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

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Annapurna Sanctuary route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $3995  
Length: 16 days
Arrive: Kathmandu, Nepal
Depart: Kathmandu, Nepal
Lodging: 5 nights hotels, 10 nights locally-owned Nepali lodges
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 4,000-13,700 feet


  • Enjoy one of Nepal’s most celebrated treks, with an Exploration Day in a spectacular mountain cirque—and no camping!
  • Sublime scenery, from beautiful Gurung villages to the highest peaks of the Annapurnas
  • Wilderness Travel’s expert Trek Leaders and Sherpa crew

This was a fabulous trip! The scenery was spectacular, the Nepali people were incredibly friendly, our guides were all wonderful people, and all aspects of WT's organization of the trip were excellent.Jane R.—Glastonbury, CT

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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.


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.

The mountain-ringed amphitheater of the Annapurna Sanctuary is one of the most dramatic settings in the Himalaya, presenting 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 terraced rice fields to the bamboo groves and rhododendron forests of Gurung country and right to Annapurna Base Camp, set in a spectacular glacial world of towering peaks. 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 1-5
Kathmandu / Pokhara / Annapurna Foothills

Discover Kathmandu’s extraordinary Hindu and Buddhist temples and bustling bazaars, then head to the Pokhara Valley. From here, our 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, you’ll arrive at Chomrong, the last permanent village below the Sanctuary. Throughout our trek, we stay in locally-owned lodges that offer comfort and insights into this enchanting world.

Days 6-9
Annapurna Sanctuary

Emerging above treeline, we enter the Sanctuary through a natural “gate” made by the lower ramparts of Machapuchare and Hiunchuli. From our lodge near 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 (13,760'), you’ll savor an Exploration Day in this extraordinary cirque ringed by some of the world’s highest mountains, including the stupendous South Face of Annapurna I.

Days 10-16
Pokhara / Kathmandu

Enjoy panoramas of the entire Annapurna Massif as we descend to the Pokhara Valley by a different trek route. 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, according to our trip rating system. 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 has 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 Nepali 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 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 lodging. Upon arrival, we have late afternoon tea and a snack. On our exploration days we occasionally have more time in the morning or afternoon 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 the lodge, and afterwards, we usually chat away the evening or read 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

Mar 16-31, 2016  Bhuwan KC
Apr 2-17, 2016  Jangbo Sherpa
Oct 8-23, 2016
Nov 7-22, 2016
Mar 13-28, 2017
Apr 3-18, 2017

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016
$3995 (6-10 members)
$4395 (3-5 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: $2495
Scenic Everest Flight
   from: $255
South India Extension: The Malabar Coast
   from: $2395
Kanha National Park Extension
   from: $2195
Varanasi and Khajuraho Extension
   from: $1395
Temples of Angkor Extension
   from: $755
Laos: Luang Prabang Extension
   from: $840
Burma Extension
   from: $2595
Bangkok Extension
   from: $645
Phuket Extension
   from: $795
Chiang Mai Extension
   from: $470
Tharu Lodge Extension
   from: $690
Karnali Lodge Extension
   from: $1460

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $600
90 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Up to 91 days prior to departure: No charge!
61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of an experienced Trek Leader
  • Accommodations in a first-class hotel in Kathmandu and locally-owned Nepali lodges on trek
  • Services of trail staff 
  • Private cooking staff on trek
  • All meals included except 3 lunches and 4 dinners
  • Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and liners for use at the lodges
  • Land transportation, airport transfers 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).

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation to the arrival and from the departure cities listed below. For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

2016 Departures

Hotel Shangri-La
Kathmandu, Nepal
Date: Day 1
Suggested arrival time: before 3:00 pm

Suggested Arrival Airport:
Tribhuvan International Airport (airport code KTM)
Kathmandu, Nepal
Kathmandu, Nepal
Date: Day 16
Suggested departure time: anytime

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Tribhuvan International Airport (airport code KTM)
Kathmandu, Nepal

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 25-minute walk ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Annapurna Lodges

Annapurna Lodges

Days 3 to 12 (10 nights), Annapurna Foothills and Sanctuary, Nepal

These simple yet comfortable mountain lodges are situated in picturesque villages that offer amazing panoramas of the mighty Annapurnas. The lodges ...
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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).

Bhuwan KC

Departure Dates: March 16-31, 2016

Bhuwan KC, born to a farming family in the Dhaulagiri region of Nepal, holds an ISC in Biology from PN College in Pokhara and has also studied flora and fauna in London’s Kew Gardens and the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh.  In his youth, he began working as a porter on treks, then ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Jangbo Sherpa

Departure Dates: April 2-17, 2016

Jangbo Sherpa got an early start on the trail, and brings close to a decade of professional experience guiding throughout the Himalaya, both in Tibet and Nepal. His warm spirit and charming personality have made him a favorite among travelers and staff as well, and hiking amidst these ...
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 Extension

Yangon and Bagan

Cultural Adventures
6 days  -  Level 2


angkor wat cambodia temples

Temples of Angkor Extension

Exploring the Glories of a Bygone Khmer Civilization

Cultural Adventures
4 days  -  Level 2


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: Luang Prabang Extension

Gilded Temples and Traditional Buddhist Culture of Laos

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 2


Burma Extension

Yangon and Bagan

Cultural Adventures
6 days  -  Level 2


Karnali Lodge Extension

Exploring Bardia National Park

Photography, Safaris, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
4 days  -  Level 1

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


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

This was a fabulous trip! The scenery was spectacular, the Nepali people were incredibly friendly, our guides were all wonderful people, and all aspects of WT's organization of the trip were excellent. Jane R., Glastonbury, CT A very well run and executed trek! Zsolt A., Kirkland, WA 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
Trip of a lifetime! Will definitely go with Wilderness Travel again. Nancy L., Orinda, CA An outstanding experience and lots of fun. Most memorable all around. K. Brown, Bethesda MD