Annapurna Circuit Trekking Ultimate Guide

  • 2021-07-06
  • by Amrit Chhetri

Study the ins and outs of the Annapurna Circuit with the Annapurna Circuit Trekking Ultimate Guide! Before making a journey to undergo a trek in Nepal, it's always better to be prepared. Therefore, you get to see some helpful information about the Annapurna Circuit Trek (Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake Trek). Known for majestic mountain views and crossing the Thorong La Pass (5,416m) and Tilicho Lake are the Annapurna Circuit Trek has always been famous amongst treks in Nepal.

Table of Contents

Therefore we'll discuss a few topics in this Annapurna Circuit Trekking Ultimate Guide, such as; basic facts, the best time to visit Annapurna Circuit, the route, cost, and permits. By understanding better what the Annapurna Circuit entrails, you then, in return, get to experience the best Trek in Nepal!

Annapurna Circuit Trekking Ultimate Guide: Table of Content:

 Basic Facts about the Annapurna Circuit Trek.

  1.  When to trek the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
  2.  What is the best itinerary for the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
  3.  Permits for the Annapurna Circuit Trek & permit fees.
  4.  Self-Organized trek or via a Local Trekking Agency?
  5.  What is the cost for the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
  6.  What types of foods and accommodation can you expect in Annapurna Circuit Trek?
  7.  Annapurna Circuit trek packing list.
  8.  Medical Attention: Altitude Sickness – Annapurna Circuit Trek.

Essential facts about the Annapurna Circuit Trek

Let's start with some basic facts about the Annapurna Circuit Trek. As a recently developed trekking area, the routes along the Annapurna Circuit Trek head up from Besisahar to Manang, the most significant settlement of the region north of the Annapurna Mountains. From Manang, you can also trek towards Tilichio Lake (4,919m), a turquoise lake deep in the Himalayas and, until recently, Nepal's highest lake! The highest lake now is the recently discovered Kajin Sara Lake (5,200m), which can be accessed by heading north from the Annapurna Circuit Trek towards Nar Phu. As the Annapurna Circuit is located in Central Nepal, the trail is combinable with many other Treks in Nepal. For example, you can combine the Manaslu Circuit Trek with the Annapurna Circuit trek from east to west. At the same time, it's possible to shorten the Annapurna Circuit trek due to road accessibility. Annapurna Circuit Trek distance of the Annapurna Circuit is 160km to 230km long. Depending on which route you take or how far you travel by jeep, trekking days can differ between 12 and 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. You can see during clear days of trekking over 140 mountains during the entire 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 globally, it's not surprising that the Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal is and always will be a favorite for many trekkers and mountaineers!

When to trek the Annapurna Circuit Trek?

Knowing when to trek the Annapurna Circuit Trek means being better prepared! For the Annapurna Circuit trek, this can mean amazing clear views or disaster and an inaccessible tour! The Annapurna Circuit Trek goes from as low as 750m to above 5,000m at the crossing of the Thorong La Pass. This trek 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 Trek is during the autumn or spring seasons. According to our Annapurna Circuit Trekking Ultimate Guide, autumn stretches from October to early December and is possibly the best season. During this time, the skies will be clear, and the pleasantness of the blossoming rhododendrons adds to the value! Not to mention the incredible mountain views that you can experience during Annapurna Circuit Trek.

Best itinerary for the Annapurna Circuit Trek

The Annapurna Circuit has gone through some significant trial and road changes since its opening to trekkers in 1977. With options to drive 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 begin 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. The risk will be to get used to the high altitude and avoiding the dreaded Acute Mountain Sickness. We find that the trekking the classical Circuit trek of 16 days is the best itinerary for the Annapurna Circuit trek, including Tilicho Lake, and is the best suited to show in the Annapurna Circuit Trekking Ultimate Guide!


The best itinerary for the Annapurna Circuit trek 16 days:

Day 01: Kathmandu Arrival

Day 02: Drive to Besisahar and to Bhulbhule (840m)

Day 03: Trek to Syange (1,100m)

Day 04: Trek to Tal (1,700m)

Day 05: Trek to Timing (1,943m))

Day 06: Trek to Chame (2,630m)

Day 07: Trek to Pissang (3,250m)

Day 08: Trek to Manang (3,519m)

Day 09: Acclimatization day in Manang

Day 10: Trek to Ladder (4,230m)

Day 11: Trek to Thorong High Camp (4,540m)

Day 12: Cross the Thorong La (5,416m) and head to Muktinath (3,800m)

Day 13: Trek to Jomsom (2,743m)

Day 14: Fly to Pokhara

Day 15: Drive back to Kathmandu

Day 16: End of the trek

This classical itinerary is a perfect example of the Annapurna Circuit Trekking Ultimate Guide, 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!

