Adventures / Wild Hikes

Trek the Annapurna Sanctuary Route

Explore remote Himalayan valleys, hike mountain trails and follow wild rivers to see some of the most incredible views on the planet

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Trip Ref #9925

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Trek the Annapurna Sanctuary Route

Explore remote Himalayan valleys, hike mountain trails and follow wild rivers to see some of the most incredible views on the planet

DURATION

13 nights

LOCATION

Nepal

ANNUAL LEAVE

2 weeks off work

SEASON

Sep—May

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel · Teahouse

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

It certainly takes effort, but the trip is well-paced, with plenty of time to recover and enjoy the view.

Experience views that will leave you speechless, including Hiunchuli, Gangapurna and the awesome Annapurna Massif

Hike to Annapurna Base Camp (4130m) - summit of the entire trek and part of the reason this is one of the most famous treks on the planet

Witness the endless colours of a Himalayan sunset from the village of Ghorepani and watch dawn break from the top of Poon Hill

What's it like?

    See the photos our community shared

    All our reviews are verified

    We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

    Edwina, October 2022

    Well, where do I start? Just got back from an incredible trek through some of the most stunning scenery on the planet with a fantastic group of people. Our guides Tika and Passang, and porters Ananta, Ujjwall and Privan were a key element, ensuring we were very well looked after and always great company (watch out though if you play cards with them!). The tea houses were basic but always clean and comfortable and the food was great - especially if you checked out Tika's recommendations first. The trek was well planned with plenty of time to recover after what sometimes seemed like hours of walking up hundreds of steps. I never felt like it was a problem if one of us needed to stop for a rest or drink, but a good level of fitness is definitely worthwhile. Once you got to the top of each climb though the views made up for it. It's worth adding a day or two either end of the trip if you have time so you can visit some of the sights in Kathmandu and spend some time relaxing in Pokhara at the end (or zip-lining and paragliding!). Nepal is a beautiful country, full of friendly people who always seem to have a smile on their face. I'd go back there in a heartbeat.

    Hayley, October 2022

    Had the most wonderful adventure! A very well planned and paced trek. The scenery was stunning, the tea houses were amazing and the tour company were professional and nothing was too much trouble. We were safe and so well looked after. I couldn't have wished for more. The knowledge and expertise of the guide and team were obvious and made it an adventure I will never forget.

    Emily, October 2022

    Would highly recommended this trip! Our guide, Tika, and his team were fantastic. We were definitely in safe hands. The scenery and hospitality of the local people was amazing. I’d go back in a heartbeat!

    Priscila, September 2022

    The trip was incredible. The views are absolutely stunning and we couldn't have been looked after by our guides any better. The group was great too, there were 5 of us. The trek is a bit of a challenge, but if you're an active person anyway it's completely fine. I highly recommend it if you want to immerse yourself in a different culture and see the most stunning mountain views in the world!

    Olivia, September 2022

    Amazing and memorable trek, which really exceeded our expectations. We felt very looked after by our amazing lead guide, Tika and assistant guide, Kanchan, who we would now call our friends. Sometimes we faced challenging terrain, but the pace taken can match a range of hiking levels. Although my calves were burning by day 3, despite having hiked for years!!! (Completely worth it though). Highlight for us has to be the Annapurna base camp. We had Insane views and were very fortunate to have the clouds clear for us in the morning. All the tea houses Tika chose were very comfortable, welcoming and had a wide range of food choices. Overall, highly recommend!

    David, May 2022

    This was a great trip with smooth logistics and planning throughout. Highly recommended.

    Robert, April 2022

    Trekking the Annapurna Sanctuary Route was an amazing experience. It offers the opportunity to witness stunning scenery and traditional village life. The landscape changes gradually but dramatically from the start/finish point where forests and terraced fields carpet the hills to the highest level at Annapurna Base Camp where staggering himalayan peaks soar around you. The assistance given by all involved in making this trip was excellent. Our guide called Tika deserves special mention, he was fantastic and went above and beyond. All in all, the trip was brilliant.

    Joanne, October 2019

    All of it was great! Our guides and porters. Mountains and food. The people and spirituality. It was all incredible!

