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    Annapurna Circuit Trek: Everything You Need to Know

    Annapurna Circuit Trek: Everything You Need to Know

    By Kelsey KrahnDestinations

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    Trade the everyday buzz for unfiltered, natural imagery along the inspiring, challenging Annapurna Circuit Trek. And you won't just get to see plain old natural wonders (not that any natural wonder falls under the category of plain) while you hike, but show-stopping, jaw-dropping scenes: the deepest gorge, the widest pass, the highest lake. This trek is truly a marvel! Read on to find out everything you need to know about the Annapurna Circuit Trek. If this article doesn't convince you to go, you're just going to have to explore the route and see it for yourself.

    General Route Information for the Annapurna Circuit Trek
    Annapurna Circuit Trek Highlights
    Annapurna Circuit Trek Difficulty
    Best ways to prepare for the Annapurna Circuit Trek
    Annapurna Circuit Trek Accommodations
    Food and Drink along the Annapurna Circuit Trek
    Guided tours along the Annapurna Circuit Trek

    General Route Information for the Annapurna Circuit Trek

    You need to know general route information about the Annapurna Circuit Trek before you decide to go—it wouldn't be fun to show up for a 3-day trek only to find out this one often takes 12-15 days minimum to complete. So take a look at some of the numbers and general info below.

    General Route Information

    Start and End of the Annapurna Circuit Trek

    The Annapurna Circuit Trek begins from Besisahar before finishing in Nayapul. But, you can take a jeep to Bhulbhule, Chame, and some people head to Manang to officially start trekking. However, there’s the option to end the route early from Ranipauwa or Kagbeni and take the bus.

    Annapurna Circuit Trek Distance

    The distance can vary from 160.0 km to 230.0 km, granting more freedom to create your itinerary and plan your route.

    Annapurna Circuit Trek Elevation

    The trek begins in Besisahar, which sits at 820 m. The highest point you’ll reach is 5,416 m at Thorong Pass, before dipping for a few days, then climbing back up to 3,200 m at Poon Hill.

    Days on the Annapurna Circuit Trek

    It often takes around 12 to 15 days minimum to complete, but creating your itinerary might change how long it takes. For example, if you decide not to hike the entire 230.0 km, you'll naturally cut down the number of days hiking this incredible journey.

    When to Trek the Annapurna Circuit

    It's best to complete the Annapurna Trek when warm autumn colours paint the scenery from September to November. Expect clear skies for awesome views. Remember that the weather can change on a whim, so come prepared with the proper gear. We'll touch more on what to pack for your trek in Nepal below. Another option is to hike between March and just before June, when days last longer and flowers brush the setting with different hues. Find out more about when to go trekking in Nepal here.

    Annapurna Circuit Trek Highlights

    The Annapurna Circuit Trek brims with unforgettable highlights. First, you won't want to miss standing along the shores of the highest lake in the world, the vibrantly turquoise Tilicho Lake. Then, you can't help but feel tiny as you peer into the Kali Gandaki Gorge, the deepest gorge on the planet that dips 6,000 m. Another insanely incredible highlight along the Annapurna Circuit Trek is the Rupse waterfall, which roars down 300 m. But that's not all. The hyperboles continue…

    Marvel at Muktinath temple, one of the highest temples globally, sitting at the brink of Thorong La Pass, the widest in the world.

    On top of revelling in otherworldly scenery, you'll get to immerse in Nepal's stunning, welcoming culture through visiting gompas and much more.

    Annapurna Circuit Trek Highlights

    Annapurna Circuit Trek Difficulty

    The Annapurna Circuit Trek is considerably more challenging than the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, making it an ideal choice for more experienced trekkers. However, anyone is welcome to train and work towards completing this worthwhile feat. We recommend getting into an exercise routine a couple of months before going. With that being said, the biggest obstacle is the altitude.

    One way to help prevent this is to go anti-clockwise to ease the altitude gain throughout the trek. It's also helpful to eat as much as you can, hydrate, sleep well (if possible), and walk slowly, so your body can acclimatize.

