"Our Annapurna Base Camp- via Poon Hill trek with Mountain Monarch truly exceeded our expectations. The pre-trip organisation and information was fabulous and from the moment we were picked up at Kathmandu Airport until we were safely delivered back there, we were expertly catered for". Ray and Liz Gallagher Australia 2017.
The Annapurna Sanctuary Trek has consistently been ranked as one of the top treks in the world. In two weeks, you’ll discover friendly Nepali hospitality and climb towards the mountainous amphitheatre known as Annapurna Base Camp. Our route crosses lush rhododendron forests, tiered rice fields, rocky ledges and farming communities. The people are as diverse as the setting; here, the colors and textures that make Nepal unique will be yours to savor and enjoy.
A short drive from the lakeside city Pokhara is the start of our Annapurna adventure. Descending through terraced fields and dense forests of oak, magnolia and rhododendron, we’ll sip warm tea and taste local meals of thatch-roofed communities. Sparkling mountains will surround us as we climb stony stairs leading to Poon Hill, a spectacular viewpoint for sunrise. After ascending Machhapuchhare Base Camp, we will enter the moraine of Annapurna Glacier South, an area of breathtaking beauty and a panorama of white peaks. Our destination, Annapurna Base Camp, is the perfect goal, a vast alpine stadium of natural Himalayan beauty. Journeys this pleasant aren’t easily forgotten.
Day 1: Arrival / Welcome Dinner
Our staff will be waiting for you at Kathmandu’s International Airport. After escorting you to your hotel, you’ll have plenty of time to rest and relax before our evening dinner. Meet your teammates over a traditional Nepali Set and enjoy a dance performance with various cultural themes. Bring your camera! Guests often join the revelry.
Day 2: Cultural Tour of Kathmandu
Explore Kathmandu’s historic and cultural sites, including the towering white dome of Boudhanath and riverside Hindu temples of Pashupatinath. In the afternoon, we’ll distribute all necessary gear for our trek and answer any questions about what to expect in the days leading up to Annapurna Base Camp.
Day 3-4: Pokhara (850m) / Tikhedunga (1527m)
Green rice fields and the tiered farming countryside will be ours to savor as we make our way to the start of our trek. We’ll spend time in Pokhara, a charming city nestled beside Fewa Tal. Downtown Lakeside boasts shops, restaurants and bars where you can bargain for souvenirs and register for yoga classes. Rent a boat and paddle into the middle of the lake to take in views of snow-capped Fishtail Mountain. At night, there’s plenty of live music and even an outdoor movie theatre. The start of our trek is about an hour’s drive, and we’ll have a short walk the lines a river and surveys farming villages before reaching Tikhedunga.
Day 5: Ghorepani (2810m)
A difficult trail of stones and steps will lead to Ghorepani. Your heart will begin to pump in response to the higher elevations. After a tough climb, we will be rewarded with fantastic views of white Himalayan peaks. A welcoming guesthouse will be our stop for the day, and after filling our bellies with a freshly cooked meal, we’ll go to bed early in preparation for the sunrise climb to Poon Hill.
Day 6: Poon Hill (3210m) / Tadapani (2575m)
We’ll use headlights to follow the trail leading to Poon Hill. The mountains will stretch out before us, and the morning sun will colour the horizon purple and gold. After enjoying views of snowy peaks and taking plenty of photos, we’ll return to Ghorepani and reach Tadapani to rest before our ascent further into the Himalayas.
Day 7: Chomrong (2060m)
Today is an easy to allow our bodies to get used to the altitude. We’ll cross stone stairs and bridges high above the Chomrong River to reach the forests leading to Sinuwa village. After a gentle descent down to the village of Chomrong, we’ll rest for the night at a comfortable trekker’s lodge.
Day 8: Dovan (2630m)
Leaving Chomrong, we’re transverse another series of stair steps and head down towards the gushing riverbed. Next, prepare for another climb, up to Khuri and through a bamboo forest. The trail towards Dovan is a gentle one, allowing us to recover in preparation for our next challenge, the steep ascents towards Base Camp.
Day 9: Macchapuchhare Base Camp (4110m)
Today is one for the books! Making our way through bamboo forests and thick rhododendron groves, we’ll pass Hinko Cave, a large rock formation that provides some protection against wintry elements. After leaving the village of Deurali, the gates to the Annapurna Sanctuary will rise in the background. Bagar, a green meadow with abandoned hotels, sits alongside our trail that continues to ascent towards Macchapurchare Base Camp (scaling Macchapurchare is forbidden, so this is the closest climbers can get to the mountain face). Here, we can see some of the best landscapes and most note-worthy mountains on our journey. We’ll rest for the night before continuing higher.
Day 10: Annapurna Base Camp (4170m)
Annapurna Base Camp is the highest point on our trek, a snowy canvas of ridges and peaks. Take pictures under the clear blue sky and celebrate your accomplishment before we make our way back down. Your legs may start to feel the strain and effort you’ve put forth as we start the return trek to Dovan.
Day 11: Dovan (2630m)
Depending on our group’s fitness level, we can aim for Sinuwa or stop at Dovan to rest. Comfortable lodges are waiting to serve tea and dal bhat, the local staple, and our guides know exactly where to stay for friendly service.
Day 12: Jhinudanda (1750m)
We’ll sip warm tea before heading off on our descent through forests and more rocky terrain. The path is relatively flat until we return to Sinuwa, where we start to wind our way down towards the Chomrong River. You’ll see another series of stone steps that lead us back to Chomrong, and we’ll rest for snacks before attempting the steep descent to Jhinudanda. There are hot springs here to soothe achy muscles and tired feet, and a home-cooked meal will give you energy for our return to Pokhara.
Day 13: Nayapul / Pokhara
The first part of our day is filled with more declines, but we will reach flat grassy lands that wind towards Birethati. After stopping for lunch, we have only a half hour left until we reach Nayapul. Our transport will be waiting to pick us up and drive us back to Pokhara. Spend your evening as you wish, sampling stone-fired pizzas or listening to local live music. If you didn’t get a massage the first time around, a visit to the spa may sound even more appealing now.
Day 14: Return to Kathmandu
We’ll return to Kathmandu valley through winding countryside roads. For an extra fee, it is possible to book a flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu and arrive in less than thirty minutes. Fill your afternoon with a visit to Thamel, a maze of trinkets and Buddhist charms for tourists, or venture into Kathmandu’s more upscale neighborhoods like Lazimpat or Sherpa’s Mall.
Day 15: Departure
Our guides will make sure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to catch your flight and say good-bye to your new friends. Like many visitors who travel to Nepal, “Pheri Betaula,” or, “See you later,” is the easiest way to depart. You may not want to leave!