The Annapurna Circuit Trek has been touted as the holy grail of trekking by travelers. This 128-mile route encircles the grandeur of Nepal’s high Annapurna range and was first opened to foreigners in the early 1980s.
More than 40,000 trekkers travel to Annapurna each year crossing through rhododendron forests, isolated hamlets, and mountain villages.
Trekking for six to seven hours a day, the circuit goes around one of the world’s highest mountains while encountering temples, monasteries, and picturesque landscapes. The walk follows the Marsyangdi Valley to the north of the main Himalayan range. It then crosses a 5416m pass to descend into the upper Kali Gandaki Valley– a theatrical desert-like reflecting Tibetan style. During the walk, one passes through beautiful villages that are home to the indigenous Gurungs, Manangis, and Thakalis people.
Despite being shorter than that of Mount Everest, the perils of the Annapurna circuit cannot be overlooked with its high fatality rate, unpredictable climatic conditions, and difficult terrains. Accessibility is also a major concern due to the presence of avalanches. But it is definitely a great experience for the adrenaline junkies!
In how many days can the Annapurna Circuit Trek be completed?
16-20 days generally.
However, the completion days vary depending on the route and the optional side treks one takes- generally between 170km – 230km
What is the highest mountain in the Annapurna Massif?
Annapurna 1 Main– 8091m
What is the highest point of the trek?
Thorong La Pass – 5416m (17,769ft)
Best time for hiking the Annapurna Circuit?
The periods for hiking the Annapurna Circuit are:
- October – early December and
- late Feb – April.
The ideal month to hike the Annapurna Circuit is the month of September when the skies are clear, the paths less crowded and there is greenery all around.
Are any permits required?
A couple of permits are required for the Annapurna Circuit Trek-
- a Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) permit and
- an Annapurna National Park Permit(sometimes also known as the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit).
As of 2019, both the permits together cost USD $50- the APC Permit is USD $30 / NPR 3,000 per person, and the TIMS Permit is USD $20 / NPR 2,000 per person.
These permits are necessary as they checked at various checkpoints along the trek. But if one is hiking with a group, usually the guides have all this sorted out on one’s behalf. For people hiking by themselves, these passes can be arranged at either the Nepal Tourism office based in Kathmandu or the Pokhara tourist office before commencing on the trek.