    Best ways to prepare for the Annapurna Circuit Trek

    After booking your flights and loosely figuring out your trekking itinerary, you'll need to piece together your packing list. Your list should include clothing items, hiking boots, a high-quality backpack, merino wool socks, a water bottle, a passport, as well as some other essentials, such as:

    • Sleeping bag or liner for the beds—it might be handy to carry a sleeping bag or liner (depending on how warm you like to be when you sleep) for the colder climates as you gain elevation for sanitary purposes. Then you can use the warm blanket provided by the lodge atop your sleeping bag. The sheets might not be washed every night in the teahouses, so a sleeping bag liner is essential.
    • A steripen for sterilizing water or another safe water filtration system as buying water gets more expensive the further you climb.
    • Some toilet paper in case your accommodation higher up doesn't have any.
    • A lightweight towel as teahouses might not provide you with one.

    Another essential thing to prepare for your trek in Nepal is to check your passport to ensure it's valid for six months post departure. Thankfully, you can apply for your visa on arrival. Expect to pay 25 USD for 15 days, 40 USD for 30 days, and 100 USD for 90 days. Take out cash in USD before you go; officials will request you pay the exact amount.

    On top of a visa and an up-to-date passport, you'll also need trekking permits: Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS). You can get these in Kathmandu or Pokhara.

    Since most people travel from Kathmandu to the trailhead, it's best to head to the Nepal Tourism Board (Pradarshani Marg, Kathmandu 44617) as soon as you arrive to get your permits. You'll need a total of four passport photos to get your permit. When you fill out your forms to obtain your permits, you'll also need your travel insurance number, so don't skip out on this all-too-important documentation!

    Annapurna Circuit Trek Accommodations

    The accommodations along the Annapurna Circuit Trek will have you staying in teahouses and lodges, where you can expect cozy, rustic stays and delicious, fulfilling meals. You also won't have to stress about carrying food with you as the constant accommodations provide food.

    Know that you're expected to buy breakfast and dinner wherever you stay, so keep this in mind when planning your trip. Sometimes the owners might ask you to pay just for meals and not a bed!

    Most places to stay offer hot showers, but don't expect them to scorch your skin every time. It's not likely that you'll have to pay extra for a hot shower, but it's also not uncommon. So enter the shower-sphere with an open mind.

    There's also electricity and wifi throughout accommodations along the Annapurna Circuit Trek, but the connection can get spotty the further you go. But who needs wifi on a trek, anyways? (Although, it is fun to update your friends and family as you go!)

    Independent travellers can usually stop by accommodations on a whim as they run on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Annapurna Circuit Trek Accommodations

    Food and Drink along the Annapurna Circuit Trek

    We're smacking our lips just thinking about the food along the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Expect standard breakfast choices: tea, coffee, oatmeal, fruit, pancakes, yogurt, and bread. There's also the option to buy little snacks, like chocolate bars and pastries, at shops for additional fuel throughout the day. You never know when your stomach will start to rumble, especially on an intense calorie-burning trek.

    Meanwhile, the lunch and dinner menus combine Nepalese, Western, and Chinese dishes. However, most people go for the hearty dal bhat, a lentil curry atop steamed rice—this meal is the ultimate trekking energizer.

    For drinking, it's best to bring a refillable water bottle and pay for water as you go. However, it does get more expensive the higher you gain in elevation. You will also find some safe water stations en route for refills, which still cost some money but aren't as "pricey" as the plastic bottles sold. We recommend bringing a water filtration system, SteriPen, or water purification tablets to treat your water as you trek.

    Guided Tours

    Guided tours along the Annapurna Circuit Trek

    You're probably wondering: "Do I need a guide to hike the Annapurna Circuit Trek?" No, you don't! However, we understand if some of you want to let experts plot the little details along this trek, so you don't have to. It can be hard to plan a vacation when you're swamped with work, right? If you really want to go trekking in Nepal but don't have time to research the nitty gritty details, we recommend a guided adventure tour. The Annapurna Circuit Trek tour immerses you in Nepal's vibrant, lovely culture. On top of trekking, spend some time exploring Kathmandu and Pokhara and get to know the Gurung people in the villages along your trek. This 19-day adventure seamlessly fuses rustic, scenic exploration with learning local ways of life.

    The Annapurna Circuit Trek makes for an unforgettable backcountry experience, where a stark Himalayan setting transcends all other views.




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