4-Week Nepal Itinerary Including Annapurna Circuit Trek
Perfect 4-week Nepal itinerary including Annapurna Circuit Trek, Kathmandu, Pokhara and travel tips on best things to do, must visit places, cost of travel and what to pack.
Nepal is one of the most amazing countries in the world, and you can easily spend several months exploring this stunning country. We created this 4-week travel itinerary to help you to plan your next Nepal's adventure.
Also itinerary of Annapurna Circuit is pretty much straightforward. An absolute majority of hikers walk this trek counter-clockwise, and we did the same.
ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT ITINERARY
The reason behind is safety, as it is recommended to take this direction and avoid difficult Muktinath - Thorong La Pass ascend and acclimatization problems, and it is also more comfortable to walk with the crowd instead of walking against the flow.
Ongoing road construction affects the starting and ending point of the trek. These days the trek begins in Besisahar village, but you can get by jeep as far as Chame or even Manang.
We decided to walk from Besisahar and did not regret it. Nature along the trail is beautifully diverse as the path leads through rice fields, creeks, and crosses Marghsyandi river several times back and forth.
Read More: Ultimate Annapurna Circuit Guide.
Mountaintops will uncover gradually, and altogether with old villages, and rural life along the way you'll get a genuine experience of Himalayas.
On top of that, slower progress will help you with acclimatization.
PLANNING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT ITINERARY
Due to the road construction, most hikers return to Kathmandu or Pokhara right after crossing the saddle, from Muktinath village or Jomsom. You can extend your journey all the way down to Nayapul, but we didn't find this part of trek enjoyable enough and ended in Jomsom.
Read More: How Much We've Spent in Nepal.
DAY 1: PRAGUE-KATHMANDU
We landed in Kathmandu about 8 hours delayed due to a flooded runway in Dubai, where we had to transfer the plane and on top of that this plane had a mechanical issue.
We took a cab directly from the airport to Nepal Tourism Board office and arranged trekking permits.
After we found accommodation for the night, withdrew money from ATM and ate great momo dumplings, it was finally bedtime.
WHERE TO STAY IN Kathmandu
Check out our picks for the best hotels in Kathmandu, Nepal.
BUDGET: Kathmandu Mantra Home - Hospitality, great location to wander the streets, rich breakfast, and fast Wi-Fi.
MID-RANGE: Kathmandu Grand Hotel - Great value for money, perfect location, clean rooms, and tasty buffet breakfast.
LUXURY: Kumari Boutique Hotel - A quiet boutique hotel features clean rooms, excellent location, and a delightful breakfast.
DAY 2: KATHMANDU - BESISAHAR - BHULBULE
We took a bus from Kathmandu to Besisahar early in the morning. Prepare to spend 6 - 8 hours on the bus even though it is less than 200 km. After arrival, we registered at a checkpoint and started our journey.
First day's goal was only to get to Bhulbule, approximately 2.5-hour walk.
Read More: Day by Day Guide - Besisahar to Chame.
Day 3: BHULBULE - BAHUNDANDA - JAGAT
Bhulbule to Jagat was about 5 hours walk.
The weather was hot and hazy in the morning and cloudy in the afternoon. We crossed rice fields on the way and tested our condition when climbing the first hills with heavy backpacks on our shoulders.
Day 4: JAGAT - TAL - KARTE - ODAR - BAGARCHAP
Jagat to Bagarchhap is about 5.5-hour walk which starts in a narrow valley and continues to wide open Tal area. We decided to take side trek near Bagarchhap and climbed to small village Odar. It was a short but strenuous climb up the stairs to this small settlement, and we had a feeling such as time machine took us about hundred years back.
From Odar we quickly descended to Bagarchhap.
Day 5: BAGARCHAP - DANAQUE - TIMANG - CHAME
This part of the whole trek was short, only about 3.5 hours walk, but we took lots of breaks, and when got to Chame around lunch time we decided not to walk any further because we felt tired.
Instead, we walked around Chame and took a dip in small hot springs on the other bank of Marsyangdi River. The afternoon overcast completely disappeared from this point.
Day 6: CHAME - BHRATANG - DHUKUR POKHARI - UPPER PISANG
From Chame to Upper Pisang (3310 meters), the journey took us 6 hours, and we gained 600 meters that day.
