The Annapurna Peaks are some of the most captivating views around the world. This makes the Annapurna Circuit one of the most popular treks among outdoor enthusiasts. Each year, thousands of tourists take on the challenge of completing the journey.
While it may be strenuous, the scenery, the people, and the entire adventure are worth the time and effort. For those considering the trip, numerous questions need to be answered. Here are some of them:
How long is a typical Annapurna Circuit Trek?
The entire Annapurna Circuit is about 230km which takes about 28 days or more to complete. Of course, shorter circuits have been established by trekkers throughout the years lasting from 10 days to the full circuit length. Your trail length largely depends on your starting and ending point.
Some routes may include:
- Chame to Jomsom – about 10 days
- Jagat to Tatopani – about 12 days
- Besisahar to Jomsom – about 13 days
- Besisahar to Tatopani – about 15 days
- Besisahar to Birethanti – about 17 days
- Besisahar to Nayapul – about 21 days or more (full Annapurna Circuit)
Just like any trekking trip, its length depends on your experience and your stay at each stop. Some experienced hikers prioritize speed while others may take a more leisurely pace.
How difficult is Annapurna Circuit?
The Annapurna Circuit Trek (ACT) is a moderate trek that does not involve any technical climbing. However, it is best that you have some hiking experience. Expect to encounter different types of trails and road changes.
It is quite common to experience descents with loose debris, muddy jeep roads, and creeks in unexpected areas. Naturally, the higher you climb, the more difficult the hike will be. The altitude requires frequent rest. Additionally, do not forget to acclimatize to the altitude properly.
What essentials do you need to pack?
Aside from hiking experience and skills, you are only as good as your gear and supplies. First, consider the season and climate during your planned trekking schedule. While you need to be prepared for most scenarios, you still want to keep your pack weight as light as possible.
Some of the essentials are (but not limited to):
- Reusable water bottle or canteen
- Ultralight sleeping bag and a liner
- Duct tape
- Solar charger
- First aid kit
- A book or kindle
- Trekking poles
- Lip balm
Your gear list may look something like this:
- Around six pairs of underwear and four pairs of socks
- Hiking boots
- Thermal bottoms and tops
- Two pairs of hiking pants
- Flip-flops to be used in teahouses
- Leggings or light tracksuit
- A pair of shorts
- Up to four T-shirts
- Down jacket
- Rain jacket
- A pair of waterproof pants
- Beanie or sun hat
When is the best time for a trip to Annapurna?
One of the goals in going on an Annapurna Circuit Trek is to see the views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna peaks. The best time to go to the Annapurna region is during spring, between March and May. The weather is mild, with mostly clear skies. Autumn between September and November is also a good season for trekking.
Take note that it is usually humid and hot in the lower areas, where it is mostly jungle. You may still experience occasional showers, even when it is not monsoon season. Once you reach about 3,500 meters or above, expect significantly cooler weather. So, get your warm clothes and gear ready.
What are the accommodations like?
Due to Annapurna Circuit Trek’s popularity, tea houses and lodges are available even in high-altitude regions. They typically offer private rooms with all the basic creature comforts like a comfortable mattress, separate beds, tea tables, and more.
However, the entire region is busy during the middle of spring and autumn. That means if you haven’t booked any accommodations in advance, you may need to bring your sleeping bags as rooms are usually full.
How much money should you bring?
Prices change depending on the season and the overall condition of the tourism industry. Typically, you should allot around USD20 (approximately NPR2000) per day to cover basic accommodation and three meals. You can splurge a little bit for USD30 (NPR3000) for continental meals for dinner, snacks throughout the day, or a hot bath in the lodge.
Remember that prices get higher along with the altitude. This is due to the difficulty of bringing supplies up in those regions. Additionally, take note of any price changes due to the pandemic. With limited tourist movement around the world, prices of accommodation and supplies are bound to become more expensive.