Everything you need to know for the Annapurna Circuit!
Nepal was the first country we knew for sure. We want to go here. When planning our 6 months trip, Nepal was the first on the list. While reading the stories and seeing all the photos, we immediately fell in love with this country. Of course it was not on the route at all, but we would go here anyway. Why? Because of course we wanted to do the Annapurna Circuit.
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The Annapurna was the first national park in Nepal. The treks through this area (7,500 km2) are extremely popular and attract thousands of people every year. The area consists of various landscapes. This way you walk one day in a beautiful green forest and a few days later among the snowy mountain tops. Along the way you pass cute villages where you can go for Dahl Bath, a cup of tea or a place to sleep.
The mountains in Nepal
As a people of the low countries, it is hard to imagine how high the mountains are in Nepal. Did you know that 8 of the 10 highest mountains in the world are in Nepal, including the highest mountain in the world: Mount Everest. All these mountains in Nepal are the himalayas, which literally means whereabouts of snow. The Himalayas have a length of 2700 km and are located in 6 countries, namely Nepal, Tibet. India, Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The six highest mountains are:
– Mount Everest (8850m)
– Khanjajunga (8596m)
– Makalu (8470m)
– Cho Oyo (8189m)
– Dhaulagiri (8168m)
– Annapurna (8078m)
Why climb Annapurna and not Mount Everest?
Many people who have never been to Nepal or do not know all the mountains by heart are not familiar with the Annapurna. Everyone knows Mount Everest. This is of course because it is the highest mountain in the world, also called the roof of the world. Mount Everest is climbed annually by a small group of people. This is not just a trip. Only very experienced climbers can climb the mount everest and even then it is still uncertain whether you will reach the top. 1 in 30 people dies during this trip. Although the top seems unreachable for most, anyone with a good condition can make the trip to basecamp. But why choose the Annapurna anyway. We finally opted for the Annapurna circuit i.v.m. the following reasons:
- Mount Everest is extremely popular, which attracts a lot of tourists. The Annapurna circuit is also very popular, but seems to be slightly less crowded than the Mount Everest Basecamp trek.
- The Annapurna Circuit is a pass, which means that you don’t have to go the same way back. This makes every day unique.
- From Kathmandu it is not always easy to reach the foot of Mount Everest. Sometimes there is no other option than the helicopter which can be very expensive.
- Because Mount Everest is so popular, it is also a lot more expensive.
- The Annapurna circuit is known for its different landscapes. Every day you discover a new landscape.
- You will also sleep in cute tea houses during the Annapurna circuit.
- We were able to start from Pokhara, because it is a fantastic city where you can hang around for a few days.
- The Annapurna Circuit is the highest pass in the world and let’s be honest, that just sounds super badass.
In addition to the Annapurna Circuit and Mount Everest Basecamp, you can choose from dozens of different hiking routes. Some are less known and you sleep in tents, for example. You have routes for 2 days to weeks. Yet most people opt for Everest Basecamp, Annapurna Basecamp or the Annapurna Circuit. Most routes you can do yourself, but in Pokhara and Kathmandu you have countless options to book a tour, if you feel more comfortable with this.
Route Annapurna Circuit
Buy a large map in Pokhara or Kathmandu and plan your own route. This is so much fun to do. We decided to make a global plan whereby we mainly took into account the height that we were allowed to rise per day, namely no more than 500 meters per day due to altitude sickness. Read more about our route here Annapurna Circuit
Route Annapurna Circuit 12 days
Day 1 Pokhara – Chamje
Day 2 Chamje – Bagachap
Day 3 Bagachap – Chame
Day 4 Chame – Upper Pisang
Day 5 Upper Pisang – Manang
Day 6 Rest day
Day 7 Manang to Yak Kharka
Day 8 Yak Kharka to Thorung Pedi Basecamp
Day 9 Thorung Pedi Basecamp to Muktinath
Day 10 Muktinath – Kagbeni
Day 11 Kagbeni – Johmsom
Day 12 Johmson – Pokhara
In principle, the Annapurna is open all year round, but due to the cold, the chance of mudslides and storms, the best travel time is March, April, October or November. In these months it is often dry and clear. 1 disadvantage it can be very busy. We left at the end of October and then the crowds were so bad. But people we encountered in the Pokhara before the draw told us that it was so busy in early October that sometimes even no places in the tea houses. We therefore do not really recommend in early October.
Packing for the Annapurna
Since we were carrying our own backpack (which is great to do) we tried to pack as lightly as possible and only take the essentials with us. This was really more than enough. Read more about what to bring for the Annapurna here.
Packing list Annapurna
- Backpack with rain cover
- Good hiking shoes (waterproof)
- Warm sleeping bag
- Softshell jacket
- Thick fleece cardigan / sweater
- Warm hat
- Scarf or windstopper
- Warm gloves waterproof
- Thermo underwear (shirt and leggings)
- 3 t-shirts
- Hiking pants waterproof (preferably detachable)
- Sweatpants or something nice to sit in for the evening
- Underwear (2 sports bras)
- hiking socks
- Head lamp
- Medications: diarrhea inhibitors, paracetamol, altitude sickness pills, plasters and blister plasters
- Lip balm (really a must !!)
- Sunscreen (really a must)
- Wet Wipes
- Water bottle (preferably a thermo bottle)
- Small Towel (quick-drying)
- Water purification tablets
- Snacks for in-between
Costs Annapurna Circuit
Are you going alone or with a travel organization? That is the first thing that you must determine in order to arrive at a good cost. Do you do the Annapurna with someone else and you arrange everything yourself then the costs are not so bad. If you go with a travel organization, the costs can rise considerably. We decided to do everything ourselves and this went really well. In total we lost 600 euros for 12 days with the two of us. This includes accommodation, food and drink and transport and could even have been a lot cheaper. In fact, we have put very little on budget. On the day of Thorung La Pass we even celebrated a small party which cost us around 90 euros. So less is possible too. We also lost 70 euros for the permits. We also decided in Pokhara to purchase most things, since we had not brought this from home. For the renting of the sleeping bags and the purchase of sweaters, hiking pants, walking sticks, hats, gloves etc. we lost around 75 euros. We had already purchased coats and hiking shoes ourselves.