A Complete Guide To Annapurna Circuit Trek
Voted as one of the best long-distance treks, Trekking around Annapurna Circuit is one of the stunningly mesmerizing, life-changing experiences you can have on your travel. And we are sure that you will be fascinated by the beauty of Annapurna Circuit from the first of the trek.
Trekking through the foothill of the world’s tallest mountains with diverse climate zones, varied landscapes, along with rich cultural diversity, the 15 days you’ll spend in the Annapurna Circuit trek are one of the most inspiring as well as challenging things that you’ll ever encounter in your life.
Although it may seem very tempting to just head off on the trail, it is not as simple as walking in the park. From preparing for Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) to managing the permits and accommodation, you will require a chunk of knowledge and planning you need to consider for the pre-trip preparation before you even take your first step.
Many questions may pop up in your mind regarding the actual trek such as Should you trek solo or in a group? What is the availability of accommodation and flooding on the trail? When should I trek to get the best visibility of the Himalaya? and many more.
So, for those who are planning to trek the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, Here’s a complete guide to the Annapurna Circuit trek, including trekking permits, hiking solo vs in a group, what to pack, when to go, how difficult is it? and everything you need to know before your Annapurna Trek.
- One of the famous trek in the world that covers a large number of Himalayan Ranges ranging from 6000m to 800m in the Annapurna Region including Annapurna I (8,091m) – the 10th highest mountain in the world, Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Machhapuchhre, Dhaulagiri, Gangapurna, Tukuche, Nilgiri, Tilicho Peak, Manaslu and other sister peaks in the region.
- Experience varieties of communities, vegetation, landscapes, rivers, food, culture, etc.
- Summit the highest pass of the world. Thorang-La pass (5,415m), the highest point on the Annapurna Circuit.
- Opportunity to socialize and share experiences with travelers from all over the world as it is a very famous trekking package.
- Experience a remote life of people living in the Himalayas from a close distance.
- Sunrise/sunset view from Poon Hill and Thorung La pass.
- The Muktinath Temple, one of the most important shrines of both Hindus and Buddhists.
- Natural Hot Spring at Tatopani to relax your tired muscles.
- Poon Hill, one of the most famous viewpoint in Nepal
- Visit the beautiful and exotic ethnic Gurung, Thakali, and Magar villages, like Ghorepani, Marpha, Jomsom, and Manang.
- Pokhara, Lake city, a relaxing place to end the trip.
Annapurna Circuit Trek Itinerary
Day 01: Arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu (1300m)
Day 02: Drive to Chamje (1430m) via Besisahar (830m), 7-8hours drive.
Day 03: Trek from Chamje to Dharapani (1960), 6 hours of trek.
Day 04: Trek to Chame (2630m), 5-6 hours of trek.
Day 05: Trek to Pisang (3300m), 5-6 hours of trek.
Day 06: Trek to Manang (3570) via Ghyaru, 5 hours of trek.
Day 07: Acclimatization day in Manang
Day 08: Trek to Yak Kharka(4,110m), 3-4 hours of trek.
Day 09: Trek to Thorong Phedi (4650m), 3-4 hours of trek.
Day 10: Thorong Phedi to Muktinath(3800) via Thorang pass (5416m), 7-8 hours of trek.
Day 11: Jeep drive to Tatopani (1100 m), 7-8 hours drive.
Day 12: Trek to Ghorepani (2800m), 6 hours of trek.
Day 13: Early morning hike to Poon hill (3210m), descend to Tikhedhunga and drive to Pokhara, 8 hours.
Day 14: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu, 5-6 hours drive.
Day 15: Departure
When is the Best season for Annapurna Circuit Trek?
Annapurna Circuit Trekking can be done any time of the year; however, if you are looking for perfect weather conditions for trekking in Annapurna, then Autumn (September-November) and Spring (March-April) are the two best seasons to do this Annapurna trek in Nepal.
Autumn (September-November): Autumn is the peak season to trek the Annapurna Circuit. Since autumn arrives right after the monsoon, the sky is bright and clear, the valleys are still green, the Annapurna Circuit weather and temperature are just perfect for trekking and the views of the pristine mountains are simply spectacular.
Since it is the peak season for trekking, the trail becomes very crowded, hence pre-booking for the accommodation is recommended.
Spring (March-April): Spring is the second-best time to go Annapurna Circuit Trekking. Since spring starts after the cold winter, the trails become free from snow, the weather is fairly warm, blooming rhododendron and other flowers beautify the trail and the sun shines bright.
Just like in autumn, there is a huge crowd on the trail, so pre-booking for the accommodation is recommended.
Summer (May-July): This time of the year, it’s very hot and rainy. Due to which the views are blocked by the clouds, the trails become muddy and sometimes even the landslides affect the trail. Hence, it is not considered as the best time to trek the Annapurna Circuit.
Winter (December to February): During Winter, the weather is extremely cold and dry. Heavy snowfall might sometime block the trail. Also, the local people migrate to a lower altitude to get away from this harsh weather. And most of the teahouse and lodges are closed during winter. Therefore, winter is also not viewed as a good time for Annapurna Circuit Trekking.
What to pack?
Since Annapurna Circuit is a long-distance trek, packing the right thing is quite essential. Avoid unnecessary things.
