Annapurna Circuit Trek Information
- December 26, 2022
- Ram Kumar Adhikari
Annapurna Circuit Trek – from the beautiful silvery Himalayas to the gushing rivers and lush forests, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is a delightful trip filled with remarkable wonders. Likewise, the trek also introduces the Tibetan cultural lineage of the locals along the trails. This lengthy yet delightful trek will have us walk around an entire Annapurna massif taking us to the top of the Thorung La Pass (5416m). This whole trek is camouflaged with a mixture of delicate nature and glorious cultural heritage.
Beginning from Besisahar, the trip heads north along the Marsyangdi River. Passing Jagat, trekkers continue to follow the river and reach Danakyu. Leaving the company of the Magar communities, trekkers will enter villages heavily influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. Continuing in an anti-clockwise manner, the village of Pisang is next on the trek. Next, the trip settles at the famous Manang village where you can explore the local monasteries and natural landmarks. Next, the trek ascends to the top of the Thorung La Pass (5416m).
Traversing the challenging height will then lead to Muktinath, which is a great Hindu pilgrimage destination. The temple with 108 waterspouts is one of the holy parts of the cultural history of Nepal. Descending to the Kali Gandaki gorge, the deepest gorge of the world, the arid landscapes will accompany trekkers to Jomsom.
- Being one of the most popular treks in Nepal, Annapurna Circuit Trek allows trekkers to discover the diverse Nepalese landscape and the entire Annapurna region in just 17 days.
- This trip will take you through lively villages with welcoming people, numerous waterfalls, and panoramic views of terraced farmlands, rhododendron forests, and white dazzling mountains.
- The perfect picture of Mt. Annapurna (8091m), Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m), and Mt. Machhapuchhre (6997m) which are some of the popular peaks in the world, along with the Annapurna Conservation Area.
- This circuit is regarded as the best long-distance trek as trekkers can discover diverse landscapes, cultures, and their way of living.
- Visit esteemed religious destinations like Braga Gompa and Muktinath Temple.
This trip offers varying landscapes, changing climatic zones, diverse ethnic backgrounds, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets to name just a few. Even though it is difficult to trek in the Himalayas during the rainy season but most of the parts of the Annapurna circuit lie within a rain shadow, making it possible to trek all year round, including the monsoon season. However, the most popular and busiest season is September – November because the weather is stable with clear skies and beautiful surroundings. This is also because everything along the circuit is fresh, clear and lively due to the recent monsoons. Generally, the weather is warm in the daytime but the night-time temperatures can drop to freezing.
The months from March to May are the second most popular trekking season on the Annapurna Circuit as it is the warming weather. Likewise, December to February is the least busy and most difficult time to do the trek as most of the trails are blocked with snow.
The challenging weather and geography in the region demand well-prepared gear. The foremost crucial requirement includes a quality backpack, comfortable shoes, and rain jackets. As pharmacies and medical centers are scarce along the trail, it is best to carry basic medicines for emergencies e.g. in case of altitude sickness or diarrhea. Likewise, trekkers should pack clothes that are appropriate to the current weather and are comfortable. It is also necessary that you pack water bottles and portable water purifiers.
Trekkers will need an ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit) and a TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) card to do the trek. Trekkers traveling in a group need to obtain a Blue TIMS card paying the amount of around USD10 per person whereas an individual trekker needs to pay around USD20 per person to obtain a Green TIMS card. Likewise, the ACAP permit costs approximately USD20 for foreigners and 200 NPR for SAARC nationals.
If you are traveling with any travel operators, they will arrange the permits for you. If not, these entry permits can be obtained at the office of the Nepal Tourism Board from Kathmandu or Pokhara. These cards allow you to spend enough time in the conservation area since they do not expire. But the part where you need to be careful is that you will need a new permit to re-enter the area again after checking out. A copy of your passport and 2 passport-size photographs are required to apply for these cards.
