Annapurna Trekking is one of the most stunningly beautiful, life-changing experiences you can have on your travels, and we’re pretty sure that, like us, you’ll be absolutely captivated by the area from the very first day.
The Annapurna Massif is one of the most beautiful areas in Nepal. Trekking through this spectacularly gorgeous part of the world is breathtaking and to quote some ‘life-changing’. The circuit is filled with stunning sceneries and rich cultural villages. It’s a great soothing journey into a highly different part of the world.
One doesn’t have to be extremely fit to take up this trip, this is a moderate trek but not a simple walk in the park there are a few useful things that you need to know before taking up the trip.
September to November, & March to May are the best times to trek in the Annapurna region. During winter, trekking on the highest parts of the trail is made really difficult because of snow. And, though the northern part of the region is open 12 months of the year the landslides and flooding on the way during the monsoon season which falls between June to August make it difficult to trek.
To sum it up the best time to visit would be September to early December and late February to May.
The Annapurna region is filled with well-equipped hotels and lodges. The trekking route is well developed, so you don’t have to worry about not finding a good place to stay. Most hotels and lodges have all the basic facilities with some even having attached toilets along with western toilets and Wi-Fi. The region sees the tremendous number of visitors during the peak season but there are still plenty of places to accommodate all that people though not as quite easily as in the off-season. The accommodations are very much affordable but with the rise in elevation, the prices also rise.
Being one of the most developed trekking routes of Nepal you don’t have to worry about not finding health facilities. There are many safe water drinking spots and health posts throughout the routes. You can find private and government hospitals at Besishahar, and other government hospitals at Chame, Manang, and Jomsom in Annapurna circuit route and Ghorepani, Ghandruk in Annapurna Base Camp route. The trekking route is well secured with a good telephone network and there is access to Satellite phones where phone network isn’t available. The most of places have Wi-Fi services and guest house will charge you if you use Wi-Fi.
Like most parts of Nepal, the region is incredibly rich in culture. The region is mostly inhabited by the Gurung community. Expect to find beautiful Gurung villages filled with rich culture and traditions. Apart from the Gurung community, there are many other ethnicities as well that call the region home. The higher parts of the region like Manang are highly influenced by the Tibetan culture, so the biggest festivals celebrated there is the Tibetan New Year, and the famous fall horse festival-Yarthung.
The Annapurna circuit trek begins from Besisahar at Lamjung while other trekking routes begin from Pokhara. Both Pokhara and Besisahar are easily accessible from Kathmandu. The bus journey to both the places from Kathmandu takes roughly the same time, which is 6-8 hours. You can also take a flight to Pokhara from Kathmandu. There are also flights from Pokhara to Jomsom for other trekking routes.
Being a well-known trekking route, you will not struggle to find good food. You will find all kinds of food including bread, porridge, pancakes, fries, rice, dumplings, pasta, beans, momos (dumplings), rice, burgers, etc. Most food is affordable as well, but you can save money by staying at simple lodges as eating local food; you could also spend a lot more by staying at high-end lodges, eating steaks.
The trekking routes in the region fall under the Annapurna Conservation Area. Therefore, foreigners must get an entry permit from the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) as well as a TIMS card to trek in the Annapurna region.
If you have hired services from a trekking agency, they’ll get all your permits done but if you’re alone you’ll need to obtain them through the Nepal Tourism office in either Kathmandu or Pokhara.
Permits and Fees in Annapurna Region
The permit fee for Annapurna Conservation Area for foreigners is 2000 NPR (Approx. US $24) including whereas the permit fee for SAARC nationals is 200 NPR.
ACAP entry permit fee for SAARC nationals: 200 NPR
The TIMS permit costs 1,000 NPR (Approx. US $10)