Read the detailed description below on how to prepare for Annapurna Circuit Trek for a great trekking adventure!
What is the Duration of the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
Annapurna Circuit Trek generally lasts around 18-20 days on average. The duration of the trek also depends upon the fitness of the trekker. Veteran trekkers with many years of experience can finish this stunning trek quicker. First-time trekkers might need to take adequate rest in the middle that increases the length of the trek.
It also depends upon the number of acclimatization days you take during the trek. If you want to shorten the trip, you can also take the jeep ride to the village of Manang. Moreover, you can also take the jeep ride after crossing the majestic Thorong La Pass and Muktinath. However, it is advisable to acclimatize properly during the trek even if it takes you a couple of extra days.
What Are the Permits Required for the Trek and How to Get Them?
Trekkers in the Annapurna region require two permits namely: Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) card. These permits are available from the office of the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu and Pokhara. The fee goes directly into maintaining the trekkers’ database and the emergency rescue services for the trekkers.
Moreover, the ACAP permit fee is NRs. 100 per person for Nepalese citizens and NRs. 1,000 per person for trekkers from SAARC countries. Similarly, the ACAP permit is NRs. 3,000 per person for other foreign nationals and the entry is free for children below 10 years of age.
You need your passport, a copy of the passport, and two passport-sized photos for the TIMS card. It costs around NRs. 1,000 per person if you trek in a group and NRs. 2,000 per person if you trek solo or individually. Similarly, the TIMS Card costs around NRs. 300 per person for trekkers from SAARC countries and NRs. 600 per person for solo trekkers.
Logistics Regarding the Annapurna Circuit Trek
The last ATM you can find is in Pokhara during the Annapurna Circuit Trek. There are no ATMs higher up the trail except for maybe in Jomsom. Thus, you need to carry all the cash you need for the trek.
ATMs are not dependable in Nepal and VISA cards are also not accepted during the remote trek. Therefore, it is advisable to carry all your money in cash for the trip. You can separate $25 - $30 per day for the trek. You might not actually spend it all during the day but it is better to be on the safe side.
A local bus will take you from Kathmandu or Pokhara to the starting point of the trek i.e. Besi Sahar. Alternatively, you can also further your trip to Bahundanda. The bus trip takes 6-7 hours on a scenic trip. You can book in advance to be safe from any hassles.
You can buy a SIM card as soon as you arrive at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. However, you might get a better bargain deal if you buy in a local shop around Thamel. There are wifi hotspots available in the country but they are not relied upon especially higher up the trail. You can get either Ncell or NTC SIM cards with mobile data packages for easy connectivity.
When is the Best Time for the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is possible all around the year. However, the autumn months from September to December and the spring months from March to May is the best time for the Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Spring season (March-May)
The months from March to May is the best time for the Annapurna Circuit Trek. The clear blue skies and the stable weather is the prime attraction of the Annapurna Circuit Trek in the spring season.
The wildflowers bloom all over the hills including the rhododendron flower, which is the national flower of Nepal. You will get moderate temperatures which are perfect for trekking in the daytime. There are no heavy rainfalls during spring and the sky remains mostly clear.
Autumn (September to December)
The months of September to December are the autumn months in Nepal. The Annapurna region looks beautiful in the autumn season. Moreover, the post-monsoon period means that the clouds are clear and you can observe unobstructed views of the mountains.
Furthermore, the higher elevation zone is colder whereas the lower elevation zone remains warmer in Autumn. The festive atmosphere around the region is also the major attraction of the trek as major festivals like Dashain, Tihar, and Holi fall in the autumn season. The lively culture exploration during the trek will make you fall in love with the place.
Besides these, the offseason treks are also possible in the Annapurna region. In these seasons, the risk of landslides and avalanches in the monsoon season and the freezing conditions in the winters also pose a threat. However, with proper preparation, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is doable all round the year.
What To Pack For The Annapurna Circuit Trek?
Some of the essential items that you need to pack for the Annapurna Circuit Trek are as follows:
- Trekking boots
- Short-sleeved Trekking shirts
- Trekking pants and jackets
- Thermals underwear
- Long-sleeved Trekking shirts
- Insulating down jackets
- Woolen cap
- Trekking Gloves
- Diamox tablets
- Sanitary pads / Tampons
- Anti-nausea Medicines
- Mosquito and insect repellents
- Toilet Paper
- Hand sanitizer
- Sleeping bag
- Water Bottle
- Solar Chargers
- Hot water Thermos
You may also like to read:
Hiring Guides and Porters - Is It Necessary?
