FACTS ABOUT THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT
Here are a few quick facts about the Annapurna Circuit,
before we actually start our trek
Location | Central
Trek length | Generally
this varies depending on route and whether you take optional side treks, but
generally between 170km - 230km
Height of Annapurna 1 Main (the highest mountain in the
Annapurna Massif) | 8091m
Highest point of the trek | Thorong La Pass - 5416m (17,769ft)
Highest Sleeping Point on the Annapurna Circuit: Thorong Phedi (4450 m) often known as low camp. While high
Camp (4850 m) also provides an stunning accommodation opportunity as the next
option before crossing Thorong La Pass.
Himalayas can be seen during Annapurna Circuit Trek:
Annapurna I, Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, along with
Machhapuchre, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Gangapurna and Tilicho Peak, where peaks
ranges from 6000 – 8000 m.
Highlights of Annapurna Circuit Trek:
Magnificent mountains seen from all
Trekking days can be customized
Good accommodation options
Hot Springs in several places
Location intersects with other treks
Best weather months to trek the Annapurna
There are however peak seasons and
the following months have traditionally been used as a guide for preferred
times of the year to trek the Annapurna Circuit.
October – November/(early) December: This is the most peak season, in the context of Nepalese
tourism industry, and considered as the best time to go to trekking.
February – March – April: This is the end of dry season and the second-best time of
the year to go to trekking.
November/December to January/February: The skies are very clear and bluish, but it can be very
cold and chances of heavy snow fall, which leads to landslides and obstruction
in trekking route and during crossing passes.
May – June: This is the hottest and pre- monsoon season of Nepal and it
can get very warm indeed. Blooming flowers and green pastures of the valley
will blow your mind.
June – September: This is the least popular time for trekker to go to
trekking, as it is the monsoon season of Nepal and chances of getting rainfall,
flood, landslides, along with leeches in the bush are frequent.
THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT ITINERARY IS UNCONVENTIONAL
Since the trail opened in 1977, most trekkers have followed
an Annapurna Circuit itinerary that begins in Besishahar and heads in an
anti-clockwise direction over the Thorong-La Pass and down into the Jomsom
The main reason for this is acclimatization. When following
the trail anti-clockwise, you have almost 2 whole weeks of acclimatization (and
leg-training!) before you begin the leg-and-lung-breaking final ascent up and
over Thorong La (5416m).
Going the other way, you’d only have 2 days to acclimatize,
as well as tackling some intense 1700m+ incline days along steep, rubbly paths
There’s also very limited access to teahouses in the later days,
which means if you do succumb to altitude sickness due to the speed of your
climb, you may struggle to find help.
While you don’t need to be marathon fit to complete the
Annapurna circuit, it’s definitely worth putting in some hard yards at the gym,
in the mountains or around the block before you leave.
For the most part the days are manageable; 5-6hrs and
10-15kms, with plenty of rest, long lunch breaks and a few rest days in
Some days on your trek will involve 16 hours at high
altitude starting at 4am. Other days can be over 20kms through the
"Nepalese flats" (aka rolling hills) or in the snow. And then
there’s the final day from Muktinath to Jomsom (you can discover all about that
Our advice is to build your general cardio for at least a
month prior to leaving as well as a few consecutive days of long-distance
YOU NEED A TREKKING PERMIT FOR THE
No matter when or how you're hiking the Annapurna Circuit,
you'll need to organise both a Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) permit,
and an Annapurna National Park Permit (sometimes also known as the Annapurna
Conservation Area Permit).
As of 2019, the permits should set you back about USD $50
total: the APC Permit is USD $30 / NPR 3,000 per person, while the TIMS Permit
is USD $20 / NPR 2,000 per person.
These will need to be checked at various checkpoints along
If you're hiking with an organized tour group, your guides
will likely manage these for you.
If you're hiking by yourself, you'll need to organize these
at either the Nepal Tourism Board based in Kathmandu, or the Pokhara tourist
office before you begin the trek.
Make sure you bring a minimum of 4 passport photos for the
trekking permit too!
Trekking day is long, and also a bit tough
Annapurna trek is long, tiring and physically and mentally
tough. Depending on which route you take, you’re going to be hiking for 13+
Some days will be really physically tough.
You’ll be living out of a backpack with a very limited
supply of clothing, sleeping on some rock-hard beds, eating only carbs (we
didn’t say it was all bad!), drinking chlorinated or filtered water, all while
having no internet access to check your Facebook and other social sites which might be you are
Besides all these challenges, at the very end of the day, or
at the time of crossing Thorong La Pass, you will eventually enjoy the moment,
which is also considered as the highest point of the trek.
THE SCENERY ON THE ANNAPURNA TREK IS
The beauty of this region is really jaw dropping. Everyday
you wake up in the morning and sees the mountain terrain, almost barren land,
some green pastures, rivers, streams, mountains just Infront of you and local
peoples their cultural diversification as you pass your days.
With every step the scenery in front of you changes and the
mountains reveal something new; rolling clouds, the breathtaking terrain, the
towering mountains or the smiling locals.
It’s literally the definition of awe-inspiring. Them feels
are good for the soul and you’ll leave feeling all giddy about the world.
How good athlete you are, and how many days you actively
participate in sports, I don’t think this will really matters in this case in
real. We commend you for being so
awesome in your active wear, but it won’t help you with altitude sickness.
Altitude sickness can affect anyone, including the fittest
athletes alive (and Sir Edmund Hillary - the first summiteer of Everest!) so
make sure you take all the necessary precautions after 3000m.
