Short Annapurna Circuit Trek

Duration: 12 Days5/5(2 reviews)
At a Glance
  • Duration 12 Days
  • Trip Grade Moderate
  • Destination Nepal
  • Start/End Kathmandu/Kathmandu
  • Group Size 1-14
  • Max. Altitude 5416m

Highlights

  • Scenic drive to Dharapani from Kathmandu
  • Overnight stays in beautiful villages like Chame, Pisang, Manang
  • Trek through the wilderness of the Annapurna Conservation Area
  • Go on a hike to Gangapurna Lake or Cave Gompa while acclimatizing in the Manang village
  • Enjoy the heart-warming hospitality of the locals and get to see their daily lifestyle
  • Cross the Thorong La pass and learn about one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in Nepal, Muktinath
  • Drive along Kali Gandaki gorge and beautiful villages to Pokhara
  • Witness stunning mountain panorama and distinct landscapes throughout the trail

Short Annapurna Circuit Trek Overview

Trek within the Annapurna Conservation Area and explore the hidden corners of the Annapurna region on our shortest Annapurna circuit trek. A 12 days journey in Nepal that takes you close to stunning western Himalayan mountains and the tenth highest mountain in the world.

If you want to experience the best of the Himalayas, then the short Annapurna circuit trekking is the one. Opened in 1977, the Annapurna Circuit has become one of the most loved trekking routes in Nepal. It is a classic trek that starts below 1,000 meters and takes you to the highest pass of the country, Thorong La, at 5,416 meters (17,769 ft). The Short Annapurna Circuit trek explores Mt. Annapurna (8,091 m), the tenth-highest mountain in the world.

Starting the trek through subtropical forests, you'll slowly ascend to alpine pastures and a mountain pass before descending to Muktinath (3,800 m) and driving past Kali Gandaki gorge. The Kali Gandaki gorge is the deepest in the world. The short Annapurna circuit trek lets you enjoy varied landscapes, including the trans-Himalayan once you drop down from Thorong La.

Annapurna circuit trekking is always known as a long trek that usually is 18 days or longer than this. To cater to trekkers bound by time, we have designed the shortest Annapurna circuit trek itinerary, which is only 12 days long. In these 12 days, you spend around 8 days in the mountains, and rest time involves your arrival, departure, and commute between the starting/ending point of the trail. And trust us, nothing is missed, even if it is a short trek.

Enjoying the most dramatic mountain panorama, you'll walk past lush rhododendrons, oak, pine, fir, bamboo, etc forests. Trekking from one valley to another, you get to enjoy night stays in some of the most picturesque villages and come across stunning waterfalls & cold streams. Meet with welcoming mountain people and immerse in diverse cultural heritages. Visit ancient monasteries and temples on the way.

Tibetan-like Buddhist villages, white-washed houses, narrow gullies, spectacular mountains, ice flows, etc are charms of the Annapurna circuit trail!

Major attractions of short Annapurna Circuit Trek- 12 Days

Scenic drive to Dharapani

The drive from Kathmandu to Dharapani is very long and also leads you to the starting point of the short Annapurna circuit trail. Following Trishuli and Marshyangdi rivers, the road winds alongside verdant hills and terraced fields. You get to witness beautiful waterfalls and occasional settlement areas on the way. The later part of the drive includes snow-capped mountain views, which makes the ride very therapeutic.

Overnight stays in beautiful villages

A low-key one of the best things about the short Annapurna circuit trekking is the villages the trail passes by. You'll not believe your eyes how beautiful these villages are and the scenery you get to see from each village. Chame, Pisang, Manang, and Yak Kharka are some of the villages where you will stay overnight while trekking.

Trek through the wilderness of the Annapurna Conservation Area

The Annapurna Conservation Area is not only home to hundreds of flora and fauna but also protects the locals and all the natural elements inside the park. The initial part of the short Annapurna circuit route is inside this park and later joins the lower Mustang area (from Muktinath onwards). The trail has waterfalls, meadows, pastures, streams, rivers, etc.

