Annapurna Sanctuary - Nepal
The Annapurna Sanctuary trek is ideal for those limited with time but longing for something beautiful and intense with the snow-capped peaks of the Himalaya as a back drop. We also spend nights at both Machhapulchare Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp which gives us ample time and opportunity to really drink in our spectacular surroundings.
This trek journeys directly into the frozen spirit of the Annapurna Region, an exceptional amphitheatre of rock and ice on a glorious scale. The sanctuary will lead you through a hidden pocket of lowland villages, meadow and rice terraces to a gorge of rhododendron forests and icy rivers that will end in glaciers and gigantic peaks. Wherever you stand in the sanctuary, the panoramic views are indescribably stunning of the soaring Himalayas.
The Annapurna Sanctuary trek gives us 11 days of superb trekking, up into the heart of the Annapurna range. We pass below some of the highest mountains on earth as we follow the valley as it changes to a deep gorge and on to its its glaciated beginnings at the foot of the towering Annapurna. We take enough time to acclimitise well and to make the most of the superb setting to our trek, this includes making time to visit the hot springs at Jinnu, a real luxury on the trail.
The facilities for visitors are of a high standard, as is the food. We generally offer tea house treks with overnight accommodation in comfortable lodges, but if you prefer we can also provide tented camps so you can concentrate on immersing yourself in a slow and easy daily routine, with only the elements, the mountains and the quiet character of the people to accompany you.
We run our Annapurna treks from a permanently staffed office in Kathmandu and our dedicated team provide an excellent service. As well as Pasang, our other guides include Geljun Sherpa from Bupsa, Tsering Sherpa and Lopsang Sherpa.
All of the guides have been employed for over ten years with us, and they have been trained to our high standards personally by Director and high altitude climber Gavin Bate, who has climbed Everest 5 times. They know how to deal with medical emergencies and speak good English. They are very attentive and after so many years have a good understanding of western needs.
We give the full recommended wage and are a Responsible Partner for the International Mountain Explorers Connection. We provide clothing, food and tents for all of our staff and have proven policies for payment and tipping. This means that you are not hassled by people looking for handouts at the end of the trip, and the staff themselves are happier.
Read about Pasang Sherpa's (Adventure Alternative Nepal Director & Moving Mountains Nepal Vice-Chairman) involvement with the 2014 Rescue Mission to the Annapurna Range here.
Dates and Itinerary
The 30th October team 2014 is a date set aside for a private team, please do not book on to this trip if you are not part of that team.
|21st March - 4th April|
|25th April - 9th May|
|5th September - 19th September|
|10th October - 14th October|
|1||Arrive Kathmandu [Itinerary Starts]|
|2||Kathmandu, rest sightseeing, briefing|
|3||Fly Kathmandu-Pokhara, Drive Pokhara-Naya Pul, Trek to Ulleri(1960m)|
|5||Ghorepani- Poon Hill(3200m)- Tadapani(2869m)|
|7||Chomrong- Himalaya Hotel(2920m)|
|8||Himalaya Hotel- Machhapulchare BC(3700m)|
|9||Machhapulchare BC- Annapurna BC(4130m)|
|10||Annapurna BC- Bamboo(2310m)|
|11||Bamboo- Jinnu Hot Springs(1780m)|
|13||Dhampus – Phedi- drive to Pokhara|
|14||Fly Pokhara- Kathmandu|
|15||Kathmandu [Itinerary Ends]|
The main itinerary ends on day 15 after breakfast in Kathmandu and on the vast majority of occasions we are back in Kathmandu on day 14 with no problems. However, there are sometimes delays with the internal flights from Pokhara to Kathmandu. Therefore we recommend that you do not book international flights home that leave any earlier than the evening of day 15. This allows the possibility of making the internal flight (or drive if required) back to Kathmandu on day 15 if necessary. You can also arrange to stay an extra night in Kathmandu on the night of day 15 and fly out the following day. We can help you by helping to book the extra night's accommodation if you prefer.
