Hiking The Annapurna Circuit: Ultimate Guide Pt. 1

Hiking The Annapurna Circuit: Ultimate Guide Pt. 1

Hiking The Annapurna Circuit: Ultimate Guide Pt. 1

If you’re in Nepal, you’re most likely here to do some trekking and there’s no trek more grand than the Annapurna Circuit that takes you up 5416m (17769 ft) and across 220 km (~137 mi) of mountains and villages in a circuit that begins in Besisahar and ends in Pokhara. Along the way, you see the Annapurna Range come into view reminding you what nature is capable of.

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This classic hike used to take about 3-4 weeks to complete by foot with teahouses along the way to offer food and shelter for trekkers. With the construction of roads, that landscape is changing. For better or for worse, the trek can now be done in as little as 10-12 days. Choose your adventure. This is my guide to prepare you for what to expect on this trek.

Prayer Wheels On Annapurna Circuit

The General Route

Trekkers can general begin their hike in the small village of Besisahar arriving by bus from either Kathmandu (6-10 hours) or Pokhara (2-4 hours). With the newly form dirt “road”, you can skip the first 9 km and take a jeep or van to Bhulbhule. From here, the trail is more or less restricted to foot powered transport. Villages are located every 3-5 km apart, some with just a teahouse or two while others are more of a full mountain village with more food and accommodation options. Trekkers are advised to ascend slowly to acclimate taking in about 5-8 km each day passing from village to village. The next few landmark villages are located at Tal (1700 km), Bagarchap (2160m), Chame (2710m), Lower Pisang (3250m), Manang (3540m), Yak Kharka (4050m) and High Camp (4850m) before making the climb to the Thorung La Pass, the highest point on the trek at 5416m. Although there are recommended hiking itineraries, trekkers can make their own plans and decide to stop wherever they can find a teahouse with lodging. After the pass, it’s a sharp drop in elevation to Muktinath (3800m). From here, there are roads to weary hikers the rest of the way should they choose not to continue by foot. Jomson (2720m) has an airport and an exit option for those on a shorter 10-12 day itinerary. Those continuing can continue the last 80m from Jomsom to Pokhara via Tukuche (2590), Kalopani/Lete (2535m), Ghasa (2010m), Tatopani (1200m), Ghorepani (2870m) and Birethanti (1025m).

Annapurna Circuit Elevation and Town Guide

Guide To All Village And Teahouses Elevation and Distance

Name: Elevation / Km Marker
Besisahar: 820m / 0km
Khudi: 790m / 7km
Bhulbhule: 840m / 9km
Ngadi: 890 / 13km
Bahundanda: 1310m / 17km
Ghermu: 1130m / 22km
Jagat: 1300m / 25km
Chamche: 1385m / 29km
Tal: 1700m / 34km
Karte: 1870m / 38km
Dharapani: 1900m / 40km
Bagarchap: 2160m / 42km
Danaqyu: 2200m / 44km
Latamarang: 2400m / 48.5km
Thanchowk: 2570m / 50km
Koto: 2640m / 54km
Chame: 2710m / 56km
Bhratang: 2850m / 63km
Dhukur Pokhari: 3240m / 69km
Upper Pisang: 3310m / 70.5km
Ghyaru: 3730m / 75km
Lower Pisang: 3250m / 75km
Ngawal: 3680m / 80km
Humde: 3330m / 82km
Bhraga: 3450m / 88km
Manang: 3540m / 90km
Yak Kharka: 4050m / 99km
Letdar: 4200m / 100km
Thorang Phedi: 4450m / 105km
High Camp: 4850m / 107km
Thorung La Pass: 5416m / 111km
Charabu: 4230m / 117km
Muktinath: 3800m / 121km
Jharkot: 3550m / 122km
Khinga: 3355m / 125km
Kagbeni: 2800m / 131km
Eklebhatti: 2740m / 133km
Jomsom: 272m / 140km
Marpha: 2670m / 146km
Tukuche: 2590m / 152km
Kobang: 2640m / 156km
Larjung: 2550m / 157km
Kokhethanti: 2525m / 160km
Kalopani/Lete: 2535m / 163km
Ghasa: 2010m / 170km
Kopchepani: 1480m / 174km
Rupsechhahara: 1500m / 176km
Dana: 1400m / 179km
Tatopani:1200m / 183km
Ghara:1700m / 188km
Sikha: 1935m / 194km
Chitre: 2350m / 195km
Poonhill: 3200m / 197km
Ghorepani: 2870m / 200km
Ulleri: 2010m / 202km
Tikhedhunga: 1500m / 204km
Birethanti:1025m / 210 km
Naya Pul: 1070m / 211 km

Teahouse Food and Accommodation

Trekkers usually take breakfast and dinner at the teahouse where they stay and lunch at a different village on the trail. Often times, you can only get a room if you eat at that teahouse. Rooms generally run around 300 Rupee (3 USD) for a double. You might even get away with asking for free accommodation if you are hiking without a guide or porter and agree to eat there. As you can imagine, food and tea service how locals earn their income and benefit from the tourism. It’s a simple rule of thumb that the price of food, tea and water will rise with the altitude. Without roads in and out of these remote villages, they have to transport that cold beer or Snickers bar you are enjoying by foot or donkey. You’ll be passed by porters in sandals carrying large loads on their back doing the same trek as you. You’ll find similar menus across all the teahouses with the Dal Bhat sets being the most cost-effective option. A set will come with rice, lentil soup, and vegetables. If you are hungry, they will serve you seconds. Beyond this and the delicious Tibetan bread, there are your more western entrees like pasta and pancakes. Finding a meat option is pretty rare except at some of the larger villages where you can find more exotic dishes like yak steak and yak stew. Water is an essential requirement and will be priced accordingly. Consider bringing a couple of water bottles and treat your water with iodine tablets. It’s also a good idea to stock up on snacks before starting on your trek. It’s nice to get some carbs to keep your blood sugar level up during the hike.

Manang Village Teahouse Trekking Annapurna Circuit

Check out Part II of the Ultimate Guide.


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