Side trips in Manang village

On day 6 of our short Annapurna circuit trekking, we have an acclimatization day in Manag village. Very crucial to avoid altitude sickness. We take this opportunity and go on a hike to either Gangapurna Lake (3,525 m) or Cave Gompa (4,000 m). Both hiking options have impressive routes dotted with striking mountain views.

Welcoming mountain community and their ancient cultural heritage

Unlike other parts of the Himalayas, the Annapurna region is home to people from different communities. You'll meet Chhetris, Brahmins, Magars, Gurungs, Thakalis, and many other ethnic groups on the way. All of these people have distinct languages, cultural practices, norms, and values, which enhances the trip in some sort. You get to visit ancient temples and monasteries.

Cross the Thorong La pass and learn about one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in Nepal

Thorong La pass stands 5,416 meters (17,769 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Damodar Himal, north of the Annapurna Himal. The pass connects Manang village (Manang district) in the east to Muktinath and Ranipauwa village (Mustang district) in the west, completing the Annapurna circuit.

Muktinath is a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to lord Vishnu. This temple is a famous and important pilgrimage site and also has huge importance to Buddhists. Located at 3,800 meters, Muktinath temple has centuries-old legends and beliefs. The site is visited by hundreds of pilgrims every year.

Drive along Kali Gandaki gorge and beautiful villages to Pokhara

Our short Annapurna circuit trek ends at Muktinath. From here, we drive to Pokhara. The route goes along the deepest gorge in the world, Kali Gandaki gorge, and passes by beautiful villages Marpha, Kagbeni, etc. The ride offers a breathtaking mountain panorama and ends in Pokhara. You'll have the evening free in Pokhara to relax and enjoy the tranquility of Phewa Lake.

Witness stunning mountain panorama and distinct landscapes throughout the trail

These are the list of some of the mountains you get to see on this adventurous trek- Mt. Annapurna I (8,091 m), Annapurna South (7,219 m), Annapurna II (7,937 m), Annapurna IV (7,525 m), Mt. Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), Mt. Nilgiri (7,061 m), Mt. Fishtail (6,993 m), Mt. Gangapurna (7,455 m), Mt. Hiunchuli (6,441 m), Tilicho Peak (7,134 m), Pisang Peak (3,250 m), Chulu Peak (6,059 m), Gundang (5,312 m), Khatungkang (6,484 m), etc. Then comes the never-ending landscapes that will keep you motivated to keep walking and rejuvenate your soul.

Itinerary

The 12-day itinerary is probably the shortest itinerary of the Annapurna circuit trek with the Thorong La pass. The itinerary includes your arrival and departure days to and from Nepal, We at Outfitter Himalaya have designed this itinerary for the active and experienced trekkers who have limited days and still want to do the Annapurna Circuit trek with Thorong La pass.

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Meet the team of Outfitter Himalaya at Tribhuvan International Airport on your arrival day. They will escort you to the hotel we have pre-booked for you and give you some basic information about your surrounding area.

Later in the day, we take some time to prepare for the trek and have a discussion session about the trail.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • Max. Altitude1345

We have a long journey to the starting point of the trek today. After having a warm breakfast, we leave Kathmandu and drive following green hills, rivers, & terraces. The drive will be smooth for the most part. Passing by Besisahar, we'll continue the drive to Dharapani, enjoying the view peaks.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude1960

We'll begin trekking from today onwards. The trail climbs and descends to the west towards Bagarchhap village. From here, we ascend through pine and fir forests. Crossing a few bridges on the way, we walk high via oak and maple trees. The waterfalls along the way are enchanting too. Soon, we reach the headquarters of Manang district, Chame. The views of Mt. Annapurna IV, Lamjung Himal, and Annapurna II.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude2675

The trail from Chame ascends through dense forests. On the way, there is a 1,500-m tall rock rising from a river. From this point, the vegetation gets thin. Trekking across a river, we cross a few suspension bridges and enter a U-shaped valley, Manang. Enjoying snow-capped mountain views, we'll ascend to Pisang village.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude3100

