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An exciting 9-day trek to the vast natural amphitheatre of the Annapurna Sanctuary. Leaving the terraced fields and forests of the foothills behind, pass under the great bulk of the 'Fishtail' Mountain to Annapurna Base Camp to find yourself surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of some of the world's highest mountains.
Explore Tour Leader
6 nights comfortable hotel
8 nights simple teahouse
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
The trip starts today in Kathmandu, the busy, colourful and chaotic capital city of Nepal.
Your Leader plans to meet everyone in the hotel reception for a welcome meeting at 5 pm. For those that wish, there is the chance to go out together as a group for dinner afterwards. There are no other activities planned for today. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your leader will leave any essential information and details of the best time to catch up with them, at the hotel reception.
If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM). You should allow at least 45 minutes to reach our hotel in central Kathmandu as traffic congestion in city can be bad.
Depending on the arrival time of your flight, should you wish to explore, our hotel is located a short walk from the lively Thamel area. Home to a multitude of outdoor gear, souvenir shops, great bookshops and a huge variety of restaurants, it's a fun place to wander.
Mila Hotel (or similar)
After breakfast there will be a trek briefing by your tour leader to let you know the programme for the next few days, to make sure everyone is properly equipped for the trek and to give you an idea of what to expect on a day to day basis. We have then arranged a walking tour, visiting the bazaar and the Durbar Square area, the centre of old Kathmandu. Much of the day to day life of Kathmandu takes place in the bazaar: a fascinating mixture of people selling fruit, vegetables and spices, devotees visiting their favourite gods at temples and small shrines dotted along the sides of alleyways, rickshaw wallahs honking their horns and the ever present sacred cow wandering amongst it all.
Leaving the capital today we drive to Pokhara. The drive will take us much of the day but there is plenty to see as the landscape changes and the Annapurna range comes in to view.
Hotel Pokhara Batika (or similar)
Today we leave Pokhara and drive via Nayapul to Kiwl village where we begin our trek. Today's walk follows a stone pathway, and for the most time we are climbing roughly hewn steps - it can be tough on the knees so bring walking poles. Our base for tonight is the small settlement of Ghandruk.
Today's four-and-half kilometre walk is expected to take around three hours with a total ascent of 920 metres and a descent of 280 metres.
Ghandruk Tea House (or similar)
Today we start with an ascent before dropping down to cross the Kimrong Khola by bridge, before making a short ascent to Taulung. We then begin the long steep ascent to join the main trail to Chhomrong. The high point above the main valley is a favourite place for soaring vultures, griffons and lammergeiers, providing us with some awesome vistas as we begin the descent to Chommrong (2060m), the last major settlement before the Sanctuary and an attractive place for us to end the day amidst its alpine lodges and scenic views.
Today's 12 kilometre walk is expected to take around six hours with a total ascent of 810 metres and a descent of 670 metres.
Chomrong Tea House (or similar)
Descending to cross the Chhomrong Khola River by suspension bridge, we enjoy some excellent views of Machhapuchhre today (now exhibiting its distinctive 'fishtail' profile) and Annapurna South. We continue to climb steeply, negotiating a trail that leads us through oak and rhododendron forests until we reach a welcome teahouse on top of the ridge at Sinuwa (2350m). The ascent to Kuldigarth (2470m) is then more gradual, continuing through more lush forest to our lunch stop at the Bamboo Hotel (2340m). This afternoon we continue our ascent towards Dovan, beyond which lies the unofficial gateway into the Sanctuary, walking through wet bamboo forest to reach our accommodation later this afternoon.
Today's 10 kilometre walk is expected to take around seven hours with a total ascent of 1060 metres and a descent of 620 metres.
Tip Top Lodge (or similar)
This morning the track continues up past the so-called 'weeping wall' and the shrine of the 'God of the Jungle', to the Himalaya Hotel (2840m). Passing several spectacular waterfalls which cascade down the opposite side of the Modi Khola, we climb through bamboo forest to reach Hinku Cave at 3100m. We ascend further until we reach the small settlement of Deurali where we will spend the night.
Today's five kilometre walk is expected to take around three and a half hours with a total ascent of 760 metres and a descent of 80 metres.
Deurali Tea House (or similar)
Today we climb further to pass between Machhapuchhre and Huinchuli - the 'Gates' into the Sanctuary. Climbing over rocky moraine we arrive at Machhapuchhre Base Camp (3720m). Overshadowed by Annapurna South and the beautiful shape of Machhapuchhre (machha, fish' and puchhre, 'tail'), one of Nepal's holy mountains, this is a quite awe-inspiring setting in which to end our day's trekking, the mountain landscapes providing us with a sight to raise the spirits of even the most tired amongst us.
Today's five kilometre walk is expected to take around three and a half hours with a total ascent of 540 metres and a descent of 40 metres.
Machhapuchhre Tea House (or similar)
We spend the day enjoying the views within the very heart of the sanctuary. Having made a 'crack of dawn' start to get the best of the day, we follow part of the route taken by British mountaineer Chris Bonnington on the 1970 Annapurna south face expedition. Following west along a moraine to the north of Hiunchuli, we reach several stone buildings at 4130m and then ascend to a spectacular viewpoint. Here we have amazing views of the peaks encircling us including close up views of the south face of Annapurna I which towers over the Sanctuary and also of Annapurna South glacier. We will have time to enjoy this special mountain panorama, to sit amongst the edelweiss and watch the ice carving its way from the glacier, before descending back to Machhapuchhre Base Camp.
Today's five kilometre walk is expected to take around three and a half hours with a total ascent of 430 metres and a descent of 430 metres.
We begin our descent today as we head for Bamboo (2340m), passing through the bamboo forest and crossing a number of rocky avalanche chutes. Approximately 6 hours walking.
Today's 12 kilometre walk is expected to take around six hours with a total ascent of 140 metres and a descent of 1550 metres.
Bamboo Lodge (or similar)
Descending through rhododendron forest full of noisy birds - mostly black-capped Sibia, we then cross the Chhomrong Khola and climb up to Chhomrong village (2060m) where we take a rest break. We then climb for a short while before descending to Jhinnu Danda, our home for the night.
Today's 12 kilometre walk is expected to take around six hours with a total ascent of 690 metres and a descent of 1230 metres.
There is an optional walk to Hot spring which will approximately take 45 minutes.
Jhinnu Danda Lodge (or similar)
Our final day in the mountains sees us making a short trek to Samrung from where we'll take local jeeps to Nayapul for the one and half hours\ drive. A bus will meet us here for an hour journey back to Pokhara where a hot shower and perhaps a well-earned cold beer await us.
Today's two-kilometer walk is expected to take around two hours with a total ascent of 90 meters and a descent of 100 meters.
Pokhara is smaller and more relaxed than Kathmandu and is beautifully situated on the banks of Phewa Tal (lake). Only foothills separate the town from the high mountains and there are superb views of the snowcapped Annapurna range, including Machhapuchhre - the famous 'Fishtail' mountain. Our day here is free to relax after the trek. There is the option to take a small boat across the lake and walk to the Japanese Peace Pagoda or simply relax in one of the lakeside cafe gardens after exploring the many souvenir shops.
Today we drive back to Kathmandu. The drive takes around 7-8 hours, however along the way we are rewarded with views of the Himalaya.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Kathmandu.
There are no activities planned for today, so you are free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM).
Total distance : 67.5 kilometres
Temperatures in the lower altitude regions are extremely pleasant. At Pokhara variations in temperature are very limited: from the coldest recorded of 8°C (46°F) to the highest of 31°C (88°F). The mountains are best admired, with greater air clarity, from October to January, while from February to May the skies may be hazy. Monsoon rains are strongest in June, July and August. The coldest months are December and January.
2 Pin Round
Being properly equipped is one of the keys to a successful trek. The following check list and notes to be sure that you have what you need for the actual trek. Long Trousers - For everyday walking, light cotton trousers are the most suitable. Knee length shorts are acceptable in the more remote areas, but to avoid giving offence in the villages, you should cover up with trousers. Although comfortable, leggings are also unsuitable as they too cause offence to local people.Jeans are not recommended as they are often difficult to walk in over longer distances and become cumbersome when wet. Down Jacket - After sunset, temperatures can fall below freezing. A down jacket is the lightest and most convenient way of keeping warm when the temperature drops. Down jackets can be inexpensively hired or bought in Nepal. Details will be given at the briefing in Kathmandu. Waterproofs - Breathable waterproofs not only protect against rain and wind but also stop you from overheating. They 'breathe' and avoid condensation which you will experience from nylon waterproofs. Rain during the trekking season is fairly rare but can be heavy if it does happen. Gloves - Especially useful in the morning and in the evening at higher altitudes. Thermal types are most suitable. Socks - It is best to wear a pair of reasonably thick loop stitch socks. This helps to protect your feet against blisters. Avoid nylon socks, they are abrasive, don't breathe well and can cause blisters. Lightweight Shoes or Trainers - Useful in towns and when travelling. Thick fleece pullover/jacket - A thick fleece pullover or jacket is necessary as nights can be very cold at altitude. Make sure that your waterproof jacket is loose enough to wear over your pullover or jacket. Track Suit - Comfortable and much more practical (and warmer) to sleep in than pyjamas. Alternatively, thermal underwear is good. Thin Shirt/T-Shirt Thick Shirt or Thermal Vest Warm Hat
We strongly recommend you bring walking boots with ankle support- leather or fabric are both fine. Make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Trainers and tennis shoes do not give the ankle support afforded by a decent pair of walking boots. Ideally, visit a specialist outdoor pursuits shop who will offer advice. Aso trainers or sandals for relaxing and general wear. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
Your luggage should consist of three main pieces:
Main Baggage: The item of luggage used to carry all your belongings in the hold of the plane and used to store all of the items you don't need on trek. This can be left behind at the group hotel used prior to the trek.
