One of the most well-known treks in Nepal is the Annapurna Circuit Trek, which is renowned for its breathtaking scenery and rich cultural diversity. Before arriving at the high-altitude desert of Manang, the trail travels from the subtropical region of Besisahar along the Marsyangdi River Valley, passing through verdant forests, charming villages, and treacherous mountain passes.
The stunning vistas of the Annapurna Massif, which contains numerous peaks over 8,000 meters, including Annapurna I, II, III, and IV, as well as Dhaulagiri and Manaslu, are without a doubt the trek's high point. The Thorong La Pass, the highest point of the trail at an elevation of 5,416 meters, is another part of the walk that gives hikers a sense of accomplishment and thrill.
Together with the stunning scenery, the Annapurna Circuit Trek journey also exposes you to the vibrant culture and customs of the locals. You'll come across a wide variety of ethnic groups, including Gurungs, Thakalis, and Tibetans, all of whom have their own unique traditions and worldviews. You can also stop by historic monasteries and temples along the journey, like the Muktinath Temple, which is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists.
Annapurna Circuit Trek Highlights
- Magnificent views of the Annapurna Massif, which contains several peaks that are higher than 8,000 meters.
- The tough Thorong La Pass, which rises to a height of 5,416 meters, is the trail's highest point.
- The varied mixture of ethnic groups we came across, including Tibetans, Thakalis, and Gurungs.
- The chance to go to historic monasteries and temples, like the Buddhist and Hindu holy site Muktinath Temple.
- Passing through verdant forests and little towns, including the lovely Manang village.
- Opportunity to experience local culture's customs and way of life firsthand.
- Detour to Tilicho Lake, one of the world's highest lakes.
- Breathtaking views of the Annapurna Massif, Dhaulagiri, and Manaslu.
Food and Accommodation
Teahouses run by local people are available throughout the trek. They are not luxurious but will provide you with basic services. You can expect to have foods such as Dal Bhat, pasta, noodles, potatoes, vegetables, cereals, eggs, fried rice, soup, etc. Basically, you will be provided with any common western or traditional dish you like to have.
However, you will stay in 3-star hotels in Pokhara and Kathmandu with breakfast service. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants that provide a variety of dishes in the cities. You can go and explore them for lunch and dinner.
Major Attractions of Annapurna Circuit trek
Pokhara is a wonderful city to spend a day in. It is home to many beautiful lakes such as Phewa, Rupa, Begnas, etc. There are many historically significant and adventurous places such as Bat Cave, Mahendra Cave, Devi’s Fall, etc. The ridge of Sarangkot is one of the most beautiful viewpoints to behold the sunrise and sunset. You can have an amazing view of the Annapurna range from there. You will spend a day in Pokhara exploring these amazing places.
Muktinath is a sacred pilgrimage site of Hindus and Buddhists. It is the Vishnu temple that lies in the Mustang district. It is believed that you will get salvation after visiting this temple and performing Puja. So, many devotees come here every year. It is equally significant for Tibetan Buddhists as they believe the Murti here is a manifestation of Avalokiteshvara who embodies the compassion of Buddha. This temple provides you with an amazing panorama of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain range.
Thorong La Pass and Kaligandaki Gorge
Thorong La Pass (5416 m) is the most beautiful vantage point throughout the journey and the highest elevation you will be achieving. You have to cross a challenging route, covered in unstable boulders to get there. The path is windy and covered in snow. However, the view from the Pass is the most satisfying one. You can have a clear and amazing view of mountains such as Annapurna Massif, Dhawalagiri, Machhcapuchre, Manaslu, Gangapurna, Tilicho, etc. The view of Kaligandaki gorge from the way to Jomsom is also thrilling. It is the deepest gorge of the world carved by Dhawalagiri and Annapurna peaks.
Jomsom is one of the beautiful villages of the Himalaya region with an airport that connects to Pokhara. It is the last destination of Annapurna Circuit Trek. You can enjoy the picturesque view of the surrounding of the village. Explore Thakali people, their culture, and the lifestyle who reside in this village. You can try different Thakali traditional food items and indulge yourself in different cultural programs.
Different ethnic groups and their culture
During the Annapurna Circuit trekking journey, you will encounter many ethnic communities residing in the villages along the way. Mostly, Gurung, Magar, Sherpa, and Thakali people reside in these areas. They have maintained their own tradition and culture throughout history. This trekking is a wonderful opportunity to explore these beautiful communities and their culture. Our professional guides will provide you with all the necessary information regarding these cultures and traditions.
Glorious view of Mountains and Landscapes
Majestic landscapes along the way are what make the Annapurna Circuit Trek an amazing experience. Most of the trail of the lower region is covered with rhododendron, oak and pine forests. Animals such as deer, sheep, monal, Himalayan Thar, etc reside in that jungle. During the trek, you will get a wonderful panoramic view of mountains such as Annapurna Massif, Dhawalagiri, Machhapuchhre, Manaslu, Gangapurna, Tilicho, Pisang, Pangaudae, etc. Along the way, you will encounter many waterfalls and hot springs. Thorong La pass and Mustang are some of the best vantage points to see these Himalayas glaciers and deep valleys.
Weather of Annapurna Circuit Trek
You will experience a moderate amount of rainfall on your Annapurna Circuit trek during the summer season. However, the temperature is cool at a higher elevation with relatively less rainfall.
In addition, you will experience warm weather conditions with lush vegetation around the hills and landscapes. Normally, the temperature ranges from 15-17 degrees Celsius during the time to 5-7 degrees Celsius at night. You will enjoy the quiet trail and experience the wilderness of the splendid Annapurna region.
Winter is the time of extreme cold weather conditions and frequent snowfalls. Moreover, the temperature ranges from 10 to 15 degrees Celsius during the day time to below 0 degrees at night.
