Before talking about the “15 best tips for Annapurna Circuit Trek” let’s know what is Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the well-known journeys in Nepal which has a difficulty level of “Easy to Moderate”. Depending upon the route, the time to trek the Annapurna Circuit takes 12 to 22 days but a 16 days itinerary is perfect for any trekker.
This Annapurna Circuit trek is suitable for all solo trekkers including solo female trekkers too. Apart from the Annapurna Base Camp trek, the circuit trek is less crowded and cheap. Even if you have no experience in trekking, then the Annapurna Circuit trek is best suited for you. And with the help of “15 useful tips for Annapurna Circuit trek“, it will be less competitive for you.
15 Best Tips that will help you for Annapurna Circuit Trek:
Aside from Annapurna Circuit Trek, these 15 tips apply to other treks too. We hope you will learn many things from this.
Tip No 1: Build up your stamina for Annapurna Circuit Trek:
The first step to completing your Annapurna Circuit trek is to build up your Stamina. Stamina not only boost your power but also boost your confidence too. Why stamina is important is that you will need to walk at least 5 hours minimum in the Annapurna Circuit trek & sometimes 8 hours.
In any case, it may sound very difficult to walk for 5 hours minimum carrying a backpack however in the end, you will be amazed at what you will accomplish. Also, if you take a porter with you then it will be easier for you.
The training guide for your Annapurna Circuit trek requires a minimum exercise plan or other outdoor activities. The minimum exercise plan includes cardio exercises like running, swimming, jogging, cycling, etc. The best outdoor activities that help in trekking include hiking.
Tip No 2: Make your Backpack as light as possible you can
Every weight counts when trekking in Annapurna Circuit trek. Normally, a backpack that trekkers carry weighs about 5-10kg and a porter backpack weighs about 20-25kg.
Even when including the necessary items like clothes, meds, toiletries, accessories, snacks, etc. the bag weighs more than 10 kg which is a heavy backpack for trekking. What’s more, carrying those weight & walking at high elevation makes the trek even tough.
Thus, pack as light as possible for trekking Annapurna Circuit Trek. The best formula to make a light backpack is by making an extra space for future purposes. Roll your clothes efficiently, toiletries at the top, heavy items at the bottom, and snacks in the side pocket.
Even if you are a solo trekker, you will need these essential things in your backpack for trekking.
Clothes: Minimum 2 pairs of Innerwear, Minimum 2 pairs of Outerwear, Minimum 1 windproof jacket, Sun blocking Hat, Full trekking boot, 2 pairs of socks, Raincoat, gloves & 1 Warm Jacket.
Note: Avoid cotton clothes when trekking.
Trekking Gears: Trekking pole, Sunglass, Water bottle, Water purifier, first aid box, Crampon & Headtorch
Toiletries: Towel, toilet paper, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, cold cream, sunscreen, lip balm & lotion.
Besides these listed gears, it’s your option to add any other resources for trekking.
Tip No 3: Bring Extra Cash! No ATM in Annapurna Circuit
There is no ATM on the Annapurna Circuit route and exchanging money in that area can charge you more than you should pay. Even if you have booked with a trekking agency, you still need to bring extra cash with you.
Why it is important to bring extra cash with you in trekking regions is that you will need to pay for Wi-Fi, charging your gadgets, hot shower, hot water, and many other things personally.
Moreover, if you are a solo trekker then it is compulsory to bring the Nepalese currency with you. Minimum $20-$30 will be spent on a daily basis if you are trekking solo in Annapurna Circuit. However, if you are unknown about tea houses/lodges or trekking in Nepal first time then hire a guide.
Tip No 4: Always Start Your Day Early
Normally, it is a smart way to begin your Annapurna Circuit trek in the first part of the day. Very few trekkers trek in the early morning which makes it less crowded and safer. Also, if you are a solo trekker, you can find the modest tea houses early and there will be many people to help during the day rather in the dark.
Especially, Thorang-la pass (5,416m) is the big day of Annapurna Circuit Trek. On this very day, you need to start early in the morning from Thorang Phedi. So, take some hot cup of tea, pack your breakfast and start before 4:00 in the morning.
After reaching Thorang-La pass, you will have an amazing view of Dhaulagiri and Thorang peak. And the best part of starting early for this day is to watch the sunrise & avoid too many crowds.
Best reasons to start your trekking early:
- If you start early, you can take the best photograph due to the best light effect at dawn.
- Morning usually has the nicest weather rather than the day and afternoon.
- Starting early for trekking allows you to take more breaks.
- You can have plenty of time on your hand to do other activities.
