Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

  • 14 Days
  • Avg Group Size: 12
  • Activity Level 4
    • Activity Level 4

      Be prepared for some serious physical activity on our Level 4 trips. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy it, as most hikes will be challenging.

    Read more about the Active Range

  • Trip Start: Kathmandu
  • Trip End: Kathmandu
Annapurna Sanctuary Trek AST

Experience rugged beauty like you've never seen before on our Annapurna Sanctuary Trek.

Discover a natural amphitheater accessed on a trail that's less about 'that one photo' and more about a life-changing journey on our 14-day Annapurna Sanctuary Trek. We'll start our trip by exploring the temples and markets of Kathmandu, Nepal's bustling capital city, before flying to the lakeside city of Pokhara at the foot of the Himalayas. Instead of hiking the now gravel road that makes up much of the Annapurna Circuit, you'll join us on a trek that heads right up into Annapurna Mountain Range. Arriving at the base camps of Annapurna and Machapuchare (Fish Tail), you'll be rewarded with 360-degree views of mountains all around you. Throughout your Annapurna Base Camp Trek, you'll explore deep into the Himalayas, hike up the glacial Modi Khola River gorge, pass through tiny Gurung settlements, and into an alpine area that will take your breath away. You'll be accompanied by an Active trip leader who will meet you in Kathmandu and introduce you to your Nepalese team of guides and porters.

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Our Trip Itinerary contains all the exciting details you can expect to do on our trips. Get a clear picture of the adventures on this trip.

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Annapurna Sanctuary Trek ~ Itinerary

Trip Start: Kathmandu Trip End: Kathmandu

Download our Handy Trip itenary

Our Trip Itinerary contains all the exciting details you can expect to do on our trips. Get a clear picture of the adventures on this trip

  • Day 1Arrive Kathmandu

  • Day 2Visit Swayambhunath Temple, fly to Pokhara

  • Day 3Hike to Ghandruk

  • Day 4Hike from Ghandruk to Chhomrong

  • Day 5Hike from Chhomrong to Dobhan

  • Day 6Hike from Dobhan to Deurali

  • Day 7Hike from Deurali to Machapuchare Base Camp

  • Day 8Base Camp of Annapurna

  • Day 9Hike from Dobhan to Jhinudanda

  • Day 10Hike from Jhinudanda to Tolka

  • Day 11Hike from Tolka to Kande, journey to Pokhara

  • Day 12Free time in Pokhara

  • Day 13Return to Kathmandu

  • Day 14Depart for home

  • Day 1

    Arrive Kathmandu

    Your trip starts in the lively and bustling city of Kathmandu with an explosion to the senses - take a deep breath! You’ll be met at Kathmandu airport by a friendly face from Active Adventures who will accompany you to our hotel. If you arrive early, you can head out to explore the city’s labyrinth of back streets, courtyards, colorful market stalls and ancient temples for your first taste of Nepal’s culture and friendly people. This afternoon, your guide will meet you at our hotel and run through what to expect from the days ahead. Tonight, we’ll take you out for dinner at a local restaurant, for your first experience of Nepalese dining - a culinary crossroad between the influences of China, India and Europe, which makes for some really interesting flavor combinations. Elevation: Kathmandu - 1400 meters (4600 feet)

    Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu (Dinner)

  • Day 2

    Visit Swayambhunath Temple, fly to Pokhara

    Today we’ll head a short distance out of town to an ancient stone pilgrim stairway that leads to the Swayambhunath Temple. Keep an eye out for macaque monkeys as they often join us on the walk up the stairway – they’ve even been known to steal hats on occasion, so stay alert! According to local legend, Swayambhunath (meaning ‘self-arisen’), was said to have risen up from a lake that once covered the land where Kathmandu now stands. Up on the hilltop temple, the smell of incense and butter lamps will follow you as you gaze out over the sprawling city of Kathmandu below. Local devotees come here daily to make a ritual circumnavigation of the centerpiece stupa (a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine) and spin the prayer wheels set into its base. After lunch, we’ll head to the airport where we’ll take a short flight to Pokhara, the beautiful gateway town of the Annapurna Himalayas. We’ll enjoy dinner on the lakefront at one of our favorite lakeside restaurants. Elevation: Pokhara - 827 meters (2713 feet)

    Pokhara Lodgings, Pokhara (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 3