Please note: Due to the nature of trekking in the mountains and adventure travel, the itineraries here may need to be adapted on the ground to suit prevailing conditions of the mountains, weather and the group.
|1||Arrive Kathmandu : Arrive on your international flight into Tribhuvan airport. We will meet you at the airport and drive to our accommodation in the well known and vibrant Thamel area of central kathmandu. (meals not included)|
|2||Kathmandu, rest sightseeing, briefing : Today we will spend some time introducing the trek leaders, talking about the itinerary and plans and checking kit. There are many gear shops in Thamel where you can get any last minute kit. You will be tired after the long flights so we will have a lie in and take the day at a fairly relaxed pace. (meals not included)|
|3||Kathmandu-Pokhara-Naya Pul-Ulleri : It will probably be a very early start to get to the airport ready for the short flight over to the city of Pokhara. If it is clear it is a spectacular flight with great views of the Himalayan peaks and lakes. From Pokhara we drive for 1.5-2hrs around 40km up the Yamdi Khola valley into the mountains to Naya Pul. From here we start our trek, passing small mountain villages as we ascend along a wooded valley followed by a steeper climb out of the valley and up to the village of Ulleri perched higher up on a shoulder above the valley. [Total walking ~9km: 1000m-1960m] (L,D inc)|
|4||Ulleri-Ghorepani : We start today by continuing to follow the higher ground above Ulleri, again surrounded by the woodland as we contour around to meet a valley bringing us up to the village of Ghorepani netling in a high col. Though the distance is covered today is fairly small, the increase in altitude is quite large so we will be moving slowly, saving energy and enjoying our surroundings. We will relax in Ghorepani and proably have quite an early night so that we can be up early the next day. [7km: 1960m-2750m] (B,L,D inc)|
|5||Ghorepani-Poon Hill-Tadapani : If everyone is keen, we will get up before the sun this morning and make the 30-45minute climb up to Poon Hill to greet the sun as it rises over the famous view out to the Annapurna Himal, a truely memorable experience and a taste of the views to come. After enjoying the sunrise we drop back down to Ghorepani for breakfast. We set off through forests of giant Rhodedendron as we follow the high ground before dropping into the head of a valley and to the village of Tadapani. [3+6km: 2750m-3200m-2869m] (B,L,D inc)|
|6||Tadapani-Chomrong : From Tadapani we drop down into a deep wooded valley then steeply up over a ridge and into yet another valley before ascending once more to contour around a shoulder to the village of Chomrong. This is a undulating fairly strenuous day but our time at higher elevations the day and night before will help us with the altitude. [10km; 2869m-2100m] (B,L,D inc)|
|7||Chomrong-Himalaya Hotel : From Chomrong we now begin to follow the spectacular Modi Khola valley as it heads straight up into the heart of the Annapurnas. To begin with, the valley is around 1.5km deep between the surrounding ridges, but these soon rise up to join the peaks that stand more than 4km above the valley floor. If it is clear we will see up to the white wall of Annapurna peaks framed by the browns and greens of the valley ahead. After passing small hamlets and lodges we eventually reach our night's stop at Himalaya Hotel. [10km: 2100m-2920m] (B,L,D inc)|
|8||Himalaya Hotel-Machhapulchare BC : The tantalising view of the Annapurnas get progressively bigger today as we continue to follow the Modi Khola between the towering peaks, including the distinctive and sacred 7000m Machhapulchare (Fish Tail mountain) to our right. The view opens right out as we reach the sharp turn in the valley at Machhapulchare Base Camp. Though today is a fairly short day, the increase in altitude means that we will take it very slowly. Our previous days at high points such as Poon Hill will have helped to pre-acclimitise us and hence deal with the thinner air. We will have plenty of time in the afternoon to enjoy the spectacular surroundings, take photos and even take a short walk around the general area if anyone is keen. [6km: 2920m-3700m] (B,L,D inc)|