Permits for the Annapurna Circuit trek and permit fees

Permits for the Annapurna Circuit trek and permit fees are easy to obtain and affordable! Like most treks in Nepal, you'll need a Trekking Information Management System card, or in short, a TIMS card to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Then there is one more permit 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, you should have all trekking permits taken care of without any worry. However, if you choose to travel 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 approximate.

  • ACAP fee is approx. USD 30$
  • TIMS fee is approx. USD 10$

Estimate to spend about 40$ USD per person on permits for the Annapurna Circuit trek. If you want to combine this trek with the Manaslu Circuit trek, you'll need extra trekking permits for the Manaslu region in Nepal.

Self-Organized trek or via a Trekking Agency?

The most asked question is probably 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 at your own pace, deciding when to go where and which places to visit is always alluring. If you choose to manage your itinerary, you'll not be bound by trekking days or time and feel more accessible. 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 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 Local trekking agency. This way, you can experience the most of these fantastic treks with everything included in 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 ensure 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. Nepal Local Trekking agencies can provide safety, good service, and an informative trip.

Suppose you want our Annapurna Circuit Trekking Ultimate Guide's recommendation that you book the Annapurna Circuit trek via a local trekking agency. In that case, you'll not regret it and contribute to social- and eco-tourism!

What is the cost for the Annapurna Circuit Trek?

As one of Nepal's most popular trekking packages, many wonder what the cost for the Annapurna Circuit trek is. Could it be cheap or is it rather expensive? We found that the Annapurna Circuit trek cost depends on whether you take a long or short route itinerary. Should you choose 16 days itinerary with everything included from accommodation, permits, meals, transport, porter, and guide fees, you can spend about 1400$ USD. Depending on your choice of accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara, this price can change depending on your booking arrangements. During the Annapurna Circuit trek, you can expect to spend about 80$ USD per day on lodging, guide, porter, transportation, and meals.

What type of food and accommodation can you expect?

Being a famous Trekking Packages in Nepal, finding lodging or accommodation during the Annapurna Circuit trek is made very easy. Every town has comfortable guest houses/lodges, also called teahouses. Each of these provides a comfortable room based on two persons, but still big enough to relax and rest from a 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 Dollars to use different facilities.

So what about the food during the Annapurna Circuit Trek? Well, you'll be happy to know that the cuisine in the Annapurna's quite diverse is! You have your traditional Nepalese dishes; rice, dhal (lentil soup), seasonable veggies, and a spicy curry sauce. Or even western items such as Pizzas and pasta. Every guesthouse serves hot and cold drinks, and when you book via a local trekking agency, meals are included with per day 2 cups of hot beverage.

Annapurna Circuit Trek packing list

You have looked at the best season; you know the costs, now it's time to have a look at the Annapurna Circuit trek packing list! Being fully prepared for trekking means only increasing your experience of your trek in Nepal. You'll need standard trekking gear for the Annapurna Circuit Trek, 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 recommend traveling as light as possible. This Annapurna Circuit Trekking Ultimate Guide is specially made to make your packing not a stressful event but a relatively easy checklist.

Make sure that your big bag is not more than 20kg so that the porters can safely and efficiently transport your bags, and try to keep your bag only filled with essentials. Take a look at the basic packing list for the Annapurna Circuit, and make sure to mind in which season you decide to trek!

Packing List for the Annapurna Circuit Trek:

  •  A down Jacket
  • Two thermal tops and a jumper
  • Two pairs of trekking pants & one trouser
  • One woolen hat
  • A pair of gloves
  • Trekking boots
  • One pair of sandals or comfortable shoes
  • Sunscreen & sunglasses
  • Water purification tablets or a LifeStraw
  • A sleeping bag
  • Trekking Poles (optional but recommended)
  • Portable charger
  • Personal first aid kit

Arranging your backpack 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 Trekking Ultimate Guide and be prepared for a trek of a lifetime!

Medical Attention: Altitude Sickness

The only main danger during the Annapurna Circuit trek is altitude sickness. You are commonly known as AMS Acute Mountain Sickness and an absolute nightmare to trekkers. The illness comes due to a quick change in the oxygen levels and happens while ascended far too fast while trekking in Nepal Himalaya. With the real danger of not following a recommended itinerary and not watching your stamina and breathing, AMS can occur and even lead to the cancellation of your trek! Make sure to book with a local trekking agency as they know the recommend acclimatization days. In early cases, you can spend an extra day at a lower elevation by having a trekking guide to get used to the altitude.

During the Annapurna Circuit Trek, the lowest elevation is at 740m at the Bhulbhule, and the highest peak 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. Therefore, it's always recommended to do some altitude training before commencing the Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal!

Annapurna Circuit Trekking Ultimate Guide: Concussion

With all these topics discussed in the Annapurna Circuit Trekking Ultimate Guide, you should have a clearer picture of what to expect from the Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal. 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. We suggest booking via a local trekking agency 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 globally and enjoy one of the most beautiful treks in Nepal; the Annapurna Circuit Trek awaits you!

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