed quite fast. At Koto there is a check-point where they check your permit and TIMS card. We stopped in Chame trying to get some cash, there is an ATM but it is only for locals, tourists are not allowed to draw money there, there was a guard at the entrance who didn’t even let us come in. Luckily we could draw money at Hotel Royal Garden it’s on the way out of the town. They charge 12% commission but it’s the only place we could find. 

From Chame the route got quieter with fewer cars and people, the scenery was getting better and better; snow peaks, small glaciers, rivers, pine forest etc. Bhratang is a beautiful place, it’s not a village, it’s basically one fancy hotel, a couple of local houses and a big apple farm, the place is surrounded by apple plantations, it’s the biggest apple plantation in Nepal.

From Bhratang you start walking uphill it’s not very steep but it’s all the way. The road is squeezed between the mountains and the river, you can’t stop admiring the scenery. Dhikur Pokhari is quite a nice village with many guesthouses, and restaurants if you don’t feel like walking further you can stay here and continue to Manang the next day. After Dhikur Pokhari the route splits; one continues on the road to Lower Pisang, another one goes uphill to Upper Pisang.

Highlights

  • Basically, the whole day was one long highlight the scenery on the way was breathtaking from the beginning to the end, it was getting more and more beautiful despite walking on the road for most of the day.
  • The view from Upper Pisang over the area was amazing

Challenges

  • Uphill walk from Bhratang to Upper Pisang, 370 m ascend
  • The road from Bhratang to Dhikur Pokhari was quite muddy

Upper Pisang

We decided to walk through Upper Pisang because the route goes away from the road and it’s located higher than Lower Pisang (which is obviously from the name) and offers better views. Though you walk about 100 m up extra.

Hotel Norbulinka

It was one of the nicest guesthouses we stayed on the circuit. They didn’t charge us anything for the room with the condition we eat dinner and breakfast here (like any other place). The place is nice, new, the people who that run it are very friendly and fast, our food was always ready almost immediately and it was good.

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes, outside
  • Flush toilet – no, normal toilet but with a bucket
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, in the room
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Blankets – yes
Villages on the trek, day 4 of the circuit itinerary
Stops on the way from Timang to Upper Pisang

Day 5. Upper Pisang – Manang, 22 km

Upper Pisang (3303 m) – Ghyaru (3695 m) – Ngawal (3669 m) – Munchi (3500 m) – Braga (3519 m) – Manang (3560 m), 22 km/13,6 mi

  • Starting point – Upper Pisang
  • Finishing point – Manang
  • Distance – 22 km
  • Time – 6h20min.
  • Total ascent – 888 m
  • Total descent – 629 m
  • Walking on the road – 7 km out of 22 km, the last 7 km to Manang were on the dirt road but we didn’t see a single car.
Elevation profile Upper Pisang - Ghyaru - Manang. Annapurna circuit trek
Elevation profile Day 5 of the Annapurna Circuit trek. Upper Pisang – Manang through Ghyaru

From Upper Pisang there are two options of walking to Manang the fast and easy one – walk down to Lower Pisang and from there continue to Manang on the road. And the tougher and longer one take the trekking route with great views with a very steep uphill. We chose the tough one and were rewarded with incredible views but by the time we arrived in Manang we were quite tired.

My advice if you don’t feel very strong due to high altitude don’t punish yourself and take the shorter route you don’t want to get altitude sickness before going over the pass. The trekking route through Ghyaru takes between 6 and 7 hours, on the road you’ll get to Manang in 3-4 hours.  

Trekking route map Upper Pisang - Ghyaru - Manang
Map of the trekking route from Upper Pisang to Manang through Ghyaru

From Ngawal village there are again two options; one is to go down and continue to Manang on the road, another one is to take a trekking route which is of course longer but again it offers some nice views. Both routes are marked as the official circuit route, most people take the shorter option on the road, we didn’t see anybody in the whole hour we walked on it. Note! Once down to the river (an abandoned village Julu) the route marking is not great and there are again two options one goes down to the road and another one continues on the trekking path till Braga. We follow the first route that goes left through the village as it had better indications.

The last 6 km to Manang was on the road we thought of stopping at Braga but the village didn’t look too impressive and we continued to Manang which was just 15 min. away.  

Fantastic scenery on the Annapurna trek
Incredible scenery on the way from Upper Pisang to Manang

Highlights

  • Beautiful scenery on the way from Upper Pisang to Ghyaru and from Ghyaru to Ngawal; snow peaks, pine forest, valley etc.
  • Beautiful monastery complex in Braga

Challenges

  • It was, in general, quite a tough day due to high altitude, most part of the day you walk over 3500 m
  • Very steep and long ascend from Upper Pisang (2 km after) to Ghyaru, about 400 m
  • The route was at some places muddy and covered in snow

Manang

The last village accessible by road before the pass, there are many hotels and guest houses, coffee shops with real coffee, restaurants with all sorts of food, several shops etc.

Tilicho Hotel

We chose this place first of all because we saw Lavazza sign (we’re big coffee addicts), the hotel is very nice, the rooms are quite spacious with attached toilet, the dining rooms are cosy and very warm. They have a great menu from traditional Nepalese food to Pizza, Mexican food and burgers. Our room was quite warm compared to the other guesthouses we stayed before, we didn’t use our sleeping bags, one blanket was enough. Price NRP 300/US$3 for a double room. 

