Annapurna Circuit Trek- Everything you Need to Know

  • Jun 24, 2021
  • Alpine Ramble Treks

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The Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of Nepal’s most admiring classic treks. It traverses magnificently varied landscapes, farmlands, from lush lowlands forests to the high-altitude Thorong Pass, the highest point of the trek as it stands at an elevation of 5416 meters above sea level. Throng- La is said to be the highest trekking pass in the world with the imposing Annapurna Massif a near invariable companion. In recent years, this trekking has become one of the most popular and crowded trekking trails in the Nepal Himalayas. Every year, thousands of travelers traverse enthralls on the beauty of this place while trekking from all around the world. The Annapurna Circuit route was a string of trekking tea houses and clearly marked trails make this an easily accessible, a normal trek that anyone of us can be part of this fascinating journey with reasonable fitness level where we do not need to climb any technical mountains to cross the whole journey.

Annapurna circuit trek is said to be more than just a trek for many reasons, one can experience the beautify culture and nature from the starting phase of the journey to end, it is a complete journey in the Himalayas where you will not only explore the majestic some of the world’s highest mountains but you will also get an opportunity and appreciate with fascinating culture of the peoples in the mountains as well as their unique lifestyle.

Tranquil Annapurna trek (ACT) will take you through a variety of different landscapes, lush terraces, to the forests, and then into those beautiful high-altitude views of the magnificent mountains therefore this trek is more than just a trek with a complete package.  As we hike constantly day by day, we’ll get exposed to the daily life of the native mountain’s Nepalese people who live in the remotest part of Nepal for a long century.

Embark on this journey to immerse yourself in the beauty of majestic Himalayas and also be engrossed in the small traditional villages’ culture and agriculture.

If you are one of the adventure enthusiasts and want to experience a little bit of everything about Nepal that it has to offer, this is the piece of cake for you to set off on, but bear in mind this trek is certainly no easy feat like Annapurna Base Camp Trek or Langtang Valley Trek. However, in this article, here are the things you should really know in order to complete the amazing Annapurna Circuit safely and with a smile on your face.

Best Time to go on Annapurna Circuit Trek

Like with many of the treks in the Himalayas in Nepal, there are certain times of the year when the weather conditions are ideal for trekking and mountaineering activities. In fact, the months of September, October, and November or March, April, and May are widely considered to be the best and favorable months or times of the year from the Annapurna Circuit Trekking in Nepal. The weather and temperatures during these two (autumn and spring) seasons are generally clear and dry where views are always nice with clean blue sky, and the weather is stable However it’s not too cold when heading into altitudes and not too hot in the lower areas of the trek. These two seasons are the peak and also crowded season’s times to be on the trail including Annapurna, and Everest region of Nepal where the trails and tea houses on the routes are generally covered by full of travelers, trekking into the Annapurna circuit in this time of the year with many other trekkers from across the world heading into the same destination with the same goal and determinations makes your journey more fun and enjoyable.

If you are looking for the Annapurna circuit trek at different times of the year, you can also do a trek at other times, but be prepared with certain weather conditions. The winter season involves the months of December, January, and February, trekking in the Annapurna circuit is not an impossible way to complete, it is still good to enjoy, which offers clear skies and spectacular views. But it can be incredibly cold at higher altitudes, with the possibility of the thick snow on the ground that can often cause the Thorong La Pass to close at short notice or even hard to cross the pass by solely. If you are still happy to take a challenge on this trek in the winter season then make sure to have enough nice clothing gears for trekking with the extra layers, a thick down jacket, warms socks, sleeping bag suited to temperatures of at least -25°C and crampons, which can be bought in Kathmandu at any local trekking stores with the variety of options in terms of the quality.

Trekking Equipment for the Annapurna Circuit trek

Equipment is one of the important factors in order to complete the journey. Having the right equipment is extremely important for trekking to the Himalayas; For the Annapurna circuit trek, make sure to carry a proper pair of hiking boots that are comfortable and worn-in is a good place to start! Because of the variable temperatures – from night today and as you gain altitude – layering is very helpful and adds extra warmth, we would recommend purchasing some good layers made out of breathable fibers, some spare hiking t-shirts with quick-dry access. Bringing some windbreaker or fleece as a mid-weight layer is a good idea and then a warm thicker down jacket is the best option for a top layer. Umbrella is not recommended to rain at altitude but carries a good rain jacket or poncho which can be brought along the way for the temporary, this is essential, take a comfortable day backpack, normally 40l or above. Make sure to bring your own first aid box with Diamox, a medication for high altitude sickness as well as toiletries. For more about essential gears please click HERE.

