Everything You Need To Know About Annapurna Circuit Trek
About Annapurna Circuit Trek

Throughout Nepal, there are thousands of mountains, multi-cultures, astounding natural beauty, fascinating civilizations, distinctive traditions, geographical variety, and a long and proud history. Each year, thousands of people visit Nepal to discover the beauty of this beautiful country. Also, one of the finest treks in the world is the Annapurna Circuit Trek, which still takes place each year by a significant number of tourists.

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of Nepal’s most well-known treks. It passes through wonderful diverse landscapes, from lush green valleys to the Thorong Pass, with the majestic Annapurna massif serving as utmost adventures.

It is also an excellent alternative for experienced trekkers who want to deal with an epic Nepal trek on a budget because permit costs are minimal and guides are not mandatory.

The Annapurna Circuit is rich with breathtaking scenery, yet it is not without flaws. In recent years, extensive road construction has significantly changed the nature of the trip.

We will cover all you need to know in this guide to Annapurna Circuit to plan the perfect trek, including a suggested itinerary, practical information, and more. We’ll also talk about the best Annapurna Circuit side trips and add-on treks for those seeking to extend their Himalayas expedition.

Annapurna Circuit Trek is not only transforming us into adventurers but also teaches us about the survival of the fittest and struggles for existence. As a result, it is a wonderful place to visit if you are interested in natural phenomena.

Annapurna Circuit Trek: Overview

The following is a hypothetical 21-day trek on the Annapurna Circuit. It is not a fixed itinerary, only a proposed route. Some people choose to stay in different villages along the route or shorten the days from the start or end. This route has good scenery and attractions along the way, as well as enough acclimatization opportunities on the way to Thorong La (5416 m).

Trip Facts

Distance170 – 230 Kilometers
Duration15 to 21 days
DifficultyModerate to Strenuous
PermitsTIMS and ACAP
Trek Stars/EndsBensi Shahar/Naya Pul
Max. Altitude5,416 Meters
AccommodationLodges/Tea-houses
Best SeasonAutumn/Spring
Rice terrace in annapurna
Rice field terrace enroute Annapurna Circuit

Highlights

  • A trek around the world’s 10th tallest mountain Annapurna I (8091 m) and within the Annapurna Conservation Area.
  • Experience the greatest views of Annapurna massif such as Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, and Dhaulagiri range.
  • Thorong-La pass is the highest point on the Annapurna Circuit and the most strenuous phase of the trip.
  • Witness the spectacular mountains and landscapes from one of the most iconic viewpoints in the Annapurna region.
  • Tilicho Lake, the world’s highest lake (4,919m), and the Kali Gandaki Gorge between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, the world’s deepest canyon.
  • Muktinath Temple, one of the most significant Hindu and Buddhist temples.
  • Natural Hot Springs at Tatopani to soothe your tired muscles and healing.
  • Explore the diverse landscapes from lush green forests, deep mountain valleys, and mountainous slopes to the arid alpine plateau.

Annapurna Circuit Trek Itinerary

DaysItineraryAltitude in MetersDistance
1.Drive to Bhulbule then Trek to Ngadi9307-8h00
2.Ngadi to Jagat14006h00
3.Jagat to Dharapani19706h00
4.Dharapani to Chame26506h30
5.Chame to Pisang31505h00
6.Pisang to Manang via Upper Pisang35007h00
7.Acclimatization day!
8.Trek to Leather42005h00
9.Leather to Thorong Phedi or High camp44005h00
10.Thorong Phedi to Muktinath via Thorong – La Pass 5416 m3800 7-8h00
11.Muktinath to Marpha2750 6h00
12.Trek to Lete19006h00
13.Lete to Tatopani11306h00
15.Tatopani to Ghorepani26507h00
16.ghorepani to Tikhedunga via Poon Hill14006h00
17.Tikhedunga to Pokhara9206h00
18.Drive to Kathmandu13506h00

Annapurna Circuit Trek Map

Because of a series of trekking lodges and well-marked routes, this trek is easily accessible for both independent hikers and guided expeditions. If you are going to Nepal with a trekking company, they will provide you with a map as a complimentary gift; but, if you are a free independent traveler, make sure you get a map in advance at the Map House Shop in Thamel.

When to go

In Nepal, there are specific periods of the year, like many of the treks across the Himalayas, when the weather is ideal for trekking and mountain trips. We believe that September, October, November or March, April, and May are the best and favorable months and seasons of the year from the Annapurna trekking in Nepal.