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes, outside
  • Flush toilet – no, attached hole toilet
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, in the room
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Blankets – yes
Stops on the route day 5 of the trek
Places to stop on the trail between Upper Pisang and Manang

Day 6. Acclimatization day in Manang

We felt pretty good in Manang and didn’t have any symptoms of altitude sickness but having previous experience of not doing an acclimatization day and getting sick (when we did Everest Base Camp trek and didn’t stay an extra day in Namche Bazar I got sick at Tengboche) we decided not to risk and stay in Manang for two nights.

Our guesthouse was very nice we were quite happy just to chill here, drink Lavazza coffee, rest, wash our clothes etc. You might get no symptoms at 3500 m but if you don’t take time to acclimatize and the next day go over 4000 m it might hit you really badly and it’s not something you want to experience.

There are several side hikes that you can do from Manang like The Ice Lake or Tilicho lake. The first one can be done in one day, it’s a return hike up to the lake and back, it takes about 7 hours. To get to Tilicho lake you’ll need 2 days, it’s actually a separate hiking route that starts in Manang, goes past the lake and finishes in Jomson but when we were in Manang it was closed due to a lot of snow on the route.

We decided to skip the Snow Lake and rather have a rest day, the lake is at 4200 m it’s quite a climb up and I’m not sure how well it will go with the acclimatization day before you start heading up to the pass. If you have more time you can maybe stay in Manang for three nights and after a rest day go to the lake.

There is a daily free talk at 3pm at the clinic in Manang where they tell you about the altitude sickness and the ways to prevent it. They have oxygen in case you need it and some other medicine. The service for tourists is not free but they will give you a receipt so you can claim the money back from your insurance. Thanks to the money that tourists pay for the medical services locals can get free treatment.

In Manang you can buy some gear there are several shops that sell jackets, shoes, crampons, hiking poles, gloves etc. If you realize you’re missing some gear that you might need for the pass you can buy it here, prices are basically the same as in Pokhara, e.g. we paid for our crampons in Pokhara NRP 1500/US$13,5 and they cost the same in Manang.

There is even a small place with a video projector where they show trekking related movies every night. As for more extra services in the village I can highlight laundry service there are several places with washing machines (you’ll see the signs), they charge per item not per weight. In the Manang museum, you can refill your water for NRP 40/US$0,4 per litre, the money goes to the local community.

Day 7. Manang – Yak Kharka, 10 km

Manang (3560 m) – Tengi (3719 m) – Ghunsang (3947 m) – Yak Kharka (4050 m), 10 km/6,2 mi

  • Starting point – Manang
  • Finishing point – Yak Kharka
  • Distance – 10 km
  • Time – 3h20min.
  • Total ascent – 569 m
  • Total descent – 99 m
  • Walking on the road – 0 km
Elevation profile Day 7 walk from Manang to Yak Kharka
Elevation profile Day 7 Manang – Yak Kharka

We decided to stop at Yak Kharka rather than going to Ledar, trying to stick to recommended no more than 500 m up per day when you go over 3500 m. We took it really slow and walked about 3 km per hour compared to our normal 4-5 km. The main ascend for the day starts right from Manang, in 4 km you go about 400 m up to Ghunsang, on the up don’t go fast, stop every once in a while to rest and drink water. Once at Ghunsang I’d suggest stopping there for 15-20 min. to drink tea, eat chocolate and enjoy the view, from the roof you get an amazing view over the area.

The second half of the walk is much easier with several very gradual ups and downs, over the last 6 km you go only 100 m up, it was a mostly flat walk with incredible scenery, don’t forget to look back sometimes.

Many people we met continued walking to Ledar it is an option but only if you feel 100% well and strong without even slightest symptom of altitude sickness. We were totally fine but decided not to risk and rather stay lower for the night.

Some people did acclimatization walk to Ledar and back to Yak Kharka, we didn’t do anything like this for us the key to feeling good at the high altitude is taking your time, walking slow, not more than 500 m up a day, drinking enough water and resting. So far it worked great for us.

Mountainous scenery on the way to Jak Kharka
Breathtaking scenery on the way from Manang to Jak Kharka, getting closer to Thorong La Pass

Highlights

  • Amazing views on the way to Jak Kharka

Challenges

  • Walking 400 m up from Manang to Ghunsang

Gangapurna Hotel

Typical guesthouse on the route, NRP 200/US$2 for two people but in the end, they didn’t charge us for the room.

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes, outside, NRP 200/US$2 per person. 
  • Flush toilet – no
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, at the reception in the dining room, NRP 100/US$1 to charge a laptop but for charging a phone or a power bank they didn’t charge us anything
  • Wi-fi – yes, worked even better than in Manang, no wi-fi in the evening
  • Blankets – yes
  • Cell phone signal – no
Stops on the trek, day 7 of the Annapurna Circuit itinerary
Places to stop on the trek between Manang and Yak Kharka

Day 8. Jak Kharka – Thorung Phedi, 8,3 km

Jak Kharka (4059 m) – Upper Yak Kharka (4142 m) – Ledar (4248 m) – Deurali tea house (4440 m) – Thorung Phedi (4548 m), 8,3 km/5 mi

  • Starting point – Jak Kharka
  • Finishing point – Thorong Phedi
  • Distance – 8,3 km
  • Time – 3h03min.
  • Total ascent – 565 m
  • Total descent – 92 m
  • Walking on the road – 0 km
Elevation profile Day 8 Yak Kharka - Thorong Phedi. Annapurna circuit trek
Elevation profile Day 8 of Annapurna Circuit trek. Yak Kharka – Thorong Phedi.

