Why you should book the Annapurna Circuit trek!
Counted amongst Nepal’s most popular treks, the Annapurna Circuit trek is more than just a trek but a cultural experience. Although known for its majestic mountain views and the crossing of the Thorong La pass (5,416m), Nepal’s highest mountain pass. During the Annapurna Circuit trek you’ll be having multiple chances to interact with remote communities and travel on adventurous trails visiting mystic shrines and temples. Here are Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks’ reasons why you should book the Annapurna Circuit trek!
Table of content:
- About the Annapurna Circuit
- When should you do the Annapurna Circuit trail?
- The itinerary of the Annapurna Circuit trek
- What type of permits do you need for the Annapurna Circuit trek?
- Why should you book with a Trekking Agency?
- Foods & accommodation during the Annapurna Circuit trek
- What should you bring during the Annapurna Circuit trek?
- AMS: Acute Mountain Sickness
- What type of treks can you combine with the Annapurna Circuit trek?
About the Annapurna Circuit:
Let’s start off with some basic facts about the Annapurna Circuit. As a recently developed trekking area the routes along the Annapurna Circuit head up from Besisahar all the way to Manang, the biggest settlement of the region north of the Annapurna Mountains! The highest lake now is the recently discovered Kajin Sara Lake (5,200m), which can be accessed by heading north from the Annapurna Circuit trail towards Nar Phu. As the Annapurna Circuit is located at Central Nepal the trail is combinable with many other trek in Nepal. For example you can combine the Manalsu trek with the Annapurna Circuit trek by trekking from east to west. While it’s possible to now shorten the Annapurna Circuit trek due to road accessibility. The trek distance of the Annapurna Circuit is 160km to 230km long. Depending on which route you take or until how far you travel by jeep, trekking days can differ between 12 to 20 days. The highest point of the Annapurna Circuit trek is crossing the Thorong La Pass (5,416m) which connects the Manang and Mustang regions of Nepal. It is said you can see during clear days of trekking over 140 mountains during the full Annapurna Circuit trek. To mention them all in this Annapurna Circuit Trekking Ultimate Guide would be near impossible! So here are some of the most to look forward to mountains that you can expect to see during the Circuit around the Annapurna Himalayas.
Famous mountains of the Annapurna Circuit trek:
- Annapurna I (8,091m) the 10th highest mountain in the world.
- Annapurna II (7,937m)
- Annapurna III (7,555m)
- Annapurna IV (7,525m)
- Dhaulagiri (8,167m) the 7th highest mountain in the world.
- Manaslu (8,156m) the 8th highest mountain in the world.
- Machhapuchhre (6,993m) the iconic Fishtail Mountain.
- Gangapurna (7,455m)
- Tilicho Peak (7,134m)
With at least 3 of the top 10 highest mountains in the world, it’s not a surprise that you should book the Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal!
When should you do the Annapurna Circuit trail?
Knowing when to trek the Annapurna Circuit trail, means being better prepared! For the Annapurna Circuit trek this can mean amazing clear views or disaster and inaccessible trails! The trek goes from as low as 750m to above 5,000m at the crossing of the Thorong La Pass. This means that until 2,500m the weather will be warm during the day and chill during the night. But above that it can get quite cold. The best seasons to trek the Annapurna Circuit trail is during the autumn or spring seasons. We ad Adventure Himalayan Travel and Treks strongly believes that the Autumn season which stretches from October to early-December is possibly the best season to do the Annapurna Circuit trek. During this time the skies will be clear and the pleasantness of the blossoming rhododendrons just ads to the value! Not to mention the incredible mountain views that you can experience during this trek. It is said that on clear days you’ll be able to see over 140 different mountains and peaks!
The itinerary of the Annapurna Circuit trek:
The Annapurna Circuit has gone through some major trail and road changes since its opening to trekkers in 1977. With options to drive all the way up to Manang there are many different itineraries and starting points to choose from. The classical Annapurna Circuit trek starts from Besisahar and goes in a counter clockwise direction over the Thorong La Pass to Jomsom. So since the development you can start the Annapurna Circuit trek as close to Manang saving you a good number of days. You could also do the Annapurna Circuit trek in a clockwise direction starting from Jomsom. We at Adventure Himalayan Travels & Treks find that the classical Circuit trek of 15 days is the best itinerary for the Annapurna Circuit trek and is the best suited to show you why you should book the Annapurna Circuit Trek!
