The all blue Tilicho lake enjoying the lap of the mountains.
11 Jul, 2022 - North Nepal Travels and Treks

16 things to know before Annapurna Circuit Trekking: Updated for 2024(2022 )

Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the most popular trekking routes in Nepal. The Annapurna circuit trek is on the list of the world's top 10 best trekking routes. This trek is about a 12 to 20-day-long journey in the two districts –Manang and Mustang where you can experience the Tibetian Culture and lifestyle—the length of the trek span from 150 kilometres to about 220 kilometres.
North Nepal Trekking guide on the way to Ghyaru village from Upper Pisang, Mt. Annapurna IV and Lower Pisang village in the background.
You can experience Natural Hot springs (at Chame and Tatopani), a magnificent view of Tilicho Lake, mountains (Annapurna, Pisang, Gangapurna, Lamjung, Nilgiri), diverse culture, ancient monuments, sculptures, stupas and many more incredible naturally different scenarios on your way Circuit Trek.

The highest mountain in the Annapurna Massif is Mt. Annapurna I, at 8091 m/ 26,538 ft in height.

Below are the 16 things you need to know before Annapurna Circuit Trekking.

Annapurna Circuit Trekking route

 

A group of trekkers from North Nepal Trek, trekking on the rugged trails with river flowing by side during the Annapurna Circuit Trek.

You can experience Natural Hot springs (at Chame and Tatopani), a magnificent view of Tilicho Lake, mountains (Annapurna, Pisang, Gangapurna, Lamjung, Nilgiri), diverse culture, ancient monuments, sculptures, stupas and many more incredible naturally different scenarios on your way Circuit Trek.

The highest mountain in the Annapurna Massif is Mt. Annapurna I which is 8,091 m/ 26,538 ft in height.

Here are the 16 things you need to know before Annapurna Circuit Trekking.

1.Route Options

Before the Trek, you must be familiar with the trekking route options of Annapurna Circuit Trek.

You can choose the route options as per the length of your vacation and convenience.
Some of the most popular and preferred route options for Annapurna Circuit Trekking are.

Option 1:

Starts from: Dharapani

Ends at: Nayapul

The total distance for this route is 260 kilometres. It is the longest route.

Option 2:

Starts from: Chame

Ends at: Jomsom

The total distance for this route is 136 kilometres.

Option 3 :

Starts from: Manang

Ends at: Muktinath

The total distance for this route is 34 kilometres. It is the shortest route.

Option 4 :

Starts from: Jagat

Travel by Bus: from Jomsom to Tatopani

Ends at: Nayapul

It is the combined route.

The most popular Starting points of the Annapurna Circuit are:

  • Besisahar
  • Bhulbhule
  • Jagat
  • Syange
  • Chame ( Manang’s headquarters from where trekkers usually start their Trek. It is at an altitude of 2700 meters)
  • Manang

The popular Finish point of the Annapurna Circuit after (Thorong La pass)

  • Muktinath
  • Jomsom
  • Tatopani
  • Nayapul


1.Preparing for the long road walks and Bumpy Jeep rides would be best.

If you plan to trek the Annapurna Circuit, remember that this Trek involves road walks. So, you can take a jeep ride during the Trek if you wish. If you plan your Trek with Trekking agencies, you can have a Bumpy Jeep Ride from Besisahar to Chame along the Margsyangdi River, where most trekkers start their circuit trek.


2. It would be best if you prepared for the long road walks and Bumpy Jeep rides.

If you are planning to trek the Annapurna Circuit, then you should keep in mind that this Trek involves road walks. So, you can take a jeep ride during the trek if you wish. If you plan your trek with Trekking agencies you can get to have a Bumpy Jeep Ride from Besisahar to Chame along the Margsyangdi river from where most of the trekkers start their circuit trek.

Annapurna Circuit Trek in a video.


3. You will need a permit and TIMS card for Annapurna Circuit. Coming up with Insurance for the Trek is always recommended.

You will need a permit and TIMS card for Annapurna Circuit. Coming up with Insurance for the Trek is always recommended. You must get a permit called ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit) and a TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) card. One can get the Permits and TIMS Card from the trekking agency or ACAP office in Pokhara/Kathmandu.