We have two routes to reach Manang. Taking the upper trail, which is much more scenic, we pass by Ghyaru village. The western Himalayan Mountains, like Pisang Himal, Annapurna, Nilgiri, Gangapurna, etc, make the view phenomenal. We'll walk past Ngawal village and gradually ascend to Manang.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude3440

We will spend a rest day in Manang village, acclimatizing and exploring. Manang village has a lot of things to offer. In the morning, we will go on a hike to Gangapurna Lake (3,525 m) or Cave Gompa (4,000 m). The views of mountains like Chulu Peak, Thorong Peak, Pisang Peak, Annapurna, Tilicho Peak, etc are stunning on both hiking routes.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude3440

The trail advances towards Yak Kharka. We have left treeline behind, and most walk on meadows. Walking across a stream, the route ascends to Tenki village. From here, we walk out of Marsyangdi valley and trek in the northwest to Jarsang Khola valley. Trekking via scrub of juniper trees, we pass by a small village of Ghunsa. Here onwards, there are meadows and wooden bridges to Yak Kharka.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude4050

The route from Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi is difficult. We ascend north and cross a suspension bridge. The trail goes to Ledar village and continues to Thorong Phedi, following a steep, rough trail. The views of Mt. Annapurna III, Syagang, Gundang, and Khatungkang are stunning along the way. Thorong Phedi is the last settlement before Thorong La pass.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude4420

Today is the most challenging day of the Short Annapurna circuit trek. Early in the morning, we left Thorong Phedi and follow an abrupt trail. The trail gradually ascends toward the top of Thorong La pass. The path is steep & rocky and has some loose boulder sections. From the top of the pass, the views of the mountains are excellent. Later, the trail descends to Muktinath temple for the night stay.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude5416

Before leaving Muktinath, we will visit the temple and get blessings. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the main temple, so explore the premises. After breakfast, we hop on the jeep/bus and begin our bumpy, scenic ride to Pokhara. We will be driving along the Kalli Gandaki gorge and numerous villages, enjoying the views of snowy mountains and green hills on the way.

  • MealsB, L
  • AccommodationHotel
  • Max. Altitude830

From Pokhara to Kathmandu, the ride is smooth. It is a long drive with beautiful landscapes. Our team will drop you at your hotel in Kathmandu. You will have the late afternoon and evening to yourself. Shop and enjoy your last day in Kathmandu. In the evening, we will meet you for a farewell dinner.

  • MealsB
  • AccommodationHotel
  • Max. Altitude1345

Pack your stuff and get ready to fly back to your home today. Our airport delegates will transfer you to the Tribhuvan International Airport. You also have the option to join our other adventures in the Himalayas.

  • MealsB

Is the offered itinerary not suitable for you?

Looking for a customized itinerary? Reach out to our experts.

Map & Altitude Graph

Short Annapurna Circuit Trek map

Inclusions

  • All the Airport Transfers
  • Two nights Accommodation in Kathmandu with breakfast
  • Nine nights accommodation in lodge during the trek
  • One night Accommodation in Pokhara with breakfast
  • Meals during the trekking as per the itinerary
  • Conservation entry permits & TIMS permit
  • Ground transportation from Kathmandu –Dharapani, Muktinath – Pokhara, and Pokhra to Kathmandu by local bus/jeep/tourist bus
  • A Guide and porters (1 porter for each two people)
  • Salary, Food, Drinks, Accommodation, Transportation, and Insurance for the guide & porters
  • Arrangement of Emergency Helicopter service (Paid by Travel insurance company)
  • Sleeping bag, down jackets if necessary and return after the trek

Exclusions

  • Nepal entry visa fee
  • Your Travel insurance
  • Lunch and Dinner while you are in Kathmandu & Pokhara
  • All the alcoholic and nonalcoholic Drinks
  • Sweet things like chocolate
  • International airfare
  • Tips for the guide, porter & driver
  • Any other expenses which are not mentioned on including section