We started the day at about 8am and tried to walk as slow as we could, stopped twice for tea and rest at Ledar and Deurali tea house, our average speed for the day was 2,7 km even slower than the day before. It’s better to start earlier as it’s usually sunny and warm till 12pm and then it gets cloudy and windy.

Highlights

  • The whole day was a highlight, the scenery is very similar to the previous day; mountains, snow peaks, a river at the bottom of the canyon

Challenges

  • The altitude makes you quite tired
  • We had a lot of snow so the trail was basically buried under it in some parts you had to walk very careful not to slip down.
  • The steep uphill at 5,5 km; first you go down to the river, over the bridge and then climb 150 m up

Thorung Phedi

The higher up you go the more basic everything gets but to our surprise at 4500 m we still could get wi-fi, freshly baked pastry and organic coffee. Obviously, the food prices here and at High Camp are the highest on the trek.

Thorung Base Camp Lodge

  • Hot shower – no but you can get a bucket of hot water for NRP 200/US$2
  • Flush toilet – no
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, in the dining area, NRP 100/US$1 per device
  • Wi-fi – yes, NRP 200/US$2 but it didn’t work when we were there due to heavy snowfalls the tower was buried under tons of snow
  • Blankets – yes
  • Cell phone signal – no
  • Running water – no, we couldn’t find a tap with water but there were big canisters with water in the dining room where we filled our LifeStraw water bottle.
Stops on the trek, day 9
Stops on the ninth day of the Annapurna Circuit trek

Day 9. Thorong Phedi – Muktinath, 15,6 km

Thorong Phedi (4548 m) – High Camp (4884 m) – Thorong La Pass (5400 m) – Chambar Bhir (4200 m) – Muktinath (3611 m), 15,6 km/9,6 mi

  • Starting point – Thorong Phedi (Thorung Phedi)
  • Finishing point – Muktinath
  • Distance – 15,6 km
  • Time – 6h10min.
  • Total ascent – 854 m
  • Total descent – 1680 m
  • Walking on the road – 0 km
Elevation profile of the walk over Thorong La Pass, the highlight of the Annapurna Circuit trek
Elevation profile Day 9 Thorong Phedi – Muktinath. Walking over Thorong La pass the highest point on Annapurna circuit trek

The day that we were looking forward a lot; going over Thorong La pass. I must say it was by far the toughest day on the first half of the circuit. As I mentioned before in the morning the weather is usually the best; sunny, no wind, no snow, for this reason, many people start walking at 4-5 am. We decided it wasn’t necessary to start that early and left Thorung Phedi at 6 am we were the only people left which was nice as the first half of the day we walked alone.

The first part of the walk from Thorung Phedi to High Camp was very steep, it took us about 1 hour to get there. There is a sunrise viewpoint at High Camp if you feel like it, you can start walking at 4.00-4.30am in order to watch the sunrise up there we didn’t feel like starting walking that early. At High Camp, you can rest, drink tea, refill your water and continue going up.

The second part of the ascend was quite long and tough though it wasn’t as steep as the first part. It took us about two more hours to get to the top of the pass. We walked all day on the snow wearing crampons but usually, there is not that much snow in the high season. There is only one place to stop after High Camp before the pass. There you can drink tea, buy chocolate and refill water (NRP 100/US$1 for 1l for melted snow water). The ascend to the pass was tough we walked it quite fast but for most people, it takes 4-5 hours to get there. As an option the previous day instead of staying at Thorung Phedi you can go to High Camp then your walk over the pass will be shorter. Note! I’d recommend to do it only if you feel 100% fine and don’t have any symptoms of altitude sickness.

After the pass the descend starts, the first half of it was quite nice and easy so we could progress fast but then we hit the steep part, the fact that the trail was covered in the snow didn’t help at all, it was very slippery that’s when our crampons helped a great deal. It took us 2 hours to get down from the pass and another hour to get from there to Muktinath, the last bit was slightly downhill.

Note! We walked the Circuit at the end of March but there were unusual snowfalls in February-March normally there is not that much snow in March-April so you might not need crampons at all. The good thing is that you don’t have to carry them all the way, you can buy them in Manang or even at Thorung Phedi once you get there to check how much snow is around and decide if you’ll need crampons or not.

Stingy Nomads at the top of Thorong La Pass
Campbell & Alya at the top of Thorong La pass, the highest point of Annapurna circuit trek

Highlights

  • Beautiful sunrise on the way to High Camp
  • Stunning scenery all the way over the pass
  • Bizarre landscape at Muktinath very different from what we’ve seen on the route before.
  • Muktinath monastery

Challenges

  • Very steep ascend to High Camp
  • Long and tough ascend to Thorong La pass
  • Long and steep descend to Chambar Bhir

Hotel the Paths of Dream

The first price was NRP 200/US$2 for two but then they decided not to charge us anything for the room at the end.