Hiring a guide or porter for the Annapurna Circuit Trek depends entirely upon you. You will find many fellow trekkers in the busy trails of the Annapurna Circuit Trek. The people are friendly and solo travelers including female trekkers will face no problems whatsoever.
However, hiring guides and porters is common in this Annapurna Circuit Trek. Hiring a guide will help you immensely along the trails in emergency situations, especially if you are trekking without a partner.
A porter, on the other hand, takes the weight off your back by carrying all your luggage. Some guides also work as porters. Hiring a guide and a porter also means giving back to the villagers and contributing to the local economy.
How Fit do I Need to be for the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
You need to have a basic level of fitness to complete the trek. The challenging trek requires 6 - 8 hours of walking every day on average. Moreover, you will be gaining an altitude of around 600m and covering a distance of 15 - 20 km. Furthermore, you need to carry stuff on your backpack while trekking.
One important thing to remember is that the Annapurna Circuit Trek is not a race. You should not push yourself too hard. Since the Annapurna Circuit Trek is a high altitude trek, proper acclimatization with regular hydration is essential. Altitude sickness is a serious threat as even the most experienced of trekkers falls prey to this illness.
Furthermore, you should also start a training routine at least two weeks prior to the trek. The training regime should consist of cardiovascular activities like hiking, swimming, cycling, etc. Besides that, trekkers should also eat a balanced and nutritious diet with high carbohydrate and protein intake.
Physical Training Routine for the Annapurna Circuit Trek
You can start off the physical training process by physically evaluating yourself or visiting the family specialist for a professional evaluation. You can then set up a training routine and activity schedule for the preparation of this Annapurna Circuit Trek. You must start this process around three to four months prior to the trek if not earlier.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a 266 km journey with a maximum elevation of 17,000 feet. This taxing journey in the foothills of the Himalayas is not a walk in the park. Your leg muscles including calves, quads, and hamstrings are under extensive pressure over the course of three weeks.
The exercises you need to concentrate on are squats, deadlifts, thrusts, back exercises, and crunches. These strength training exercises can get scheduled on every alternate day or at least three times a week.
The trails of the Annapurna circuit are harsh with lots of ups and downs. Aerobics or cardiovascular activities like strolling, hiking, cycling, swimming, etc should get included in your training routine. These aerobic exercises are essential at least 5 times each week for an hour.
You should also perform some climbing exercises with your climbing boots and a backpack. The backpack must have similar weights to the one you plan on carrying to the Annapurna Circuit Trek.
However, you can start with minimal weight and gradually increase the weight over the course of time. This way your body gets used to the trek. Also, these climbing boots will get enough time to break in for the actual trekking adventure.
Accommodations And Meals In The Annapurna Circuit Trek
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a teahouse trek like most of the treks in Nepal. The price of the accommodation ranges from 1 USD to 3 USD based on the altitude. Some tea houses also provide free accommodation in off seasons on the condition that you eat your meals on the same tea houses.
Moreover, the tea houses generally provide a simple room twin beds. You can charge your phones in the common area at a certain cost. Hot showers generally cost around 1 USD in the teahouses. WiFi is available at lower elevation but you do not expect these facilities as you move up the trails.
Furthermore, the meals offered in the teahouses are basic and you will get served the Nepalese meal of “Dal Bhat” on most teahouses. Besides that, you can also get a limited variety of World cuisine including pizza, pasta, burgers, etc. You need to book these accommodations early especially in the offseason to be safe from any hassle.
The Final Say
The Annapurna circuit is an ideal trekking experience in the western region of Nepal. This stunning trek is popular among trekkers all around the world because of its classic trekking trails and rich biodiversity. Anyone with a basic level of fitness can complete this exciting trek.
Many trekkers are not sure about how to prepare for Annapurna Circuit Trek. I hope after going through all the descriptions above, you can now prepare well for the trip. You can follow the steps and processes described above and prepare for the trip in advance.
We have Annapurna Circuit Trek package which will cost you less. For price contact us.