The way to Upper Pisang is very scenic, and the village itself offers superb views of Annapurna II and Pisang Peak, and when you climb above the village, you can explore two gompas and remnants of an old fort where is easy to spend the rest of the day.
Read More: Day by Day Guide - Chame to Manang.
Day 7: UPPER PISANG - GHYARU - NGAWAL - JULU - BRAGA
From Upper Pisang, we hiked the longer and more challenging upper trail through Ghyaru which not only offers spectacular views but also helps with acclimatization. This section leading to Braga and further to Manang was incredibly beautiful while walking through meadows and wetlands altogether with snow-capped mountains on the background.
We decided to stay in Braga, about 25 minutes before the town of Manang as clouds were chasing us and we liked the village's peaceful vibe.
Day 8 - ACCLIMATIZATION DAY - PRAKEN GOMPA - GANGAPURNA LAKE
From Braga, we walked to Manang first and were positively surprised how the town looks like because we were worried that it would be too touristy, but Manang still preserves its atmosphere.
From Manang, it is not long climb to Praken Gomba, nearly 4000 meters high and after that, we still had time to walk to the bank of Gangapurna Lake.
Read More: Day by Day Guide - Acclimatization in Manang.
Day 9 - ACCLIMATIZATION DAY - ICE LAKE
The most popular acclimatization side trip to Ice Lake is several hours walk uphill. It is not that hard to get there because of its length but because of the elevation.
We were grateful that this time we could have left heavy backpacks in the room and hike up light.
Day 10 - BRAGA - MANANG - KHANGSAR
Instead of carrying on directly to Yak Kharka, we decided to take a side trip to Tilicho Lake, known as the highest lake of its size in the world. Allow yourself three extra days if you want to visit Tilicho Lake.
Khangsar is a collection of traditional stone buildings only two hours from Manang where we spent the first night.
Read More: Day by Day Guide - Tilicho Lake Side Trip.
Day 11 - KHANGSAR - TILICHO LAKE BASE CAMP
Khangsar to Tilicho Lake Base Camp (4100 meters) is a challenging 4 - 6 hours hike which traverses steep slopes and can be possibly dangerous. Hit the road early, the sunshine is stronger after midday, and rocks are more likely to fall from the hills above.
You can find three lodges in Base Camp with very similar equipment including solar shower.
Day 12 - TILICHO BASE CAMP - TILICHO LAKE - TILICHO BASE CAMP
The climb up wouldn't have been so hard, but the weather was unstable that day, and we were forced to return when we were more than halfway up because it started to snow.
It ceased, later on, so we walked the series of switchbacks again and reached 5000 meters for the first time (the viewing point lies in 5016m above sea level).
Day 13 - TILICHO LAKE BASE CAMP - UPPER KHANGSAR - YAK KHARKA
After reaching Tilicho Lake, on the next day we went back from Base Camp the same way we came in. There is an intersection, few kilometers before Khangsar where we disconnected from the main road leading back to Manang and climbed up to Upper Kangsar, then walked to Yak Kharka.
And suddenly the snow started to fall.
DAY 14 - YAK KHARKA - THORONG PHEDI
Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi is a gorgeous only two-hour almost flat walk. Snow was falling all night and completely changed the scenery.
We recommend not to come too early as rooms in Thorong Phedi are cold and dark, and there is not much to do.
Day 15 - THORONG PHEDI - THORONG LA - MUKTINATH - RANIPAUWA
To get from Thorong Pedi to Muktinath, it requires crossing the Thorong La Pass, the highlight of the circuit and the long-awaited day. The best thing is not only the pass itself lying at the altitude of 5416 meters but the whole day, from early morning climb to the Thorong La to the afternoon descent.
Especially the feeling after we reached the pass was just incredible.
It is demanding, 6 - 8 hours long hike when you'll gain 1040 m and then descend 1620 m so get your legs ready.
Read More: Day by Day Guide - Crossing the Thorong La Pass.
Day 16 - MUKTINATH - RANIPAUWA - KAGBENI - JOMSOM
The trip from Muktinath supposed to be a starting point for hiking the other side of the valley. Unfortunately, due to road construction, we made it only to Kagbeni (worth exploring) as the road was incredibly dusty and the number of cars passing by ruined our mood to continue.
After we explored the village, we took a jeep from Kagbeni to Jomsom.
Read More: Day by Day Guide - Muktinath to Jomsom.
