The Annapurna Circuit is one of Nepal’s big name treks. Encircling the gleaming bulk of the Annapurna Massif, it has attracted adventurers for many decades. Opened to foreign trekkers in 1977 – just twelve years after the country’s first commercial trek – the circuit has been voted the world’s best long-distance trek. In its original form it took around three weeks, covering a diverse range of landscapes from tropical valleys to the bitterly cold Thorong La. The changing environment and scenery was matched by the varied culture, from low lying Hindu villages to high altitude Tibetan settlements.
However, much has changed in the past forty years, and indeed, even more in the past ten. Development has quickened and roads have cut deep into the region, changing the face of this mountain landscape and altering the nature of the trek. But, there is much yet to see and experience on the Annapurna Circuit – the mountains are still there, as is the intriguing cultural diversity, and the New Annapurna Trekking Trails (NATT) divert you off the road at every opportunity. It’s important to accept the trek for what it is today, adapt your itinerary to match, and plan accordingly. Through our own fault and outlook, that’s something we often failed to do. When we take on the AC again, there’s a lot we’ll do differently.
What follows is an account of our own experience, along with daily details on distances, times, elevation and accommodation. For a great way to get a sense of the landscape, every day has a short Relive* video (links in the daily info boxes). And to get a full appreciation of what the trek is like, be sure to watch our Annapurna Circuit Instagram Stories and our video below.
Fancy trekking the Annapurna Circuit yourself? Read our complete guide for everything you need to know.
*The Relive for Day 2 is a bit wild at one point where the GPS signal went crazy
On the second part of our extended Nepal adventure, we joined the Annapurna Circuit at Dharapani. After a memorable twelve days trekking the Manaslu Circuit, we were excited to see what this next stage had to offer. We expected the Annapurna Circuit trek to be busier, but beyond that we had little more than vague notions and scraps of information from half remembered accounts. Unusually for us, we’d done precious little research. Needing a guide for both Manaslu and Upper Mustang (part three), we’d organised one for the entire duration of our trek, the expectation being that we’d be able to rely on his knowledge, experience and expertise. So, we went in blind, but with no shortage of anticipation for the days ahead.
A note on distances and times. Distances are approximate and often rounded to the nearest kilometre. Total time is the time it took from leaving in the morning to arriving at our destination and includes lunch and other stops. Walking time is the time we were moving but includes time taking photos and shooting video. For your reference, we tend to be on the slower side of average.
Read through our account day by day, or jump to a particular section by clicking on the links below
DAY 1 – DHARAPANI to CHAME
DAY 2 – CHAME to DHUKUR POKHARI
DAY 3 – DHUKUR POKHARI to NGAWAL
DAY 4 – NGAWAL to MANANG
DAY 5 – MANANG REST DAY
DAY 6 – MANANG to YAK KHARKA
DAY 7 – YAK KHARKA to THORONG HIGH CAMP
DAY 8 – THORONG HIGH CAMP to MUKTINATH
DAY 9 – MUKTINATH to KAGBENI
DAY 10 – KAGBENI REST DAY
DAY 11 – KAGBENI to MARPHA
DAY 12 – MARPHA to JOMSOM
Our Annapurna Circuit Trek itinerary, with overnight stops and key points marked along the way. You can also download this map for offline use with Maps.me. Be sure to download the Maps.Me app first (iOS/Android). Tap the menu button at the top left for more details, to toggle layers on and off, and to switch between satellite and terrain view. You can save this Google map by tapping the star.