The best itinerary for the Annapurna Circuit trek 16 days:
Day 01: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu
Day 02: Free day for sightseeing in Kathmandu
Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu to Besisahar (827m), and jeep from Besisahar to Syange (950m)
Day 04: Trek from Syange to Dharapani (1943m)
Day 05: Trek from Dharapani to Chyamje (2713m)
Day 06: Trek from Chyamje to Pisang (3292m)
Day 07: Trek from Pisang to Manang (3351m)
Day 08:Rest day
Day 09: Trek from Manang to Yak Kharka (4200m)
Day 10: Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi High Camp (4780m)
Day 11: Trek from Thorong Phedi High Camp to Muktinath (3802m)
Day 12: Trek from Muktinath to Jomsom (2720m)
Day 13: Fly or drive from Jomsom to Pokhara
Day 14: Return to Kathmandu
Day 15: Departure
This classical itinerary is a perfect example as to why you should book the Annapurna Circuit trek with Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks, as you can customize this trek as per your requirements. You could even add or cut some trekking days to fit better with your travel schedule! To see more about the Annapurna Circuit trek visit: https://www.adventurehimalayantravels.com/annapurna-circuit-besisahar-to-jomsom.
What type of permits do you need for the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
Trek & permit fees are easy to obtain and affordable! Like for most treks in Nepal you’ll need a Trekking Information Management System card, or in short TIMS-card in order to do the Annapurna Circuit trek. After this only one more permit is required to enter the Annapurna Conservation area called an ACAP or Annapurna Conservation Area Permit. Make sure to have both these permits as there will be regular checks during the Annapurna Circuit trek. If you trek with a reliable trekking agency in Nepal such as Adventure Himalayan Travels & Treksyou should have all permits taken care of without any worry. If you choose to trek solo you’ll need to get them yourself via the Nepal Tourism Board office, which can be a hassle with long queues.
The cost of each permit is always liable to change, you can look at these permit fees for the Annapurna Circuit trek to get an approximate.
- ACAP fee is approx. USD 30$
- TIMS fee is approx. USD 10$
You’ll spend about 40$ USD per person for the permits required to do the Annapurna Circuit trek. If you want to combine this trek with the Manaslu Circuit trek you’ll need extra permits for the Manaslu region in Nepal as well.
Why should you book with a Trekking Agency?
Probably the most asked question is, should you do the Annapurna Circuit as a self-organized trek or via a trekking agency in Nepal? Well both options have their benefits and downfalls.
Self-organized Annapurna Circuit trek:
With roads and trekking trails made, every year trekkers decide to self-organize the Annapurna Circuit trek. Trekking on your own pace, deciding when to go where and which places to visit is always alluring. If you choose to manage your own itinerary you’ll not be bound by trekking days or time and fell more free. Although being cheaper than booking with a trekking agency your overall experience can be less. As you will need to go through all the trouble yourself of getting your permits in order, finding and booking accommodation (which can be a nightmare during the peak season) and of course need to manage your own porters. The biggest downfall will be not having a trekking guide to give you more information and insight during the trek!
Booking the Annapurna Circuit trek via a trekking agency:
Probably the easiest way is to book the Annapurna Circuit trek via a trekking agency such as Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks. This way you can experience the most of these amazing trek with everything included into one budget such as domestic transportation, accommodation, permits, porters and a professional trekking guide to show you the way. Trekking agencies in Nepal focus on the service and make sure that you get the best accommodation while trekking, not to forget they hire local porters to help carry your bags through the Himalayas. Is it worth the extra cost of booking via a reliable trekking agency? Definitely yes! You’ll get all the comfort and reassurance to complete the Annapurna Circuit trek. Trekking agencies can provide safety, good service and an informative trip, leading to a great holiday experience!
Foods & accommodation during the Annapurna Circuit trek
Being a famous trek in Nepal finding lodging or accommodation during the Annapurna Circuit trek is made very easy. Every town has comfortable guest houses also called teahouses. When you book a trek with Adventure Himalayan Travels & Treks you’ll be sure to have the most comfortable tea house available during the trek. Each of these provides a comfortable room based on 2 persons, but still big enough to relax and rest from day of trekking! As the region is developed you can generally find WIFI, electricity, telephone and hot showers at these guesthouses. Do note that in most they will charge an extra 1 or 2 Dollar to use extra facilities.
So what about the food during the Annapurna Circuit trek? The options are quite diverse in the entire Annapurna region! Aside from the traditional Nepalese dishes consisting of rice, dhal (lentil soup), seasonable veggies and a spicy curry sauce. You even have western items such as pizzas and pastas. Every guesthouse serves hot and cold drinks and when you book via a trekking agency meals are included with per day 2 cups of hot beverage.
