Read on for a detailed account of our final day on the Annapurna Circuit. Today, we trekked from Ghandruk to Nayapul covering a total distance of around 11 km in 3 hours 40 minutes before continuing on to Pokhara to end our epic journey. This was easily one of the most unremarkable days of the entire circuit despite the massive feeling of accomplishment as our hike came to a close.
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Our seventeenth, and LAST, day walking the Annapurna Circuit was a simple descent down to Birethanti and out of the Annapurna Conservaton Area. After a short walk to Nayapul we would catch the bus to Pokhara to end our hike. Our route would take us from Ghandruk to Birethanti, from Birethanti to Nayapul and, finally, from Nayapul to Pokhara. Starting at 1940m, we would descend to 1070m by the time we got to Nayapul. It’s around 11 km and 3 hours 40 mins walk from Ghandruk to Nayapul including all stops. It’s then around a two-hour bus ride from Nayapul to Pokhara.
Read on for my experiences, tips and advice from day seventeen hiking the Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Day Seventeen: Ghandruk to Pokhara (via Nayapul) on the Annapurna Circuit
Ghandruk to Nayapul
Ghandruk (1940m) – Birethanti (1025m) – Nayapul (1070m)
Distance: Around 11 km
Time: 3 hrs 40 minutes (08:55 – 12:35)
We took our time getting ready today as we savoured our last morning on the trail. We milled about, had breakfast and caught up with our journals. It was a beautiful, sunny day with not a hint of the rain that covered the area the night before. We enjoyed some of our last views of the mountains and packed our bags. Setting off from Ghandruk, we made our way towards Birethanti – where we would be leaving the Annapurna Conservation Area.
While the views for the first hour were great, the day’s walking is pretty uneventful. It’s a mostly downhill walk with a big section following the road down to Birethanti. We passed through a few villages and eventually the path came out by the river and followed it all the way down. There were a lot more trekkers around. Most were starting the Annapurna Base Camp trek, the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek or one of the other routes in the area.
This was one of the least enjoyable walking days of the trek. Partly due to it being very hot – we got sweaty in no time. However, we also knew that the trek was coming to an end.
Eventually we reached the ACAP checking post in Birethanti and grabbed a couple of ice creams before crossing the bridge and waited as our guide got our TIMS cards checked and stamped one last time. Soon after we passed a sign thanking us for our visit to the Annapurna Conservation Area. Our trek was almost over.
Nayapul to Pokhara
We still had to make our way to Nayapul where buses and jeeps are ready to take people to Pokhara. The walk from Birethanti to Nayapul is not very long (around 20 mins) nor very exciting. It’s a busy and dusty place and I can’t imagine many people linger for more than a few minutes that it takes to hail a bus to Pokhara. We did stop for lunch which was probably one of the worst we had in Nepal before a bus pulled up to the café. Our guide helped us negotiate a fare, as we left our unfinished noodles and jumped on a bus to settle in for the 2 hour ride. We managed to negotiate the price down to 200 NPR with a drop off to Lakeside rather than the bus station. Lakeside is where the majority of accommodation, bars and restaurants so a drop off here makes things easier.
We definitely didn’t miss the bumpy roads (if you can call them that), cramped what-do-I-do-with-my-legs seats and the sacks of rice that get nonchalantly stacked up in the aisles while people hang out the side of the bus. Ah, Nepal! Yet a couple of hours later, we stepped off into the humid air of Pokhara and were immediately hosed down with a shower of epic proportions. After 17 days of blood, sweat, tears and a whole load of dust, it was a perfect way to end our Annapurna Circuit adventure.
Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest city by population, is a tourist hub and a great start/end point for any trek in the Annapurna Conservation Area. It’s easily accessible by bus, has a very laid-back vibe and makes for a perfect place to unwind after a tough trek. There’s plenty to do, a wide variety of places to eat and an awesome spot to while away a few days. With loads of travel agencies vying for your business, you can generally expect good deals on activities – from yoga retreats to trekking and paragliding, there is something here for everyone. It’s easily one of my favourite spots in Nepal and I highly recommend a visit!
Accommodation in Pokhara
There are places to stay in Pokhara to suit any budget. From budget backpacker hostels to more upmarket spa hotels, you will be spoilt for choice. As Pokhara is a great place to start or end multiple treks, you can leave any luggage that you won’t need on the trek here. Most places will happily store your bags for free or a small fee. Here are some great options for staying in Pokhara:
Ghandruk to Pokhara Key Notes
- It’s your last day on the trek! Take your time and enjoy those views when you wake up. Don’t rush to set off as the walking is easy and buses to Pokhara plentiful. Soak it in before heading back to civilisation!
- There are a couple of cafes on the way down to Birethanti. Considering how bad the food was in Nayapul, I would recommend a second breakfast/brunch somewhere along here. Otherwise just grab some snacks and hold out until you get to Pokhara where the choice will seem overwhelming after the last two and a half weeks!
- Birethanti is a bustling village and you can find things that you may have been missed on the trek. We bought ice cream and bananas which we craved for a while!
- Buses from Nayapul are frequent. You can flag one down but they will likely stop when they see you anyway. Make sure to negotiate. You shouldn’t need to pay more than 200 NPR per person. Remember to make sure you are dropped of at Lakeside rather than the bus station which is a long, sweaty walk from most of the accommodation options. You could always take a taxi but it’s an unnecessary expense.
- That’s it! You’re done! Enjoy Pokhara and inevitably start planning that next trek!
Staying in Pokhara: Pushkar Backpackers Hostel Pokhara
Just a short walk from the lake, this hostel was our home for about a week. Ran by a friendly, well-travelled owner, with clean rooms, spacious hang out areas as well as a rooftop, this was a great place to spend a few days in Pokhara.
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