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How to prepare for the Annapurna Circuit

Annapurna Circuit Preparations

Thorang La Pass
Thorang La Pass sign

The Annapurna Circuit is one of the most trekked trails in Nepal. Because of its popularity, you can find a plethora of information about it.  This blog post is part of a series that takes you along on the Annapurna Circuit Trek.  In this post, you will learn about Annapurna Circuit preparation activities.  You will also find out the actual cost of the trek.   In addition, You can see a trekking map, elevation map, packing list, an itinerary, and the distance covered on the trail.  Let’s get started with a packing list, and pre-trip preparations.

P.S.

You can access a comprehensive guide to the Annapurna Circuit on my blog post “Everything you want to know about the Annapurna Circuit.”

Pre-trip Annapurna Circuit preparation

Before you go, you will need to buy a TIMS Card.  Most of you will buy a green card (Registration Card for Individual Trekkers) for $20.  Some of you will buy a blue card (Registration Card for Group Trekkers), which is normally $10.  You can buy your card through Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventures or by visiting the Department of Immigration’s office in Pokhara.  You will also need to buy an entrance ticket; proceeds will go to the National Trust For Nature Conservation and costs just $22.6

Packing list

Ok, you’re all set and ready to go? Not yet,  you need to pack first silly.  The following list is the ultimate Annapurna Circuit trek packing list.  And by ultimate, I mean practical and light weight.

  • 12 pairs of socks (you have to keep your feet in good condition)
  • 1 underwear
  • thermals (top and bottom)
  • trekking pants
  • hiking shoes
  • athletic shirt
  • hat
  • cold weather jacket
  • sun glasses
  • sun screen
  • positive attitude

I would also recommend a tooth brush, tooth paste, and toilet paper.  You will not need a sleeping bag. You will only need one extra change of clothes as there is laundry service on the trail.  There are also tepid water heaters for showers, but it’s your call.

Your pack shouldn’t be more than 20 pounds.  You should also secure a guide, and porter for your trip.  This is especially true if you want to go on the side trails, which I highly recommend.  Believe me, your knees will thank you for keeping your pack weight down.

When to trek the Annapurna Circuit

Rhododendron Flowers
Rhododendron tree on Poon Hill

Go in late March, or early April because, this is the best time to visit.  Small crowds, wonderful weather, and beautiful rhododendron flowers make mid-spring the best time to go.  The rhododendrons are better seen from Ghoripani and Poon Hill, which you can do as a side trek to the circuit.

You will also see some really wonderful blooms in Chame.  This leads me into where to start the circuit.

Where to start the Circuit

Most people trek the Annapurna Circuit in a counter clockwise direction because it is easier to acclimate.  Most start trekking from Besishahar, which I do not recommend. Instead, you can start trekking from Chame which is about 63 miles further up the circuit.  While far, this can ultimately be worth it. If you trek from Besishahar, you will walk in clouds of dust as you follow vehicle traffic all the way to Chame.  However, if you start the trek from Chame you will not have to breath as much dust since there will only be a few cars that can kick it up.

If you climb in an anti clockwise direction, your daily elevation gain might cause you altitude sickness.  But, if you go slowly, it shouldn’t be a problem.  If you go counter clockwise, you will want to start trekking near Tatopani.  This way you can visit Poon Hill and see some amazing landscapes along the way.  If you want to start the trek at the very beginning, you will start in Nayapul.  And if you don’t want to start in Nayapul or Tatopani, you can to start near Jhomsom or Kagbeni.

Tomorrow, we start the trek!

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2 thoughts on “How to prepare for the Annapurna Circuit

  1. Hello my nepal trek
    thanks for the nice blog about Annapurna circuit trek. I am a professional hiker, hiking for a few years. I want to visit the Annapurna base camp. Some trekking agency suggesting me hiring a trek guide and porter. But I want to visit this place alone. Do you have any suggestion about hiring a porter or guide? Can I travel with my map and how about English language communication there?

    1. The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is free to Nepal nationals. It is also offered at a reduced rate to SAARC Nationals. The trek is available to anybody alone or in groups. Most people can communicate in English so getting around should be simple. You can hire a guide or porter if you want one, but it is not required.

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