Active Adventures |  AST -  Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

Join us on a trek that culminates at a natural amphitheatre made up of three Annapurna mountains (South, I and III), Gangapurna and Machapuchare (Fish Tail).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.Our journey will take us deep into the Himalayas, hiking up the glacial Modi Khola River gorge, passing 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.In true Active style you’ll stay in local accommodation, which in Nepal means rooms in comfortable and cosy Gurung tea houses (small hotels), and enjoy hearty meals to top it all off. Here's a taste of what the AST trip is like:

  • Highlights

    Explore Pokhara and the Himalayan Mountain Museum

    Explore the bustling city of Kathmandu

    Soak in natural hot springs in Jhinudanda

    Trek to ABC along the Annapurna Circuit Trail

    Visit Gurung settlements and local villages

    Walk to Swayambhunath “Monkey” Temple

    Watch the sunrise over Machapuchare

  • What's Included

    All accommodations
    Local tea houses and hotels chosen for their comfort, cleanliness and charm.

    All activities
    Trekking, trekking permits, Nepalese government royalty fees, temple visits (Swayambhunath), local markets and maybe even cricket with the locals!

    All domestic transport
    Airport transfers.
    Domestic flights to and from Pokhara.

    All guiding services
    Two experienced guides per trip. Each season we send over a team of experienced Active Adventures guides from New Zealand. One of these guides will lead your trip alongside our incredible local Nepalese guides, as well as a team of local porters. You won't find a better combination!

    All meals
    Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rest assured you'll be well fed and well hydrated.

    Hiking poles, down sleeping bag and puffer jacket

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  • Itinerary

    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 Himalayas 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, colourful 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 flavour combinations.Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu (Lunch, Dinner)Elevation: Kathmandu - 1400 metres (4600 feet)

     

    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 centre piece 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 favourite lakeside restaurants. Pokhara Eco Resort, Pokhara (All Meals)Elevation: Pokhara - 827 metres (2713 feet)

     

    DAY 3 - HIKE TO KYUMI

    Today we hit the trail! We’ll journey from Pokhara to Naya Pul, on the banks of the Modi Khola 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 Syauli Bazaar, we’ll leave the main trail used by locals and follow the river to Kyumi, a settlement famous for its highly prized native beehives. Tonight, you can enjoy a traditional dal bhat (lentil curry) meal cooked by our Nepalese hosts.Tea House, Kyumi (All Meals)Hiking Distance: 12 kilometres (7.5 miles), 4-6 hoursElevation Gain: 373 metres (1,223 feet)Elevation: Kyumi - 1200 metres (3937 feet)

     

    DAY 4 - HIKE FROM KYUMI TO CHHOMRONG

    This morning we’ll follow the Modi Khola River to New Bridge, stopping for a cup of ginger or lemon tea (a great way to stay hydrated) 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.Tea house, Chhomrong (All Meals)Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 4-6 hoursElevation Gain: 970 metres (3182 feet)Elevation: Chhomrong - 2170 metres (7120 feet)

     

    DAY 5 - HIKE FROM CHHOMRONG TO DOBHAN

    We’ll start the day descending from Chhomrong, past the local school and away from civilisation, 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.Tea House, Dobhan (All Meals)Hiking Distance: 11.5 kilometres (7.1 miles), 4-6 hoursElevation Gain: 430 metres (1410 feet)Elevation: Dobhan - 2600 metres (8530 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.Tea House, Deurali (All Meals)Hiking Distance: 5 kilometres (3.1 miles), 3-5 hoursElevation Gain: 600 metres (1968 feet)Elevation: Deurali - 3200 metres (10,500 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 criss-cross 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 Annapurna Base Camp in the morning.Tea House, Machapuchare Base Camp (All Meals)Hiking Distance: 5 kilometres (3.1 miles), 3-5 hoursElevation Gain: 500 metres (1640 feet)Elevation: Machapuchare Base Camp - 3700 metres (12,140 feet)

     

    DAY 8 - ANNAPURNA BASE CAMP (ABC)

    Today is the day! We’ll make our final push to Annapurna Base Camp, sitting at 4130 metres (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 Annapurna Base Camp, we’ll descend down the valley to Machapuchare Base Camp, where we’ll eat a hearty breakfast, and, re-energised, 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!Tea House, Dobhan (All Meals)Hiking Distance To ABC: 3 kilometres (1.8 miles), 2-3 hoursElevation Gain: 426 metres (1415 feet)Elevation At Annapurna Base Camp: 4130 metres (13,549 feet)Hiking Distance To Dobhan: 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), 7-8 hoursElevation Loss: 1100 metres (3608 feet)Elevation: Dobhan - 2600 metres (8530 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.Tea House, Jhinudanda (All Meals)Hiking Distance: 14 kilometres (8.6 miles), 5-7 hoursElevation Loss: 820 metres (2690 feet)Elevation: Jhinudanda - 1780 metres (5840 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 have a chance to take on the locals at soccer or cricket (don’t worry, we’ll teach you the rules). 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.Tea House, Tolka (All Meals)Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 3-5 hoursElevation Loss: 80 metres (262 feet)Elevation: Tolka - 1700 metres (5580 feet)

     

    DAY 11 - HIKE FROM TOLKA TO PHEDI, 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 Dhampus, 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 Phedi, 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.Pokhara Eco Resort, Pokhara (All Meals)Hiking Distance: 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), 3-5 hoursElevation Loss: 870 metres (2854 feet)Elevation: Pokhara - 830 metres (2720 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 speciality. Or you might like to try our favourites like the Everest Steak House or Monsoons.Pokhara Eco Resort, Pokhara (Breakfast)Elevation: Pokhara - 830 metres (2720 feet)

     

    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 centre 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.Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu (All Meals)Elevation: Kathmandu - 1400 metres (4600 feet)

     

    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!(Breakfast)

 

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