All you need to know about Annapurna Trek before going for the trek

Any hiking to the Annapurna region is splendid and wonderful. All trekking routes of Annapurna region expose you to a perfect amalgam of nature and social brilliance. Here travelers can see the genuine grandeur of Mother Nature that has been gifted to Nepal. Similarly, trekking in Nepal being one of the favored travel activities of the people to taste the Himalayan beauty, Annapurna trek is one of the most popular trekking destinations in Nepal. Additionally, the easy accessibility and convenience nature of the treks make it even more popular amongst nature lovers. The rivers, forests, mountains views, terraced farmlands, paths through the hills, traditional villages are the highlights of the Annapurna trek. Therefore, the Annapurna region is the perfect destination for mountain trekking in Nepal. So this is for all those people who are thinking of trekking in the Annapurna region. Here we have included all the information you need to know about Annapurna Trek.

So go through the given points about all you need to know about Annapurna trek before going for the trek.

Before we move on to the things, we need to read or know before going for a trek in the Annapurna region, you need to know that there are various trekking routes. For instance, Annapurna Base Camp trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, Upper Mustang Trek, and many more all fall into the Annapurna region. However, all of these trails entail different experiences. Nonetheless, the information provided here is relevant to all the trekking routes in the Annapurna region.

#Points to note before hiking to Annapurna Trek

Is the Annapurna Trek suitable for you?

Many people failed to recognize if their dream Himalayan destination is the right for them or not. Because Himalayan destination are not like vacationing in desert or beaches or historical landmarks. Vacationing in Himalayas of Nepal or any other country requires some prior preparation. Traveling itself is a physical activity and trekking being one of the genres of travel, it requires great endurance level. So it is important to know whether the destination you are opting for is suitable for you or not and if you have time and energy to do the trek. In the case of Annapurna trek, it has many trails that are conceivable by many people without any restrictions. But having prior training and exercise to increase the endurance level is a must thing to do before hiking to Annapurna Trek. Henceforth, most treks in the Annapurna region are suitable for assorted age ranges. Similarly, it is a moderate trek therefore, anyone can smoothly complete this trek even without prior trekking experience.

Altitude/Height of Annapurna Trek

Most of the treks in Annapurna region are high altitude treks that are above 4000m above sea level and 12000 feet above. Some trails like Ghorepani Poon Hill are short and easy treks which only reach about 3200 M / 10475ft. Similarly, sitting at the height of 4,130 meters and 13,550 in feet is Annapurna Base Camp which offers stunning Himalaya’s vistas. The altitude of Annapurna base camp trek is pretty high which makes Annapurna base camp a high-altitude trek. Reaching this height can be tough but it is not difficult.

On the same note, there are different trails like Mardi Himal trek, Upper Mustang trek, Annapurna Circuit trek and many more. Hence, before opting for any of the above-mentioned trails, do research about the height/ altitude. Because, it is important to know whether the trek you are thinking of doing is suitable for you or not. All trail cruises through amazing land formations, deep valleys, lush jungles, and roaring rivers. Besides these amazing features, another highlight of the Annapurna trek is the traditional ethnic villages. Therefore, you will reach amazing heights experiencing amazing social and natural features.

Trekking Grade

All of the treks in Annapurna region are graded to moderate levels of trek. Short treks like Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek are graded as easy treks. Whereas, treks like Mardi Himal trek, Annapurna Base Camp trek, Upper Mustang Trek, Annapurna Circuit trek are graded as moderate level of trek. These treks as mentioned above go more than the heights of 4000m above sea level. Hence, it should be approached steadily. Similarly, the trail consists of rough yet simple paths that sometimes are steep, uphill, and narrow. Nonetheless, the trail is not too much on the legs hence treks in Annapurna region are graded from easy to moderate trek. Therefore, many people despite the age range for trekking in Annapurna region.

Difficulty factor and possibility of altitude sickness during Annapurna Trek

There are not many difficult factors in Annapurna trek. Annapurna trek is a straightforward trek with not many walking difficulties. The routes as mentioned above follows through river banks, ethnic villages, lush jungles, entails walking through steep hills and narrow paths. Although the trails may not be difficult to walk on however, if rushed there is a good chance of suffering from Altitude sickness. Because even though trails are easy enough to walk, it is still a high altitude region. So it is suggested that to not rush or hurry the trek. Rushing during the trek is one of the reasons for easily suffering through mountain sickness. More than that, while on any trek in the Annapurna region, staying hydrated is very important. Together with that, no one should try to surpass their trekking destination set for particular day. With these in mind, you shall smoothly finish any trek in Annapurna region and avoid suffering from sickness.