We recommend trekking during the post-monsoon season (late September to late November) when the weather is calm and dry and visibility to the mountains is at its best. While it may be busier during peak season, this is the best time to see Nepal at its most beautiful.

If you want to avoid the crowds, spring (February to April) is also a wonderful season to come, with long days and pleasant weather. Please note that this is also the time of agricultural burn-offs, so it is possible to have a minimal view of the mountains, especially in the Kathmandu valley and Pokhara.

Getting required permits

Make sure you have two permits with you before you begin your adventure. You might go to the Nepal Tourism Office in Kathmandu to get these permits if you are traveling independently. If you plan your trip with your travel agency, they can get these permits on your behalf.

Annpurna Circuit Trekking Permits
Trekking permits

Because the Annapurna Circuit Trek falls within the Annapurna Conservation Area, you will require TIMS (Trekking Information Management System) and ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit). During your Trek, they will check these permits at various checkpoints.

If you go through a trekking company, the entry permit cost of ACAP is US$28 per person and US$10 per person for a TIMS card. Likewise, if you go to Annapurna Circuit Trek solo, need to pay US$28 for ACAP and US$20 for TIMS, respectively.

Trek difficulty and preparation

The extremity of this Trek is moderate to strenuous; thus, you do not require significant training when you are preparing for the trek.

Preparing for annapurna circuit Trek
Prepare for a trek

It is, however, advisable to do some lightweight exercise to get up and run. You need to walk 5-6 hours each day, covering approximately 15-20 kilometers per day. Some days throughout the trek you have to walk 7-8 hours to reach your place and you must thus be ready to face the challenge. It will be helpful to keep you fit doing some exercise such as cardiovascular exercise, jogging, and hiking.

Food & Accommodation

Food is of high quality, and we recommend you to taste Dal Bhat. Dal Bhat comprises lentil stew with rice and curried potatoes or meat. Besides that, boiled potatoes with chili sauce, Sherpa stew, or curry with rice. Sherpa stew contains meat, potatoes, and veggies in a thick sauce. These are the Nepalese basic foods; however, every lodge will also provide a variety of western meals.

Food during a trek in Nepal
Food during a trek

Breakfast comprises fried or boiled eggs, omelets, toast, pancakes, Tibetan bread, muesli, porridge, tea, coffee, and chocolate.

Lunch/Dinner—Soups (tomato, garlic, vegetable, mushrooms, etc), veg fried rice, Dal Bhat, curry w/rice, noodles (mix fried, veg, egg, w/cheese), macaroni, spring rolls (veg, egg, cheese, mixed), Momo (boiled or fried mini pasties with either veg or meat), pizza (all types), fried potatoes (w/veg or cheese), chips.

Desserts include apple pie, rice pudding, fruit cocktails, chocolate cake, and snickers pie.

The accommodation is warm and comfortable yet extremely convenient, however, when you go higher, they become basic. Rooms are twin beds with two beds per room with a common bathroom. They do not have a bathroom attached unless you buy an upgrade during the trek and only in certain lodges.

Everest lodge Trek
Accomodation during Trekking in Nepal

Mattresses, pillows, and blankets are available for use on the beds. The ‘living room,’ which is used for dining and resting, is heated in the evenings with a pot-bellied stove. Lodges are always social locations to meet many other traveling enthusiasts. Many people will have books to read, while others will have phones. Almost all have hot showers, which are typically heated by gas.

Altitude Sickness: How to prevent getting sick

This trip covers a wide range of ventures from a very low altitude to a very high elevation. So, you may become susceptible to illness and you need to take care of your health. Add an extra day in Manang to your itinerary to adapt yourself to the high altitude. As you ascend from altitudes of 2500 meters and above, you may experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Sometimes you may even get symptoms below this level too.

Symptoms of acute mountain sickness

Altitude sickness symptoms during annapurna circuit trek
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Dizziness or light-headedness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Rapid pulse (heart rate)
  • Shortness of breath with exertion.

If you experience any of these symptoms, be cool and do not panic. You must adhere to some basics in order to remain fit.