Trek Kitbag: Customers on all of our treks in Nepal receive a free Explore kitbag on the tour prior to the start of the trek. Approximately 80 litres in size it's ideal for all items you need to take on trek and the luggage preferred by our porters. The weight limit for this is 10kg but you will probably find that you do not need this much.
Daysac/Rucksack: 30-35 litres recommended. During the course of a trekking day, you do not have access to the luggage which is being carried for you by the porters. In any mountain region the weather can change rapidly and you must be equipped for this eventuality. Your daysac should therefore be large enough to carry waterproofs, fleece jacketweater, long trousers (if walking in shorts), warm hat and gloves, sun hat, sun cream, water bottle (minimum 1 litre) and your camera. Most people normally find that this adds up to about 2 to 3kg. Other optional items in a daysac might be a diary or a book to read at lunch time. On a few occasions it is also necessary to carry your own packed lunch. We advise you to take a waterproof rucksack cover or alternatively line the sack with a large plastic bag to keep the contents dry.
Advice on how and what to pack for the trek will be given at the tour briefing but it may be useful to do a trial pack before you leave home.
We recommend taking the following items: Sleeping Bag- The teahouses we use on trek all provide bedding and blankets however you will need a 4-season sleeping bag and fleece liner for warmth. Water Bottles or Platypus/CamelBak style hydration system - Water along the trail must never be considered as drinkable. Boiled water will be provided in the morning during the trek to fill your water bottles and this should be either filtered by you (see below) or sterilised with chlorine dioxide tablets. If you dislike the taste of sterilised water, it is a good idea to add some powdered fruit juice. For environmental reasons, we do not encourage the purchase of bottled mineral water nor the boiling of water due to fuel and power shortages. Explore have partnered with Water-To-Go who supply 75cl personal water bottles with an in-built filter that eliminates 99.99% of all microbiological contaminants including viruses, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals. https://watertogo.eu/partnerships/explore. You can drink direct from the bottle which has a drinking spout and fill these either from the tap or with the boiled water provided on trek. Your Water-To-Go bottle can then be topped up during the day from your standard water bottle. Dry Bags - If you pack bits and pieces in a selection of dry bags inside your bag they will stay dry in case of rain and be easier for you to sort through in camp. Remember, the less you have to unpack in the evening, the less you have to repack each morning! A liner to pack inside your daysack is also a good idea. Torch/Batteries/Bulb - A small torch is essential for finding things in your room. Head torches are particularly useful. There may be only a limited selection of batteries available locally so bring spare batteries and bulb. Toiletries - Try to keep heavy cosmetics etc to a minimum. Essentials are toothbrush/paste, biodegradable soap, small towel, small nailbrush and toilet rolls. Sunglasses or Snow Goggles - A good pair of sunglasses is essential for protection against UV rays and glare at high altitudes. Sun Hat, High Factor Sun Cream/Block & Lip Salve Choose a high factor suncream (Factor 15 or more) to protect your skin against the sun at high altitudes. A combination sunblock/ lipsalve is ideal for facial protection. Personal First Aid Kit - Each trek carries an extensive first aid kit but no prescription medicines. You should have your own supply of plasters, aspirin, diarrhoea tablets and also a comprehensive blister kit as well as any other medicines you and your doctor feels advisable. (Please do not give medicines to local people without consulting the trek leader.) Trekking poles - Trekking poles with rubber points are recommended. Gaiters Whistle - To attract attention in an emergency. Spare Laces Swimsuit Antibacterial handwash Bandana Almost every item required for a trek can be purchased or hired in Kathmandu and your Tour Leader can advise on the best shops to visit at your tour briefing. Equipment Hire in Nepal - Almost every item required for a trek can be purchased or hired in Kathmandu and your Tour Leader can advise on the best shops to visit at your tour briefing. The costs of hiring are as follows: Please note: each item has a minimum charge of 7 days and then an additional per day charge added every after that if longer than 7 days: Sleeping Bag (4 season)- Rs.60 per day (Rs.420 for 7 days- minimum) Cotton sleeping bag inner liner (new)- Rs.150 per day (Rs.1050 for 7 days- minimum) Down Jacket- Rs.50 per day (Rs.350 for 7 days- minimum) Equipment Hire and Trek Training Days in the UK - Trek Hire UK hire out a wide range of kit including quality sleeping bags, down jackets, therm-a-rest sleeping mats and walking poles http://www.trekhireuk.com. They also run regular trek training and preparation days from their base in the Surrey Hills, ideal for getting an indication of your overall fitness level and also covering advice on kit and altitude.