  • Hot shower – yes
  • Electricity – yes
  • Flush toilet – no
  • Power outlets – yes, in the dining area
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Blankets – yes
Stops on the trek, day 9 of the Circuit trek
Stops on the route between Thorong Phedi and Muktinath

Day 10. Muktinath – Jomsom, 22 km

Muktinath (3611 m) – Lubra (2983 m) – Jomsom (2784 m), 22 km/13,6 mi

  • Starting point – Muktinath
  • Finishing point – Jomsom
  • Distance – 22 km
  • Time – 5h30min.
  • Total ascent – 536 m
  • Total descent – 1396 m
  • Walking on the road – 6,5 km out of 22 km the last part to Jomsom
Elevation profile walk from Muktinath to Jomsom through Lubra
Elevation profile Day 10 the walk from Muktinath to Jomsom

Many people decide to take a bus or jeep from Muktinath and go to Jomsom, Tatopani or all the way back to Pokhara which is great in a way because the trail gets emptier most of the organized groups disappear from the trek. If you’re thinking about finishing in Muktinath here are some bus prices (jeeps are usually about double the price);

Bus prices

  • Muktinath – Jomsom – NRP 350/US$3,3
  • Muktinath – Tatopani – NRP 1200/US$10
  • Muktinath – Pokhara – NRP 1450/US$13

We walked from Muktinath through Lubra and were quite happy about it because the scenery was unreal very different from what we saw on the previous days of walking; colourful rocky mountains with the snow peaks on the background. The best views we got from the top of Lubra pass you definitely don’t see it from the bus.

The walk starts on the old dirt road (past the bus terminal) with not transport, nobody uses this road because there is a newly tarred road from Muktinath. After about 15min. of walking, we got to the hiking trail that went all the way to Lubra. This route is the best option for walkers the second option is to go through Chongar but it goes all the way on the dirt road. 

Trekking route map Muktinath - Jomsom, Annapurna circuit trek
Map of the trekking route from Muktinath to Jomsom

From Lubra there are two ways of continuing the walk; taking the upper route that goes along the mountains or going down to the river and walking on the rocks along the river bed. Both routes join at the road, after about 5 km, from there you walk on the road till Jomsom.

The upper route is not the best option it’s very narrow with steep ups and downs, at some places covered with rocks I guess after landslides. The worst is the end of it, it ends with a dead-end from there you’ll have to climb down about 10 m to the road. I had to take my backpack off and climb-slide down dragging with. The river route is much easier and quicker (about 15 min. faster) but if it rains a lot for a long time the river might be too high to cross it (you cross it twice) and you’ll have to walk the upper route. When were walked there was almost no water in the river.

The last part to Jomsom is on the dusty road with quite a few buses, cars and motorbikes driving past. It’s possible to continue walking down along the river for about 2 km but then you have to continue on the road.

Highlights

  • Stunning scenery on the first half of the walk till Lubra; colourful mountains, snow peaks, dried river bed. 
  • Lubra – a pretty local village surrounded by almond trees

Challenges

  • Long ascend in the beginning o the top of Lubra pass
  • Very long and sometimes quite steep descend to Lubra
  • Walking on the dusty road for the last 6 km to Jomsom

Jomsom

There are two villages Old Jomsom and New Jomsom (the one with the airport), most guesthouses and restaurants are located in New Jomsom which is just about 10 min. walk from the old one. There is a nice coffee shop Himalayan Java Cafe with good muffins and great coffee here. There is a checkpoint at the tourist information office where they again check your permits.

Nilgiri View Hotel

Price NRP 300/US$3 for two people, good hot shower but quite a slow service.

  • Hot shower – yes
  • Flush toilet – yes
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, in the room
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Blankets – yes
Stops on the way from Muktinath to Jomsom
Stops on the route on day 10

Day 11. Jomsom – Tukuche, 15,5 km

Jomsom (2784 m) – Thini (2836 m) – Chhairo (2704 m) – Tukuche (2615 m), 15,5 km/9,5 mi

  • Starting point – Jomsom
  • Finishing point – Tukuche
  • Distance – 15,5 km
  • Time – 4h10min.
  • Total ascent – 440 m
  • Total descent – 582 m

Walking on the road – 500 m out of New Jomsom then the route turns left right after the runaway. The route was a mix of walking on the trekking route and on the old dirt road but this road is not used much in the whole day we saw three motorbikes and one truck. The main road that buses and jeeps use nowadays is on the other side of the river we could see it most of the time but it didn’t bother us at all. If you cross to Tukuche over the hanging bridge you’ll have to walk for about 3 km on the road. We used winter bridges (small wooden bridges) to cross to the village because the water level in the river wasn’t very high.

Elevation profile Day 11, part 1 Jomsom to Chhairo. Annapurna circuit trek
Elevation profile Day 11, part 1, Jomsom to Chhairo
Elevation profile Day 11, part 2, Chhairo to Tukuche. Annapurna circuit itinerary
Elevation profile Day 11, part 2, Chhairo to Tukuche

Bus prices from Jomsom;

  • to Tatopani – NRP 880/US$8 – 4-5 hours
  • to Pokhara – NRP 1110/US$10 – 9-10 hours
  • to Kathmandu – NRP 1700/US$15 – 20 hours

We started the day quite late because we wanted to draw more money but none of the five ATM in Jomsom was working something about bad reception but in the end, we could get cash at Mega Bank Nepal. We stopped at Dhumbra lake for about 20 min. and after finally started seriously walking. The whole day we could see the road but never walked on it till we crossed the river at Tukuche. The trail was marked with red and white markers on the trees and rocks we used Maps.me a couple of times but in general didn’t have any problem finding the way.