To avoid altitude illness, make sure you do the following:

AMS prevention guide for Annapurna Circuit Trek
  • Rather than taking a jeep/bus, walkking throuth the trail to allow your body to acclimate and give it more time to acclimize.
  • Make sure you take a rest day/acclimate as you go higher
  • Climb up and sleep down
  • Don’t drink alcohol
  • While hiking, make sure to drink lots of water.
  • If you have signs of altitude sickness, stop trekking, inform your partner, and rest. Seek medical attention if the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours.
  • As basic first aid kits, you may take the water pill and you, which can be obtained in the pharmacy as Acetazolamide, some pain reliever tablets, and an inhaler.

What Should You Bring On Your Trek?

Make sure that you complete your shopping right before leaving Kathmandu. There are many shops in the Thamel that sell everything you’ll need for your trek. You may also purchase your trekking gear in Pokhara, but we recommend doing your shopping in Kathmandu to prevent missing any crucial items.

Back pack for annapurna circuit trek
How to pack your backpack?

Clothing

  • 1 hat or cap
  • T-shirts (1 for 2 or 3 days walking): avoid cotton, very long time to dry.
  • 1 sub-sweater or long sleeve shirt.
  • Hiking sticks ( a pair).
  • 1-2 trekking pants, light
  • Raincoat
  • Jacket (thermal and windproof)
  • 1 Goretex jacket style, simple and light.
  • Thermal jacket (keeping warm Nov. – Mar)
  • Hiking socks
  • A pair of gloves (Nov. – Mar.)
  • Hiking shoes of good quality.
  • A pair of sandals.

EQUIPMENT:

  • Good quality sunglassesTelescope ( base on habit)
  • A water bottle (Min. 1 liter)
  • Headlight and its batteries.
  • Sleeping bag (4 seasons)
  • 1 pocket knife (Swiss knife preferable).

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • Toiletries: Bio-degradable products.
  • Toilet paper + lighter.
  • Personal medicines:
  • Your regular medicines.
  • Antimalarial( loperamide deviation)
  • Intestinal dressing (Smetca deviation)
  • Anti-inflammatory ointment.
  • Painkillers (Paracetamol preferably)
  • Water purification pills: Although the taste is not good, but better than buying a plastic bottle of mineral water.
  • Adhesive tape (Elastoplasts type 6 cm wide) effective prevention.
  • Set of plasters + compresses disinfectant
  • Treatment for colds and sore throat
  • Sunblock cream (skin + lips)

Things To Do in Manang

Manang is a famous destination on the Annapurna Circuit Trek because this small village high in the Himalayas is ideal for acclimatization. This travel guide includes the best things to do in Manang, as well as excellent day trips and useful information.

  • A short Hike to the Praken Gumpa (Known as 100 Lama)
  • Visit tiny Khangsar village
  • Explore the Ice Lake
  • Exploring the Milarepa cave and Braga Gumpa
  • Visiting the Gangapurna Lake and Glacier
  • Visit Cultural Museum
  • Free Consultation of Acute Mountain Sickness
  • Drink fresh coffee & eat fresh pastries

Some FAQs about Annapurna Circuit Trek

How long does it take to trek to Annapurna Circuit?

The length of the route depends on where you start and end your trek, so it might be anywhere between 170 and 230 kilometers. You can accomplish it as few as 10 days or as many as 24 days if you go on a side trip. It usually takes 10 or 14 days to complete the shorter route, and 18-21 days to complete the whole trip.

What is the best time to visit?

The best seasons for trekking in the Annapurna region are fall (September to November) and spring (March-May). At the time, the skies are clear, and you will be able to enjoy spectacular views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri peaks.

How difficult is the annapurna circuit trek?

Is that hard?
The Annapurna Circuit trek (ACT) is a moderately difficult trek. Although there is no technical climbing involved, it is helpful to have some hiking experience. The trip will take you through a diverse terrain and along different routes.

Do I need permits?

Yes, It is compulary to have the permits for Annapurna Circuit Trek. There are two types of permits that can be obtained from Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu or Pokhara. If you trek through an agency, they will arrange for you on your behalf.

Final words

We hope that these guides for Annapurna Circuit will assist you in planning and preparing for your trek. Prepare for the trek well in advance, pick the best route, bring proper and sufficient clothing, and take it slow and steady. Remember to turn around as required, and carry your favorite treat or snack with you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or want further information regarding the trek.

About Author

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Kumar Lama
Kumar Lama is a founder of Himalayan Exploration Treks Pvt. Ltd. He is leading a team of travel professional offering tailor made travel services across Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan.