annapurna sanctuary trekking nepal

Trekking in the Annapurna Sanctuary, Nepal

The Annapurna Sanctuary is a natural amphitheatre surrounded by the towering peaks of the Himalaya. We trek through subtropical forests to reach this lofty setting, with an optional hike to Advance Base Camp below Annapurna I.

Photo by Sean Morrissey & Leila Thompson

display information about this photo
Annapurna Sanctuary route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $3595  
Length: 16 days
Arrive: Kathmandu, Nepal
Depart: Kathmandu, Nepal
Lodging: 5 nights hotels, 10 nights full-service camping
Meals: All meals included except 3 lunches and 4 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: 11-day trek on steep trails, 5-8 hours a day, altitudes between 4,000-13,500 feet
5p

Highlights

  • Enjoy one of Nepal’s most celebrated treks, with an Exploration Day in a spectacular mountain cirque
  • Sublime scenery, from beautiful Gurung villages to the highest peaks of the Annapurnas
  • Wilderness Travel’s famous full-service camping, expert Trek Leaders and sherpa crew


An outstanding experience and lots of fun. Most memorable all around.K. Brown—Bethesda MD

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

The mountain-ringed amphitheater of the Annapurna Sanctuary is one of the most dramatic settings in the Himalaya, with a 360-degree panorama of snow-covered peaks including Annapurna I (26,545’) and the sacred “fishtail” spire of Machapuchare (22,943’). Our stunning trek brings you through a dazzling range of landscapes, from the brilliant green terraces, bamboo groves, and rhododendron forests of Gurung country, where slate-roofed villages and Buddhist chortens dot the trail, right to Annapurna Base Camp, set in a spectacular glacier world surrounded by peaks more than 23,000 feet high. Once inside this breathtaking sanctuary, our special Exploration Day brings you up to high ridges for ever-expanding views that are simply out of this world.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Kathmandu

Discover Kathmandu’s extraordinary Hindu and Buddhist temples and bustling bazaars.

Days 3-5
Pokhara / Annapurna Foothills

From Pokhara, a trek along picturesque trails and hand-built stone staircases brings you up through the Modi Khola Valley to the handsome Gurung village of Ghandruk, with its ochre-washed houses and slate-paved courtyards. Ghandruk is home to generations of Gurung men who have served in Britain’s legendary Gurkha regiments, and in the lanes of this lovely village you’ll have a chance to meet artisans and learn about their fascinating culture. Continuing higher, arrive at Chomrong, the last permanent village below the Sanctuary.

Days 6-9
Annapurna Sanctuary

Emerging above treeline, enter the Sanctuary through a natural “gate” made by the lower ramparts of Machapuchare and Hiunchuli. From our camp at Machapuchare Base Camp (12,150’), you’ll have an incredible view of the peak, often bathed in alpenglow long after dusk. Hiking higher into the Sanctuary itself to Annapurna Base Camp (13,000’), you’ll savor an Exploration Day in this extraordinary cirque ringed by some of the world’s highest mountains. All along the way, you’ll enjoy the company of highly trained and experienced Trek Leaders who have great connections with the local people.

Days 10-16
Pokhara / Kathmandu

Panoramas of the entire Annapurna Massif accompany you on the descent to the Pokhara Valley. Fly back to Kathmandu and depart on Day 16.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 5+, Strenuous. We have 11 hiking days, with hikes of 6-8 hours a day on moderate to steep trails. Most of the hiking is between 5,000 and 13,000 feet, and our highest camp is at about 13,000 feet. On trek, there are steep ascents and descents (often 2,000 to 3,000 feet in elevation gain or loss per day), including sections of steep, stone staircases. For the most part, you can go at your own speed. The group spreads out along the trail during the day, with our guides hiking along with us to make sure that everyone finds the way.

There are dangers inherent in any expedition traveling to remote wilderness regions, especially when they involve travel to high altitude. These dangers include everything from rock falls to the possibility of a serious fall, accident, or sickness without access to means of rapid evacuation, availability of medical supplies, or adequate medical attention once provided. Our Trek Leaders and support crew are experienced veterans of the Nepal Himalaya, but it takes cooperation and flexibility from each participant to ensure a successful trek.

