Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp Trek - 18 days

Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp Trek - 18 days

An unbeatable walking adventure, Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp Trek -18 days take you past the three major trekking destinations in the Annapurna Region. Walk the Annapurna Circuit, Ghorepani Poon Hill trail, and enter the Annapurna Base Camp.

The trek across the classic Annapurna Circuit trail involves crossing one of the world's highest mountain passes, Thorung La Pass (5416m). Tread past the world's deepest gorge, the Kali Gandaki River gorge, before heading down to Ghorepani. A hike up to Poon Hill lets you experience an incredible Himalayan sunrise. Visit the sanctuary of the gods at Annapurna Base Camp. Annapurna Sanctuary enclosed by Annapurna I (10th highest mountain in the world), Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, and Gangapurna is said to be the abode of the local gods.

Experience diverse ethnic cultures and landscapes. The high and arid mountain villages of Chame, Pisang, Braga, and Manang are inhabited by Manages who practice Tibetan Buddhism. The Thakkalis populate the Kali Gandaki river valley, while the hardy Gurungs and Magars live in the middle hills. From alpine forests to arid and deep canyons, from dusty valleys to lush green forests and terraced fields, you will walk through it all.

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Trip Highlights

  • In 18 days, cover the 3 most popular walking trails in the Annapurna Region – Annapurna Circuit, Ghorepani-Poon Hill, and Annapurna Base Camp
  • Cross Thorung La Pass one of the highest mountain passes in the world
  • Walk along the Kali Gandaki River gorge, the deepest gorge in the world
  • Himalayan panorama from Poon Hill
  • Stand close to Annapurna I, the 10th highest mountain in the world
  • Stay at ethnic villages of Manages, Thakkalis, Gurungs, and Magars and learn more about their culture
  • Close up views of 8000 and 7000-meter peaks
  • Hike past diverse climatic zones and landscapes – tropical, alpine, high-altitude desert

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights
Day 1 Drive from Kathmandu to Chame (2,670m/8,758ft) via Besisahar - 10 to11 hours drive
Day 2 Trek to Upper Pisang (3,300m/10,824ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek
Day 3 Trek to Manang (3,540m/11,613ft) via Ngawal - 6 to 7 hours trek
Day 4 Acclimatization hike to Ice Lake (4,600m/15,088ft) and return to Manang - 6 to 7 hours trek
Day 5 Trek to Yak Kharka (4,050m/13.286ft) - 4 to 5 hours trek
Day 6 Trek to Thorong Phedi (4,525m/14,845ft) - 4 to 5 hours trek
Day 7 Cross Thorong La Pass (5,416m/17,765ft) and trek Muktinath (3760m/12,335ft) - 9 to 10 hours trek
Day 8 Trek to Marpha (2,670m/8,758ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek
Day 9 Trek to Kalopani (2,530m/8,299ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek
Day 10 Trek to Tatopani (1,190m/3,904ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek
Day 11 Trek to Ghorepani (2,874m/9,429ft) - 7 to 8 hours trek
Day 12 Hike to Poon Hill (3,210m/10,529ft) – Trek to Tadapani (2,600m/8,530ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek
Day 13 Trek to Chhomrong (2,170m/7,119ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek
Day 14 Trek to Himalaya (2,310m/7,579ft) - 6 to 7 hours trek
Day 15 Trek to Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m/13,550ft) via Machhapuchhre Base Camp - 6 to 7 hours trek
Day 16 Trek to Bamboo (2,310m/7,579ft) - 7 to 8 hours trek
Day 17 Trek from Bamboo to Matque (1,070m/3,510ft) – Drive to Pokhara (800m/2,625ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek and 2 hours drive
Day 18 Drive from Pokhara (800m/2,625ft) to Kathmandu (1,400m/4,592ft) - 6 to 7 hours drive

Trip Overview

Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp Trek -18 Days offers the ultimate trekking experience in the Himalayas. The trail weaves past the ancient Annapurna Circuit route and goes down to the popular Ghorepani Poon Hill trail covered with lush rhododendron forests.  The stunning Annapurna Base Camp is the last destination of this epic trekking adventure. En route, you cross Thorung La Pass, a mountain pass higher than the tallest peaks of Europe, and Kali Gandaki River, the deepest river gorge in the world.