Route map Jomsom - Chhairo, Annapurna circuit
Map of the trekking route from Jomsom to Chhairo. Day 11 of Annapurna circuit trek

Those who didn’t take a bus from Muktinath did it in Jomsom so the trail got basically empty, in the whole day we saw a cycling couple and at the end of the day in Tukuche three other trekkers. The trekking route is longer than the road and it has many ups and downs but it’s still much better than walking on the dusty road with many buses and jeeps driving by.

We decided to cross to the roadside and stay in Tukuche, there is a bridge at about 3 km before the village, we missed it and just walked across the river (there was one small bridge), the water in the river was very low.

Trekking route map Chhairo - Tukuche
Map of the trekking route from Chhairo to Tukuche

Highlights

Turquoise colour Dhumbra lake, about 3 km from Jomsom, not big but with crystal clear water and a lot of fish. You pay NRP 20/US$0,2 entrance to be able to come closer to the lake, there is a path that goes around it and a couple of picnic spots.

Chhairo – a small village with a temple at the entrance. It’s a Tibetan settlement, we stopped here for tea and I tried Tibetan Salt tea for the first time, it was really good. There is one guesthouse with food prices half of what you pay in the other places so if you don’t feel like walking anymore you can always stop here.

Nice walk through the forest and along the river from Chhairo to Tukuche.

Turquoise colour Dhumbra Lake, Jomsom
Beautiful Dhumbra lake just outside Jomsom

Challenges

The path at about 5 km gets very narrow and goes along the edge of the mountain fine for walking but we saw a couple of cycling or trying to cycle there and half of the time they had to push or carry their bikes.

Tukuche

A typical small village with several guesthouses and restaurants and a very busy road.

High Plain Inn hotel

NRP 300/US$3 for two people, a place looked quite nice the owners are a Dutch-Nepalese couple, they bake their own break and make hand-made pasta, the food here was good. There are more expensive rooms that look really nice with the attached bathroom for NRP 800/US$7. Everything would be fine if it wasn’t for rats, there are many of them living between the walls, we didn’t see a rat but we could hear them at night running between the walls and making noises it was quite scary. 

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes
  • Flush toilet – yes
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, at the reception
  • Wi-fi – yes, NRP 100/US$1 for an unlimited number of devices
  • Blankets – yes
Stops on the trek, day 11 of the Annapurna trek
Places to stop on the way from Jomsom to Tukuche

Day 12. Tukuche – Ghasa, 30 km

Tukuche (2615 m) – Sauru (2570 m) – Kokhethanti (2533 m) – Konjo (2700 m) – Titi Lake (2700 m) – Chhoya Deurali (2505 m) – Ghasa (2072 m), 30 km/18,6 mi

  • Starting point – Tukuche
  • Finishing point – Ghasa
  • Distance – 30 km if you take the longer route and walk past Titi Tal (lake), if you follow the river from Kokhethanti to Chhoya it’ll be 4-5 km shorter.
  • Time – 7h45min.
  • Total ascent – 800 m
  • Total descent – 1383 m

Walking on the road – 0 km if you take the longer route through Titi lake, if you take the shorter route on the left side of the river you’ll walk on a jeep trek for a bit. If you cross the river after Kokhethanti to the right side you’ll get several intersections with the main road but your walk will be much shorter.

Elevation profile Day 12 Tukuche to Ghasa. Annapurna circuit trek
Elevation profile Day 12 of the trek. Tukuche to Ghasa.

When we started the day we didn’t plan to walk 30 km and by the end of it were quite tired. We didn’t walk on the road at all, we crossed to the other side from Tukuche after distillery plant, there is a small wooden bridge but I’m not sure you can cross it after the rainy season.

The first part of the walk was easy and flat through the pine forest and past a couple of small villages. From Kokhethanti we took the upper trail and went to Titi lake, the route was very nice and quiet but with a steep ascent, about 170 m. From the lake the route goes down to Chhoya, a local village with no guesthouses or restaurants, locals can make for you a basic meal.

Map of the trekking route from Tukuche to Ghasa. Annapurna circuit trek
Map of the trekking route from Tukuche to Ghasa through Tili lake. You can see the route doesn’t cross the road for the whole day.

The last part of the day was quite demanding we were ready to stop but the only place we got on the way was at Chhoya Deural and it didn’t look very nice so we decided to keep on walking to Ghasa. That part took about 3 hours with many smallish ups and downs. Make sure you to refill your water before the last part. Note! The trekking route from Chhoya to Ghasa wasn’t on Maps.me it didn’t have two bridges after Ghasa that you can use to cross the river. The route was partly marked but it was quite easy to follow as it was basically the only route.

To get to the roadside of the river you can use one of the two bridges just after Ghasa the smallish Old bridge or the bigger one New Bridge but that one is further away.

Highlights

  • Titi lake – a beautiful lake famous as a great place for bird watching
  • Stunning scenery on the way from Chhoya Deurali to Ghasa; forest, canyon, river, bizarre rock formations etc.
River and the mountains, scenery at the end of the trek
The scenery on the Circuit trek changes a lot as you go higher up or lower down.

Challenges

The distance was the main challenge we didn’t plan to walk 30 km, our calculation was around 24 km but as we took the longest route and went to Titi lake the distance increased quite a lot.