    Gill, October 2019

    The trek itself exceeded our expectations. Our guide, Sagar, and assistant guide, Sarzan, ensured that we got the most out of this amazing and beautiful trek, through their attentive approach to each of the trekkers and their expert knowledge of the area.

    Sarah, September 2019

    Our guide Sagar was amazing - knowledgable, professional, a great laugh, balanced looking after us without babying!

    Included

    Guides

    Local, expert, English-speaking guides

    Accommodation

    2 nights in Kathmandu, 2 nights in Pokhara and 9 nights in teahouses on the trail

    Meals

    Welcome and farewell dinner with your team in Kathmandu

    Transfers

    To and from the airport and everything in between

    Porterage

    Your overnight luggage will be carried for you

    Permits

    All entrance fees and permits are taken care of

    Not Included

    Flights to and from the meeting point

    Travel insurance

    Personal expenses

    Tips for your guides

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu

    Any time on Day 1

    Ends

    Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu

    Any time on Day 14

    Transfers

    You'll be picked up on arrival and dropped off in time for your departure.

    Travel options

    There are regular flights to Kathmandu from major aiports across the UK and Europe.

    Day 1

    Hotel · Twin or triple share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 2

    Hotel · Twin or triple share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 3 – Day 11

    Teahouse · Twin or triple share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 12 – Day 13

    Hotel · Twin or triple share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 14

    Departure day

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    What is the food like?

    Breakfast is usually hot porridge, muesli or Tibetan bread served with an omelette or boiled eggs.

    The dinner menus in the teahouses are very similar at every stop and there will usually be a choice of traditional Nepalese dhal bhat (a mixed plate of lentils, rice, vegetables and pickles - delicious and healthy), Nepalese dumplings (momos), mixed noodles, pasta and even pizza. Although meat is available at some teahouses, we suggest that you ask your guide for their advice regarding consumption, as it tends to depend on how far it has travelled as to whether it is a safe option.

    It is possible to eat vegan food while trekking, however you should let your guide know so they can assist when ordering - the options will be limited but dhal bhat is likely going to be your go-to staple. And of course, bringing along some extra snacks is advisable.

    What is the accommodation like?

    Kathmandu

    You’ll stay in a hotel in Thamel close to the main shopping area and heritage sites. Expect a twin- or triple-share en-suite room, with air-con and WiFi included.

    On the trail

    You’ll be staying in teahouses - mountain lodges with a communal dining area and basic toilets which are usually sorted by gender. WiFi, phone charging and hot showers are often available for a small cost.

    Pokhara

    You'll stay in a hotel near the lake on a twin- or triple-share basis, close to local bars and restaurants.

    Upgrades

    For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked; see Optional Extras. This is only for the nights spent in hotels, and is subject to availability. Please request this at the time of booking.

    Day 1

    Kathmandu awaits

    Check into your hotel in Thamel - heart of the sensory overload that is Kathmandu. After meeting your guides and making any last minute plans for the trek, finish the day with a group dinner alongside the rest of your team.

    Day 2

    The road to Pokhara

    Driving

    7hrs

    Drive to the lakeside city of Pokhara (approximately 7 hours) – the gateway to your trek. After crossing some mind-bendingly beautiful Himalayan scenery and terraced farmland, settle into your hotel and soak in the tranquillity as you prepare for your first full day of hiking in the morning.

    Day 3

    The trek begins

    Hiking

    4hrs · 9km · 800m up · 400m down

    From the trailhead at Nayapul, take your first steps along the path as you gradually ascend through dense forest, passing remote waterfalls along the way. After lunch with an epic view of Mount Machapuchare (6993m) head on to Ulleri village and your first night in a Nepalese teahouse.

    Day 4

    Ulleri to Ghorepani

    Hiking

    4hrs · 6km · 820m up · 80m down

    Enjoy a morning coffee as you soak up the panoramic view from your teahouse and prepare for one of the most challenging stretches of the trek. Camera ready, head straight up the nearby mountain, catching glimpses of Hiunchuli (6441m) and Annapurna South (7219m). After another lunch with a view, continue on to Ghorepani, home to the Magar people, in time for sunset over Himalayas.

