The Annapurna Sanctuary Trek is a hike into the dazzling natural amphitheatre formed by the beautiful peaks of the ‘fishtail’ spire of Machapucchare (6,997m), Gangapurna (7,454m) Annapurna I (8,091m), the unclimbed Fang (7,647m) and Annapurna South (7,273m). There is only one entrance to the Sanctuary itself, but the trek follows lesser-used approach and exit routes.
This trek will appeal to anyone wanting to visit some of the most spectacular Himalayan scenery in Nepal. It is not a particularly difficult trek as it doesn’t go very high, and there is plenty of opportunity to acclimatise to altitude.
Travelling as a small group (maximum 12), this trek will appeal to anyone wanting a challenge but at the same time, is not technical in any way. As long as you have a basic level of fitness, it should not be beyond the abilities of most reasonably fit people.
The operator is very conscious of using local guides and has a very good relationship with many of the local lodge-owners, whom he has been working with for years. Keen to provide good working conditions for the staff, the operator takes care to ensure that porters and guides are well looked after, as well as making the safety and health of the guests a top priority. The operator ensures good clothing for porters and crew, covers food for staff members and their insurance that includes medical treatment and helicopter evacuation when necessary.
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu
Day 2: Kathmandu sightseeing
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara; drive to Birethanti (1,000m)
Day 4: First day on the trail – Banthanti (2,300m)
Day 5: Ghorepani (2,850m)
Day 6: Poon Hill – Tadapani
Day 7: Chomrong (2,000m)
Day 8: Doban (2,500m)
Day 9: Machapuchare Base Camp (3,600m)
Day 10: Annapurna Base Camp (4,100m)
Day 11: Bamboo (2,500m)
Day 12: Jhinu (1,750m)
Day 13: Pothana (1,600m)
Day 14: Phedi – Pokhara
Day 15: Drive to Kathmandu
Day 16: Departure
The operator focuses on responsibility towards its staff, making sure that the guides and porters that work on the treks are well paid and have good working conditions. Committed to ensuring that the benefits of tourism are spread out, the operator hires locals, with porters and guides coming from the areas where the trek goes.
The tour company practices tourism that fosters understanding, appreciation and conservation of the cultures and environments it visits. It operates in a socially and environmentally responsible manner and is committed to working with the clients and the people of the host destinations to ensure direct economic benefits at a community level, as well as looking at contributing to conservation of culture and the environment. With continual monitoring of its operations, the tour operator aims to operate beyond best practice guidelines, trying to set the worldwide industry benchmark for responsible tourism.
- Wonderful mountain scenery as you get up to Machapucchre and Annapurna base camps
- Beautiful forests on your way up
- Fascinating Gurung and Magar villages along the way
- Fantastic sunrise and sunset from Poon Hill
- Lots of steps everywhere – best to take a good walking stick as there are quite a few steep paths with endless flights of steps.
Growing up in Singapore, Raj Tamang has had long experience in trekking and running a responsible tour operation. Preferring to be out there with his guests, Raj gives a highly personalised service, usually leading the treks himself. Committed to responsible tourism, he is keen to first ensure his own staff is treated well, as well as helping to share some of the benefits of the income that tourism brings with the local communities. He uses local staff and encourages his guests to ‘think local’.
Ideal For Whom
This trek is ideal for anyone with some basic level of fitness. Whilst not going particularly high for long, there is one night at 4,100m, so you need to take care to go slowly and watch out for altitude problems. As most of the trek is at below 3,600m, this should not pose any serious altitude problems for most people.
I’ve seen young children walk this trek, so for families with young children who are used to walking and are fit, this trek whilst challenging for little legs, is a good one as it does not go too high.
When To Visit
The best times of the year to visit this area is in the spring and autumn, when the weather is warm, dry and fairly settled. There may be the odd showers in spring and the skies tend to be clearer in the autumn.
Winter is cold, but this can be rewarded by crisp, clear days and during the day time it gets quite warm.
The summer is not the best time of year to come, as this is when the monsoon falls and it can rain for a few hours each day. The leeches can be a bit of a nuisance too.
Things To Bring
Comfortable walking boots
Waterproof jacket – if not for rain or snow, it is useful as a windbreaker
Warm layers – ideally layers of thin fleeces that can be adjusted as required
Thermal underwear – other than during the late spring to early autumn (when it is just cold), it can be very cold at higher altitudes.
Gloves, warm hat, sun hat for lower down, sun glasses, sun cream
Trekking clothes – cottons are best. Shorts are not really seen as appropriate by locals, even if some days might be warm enough further down.
Water purification tablets – not essential as the lodges will boil water for you along the way, but having your own iodine tablets to purify water whenever you need it can be useful. It also saves wood being burned to heat up your drinking water.
By Air – Most people arrive by air to Tribhuvan International Airport.
By Land – It is possible to travel overland from India by bus, arriving New Bus Park, Kathmandu.
Normal Payment Policy: At time of booking a non-refundable deposit of 10% is charged to your credit card in Euro equivalent by Travel To Care on behalf of the tour operator. Additionally, a deposit of USD 500 per person is required at time of booking – cash or bank transfer.
Payment balance of the tour cost is due 60 days before departure. If booking less than 60 days before departure, the full amount is to be paid at the time of booking.
If you fail to pay by the due date, the operator reserves the right to cancel the booking and retain your deposit.
Prices are dependent on airfares, exchange rates, fuel costs and other unforeseen circumstances. The operator reserves the right to amend the itinerary and trip costs without notice up to the day of departure.
Any additional change to the original booking will incur a fee of USD 50.
Normal Cancellation Policy: For all cancellations, the initial deposit is non-refundable.
Cancellation by you:
Contact the operator immediately if cancelling services. Upon receipt of your written advice, cancellation will take effect. A fee applies for a cancellation of your tour and flight. A fee is determined by the date when the tour operator receives written notification of the cancellation and the charges are as follows.
– The deposit is forfeited in case of cancellations made more than 60 days before departure.
– Between 60-30 days before departure, 50% of booking cost is charged.
– Between 30 days and departure date, 100% of booking cost is charged.
The operator will not be responsible/compensate if you leave the tour midway, be it on your own will, due to ill health or medical emergency. The operator will give you a covering letter to help your claim through your insurance company.
A condition of the operator accepting your booking is that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance as soon as you receive confirmation. Your policy must cover overseas medical treatment and aircraft evacuation from remote areas. The operator can arrange a comprehensive cover for you.
Cancellation by the operator:
If the minimum number of guests to operate is not reached, the tour operator reserves the right to cancel the tour and advise you of this no later than 28 days before departure. All payments made to the tour operator will be refunded, but the tour operator will not be liable for any claims made by you or for additional costs incurred by you.
Payment Options: Bank draft
Period(s) tour is not operational: N/a