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. Anyway numbers aside, if you’re about to take on this awesome challenge. Here’s what you really need to know…
What is the Weather like in the annapurna region?
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 Tip – Don’t forget to pack your suncream, sun glasses, down jackets, gloves and hats.
Can you drink the tap Water?
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 then 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!
Becky’s Tip – 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.
How much nepalese Money should you take for the trek?
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 trip so just make sure you have enough.
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
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.
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What are the Toilets like on the trek?
Let me just say the toilets are very basic but you’ll get used it them. It’s amazing how many of them come with a gorgeous view as well. (I’m sure you can work out what I mean by this).
Becky’s Tip – If you want a bit of a home comfort then bring some soft toilet paper. I promise you will thank me for this.
The Magnificent Nepalese Porters
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 Tip – Pack light and be ruthless with what you take – you really don’t need that dress!
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and lastly…Is there Wi-Fi on the annapurna circuit?
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 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:
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