Tip No 5: Visit the famous Manang Village in Annapurna Circuit
Manang Village is one of the largest villages in Annapurna Circuit & a popular place to rest for acclimatization before crossing the Thorang-La pass (5,416m). It got famous for its unique architecture, festivals, Milarepa cave, Ice Lake, & Gangapurna Lake.
If you happen to visit the Manang village during the spring season, you can witness the Metha festivals which are held for a week. At the time of the Metha festivals, the people of Manang village compete in archery, horse racing & enjoy the festivals by dancing, eating delicious foods, and prizing the winners.
Furthermore, here are some of the things you can do in Manang village if you have time:
- -You can visit the Manang Cultural Museum which reflects life way back in time.
- -Hike to Milarepa cave which is under the lap of Annapurna III.
- –Visit the café with actual espresso machines & stock homemade cakes, pies, cookies, pastries, and many more.
- -Watch movies related to climbing and the Himalayas in the cinema hall and relax.
During your Annapurna Circuit trek, you won’t find any luxury place than Manang village. So, have fun and go wild.
Tip No 6: Be careful on Ice! Use your Trekking pole & Crampon
Icy Trail & Snow trail is a headache when trekking in Annapurna Circuit or any Himalayan region. If you didn’t bring your crampon and trekking pole then it is nearly impossible to trek. So, how to face the snow or icy trail during trekking?
First of all, look around the paths that are not covered in ice or snow. However, if you have to face the snowy trail then use your trekking pole to see how deep it is before taking further steps. Using a trekking pole to check the depth of snow in paths helps to avoid any accidents.
Similarly, if the path is icy and impossible to walk in normal boots then you need to use a crampon for a strong grip. The best way to walk on ice is by stomping your feet on the ice with crampons. This helps to avoid any slippery which can injure you badly.
Tip No 7: Have a Hot Spring Bath in Tatopani:
Hot springs are natural healing springs that have many benefits to the body. Although it is not good as “The Blue Lagoon (Iceland)” hotspring, it is still the best place in Annapurna Circuit to clear all your fatigue.
Here are some of the benefits that hot spring provides in Tatopani:
- -Among so many minerals present in hot spring, the calcium & sodium bicarbonate helps in better blood circulation & oxygen flow.
- -Soaking in a hot spring reduces any kind of stress and promotes sleep.
- -The high silica & sulfur present in the hot spring works as a healing agent which makes the skin soft & smooth.
So far, the Hot spring in Tatopani is a favorite place for local people and tourists. Missing out on this golden opportunity to soak in the hot spring of the Annapurna Circuit trek can be your loss. Also, do not remain inside the hot spring for more than fifteen minutes.
Tip No 8: Walk Slowly & Stay Hydrated during the trek
Intentionally walking slower than your normal speed can be a leg-breaking for some people however it is the fundamental key to success in trekking. If you are tired then take a break, drink your water, read your map and again start your journey slowly.
Walking slowly eats less time than taking continuous breaks while trekking. Especially, when you are pushing to Thorong-La pass at 5,416m altitude or any other higher altitudes. The goal is to keep your break short & efficient. Self-care is most important when trekking.
How to use your Trekking pole efficiently?
Trekking poles are designed to make your weight balance sharing the load across the whole body and reducing stress on your feet, legs, knees & back. It is the most essential gear when trekking. So, how to choose and use the trekking pole more efficiently?
The short answer is: When choosing a trekking pole, make sure you invest in double poles that have a strong grip, adjustable length & strong. And the best way to use a trekking pole is:
- Keep your arm close to your body instead of flailing around to stop wasting your energy.
- Your leg/arm should maintain the opposite motion with the trekking poles to make it more efficient.
- Impale in the snow trail with your pole to check the depth but don’t impale on the plain ground.
- When you are adjusting the length of the trekking pole, it should not be higher or lower than your elbow. While gripping the pole your hand posture should be in an L shape.
Tip No 9: Don’t expect too much from Tea Houses
A Tea house is a small accommodation located on trekking routes where trekkers can pay for basic lodging & meals. All tea houses consist of a large dining hall, private or shared rooms, toilets & showers, electricity & WI-FI.
Only lower elevations tea houses are made with concrete buildings & have western-style bathrooms. However, the further you trek in Annapurna Circuit or any other treks, you will find the traditional squat toilets.
As for the electricity & WI-FI, you will need to pay from your pocket. Many tea houses are run on solar power, so there can be power outages during the afternoon mostly on cloudy days.
Furthermore, during peak season or also called trekking season, you may not be able to book a room in tea houses if you become late. So, if you are trekking solo then I recommend you to follow Tip No 4.