    Day 5

    Ghorepani to Chuile

    Hiking

    6hrs · 12km · 920m up · 1450m down

    Set off before dawn and hike to the top of Poon Hill, famous for its epic mountain views, just in time for the sunrise of a lifetime. Head back to Ghorepani for breakfast, then trek through the rhododendron forest and up the short but steep ascent to Tadapani village. From there it’s a slow descent to tonight’s destination, the village of Chuile.

    Day 6

    Chuile to Sinuwa

    Hiking

    5hrs · 8km · 1380m up · 1330m down

    See the landscape change by the second as the forest thickens into untamed jungle. After following the trail to Ghurjung, climb up to tonight’s destination, Sinwa, overlooking the beautiful Machapuchare Peak.

    Day 7

    Sinuwa to Himalaya

    Hiking

    5hrs · 7km · 840m up · 280m down

    Follow the banks of a wild river as it weaves its way through some of the most challenging terrain on the entire trek to the village of Bamboo, where the mountaintop views make all the hard work worthwhile. After resting up, continue on to tonight's rest stop - the perfectly named village of Himalaya.

    Day 8

    Machapuchare Base Camp

    Hiking

    4hrs · 5km · 845m up · 40m down

    Return to the river and push on over the mountaintop to Machapuchare Base Camp. Try not to lose the power of speech as you look out on some of the most spectacular vistas on the entire trail, including Hiunchuli, Gandharyachuil, Gangapurna and the awesome Annapurna Massif. Relax, recover and then enjoy a Himalayan night sky filled with stars.

    Day 9

    Annapurna Base Camp

    Hiking

    4hrs · 4km · 430m up · 20m down

    Leave the greenery behind and head into the snow-blanketed and rocky landscape that lays above. Hike the final stretch to Annapurna Base Camp - the summit of the entire trek and a major reason why this is one of the most famous treks on the planet.

    Day 10

    Annapurna Base Camp to Bamboo

    Hiking

    6hrs · 8km · 40m up · 1860m down

    Enjoy some final views from Annapurna Base Camp and then get back on the trail, this time heading downhill. Drop back down to the forested slopes and return to the village of Bamboo for the night.

    Day 11

    Last night in the mountains

    Hiking

    4hrs · 7km · 715m up · 1235m down

    Climb to Kulldighar and follow the trail downhill to the stone steps that lead to Chomrong Khola. From there, it’s a short walk to the bubbling hot springs at Jhinu Danda for some much-needed downtime.

    Day 12

    Return to Pokhara

    Hiking

    7hrs · 10km · 820m up · 1570m down

    Begin your last day of trekking with some mesmerising views of the mid-hills of Nepal. Breathe in that mountain air, take some final photos and then enjoy your final descent into Naya Pul, from where you’ll be driven back to Pokhara. Spend your last night relaxing, partying beside the lake, eating, sleeping – whatever you want, you’ve earned it!

    Day 13

    Back to Kathmandu

    Driving

    7hrs

    Take a bus through the Himalayas (approx. 7 hours) back to Kathmandu and your hotel in Thamel. Enjoy some downtime in Nepal’s capital and a final dinner with your team.

    Day 14

    Last chance to enjoy Nepal

    Enjoy a lie-in followed by breakfast at your hotel, then spend your last day exploring the city before returning to the airport and back to reality.

    15% Off Outdoor Gear

    In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

    What do I need to bring?

    • Day pack with rain cover (30 litre +)
    • Rucksack or duffle bag (for the porters to carry overnight kit)
    Clothes
    • Waterproof jacket
    • Lightweight down jacket
    • Waterproof trousers
    • Lightweight trekking trousers
    • Hiking shorts (if trekking in the summer)
    • Thermals (top and bottom, merino ideal)
    • 2/3 trekking t-shirts/shirts
    • Fleece or warm mid-layer
    • Waterproof thick gloves
    • Glove liners
    • Hiking socks and lighter walking socks
    • Wool hat
    • Sun hat
    • Spare underwear
    • Buff or similar
    • Swimwear (optional, for hot springs)
    Shoes
    • Worn in waterproof hiking boots
    • Lightweight trainers (for the evenings)
    Sleeping
    • 4 season sleeping bag
    • Sleeping bag liner
    • Pillow case (optional)
    Other
    • Trekking poles
    • Travel towel
    • Sun protection (sunscreen, sunglasses)
    • 2 water bottles (1 litre each)
    • Metal SIGG bottle (useful to fill with hot water to use as a hot water bottle at bedtime)
    • Headtorch
    • First aid kit and/or personal medication
    • Water purification tablets/system
    • Hand gel
    • Biodegradable wet wipes
    • Small biodegradable bags to take toilet tissue off the mountain
    • Toilet paper/tissues
    • 1 x passport photo for trek permit
    • Powerbank
    • Universal plug adaptor
    • Book/kindle/cards for downtime
    Winter departures only (end Nov-March)
    • Gaiters
    • Crampons or spikes (chained spikes that will fit any boot if you don't have crampon-suitable boots)
    • Extra warm layers (add an extra warm item to all key items above)
    • Extra set of thermals (pair to walk in, pair to sleep in)
    • Merino trekking socks
    • Merino glove liners