Here is the Annapurna Circuit Trek packing list that you will be needing during the trek:
- Hiking Pants (1 pair)
- Long sleeve shirt (1)
- Short sleeve shirt (1)
- Socks (2 pairs)
- Comfortable and warm pants (1 pair)
- Down Jacket (1)
- Warm hat (1)
- Sun hat
- Hiking boots
- Trekking poles
- Camera with battery
- Phone & Cord
- Sleeping bag, pillowcase
- Plug adapter with built-in USB ports
- Water bottle, headlamp
- Pack rain cover
- Passport and permits
- Soap, Shampoo, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Towel, Deodorant, Sunscreen, Lip Balm, Sanitary Napkin,
- First Aid Kit, Book/Kindle, Notebook/Journal, Extra cash, travel games, Binocular, Energy bars/Chocolates, Peanuts, etc.
Permits required for the Annapurna Round Trek:
Most of the trekking trails in the Annapurna region falls inside the Annapurna Conservation Area. Thus, the trekkers from foreign countries are required an entry permit from the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) and a Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) card to trek around Annapurna Circuit.
- ACAP entry permit fee for foreigners: 3,000 NPR (Approx. US $30)
- ACAP entry permit fee for SAARC nationals: 200 NPR (Approx. $2)
- TIMS permit: 1,000 NPR (Approx. US $10), if you are in a group and 2,000 NPR (Approx: US $20) if you are a Free Individual Traveler(FIT)
Accommodation options during the Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Circuit trek is a classic teahouse trek in Nepal. Thus, there are many tea houses and lodges along the trail that provides accommodation to trekkers. The accommodation in this trek is quite basic and it gets more basic as you go further toward higher altitude settlements. The rooms are usually on a twin share basis with shared and sometimes attached bathrooms.
Generally, they don’t provide a separate heater but they have a common area with a fire and good company. Though limited, wifi is available in some tea houses.
Food during the Annapurna Trek
With the increasing number of trekkers every year, the quality of the food has been getting better and you can find varieties of food in most of the teahouse along the trail. Most tea houses now serve dishes like spaghetti, pasta, sandwich, etc.
Yet Dal Bhat(Rice, Dal, Curry, Pickle, Salads), a typical Nepali meal, is the best value for money. It is tasty, filling, and inexpensive. Other drinks like water, beer, soda, tea/coffee are also available throughout the trail.
One thing you will notice while eating is that the price becomes costlier as you go higher.
So, I highly recommend you bring your water bottle and energy boosters like chocolate bars, energy bars if you are looking to save money.
Annapurna Circuit Trekking Difficulty: How fit do I need to be to complete this trek?
Talking about the Annapurna Circuit Trek Difficulty is a moderately challenging trek in Nepal. It’s a long trek which takes from 10 to 28 days depending upon which packages you choose. Usually, you will have to walk for 6 to 8 hours a day to complete the trek. If you have a physically and mentally fit, then you can easily complete the trek. You also need to be prepared for tiring ascend and descend and walking on snow and ice trail if you are trekking in the winter.
The most difficult of this trek is the trail from Thorung Phedi to Thorung La pass which just a 45 min walk but due to the altitude it is very challenging.
Be careful about Acute Mountain sickness. It is the most common difficulties that most travelers face during this trek. To avoid the sickness, you should walk slow(don’t rush), take proper acclimatization, and always keep yourself hydrated.
Some of the common symptoms of altitude sickness are nausea, diarrhea, headache, loss of appetite, fatigue, and insomnia.
To successfully complete the trek, you need to be physically fit, need to have the endurance that is required to walk for 4-8 hours in a day and should have strong determination.
How do I prepare my body ready for the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
To prepare yourself for the Annapurna Circuit Trek, first, do a health check-up. Once your doctor approved that you are in good shape, consult about the necessary exercises and walk with your doctor to train yourself for the trip.
Focus on the cardio and muscle strengthening exercises. Start exercising at least 4-6 weeks before the trek. Eat healthily. If possible go short hike, it helps a lot to prepare yourself mentally for the trek.
Other Essential Things for the Annapurna Trek
Travel Insurance: If you are trekking in Nepal, then travel insurance is a must. Your travel insurance should cover every extra expense that might occur due to injuries or health issues or accidents. Additionally, it should also include the cost of an ambulance, helicopter rescue, doctor’s fees, treatment cost, hospital charges, the repatriation cost, the cost of theft and liability, cancellation, and misplaced luggage.
Since Annapurna Circuit Trek takes you over an altitude of 5,000 meters, the policy should cover the trek that goes over 5,000m.
Map: Map is one of the most essential things for trekking in Nepal. If you choose to hire a trekking agency to manage your trip then, they will provide a map as a complimentary gift. However, if you are trekking the Annapurna Circuit without a guide or a porter then make sure you buy a map before starting the trek.
Annapurna Circuit Trek Transportation:
The Annapurna Circuit trekking starts at Besisahar and ends at Nayapul (pure trekking). However, for trekkers, who do not want to walk the entire trail can always take a flight or local transportation from Jomsom.
You can easily find transportation to Besisahar from Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Recommendations for solo travelers:
I highly recommend all the travelers to hire a guide and a porter or join the group. You will have a safe journey if you travel in groups, plus you will be saving a lot if you are a budget traveler.
However, if you insist on solo trekking, then we recommend you to travel during the peak season.
If you are planning any trek to Annapurna Region of having any queries regarding the Annapurna Circuit Trek, then feel free to contact us.