Day 17 - JOMSOM - POKHARA
A painful day spent in a jeep on the way to Pokhara. Distance from Jomsom to Pokhara is only 158 km, but the drive took us more than 8 hours.
The longer part of the road is still unpaved, and our driver was a huge fan of loud Nepali music which made this ride even more interesting.
WHERE TO STAY IN POKHARA
Check out our picks for the best hotels in Pokhara, Nepal.
BUDGET: Hotel Middle Path & Spa - Wonderfully close to the lake, walking distance to the restaurants and clean rooms.
MID-RANGE: Hotel White Pearl - Only five minutes walk from Phewa Lake, all rooms come with a balcony and private bathroom.
LUXURY: Temple Tree Resort & Spa - Featuring outdoor pool, views of Annapurna range and Western Himalayan architecture.
Day 18 - POKHARA
We had only one plan and desire what to do the first day in Pokhara. Eat, sleep and repeat. In the evening we went to watch the sunset over Phewa Lake and called it a day.
Read More: Best Things to Do in Pokhara.
Day 19 - POKHARA
Another day in Pokhara we felt refreshed and decided to visit underground cave Gupteswar Gupha and Davis Falls on foot. There was also a festival at the time of our visit, so we were wandering around the city and were absorbing the lively atmosphere.
Read More: What to Eat in Nepal.
Day 20 - POKHARA - KATHMANDU
To get to Kathmandu means only one thing. Jump on the bus and survive another seven hours long drive from Pokhara to the capital city. Traffic jam in the final hill climb to Kathmandu was another unbelievable experience.
When we arrived, we found out it's a Nepali New Year, and it took us forever to find a room. Later, we had few drinks of whiskey with the hostel owner and two guys from New Zeland.
Day 21 - KATHMANDU
Time to explore Kathmandu's UNESCO feature Durbar Square, and its surroundings. After the whole day spent outside in smog and dust, relaxing in Garden of Dreams was a pretty good idea.
In the evening it was time to treat ourselves in the great Indian restaurant we discovered near the hostel.
Read More: Kathmandu - What to See and Do.
Day 22 - KATHMANDU
Last day in Kathmandu, we climbed up to Monkey Temple, went shopping around and for the last time visited our favorite restaurant. There was no rain for some time now, so streets were incredibly dusty, and it was hard to breathe.
Day 23 - KATHMANDU - PRAGUE
We spent the morning before our flight with the hostel's owner and his family as they were super-friendly and the guy even spoke little Czech!
In the afternoon we took a taxi to the airport and flew back to our home, Prague.
Read More: 5 Best Things to Do in Prague.
WHAT TO PACK FOR ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT
Packing for the Annapurna Circuit Trek can be challenging.
We started in Besisahar (740m) in a jungle-like climate, where temperatures were hitting 30+ degrees of Celsius and after more than 14 days of challenging trekking finally crossed the snow-covered Thorong La Pass (5416m), the highest point of our adventure.
You need a bit of everything, but also you must pack light, so try not to overpack. Every extra kilogram will count and you will feel it when climbing up. To give you a simple example, you need short-sleeved t-shirt and shorts for the first part, but you also need a down jacket for cold weather and should wear winter gloves for Thorong La in case there is a snowstorm.
These seven things are absolutely essential to include in your packing list.
Rucksack for Him & for Her | When traveling without a porter, it is essential to choose the right large backpack with waist straps and good back support - nowadays you can choose a backpack for man or women, because the physique is different, and the comfort will be better. When it comes to hiking Annapurna Circuit, bear in mind that you should not carry more than 13 kilograms, optimal weight is anything between 8 to 12 kilograms to enjoy the hike without back and knee pain.
Sleeping Bag for Him & for Her | There is no heating in the rooms, and nights can be really cold. Well, we don't want to scare you, but they will be cold. I remember one night, when I was wearing down jacket, warm hat and leggings inside my sleeping bag, and was not able to warm up. Accommodation might provide you with extra blankets, but they are not often enough. Generally, we wouldn't travel to Nepal without own sleeping bag.
Hiking Poles | Nepal was the first country where we used hiking poles, and we had a great experience. Hiking poles will help your knees when hiking downhill or uphill and are great for establishing walking pace and rhythm.
Camera | Camera and lenses were probably the heaviest things we packed with us to Nepal, but they were well worth it.
You can also read our in-depth Annapurna Circuit packing list, where you will find more useful tips and advice on what to pack and what to leave behind.
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