    What's available to hire?

    The below can be rented in Kathmandu:

    • Down jacket: costs approx. $1.5/day with a deposit of $50
    • Sleeping bag (3 season only available): costs approx. $2/day with a deposit of $80
    • Spikes (for winter departures only) costs approx. $1.5/day.

    (Please ask your host if this is needed so they can assist you with how to arrange the hire)

    What can you buy in Kathmandu?

    Kathmandu has many outdoor gear shops - some are real with kit that is the same price you will find it at home and some are filled with cheaper imitation gear that may not be of the same quality. You will, however, find a soft duffel bag easily that the porters can carry.

    Please remove all unnecessary packing before you leave home and ensure you take all plastic off the mountain to be disposed of in Kathmandu.

    Extra night in Pokhara (Single Room)

    Payable Before Departure

    Extra night in Pokhara (Single Room)

    Extra night in Pokhara (Twin/Double Room)

    Payable Before Departure

    Extra night in Pokhara (Twin/Double Room)

    Optional Private Room Upgrade

    Payable Before Departure

    Optional Private Room Upgrade

    Per Person

    Pre/post-trip accommodation in Kathmandu (Single)

    Payable Before Departure

    Pre/post-trip accommodation in Kathmandu (Single)

    Pre/post-trip accommodation in Kathmandu (Twin/Double)

    Payable Before Departure

    Pre/post-trip accommodation in Kathmandu (Twin/Double)

    We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

    What's the number?
    It works out on average at 482kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

    The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

    But what does the number mean?
    Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

    • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
    • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
    • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

    What are we doing about it?
    Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

    Want to know more?
    Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

    We do not include meals on the trek, as from experience we know that altitude and physical exercise mean appetites vary hugely. The cost of food also rises as you ascend, because it all has to be carried in by porters and yaks - very little can be grown locally. How much you spend per day will vary according to your choice of meal, but generally people spend between $15-$25 per person per day on meals and hot drinks. Below is an approx. breakdown of some items:

    • Dal baht: $4 to $7C
    • Chow mein: $2 to $4
    • Eggs: $2 to $4
    • Toast: $1.50 to $3
    • Tea/hot chocolate: $1.00 to $3.00
    • Chocolate bars: $2 to $4

    Teahouses will provide cold water free of charge, however, it will need to be treated to enable you to drink it. Please read the drinking water FAQ for our advice. Other extra costs to be considered are -

    • Shower: $2-$4
    • WiFi: $2-5
    • Electricity: $2-5

    It is customary in Nepal to tip guides and porters. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. You can give any tips to your lead guide at the end of your trip; this will then be shared amongst the whole team. For full transparency, the lead guide will distribute the tips to the guides and porters in your presence. A good rule of thumb is around $115pp as a tip, although the amount you give is entirely your choice. 

    Of course, you are free to tip more or less and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

    The preferred currency is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR). Whilst ATMs are available in the main cities, please do not rely on them as they are often out of order and most have a maximum withdrawal limit equivalent to about GBP300.

    It's best to bring the bulk of your money with you in cash and exchange it at a bank or at one of the many money changers in Nepal - your guide will help you with this. Most major currencies are accepted, including GBP (Sterling), Euros and US Dollars, however Scottish or Irish currency cannot be changed. Keep your exchange receipts in case you want to change any unused Rupees back into hard currency when you leave Nepal (it is illegal to export Nepalese Rupees as it is a closed currency).

