A jaw-dropping trek into the Annapurna Himal with the Himalayan adventure experts since 1970!
No serious trekker’s bucket list is complete without a pilgrimage to Annapurna Sanctuary, the shining glacier basin in the heart of the Annapurna Himal—truly one of the most incredibly scenic hikes in Nepal! Rich in geographical diversity and outstanding mountain views, this 11-day trek is just as much a cultural encounter as it is a true expedition. Hike through the lowland villages of the Gurung and Tamang clans while hiking along bamboo forests, abundant rhododendron, and oak. Terraced hills lead you to the glaciers and high mountains, and after only five short days, you’ve reached the Sanctuary. With 360-degree views of glowing peaks, including Annapurna South (23,814'), Annapurna I (26,545') and III (24,787'), Gangapurna (24,458'), Fang (25,089'), and Machapuchare (22,958'), it’s really hard to imagine a better vacation. Weather permitting, you may even have the chance to take an optional hike to Annapurna South Base Camp at 13,435 feet, set below the towering, near-vertical south face of Annapurna. Let MTS take you to the area that’s served as our cornerstone since 1970!
11 days moderate to strenuous hiking at medium elevation (maximum 13,435')
- Make a rare trek to Annapurna Sanctuary—one of the few places in Nepal where you can surround yourself by the majestic Himalaya without having to worry about altitude
- Relish the intense scenery of the Annapurna Himal, an ideal trek for those short on time
- Hike to Annapurna South Base Camp in the footsteps of legendary mountaineering expeditions, following our professional mountaineering guides
- Enjoy meeting some of Nepal's remarkable ethnic clans in hillside villages and along the trail
Duration: 15 days Start Location: Kathmandu End Location: KathmanduDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Kathmandu
Today you will want to arrive in Kathmandu by 2:00 pm to have enough time to get settled before your late afternoon briefing. Your trip leader or a Mountain Travel Sobek representative will meet you outside the customs and immigration area at the airport, where he or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to your hotel. In the afternoon we'll have a briefing on the trek arrangements, including acclimatization, what to expect, timing and so on.
Day 2 : Pokhara (2,800’)
In the morning, we'll have a tour of Bhaktapur, which has preserved its ancient character and does a wonderful job of displaying medieval Nepalese town life. A highlight is Durbar Square, with its many temples, remains of an ancient palace, and intricate Sun Dhoka (“Golden Gate”), a gilded copper gate crafted in 1753. In the afternoon, we'll fly to Pokhara, about 100 miles west of Kathmandu.
Day 3 : Begin trek
Today we'll being with a morning drive (about 1½ hours) to our trailhead at Nayapul and begin the trek to Tirkhedunge (5,182'). Our hike will be along Bhurungi Khola (river) with spectacular views of the Annapurna Range viewable from every angle. (Hiking time approx 4-5 hours)
Day 4 : Ghorepani (9,400')
Today’s hike proceedswith a very steep uphill on a stone staircase through rhododendron and magnolia forests to Ghorepani, a Magar village that serves as a welcome watering stop for teams of horses, mules, and ponies that carry cargo between Pokhara and Jomsom. These picturesque caravans, festooned with melodious bells that can be heard from great distances and wondrous plumes and headdresses on the lead horses, are herded by Tibetan men. On a typical day, one can encounter fifty to a hundred such pack animals in large caravans. Today, we’ll have views of Annapurna South and Dhaulagiri. (Approx. hiking time: 7-8 hours)
Day 5 : Tadapani (8,900')
We'll rise before dawn today to hike up to Poon Hill (10,475') for incredible sunrise views of Dhaulagiri, Hiunchuli, Annapurna I, and Annapurna South. We’ll then trek down through a gorge to Banthanti, where we'll stop for lunch, and then head up and eastward along the ridge to camp at Tadapani, which offers wonderful views of Machapuchare in the distance. (Approx. hiking time: 6-7 hours)
Day 6 : Chomrong (6,759')
We will hike steeply downhill through a beautiful cloud forest, and then steeply uphill to Chomrong, a Gurung settlement that is the highest permanent settlement in the Modi Khola Valley (there are many settlements where villagers from lower elevations come to graze their livestock in the summer, but this village remains year-round). There is a tremendous view up the canyon to the northwest of Annapurna South, which appears to tower above the village, and spectacular views of Machapuchare across the valley. (Approx. hiking time: 5-6 hours)
Day 7 : Doban (8,628')
Our trail descends steeply to the Chomrong Khola, a river which we'll cross. We'll then climb up steep terrain, passing through mixed bamboo and rhododendron forest to reach Kuldi Ghar. Another steep descent brings us to Bamboo, a very wet area surrounded by thick ningalo (bamboo) forest. The dense bamboo is often cut down to make dokos, the woven baskets carried by porters. We'll continue ascending through this thick forest to reach Doban. (Approx. hiking time: 6-7 hours)
Day 8 : Machapuchare Base Camp (12,204')
We'll climb steeply on a high trail, occasionally dropping down to cross tributary streams. We will cross a ravine (an avalanche area) just beyond Hinko and climb through large boulders as the valley widens and becomes less steep. The “gates” to the sanctuary may be seen ahead, and are soon passed at about 11,700 feet. As the trail continues into the sanctuary, it crosses two avalanche tracks on a narrow trail that huddles up against the cliffs. After arriving at camp, we'll spend time exploring the surrounding area. (Approx. hiking time: 5-6 hours)
Day 9 : Annapurna South Base Camp – Machapuchare Base Camp
This morning, we'll make an early start for our optional hike to Annapurna Base Camp (13,435’), above which towers the near-vertical south face of Annapurna. This base camp was used by Chris Bonington’s famous 1970 Annapurna South Face Expedition, which made a spectacular ascent on this route. We'll spend most of the morning exploring the base camp and enjoying the mountain and glacier scenery. We then trek to Machapuchare Base Camp for the night. (Approx. hiking time: 4-5 hours)
Days 10 - 11 : Chomrong (6,759') via Bamboo (7,675')
Today we return to Bamboo and camp overnight. The following day we'll continue to descend with few ascents to overnight at Chomrong (6,759'). (Approx. hiking time: 5-6 hours on Day 10, 4-5 hours on Day 11)
Day 12 : Ghandrung (6,000')
Today we’ll climb up to a ridge with a spectacular view of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Machapuchare, and Annapurna III before beginning a gradual descent to the sprawling village of Ghandrung, second largest Gurung village in Nepal (after the village of Siklis). Ghandrung is a cluster of closely spaced square-roofed houses bracketed by neatly terraced fields situated above and below the village. (Approx. hiking time: 6-7 hours)
Day 13 : Return to Pokhara (2,800')
Our last day of the trek begins with a descent down a long, steep set of stone stairs (the best example of this type of trail in the country) that lead down to the Modi Khola. We'll follow the trail along the Modi Khola to Ghandruk. From there we take a transport to Nayapool and then onto Pokhara, where we'll overnight. (Approx. hiking time: 2 hours)
Day 14 : Return to Kathmandu
Today we'll fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel. You'll have afternoon free to pursue additional touring possibilities (maybe you missed Swyambhunath, Bodnath or Pashupatinath?) or do some last minute shopping in the bazaar. In the evening we'll enjoy a festive farewell dinner with the group.