However, you can still enjoy an amazing trekking experience with the help of expert guides and right trekking gears. In addition, you will enjoy a quiet trek with the stunning sunshine and flowing winds along the trek.
Autumn is one of the peak seasons for Annapurna Circuit trek Expedition as the season offers pleasant and comfortable weather conditions. However, the weather patterns can still be unpredictable and changeable at higher altitude regions.
The temperature ranges from 10-15 degrees Celsius at night and on the other hand 0-5 degrees Celsius at night. Moreover, the climatic condition is perfect for a pleasant view of the surrounding mountain ranges. The whole Annapurna region is rejuvenated, refreshed and vibrant during the season of Autumn.
Spring is another delightful season to enjoy the magnificence of the Annapurna region as the weather is warmer with longer days. Due to the perfect weather conditions, you will encounter travelers on the trail and tea house during this time around.
Furthermore, you will enjoy the thriving rhododendron forest blooming in the hillsides as you hike along with the Annapurna sanctuary. The temperature usually ranges from 17-20 degrees Celsius during the day and 0-7 degrees Celsius at night.
Important information on Annapurna Circuit Trek
The difficulty of Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Circuit Trek is a challenging trek as it requires long day hikes for 21 days along the rocky, gravel-strewn trails. In addition, you will have to walk exhausting uphills and downhill routes on your trek. Therefore, the trail is fairly challenging for travelers with no trekking experience.
However, any stable, fit person can easily hike for 4-8 hours per day to complete this trek. In addition, covering the total distance of 15 km each day will take the most out of you. Furthermore, the tiring ascend to places like Thorung Phedi 4,925m and Thorung La pass 5,415m will test your mental endurance. Therefore, you need to prepare yourself physically and mentally for the Annapurna Circuit trek.
Travel Insurance for Annapurna Circuit Trek
You will need travel insurance from a reliable company to trek any region in Nepal. You should consider the travel policy and coverage for every extra expenditure like various injuries, health issues, or accidents. In addition, you should make sure that it covers all the costs of an ambulance, helicopter evacuation, treatment fees, doctor’s fees, and hospital charges.
Furthermore, your travel insurance should include the policy to cover all the extra activities during your stay like the cost of theft and liability, misplaced luggage, and cancellation. You will hike to the elevation of 5,000 m on your Annapurna Circuit Trek, therefore, your insurance should trek that goes over 5,000m.
Altitude Sickness in Annapurna Circuit Trek
You will start your Annapurna Circuit Trek from the elevation of at Besisahar 760m to the highest point of the entire trek at Thorong La Pass 5,415m. Therefore, some of you will feel the effects of the rising altitude from 1,500 to 2,000 meters upwards. As the altitude gradually increases, you will experience less oxygen there in the air than your breath.
Making a quick descent in the higher altitudes will increase the chances of oxygen deprivation in the form of High altitude sickness. You will experience early symptoms like confusion, Clumsiness, Headache, and nausea. Therefore, you need to ascend Ascend slowly to the higher altitude consuming plenty of water and food
Do I need a Guide or a Porter for Annapurna Circuit Trek?
A guide is an expert personnel with a wide range of expertise in the trekking field as he/she will be able to assist you through tough and tricky situations. A guide with proper experience will be able to speak fluent English and will be able to translate the local tales and stories to you. The guide can arrange and negotiate accommodation and meals for you at the tea houses.
On the other hand, a reliable porter acts as a backbone for your trekking experience. The porter will help you carry your luggage and trekking equipment to a weight limit of 20 kg max. The extra load off of your shoulder will allow you to explore and enjoy the Annapurna Circuit trek.
Therefore, hiring a guide or a porter is a good investment in your Annapurna Circuit trek or any trek in Nepal. We highly recommend travelers with no trekking experience to consider getting a guide or a porter during their Annapurna Circuit Expedition. They will certainly enhance your trekking experience and you will have a better insight into the region you are traveling to.
Training for Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Circuit Trek is a high-altitude trek with a considerable amount of hiking days on the rugged and rocky terrains of the Annapurna region. You will hike for 6-8 hours for most of the days on the Annapurna Circuit trek Expedition. However, you don’t have to worry as the trek is a slow stable hike the entire 21 days trek.
Moreover, you will have to cover the total distance of 160 km to 230 km depending on the route you take on the Annapurna Circuit trek. Therefore, you will need to prepare your body for the strenuous trek ahead. Moreover, we recommend you to get a health check-up with your personal doctor prior to the trek.
In addition, you will have to start the routine exercise in the gym to get yourself ready for the trip. You have to focus on cardio exercise and focus on strengthening the muscle on your leg and upper body. Exercises like jogging, swimming, and cycling will help you develop your durability and endurance level. Therefore, the routine fitness workout will definitely result in a joyful trek without any difficulties.
Annapurna Circuit Trek packing List
You will definitely be in need of certain packing and equipment necessities on your Annapurna Circuit trek. The travel company will guide you through the list of gears and equipment for the trek prior to the expedition. However, you should also be aware of the fact that the packing and equipment list depends on the times of the year. Therefore, we recommend the following list of basic necessities for your easier and enjoyable Annapurna Circuit trek.
- Lip Balm
- Sanitary Napkin
- First Aid Kit
- Extra cash
- Energy bars
- Travel games
- Trekking Poles
- Plug adapter with built-in USB ports
- Water bottle, headlamp
- Camera with battery
- Sleeping bag, pillowcase
- Pack rain cover
- Hiking Pants
- Long sleeve shirt
- Passport and permits
- Short sleeve shirt
- Comfortable and warm pants
- Down Jacket
- Warm hat
- Sun hat
- Hiking boots