    You will need to carry a fairly large amount of cash while trekking for the meals. We advise that you keep this in a waterproof bag and in your day bag along with your passport.

    The Annapurna Sanctuary is the ideal trek for those who are keen to experience the Himalayas but aren’t quite ready for the longer, higher altitude treks. You should have some experience trekking but the trip is designed with plenty of time factored in to rest up and enjoy the incredible views.

    Still, it is important to note that trekking at altitudes above 3000m/10,000ft is more demanding on the body than walking at low elevations. Some training beforehand will help and we advise doing at least one weekend of back-to-back days walking. Your guide will set the pace and as with all altitude treks, the theme is ‘slowly slowly’ to ensure that you adjust to the altitude.

    Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

    Although most teahouses have the option to buy bottled water, we advise against it to reduce the use of plastic in the mountains (this ends up being burnt or dumped in landfill out of sight). You will instead be provided with cold water that needs treating. There are a wide range of products available these days which are more effective than traditional purification tablets - some trekkers like to use UV handheld devices such as a Steripen but other options are available - just be sure to check the performance in freezing conditions.

    You can leave any luggage not needed on the trek at your hotel in Kathmandu.

    This trip includes one porter for every two trekkers. They will carry up to 20-25kg of kit so your overnight bags and spare clothes will be transported for you (maximum 12kg per person). You will only need to carry a ‘day pack’ with essentials in (extra layer, snacks, water, suncream, camera etc).

    When you trek in the mountains there is always the risk of getting altitude sickness, regardless of how old, young or fit you are. We would expect most trekkers to feel some mild symptoms of altitude sickness (headache, sleeplessness, heavy breathing) when over 3500m. Our guides are trained to identify the symptoms and if more serious ones are noted there is a strict procedure regarding extra care or even a rapid descent if needed. As this trip spends very little time at high altitude, it is not one where altitude sickness is a regular occurrence.

    We work with some of the best leaders in the industry, every one of which is government licensed and very experienced. In order to ensure this high standard of performance, the host provides them with top-notch in-house training that covers advanced wilderness first aid, hyperbaric chambers, oxygen system, mountain rescue, incident management and Leave No Trace (LNT) principles to help keep the Himalayas pristine.

    We’ve sourced some great optional activities for you to do in and around Kathmandu should you wish to explore the area a little bit further. Please discuss these directly with your host who will be able to book them for you.

    Cook Like a Local: This short cooking workshop (approx. 3 hours) teaches you how to cook popular Nepali dishes like momos and dal bhat. You’ll meet your teacher and accompany them shopping, then head to the kitchen and learn to cook alongside them. Price: pay what you think the workshop is worth!

    Shop Local: A 2-3 hour guided exploration of the markets of Kathmandu. Learn about the vendors that line the narrow and crowded alleyways and witness everything you could ever imagine being sold, haggled or bargained for. It’s a great chance to learn about the melting pot of cultures that exist in Kathmandu. Price: $9-$50pp, depending on the group size.

    Master of the Arts: Patan Durbar Square is popular for its handicrafts and this trip will explore the local factories where they are produced. You’ll visit 2-3 factories and learn about the traditional processes they use and see artwork being produced. Price: $14-$59pp, depending on the group size.

    Introduction to Shamanism: Shamanism, which is believed to heal many diseases, is not practiced widely these days, however this trip enables you to meet a practising Guru and learn all about this age-old tradition. You’ll visit a small house for an introduction, followed by lunch and then a drumming session where you’ll learn the importance of rhythm to healing. Price: $90-$150, depending on group size.

    Yes! Lakeside Pokhara, with its laidback vibe, is a popular spot to relax after a trek. Although the tour starts and ends in Kathmandu, your host can arrange extra nights for you in Pokhara after your trek. They will simply shift your included bus transfer from Pokhara to Kathmandu and your final night's hotel reservation in Kathmandu to a later date for you, so you'll only need to pay for the additional accommodation in Pokhara.

    We recommend checking out the country specific information here, and also talking to a travel nurse.

    For current advice about travelling in Nepal, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

    Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

    Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

    We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

    We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

    If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

    All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

    You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

    Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

    Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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