Day 15 : Depart Kathmandu
This morning you will be transferred to the Kathmandu airport and depart on homeward-bound flights. Or, if you'd like to extend your adventure in Asia, you may choose to join one of our extensions in Nepal, India, Vietnam, or Cambodia.
DATES: Best time to go: March, October Departures: Oct 4 - 18, 2014 Oct 25, 2014 - Nov 8, 2014 Mar 22, 2015 - Apr 5, 2015 Oct 4 - 18, 2015 Oct 25, 2015 - Nov 8, 2015
2014 / 2015 Prices
Yak & Yeti HotelKathmandu, Nepal
A 5-star deluxe oasis in the heart of Kathmandu, the Yak & Yeti is the perfect blend of contemporary international standards and time-honored Nepali tradition. Guests will find refuge among antique fountains, gilded temples and emerald gardens, while enjoying a state-of-the-art gymnasium, spa, shopping arcade, atrium, tennis courts and swimming pools.
Shangri La Village
Shangri~La Village, Pokhara is a discreet, compact resort which is a 5 minute drive from the airport and 3km from the Phewa lake, with 65 meticulously designed rooms surrounded by spacious landscaped gardens and a panoramic view from every room.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa
Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa was born in Namche Bazaar to a mountaineering family. (His father was a climbing Sherpa and went to the South Col on several expeditions, including the 1963 American Everest expedition.) After completing his education, Lhakpa tried mountaineering on Kanchenjunga (the world’s third highest peak), but decided that he prefers trekking and now limits his climbing to trekking peaks like Mount Mera. Lhakpa has a deep interest in environmental issues and has been associated with Mountain Travel Sobek since 1983, first as sirdar and now as a trekking guide. He speaks Nepali, Sherpa, and Tibetan as well as English.
Pranoy Rai was born in Nepal, studied in Darjeeling, India, and is a travel enthusiast who has always been keen on adventure. Working as a trekking leader since 1999, he has an enormous experience in the field, having led numerous treks and tours to Nepal, Tibet and India. Pranoy successfully completed his basic mountaineering course from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute of Darjeeling with grade 'A' certificate. He has been trained in wilderness medicine by Dr. Jim Duff, an expert in wilderness first aid and co-author of “First Aid and Survival in Mountain and Remote Areas.” In addition to being fluent in English, Nepali, and Hindi, he speaks basic Tibetan and Chinese. Pranoy is very keen on birds, plants, and flowers, and has acquired a very good knowledge in them that he looks forward to sharing with you on trek.
Sanjeev Chhetri is a graduate of Delhi University, India, and has been leading treks in Nepal, Tibet, India and the Alps since 1990. He is an avid bird-watcher and very well traveled, with time spent in India, Tibet, China, England, Ireland, France, Thailand, USA and Switzerland. He lives with wife and son in Kathmandu. Sanjeev is very knowledgeable of the cultures, religions, and traditions of the countries he leads trek for and enjoys sharing his experiences with you.
Gyamcho Wangdi has led treks for Mountain Travel Sobek since 1988. A Bhutanese, he grew up in the small hill town of Kalimpong in the Darjeeling District of India and received his schooling from a Scottish missionary school. He studied botany and zoology and was a naturalist at Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in Nepal for eight years. While working at the park, he greeted VIPs and other celebrities such as Princess Anne, the late Rajiv Gandhi (former Prime Minister of India), King Gyanendra (present King of Nepal), Bjorn Borg (former #1 tennis player), Reinhold Messner (Everest summiteer), and actors James Coburn, Robert Redford, Goldie Hawn, and Carrie Fisher. Gyamcho’s passions are seeing new places, off-road driving, interior design, and drawing cartoons (he has published a cartoon book on the Yeti called "Mysterious Mystical Yeti," which became a hit among Nepal trekkers). His gentle, courteous manner, amusing anecdotes, and overall knowledge of Bhutan and Nepal are the key to the success of your trip. He is fluent in English, Hindi, Nepali, and Bhutanese.