If you are planning to trek solo, you must make take preparations. Past trekking experience will offer more confidence to travel alone but if you are new to these adventures, the best option is to hire a trekking guide for a safe trip. While it is not mandatory to hire a guide, the complications on the trekking trail make it so. The guides will lead you on the trek and the porters will ease the trouble of having to carry huge luggage. If you choose to travel with travel operators, they will hire guides and porters. However, you can choose to do so yourself as well.
The trip is a teahouse trek where trekkers stay at local guest houses, tea houses, and lodges for the entire length of the trek. Normally, these accommodations provide rooms with basic room service and a twin bed. Accommodations tend to be more crucial with the increase in heights so, it is recommended to carry your sleeping bag. With the increase in altitudes, the service charges increase. There is no facility of a hot shower at the heights however, they will take an extra charge for providing a bucket of hot water, and even an extra amount is to be paid for charging electronics.
The people here are kind and welcoming where they will give you the taste of a typical Nepalese meal. On most occasions, the meal consists of a plate full of Rice, Dal, Curry, Pickles, and Salads. The strength lost during the treks is perfectly balanced by this healthy diet. Based on the difference in the accommodations, there are some places having varieties in their menu including several western dishes such as pancakes, chow mien, pasta and so on. The prices of the products accelerate every time you climb upwards, however, there will be the accessibility of water, beer, soda, tea, and hot lemon on the trek. Also, there are safe drinking water stations along the trekking trails. Regardless, we do recommend you to carry a portable water purifier with you.
Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness is one of the grave issues that travelers face on the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Altitude Sickness is a condition that a human body develops if it fails to cope with high altitude, its atmosphere, and climate. Thus, trekkers trek along the anticlockwise route as it helps to decrease the chances of altitude sickness.
Trekkers should trek at a slow and steady pace to complete the journey. Likewise, it is also essential to have plenty of acclimatization to avoid altitude sickness. If travelers do suffer from it, the first action should be to descend to a lower altitude. Medicines like Diamox also help to prevent and slow the effects of altitude sickness. It is also necessary to determine the symptoms of altitude sickness to counter it properly. Some of its common symptoms are loss of appetite, shortness of breath, difficulty in sleeping, and nausea.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek certainly poses numerous challenges throughout the length of the trip. The travelers should be physically fit with enough stamina to walk for around 4-8 hours a day. The most difficult section of this trekking is from Thorung Phedi to the Thorung La Pass (5416m). So, trekkers need to be well-prepared for the ascents and descents along the trekking route.
However, physical requirements in themselves are not enough, a trekker also needs to have his/her travel insurance for any trekking in Nepal. This policy should cover all the extra costs like treatment, ambulance, and doctor’s fees, hospital charges and so on incurred due to injuries, health issues, or accidents. Along with this, this policy should also cover the loss from theft, cancellation of the trip, emergency evacuations, and even Heli rescues.
You might also want to acknowledge some of the popular side treks near the Annapurna Circuit Trail. Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Tilicho Lake Trek, Ghorepani Poonhill Trek, Nar Phu Valley Trek and Ghandruk Trek are some of the famous ones. Giving you a dazzling view of the crystal-clear lake, the Tilicho Lake trek will take you to an altitude of 4,920m. Similarly, Poonhill Trek will not fail to thrill you will jaw-dropping sites of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, Nilgiri, and Machhapuchhre massif. On the other hand, Nar Phu Valley Trek will take you to the desolate lands to the north of the Annapurna region and allow you to enjoy the ancient culture and traditions.
If you are looking to take a break from your hassled life and enjoy nature, Annapurna Circuit Trek will embrace you will its grandiose views. Likewise, the heart-warming cultures and lifestyles of the people will also help you to have a memorable journey. If you are a person who loves thrilling adventures within nature, Annapurna Circuit Trek will be a perfect package that will suffice you with a handful of memories to take back home.