    Hike to Ghandruk

    Today we hit the trail! We’ll journey from Pokhara, past Naya Pul, to start hiking the trail on the banks of the Modi Khola (meaning river), which we’ll follow to its source below Annapurna I. After meeting our Gurung porter team, we’ll start our trek - a gentle trail takes us past rice paddies on our way up the valley, with high peaks looming ahead. After lunch at Kilyu, at the base of the stairs, we'll start our ascent to Ghandruk. Tonight, you can enjoy a traditional dal bhat (lentil curry) meal cooked by our Nepalese hosts. Elevation: Ghandruk- 1940 meters (6,364 feet)

    Tea House, Ghandruk (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 12 kilometers (7.5 miles), 4-5 hours, elevation + 700 meters (2,296 feet)

  • Day 4

    Hike from Ghandruk to Chhomrong

    This morning we’ll head off on a lesser used part of the trail, hiking through low jungle where we encounter monkeys in the trees above us. We'll cross the Kimrong Khola, and enjoy a tea break at Komrong where the views up to Annapurna are mesmerizing, before hiking the steeper section of the trail to the village of Chhomrong. Oddly enough, this town is world famous for its German bakeries - chocolate croissants and apple pie are a heavenly reward after a big day. Whilst we relax and admire the view straight up the valley to Machapuchare, keep an eye out for huge Lamagier vultures as they circle on thermals high above. Machapuchare, also known as ‘Fish Tail’, is unconquered - it’s considered a sacred mountain by the Nepalese and therefore climbing to the summit is forbidden. Elevation: Chhomrong - 2170 meters (7,120 feet)

    Tea House, Chhomrong (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 9.6 kilometers (6 miles), 7hours, elevation + 680 meters (2,230 feet), elevation - 450 meters (1,476 feet)

  • Day 5

    Hike from Chhomrong to Dobhan

    We’ll start the day descending from Chhomrong, past the local school and away from civilization, down towards the river. We’ll stop at Sinuwa for a cuppa and some soup, before continuing through a landscape of dense bamboo, oak and rhododendron forests dotted with orchids and ferns. We’ll follow a cobbled pathway and series of staircases past the village of Bamboo, and onto Dobhan, where silvery langur monkeys can often be spotted at dawn and dusk. Elevation: Dobhan - 2600 meters (8,530 feet)

    Tea House, Dobhan (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 11.5 kilometers (7.1 miles), 4-6 hours, elevation + 430 meters (1,410 feet)

  • Day 6

    Hike from Dobhan to Deurali

    Our day begins with a short hike up out of the canyon, with the sights and sounds of the forest providing a fantastic distraction from the climb. After lunch at the settlement of Himalaya (meaning mountain range), we’ll trek a steep section of the trail to Hinku Cave, a shelter that’s been used by yak herders for centuries. The vegetation starts to thin out as we follow the trail out of the canyon to Deurali, our home for the night. Elevation: Deurali - 3200 meters (10,500 feet)

    Tea House, Deurali (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), 3-5 hours, elevation + 600 meters (1,968 feet)

  • Day 7

    Hike from Deurali to Machapuchare Base Camp

    Today we’ll break through the treeline and into the alpine region. We’ll leave the forest and its wildlife behind and take in the mountain views, which at this point become even more spectacular. As we progress, the valley becomes gradually flatter and widens as we hike towards the ‘gates’ of the sanctuary. We’ll crisscross the valley a little while longer before we arrive at Machapuchare Base Camp. The mountain panorama that greets us includes the peaks of the Annapurna Massif and the triangular south face of Machapuchare itself. We’ll spend the night at the foot of these icy giants before we set off for the Base Camp of Annapurna in the morning. Elevation: Machapuchare Base Camp - 3700 meters (12,140 feet)

    Tea House, Machapuchare Base Camp (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), 3-5 hours, elevation + 500 meters (1,640 feet)

  • Day 8

    Base Camp of Annapurna

    Today is the day! We’ll make our final push to the Base Camp of Annapurna, sitting at 4130 meters (13,549 feet). It’s an amazing accomplishment, so congratulate yourself and your fellow trekkers! You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the south face of Annapurna I (the 10th highest peak in the world) and the glacier falling beneath it. There are few places on the planet that can match this – the peaks of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Annapurna I and Machapuchare seem like they’re barely a stone’s throw away and yet utterly unreachable at the same time. Make sure you have plenty of space on your camera as you’ll be taking heaps of photos. After a cup of tea at the Base Camp, we’ll descend down the valley to Machapuchare Base Camp, where we’ll eat a hearty breakfast, and, re-energized, head back into the bamboo and cloud forest, winding our way back to Dobhan in time for a well-deserved shower and dinner. Well done! Elevation: Annapurna Base Camp - 4130 meters (13, 549 feet) Elevation: Dobhan - 2600 meters (8,530 feet)