An ideal time for Annapurna Trek

Unlike many trekking regions of Nepal, Annapurna region is doable all 12 months of the year. It is a pretty accessible trekking region. You will meet trekkers at any time of the year you go for hiking in this region. However, we wouldn’t suggest you all the trekking trails of Annapurna region for all year. There are some seasons that are not accessible for all 4 seasons. Because, even though the trekking trail is accessible, weather conditions can hinder your journey. For instance, we wouldn’t suggest trekkers to opt for Mardi Himal trek or ABC trek or Annapurna Circuit trek for all 4 seasons. We wouldn’t suggest people opt for these trails during monsoon and winter season. The monsoon which coincides with summer falls from June to August. And winter tumbles from December to February. During monsoon, the trail is muddy and wet and you get to see leeches visiting you frequently. Similarly, there is a high chance of trails getting blocked due to landslide and soil erosion. Similarly, on the same note, we would not recommend you to do these treks during winter also. The winter in Annapurna is biting cold and most of the trail gets covered in snow. The cold weather and snow may bother your trekking experience. At the same time, there are chances of encountering an avalanche too which is dangerous. Even though views and ambiance during these seasons are wonderful and fantastic, it is still not recommended.

Whereas, the spring and autumn season is the best to go hiking in the Annapurna region. Spring in Nepal is from March to May whereas autumn is from September to November. This both seasons offers a grand view of the mountain vistas and the perfect weather. The lush and green environment during spring with splendid mountain views is breathtaking. Similarly, the encounter with Clear Mountain views during autumn is mind-blowing. The sights of Annapurna ranges become simply mesmerizing in autumn. Also, Annapurna base camp trek attracts a large number of trekkers during this time of the year due to its perfect weather and glorious mountain views. Therefore, the drawbacks of doing Annapurna trek during peak trekking seasons are large crowds and busy trails if you are not a people person. Other than that it is a splendid time to explore this region to experience its raw natural and cultural beauty. We highly recommend people to navigate this Himalayan trail in autumn and spring season.

Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is done all through the year. Due to its easy accessibility and low altitude, weather does not affect the visiting ambiance for trekkers. This place all through the year remains stunning and beautiful. Hence, if you are looking for a short and easy trek to do in Annapurna region, then Ghorepani Poon Hill is the one.

All things considered; it is very important to fix the dates to have the best Himalayan experience. Trekking in Nepal is fun but when you have a particular destination where you want to go, then it is even more fun to explore those places when weather adds its brilliance to it. Therefore, do choose the best time to do the trek in Annapurna trek. It adds more memories to your journey. Similarly, one little head up, the weather is an unpredictable creature so be ready to accept unimagined events if the weather decides to change.

Whether to go guided or unguided

Hiring a trekking guide for Annapurna trek is a debatable topic. And you may wonder why so? Because with a massive number of sources for information about the trek on the internet, you may think, following those instructions, you can complete the trek and that too unguided. But to burst your happy bubble, it is not so. The experiences you read on the blogs or articles may be true and genuine but the information is forever changing. Other than that, the trails are tricky too. And exploring trails of Annapurna that mostly goes through a deep forest is not a canny thing to do. Because the trail leads a lot of places which sometimes turns out to overturn your actual route. Hence, to prevent yourself from getting lost into the woods, going with a trekking guide is highly recommended. So without any doubt whether you are an experienced trekker or not, do not go hiking in the trails of Nepal unguided. Even if it is a very popular and busy trail like Annapurna Base Camp Trek!

Furthermore, trekking is much more than just figuring out the trails. It requires planning and preparation. Annapurna Base Camp trek of Annapurna region is one of the commercial routes so it is quite busy during the peak trekking season. So you may not want to take unnecessary trouble arranging your accommodation, transportation, and many other factors. And due to these reasons, hiring a reliable trekking company is important. So that they will take care of your vacation from start to finish.

What to expect?

Annapurna region is full of lively trekking ventures so besides mountains and nature there are many things you can see on the trail. High on the list to look forward to on the journey is to taste the rural lifestyle of the people living in the Annapurna region. Throughout the journey, one traverses through many ethnic traditional villages. Ghorepani, Ghandruk, Chhomrong, Dovan, Deurali, Bamboo, and many others let you take a peek at the life of Gurung, Magar, Thakali, Brahmin, Chhetri and many more. You can glance at their daily schedule which includes activities like working in the farms or fields, grazing the cattle, cutting fodders, and many more. To see villages engaged in a lifestyle that is foreign to you is interesting. Besides that, you will also get to experience their cultural performances like singing and dancing in one of the stopovers. Henceforth, besides the brilliance of mountains and getting to see rich cultural values and full-blown interactions with elements of Mother Nature are few things you can expect or look forward to on the trail.

