Table of Contents
Greetings fellow adventurers and mountain enthusiasts! If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already made the wise decision to embark on the incredible Annapurna Circuit Trek – one of the most popular and breathtaking treks in all of Nepal. But, as with any great journey, preparation is key. That’s why Glorious Himalaya is here to offer you some valuable tips and tricks that will help ensure your Annapurna Circuit Trek is a success. From avoiding altitude sickness to packing the perfect gear, we’ve got you covered. So, grab a cup of tea, sit back, and get ready to learn how to conquer the mighty Himalayas like a pro!
Plan your itinerary
Planning ahead by researching the route, permits, weather conditions, accommodation options, and transportation beforehand is crucial for a successful Annapurna Circuit Trek. Here is a more detailed explanation of what this entails:
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is long and challenging, covering over 160-230 kilometers (depending on the route taken) over 10-15 days. Before embarking on the trek, it is important to research the route and its various sections, the distance covered each day, and the elevation gain. This will help you prepare mentally and physically for the trek, as well as help you plan your itinerary. Here is a standard outline itinerary and Glorious Himalayan can provide you with a customized itinerary for your Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Day 01: Drive from Kathmandu to Syange (1100m/3608ft) via Besisahar: 9 hours drive
Day 02: Trek to Dharapani – (1960m / 6430ft) 7-8 hrs
Day 03: Trek to Chame (2710m/8891ft) 7-8 hours
Day 04: Trek to Pisang (3,300m/10824ft): 5 – 6 hours
Day 05: Trek to Manang (3,500m/11,482ft): 6 – 7 hours
Day 06: Acclimatization Day
Day 07: Trek to Yak Kharka (4,110m/13,484ft): 3 – 4 hours
Day 08: Trek to Thorang Phedi: (4420m/14501ft): 3-4 hours)
Day 09: Trek to Muktinath (3,800/12,467ft) via Thorong La (5,416m/17764ft): 7 – 8 hours trek
Day 10: Trek to Jomsom (2800m / 9186ft) via Kagbeni – 6-7 hrs trek
Day 11: Fly to Pokhara: 25 minutes
Day 12: Drive to Kathmandu: 6-7 hours
In addition, you can also add Tilicho Lake Trip on this trek which requires 3 extra days from Manang.
As a foreigner, you will need to obtain the necessary permits before starting the Annapurna Circuit Trek. To enter the Annapurna region, every hiker should purchase the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card. These permits can be obtained in Kathmandu or Pokhara from the tourist trek permit center. And it will cost NRS 3,000 for ACAP and NRS 2,000 for TIMS card fees.
Start training early
If you’re planning on trekking the Annapurna Circuit, it’s important to start training 2-3 months early to ensure that you’re physically prepared for the demands of the trek. A strenuous hike from Manang to Muktinath via Yak Kharka and High camp is a bit challenging and a high altitude trail. The trek involves walking for several hours each day, often at high altitudes where the air is thin and the terrain is rugged. Therefore, without proper prior preparation, you may not be able to complete this trek. By starting your training several months in advance, you’ll have time to gradually build your endurance, strengthen your muscles and joints, and adapt to the high altitude. This will help reduce the risk of injury and ensure that you’re able to complete the trek safely and enjoyably. In addition to cardiovascular exercise and strength training, hiking regularly is one of the best ways to prepare for the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Make sure to consult with a doctor or fitness professional before starting any new exercise program, and stay hydrated and well-nourished throughout your training.
Get a guide
Hiring a guide for the Annapurna Circuit Trek is not only highly recommended, but it can also significantly enhance your trekking experience. Guides have extensive knowledge of the trek and can help you navigate the route safely and efficiently. They are familiar with the terrain, weather conditions, and potential hazards along the way. This can be especially helpful if you’re trekking in Nepal during the monsoon season or during the winter months when weather conditions can be unpredictable.
In addition to providing navigation support, guides can also offer valuable insights into local culture and history. They can share stories about the local communities, their customs, and their way of life. This can deepen your understanding and appreciation of the region, making your trekking experience more meaningful and memorable.
Furthermore, hiring a guide can also help support the local economy. Many guides are from the local communities and rely on trekking tourism for their livelihood. By hiring a guide, you’re not only supporting them financially, but you’re also contributing to the sustainability of the local economy.
When hiring a guide, it’s important to choose someone who is knowledgeable, experienced, and trustworthy. Look for someone who is licensed, speaks your language, and has good reviews from previous clients.
Pack light and smart
Packing light and smart for the Annapurna Circuit Trek is crucial for a number of reasons. Firstly, you’ll be carrying all of your belongings with you for several days on the trek, so you’ll want to make sure that your backpack isn’t too heavy or cumbersome. A heavy backpack can cause discomfort, fatigue, and even injury, which can make the trek more challenging and less enjoyable.