    Tea House, Dobhan (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: Hike to Annapurna Base Camp: 3 kilometers (1.8 miles), 2-3 hours, elevation + 426 meters (1,415 feet)
    Hiking: Hike to Dobhan: 11 kilometers (6.8 miles), 7-8 hours, elevation - 1100 meters (3,608 feet)

  • Day 9

    Hike from Dobhan to Jhinudanda

    Today we’ll retrace our steps down carefully maintained cobblestone paths through the forests and canyons, passing waterfalls and crossing rivers along the way. As we get lower, the air becomes more oxygen rich and slightly warmer, giving you a bit more bounce in your step. We’ll have lunch in Chhomrong and afterwards explore the local handicraft markets (keep an eye out for some Tibetan influences here). Tonight we’ll stay in Jhinudanda and soak in the renowned natural riverside hot pools. Elevation: Jhinudanda - 1780 meters (5,840 feet)

    Tea House, Jhinudanda (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 14 kilometers (8.6 miles), 5-7 hours, elevation - 820 meters (2,690 feet)

  • Day 10

    Hike from Jhinudanda to Tolka

    This morning we’ll cross back over the Modi Khola River, leaving it behind for the first time on our trek. As we ascend to the Gurung village of Landruk, you’ll notice many of the locals still wear traditional dress. After a hot drink, we’ll aim to get to Tolka early in the afternoon so we have a chance to kick back and take in the epic views all around. Relaxed and refreshed, it’s time for a song and dance with our Nepalese hosts. Elevation: Tolka - 1700 meters (5,580 feet)

    Tea House, Tolka (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 9 kilometers (5.6 miles), 3-5 hours, elevation - 80 meters (262 feet)

  • Day 11

    Hike from Tolka to Kande, journey to Pokhara

    Our hike this morning rewards us with great views of the Annapurna Himalayas Range and is also an excellent opportunity for bird-watching; there are many different species in this area. Rhododendron forest gives way to grassy meadows before we reach the village of Australia Camp, an excellent ridgetop vantage point, where we’ll farewell the now familiar peaks. After lunch, we’ll weave our way down a series of stone staircases to the village of Kande, where we’ll take the short journey back to Pokhara. Tonight, we’ll all head out to the Silk Road Restaurant and Bar for a celebratory dinner with our guides and porters. Elevation: Pokhara - 830 meters (2,720 feet)

    Pokhara Lodgings, Pokhara (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 11 kilometers (6.8 miles), 3-5 hours, elevation - 870 meters (2,854 feet)

  • Day 12

    Free time in Pokhara

    Today is all yours to relax and explore. Pokhara is the main town on the shores of Lake Phewa and the adventure playground of Nepal. There are some fantastic street and lakeside cafes, outstanding bakeries and heaps of outdoor activities to choose from - just ask your guide for suggestions. Or, if you’re not feeling too lively today, your guide can arrange for you to visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Museum and the Pokhara World Peace Monument instead. This evening you might like to try some of Pokhara’s restaurants, where local lake fish is a specialty. Or you might like to try our favorites like the Everest Steak House or Monsoons. Elevation: Pokhara - 830 meters (2,720 feet)

    Pokhara Lodgings, Pokhara (Breakfast)

  • Day 13

    Return to Kathmandu

    This morning we’ll farewell the Himalayas in Pokhara and take a short flight back to Kathmandu. For those who are keen this afternoon, we’ll walk to Durbar Square, the place where Nepal’s kings were crowned in past times. The square is in the center of old town Kathmandu, and is the city’s greatest example of traditional architecture – so much so, that it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. Today is a great opportunity to find a bargain amongst Kathmandu’s many markets. Tonight we’ll meet at a local restaurant for our final dinner together to celebrate our achievements and adventures in the Himalayas. Elevation: Kathmandu - 1400 meters (4,600 feet)

    Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 14

    Depart for home

    Today is the final day of your Himalayas trekking trip. You’ll have completed one of the world’s most renowned treks – a feather in the cap of any outdoor enthusiast. If you have extra time after your trip, we’re happy to make suggestions on how to make the most of it. On the other hand, if you’re on your way home today, we’ll send you back refreshed and invigorated from the great hiking and adventures you’ve had with us in Nepal!