Getting in Shape
Every participant must understand that this trek is truly challenging—you should be in excellent physical condition. Even though trip members carry only a daypack (with camera, jacket, rain gear, water bottle, and other small necessities you may need during the day), we recommend you make a special effort to get in top physical shape for the trip by hiking, running, swimming, bicycling, or engaging in other forms of aerobic exercise well beyond your normal routine. Many activities get heart and lungs into shape, but the most effective way of getting fit for hiking is to hike! Walking up and down flights of stairs is also an effective way to train for the steep ascents and descents in the Himalaya. Bending your knees as you go down stairs will help strengthen your quad muscles. At least two months prior to your trek, we urge you to go on weekend day hikes that involve long uphill and downhill walking.

For this trek, we require your doctor sign the Wilderness Travel Medical Form. Once Wilderness Travel has confirmed your place on the trip roster, no refunds beyond our standard fees will be made if your physician refuses to sign the form. It is very important that you and your physician fully agree that you are physically capable of undertaking a strenuous trek, and equally important that you undertake proper conditioning prior to the trek.

The Trek Leader and/or trip doctor have the right to disqualify any member from the trip at any time if it is medically necessary, to avoid endangering the group, or if the participant in question is physically unfit for the rigors of the trip. Refunds are not given under such circumstances.

Trek Leader
Our trek is led by an experienced English-speaking Sirdar (leader) who is ably assisted by a team of assistants and a trail crew. He and his team have a deep connection with the Himalayas and are wonderful trailside companions, hiking with you throughout each day on the trail, providing good company, and making sure that you are comfortable and hiking at a pace that suits you.

A Typical Trekking Day
Hiking distances on trek are normally measured in hours, not miles, since maps aren’t really accurate enough to assess how far we walk up and down winding mountain trails. On a typical trek day, wake-up is around 7:00 am. After packing up our duffels and having breakfast, we set off on the trail while the crew strikes camp and the porters or pack animals shoulder their loads. The crew usually passes us by midmorning to get ahead and prepare our lunch. We ask you not to hike ahead of the leader because trails are often not well-marked.

We typically walk for three to four hours in the morning, then stop for a leisurely lunch of an hour or more at a scenic spot on the trail. After lunch, we walk for another three hours or so until we reach our next night’s camp. Upon arrival in camp, we have late afternoon tea and a snack. On our exploration days we occasionally have more time in the morning or afternoon near our camp for rest or further individual exploration. Temperatures drop quickly as the sun falls behind the peaks, and it’s easy to get chilled after exerting yourself for several hours, so have an extra layer of clothing ready. Dinner is served to us in a dining tent with table and chairs. After dinner, we usually chat away the evening in the dining tent or read by flashlight until bedtime.

Meals on Trek
Our own experienced cook crew is part of the Wilderness Travel  trekking staff, and all our meals will be prepared by them. Our cooks are trained and offer a good variety of hygienically prepared meals. Our drinking water is always boiled and treated washing water is put out before every meal so you can wash your hands before eating. Meals are a blend of Nepalese and Western dishes. Breakfast is normally a light meal of porridge or granola, with hot milk, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, biscuits, or cookies. Lunches may include potatoes, eggs, curried vegetables, cheese, local-style breads, fruit, tea, hot chocolate or a fruit drink. Dinner is typically soup and a main course such as a noodle dish, or meat or vegetable stew, depending on what is available in local villages. Dessert on trek is usually canned or fresh fruit.  If you are partial to special treats (licorice, candy bars, trail mix, and so on), please bring your own supply with you for the trek. A variety of sweets, nuts, and dried fruit can be purchased in Kathmandu.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2014
Oct 6-21, 2014  Pasang Temba Sherpa
Nov 10-25, 2014  Mingma Temba Sherpa
2015
Mar 16-31, 2015
Apr 4-19, 2015
Oct 10-25, 2015
Oct 31-Nov 15, 2015
Nov 19-Dec 4, 2015
2016
Mar 16-31, 2016
Apr 2-17, 2016

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$3595 (10-12 members)
$3795 (6-9 members)
Single supplement: $625
Forced single supplement: $425
Internal airfare: $265 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Taj Mahal and Jaipur Extension
   from: $2595
Scenic Everest Flight
   from: $245
South India Extension: The Malabar Coast
   from: $2155
Kanha National Park Extension
   from: $2095
Varanasi and Khajuraho Extension
   from: $1295
Temples of Angkor Extension
   from: $850
Laos: Luang Prabang Extension
   from: $860
Burma Extension
   from: $2595
Bangkok Extension
   from: $645
Phuket Extension
   from: $795
Chiang Mai Extension
   from: $490
Tharu Lodge Extension
   from: $660