You kick start your adventure with a long drive from Kathmandu to Chame via Besisahar. From Chame, you start trekking and walk past an alpine scenery filled with conifer trees, rivers, and wooden bridges. The villages en route are decorated with Buddhist shrines and prayer flags. You cross Upper Pisang, Ngawal, Braga and Manang. Known as Manages, the inhabitants of these villagers follow Tibetan Buddhism and culture. They have their dialect, which is very different from Nepali. You spend an extra day in the village of Manang acclimatizing. An arduous hike to the Ice Lake serves as the perfect acclimatization hike.

A pre-dawn hike to Thorung La ensures that you cross the beautiful but treacherous pass well before the afternoon clouds come in. After spending precious moments celebrating your achievement, you descend to the pilgrimage site of Muktinath. Known as the place to attain salvation or 'moksha,' Hindus and Buddhists flock to this sacred spot from all over the globe.

An arid landscape filled with high canyons and barren hills covers the next part of your trail. You walk on the Kali Gandaki River's dry and dusty river bed as you make your way to the medieval Thakkali town of Marpha from Jomsom. Trekkers call Marpha 'Apple Pie Country' because of its apple orchards and delicious apple pies. Kalopani is the last Thakkali settlement on your itinerary.

Next, you move down to the hot spring of Tatopani before proceeding to Ghorepani. From Ghorepani, you hike up to Poon Hill, another highlight of your trek. The Himalayan sunrise from Poon Hill is the stuff good memories are made of. The glowing sun lighting up the snowcapped Annapurna Massif, Dhaulagiri, and other mountains will remain in your heart and mind forever.

The trail weaves past one of the largest rhododendron forests in the world. In spring, the trail is filled with white, pink, and red rhododendron blooms. Bright feathered birds and butterflies flit along with the trees and bushes, making your journey a pleasant one.

You walk past and stay at Gurung and Magar villages, and the teahouses at these villages are an extension of large local homes. It is a tough walk to Annapurna Base Camp, the last highlight of your trip. The trek via Machhapuchhre Base Camp is filled with incredible views of the Annapurna Mountains.

The area around ABC, known as Annapurna Sanctuary, is sacred ground. Locals believe their gods reside in the glacial basin. Surrounded by the towering summits of Annapurna I, Annapurna South, Gangapurna, and Hiunchuli, Annapurna Sanctuary looks splendid in the first glow of the morning light. The sunrise from Annapurna Sanctuary is a fitting finale for this unforgettable adventure. You end your trek with a hike down a scenic trail filled with terraced fields and traditional farms. Your Annapurna adventure finally ends with a drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu.

You will get to enjoy views of 8000, 7000, and 6000 meter Himalayan peaks throughout your journey.  Though no technical climbing is required, you need to have a high level of physical fitness to complete this adventure. The trek involves walking in altitudes above 5000 meters. The highest point you will reach is Thorung la Pass at 5416m.

Route Map

Annapurna Circuit And Base Camp Trek Route Map Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp Trek Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Drive from Kathmandu to Chame (2,670m/8,758ft) via Besisahar - 10 to11 hours drive

You begin your adventure by leaving Kathmandu in the morning and driving towards Besisahar. The highway is smooth, and you have a pleasant ride driving past hills, forests, and rural settlements. It is an off-road drive from Besisahar to Chame. As the road is not pitched, the journey is rough and bumpy.

Set amongst green hills, Chame is a charming little settlement filled with stone houses. You spend a night here at a teahouse run by a local family.

Overnight at a teahouse in Chame.

Day 2: Trek to Upper Pisang (3,300m/10,824ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek

Upper Pisang The village of Upper Pisang

After breakfast, you pack your stuff and start trekking, making your way to Upper Pisang. You are deep in the mountains, and the views are wonderful. The trail goes past rivers, bridges, and forests. There are mule trains with tinkling bells sharing the trail.

The village of Upper Pisang is filled with prayer wheels, prayer flags, and traditional houses. The villagers are Buddhists, and one can find older men and women with small prayer wheels or meditation beads on their hands. The Himalayan mountains seem close enough. Once you reach Upper Pisang, you head to a local teahouse and take a well-deserved rest.

Overnight at a teahouse in Upper Pisang.

Day 3: Trek to Manang (3,540m/11,613ft) via Ngawal - 6 to 7 hours trek

The views of Annapurna II and III are incredible as you make your way to Manang. The air gets thinner and colder as you ascend higher. The trail goes through hills covered with conifers, icy rivers, and snow-covered mountains.