    No Accommodation (Breakfast)

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek Departure Dates

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Included

  • Our own highly experienced trip leader, with you from start to finish
  • A team of specialist local guides and porters for the duration of the Nepal treks
  • Industry-leading Guest-to-Guide ratio (averaging 6:1)
  • Your own ‘Travel Wallet’, an online space with everything required for your adventure
  • Our knowledgeable Customer Service Team to answer your queries - just a phone call, email or chat away
  • Customer Service pre-trip phone calls to ensure you’re 'trip ready'
  • All accommodations for the duration of your trip
  • All meals except where indicated in the itinerary
  • Unlimited snacks to keep you fueled
  • Flights as outlined in the itinerary
  • All activities outlined in the itinerary 
  • All necessary equipment (well-maintained and safe) for activities
  • Down jacket, sleeping bag, and hiking poles for the duration of the Nepal treks
  • All gratuities for hotels, restaurants, and activities
  • All hiking and park entry fees and permits 
  • Transportation in our air-conditioned vans - safe, clean, modern, and comfortable!

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By paying in full we are able to pass on savings to our guests, but please note that by opting for this payment plan, your booking becomes non-refundable, non-cancellable, and non-changeable. This offer is only valid for reservations where the trip is no sooner than 180 days from the departure date at time of booking.

We highly recommend that you purchase Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) insurance. We recommend Redpoint Insurance - you can find details here.

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Useful Info

Where does the trip start?

On the first day of the trip, our two pick-up locations are Kathmandu airport (KTM), whenever you fly in on Day 1, or Hotel Thamel Eco Resort at 5pm. For the Airport location, a representative from Active Adventures will show you to our hotel taxi van. They will be holding an Active Adventures Himalayas sign so they are easily recognized. 

You are welcome to book your pre-trip stay at Hotel Thamel Eco Resort with our partner, Earthbound Expeditions, please contact our team in Nepal on earthboundnpl@gmail.com and they will assist you with arranging your requests, as well as airport transfers and additional pre or post trip services. You’re also welcome to book your pre-stay at any other hotel in Kathmandu, though you must make your own way to one of the two pick-up points at the pre-designated times.

Where does the trip end?

Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Kathmandu Airport (KTM) in time for flights departing any time that day or anywhere in the Central Kathmandu downtown area after breakfast.

What flights would you recommend?

Arrival: If you’re flying in on the first day of the trip, you can fly into Kathmandu at any time.

Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, you can depart at any time too.

Note: Keep in mind though that flights to and from Pokhara airport are weather dependent and can sometimes be delayed. Therefore you might want to book changeable flights just in case we’re in Pokhara for a bit longer than expected. 

What do I bring to the first night trip briefing?

Please bring along your passport and 2 passport photos. We need all of these to collect your trekking permits and your domestic flight tickets. Your passport will be returned to you once these permits are purchased.

What's a typical day like hiking on the AST?

A typical day in the Himalayas starts early, so after a hearty breakfast, it would be normal to be on the trail by about 7:30am to take advantage of the early morning views and drier weather. At around 11am we would stop for lunch, and start walking again from 12pm until 3-3:30pm or until we reach the tea house. Generally you could expect to be hiking from five to eight hours per day, with plenty of time in the afternoon to rest and take in the surroundings. You will be accompanied by an Active Adventures Himalayas trip leader and team of support crew so you can hike at your own pace. Trekking in Nepal is all about taking your time.

How fit do I need to be for this trip?

As an Activity Level 4 trips, you’ll need a solid level of fitness for this trek. Hiking in altitude is hard work and so the more preparation you do the better – but not to the point of over exerting yourself or stressing your body especially a few days before the climb. You should be in the habit of doing regular aerobic exercise, regular hill walking and carrying a daypack. You may have heard the term ‘Nepali Flat’ before on your travels. There’s a lot of hill climbing and walking back down those hills. We highly recommend you tackle many a steep hill or some stairs whenever you can: a stepmaster at the gym, or up and down the stairwells of a highrise building. Advance preparation means you’ll enjoy the active and outdoor nature of your trip all the more. Please head to our Fitness Guide for great tips on how to prepare along with a workout plan!

What accommodations do we stay at on this trip?

We’ve chosen local tea houses (small guest houses run by the local people) to stay in which are modest and homely with great service. For the most part the tea-houses will have a separate building only a few metres away from the main building where the bathrooms will be located. Each room will be a twin except the higher you get the more limitations with rooming so could reach 4-6 people per room. There are bathrooms along the way each day, usually where you stop off to have tea and/or a break, some may be European while others may be more long-drop style. There will be some what of a shower available though there may only be warm water and the higher we get, the colder the water will become. However nothing is guaranteed!
All tea houses have a communal dining area where you can read, play cards or simply gaze out the window at your spectacular location with stunning views.

Please note; no single rooms are available in the teahouses and the single supplement price takes this into account.