That includes taking Diamox (if you wish, but consult with
your doctor), staying hydrated, and getting adequate rest. If you feel symptoms,
let your guide know and take action.
Never neglect any symptoms, otherwise it can take anyone’s
THE ACCOMMODATION IS MORE THAN DECENT
If you're expecting to stay at the Shangri-La, you'll be
disappointed. If you apply a little common sense and realize the Annapurna
circuit is pretty remote, you'll be satisfied with the basic accommodation
Guesthouses and teahouses are dotted along the whole trek,
starting from Besisahar all the way to Jomsom. They're pretty little things
made from rock and wood and provide a welcome relief at the end of a long days
Rooms at each teahouse are generally twin share, with enough
space to spread out.
As the altitude increases the accommodation becomes more
basic, however, the higher you go the happier you'll be with any form of
bedding! Each teahouse has a common area which is usually stoked with a fire in
the evening. This is where you'll spend most of your time, eating dinner and
meeting fellow travellers.
Most teahouses make their money from food, so expect to pay
slightly more than you would in Kathmandu. We do recommend buying food and drinks
Firstly, it will lighten your load, and secondly it provides
much-needed income to what are sometimes fairly poor communities.
We have also heard of people bargaining for free
accommodation in exchange for paying for food and drink. However, we'd encourage
anyone travelling to these areas to be fair, pay for both your accommodation
(not more than a few USD) and your food, and help to support communities that desperately
rely on tourist dollars for their survival.
Most teahouses will have basic amenities, such as showers
Up until Manang, you'll be able to have hot, solar-powered
showers, although be prepared to fight for first position, as they do run out
quickly! You do have to pay for warm showers, but it's definitely worth it.
You are also able to charge your electronic devices,
although this comes at a small cost. Alternatively, we always travel with our
trusty solar charger to keep our devices charged throughout the day.
TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU NEED
There are legends in Nepal; super strong guys who glide up
and down mountains carrying all your stuff on their shoulders and neck. They’re
called Porters, and they do this so you can concentrate on accomplishing your
goal without extra baggage.
While their feats are super-human, they are in-fact quite
human, with really human muscles and backs that are equally prone to injury.
Help them out here by bringing only what you really need
(10kgs or so), so ditch the hair straightener, the three pairs of jeans and the
full make up bag as you won’t need it.
Essentials on Annapurna Circuit Trek
A pair of good quality waterproof
spare pair of inside shoes
6 pairs of underwear and four pairs
of socks (you can wash them as you go!).
Two pairs of trekking pants
One pair of shorts
Two thermal tops and bottoms
One goose-down jacket
One pair of waterproof pants
1 pair of thick gloves or mittens
whichever you feel easy to wear
Personal hygiene essentials
Reusable water canteens
Water purifier tablets
As your mind wanders while trudging through the snow on your
way to Thorong La pass, you’ll probably be dreaming of your favourite meal; a
chicken parma, killer veggie curry, or Fro-Yo with all the toppings you like.
You don’t need to fear for your taste buds; the food in the
Annapurna region is really freaking good, and pretty varied.
Dal Bhat is a traditional Nepalese meal consisting of rice,
a lentil-based soup and other condiments, and it’s generally all you can eat so
you’ll never go hungry. As they say on the mountain: ‘Dal Bhat Power, 24- hour!’
You'll be surprised by the number of bakeries, stocking
everything from strudel to doughnuts. We recommend stopping at each of these as
TIPPING IS NOT COMPULSORY (BUT
KIND OF EXPECTED)
Throughout Nepal generally, tipping isn't compulsory
(particularly when it comes to restaurants and drivers), but it is kind of
expected when it comes to guides and porters.
Many of the locals involved in the hiking industry here
actually rely upon the tips they receive from leading groups, or carrying your
As a guide, for your leader you should normally set aside some
cash per person, per day.
For your porters, a recommended amount which is split
amongst all the porters on your trek.
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll already
know that we never, ever, leave for our travels without travel insurance -
especially when undertaking a hike at altitude like the Annapurna Circuit.
Whether it's a sprained ankle, severe altitude sickness, or
a natural disaster (let's not forget the 2015 Nepal earthquake), the unexpected
can, and does, happen and it's always better to be prepared. Nepal only can
provide insurance facilities to its fellow staffs, like guide and porters but
not for its guests, so we strongly suggest to our guests to make insurance in
their own home country before they land in Nepal for travel.
RESPECT THE LOCAL CULTURE
For many people, long treks are all about mountains and
self-accomplishment, and that's totally ok.
But the Annapurna Circuit is upheld as a significant
cultural and sacred trail by the Nepalese, so it's important that you as a
visitor also a) behave accordingly, b) show respect for various sites along the
way (dressing appropriately, not littering, etc), and c) take the time to chat
with the locals and trying to understanding their way of life and beliefs up here.
After all, one of the best parts of travel is the total
immersion in another culture, right?
to make Mountain Clean
Due to their altitude and remoteness, many of the villages
on the trail don't have adequate waste disposal methods. Instead, they either
have to burn the rubbish off (not ideal), or carry it off the mountain
themselves (also not ideal).
In peak season, thousands of hikers traverse the paths of
the Annapurna Circuit.
When you stop to think about the impact that many people are
likely to have on the surrounding environment and the disposable products (in
the form of plastic bottles, food wrappers, sunscreen bottles, etc.) that
they're undoubtedly bringing with them, you quickly realize that a lot of
waste is either being burnt, or left, behind on the mountains.
Be a responsible traveler on the Annapurna Circuit: only use
a re-usable water bottle pack a tote bag or two and carry all your trash out of
the national park with you.