Trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal

Asia Hiking

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal – TOP Tips For Trekking

During my time in Nepal, I trekked the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas. In peak season the trail can have up to 2,000 people trekking a month….. fewer than the more popular Everest Base Camp but still a lot of people.  Away from the busy city of Kathmandu, the mountains take you to a unique and peaceful place.

You might have an idea in your head what it’s like to visit Nepal but until you step foot in the Himalayas you really haven’t experienced the Nepalese life and culture. One great way of learning more is by volunteering in Nepal but for a physical challenge then hiking the Annapurna Circuit really is a must-do option!

Here’s what you really need to know before taking on the Annapurna Circuit in the Nepalese Himalayas.

Annapurna Circuit – Top Tips For the Hike

What is the Weather Like in the Annapurna Region?

Annapurna Circuit - Nepal

Now this might seem obvious but I’m going to say it anyway…. there are no rules for the weather in the mountains. Over the 11 days trek we had gorgeous sunny days with temperatures up to 20C/68F degrees and then days below freezing temperatures.

The lowest was a chilly -12C/10F degrees (this was close to the Thorong-La Pass above 5,000 m/16,404 ft). The wind can suddenly arrive from no-where and you turn a corner to nearly get blown over, this was definitely the case walking through ‘Windy Valley‘.

Becky’s Annapurna Circuit Tips

  • Don’t forget to pack your suncream, sunglasses, down jackets, gloves and hats.

Can You Drink the Tap Water?

Annapurna Circuit - Nepal
Changing scenery from mountains to waterfalls

Firstly, no you can’t drink tap water unless you have an iron stomach! So what are your options? There is always mineral water available to buy, but 3-4 plastic bottles of water a day, that’s not great for the environment. What you can do is buy some water purification tablets (you can buy these in Kathmandu) and have water for the whole journey, easy solution.

Also, another water issue is that when the temperature drops (this was only on the ‘Pass’ day) it tends to freeze, especially if you use a Camelbak, I tried mine about 2 hours into the day and was sucking but no water as it had frozen!

Becky’s Annapurna Circuit Tips

  • I’d recommend bringing a small flask. I use the Sigg hot and cold. See below. You can take hot water with you to ensure you don’t run out of water on your hike through the Pass.

How much Nepalese Money Should You Take For the Annapurna Trek?

Annapurna Circuit - Nepal
Monastery on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal

ATMs in the mountains? Nope, you’ll be disappointed because there aren’t any and also very hungry if you don’t bring enough Nepalese Rupees because as you climb higher the costs do tend to rise.

Now don’t panic because everything is pretty cheap to start with but you will notice prices rising during your Annapurna trip so just make sure you have enough money on you.

I took R40,000 (about $400) which was plenty for me, enough for some emergency chocolate along the way too! I also treated myself to a new and very warm hat, again only $4 but has a lovely fleece lining so keeps you lovely and warm.

Nepalese Culture Along the Annapurna circuit

Annapurna Circuit - Nepal
Stupas on the Annapurna Trek

If you’re like me then you love learning about the culture of the countries you visit. Along the Annapurna trek, you’ll come across various sacred monuments. Known as Stupas; some with prayer wheels, as per the picture below. The correct way of walking past these is always on the left-hand side with the Stupa on your right.

Read next: Trekking in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains

What Are the Toilets Like on the trek?

Let me just say the toilets are very basic but you’ll get used to them. It’s amazing how many of them come with a gorgeous view of the Himalayas as well. (I’m sure you can work out what I mean by this).

Becky’s Annapurna Circuit Tips

  • If you want a bit of a home comfort then bring some soft toilet paper. I promise you will thank me for this.

What Should You Wear to do the Hike?

Annapurna Circuit - Nepal R (28)
Beginning of the Annapurna Trek in Nepal

The beginning of your Annapurna trek, it’s likely the weather will be fairly warm. However, as you climb higher in altitude, it will start cooling.

It’s best to wear layers, so a base layer on your top and bottom, then thin layers on top. This means you can change your outfit each day without having to take too many clothes with you on the walk.

Becky’s Annapurna Circuit Tips

  • A down jacket is perfect for this trip, lightweight and packs lovely and small but when it’s cold it will keep you lovely and warm too!

The Magnificent Nepalese Porters

Annapurna Circuit - Nepal
Crossing a bridge with the Nepalese cows

If you’re lucky enough to have a porter, which I did, then just remember to pack wisely. I tried lifting one the bags our team was carrying (about 30kg); I could lift it, I even did a few steps but I could not imagine carrying that weight all the way.

Becky’s Annapurna Circuit Tips

  • Pack light and be ruthless with what you take – you really don’t need that dress!

Another hike for your list? Read next: Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro

Are you worried about the high altitude on the Annapurna Circuit?

Annapurna Circuit - Nepal R (21)
Snow capped mountains all around

The Annapurna Circuit reaches dizzy heights as regard to altitude. But the problem with altitude sickness is you have no idea who it will impact.

I’ve written a detailed post including stories and tips from some of my fellow Travel Adventurers. You can read the full post here Tips for Preventing Altitude Sickness when trekking at high altitude.

Becky’s Annapurna Circuit Tips

  • Remember to go slow, this is the best way to aclimatise.
  • Also, drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.

And lastly…Is there Wi-Fi on the Annapurna Circuit Trek?