We recommend bringing enough clothing to only have to do laundry where necessary during your trek. While there may be opportunities to do laundry, they may not be convenient or efficient, so hand-washing technical or delicate fabrics yourself is recommended along with fast drying clothing while walking, as the cold mountain air makes it hard for things to dry. 

How much luggage can I bring on this trip?

You are allowed one piece of luggage on your trip, plus a daypack. Your main piece of luggage should not exceed 22 pounds (10 kilograms) and can be anything from a duffle bag to a sports bag with wheels or a suitcase. You’ll also want a good quality daypack sized 25-30 liters (2000 cubic inches) with a maximum 11 pounds (5 kilograms) to use throughout the days. 

We’ll give you an Active Adventures Himalayas porter bag to put your main gear into (in Kathmandu) to give to your porter (in Pokhara). 

You’re welcome to bring extra gear and you can store remaining gear at the hotel in Kathmandu while we trek. 

 

Do you provide porters on this trip?

Yes included in your trip fare is the services of our group porters who carry your overnight gear, including your sleeping bag, leaving you to walk at your own pace with your day gear in your daypack. Porters will carry a maximum of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) per person, equivalent to around 50 liters of space.

We’ll give you an Active Adventures Himalayas porter bag to put your gear into (in Kathmandu) to give to your porter (in Pokhara).

Do you provide any gear on this trip?

Yes we can provide a good quality, custom made, 4 seasons ‘super-down’ jacket; a warm down sleeping bag with an inner sheet included, rated to -26°C (-14°F); and a set of hiking poles.

The jacket has 800 loft/fill which we know is suitable for conditions on the trail. We also recommend bringing along a lighter down jacket for use in the tea houses at nights.

If you prefer to bring your own gear please ensure it is of mountaineering standard with a minimum loft of 800 for the jacket, and a minimum rating of -26°C (-14°F) for the sleeping bag. 

Please select these items when you make your booking so we know you require them.

How do you navigate unexpected changes to the itinerary?

Nepal is located in a developing part of the world, and we can’t tell you that everything runs like clockwork there all of the time. What we can tell you is that we are experienced adventure travel leaders, and we know how to keep things operating as smoothly as possible, even when conditions are challenging. That’s why we are here! Likewise, all adventure travel requires a certain amount of flexibility, and we sometimes must make minor changes to the accommodation or day’s activity because of weather and availability, but we have options up our sleeve and the experience to keep your trip running seamlessly.

On the odd occasions, adverse weather may prevent the operation of fixed wing flights to Lukla. In this event, and weather permitting, our team on the ground may offer you the option to upgrade to a Helicopter transfer at your own cost.

We’d recommend ensuring that you have a credit card, with pin, available in case of the unexpected, pack your patience, and let us take care of the details.

What is not included?

Flights to and from trip start/end points
Pre/Post accommodation
Travel insurance
Gratuities for your guides and porter(s)

Is tipping expected in Nepal?

Tipping is accepted in Nepal (and appreciated!). Your loose change (or 5%) is fine in cheaper places; around 10% in more expensive restaurants. Round up the fare for taxi drivers. Most people do choose to tip their Active Adventures guides and we recommend USD$20 per day, per guest, for your Active Adventures trip leader and also your local Nepali guide and starting from USD$100 per guest to be shared amongst your Nepali porter team. You are welcome to tip an equivalent amount in the local currency. There are plenty of ATM’s in Kathmandu.

How do rooming arrangements work?

Trip prices are based on shared arrangements (typically two guests per room), unless otherwise stated. For solo travelers, we’ll pair you with another person of the same gender to share rooms and if there’s no one suitable to share with, there’s no forced single supplement. However, if you specifically request your own rooms, you can opt to pay the single supplement. Solo travelers who book within 90 days of departure, where there are no other solo travelers willing to share, will be required to pay the single supplement. 

For Family Vacation bookings, families consisting of four guests traveling with children aged 17 and under will be automatically assigned one shared room. However, the following alternative rooming allocations are available:

  • Families consisting of four guests with all children aged 13 and above are welcome to opt for additional rooms as per advertised double occupancy adult rates.
  • Families consisting of four guests with at least one child aged 12 and under are automatically assigned a shared room. However, families can opt to pay the adult rates for all guests in their family to have an additional room.
  • The same principles apply for families consisting of more than four guests.

Rooming preferences are subject to availability and must be communicated in writing at time of booking. Automatic assignments as per this policy will be applied in the absence of any specification provided by guests. Any request for additional rooms during trips will be at guests’ own expense and subject to rates made available by the accommodation provider at the time. All minors (guests aged 17 and under) must be accompanied by at least one adult.

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