|9||Machhapulchare BC-Annapurna BC : Today is an even shorter day but the altitude and sublime surroundings will mean that we are happy to take it slow. Having turned to the west we get fresh views of more of the massive peaks of the Annapurna. We will be at Annapurna base camp with plenty of time to spend the rest of the day enjoying the surroundings. We can also take a short walk around the area to get new vantage points on the view and to really soak up our surroundings. [3km: 3700m-4130m] (B,L,D inc)|
|10||Annapurna BC- Bamboo : We now turn to retrace our steps back down past Machhapulchare BC and turning back to the south past Himalaya Hotel and on down to the comparatively green surroundings and thick air of Bamboo. Now that we are dropping in altitude we will really notice the extra oxygen and we will usually be in Bamboo with plenty of time to have a restful afternoon. [13km: 4130m-2310m] (B,L,D inc)|
|11||Bamboo- Jinnu Hot Springs : Dropping even further back into the Rhodedendron forests it will be noticably warmer and the air less dry. Close to Chomrong we leave the route we took on the way up and instead branch off to the left, steeply down to Jinnu Danda in the valley bottom. There are some natural hot springs here that have been chaneled into a couple of basic pools which can be a welcome soak after the days up high. [9km: 2310m-1780m] (B,L,D inc)|
|12||Jinnu Danda-Pothana/Dhampus : From Jinnu Danda we continue on down the wooded valleys of the Modi Khola past more frequent small villages. We split off the main valley ascending to our left up over higher ground to a collection of villages clustered around a broad bowl in the wooded hilsides. [17km: 1780m-1800m] (B,L,D inc)|
|13||Pothana/Dhampus–Phedi-Pokhara : From Pothana it is a short down-hill walk to the road that passes through Phedi. Here we will be met by our vehicle that will drive us for an hour or so back down into Pokhara. We will check in to a guesthouse and have a chance to relax and see a bit of the city. [Walk ~4km 1800m-1400m] (B inc, L & D not included)|
|14||Fly Pokhara- Kathmandu : We will probably have an early start to get a morning flight back across to Kathmandu. If it is clear we will get to look out on the valleys and peaks that we have traversed and maybe even pick out some of our route. In Kathmandu we will check back into the guesthouse in Thamel and have free time to shower, relax and reflect on our trek. (meals not included)|
|15||Kathmandu : This morning we will check out of our guesthouse and organize transfers to the airport for the international flight home.|
Annapurna Sanctuary cost: £995.00
- Airport transfers
- Internal flights to and from Pokhara
- Accommodation in Kathmandu for 3 nights - twin/double rooms
- Accommodation in lodges/tea houses (twin rooms with beds and mattresses)
- Three meals per day during the trek, and hot drinks (e.g tea, coffee, juices)
- Annapurna Area Permit Fee’s
- Sherpa guides (English speaking, trained in first aid)
- Porters (1 per member, carries about 15kgs)
- Staff food, insurance and equipment
- International flight to Kathmandu (~£600.00)
- Meals and drinks in Kathmandu (~£40)
- Personal costs like drinks, laundry, hot showers, bottled water (~£50)
- Trip Insurance (~£50-75)
- Visa (~£35 paid on arrival)
- Tips (~£30-50)
- Flight Departure Tax, Payable on some airfares(~1000-1500 Rupees ~£10)
- Sightseeing Tours
Cost of Add-Ons and Some Optional Extras
Spa Hotel: £60.00
Located just outside of Kathmandu is the lovely Spa Resort, Park Village. We can arrange transfers and accommodation at the resort for you. People can then select and 'pay as you go' for the various pamperings and treatments. They also offer classes in yoga and have lovely trail walks in the surrounding hills. This option is all about rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
Chitwan Jungle Adventure: £399.00
This is a trip for those who would like a bit more excitement rather than pampering. We depart Kathmandu by coach and after a couple of hours driving we meet up with your white water rafting crew who will take you on an adventurous trip down river for many miles until you reach the Chitwan Jungle. We then spend the next four days based in a lovely jungle resort. This quaint home from home is our base for river trips in traditional dug out canoes, jungle walks and the highlight; an elephant back safari, which at the end involves jumping in the river with your elephant to give him or her a wash! After all of the jungle fun and activities we then return to Kathmandu by a short flight.