Essential Info

Short Annapurna circuit trek difficulty

The short Annapurna circuit is a strenuous trek. This trek fits well for experienced trekkers. If you know the Himalayan trail and have been trekking before, then you can level up your game by joining the shortest Annapurna circuit trekking. Crossing the Thorong La pass (5,416 m) is no joke and demands a high level of physical fitness, patience, and knowledge of the trail. And for 8 days, you'll walk on steep, rugged mountain terrain.

Every day you begin walking early in the morning for 6 to 7 hours. The trail crosses landslide areas, slippery passages, and snowy paths. Then comes the limited facility along the way, which tests your endurance and willpower. The Short-Annapurna circuit trek is an incredible venture, but also has a lot of setbacks, which makes it one of the most adventurous & challenging treks in the Himalayas.

Altitude sickness

Altitude sickness is inevitable during the Shortest Annapurna circuit trek. Traveling at a high altitude (over 2,500 meters) carries the risk of altitude sickness (acute mountain sickness). To avoid it, we have acclimatization days in Manang village, and we have carefully planned the itinerary making sure you do not ascend more than 500 meters a day.

Likewise, our short Annapurna circuit trek itinerary balances the climb high and sleep low aspect that further ensures your safety during the trek from altitude sickness. Our crew trekking with you will be there to help you if you feel any sort of discomfort while walking and keep an eye on your health.

The Short Annapurna Circuit Trek preparation

To prepare for short Annapurna circuit trekking, you can do day hikes and long walks wearing a backpack of 5 kg weight. If not, you can do other activities like swimming, cycling, and running. All these activities will help you build stamina and endurance. You can do weight training and cardio too. The main thing is to focus on building your core strength, stamina, and walking habit.

Permits for Shortest Annapurna Circuit Trek

You need some trekking permits to do the Short Annapurna circuit trek. The permits are the Annapurna conservation entry and TIMS. We apply and get all these permits once you book the trek.

Best time for Shortest Annapurna Circuit Trek

The autumn (Sep-Nov) offers clear skies, plus the bugs and dust have been washed away by the rains. So, autumn is the best time to do the Short Annapurna circuit trek. Spring (Feb-mid end of May) offers warmer temperatures, longer days, and rhododendrons bloom. So, the forests are colourful, and spring is another best time for the Short Annapurna Circuit Trek.

However, it is possible to do the Short Annapurna circuit trek most of the time of the year.

Fitness for Shortest Annapurna Circuit Trek

You have to be physically fit with a moderate level of fitness to complete the short Annapurna Circuit Trek with daily walking/trekking between 3 to 9 hours on a mountain path. You reach an altitude of 5416m above sea level at Thorong La pass. So, you better have previous trekking experience and need to have good health, strong desire, and stamina.

Accommodation on Shortest Annapurna Circuit Trek

We provide hotel accommodation for three nights (2 nights in Kathmandu & 1 night in Pokhara) and simple lodge/teahouse accommodation for the rest of the 9 nights on the short Annapurna circuit trek.

The rooms are basic, normally just a bed with a pillow and blankets on the trekking lodge. A few have electric lights, and all have a spacious dining room – lounge some of them very basic, and a sense of adventure is necessary.

The hotel we provide:

  • Hotel in Kathmandu: Hotel Samsara Resort: 2 nights
  • Hotel in Pokhara: Hotel splendid view: 1 night
  • Hotel on Trek- Simple Mountain lodge: 8 nights

Note:

  • Accommodation will be on double/twin share (triple share available in most places).
  • Hotel upgrades in Kathmandu & Pokhara are available to 4 & 5-star. So, let us know if you want to upgrade the hotels in Kathmandu & Pokhara.
  • We provide another similar category of hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara if these mentioned are not available.