If you’re afraid of heights the trekking path from Ghhoya might be quite a challenge especially the hanging bridge, about 5 km before Ghasa, it was quite a long and high bridge.

The last part of the walk, about 5 km to Ghasa on the trail were constant ups and downs.

A quite dangerous short section of the trail just before the bridge to Ghasa, it looked like there was a landslide recently.

Ghasa

For us coming from the other side of the pass where you can find many guesthouses with good facilities, Ghasa was a surprise I believe it used to be a popular stop on the route before the road was built. Nowadays there are only occasional trekkers come here, most tourists drive past. The main village itself is about 15 min. walk from the bridge.

Gauchan Lodge

Very simple lodge with a nice family running it, price NRP 300/US$3 for two people

Facilities

  • Hot shower – no, bucket with hot water that you can use in the shower
  • Flush toilet – no
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, in the main house
  • Wi-fi – no
  • Blankets – yes
Places to stop along the way, day 12
Places to stop on the route

Day 13. Ghasa – Tatopani, 17 km

Ghasa (2072 m) – Pairothapla (1937 m) – Kopchepani (1765 m) – Narchyang (1448 m) – Tatopani (1362 m), 17 km/10,5 mi

  • Starting point – Ghasa
  • Finishing point – Tatopani
  • Distance – 17 km
  • Time – 4h20min.
  • Total ascent – 335 m
  • Total descent – 1057 m
  • Walking on the road – 3 km out of 17 km; 1 km on the main road to Tatopani and 2 km on the opposite side of the road before Tatopani
Ghasa to Tatopani elevation profile
Elevation profile Day 13 of the Annapurna trek. The walk from Ghasa to Tatopani.

The first part of the day was a nice and easy walk with several ups and downs, past small local villages with several waterfalls on both sides of the river. It was an easy and relaxing walk.

The last part from Narchyang to Tatopani was on a dirt road on the left side of the river there were not many cars just a couple of construction vehicles, after crossing the bridge, last 1 km to Tatopani you walk on the main road with quite a few cars and buses driving past.

Map of the trekking route from Ghasa to Tatopani.
Map of the trekking route from Ghasa to Tatopani. As you can see the route and the road go on opposite sides of the river.

Highlights

  • Several big and small waterfalls on the way
  • A quiet path through small local villages from Ghasa to Narchyang

Challenges

The main challenges for the day were the last 3 km of walking on the road, there are dirt roads on both sides of the river; on the left (hiking side) there were a couple of construction vehicles, it looked like they were busy building a dam or something like that; on the right side it was the main road with many jeeps and buses.

Tatopani

We got the idea that Tatopani was quite a big place with many hotels and restaurants but in fact, it wasn’t much bigger than any other village you stop on the way, not like Manang or Jomsom. There are quite a few hotels with restaurants, accommodation here is more expensive, most of the places have rooms with attached toilet and hot shower. We wanted to stay in a nicer place with attached bathroom and hot shower. 

The Old Kamala guesthouse

The rooms in the place looked the nicest, plus they have Italian Espresso machine so we decided to spoil ourselves and paid NRP 1000/US$9 for our room with the attached flush toilet and hot shower.

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes, in the room
  • Flush toilet – yes
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, in the room
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Blankets – yes
Places to stop on the trek on the way to Tatopani
Stops on the trail between Ghasa and Tatopani

Day 14. Tatopani – Ghorepani, 17,6 km

Tatopani (1362 m) – Ghara (1745 m) – Shikha (1934 m) – Phalate (2272 m) – Chitre (2370 m) – Ghorepani (2800 m), 17,6 km/11 mi

  • Starting point – Tatopani
  • Finishing point – Ghorepani
  • Distance – 17,6 km
  • Time – 5h40min.
  • Total ascent – 1744 m
  • Total descent – 200 m

Walking on the road – 8 km out of 17,6 km; 1 km on the busy road from Tatopani and 7 km after the bridge on the dirt road in progress with not many vehicles mostly construction trucks. After that, we crossed the dirt road a couple of times but we didn’t see a single vehicle on the road.

Elevation profile Day 14. Tatopani to Ghorepani. Annapurna circuit itinerary
Elevation profile Day 14. Tatopani to Ghorepani the last steep ascent on the trek

At the exit from Tatopani, there is a permit check-point, typical story they write down your name, stamp your permit (I think by the end of the circuit our TIMS cards and permits had like 10 stamps each). Then it’s about 1 km of walking on the road with many jeeps and buses driving past till you reach a hanging bridge. From there you still walk on the road for the next 7 km but that road is much quieter and muddier with few cars and motorbikes but no buses. There are a couple of restaurants on the way for the first 5 km.

After Ghara the road and the trekking route split and for the rest of the day you walk on the footpath from time to time crossing the road.

If walking 1700 m up in one day sounds like too much for you Shikha is a good option to stop, it’s in the middle between Tatopani and Ghorepani, 9,5 km, there are several nice looking guesthouses with good facilities and the views from the village are great. There is another check-point in Shikha.

From Shikha on, we stopped looking around and just kept going up trying to make it before the rain and we made it. At Ghorepani, it was quite cold compared to Tatopani.

Highlights

The second half of the walk from on was nice with beautiful views over the area and many trees and blossom.

Challenges

The day was one long challenge from the beginning (after the bridge) till the end it was a non-stop steep ascend, 1744 m in total. We were pretty tired when we arrived in Ghorepani.