Still, Tea houses are only your accommodation during trekking so you can’t do anything about that. Sometimes, if you get lucky you can get some free services in tea houses.
Tip No 10: Dhal Bhat over Junk foods | Avoid Meats
The best food you can eat while trekking is Dal Bhat which usually takes 30-40 minutes to be prepared and available in every tea house. Also, you won’t get starve due to the possibility of finding tea houses at regular intervals when trekking. Saying that you may crave other junk foods over Dal Bhat but I highly deny that.
Consuming just Dal Bhat during lunch & dinner at tea houses will be enough for the whole day which is why Dal Bhat power is 24 hours. When eating junk foods like noodles soup, buff MOMO, or any other foods that have meat then you might get a bad stomach. But if you are really meat lovers then I recommend you to eat only at low elevation tea house.
What type of foods/snacks you should bring with you?
Trekking snacks should be portable, withstand multi-days in your backpack, including healthy carbs, and be easy to eat while walking. Ideally, whenever I take my guest trekking, I recommend the chocolate covered with nuts, fruits like apple & pomegranate, fig bars, fruit leather & nuts.
Tip No 11: Tackle Altitude Sickness | Bring altitude meds
Do not underestimate altitude sickness when trekking. No matter how healthy you are, there’s no guarantee that you will not be affected by altitude sickness. The best way to tackle altitude sickness is by descending to a lower elevation and resting.
If you don’t know what is altitude sickness then- it is an illness caused by a shortage of oxygen in your body when ascending to a high altitude. The symptoms are headache, dizziness, extreme exhaustion, and heart racing.
On the other hand, it is very rare to find patients with altitude sickness in Annapurna Circuit Trek nowadays. Also, there are many medicines available to tackle altitude sickness. Usually, our guide provides Diamox to clients who are affected by altitude sickness to suppress symptoms. However, if you feel like you are not feeling any better after taking medicine then please inform your guide or head back to a lower altitude if you are a solo trekker.
Tip No 12: Don’t sleep on Acclimatization Day
Acclimatization day during the trekking period means a process where trekkers stay in one place for a long term to adapt to the changes in their surroundings. During acclimatization, it helps to create more red blood cells and increase the flow of oxygen in the blood.
For this reason, acclimatization day is very important when trekking in higher altitudes. However, the effective way to adapt to surroundings is not by sleeping but by walking. Hence, when you are acclimatizing during the trek, go explore many things in the surroundings. Tip: Usually in Annapurna Circuit Trek, you will have an acclimatization day at Manang village which is the largest village on the Annapurna Circuit trek. This village is filled with good cafes, cinema halls, good spots to hike such as Gangapurna Icefalls, glaciers, and many more.
Tip No 13: Bring Power Banks & Solar Lights | Charging in trekking will cost money
Phone, cameras, or any other electric device during the trekking will be 90% dead due to the freezing atmosphere. And if you decide to charge in tea houses then it will cost you around NPR 500 for full charging. It’s also possible to save your phone battery by turning it off most of the time. However, 90% of the time you will be using your phone & camera.
So, the best idea is to bring a power bank that has better mAh like a 20000 mAh power bank which can last for weeks. Why it is best in outdoor activities like trekking is that it can help you in the middle of trekking when your camera batteries get low. Similarly, solar lights are also the best option because of power outages in high-elevation tea houses. A small torch/light can be very useful when there is darkness in tea houses.
Tip No 14: Get Travel Insurance before you Trek
Travel Insurance is like an investment when you travel outdoor especially when trekking which is a serious endeavor. The trekking travel insurance covers all the losses below 4,000m or 6,000m like evacuation charges, medical emergencies, loss of baggage, etc.
Usually, the most popular travel insurance agency is World Nomads which cover up to USD $ 500,000 in hospital bills, helicopter evacuation, and other minor losses.
So, before trekking to any trails of Nepal, consider getting your travel insurance.
Final Best Tips for Annapurna Circuit Trek: Respect the Local Culture
Drinking is not recommended. If you are drinking after a big pass, Jomsom valley is popular for its apple
Although modern trends are shifting in trekking areas like Annapurna Circuit Trek, the culture & customs are still there. You can still enjoy the lifestyles of local people living in Annapurna Circuit. However, understanding the local customs & culture is very important before engaging with local cultures.
Even a simple gesture, postures, and dressing can act as a sign of respect. So, if you follow even these three ways then it might help you not only in trekking but in traveling any region of Nepal
Ask permission when photographing others
Show respect to local cultural etiquette, mannerism, and superstition
So, these are the top best tips for Annapurna Circuit Trek to make your journey easy, memorable and professional. If you have other tips regarding Circuit Trek then we will happily put them in the blog.