Annapurna Circuit travel guide

From the humid, subtropical lower levels, through alpine forests to semiarid desert, no trek deserves the word ‘varied’ as much as the Annapurna Circuit. This celebrated, world-famous route is a 125km circumnavigation of spectacular Himalayan scenery, with the mighty Annapurna range bang in the middle. The climax is the Thorong La pass, a lunar landscape at over 5,000m altitude, with epic views to Tibet and back across the Annapurnas. This isn’t just a walk ‘n’ gawp trek, though.
Trekking the Annapurna Circuit is no walk in the park – it will test your strength, reward your perseverance and blow your mind.
The rich culture of the region, part Nepali, part Tibetan, is visible in pretty villages, Hindu temples and Buddhist prayer flags. Walk by day, then at night relax with local hosts in the teahouses that line the route, for a lesson in Himalayan life. No one ever regrets trekking the Annapurna Circuit. Go with strong calves and a sense of adventure and you’ll be rewarded by a lifetime of memories.

Is an Annapurna Circuit trek for you?

Do trek the Annapurna Circuit if…

… you like to know what you’re doing. You’re here to walk, every day, but there’s something wonderfully relaxing about this being the sole agenda. Trekking steadily, marvelling at the extraordinary views and discovering new levels of stamina as you go becomes a relaxing daily ritual. … you want to combine trekking with incredible culture. You pass through villages, your porters will be from surrounding communities and you’ll be staying in teahouses owned by people who have lived in the region their whole lives, making a trek a fantastic opportunity to learn about Himalayan life. … your mind is as fit as your body. Mental toughness is as important as physical. To complete the circuit, you must be comfortable with the idea of trekking for up to seven hours a day, for 18 days. That’s over two weeks when all you do each day is pull on your hiking boots and walk, but while the activity remains the same, just like you, the scenery doesn’t stand still.

Don’t trek the Annapurna Circuit if…

… you’re impatient. The higher you climb, the slower you’ll be and peak season trekking jams are not unheard of. Remember that tackling the Annapurna Circuit is about appreciation and endurance; don’t rush from point to point! … you like creature comforts. Some teahouses offer electric power and apple pies, but conditions are generally basic. Be happy to embrace local cuisine (typically rice and lentils), slumber in a sleeping bag and wrap up! Teahouses don’t have central heating. … you get out of breath running for the bus. Trekking is hard on your knees and your lungs, so you’ll need a good level of fitness. Do some hillwalking at home first, to break in your body and your boots. … you’re happier going solo. Although it’s possible to trek independently, going with a small group, accompanied by a knowledgeable, local guide, will bring the landscape and culture to life. Your guide will also keep you safe, helping you acclimatise to altitude and assessing route safety at all times.

A brief history of the Annapurna Circuit

Remote, bordering the Tibetan Plateau and with a strong Tibetan culture influencing life in its high villages, it’s hardly surprising that conflict between Tibetan Khampa guerrillas in the late 1950s – with a mission to preserve the Tibetan way of life – and the communist ruling party of China spilled over into Nepal’s Annapurna region. Read more

Our top Annapurna circuit Vacation

Annapurna Circuit & Tilicho Lake trekking vacation

Annapurna Circuit & Tilicho Lake trekking vacation

Trek in the beautiful Annapurna massif region

From US $1195 to US $1295 18 days ex flights
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Written by Joanna Simmons
Photo credits: [Page banner: Yongyut Kumsri] [Is an Annapurna Circuit trek for you?: Bijaya2043]
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