Annapurna Sanctuary trek
Annapurna Sanctuary trek
The Annapurna Sanctuary trek which also visits Annapurna Base Camp is perfect if you're time restricted but want to journey through an exceptional amphitheatre of rock and ice on a glorious scale.
If you are longing to visit somewhere beautiful and intense with snow-capped peaks of the Himalaya as a back drop then this is the trek for you. We also spend nights at both Machhapuchare Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp which gives ample time and opportunity to really absorb the spectacular surroundings.
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. It's a perfect tonic to our usual busy life's and allows you to immerse yourself in a slow and easy daily routine, with only the elements, the mountains and the quiet character of the people to accompany you
SUMMARY OF ANNAPURNA SANCTUARY TREK ITINERARY
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 glaciated beginnings at the foot of the towering Annapurna. We take enough time to acclimatise 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 and of course Annapurna and Machhapuchare base camps.
Days 1 & 2: Arrival into Kathmandu, preparation/rest day/ sightseeing
Day 3: Fly to Pokhara followed by a drive to Pokhara-Naya Pul, and a short trek to Ulleri(1960m)
Days 4 - 9 : Trek along the trail stopping each night to relax, reach our high point of Annapurna BC on day 9
Days 9 - 13: Staying in different locations we initially drop back along the trail before branching off to Jhinnu Hot Springs, Dhampus and Phedi then drive to Pokhara
Day 14: Fly Pokhara to Kathmandu
Day15: Onward travel
ANNAPURNA SANCTUARY TREK MAP
LENGTH AND TERRAIN OF THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT TREK
The Annapurna Sanctuary trek is stunning and an excellent introduction to trekking in the Himalaya. It offers jaw dropping views throughout the trip and goes up to the famous spots of Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp and Machhapuchare base camp. Annapurna is a 34 mile long, multi peaked, massif and has one peak over 8,000 metres, thirteen peaks over 7,000 metres, and sixteen more all over 6,000 metres. It is often referred to as the most dangerous on our planet with less than 200 successful summits and a very high death rate. Thankfully our trek is a lot less strenuous and actually quit relaxing!
We would consider the Annapurna Sanctuary trek as moderate in challenge. It is one of the easier treks in the Annapurna region and offers good and gradual acclimatisation. It still requires a basic level of fitness as you will be trekking roughly 5-6 hours a day. It is not precipitous and there is no rock climbing or ‘mountaineering’ nor the need for any technical skills or equipment.
The terrain is all on paths, which can be uneven at times, but not overly challenging. The trek is 115km in length and the altitude profile can be seen below.
ANNAPURNA SANCTUARY TREK ALTITUDE PROFILE
Click here or on the plot to open in a new tab.
ACCOMMODATION ON THE ANNAPURNA SANCTUARY TREK
Accommodation along the trail is in comfortable lodges which are run by local families. Each lodge has a central communal area with a large stove that provides heat and a cosy atmosphere. The bedrooms are unheated and generally have two beds per room with mattresses, pillows and a blanket. You will need to bring a sleeping bag (3 season is normally enough) and we'd also recommend a pillow case.
The lodges generally have showers which are powered by gas and they mostly use sit down flush toilets (though some lodges do also have squat toilets). Food in the lodges is excellent, and a mixture of local Nepali food and western recipes. Burgers and chips are a common meal, as is dal bhat with rice. You will find everything from fresh pastries to beer, stir fries to momos are available in the lodges and shops a Nepal price guide can be found here. There are also many shops selling all types of drinks and snacks, sweets and chocolate. You can also buy any gear that you may forget on the trail or in Kathmandu.
PACKING LIST FOR ANNAPURNA SANCTUARY TREK
The basic idea of the clothing you will take is to keep you warm, dry, protected from the sun, able to move comfortably in the mountains and able to be comfortable in the evenings and night.
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.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS) FOR THE ANNAPURNA SANCTUARY TREK
How far is Pokhara from Kathmandu?
Pokhara by air is 147km from Kathmandu, or if you prefer to drive it's 205km by road.
What can you do in Pokhara?
Pokhara is an amazing town on the shores of the huge Phewa Lake. Alongside trekking there are a host of adrenaline based activities on offer including para-gliding, canoeing amongst other water sports. It's famous for it's laid back atmosphere and stunning scenery, flower and fauna. If you have a few days extra it's definitely worth spending some time there.
How fit do you have to be for the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek?
The trek is not a forced march and the pace is always slow, the days generally being shorter than a day hike at home. However, it does involve multiple consecutive days of walking on sometimes steep paths and at altitude. So you do need to be in reasonably good shape, with good cardio-vascular fitness and good leg and core muscle conditioning.
If you are considering a trekking holiday with younger children in Nepal then the Annapurna Sanctuary would be preferable to the Annapurna Circuit trek which has high passes, and the altitude gained daily is much more gradual though we can tailor make trips to suit specific needs.
Annapurna Sanctuary trek itinerary
|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 your accommodation which is usually in the well known and vibrant Thamel area of central kathmandu. (hotel / meals not included: see cost tab for details / options)|
|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. (hotel / 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 accommodation of your choice and have free time to shower, relax and reflect on our trek. (hotel / 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 trek cost
- Airport transfers
- Accommodation on the trek and in Pokhara in lodges/tea houses (twin rooms with beds and mattresses)
- Three meals per day during the trek section, with a hot drinks (e.g tea, coffee, juices)
- Annapurna Area Permit Fee
- Sherpa guides (English speaking, trained in first aid)
- Porters (carries about 15kgs)
- Staff food, insurance and equipment
- International flight to Kathmandu (~£600.00)
- Accommodation in Kathmandu (~ £15 - £25pp/n) - we can book this for you. Click here for details
- Meals and drinks in Kathmandu (~£40)
- Personal costs like drinks, laundry, hot showers, bottled water (~£50)
- Lunch or dinner in Pokhara
- 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 or Guides
A deposit of £250 is required on booking to secure your place and we ask that the remaining balance (trip price minus the deposit) is paid in full 4 weeks prior to your departure. When you book with us you're given your own secure online account which you can access 24/7. Through this account you can edit your booking, add flight, health, insurance and dietary details and also make interim payments. We make payments as flexible as possible and you can choose, if you wish, to pay a bit off your trip fee whenever it suits you.
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. Please see our specific advice page for Insurance for more information.
- 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 its 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.
- We have financial bonding in place so your trip fees are protected.
Choose a scheduled date or contact us to set up private dates or a bespoke itinerary. The minimum deposit is £100.00 and the balance is due six weeks before travel.