Ghorepani

It’s a nice village with many guesthouses. Ghorepani Poon Hill is a very popular trek there will be many hikers around you’ll notice it when you go to Poon Hill for the sunrise. 

Asha Hotel

It was the first hotel on the way a bit away from the main area. The hotel is new, it’s quite big with many rooms and a big dining hall upstairs. Our room was the nicest room we’ve had on the circuit. It looked like a real hotel room, not like a typical guesthouse. The bed was big with nice bedding and a new duvet. We didn’t pay for the room they just wanted us to eat there. I must say the food wasn’t great except for the soups that were quite nice. 

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes
  • Flush toilet – yes
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Blankets – yes
Places to stop on the route, day 14 of Annapurna Circuit trek
Stops on the route between Tatopani and Ghorepani

Day 15. Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Ghorepani – Nayapul, 22 km 

Ghorepani (2780 m) – Poon Hill (3200 m) – Ghorepani (2780 m) – Nangethanti (2524 m) – Banthanti (2306 m) – Ulleri (2110 m) – Tikhedhungga (1536 m) – Hile (1554 m) – Birethanti (1120 m) – Nayapul (1117 m), 22 km/13 mi

Morning. Sunrise on the top of Poon Hill

  • Starting point – Ghorepani at 5.20
  • Finishing point – Ghorepani  at 7.00
  • Total distance – 3 km/1,8 mi
  • Time – 1h30min.; 40 min. up, 30 min. down, 30 min. on the top
  • Total ascent – 387 m
  • Total descent – 387 m
Elevation profile of the walk to the top of Poon Hill for the sunrise
Elevation profile of the sunrise walk to the top of Poon Hill

It takes about 45 min. to get to the top of Poon Hill from Ghorepani, the walk is steep uphill all the way, make sure to take water with. The trail is easy to follow, you won’t get lost there will be many people walking up. We took only water, headlamps and cameras with, the rest of our stuff we left locked in the room in the guesthouse. Take money with to pay the entrance fee to Poon Hill (NRP 100 pp.).

You’re not allowed to bring a thermos with hot water/tea/coffee to the top, fine for that is NRP 2000/US$18. They sell hot drinks on the top for 2-3 times more expensive than down in the village, NRP 160-200/US$2.

Beautiful sunrise on the top of Poon Hill the last day on Annapurna Circuit trek
Stunning sunrise at the top of the Poon Hill mountain

Afternoon. Ghorepani to Nayapul

  • Starting point – Ghorepani
  • Finishing point – Nayapul
  • Distance – 19 km
  • Time – 4h50min.
  • Total ascent – 235 m
  • Total descent – 1895 m
  • Walking on the road – 8 km out of 19 km; the last part from Hile to Nayapul is on the dirt road with occasional tourist jeeps driving past.
Elevation profile of the walk from Ghorepani to Nayapul
Elevation profile of the last day of the Circuit trek. Ghorepani – Nayapul.

Most people walk to the top of Poon Hill and come back to their guesthouse for breakfast and then start walking. Don’t be surprised there will be hundreds of people on the top Poon Hill is a popular place for Nepalese people to come for weekends.

The whole day you descend sometimes it’s quite steep sometimes very gradual. We didn’t stop much on the way down as we had already walked it (the other way around) as a part of the Poon Hill trek. If to go down all the way to Nayapul is too much for you Ulleri is a nice place to stop for the night, there are many guesthouses and restaurants in the village and the views over the are from there are very nice.

The last 8 km to Nayapul were a bit boring probably because we couldn’t wait to get back to warm Pokhara, to check in to our nice hotel room, to get a good cup of coffee, etc. At Birethanti you get two last checkpoints where you have to check out before you leave the conservation area. It’s about twenty more minutes from Birethanti to Nayapul where you can catch a bus or a jeep back to Pokhara.

Optional route through Annapurna Base Camp

It possible to continue the trek from Ghorepani to Chhomrong and from there continue on the Annapurna Base Camp trek. You can follow our itinerary from Chhomrong to ABC. You’ll need 6 more days to finish the loop. The suggested itinerary from Ghorepani to ABC;

  • Day 1. Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Ghorepani – Tadapani, 13km
  • Day 2. Tadapani – Sinuwa, 13km
  • Day 3. Sinuwa – Deurali, 14km
  • Day 4. Deurali – ABC, 9km
  • Day 5. ABC – Bamboo/Sinuwa, 15km/19km
  • Day 6. Bamboo/Sinuwa – Ghandruk, 14km/10km

Highlights

  • Nice view over the area from Ulleri

Challenges

  • Long ascend from Ghorepani to Ulleri
  • Long and steep ascend from Ulleri to Hile
  • Walking on the road for the last 8 km though not very busy
Places to stop between Ghorepani and Nayapul
Stops on the route on the last day of the trek

Getting back to Pokhara after the Circuit

We got there on Sunday after a big Hindu celebration so there were many people, buses, jeeps, etc. on the road, plus after heavy rain, the road was very bad and muddy in some places it took us unreal 6 hours to get by bus from Nayapul to Pokhara which are 40 km apart. Normally it takes 2 hours. The bus ticket is between NRP 200/US$2 and NRP 300/US$3 depending on how many people there are and what day of the week it’s.

Best places to stay in Pokhara

Lakeside is the main touristy area of Pokhara it’s filled with hotels, guest houses, restaurants, bars, etc. here you can find accommodation on any budget from cheap homestays to fancy spa hotels.