You stop briefly at the picturesque village of Ngawal before continuing to Manang. Chortens, Buddhist shrines, and prayer flags dot the trail. After a rough hike, you feel glad to reach Manang, your stop for the night.

Overnight at a teahouse in Manang.

Day 4: Acclimatization hike to Ice Lake (4,600m/15,088ft) and return to Manang - 6 to 7 hours trek

View from Ice Lake Stunning view from Ice Lake

Manang, flanked by the Annapurna and Gangapurna mountains, seems like a village straight out of a storybook. You spend a day in this quaint settlement acclimatizing and preparing for the tough Thorung La crossing.  Manang is one of the oldest villages on the Annapurna Circuit trail. The bustling village was an important stop for traders trading along the Tibet salt route in the bygone days.

You take a side trip to Ice Lake, which lies about 16 kilometers from the village. To reach the lake, you have to walk past the settlement of Braga and take an upward trail. Ice lake lies at an elevation of 4600m, and elevation gain will leave you out of breath. But the views are stunning and worth every ragged breath. You will return to your teahouse after taking pictures and soaking in the sceneries.

Overnight at a teahouse in Manang.

Day 5: Trek to Yak Kharka (4,050m/13.286ft) - 4 to 5 hours trek

annapurna circuit trek On the way to Yak Kharka

More amazing sights of the snow-covered Gangapurna and Annapurna await you on the trail to Yak Kharka. Herds of blue sheep, yaks, and Himalayan Tahr grazing on the stubby shrubs and mountain grass.

Riders on horseback gallop on the dusty trails. Horses are still a common means of transport in these parts. Yak Kharka, a camp for yak herders, has a couple of stone and wooden teahouses. You make your way to one of them, where rooms have been booked for you and check-in.

Overnight at a teahouse in Yak Kharka.

Day 6: Trek to Thorong Phedi (4,525m/14,845ft) - 4 to 5 hours trek

You are getting closer to Thorong La, the pass you have been dreaming of crossing since starting. The section of the trail leading to Thorong Phedi is one of the most dangerous. Prone to landslides, the gravel trail is narrow and hugs the side of a barren hill. It is windy and dusty up here, high above the tree line.

Thorong Phedi, your stop for the night, lies surrounded by vertical cliffs. At 4525m, this would be the highest overnight stop.

Overnight at a teahouse in Thorong Phedi.

Day 7: Cross Thorong La Pass (5,416m/17,765ft) and trek Muktinath (3760m/12,335ft) - 9 to 10 hours trek

throngla-pass Thorung la Pass at 5416m.- The highest point of the Trek

You wake up before dawn and head up to High Camp. You need to have an early start as the weather starts deteriorating as the day progresses. You will have to cross the Thorung La Pass before it gets too windy and foggy.

Using a headlamp, you make your way up in the dark. At High Camp, you stop for refreshments and warm yourself before plodding on. The hike is tough because of thin air, which makes breathing difficult. Once you reach the pass, take selfies and pictures of the incredible views of the mountains. You can view the Tibetan peaks rearing in the distant horizon. After spending ample time at the snow-covered pass decorated with vibrant prayer flags, you head down to Muktinath.

Overnight at a guesthouse in Muktinath.

Day 8: Trek to Marpha (2,670m/8,758ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek

Muktinath, lying on the great Kali Gandaki River banks, is a sacred Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage spot. Muktinath Temple and a Buddhist Gompa that lies close to the temple are the highlights of this place.

Leaving Muktinath, you trek down to the medieval town of Marpha. The route along the Kali Gandaki River is filled with astonishing sights of grand canyons and arid landscape. You follow a trail that is mostly flat and sometimes downhill. Walk past the bustling Thakkali town of Jomsom and head to Marpha. The desert-like landscape is dusty and desolate.

Marpha, a medieval Thakkali town filled with apple orchards, stone alleyways, and traditional houses, became an important trading town in the olden days. Trekkers call this 'Apple Pie Country' because of the delicious apple pies sold here. Check into a local teahouse and later check out the baked apple goodies at one local bakery.

Overnight at a teahouse in Marpha.

Day 9: Trek to Kalopani (2,530m/8,299ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek

Leave Marpha and head down the Kali Gandaki river valley. The Kali Gandaki river is the deepest gorge in the world, and it feels surreal to walk on the dry river bed. Surrounded by brown hills bereft of vegetation, the walk on the stony and sandy river bed with the wind howling on the canyon feels out of this world.