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of an experienced Trek Leader
  • Services of trail staff
  • Private cooking staff on trek
  • Camping accommodations on trek and in a first-class hotel in Kathmandu
  • All meals included except 3 lunches and 4 dinners
  • Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and liners for use on trek
  • Land transportation, airport transfers for passengers as noted

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare; airport departure taxes; any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure; optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff; any additional hotel nights that may be needed due to your international travel schedule; pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations, visa fees, travel insurance; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.). In the event of non-availability of Kathmandu-Pokhara-Kathmandu flights, our Wilderness Travel representative will try to arrange alternative transport (at extra cost to you).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Hotel Shangri-La

Hotel Shangri-La

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights),
Days 14 to 15 (2 nights), Kathmandu, Nepal

This well-regarded hotel is renowned for its friendly staff and also has two excellent restaurants. The Shangri-La  is located just a 15- to ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Annapurna Trek Camps

Annapurna Trek Camps

Days 3 to 12 (10 nights), Himalayas, Nepal

We make hiking and camping in the Himalaya as comfortable as it can get! On the trail, you are accompanied by our experienced team of Nepali trail ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Shangri-La Village Resort

Shangri-La Village Resort

Day 13 (1 night), Pokhara, Nepal

The Shangri-La Village Resort is a haven of tranquility, with its spacious landscaped gardens, swimming pool, and panoramic views from every room. ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Pasang Temba Sherpa

Departure Dates: October 6-21, 2014

Pasang Temba Sherpa hails from Khunde (12,600'), a beautiful Sherpa town in the Everest region of Nepal. Born to a well-known high-altitude expedition Sherpa, Pasang Temba was educated at the Sir Edmund Hillary School in Khumjung (which his father had helped to build). He began his career as a ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Mingma Temba Sherpa

Departure Dates: November 10-25, 2014

Mingma Temba Sherpa was born in Chhukung (15,551'), a spectacular valley above the ancient Sherpa village of Khumjung on the trekking route to Mt. Everest. He attended the Sir Edmund Hillary School in Khumjung. Mingma has done extensive guiding in the entire Everest region and also in the Mardi ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

Burma

Burma Extension

Yangon and Bagan

Cultural Adventures
6 days  -  Level 2

Cambodia

angkor wat cambodia temples

Temples of Angkor Extension

Exploring the Glories of a Bygone Khmer Civilization

Cultural Adventures
4 days  -  Level 2

India

Kanha National Park Extension

Gameviewing in one of India’s Great Wildlife Reserves

Wildlife & Natural History
5 days  -  Level 2

South India Extension: The Malabar Coast

Cochin and a Cruise Along the Backwaters of Kerala

Cultural Adventures, Walking
4 days  -  Level 1+

taj mahal agra india cultural tour

Taj Mahal and Jaipur Extension

Romantic Rajasthan, Land of Princes

Cultural Adventures
4 days  -  Level 1

Varanasi and Khajuraho Extension

Holy City Along the Ganges, Magnificent World-Famous Temples

Cultural Adventures
4 days  -  Level 1

Laos

Laos: Luang Prabang Extension

Gilded Temples and Traditional Buddhist Culture of Laos

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 2

Myanmar

Burma Extension

Yangon and Bagan

Cultural Adventures
6 days  -  Level 2

Nepal

everest flying views himalaya

Scenic Everest Flight

Admire the Giants of the Himalaya from a Close Perspective!


Level 1

Tharu Lodge Extension

Cultural Encounters, Jungle Walks, Elephant Rides

Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History, Photography
3 days  -  Level 1

Thailand

wat arun bangkok thailand

Bangkok Extension

Discover the Beautiful Cultural Monuments of Bangkok

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 1

Chiang Mai Extension

Explore the Wonders of Northern Thailand

Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
3 days  -  Level 2

Phuket Extension

Explore a Jewel Set in the Andaman Sea

Cultural Adventures, Sea Kayaking
4 days  -  Level 2

Client Comments

An outstanding experience and lots of fun. Most memorable all around. K. Brown, Bethesda MD Trip of a lifetime! Will definitely go with Wilderness Travel again. Nancy L., Orinda, CA We were most pleased with our wonderful stay in Nepal. Our guides, cooks, and porters were most accommodating and certainly catered to our needs. We were well taken care of, well fed, and well attended. Derek C., West Orange, NJ
A very well run and executed trek! Zsolt A., Kirkland, WA