Everest Flight!: £160.00
This is a flight around Mt Everest offering spectacular views of the mountain. This flight leaves daily in the morning and can be undertaken by those who plan to depart Kathmandu for home, on an evening flight following the trek or as an addition to the next two options. The one hour flight takes off from Kathmandu Airport and flies east in a fully pressurised aircraft, where one can see magnificent mountains from a height of around 25,000 feet. A must take tour of the majestic Himalayas. It’s an hour of breathtaking scenic beauty of the Mighty Mountains. It is a sparkling clear journey across the world’s highest peaks, Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga – 3rd highest, Lhoste, Makalu, Cho Oyu, to name just a few including the Tibetan plateau. You enjoy a seemingly endless chain of snow capped peaks as you fly above the clouds, over glaciers and lakes, rivers and gorges from your private individual window. The clear, non tinted windows offer a great opportunity to experience and photograph the aerial views of the Kathmandu valley, the high peaks and the landscapes of Nepal.
Moving Mountains Village Trek: £350.00
This is a wonderful 7 days trek extension which starts when you approach Lukla on the way back from Everest. Two days further and off the beaten trail is two villages which our charity had been developing over the last decade. You are welcome to come and see what we've been doing and get involved. This is beautiful trip, like stepping back in time and will introduce to the traditional ways and cultures of the local people.
Not all about money
Our prices are competitive and good value, and we offer quality, service, security and an ethical stance on tourism in a developing country. We don’t want to be so expensive to run fewer trips and have our staff idle, but on the other hand we believe that running cheap trips that promote the practise of skimming budgets would result in the porters getting next to nothing, which is something we cannot consider.
Additionally we plan treks with sufficient rest days and with achievable daily altitude increases which gives good time to acclimatise. Reducing the number of days may make the price cheaper but the chances of successfully completing the trek also greatly reduce.
We include professional staff and a porter for each member. We do not operate kitties and we use an excellent hotel in Kathmandu with which we have built up a strong relationship over the years.
We have our own licensed company in Kathmandu, Adventure Alternative Nepal and full time staff to operate all our treks, climbs and tours in Nepal.
You must have an insurance policy which covers trekking at high altitude and helicopter rescue in the event of an evacuation.
Emergency and Evacuation in Nepal (link)
Type of Terrain
The Annapurna Circuit is a well trodden path all the way though this can be rocky and uneven in parts. It is not precipitous and there is no rock climbing or ‘mountaineering’ which requires equipment. It is a walk all the way, although some of the hills can be steep and never-ending!
You will meet many people along the way, and also yaks. There is only one rule of the road when meeting an oncoming yak, and that is to always ensure you step to one side, towards the inside of the trail.
Poles are useful but not necessary, depending on whether you have problems with knees and if you have a personal preference for using them. Higher up, the open slopes and moraine may give you added reassurance with a pole, but again the path is quite easy to follow.
Lightweight hiking boots with a high ankle are recommended for the trek, to protect you against possibly going over on an ankle, heavy boots will be hot and heavy and cumbersome. Cross trainers are popular, but cold in the morning up high.
The total distance covered throughout an Annapurna Sanctuary trek is approximately 70km. Every day the trek starts after breakfast at about 8.30am and there are many opportunities to stop and take photos, or have a cup of tea. The pace is slow and the itinerary allows for acclimatisation and also rest days. At the start of the trek the distances are short but there are hills aplenty, and higher the distances increase but the gradient is more consistent and even.
Kathmandu is at an approximate altitude of 1400m and the flight to Pokhara will take you down to a height of 800m. With Machhapuchhare Base Camp standing at 3700m and Annapurna South Base Camp at 4130m, the sanctuary trek gains a total of 3330 metres from Pokhara and 2730 metres from Kathmandu.
Accommodation will be in comfortable lodges and tea houses run by local families, unless people specify a preference for tents. Each lodge has a central communal area with stove, while the bedrooms are unheated with two beds and mattresses and pillows. You will need to bring a sleeping bag (3 season is normally enough), and the lodge will lend you a blanket if you ask.
