Annapurna Circuit Trek or Round Annapurna Trek is one of the most popular trekking routes in Nepal, listed by Lonely Planet in 2020 AD as one the top 10 trekking routes of the world Annapurna trek is still the most demanding trail in Nepal.
It is a trail to one of the mysterious Annapurna regions of Nepal where trekkers can explore the scenic view of the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Manaslu range of the Himalayas together with varied nature and culture.
It is a conserved area called The Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). The unique biodiversity, the beautiful mountains, the beautiful scenery, and the unique multi-ethnic and multi-culture diversity of the people residing in the area makes the Annapurna Region the world’s most popular destination with thousands of visitors every year around the globe.
The Annapurna region is filled with lush green valleys and amazing crop terraces. There is an ancient road that leads to a beautiful old village full of old and exotic traditions. The road will also lead one to the areas to explore, such as caves, and temples, or to a place of spiritual fulfillment with numerous monasteries.
From the Himalayas stretching into the region to the deep blue lakes and the largest pass in the world Thorong La Pass (5416m), Annapurna has everything a traveler would want to see or experience in a trek.
The trail starts with a decent climb uphill till Yak Kharka but from Yak Kharka till Thorong La Pass the trail will be considered difficult until we descend all the way from the Thorung La Pass.
Situated in central Nepal, Annapurna has a lot of variety in its land, people, and traditions. With the 10th highest mountain range in the region, Annapurna is the most liked area for trekking and is referred to as the No. 1 trekking trail according to a survey by modern Maturity’.
There is an abundance of flora and fauna to see, as the region is home to Musk Deer, Brown Bears, Blue Sheep, Barking Deer, Cat Leopards, Pheasants, Ravens, Mountain Eagles, and many more.
Annapurna Region Trek mainly starts from the Pokhara, the city of lakes, or from Besisahar but for the round Annapurna, the trek mainly starts from Besisahar.
This trek leads to Jomsom, Annapurna Base Camp, Fishtail Base Camp, Upper Mustang (the last forbidden kingdom) Thorong Pass, Tilicho Lake (4949m) the only lake at the highest altitude, Manang, and around the Annapurna circuit crossing the highest point at Thorong La Pass at 5416 meters above sea level.
While trekking to the Annapurna Base Camp, Fishtail Base Camp, and Poonhill trek, you will be passing the largest forest of Rhododendron (national flower of Nepal), with the sound of chirping birds, Lophophorus (national bird), peacock, deer, monkey, leopard, etc.
This Trek makes you see Mt. Annapurna (8019m), the world’s 10th tallest peak, Manaslu, Annapurna II, III, and IV, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchari, and many more. In between the mountain lies the Kaligandaki gorge, the deepest in the world.
The trek also passes Muktinath (3800m), a pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. So, all this leads Annapurna to be one of the diverse trails of Nepal, with uncountable choices of your interest.
Annapurna Circuit Trek Highlights
Annapurna Circuit Trek, a trail into the Annapurna region is one of the most popular trekkers' choices in Nepal after Everest Base Camp Trek.
The trail goes around the Annapurna region with the majestic view of two 8000 meters above the Himalayas which includes Mt. Annapurna (8019m) and Mt. Manaslu (8153m) and numerous other Himalayas.
Apart from the Himalayas, Annapurna Circuit Trail is popular for its diversification of nature and culture. Throughout the trail, different ethnic settlements from a lower altitude to a higher altitude can be observed taking us from 823 meters to 5416 meters.
Throughout the trail, we pass by rural villages, farmland, snow-melted rivers, waterfalls, hydropower project, hot springs, temples, monasteries, hills, and the Himalayas.
This trail is also popular for the highest pass on earth which is Thorung La Pass (5416m), Tilicho Lake (4949m), and the holy temple Muktinath, a temple for salvation.
Moreover, Annapurna Circuit Trek can be diverted into different trekking areas of the Annapurna region by adding some more extra days or can shorten the trek through local transportation where applicable, all this depends upon trekkers’ choice and interest. Further, if you are restricted with time, Short Annapurna Circuit Trek might be good enough to do.
Annapurna Circuit Trek Difficulty
Annapurna Circuit Trek is an easy-going but moderately difficult trek, it is blessed with the vintage of nature and culture, but for Manang, the trail will be moderately difficult until we reach Muktinath, which is a 3-day trial from Manang to Muktinath.
Starting from Beshisahar (823m) until we reach Manang (3540m), the trail seems easy but with an inclined climb through the village, farmland, etc. From Manang, the trail to Muktinath passes by rocky, steep, or slippery but during the winter it will be filled with snow until Muktinath.
This is all due to high altitude, which makes our body get tired due to low levels of oxygen above 3500 meters.
Apart from all these, Annapurna Circuit Trail also includes lots of stairways both for ascending and descending which can add some more difficulties, however, the trail is smooth and well maintained as compared to other regions of Nepal.
Best Time of the Year to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Circuit Trek can be accomplished throughout the year, however, the trail starts from Beshisahar (823M) and ends at Pokhara (850M), these are regarded as a lower altitudes in Nepal.
During monsoon, this lower altitude receives a sufficent amount of rainfall. Sometimes blocking the trail due to landslide as well. However, the highest altitude during Annapurna Circuit Trek is Thorung La Pass (5416M). At such an altitude we don't experience rainfall but till Manang, we do have rainfall.
So, if you really want your Annapurna Circuit Trek to be memorable without any rainfall or snowfall (very less) and with a majestic view of the Himalayas, the best time of the month for Annapurna Circuit Trek will be February, March, April, and September, October and November.
December and January are extreme winters in Nepal, so you will have snowfall at the higher altitude but safe enough to trek. Sometimes, in Thorung La Pass you might experienc more snowfall. So, avoid the month of May, June, July and August for Annapurna Circuit Trek, if you don't want to wear rain jacket during the trek.
What are the Permits Required for Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Circuit Trek falls under the area of Annapurna Region, this is a vast region bodering with Tibet and divided into differet areas. So, permits to the Annapurna region varies according to the areas.
However, for Annaurna Circuit Trekking Trail, trekkers need to have two different permits; they are Annapurna Conservation Area Permits (ACAP) and Trekkers' Informationa Management System (TIMS) Permits.
Annapurna Conservation Area Permits (ACAP) cost Rs 3000 and can be obtain either in Kathmandu or in Pokhara. This permits is applicable to all the region of Annapurna only.
Further, another permits for Annapurna Circuit Trek is Trekkers' Information Management System (TIMS) Permits . This permits cost USD 10 for group trekkers and USD 20 for solo trekkers and can be obtain in Kathmandu and Pokhara and is applicable to all the trekking region of Nepal.