What should you bring during the Annapurna Circuit trek?
You have looked at the a couple of reasons why you should book the Annapurna Circuit trek, now it’s time to have a look at the Annapurna Circuit trek packing list! Being fully prepared means only increasing your experience of your trek in Nepal. For the Annapurna Circuit trek you’ll need standard trekking gear which can also be rented or bought in Kathmandu. As the Circuit goes to some high elevations, especially after Manang and crossing the Thorong La Pass we do recommend to travel as light as possible. This list is especially made to make your packing not a stressful event but a rather easy checklist.
Make sure that your big bag is not more than 25kg so that the porters can safely an easily transport your bags, and try to keep your personal bag only filled with essentials. Here is Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks’ recommended packing list for the Annapurna Circuit trek!
Packing list for the Annapurna Circuit trek:
- Two pairs of trekking pants & one trouser
- Trekking boots
- Sunscreen & sunglasses
- Water purification tablets or a LifeStraw
- A sleeping bag
- One pair of sandals or comfortable shoes
- Trekking Poles (optional but recommended)
- Portable charger
- A down Jacket
- Two thermal tops and a jumper
- Personal first aid kit
- One woolen hat
- A pair of gloves
Arranging your backpack properly can make or break your trek. Imagine being in a remote Himalayan village and realizing you forgot your camera charger. Follow this packing list of the Annapurna Circuit Trek and be prepared for trek of a lifetime!
AMS: Acute Mountain Sickness
Trekking in the Himalayas comes with risks, one of them is the feared Acute Mountain Sickness. Commonly known as AMS, Acute Mountain Sickness and a real nightmare to trekkers. The sickness comes due to a quick change in the oxygen levels and happens while ascended to far too fast while trekking. With the real danger of not following a recommended itinerary and not watching your own stamina and breathing AMS can occur and even lead in to a cancelation of your trek! Make sure to book with a trekking agency as they know the recommend acclimatization days and in early cases by having a trekking guide you can spend an extra day at a lower elevation to get used to the altitude.
During the Annapurna Circuit trek the lowest elevation is at 740m at the Bhulbhule and the highest elevation is at 5,416m at the Thorang La Pass. By following the trekking trail of the Annapurna Circuit in a counter-clockwise direction you should slowly ascend and stay a day in Manang to prevent AMS. Adventure Himalayan Travels & Treks strongly recommends you to do some type of fitness training before starting on the Annapurna Circuit trek
What type of treks can you combine with the Annapurna Circuit trek?
Another great reason why you should book the Annapurna Circuit trek is its combinability with other treks. The most popular being the Manaslu Circuit trek. Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks has this unique trek already made in to a package of 23 days;
Day 01: Arrival and Transfer to Hotel in Kathmandu (1340m)
Day 02: Free day in Kathmandu or self-sightseeing around Kathmandu valley (option are)
Day 03: Kathmandu to Arughat Bazaar (870m) by local bus, then Jeep to Soti Khola (790m)
Day 04: Soti Khola to Machha Khola (869m) 5 hour of walking
Day 05: Machha Khola to Jagat (1340m) 6-7 hour of walking (Restricted area start)
Day 06: Jagat to Deng (1860m)
Day 07: Deng to Namrung (2630m) 6-7 hour of walking
Day 08: Namrung to Sama Goau (3520) 6-7 hour of walking
Day 09: Sama Goau to Samdo (3790m) 3 hour
Day 10: Samdo Rest Day.
Day 11: Samdo to Dharmasala (1457m) 4 hour of walking. it is good day for acclimatization before crossing Larke pass.
Day 12: Dharmasala to Larke Pass to Bhimthang (2800m) 7-8 hour of walking
Day 13: Bhimthang to Tilje (1963m) to Dharapani(1860m) 8-9 hour of walking
Day 14: Trek from Dharapani to Chyamje (2713m)
Day 15: Trek from Chyamje to Pisang (3292m)
Day 16: Trek from Pisang to Manang (3351m)
Day 17: Manang- Rest day (Acclimatisation day) side trip to Ice Lake or to Buddhist Monastery
Day 18: Manang to Yak Kharka (4200m) 3-4 hour of walking
Day 19: Yak Kharka to Throng Phedi high camp (4780m) 4 hour of walking
Day 20: Thorong phedi (Thorong La 5416m) to Muktinath 3802m. 7-8 hour of walking than by local sharing jeep to Jomsom (2730m)
Day 21: Muktinath to Jomsom to Pokhara by air (870m)
Day 22: Return back to Kathmandu by tourist bus. The bus journey will take 6 -7 hrs.