Although accommodation choices in Nepal are expanding and overall standards improving, please note that whatever the level, from basic guesthouse to high end city centre hotel, you should always be prepared for standards to be different than in the West. For example, even in the best hotels, plumbing and electricity supplies can be somewhat erratic and although the welcome is always warm, service levels may be less efficient than you may be used to. Tea houses in Nepal were originally local homes where the family opened their doors to visitors and served drinks and simple meals and a place to sleep for the night. Over time these developed into a homestay-hotel hybrid and the concept of the 'tea house' was established. At the tea houses on this trek will usually be accommodated in a twin room with a bed, mattress and pillow but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag. Occasionally, when there is a larger group and the trails are very busy, you may need to share a triple or even quad room. Tea houses are sometimes likened to 'indoor camping' - there is no central heating and the usually shared toilet and shower facilities will be basic - there may be a squat style toilet and hot water is not always available. Meals are taken in the heated communal dining area which also provides a place to relax and socialise after the days walking. Over the course of the trek there will be a range of Nepali, Chinese and some Western dishes provided. Vegetarians are well catered for. A comprehensive range of hot and cold drinks will be available. Staying in tea houses is a great way of meeting the kind-natured men, women and children of Nepal and helps to support the economy in these remote mountain communities.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Nepal: An entry visa is required by UK, New Zealand, Australian, US & Canadian citizens and can be obtained on arrival at Kathmandu Airport and various international border crossings between Nepal and its neighbouring countries. This currently costs $30 USD for a 15 day visa, $50 USD for a 30 day visa and $125 USD for a 90 day visa. All visas are issued as multiple entry visas and are valid from the date they are issued. There have been reports of lengthy delays when completing the form to obtain the visa at the airport, especially during peak times. We therefore recommend that you fill in the visa information prior to arrival using the following link: http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/. This will produce a receipt with a barcode, which you will need to print off and produce on arrival to obtain the visa. Please note if you are filling in the form before you arrive, please do so only within 15 days of arrival as application forms are only stored for a maximum of 15 days. Whether you are filling in the form on arrival or before, a passport-sized photograph for immigration is required along with the exact cash. Payment must be made in cash, UK sterling and US dollars are both accepted. If you are ineligible for the visa on arrival or wish to obtain a visa before you travel, please refer to your nearest Nepal embassy. Trekking Permits: A Trekkers Information Management Sytem (TIMS) card and Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) permit will be applied for on your behalf by our local agents in Kathmandu. In order to facilitate this please bring a copy of your passport and two additional passport-sized photos. Your tour leader will collect these at the start of the trip.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
This trip goes to an altitude where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), a common and usually harmless condition caused by reduced air pressure and a lower concentration of oxygen. Whilst the itinerary has been specifically designed to allow your body to acclimatise gradually, the speed of onset and severity - as well as the height at which AMS develops can vary greatly between individuals; being physically fit affords no special protection. If symptoms occur while on tour you must let your tour leader know immediately. For further advice when travelling at altitude we recommend visiting the medical advice website of Medex and download their information booklet: http://medex.org.uk/medex_book/english_version.php We carry oxygen tanks on all Annapurna Sanctuary treks which can be used to treat altitude sickness whilst a patient is moved to lower altitude. Travellers with heart or lung conditions, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure, or taking the contraceptive pill must seek the advice of their GP and specifically mention the maximum altitude the trip reaches (please refer to Tour Essentials box on front page of your Tour Notes). Please take these to your medical appointment so that your doctor has the full details of your trip. You must have adequate travel insurance for your trip. Please ensure that your insurance policy covers you to the maximum altitude indicated above. If you have Explore insurance you will be covered to this altitude.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against malaria, infectious hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus, polio and Japanese encephalitis. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Although not compulsory, travellers may wish to take immunisation against meningococcal meningitis. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.