The landscape changes as you cross the village Larjung. Green trees and shrubs seem soothing to your senses. Kalopani, surrounded by old traditional houses, looks ancient and charming. Untouched by modern civilization, the sleepy village seems like a place from a distant past.

Overnight at a teahouse in Kalopani.

Day 10: Trek to Tatopani (1,190m/3,904ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek

A pleasant walk past an alpine landscape, the trail to Tatopani is a scenic one. The route follows a lush coniferous forest and green pastures.  This is a welcome change from the dry and arid landscape of the past few days. As you descend lower, you can feel the humidity and the change in the temperature. Cross the checkpoint and Ghasa before finally arriving in Tatopani, your stop for the night.

Tatopani, which means 'hot water in Nepali, is famous for its hot springs. Locals come from far and wide to bathe in the therapeutic water of the hot springs. You can enjoy a dip in the steamy pool and relax your sore muscles. 

Overnight at a teahouse in Tatopani.

Day 11: Trek to Ghorepani (2,874m/9,429ft) - 7 to 8 hours trek

Poon Hill Poon Hill - One of the best spots to view the Himalayas of Nepal

The trail to Ghorepani is well laid out and paved in stones. There are signs at interactions indicating the way to Ghorepani, and it is a long walk past lush forests of oak and rhododendron. Follow and up and down route till you reach Ghorepani. The settlement was named Ghorepani or Horse Water as it was a popular rest stop for traders journeying to Tibet on horses. 

There are several lodges and teahouses with modern amenities, and you choose one where you can spend a restful night.

Day 12: Hike to Poon Hill (3,210m/10,529ft) – Trek to Tadapani (2,600m/8,530ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek

Wake up before sunrise and head to the hilltop vantage point of Poon Hill. The most popular Himalayan sunrise viewpoint in the Annapurna Region, Poon Hill, offers amazing 360-degree views of the Annapurna Massif, Dhaulagiri, Gangapurna, and Hiunchuli.  The sun rising over the snow-covered mountains is a sight to remember. After taking in the views and clicking pictures, head down to Ghorepani, collect your stuff and proceed towards Tadapani.

Follow an up and down trail past a thick rhododendron forest. The forest along this route is one of the world's biggest rhododendron forests. During spring, the path is filled with blooming trees. Cross Deurali and Birethanti before finally arriving in Tadapani, your overnight stop.

Overnight at a teahouse in Tadapani.

Day 13: Trek to Chhomrong (2,170m/7,119ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek

Chhomrong Chhomrong

Continue on an up and down trail to Chhomrong, a picturesque Gurung village. The village has cute cottages that have been converted into lodges or teahouses.

Stay at one of the beautiful local teahouses with an open porch and awesome view of Annapurna South.

Overnight at a teahouse in Chhomrong.

Day 14: Trek to Himalaya (2,310m/7,579ft) - 6 to 7 hours trek

Take a downward trail and cross a suspension bridge. From there, climb up and cross Sinuwa. The river and the waterfalls look pristine and beautiful. Walk past the settlements of Doban and Bamboo. Thickets of Bamboo and gnarly roots of oak trees cover the trail.

It is a tough walk, and you are relieved when you finally reach Himalaya, a popular stop for trekkers on the Annapurna Base Camp route. Rest your tired feet and enjoy some hot brew at the teahouse.

Overnight at a teahouse in Himalaya.

Day 15: Trek to Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m/13,550ft) via Machhapuchhre Base Camp - 6 to 7 hours trek

Annapurna Base Camp Trek Annapurna Base Camp Trek

You make an early start and head to Annapurna Base Camp, another major highlight of your trip. You walk past the Machhapuchhre Base Camp located at the foot of the Fishtail Peak. It is one of the few mountains in Nepal that hasn't been climbed, and a sacred mountain worshiped by locals and stepping on it is prohibited.

As your body has gotten used to high altitude, you won't feel the discomfort attached to walking at such a high altitude. Savor close-up views of the Annapurna Massif from the Annapurna Base Camp.

Overnight at a teahouse in Annapurna Base Camp.

Day 16: Trek to Bamboo (2,310m/7,579ft) - 7 to 8 hours trek

Wake up before dawn and head to Annapurna Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a glacial bowl ringed by Annapurna South, Annapurna I (the 10th highest mountain in the world), Hiunchuli, and Gangapurna.