The lodges generally have showers which are powered by gas and they use ‘drop’ toilets (some lodges use a flush system now).
Sometimes we use tents which are two person mountain tents, and we will provide foam mattresses. The tents are pitched close by the lodge and eating is done indoors.
The trek is not a forced march and the pace is always slow, the days generally being shorter than a day hike at home.
We do recommend that you embark on a good fitness programme at least 6 weeks prior to your trip though, and one that builds up general stamina and specific leg muscle groups. There is nothing like hiking with a rucksack to train for a trek in the Himalayas, so the best advice is to get out into the hills as often as you can. You are likely to carry about 5 kilos in your day sack so this is a good weight to work with.
If you are going to be using the gym then concentrate on step machines which work on the thigh and calf muscles, and try to build your heart rate up to 50% above resting rate. Any cardiovascular activity is good, but remember that swimming will not train the correct muscle groups so it must be added to other exercises to be effective. Exercise groups like bodypump, Pilates and aerobic are all excellent preparation for a trek like this, especially those which work on core strength, balance and stability.
Adventure Alternative Support
The porters will carry your main bag up to a maximum weight of 15 kgs and cater for all the group needs, including assisting you if you need to go back down the valley. Unless specifically tenting, all accommodation is in lodges or teahouses which are very well equipped, warm and sociable.
Pasang Tendi Sherpa is our operations manager in Kathmandu and Director of Adventure Alternative Nepal. He organises all the staff, equipment, permits and hotel arrangements. You will have his telephone number, or the staff at the hotel desk can call him for you. He is the organiser, translator, problem solver, advisor and the main link between you and the UK office. He will talk to the Sherpa guides regularly on the mountain and can make arrangements while you are on trek.
You also have continued support from the main office in Northern Ireland. Should a problem arise of significant proportion then you only need to call us, there is still an opportunity to communicate since most lodges now have satellite phones.
- The basic idea of the kit we will take is to keep you warm, dry, protected from the sun, able to move efficiently on the mountains and able to be comfortable in the evenings and night.
- There is a detailed list via the menu below and to the right but the main points to cover are as follows:-
- BAGS - Large Duffle bag/Rucksack ~80L (for a porter to carry) + Medium Daypack ~40L (carried by you)
- SHELL - Top and bottoms to keep off wind/rain
- INSULATION - Warm layered system to keep you warm- body hands & Head
- BASELAYER - Thin layers to wick away sweat and to strip down to when it gets hot
- FEET - Comfortable, Waterproof boots to support your ankles over rough terrain. Lighter footwaer to change into in the evenings.
- SLEEPING - Warm sleeping bag to get a good nights sleep at the lodges
- EATING/DRINKING - Water bottles & favorite snacks for during the day
- WASHING & MEDICAL - To allow you to wash and maybe stave off a headache or blister
Additional Kit Info
Luggage Allowance on Internal Flights
Please note that standard luggage limits on internal flights are 10kg in the hold and 5kg as hand luggage. You can pay for extra luggage allowance at 120rupees(~0.75GBP)/kg. However, note that the amount that the plane can carry also has a limit! You can of course wear your trekking boots and jacket to help cut down on the weight of your bag. You will also have left any city clothes or extra travel kit in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu has an area called Thamel which is full of hundreds of equipment shops, each one an emporium of new, used, quality and fake equipment all very reasonably priced for rental and buying. You can buy almost anything needed for any trek.
On sale from Adventure Alternative
Adventure Alternative will soon be selling branded fleeces, duffle bags and essential items of equipment through own online shop.
- All our guides are personally trained by Gavin Bate, Company Director and high altitude climber who has made five expeditions to Mount Everest 6 times
- We offer small scale, authentic adventures, which support the local economy.
- We do not contract out our trips, we employ full time staff, offering job security and good benefits, and we are continually improving our quality service year on year.
- All the staff in our UK office have been to Nepal so you can chat to people who understand what it’s like to go up for the first time, before you go.
- We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company supports sustainable development in Nepal in a real way.
- Adventure Alternative underwrites the charity Moving Mountains.
- Financial security guaranteed.