Where to stay?

Ever since trekking has been allowed in Nepal for a foreigner, trekking trails of Nepal have become more accommodating over the years. In Annapurna trek, you will find many tea house on the trail. However, as you move higher, the number starts to thin. Similarly, with the rise in the number, the number of services are also available. From meals to shower, electricity to internet services, you can enjoy all these services during Annapurna Trek. Similarly, be mindful of what you eat for your 3-time meals during the trek. Our suggestion would be to stick with the foods that locals eat and that would be rice and Dhal or hot noodles. The accommodation is basic and simple but nice and clean. The tea houses will be swamped with trekkers during peak trekking season so making a prior reservation is suggested.

Necessary Permits for the Annapurna Trek:

For trekking in the Annapurna region, you need to have Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and TIMS card.

For Annapurna Base Camp trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Annapurna Circuit trek you will need Annapurna Conservation Area Permit, which costs approx. USD 30 or NPR 3000 per person for foreigners. Similarly, the same ACAP permit for SAARC nationalities is NPR 200 per person. Along with these permits, you will also need to purchase a TIMS card which costs approx. USD 10 or NPR 1000.

However, for Upper Mustang Trek, you need to purchase a special type of permit. Upper Mustang is a restricted area of Nepal and so to enter these premises you need to have a special trekking permit. The cost of a special permit is USD 500 per person for 10 days. And for each additional day, you pay extra USD 50 per day. You cannot travel to Upper Mustang alone and independently too. To trek in Upper Mustang, you need to go through local trekking operators. You can find more information about trekking in Mustang in this blog.

You can obtain these permits and TIMS cards from Nepal Tourism Board Office in Pardashani Marga, Kathmandu. You can also purchase the same permits from Nepal Tourism Board Office in Pokhara. Similarly, you can obtain a TIMS card from the TAAN office in Lakeside, Pokhara.

Training and preparation for the trek:

Trekking in the Annapurna region requires a decent amount of physical fitness and endurance level. Mostly having a great level of cardiovascular endurance is most important. You can gain a great endurance level by doing activities like walking, jogging, swimming, running, and exercises. You can begin your training by running. Begin running at a moderate pace and afterward continue expanding your pace step by step. By the time of your trekking dates, you should be able to cover 5 km in half-hour.

What to take on the trek

Most trekking trails in Annapurna region are high altitude treks except Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek. Hence, the list of equipment is quite longer than what you would take for short hiking trips. That being said, it is really important to carry the only equipment that you need. Please click this link to check the list of trekking gears you need for Annapurna trek.

Travel Insurance

Last but not the least to note, travel insurance is very important for Annapurna Trek. You need to have travel insurance for the trek. So before starting your trek make sure to purchase a travel insurance that is most convenient to your travel nature.

These are some abstracted versions of the information you need to read before going for Annapurna Trek. We hope this information has been helpful in some way in planning your future adventure. If there shall be any questions, please feel free to contact us.

About Author

Balaram Thapa, an executive director at Nepal Hiking Team had a long journey before making NHT one of the revolutionary tour operators in this competitive field of Tourism. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in Travel and Tourism from Tribhuwan University in the year 2000.

He started his career as a trekking support staff in 1998 and gradually earned a status of trekking leader. He has trekked several trekking routes such as Annapurna, Manaslu, Langtang, Everest, Kanchenjunga, Mustang, Makalu, etc. Thus has immense knowledge about the trekking routes of Nepal. Alongside this, he has also organized several tours to Bhutan and Tibet as a tour guide. He has traveled to Germany, France, Switzerland, Poland, Italy promoting Nepal’s tourism.

After earning lots of experience in this field, he wanted to explore his own business ideology. He along with his brother- Ganga Raj Thapa start their own company, Nepal Hiking Team in 2009. He is friendly and works side by side with the staff inspiring and motivating them. He is an expert travel consultant and handles all the concerns of travelers regarding their trip. He inspires people to travel new and unique destinations and implement the same ideology on himself as well.

He started his journey 22 years ago and has immense experience in this field. His passion for traveling has made his 22 years of working journey, a precious phase of his life. And he plans to continue doing this and add more years in it.

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