Secondly, the trek involves walking long distances each day, often at high altitudes, which can be physically demanding. Packing light can help reduce the strain on your body, allowing you to move more freely and comfortably on the trek. It’s important to pack only the essentials and leave behind any unnecessary items that will add weight to your backpack.
Finally, packing smart means bringing the right gear and clothing for the trek. This includes warm layers, waterproof gear, sturdy hiking boots, and a good-quality backpack. It’s important to do research on the weather and terrain conditions along the trek and pack accordingly. This can help keep you comfortable and safe on the trek.
Be prepared for weather changes
When embarking on the Annapurna Circuit Trek, it’s important to remember that the weather in the mountains can be highly unpredictable. The temperature can fluctuate rapidly, and conditions can change in an instant, so it’s essential to pack appropriately.
One of the most important things to consider when packing for the trek is the weather. The region experiences distinct seasons, each with its own climatic conditions. The spring and autumn months are generally considered the best times to trek, as the weather is mild and stable.
If you’re trekking in the winter months, the weather can be more extreme, with snow and icy conditions making the trek more challenging. It’s important to pack warm layers, including a down jacket, gloves, a hat, and thermal underwear. You should also bring waterproof and windproof gear to protect you from the elements, including a good-quality rain jacket and pants.
In addition to clothing, it’s also important to consider your equipment and gear. You’ll need a sturdy pair of hiking boots with a good grip to navigate the rugged terrain. It’s also important to bring a high-quality backpack that fits well and is comfortable to carry, as you’ll be carrying it for several days.
Acclimatization is a crucial part of the Annapurna Circuit Trek, and it’s important to take the time to acclimatize properly to the high altitudes to avoid altitude sickness. On this trek, we suggest taking a rest day at Manang for better acclimatization before going to attempt Throng La cross. Altitude sickness is a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur when you ascend too quickly to high altitudes without allowing your body to adjust. To avoid altitude sickness, it’s important to acclimatize properly by ascending gradually and allowing your body time to adjust to the high altitude. This means taking rest days and staying hydrated, as well as avoiding alcohol and smoking, which can exacerbate the symptoms of altitude sickness.
Respect the Environment and Culture
When trekking through the Annapurna Circuit, it’s important to remember that you are a guest in someone else’s home. The route passes through many villages inhabited by diverse ethnic groups, each with its own customs and traditions. To show respect for the local culture, take the time to learn about their customs and beliefs. Dress modestly and avoid revealing clothing, as this can be seen as disrespectful in some cultures. When interacting with locals, be polite and courteous, and always ask permission before taking photographs.
Another important way to show respect for the environment is by minimizing your impact on the natural surroundings. Refrain from littering and dispose of all waste properly. Bring reusable water bottles and water purification tablets to avoid contributing to the plastic pollution problem in the region.
It’s important to remember that there are no ATMs along the Annapurna Circuit Trail, so it’s essential to bring enough to cover your expenses. This includes food, accommodation, and any unexpected expenses that may arise. On the first day at Besisahar, you can withdraw cash from ATMs but it would be better if you bring it from Kathmandu. There is also ATM service in Jomsom at the ending point of this trek but they might be out of service frequently. It’s also wise to carry small denominations, as larger bills can be difficult to change in some places. Normally, you will need 20-30 dollars each day for your food and accommodation. However, if you are an alcoholic lover and like to have bakery items, you may need some extra amount. Be sure to calculate how much money you’ll need for the entire trek and bring a bit extra as a contingency.
Bring Portable Power Banks & Solar Lights
The Annapurna Circuit trek is a remote trek, and electricity is not always available along the route. Bringing power banks ensures that you can keep your electronic devices charged, such as your phone or camera, which are essential for communication and capturing memories.
Solar lights can provide a reliable source of light in the event of a power outage or if you need to navigate your way in the dark. They are particularly useful at higher altitudes, where darkness falls early, and temperatures can drop significantly. Also, bringing a solar light is a sustainable and eco-friendly option that reduces the need for disposable batteries or non-renewable energy sources. It also helps to reduce waste and pollution along the trekking route.
Walk Slowly & Stay Hydrated
The Annapurna Circuit trek involves long hours of walking and ascending steep inclines, which can be physically demanding. Walking slowly helps conserve energy and reduces the risk of exhaustion, allowing you to enjoy the trek without getting too tired or burnt out. Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining your physical performance and avoiding dehydration, which can lead to headaches, dizziness, and other health issues. Drinking enough water also helps prevent altitude sickness by keeping your body hydrated and allowing it to function properly at higher altitudes.
Be prepared for unexpected events
The Annapurna Circuit Trek can be unpredictable, and it’s important to be prepared for any eventuality. One of the best ways to do this is by carrying a well-stocked first aid kit. This should include essentials like bandages, painkillers, and anti-diarrhea medication. It’s also important to bring a portable phone charger, as power outlets can be limited along the trek. In case of an emergency, it’s wise to purchase travel insurance that covers trekking at high altitudes. This will provide peace of mind and ensure that you’re covered in case of an accident or illness.