Day 23: Departure
For more details or to book the Manaslu & Annapurna Circuit trek visit: https://www.adventurehimalayantravels.com/manaslu-and-annapurna-circuit.
There are of course multiple other treks that can be easily combined with the Annapurna Circuit trek. Here are our recommendations;
Day 01: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu
Day 02: Test drive in Kathmandu
Day 03: Kathmandu to Besisahar by vehicle (817m.)
Day 04: Besisahar to tal (1700 m) ride (38km)
Day 05: Tal to Chame (2670m) ride (23km)
Day 06: Chame to Manang(3351) ride (30km)
Day 07: Acclimatization & Exploration in Manang
Day 08: Manang to Thorong Phedi (4450m) ride (19km)
Day 09: Thorong Phedi to Muktinath (3802m) ride (22km)
Day 10: Muktunath to Tukuche (2590) ride (35 km)
Day 11: Tukuche to tatopani (1190) ride (37km)
Day 12: Tatopani to Pokhara ride (24 km)
Day 13: Pokhara to Kathmandu by tourist Bus
Day 14: Departure
To book the Biking Annapurna Circuit visit; https://www.adventurehimalayantravels.com/biking-annapurna-circuit-14-days
Day 01: Kathmandu arrival
Day 02: Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara
Day 03: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom and Trek to Kagbeni
Day 04: Trek from Kagbeni to Tukuche
Day 05: Trek from Tukuche to Kalopani
Day 06: Trek from Kalopani to Jomsom
Day 07: Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara
Day 08: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu
Day 09: Departure
To book or combine the Jomsom Cultural trek with the Annapurna Circuit trek visit; https://www.adventurehimalayantravels.com/jomsom-cultural-trek-9-days
Day 01: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu
Day 02: Sightseeing in Kathmandu
Day 03: Drive to Pokhara, trek to Tikhedhunga (1577m)
Day 04: Trek from Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani (2850m)
Day 05: Trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill then to Tatopani (1200m)
Day 06: Trek from Tatopani to Ghasa (2120m)
Day 07: Trek from Ghasa to Tukuche (2560m)
Day 08: Trek from Tukuche to Muktinath (3800m)
Day 10: Trek from Muktinath to Jomsom (2600m)
Day 11: Flight to Pokhara
Day 12: Drive to Chitwan National Park
Day 13: Excursion in Chitwan
Day 14: Drive to Kathmandu
Day 15: Departure
To book or combine the Jomsom trek and Chitwan explore with the Annapurna Circuit trek visit; https://www.adventurehimalayantravels.com/jomsom-trek-and-chitwan-explore
Day 01: Arrival at Kathmandu
Day 02: Free day in Kathmandu for sightseeing
Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara
Day 04: Drive from Pokhara to Nayapul and trek to Tikhedhunga (1480m)
Day 05: Trek from Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani (2874m)
Day 06: Trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill (3210m) and Tadapani (2630m)
Day 07: Trek from Tadapani to Ghandruk (2010m)
Day 08: Trek from Ghandruk to Birethanti (1040m) and drive back to Pokhara
Day 09: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu
Day 10: Departure
To book or combine the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek with the Annapurna Circuit trek visit; https://www.adventurehimalayantravels.com/ghorepani-poon-hill-trek
Day 01: Kathmandu to Pokhara
Day 02: Pokhara to Galeshwor and trek to Bans Kharka
Day 03: Trek to Naangi
Day 04: Trek to Mohare Danda
Day 05: Trek to Deaurali
Day 06: Trek to Ghandruk village
Day 07: Trek to Nayapul and drive to Pokhara
Day 08: Drive back to Kathmandu
To book or combine the Mohare Danda trek with the Annapurna Circuit trek visit; https://www.adventurehimalayantravels.com/mohare-danda-trek-08-day
With all these topics discussed, you should have a clearer picture of what to expect from the Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal. And have enough reasons as to why you should book the Annapurna Circuit trek! Make sure to plan this trip in the autumn season for the best weather, make sure to book an itinerary suited to your travel time, book via a trekking agency such as Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks to be safe and comfortable, pack light and efficient and make sure to work on your stamina before starting the trek. See at least 3 of the top 10 highest mountains in the world and enjoy one of the most beautiful treks in Nepal, the Annapurna Circuit trek awaits you!