What are the required documents to get the Permits and TIMS card for Annapurna Circuit Trekking:

  • Passport
  • Insurance
  • Four Photos

Also, a contact person in Nepal is needed.

If you plan your trip via a Travel agency in Pokhara, their Annapurna Circuit Trek Package will handle the creation process of those permits, TIMS card, and all other required documents.


4. What is the Best time to trek Annapurna Circuit?

The best months in a year for Annapurna Circuit Trekking are March-April-May and September-October-NovemberOctober is the busiest, so you can find many trekkers on all the trekking routes. You can also face a shortage of quality homestays and accommodation during the busy months for trekking. But if you are with a guide, they will manage all the quality accommodation and food as per the package deal. The details for each season is given below:

Annapurna Circuit Trekking in Spring:(March to May)

  • Moderate temperatures and clear skies.
  • Rhododendron forests in full bloom.
  • Some snow on Thorung La pass.
  • Occasional rainfall in lower regions


Annapurna Circuit Trekking in Autumn:

  • (Mid-September to November)
  • Clear sky, warm days, cold nights.
  • Throng La Pass is usually snow-free.
  • Post-monsoon trails can be muddy.
  • Harvest festivals in villages


Annapurna Circuit Trekking in Summer:

  • (June to August)
  • Warm but wet days with leeches.
  • Landslides and risks of avalanches.
  • The challenge for experienced trekkers.
  • Isolated trails good for purists.


Annapurna Circuit Trekking in Winter:

  • (December to February)
  • Heavy snowfall, high avalanche risk.
  • Extreme cold at higher passes.
  • Thorung La impassable due to snow.
  • Appeal only for hardcore trekkers.
  • Requires extensive gear and guidance

 

5. The circuit trek can be cost-effective and affordable if appropriately planned:

The Annapurna Circuit Trekking can be affordable if you plan it wisely. Staying in the cities like Pokhara and Kathmandu can cost a lot if you do not have any idea searching for and booking hotels and lodges online.
So, consulting travel agencies is always recommended if you do not know anyone in Nepal familiar with travel and trekking. There are many travel agencies in Pokhara and Kathmandu, so we recommend choosing the best one among them as per their experience, travel guides, and travel package structure.

[Trekking packages on Annapurna Region Annapurna Base Camp trek and Pokhara to Annapurna Base Camp Helicopter Tour]


6. Pack as less as possible for the Trek:

During the Trek, you should take only the things you need. You can hire a porter from Pokhara to carry your heavy backpack. But they are also humans and have their carrying limit.


7. Trekking with a Travel agency or Trekking Independent

This is one of the most searched topics discussed while planning a trek to Annapurna Circuit. Both are applicable, but Travelling with a group or with guides is always recommended. If you are trekking individually in a small group, you can find other trekkers on the way, but you cannot rely on strangers as their trekking routes and destination can differ. You will need to carry your stuff on your own.
If you are not under the supervision of a trained professional guide, you can get in serious trouble if you suffer from altitude sickness or other injuries. 
So planning your trekking with a professional travel and trekking agency in Pokhara is always recommended. Travelling with a reputed travel company will offer you professional guides and porters. A guide also organizes your food and accommodation and can teach you about the significance of sites and traditions of the local community


8. Altitude sickness

Altitude Sickness is expected at higher altitudes while trekking the Annapurna Circuit, which occurs when your body cannot adapt appropriately to the cold environment. So always move at your own pace. Take rest, and do not exhaust all your stamina at a time. The Trek will be long, rough and complex, so you need to be fit as this Trek involves long road walks on foot. If you are with a travel company, they can handle any unfortunate situations or while you are in trouble. The professional guides and local porters are trained to provide rescue and aid in case of any injuries and altitude sickness.

Eat good food and take care of your health yourself.


9. Be prepared for changing weather:

The weather in the mountainous region is unpredictable. It can become worse all of a sudden. The weather will be decent during the trekking season. During the off-season, the higher part of the Trek will be covered by snow, which will be slippery and dangerous for trekkers. So it is necessary to prepare for all the possible scenarios no matter when you decide to start the Trek. The snow, rain, and storms can be unpredictable.