Meals & Drinks on Shortest Annapurna Circuit Trek

A total of 28 meals (11 breakfast, 9 lunch, and 8 dinners) are provided in the Short Annapurna circuit trek and the meals are taken in lodges. You will have breakfast/dinner at the lodge, where we stay overnights, and lunch at the lodge available along the trail.

There is a wide variety of Nepali and Western meals, and drinks like coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, and beer are also available note that drinks are not included in the cost.

We suggest bringing water purification pills/medicine while coming for the short Annapurna circuit trek. You get normal water for free. So, you can use the medicine and drink, or you can also buy bottled/boiled/safe drink water.

Insurance for Shortest Annapurna Circuit Trek

You need travel insurance while coming for the Short Annapurna circuit trek, and there is always some risk while doing the high mountain Trek, in case of any sickness or injury then, we do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital.

You will be entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in the evacuation/rescue. So, please make sure that these expenses are covered by your insurance policy.

Other trekking packages similar to the Short Annapurna Circuit Trek

We highly recommend combining a side trip to Tilicho Lake in the Annapurna circuit package if you have 3/4 extra days. Tilicho lake is the highest lake in Nepal and is very beautiful. If you want to go furthermore offbeat and remote, then the Manaslu circuit trek and Narphu Valley Trek are fantastic options.

These are some other adventurous treks for experienced trekkers- Upper Mustang trek, Upper Dolpo trek, Everest Three High Passes trek, Langtang Gosaikunda Helambu trek, and Makalu base camp trek.

Client Reviews

  • 5/5

    12 Days Short Annapurna Circuit Trek

    I engaged in a month - long trip to Nepal with my mother. I started corresponding with Arjun from Outfitter Himalaya early in the year and his responses were always prompt and informative, regardless of how many questions I had.

    We did the 12-day Annapurna trek with guide Raj and fantastic porters. The porters were truly remarkable and helped my mother and me with our daypacks at the top of Thorong La pass where we struggled a bit to keep pace.

    The guide was patient, did not push us, allowed us to walk at our speed. We tailored the trip to add a loop to reach lake Tilicho, which was wonderful. The company also organized the flight into Pokhara, a few days of relaxation for us in Pokhara, a sightseeing flight to see Mount Everest, and extra days into the Nepalese countryside. What impressed me most was their energy, professionalism, honesty, and very reasonable prices for a tailored trip approach. I want to re-visit Nepal at some point and they will be the first to know so they can help me plan my next adventure.

    Highly recommend you, do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or want more info.
     

    S
    SarahFrom: Canada,May 03, 2022
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    Dear Sarah,

    Thank you for your good review about the Short Annapurna circuit trek in Nepal and it is our great pleasure to know that you had good travel holidays with us.

    We wish you all the best and wish to serve you again.

    Have a good day.

    Arjun
    Outfitter Himalaya Holidays P. Ltd

  • 5/5

    Short Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal

    My wife and I recently did the short Annapurna circuit trek offered by Outfitter Himalaya, and we loved it. Even before we got to Nepal, Arjun always replied to our emails promptly and gave us all the information about the short Annapurna Circuit Trek. Everything promised by the company was provided, from the airport pick-up to the quality accommodation and the excellent guide and porter (thanks Bim!!!).

    We had an incredible time walking through the mountains. The Himalayas are something that you need to see if you haven't been there. Our guide was flexible, letting us walk further if we wanted, and stopping anytime we wanted a break or something to eat.

    The guesthouses during the trek were great, particularly the delicious food that we'd get each day, if only our local Nepalese restaurant did a proper Dal Bhat! When we go back to Nepal, we will be booking with this company again.
     

    C
    CarnthecarpsFrom: Australia,May 02, 2022
    logo

    Dear Carnthecarps,

    Thank you for your good review about the Short Annapurna circuit trek in Nepal and it is our great pleasure to know that you had good travel holidays with us.

    We wish you all the best and wish to serve you again. Have a good day.

    Arjun
    Outfitter Himalaya Holidays P. Ltd

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