Annapurna Circuit - Nepal
One of the swing bridges are the trek

One last thing which I couldn’t believe but should have done! Almost every teahouse we stayed had Wi-Fi! Again the further away from civilisation you walked it went from being free to $1-$2 for 24 hours. Sometimes the connection wasn’t great, but hey we were in the Himalayan mountains so what do you expect!

Are you trekking Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit? Do you have any more questions or do you have any tips to share? Tell me in the comments below or message me on Facebook @beckythetraveller

Do you love hiking? Check out more of my hikes here

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Hiking Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal
Hiking Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal
Hiking Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal

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Comments (40)

    1. Ah that’s so lovely to hear Sheena, it’s such a lovely trek, definitely a challenge but each day is so different you will really enjoy it. Hope you get to do it very soon. I did the trek in December which was pretty chilly at times but no rain so that’s always a bonus! 🙂

  1. I have done several treks in Nepal and the Annapurna circuit is one of my favourites. I have heard a lot of tourists complaining about the road construction, but I think it is still very worth it. Manang, Kagbeni, Muktinath. They are all great places.

  2. This must be such a amazing experience. The nature is so pure and I adore those mountains! The final paragraph made me laugh but it’s great for our online generation 🙂

  3. Great advice! Having done a somewhat quieter trek in Nepal for ten days last April, this is all very useful! I also wish someone had told me to pack plenty of protein rich snacks rather than chocolate! I honestly would be happy never to see another momo as long as I live ?

  4. The picture of the bridge with the river flowing under it is really lovely. It seems like a very enjoyable trek. Are you adding more treks in Nepal?

    1. Yes there were lots of beautiful sites like that along the walk. That was taken whilst I was waiting for everyone to get ready in the morning! I will be doing some more posts on the trek so feel free to subscribe to my emails so you don’t miss when I post 🙂

  5. I did half the annapurna circuit and had an amazing time. I couldn’t believe too that most places I stayed had wifi and a menu for when I was choosing food!! I was expecting it to be so much more basic!!

  6. I had never thought about doing a trek before but this really peaked my interest! Looks so awesome and like a tough and fun journey.

  7. I have been wanting to do a trek at some point; these tips were so helpful!! Thank you!! I think the hardest part for me would be the packing, but I can do it!! I can do it!! I’ll just keep telling myself that!

    1. Ah Melanie I know just what you mean about packing, I find it so stressful too. But don’t stop booking the trip. I promise you can get packed in the end. Even if it’s last minute! I will be posting some more information about other treks I have done so feel free to keep following me and I will see what I can tempt you to book!

  8. Nepal might be such an unique experience! It is a beautiful place with a rich culture and the good thing (for most of travellers) we can make an amazing trip without spending much!

  9. I love the way you have given practical tips in each section based on your experience. Makes a reader more prepared. I hope to get to Nepal soon…and do a lovely climb. A lot of these might be handy.

  10. Trekking to Annapurna Circuit would have been an exhilarating experience of a lifetime. Though the trek looks difficult but it’s totally worth with such a million dollar breathtaking view!

  11. These are great tips! Good to know about the water tablets and how much money to bring. Your photos are so pretty! It really made me want to do this trek some day.

    1. Yes I had never used them before but they are excellent and means you never run out of water, just 30 minutes later and a shake of the bottle and you have clean water to drink. No idea why I never used them before now!! Glad my photos inspired you too, I love photography 🙂

  12. Nepal is one place that has been playing hide n seek with me. Hopefully soon I’ll get to visit it and do the ABC trek. Thanks for sharing the tips.

    1. Ah that’s funny, it was the same with me for quite a while too but so glad I have finally visited. Hope you get to visit very soon and feel free to give me a shout if you need to know anything else 🙂

  13. I laughed about having an iron stomach to drink the tap water, but people must ask that question! Clothing is super cheap out there, even on the trek, I guess only a little money is required. I can’t believe they have Wi-Fi up there!

    1. Ha ha yes defintely, they do. Yeah I bought most of my trekking clothes from home already so no need to buy anything but the hats were just too Nepalese not to treat myself, I like useful souvenirs. I know I couldn’t believe wi-fi was everywhere too, although sometimes it is nice to have a break 🙂

  14. Great article! This trek sounds great and we’d love to hike it… Nepal is very high on our list. Great tips! Thanks for sharing them. I wouldn’t expect Wi-Fi everywhere!

  15. Good morning Becky. I am doing the circuit in Sept. or Oct. 2018. How many days does it take to do the circuit. I will plan two days if not 3 to get acclimated to the altitude. I am planning on taking 4 weeks to fly there and back home and thought the circuit took about 21 days. But maybe it is less now since the road is being built. Also, I am a solo femalem, do you think I will have any problems traveling that way in Nepal. Also, I read where you can buy most of your supplies like coats, hat, gloves, etc. in Katmandu and it’s very inexpensive? Is this true?

    1. Hi Jody, wow how exciting I bet you can’t wait. I absolutely loved Nepal and I am sure that you will too. I started in Bandipur and finished in Pokhara which took 14 days with 2 night in Manang to acclimatise. The road will definitely make it a lot easier but of course, it’s still a hard trek. Yes, you’re totally right regarding supplies, in Thamel in Kathmandu, there are so many shops. The only thing I would say is that some of the products might not be the real brand, which is why they are cheaper. I ended up buying a great hat (actually I think it’s in my photos!!). let me know if there’s anything else you need to know. And have a wonderful trip 🙂