Guide to the Annapurna Circuit

annapurna circuit

July 15, 2014

The Annapurna Circuit or Everest Base Camp? When people hear about trekking in Nepal, they usually think of trekking to Everest Base Camp. Any why wouldn’t they?  A trip to Everest Base Camp is an incredible experience and one we agree everyone should undertake at least once in their life!

This author was obsessed for many years with the journey to Everest Base Camp and then going higher. And it was only after a number of trips to Nepal that I finally boarded a bus to Besisahar and set off on the Annapurna Circuit. Our Annapurna trek typically heads in an anti-clockwise direction to the north of the mighty Annapurna Range. The Annapurna Circuit is the main trekking route in the Annapurna Conservation Area located virtually smack-bang right in the middle of Nepal. Visit our Annapurna Circuit image gallery.

From Besisahar the route heads north through Bhulbhule (840m), Bahundanda (1310m) and Jagat(1300m). Unlike trekking in the Everest region, the Annapurna Circuit begins at an altitude of 760m. This means its much warmer and (depending on the season) far more humid than anything you’ll encounter in the Khumbu. And because it will take you around 7 days to reach Manang at 3540m, you’ll enjoy plenty of warm days in lush forests and valleys. The lower trekking altitude certainly doesn’t compromise the scenery with stunning views of Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV and Gangapurna on the way to Manang.

The less travelled Annapurna Circuit

From Manang the route gradually ascends and crosses the 4000m mark just north of Gunsang at Yak Kharka. From Yak Kharka at 4018m the trail ascends up and over the famous Thorung La pass at 5416m.  Here is where you’ll be enjoying solid altitude. comparable with trekking in the Everest region. The Annapurna Circuit then begins a long descent to Muktinath at 3800m. After a big day crossing the pass and a descent of over 1500 vertical metres, its time for a good meal and a shower.  It’s hard to go past the Bob Marley Hotel in Muktinath!

The Annapurna Circuit then winds its way south of the Upper Mustang region to Jomosom. At Jomosom many elect to fly to Pokhara but many also continue south through Larjung (2550m), Tatopani (1190m) and Ghorepani (2750m) – home of the famous hot springs. The Himalayan panorama from Poon Hill is not to be missed and provides unsurpassed views of Annapurna I, Machhapuchare and Dhaulagiri (8167m) – the 7th highest mountain in the world.

From Poon Hill, 2 days will have you relaxing by Phewa Tal lake in Pokhara and marvelling at your Annapurna Circuit achievement.

annapurna circuit

Annapurna Circuit route map

Watch videos from our trekking and climbing adventures.