Enjoy standing close to 8000 and 7000-meter peaks. Take pictures and head down to your teahouse. Have breakfast, pack up, and walk down to Bamboo.

Overnight at a teahouse in Bamboo.

Day 17: Trek from Bamboo to Matque (1,070m/3,510ft) – Drive to Pokhara (800m/2,625ft) - 5 to 6 hours trek and 2 hours drive

Pokhara, Nepal Pokhara, Nepal

After breakfast, head down to Matque. En route crosses the villages of Sinuwa, Chhomrong, and Jhinu Danda. The final walk of your trek takes you past a typical Nepalese countryside with terraced fields, traditional mud houses, and farms.

On reaching Matque, walk to the highway and catch a vehicle bound for Pokhara.

Overnight at a hotel in Pokhara.

Day 18: Drive from Pokhara (800m/2,625ft) to Kathmandu (1,400m/4,592ft) - 6 to 7 hours drive

Bid goodbye to Pokhara and head to Kathmandu. You can either take a private or public vehicle or fly out of Pokhara. It takes around 25 to 30 minutes to reach Kathmandu by flight.


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Based on 4 reviews

Trip Reviews

Travel experiences of our clients who recently returned from their trips.

Based on 4 reviews
Very good

Joseph Broad
flagsUnited Kingdom
Mar 10, 2021
Circuit of Mt. Annapurna with best team
My girlfriend and I were looking to do a trek, we had no trekking experience and didn't know which company to choose as there are so many in Kathmandu. My internet research made me to select Third Rock Adventures because of their great reviews and products. This finally turned out to be one of the best decision we made. The trip we did with them, we would never forget their hospitality and services. Naba, the founder, was very informative and was happy to answer all of our questions. He was very patient and was not pushy at all. There were some trek guides in the Third Rock Office too which was very useful and made us feel at ease and very happy to be booking through them. The trek itself was brilliant, the service we received from our guide, Babu, and porter was faultless and they went out of their way to make the trek personal and very enjoyable for us. The company was happy to agree trek prices at competitive prices. We were very happy with our trek, and the price we paid, and we would definitely recommend their trekking service.
Rodrigo Da Luz
Mar 09, 2021
Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp at a time
Me and my friend had a wonderful experience of trekking in Annapurna region Nepal .Wonderful trek was planned in detail without losing personal touch. We really had a great time with Third Rock Adventures and their professional team. The company owners and staff are very helpful . I have never seen this type of natural beauty in the world. Really my heart is touching with Annapurna Mountain. We did both the circuit and base camp together in a single trip and very happy for that. And other nepalese culture I would certainly recommend Third Rock Adventures for anyone traveling to Nepal. A big obrigada and Namaste.
Wojciech Nowak
Feb 08, 2021
Best travel experience we had , Annapurna Base Camp and Circuit together
Annapurna Circuit together with base camp - my first trek in Nepal I've spent half a month in Nepal with my travel company Third Rock Adventures. It was my first trek in Himalaya. I've chosen Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Base Camp because it seems very interesting and not too difficult for the first time. Because I've decided to travel alone it was very important for me to choose the best trekking agency. I've decided for Third Rock Adventures. They helped me in all arrangements before my travel. They treated each problem very seriously before and during my trek. My trek from the beginning to the end was as in the schedule. Trek was prepared perfectly. My guide, Bimal, was very friendly, always ready for help and each day offered a good mood. In this way we were a good team. Eventually it was possible to visit Annapurna Base Camp because we had enough time for it. Finally I have to say that this way it was journey of my life and in the future if I decide to visit Nepal again I will ask the same agency for help. Thank you everyone who helped me make this trip a success story.
Fernando Amaya
Oct 08, 2020
Awesome view and trail of Annapurna Circuit
It was my great luck to do Annapurna circuit and had a wonderful time with the fantastic team of Third Rock Adventures. The circuit is a bit touristic, but still the nature is phenomenal and in the off season its really not crowded, in November the weather is still great. I did the tour with a great company which Id like to write about here. The team of Third Rock Adventures are really professional and care a lot about their costumers. They can provide you nearly everything and the prices are really reasonable, especially compared to other trekking agencies. Everyone I met was really friendly and welcoming and I always had a good feeling. The guide and porter who traveled with me were really friendly and helpful. I would highly recommend the services and team of Third Rock Adventures.
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