Pick the Right Everest Base Camp Itinerary

Most importantly the first thing that you need to think about is picking the right itinerary; hence, there is no one size fits all. One key factor to consider is that you need to have as much acclimatization possible in the critical points of the trek. Therefore, take a proper trekking itinerary for your next trek to the Annapurna circuit, at least 2 nights acclimatization in Manang village one the way up the trail is recommended. The crucial part of the trek is altitude without having proper acclimatization along the way up may cause your hiking difficulties in the climb. There are some people who do this trek within a week but it is only for those of us who are trained well in the altitude and used to trek a lot before. Having some extra day for the trek is vital to a safe, enjoyable, and successful experience in a low oxygen environment higher up the trail. Make sure to acclimatize well lower down, and then you will run out of the risk of getting altitude sickness higher up. However, the Annapurna circuit trek has various trekking itineraries including a minimum of 8 days to the maximum day's itinerary of 20-day. In order to avoid the high altitude sickness, we would recommend you take a 12- days Annapurna circuit or 16 –Day Annapurna circuit trek, or you may choose for an 18-20 days Annapurna circuit trek if your holiday permits.

Annapurna Circuit Trekking Map

Accommodation while on the Annapurna Circuit trekking:

The Annapurna Circuit trek is one of the well-established trekking routes of Nepal, it's been very well set up with plenty of comfortable lodges, so we do not need to carry the tent to set up our camp to spend a night in the tiny tent. However, the accommodation at the local is simple but convenient where we can spend a night comfortably. The good thing is some of the tea houses have an attached bathroom where you do not need to go outside of the room for the toilet, but in most of the places in this route, the toilet and washing facilities are outside of your room. The room in the tea house is a twin sharing room with twin beds, a mattress, and a pillow where you can share the room with some of the genders or if you are a couple then it is good to fit for you. Bear in mind, during the peak seasons in Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) the rooms are usually packed and covered by full of trekkers, in this case, the advance booking through your guide or company will help you to find the room easily since this route has limited tea house in the places. Tea houses provide you with food, hot water for showers, and WiFi at a little extra cost.

Trekking Permits and TIMS car Cost

Travelers are required to register the trekking permit or Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and TIMs (Trekking Information Management System) cards to do this trek in the Annapurna region of Nepal. See the following fees details for the foreigners to buy the permits and TIMS card,

  • Annapurna Conservation Area Project Try permit fee for tourists: NPR 3000 ($30 approx.)
  • Annapurna Conservation Area Project entry permit fee for SAARC nationals: NPR 200
  • Trekkers’ Information Management Systems permit fee: NPR 1000 ($10 approx.) – (TIMS) 

Food and Drinking Water On Annapurna Circuit Trek

The foods are available at every tea house as we use during the trek, most of the tea houses in this region offer a wide variety of traditional cuisine of Nepal and western meals on the tea houses Menu including classic Nepali traditional meals Dal Bhat, Momos, and Bread. The western types of meals are found in every single place, the sizes of the foods and taste might not be expected to be the same in the city areas but they are still very convenient, the Pizza, spaghetti, noodles, burger, noodles, stews, are the common meals that this area offers to you. It cost them as little as NPR 500 (approx. $3-5) at the lodges in the lower area but the prices are expected to increase at the higher altitude of the region.

The drinking water is available everywhere in this region, most of the tea house or small coffee shops sell the water at a little cost but as an option, you may carry a proper water bottle filling the water all the time as it drank out, refilling the water from the tap is free of cost but make sure to purify it before drinking. Buying water is the best option because most of us are not used to the water from mountains and it may cause problems so spending a few dollars on good foods and water means we are treating ourselves in a better way, as we all know that we cannot deal with life at any amount of cost. Good food is a good life and healthy life is a happy life. Hope it makes sense to us!

Remember, the water costs 0.5- 2 USD/ bottle of water.

Getting there & away

To trek in the Annapurna Circuit, we have to first drive to Besisher from Kathmandu which is a 6- hour long drive by local bus (we can also take a private jeep as an option- it costs way more than a local bus transfer), and next day again, we take another scenic mountain drive to Chame by a local jeep to start the trek (remember, if we do a trek longer version then we can start to trek from Besisahar but it has to be at least 16-20 days in a row if we start the trek from Besisahar and the most of walk would be in the local jeep road but the view is still spectacular).

Annapurna Circuit Trail Length

The total length covered by the Annapurna Circuit is somewhere between 225- 230 KM/100-145 miles). It depends where we are starting the trek; the length of the Annapurna Circuit will be shorter than this if we transfer to the Chame and start to trek from here, but as mentioned length above is based on the starting point from Besisahar. 

Trek with the Expert 

Support a company that has invested in the local communities and society in the remotest mountain parts of Nepal. We helped set up the Khading village for the school kids and helpless women in the mountain region of Nepal after the 2015 earthquake and this trek will be led by our decades of professional experienced local guides who have been leading thousands of groups in the Himalayas for over the last 19 years in the field! We believed in the quality services on all our trekking and mountaineering itineraries, we guaranteed that your safety, satisfaction, and happiness throughout the trek with us. CONTACT US for more information and we can explain and help you on your next trip to Nepal.

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