Words like “breathtaking,” “exquisite,” and “pristine” are insufficient to describe the marvels of the Annapurna circuit. Located in Nepal, this trek through the soaring Himalayas attracts adventurers from all over the world.
A dizzying assortment of flora and fauna, exciting range of climate zones, and glittering, ice-ringed snow peaks entice the eye, and a pleasantly-strenuously physical challenge beckons thrill-seekers. With a highest point of 5,416m, you’ll breathe thin air and take in views that will make you feel like you have the whole world at your feet. Spy glistening glaciers, fiery sunrises, and deep, mysterious forests!
A full trek of the circuit generally lasts between seventeen and twenty-one days, although partial treks as short as a week are available. You’ll wend up fearsome passages, stop in on quaint villages (the people are mostly Tibetian Buddhist here), and bask in the camaraderie of others making the trip at the same time as you. October and November are the busiest time to make the circuit, with the “shoulder” seasons of September and November coming up right behind in popularity. The summer monsoon season and the howling winds of winter both make for a significantly less-pleasant journey, which explains why crowd levels are much lower then.
The Annapurna circuit is what’s known as a “teahouse trek.” The route is dotted with cozy lodges at which you’ll enjoy dinner and breakfast, as well as the pleasures of a comfortable bed and good company. You’ll start in either colorful Kathmandu, a city sporting serious history and an endless whir of life, or Pokhara, which equips tens of thousands of intrepid souls each year for their imminent appointment with the mountain! From there, you’ll trek through the Lamjung, Manang, Mustang and Myagdi zones, hitting significant Hindi and Buddhist landmarks along the way.
Trekking Annapurna is not the most grueling and terrible of the world’s famous mountain treks, but travelers should still be in good health and both ready and willing to push their limits. Annapurna is the world’s tenth-largest mountain, after all.
Prepare to bundle up, as snowstorms can happen and the nights can be very cold. It is possible to hike Annapurna solo, but most adventurers opt for a guide and Sherpa porter to carry the large amount of equipment and baggage necessary to facilitate a lengthy trek. Your own heart will return fuller for the incredible memories you make on this trip.