Playground Outdoors

Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake

Stay in traditional Nepali teahouses as you circumnavigate the 26,000ft Annapurna Massif via the 17,800ft Thorung La pass, reaching as far as the Tibetan Plateau. Passing massive peaks en-route, this trek extends through several climate zones, from tropical to arctic - bringing with it an immense range of biodiversity.

Difficulty

SAC T4 Alpine Hiking

Path traces are not always present. Some sections require the use of hands. Grounds are relatively exposed, tricky grass slopes, craggy ground, simple firn fields and snow free glacier sections.

Duration

13 days

Delhi to Delhi
6 days travel & rest
7 days hiking & camping

Distance

60 km / 37 mi

Maximum Altitude

5416 m / 17770 ft

Price

₹215,000 $3000

Itinerary


Welcome to Nepal! The prayer flag-lined streets & markets are a tempting reason to stay and explore, but use your day in Kathmandu to gather any remaining trekking items you may need (trust us, you’ll find everything here), and have a briefing with us on what the upcoming days will hold. You’ll have all the time you want to explore when we get back!

Our first look at rural Nepal, we head to Pokhara, a city that rests along the shores of Phewa Lake, and is alive and bustling with cozy cafes, regular festivals, local handicraft markets, beach-side restaurants. Pokhara is the gateway to the treks of the Annapurna Conservation Area, and we will spend the night debriefing, getting any last minute supplies and exploring if time permits!

Today we wind our way up the mountain roads toward our trailhead at Manang. On our way, we enter the official Annapurna Conservation Area, and the dense forests that give the lower altitudes of the region so much character. Shortly before arriving, we will stop at the small village of Pisang to take in the western rock face of the mountain Paungda Danda, now nicknamed the “Great Wall of Pisang,” for rising sharply 4,900 feet above the Marshyangdi River below.

The goal of today is to hydrate and stay moving, as we gained considerable altitude yesterday. From Manang, we will take a day hike 400 meters up to visit the monastery above the village, where we can get a stunning first look at the Annapurna range as well as a cascading icefall that can be seen descending from Gangapurna.

Today comes with a constant ascent up to the base camp of Tilicho Lake. Starting early from Manang, we pass both Khangsar and Shree Kharka Village on the way up. Past Shree Kharka, there is little sign of civilization, and the teahouses at Base Camp are completely run on solar power. Once we pass the village of Shree Kharka, we will navigate our way up through a landslide section, with every step upward revealing more of the valley below as well as the towering white peaks that surround us. The white is a major contrast with the lower valley, which is a mixture of brown, green and golden-yellow.

Starting as early as possible to give ourselves the best chance of reaching the lake with clear skies, we continue climbing upward for almost three hours in this rocky terrain devoid of almost any vegetation. After the steep climb levels out, we will walk one hour more amidst the brown trails dusted with snow, Tilicho Lake off in the distance, flanked by massive snowy peaks to its left. Arriving at the lake, we see the mountains reflected on its smooth, neon-blue surface and set camp near the lake.

Today we will hike back down to Khangsar.

We continue our journey toward Yak Kharka (huts), where shepherds are known to bring their yak herds to graze. We meet up with the Jarsang Khola (River) and follow it up the valley. Since we are above the treeline, the valley opens up in a vast expanse of green and golden-yellow grass as we cross Upper Khangsar. We’ll rest in the open pastures of Yak Kharka for the night.

The ascent toward the pass continues today as we move up to Thorung Phedi - with Phedi meaning “foot of the pass” in Nepali. We navigate another landslide section during our climb, watching the mountains rise around us as we gain altitude, and call it an early afternoon to rest up in the clearing of Thorung Phedi for the night. We have a long day tomorrow.

We’ll wake up before sunrise to start our final ascent of Thorung La, leaving early to give ourselves higher chances of good weather at the pass. The climb should take about two and a half hours, and the top is marked by a prayer flag-adorned sign announcing that we have reached 17,770 feet in altitude - the highest point on the Annapurna Circuit. From our new vantage point, we get some of the most panoramic view the Circuit has to offer. We will then negotiate the long and tricky descent to Muktinath.

Give your legs a well-deserved rest as we make the drive out of the thriving Annapurna Conservation Area that we’ve spent the week exploring and head back to Pokhara for some much-needed rest and lakeside celebrations.

Retracing the route we took to get to Pokhara, we get one last look at the rice paddies and rural villages of Nepal before diving back into the bustle of Kathmandu. Rest up or get some last-minute souvenir shopping or exploring in. Tomorrow we head home from Nepal.

Fly out of Kathmandu to Delhi or elsewhere.

Playground Perks


Handcrafted & Curated

We don’t copy our itineraries off the internet. We scout and design all trip offerings personally. This ensures enough time to acclimatise at high altitude, explore around the campsite, and indulge in authentic local experiences so you don’t miss out on anything.

Everything Included

Honestly, everything. Internal flights, best-in-class travel insurance, personal camping equipment, and all meals - we’ll take care of everything that most travel operators will mark with an asterisk. You pay for nothing except personal purchases from the day your trip starts.

Equipment & Safety

4 season Mountain Hardwear tents and sleeping bags, emergency oxygen reserves & PACs to provide a safety net against AMS, UIAA Safety Label glacier rescue kits for technical trails, WAFA/WFR & CPR certified guides, best-in-class adventure insurance - we’ve always got a plan B.

Personalised & Bespoke

We curate bespoke adventures and trips every day because we recognise that everyone’s travel bug is unique. When it comes to adventure travel, there are different ways to experience the world’s most beautiful places, because every traveler is different - which is why we’ve stepped in to provide a space for environmental advocacy, cross-cultural connections, wellness and adventure to combine - all through travel.

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel starts with acknowledging that travel and tourism often contribute to the global climate crisis. We believe in the positive power of travel to transform mindsets & generate a sense of preservation towards wild spaces. We follow LNT Principles, minimise our carbon footprint, adopt regenerative practices & give back to local communities - from making sure our field staff are well equipped to higher-than-industry-standard compensation.

Self Guided & Operated

We’ll never hand you off to someone else - we run all trips ourselves. We minimise external contracting and only partner with people we know and trust personally. While we employ and collaborate with local guides and support staff for their unparalleled expertise and knowledge of the Himalayan ranges, our trips are led by one of our core team members so you always have a single point of contact.