Budget optionsPokhara Youth HostelOYO 128 Hotel Dream PokharaGauri Shankar backpackers hostelOYO 11460 Hotel Romantica (we stayed here several times and stored our luggage when went hiking) |

Middle pricePokhara Boutique HotelPokhara Choice InnPokhara BatikaHotel Middle Path & Spa | Hotel Lake Shore (we stayed here for two nights, the shower and the breakfast were better but we liked the staff in OYO Romantica more) |

LuxuryTemple Tree Resort & SpaGlacier Hotel & SpaHotel White Pearl |

Where to stay in Kathmandu

We’ve stayed at several hotels in Kathmandu in different parts of Thamel. Keshar Mahal Marang Street is by far our favourite area to stay in the city It’s a small and quiet dead-end street in Thamel with hotels, hostels, restaurants and coffee shops. The street is a 5-minutes walk from the main touristy area with hundreds of shops and agencies. There are a couple of great restaurants nearby including our favourite coffee shop Himalayan Java Coffee.

We stayed at Aryatara Kathmandu Hotel for quite a while. It’s a very nice place, big rooms, comfortable beds, good breakfast (included), great hot shower, AC, wi-fi, TV, etc. The room price includes free airport pick-up (for international flights only). The staff is extremely helpful and friendly. We stored our extra luggage here every time we went hiking without any problem.

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21 Comments

  1. Hi, can you append GPS route of whole track ?

  2. Thanks for the itinerary. Does anyone know if you need travel insurance (high altitude insurance) for the entire Annapurna circuit to get trekking permit from Nepal government? I’m thinking about just getting insurance for 3-4 days when I’ll be at higher altitudes. Anyone know if that will suffice?

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Rach! Theoretically, you need the insurance that covers you for the entire period of the trek. In fact, nobody has ever asked us to show our physical insurance you need the details to fill the application form for the permit but they don’t ask you to show your insurance. It’s totally up to you but I’d definitely recommend having insurance at least for higher elevations. We just finished EBC trek and there was a guy that walked with us he felt totally fine till about 5000m and up there felt pain in his chest he couldn’t walk all the way down to lower elevations and had to be evacuated by a helicopter from about 4500m. He’s now in hospital in Kathmandu. If he didn’t have insurance the evacuation would’ve cost him US$3000. Luckily pretty much anywhere on the Circuit (except for the two days when you go over the Pass), you can get a jeep to get back to lower elevations.
      Safe travels!

  3. Laura Bulkeley

    Thank you SO MUCH for this. My fiancé and I are heading to do the Annapurna circuit in a few days and we are basing our itinerary off of this. The max elevations day by day is unbelievably helpful– it’s helping us figure out when we need to splurge on the more comprehensive travel insurance for high elevations.
    Enjoy the rest of your hiking in Nepal!

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Laura! Thank you very much for the feedback! Sorry, for the late reply we’re currently trekking in Nepal just finished EBC yesterday and don’t always have wi-fi. We’re heading to Pokhara in a couple of days to do ABC. Enjoy the Circuit and maybe see you around!
      Cheers!

  4. Great Itinerary! We want to walk the circuit in a few weeks and would love to take your Itinerary with us. Can we get it as an ebooks or printable version? Would help us a lot!
    Thanks, Ronald.

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Ronald! Thank you for the comment! We’re currently trekking to Everest Base Camp and don’t have the possibility to upload a PDF file with the itinerary to our site.
      Cheers!

      • Enjoy your trekking! We will start our Annapurna Circuit in a week from now (depending on de weather/snow) so if you’re back before that it would be great to get the PDF! Thanks / cheers

  5. Wow, this is an INCREDIBLE article. Thank you so much for all this work. Wow

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Natalie! Thank you for the feedback! We’re back in Nepal doing more treks in this beautiful country more hiking content is coming soon.
      Cheers!

  6. What a great post!
    Thank you so much!

  7. Yoshimi Kohayakawa

    I am thinking of Annapurna Circuit Trek this spring. I want the starting place as high as possible. Where could it be? I take bus from Muktinath on my way back.
    I am solo. I experienced Himalaya trekking three times so far. I need a guide and a porter. Can I ask your company to arrage my trek?

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Yoshimi! We’re not an agency, we write a personal travel blog about hiking we don’t arrange any tours but we are partners with some companies that do guided hikes in the region. Please, check in the second paragraph “Annapurna Circuit with a company” for recommendations.
      Cheers!

  8. Thank you so much for posting this guide. We did the circuit in October/November 2019 and this was incredibly useful to help us plan our days and also avoid the road as much as possible! I just want to add, please don’t encourage anyone to buy shampoo/soap along the way. It just ends up being more unnecessary plastic waste which usually ends up in the environment, whereas everyone could just take their own decanted toiletries (or packaging free soaps which were perfect for me and didn’t add much weight to my pack). Reducing demand also reduces supply, which means less carbon emissions to make all those sachets of plastic. There’s also way too much trash along the circuit already.

  9. Tons of words have been written on other blogs about this trek, all of them worthless compared to this. This material is precious. Thank You!

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Alexander! Thank you very much for the comment! We love hiking and try to write our posts the way we would like to find information when we plan a hike.
      Safe travels!

  10. Great job! Thanks for all the info. Really appreciate you doing this.

  11. Awesome post! Thank you a lot!

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