10. Learn some cultural respect:

The Annapurna Circuit trek is also famous for its cultural diversities and significant cultural traditions. Nepalese people have a strong faith and belief in their culture, so they can get offended if you do something against their culture.

So as a visitor, it is expected from you that you respect the culture of locals and show some regard for the various trekking sites along the way. You can always chat with the locals and try to learn about their living practices and beliefs.

Learning more about the Nepalese culture and the Himalayas before the Trek is always recommended.


11. Prepared yourself for the Thorong La Pass:

Thorong La Pass is the highest point of this Trek, at a height of 5416 meters. It is one of the most challenging and delicate parts of the Annapurna Circuit. High altitude and low oxygen levels make it difficult for someone to adapt to the surroundings.
But with enough preparation and guidance, it is possible to hike through it. It is the climax part and the most preferred destination of the Annapurna Circuit Trekking.

View of snow filled peak from Thorung La Pass during Annapurna Circuit Trek, organized by North Nepal Trek.


12. Do not throw the garbage here and there while you trek:

Due to the remoteness and higher altitudes, proper waste management systems are lacking. For proper disposal, locals have to carry the waste off the mountains themselves, which is unsuitable for them. So think twice before throwing your unwanted garbage in the environment. Instead, use reusable water bottles and naturally decomposable bags or bring back the trash and dispose of them when you find a suitable place.

Be a responsible Trekker and leave behind no traces of your Trek.


13. What are the things that you should carry with you for Annapurna Circuit Trekking?

Some recommended things that you should have in your backpack are:

  • Smartphone: Smartphones can be handy for navigation using navigation apps or carrying a trekking map. [Note: There will be a lack of communication network in higher altitudes]
  • Water filters or some water purifying tablets: It can save money for your travel.
  • Sleeping Bag: You should carry a small sleeping bag as the temperature at higher altitudes will be very cold.
  • Hiking shoes, socks, towel and stick
  • Warm and Light Jackets, yoga pants
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm, lotion, Cap, tissues, Sanitizer, etc.

14. Food and Accommodation during the Annapurna Circuit Trek:

You can find basic guesthouses and Home Stays at different checkpoints. Most will have electricity, wi-fi, and a hot water shower. But these facilities can be compromised in higher altitudes.
The food on the stay will include Nepalese, Chinese, Indian and Western food. You don’t have to rely on the same food for days; you can try different food during your Trek. Nepali “Dal Bhat” is the best choice for you if you are looking for the best cost value.
Two male trekkers from North Nepal Trek having their meal, Nepali special dal bhat, during Annapurna Circuit Trek.


15. Hiring  a guide or porter:

You can hire a guide and porter in Pokhara. You can bargain with the porters and guide if you want it to be cost-effective. If you are with a reputed trekking company like North Nepal Travel and Trek, you don’t need to worry about hiring professional guides and porters. The travel agency in Pokhara will also manage the insurance for guides and porters, including their trekking equipment, food, and accommodation furing the overall trek


16. Accommodation in expensive cities like Pokhara and Kathmandu:

The most popular tourist area in Pokhara is Lakeside. Many hotels, restaurants, bars, lodges, guest houses and travel agencies exist.
The prices of the hotels for accommodation can vary from cheap to high as per the quality and the services they provide. You can simply google “Hotels near me” and choose the best one per your needs.
This is a similar case to Kathmandu. Staying in Kathmandu can be disadvantageous. It is one of the most polluted cities in Nepal, but Pokhara Lakeside is free from pollution(compared to Kathmandu), and you can enjoy the view of Phewa Lake anytime.

If you don’t want the hassle of managing and booking hotels for your stay, you can contact a travel agency before the trekking, and they will handle everything for you.
[Note: Some travel agencies can charge extra bucks for this. It’s up to you to choose a suitable travel and trekking agency.]
So, these are the 16 things you might want to know before trekking the Annapurna Circuit.

Related High Altitude Travel Packages:

 

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