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Regarding the difficulty level of any trekking route in Nepal, we must not overlook the issues of altitude sickness. Walking at sea level or slightly higher for several hours is quite comfortable for most people, but when you start getting over 4,000m (13,123ft.), then those several hours seems to feel never-ending. The Annapurna circuit route is the longest route in this region and is a complete circling of the Annapurna massif. Comparatively, it is considered to be harder and longer in duration than the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. It is because hikers will be walking across the high-altitude Thorong La Pass at 5,416m (17,764ft.). Besides the altitude, what really make this trek hard are the steep climbs and long distances along with pared-down amenities. The route usually remains closed during the winter season due to the heavy snow accumulation on the trails. As it is a long trek, you need to be in great shape of physical fitness so that you can walk for at least 5 to 7 hours each day. Even beginners can do this trek provided that they train themselves at least 3 months prior the trek. Cycling, swimming, acrobatics, hiking, jogging, and cardiovascular exercises are some ways to get your body trained for a successful journey in the Himalayas.
The best time to do Annapurna Circuit Trek is during the pre-monsoon months of March through to May. It is also favorable to trek during the post-monsoon months from late September till December. It is also possible to do this trek in February and early September but the most preferable time for this trek is as stated above.
Absolutely yes! Under normal circumstances, our booked trips are guaranteed to run. You will still be doing your trek even if other trekkers cancel their trip. This is the reason why Himalayan Glacier is different from other agencies, who usually cancel their whole trip a month or even a week before the trip date. We are a tailor-made company and the number of participants does not stop our operation. If your trip has been canceled by your operator and you are in a last-minute stress, remember to find us to sort out your trip decisions. Please feel free to book your stress-free holidays with us. Unless there is a situation which is out of control such as a political riot, natural disaster, pandemic, epidemic or weather catastrophes, our trips are 100% guaranteed to run.
Himalayan Glacier offers a lifetime deposit policy which allows you the flexibility to transfer your deposit to anyone or any other trip. If you wish to cancel your booked trips, certain cancelation charges apply. Please visit our booking terms and conditions for detailed information.
You will be guided by our experienced trek leaders who have been to the base camp and back multiple times for years. All our guides are locals who communicate very well in English and acquire deep knowledge of the mountain, people, culture, health, hygiene, and most importantly your safety.
After a long day’s hike, a relaxing night of comfortable sleep is very much crucial for the next day’s walk. Keeping your comfort into account, we make sure to book the best lodge with two beds in each room and western toilet facilities wherever available. Normally, the beds are clean and comfortable with an electric blanket (upon availability) and attached bathroom for most nights. The room’s temperature is usually maintained at 10-12°C / 50-54°F.
Trekkers will enjoy 3 hearty meals on each trekking day. Usually, you will have breakfast and dinner at the same lodge where you will be staying for the night. Lunch will be provided at teahouses or small restaurants along the trail. You are free to choose your food from the menu at places wherever possible; they will serve you great food items – our leader makes sure that you are provided the right food. Throughout the trek, you will be given fruits to eat that are fresh and organic, either brought from Kathmandu or locally sourced at the local villages. The meals include a nutritionist-designed balanced diet comprising complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The chefs are trained in hygienic food preparation and allergy safety by Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). If needed, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and kosher diets can be arranged with prior notice.
You will be traveling with like-minded travelers from all round the world. As such, there is no age limit for doing this trek, but we are highly concerned about your physical and mental fitness as well as your previous hiking experience. As far as possible, we try to include the same age-group persons in a group so that the hiking pace among trekkers match and it becomes easier to walk together.
With regards to the accessibility, Annapurna Circuit Trek is certainly much easier while in terms of comfort, Everest Base Camp Trek is more comfortable because it is more commercialized and lodges and guesthouses on the EBC have been built to accommodate tour groups to provide more comfort and other amenities. Based on our years of experience and with the views of our trek leaders as well as our trekking customers who have embarked on both these treks, a majority of them voted Annapurna Circuit Trek as the easier one. The starting point of Annapurna Circuit Trek lies at an altitude of 800m (2,625ft.) and takes a longer time to reach from Kathmandu while the starting point of Everest Base Camp lies at 2,800m (9,186ft.) and can be reached within a mere 25 minutes. It means that you will already be exposed to quite a higher altitude before you actually begin to trek to EBC. The Annapurna Circuit Trek has more green vegetation and due to a comparably thicker oxygen level even in the higher elevation, chances of altitude sickness in this region is minimum. For more details, please read guest reviews on Himalayan Glacier website and blogs, TripAdvisor reviews, and Feefo reviews.
Annapurna Circuit Trek – 21 Days used to be one of the most popular treks in Nepal a few decades ago. Himalayan Glacier had designed an itinerary that started from Besisahar and ended in Nayapul via the world’s deepest Kali Gandaki Gorge and the vantage point, Poon Hill. With gradual development and road access to Manang from Besisahar and to Muktinath from Beni, a number of beautiful hiking routes have become endangered. Later, we introduced a shorter Annapurna Circle Trek – 14 Days that allows escaping the major road sections and traversing on the beautiful Annapurna region. On the 21-day itinerary, you will drive from Kathmandu to Khudi while on the 14-day itinerary, you will drive from Kathmandu to Syange thus skipping overnight stays in the villages of Sirung and Jagat. On the 14-day itinerary, you will drive to Jomsom from Muktinath and then fly to Pokhara but on the 21-day itinerary, you will keep hiking beyond Muktinath through the villages of Marpha, Kalopani, Tatopani, Ghorepani, Tadapani and Ghandruk before driving back to Pokhara.
Ethan Todras Whitehill and his friend did the 21 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek with Himalayan Glacier in March 2010. Ethan is a frequent contributor of The New York Times in the travel section. On completion of this Annapurna Circuit Trek successfully, he wrote an article “Last Football in Nepal”. You can read Ethan’s real time experience in the Annapurna region of Nepal and get a real feel of how it actually feels to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Generally, the first symptoms begin to show 12-24 hours after arriving at high altitudes. The different levels of altitude sickness have different symptoms. Symptoms of mild, short-term altitude sickness are dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, sleeping problems, general loss of energy, and shortness of breath. Sometimes, these symptoms may be accompanied by headache, nausea and vomiting.
There are few things to keep in mind if you plan on conquering Everest Base camp without any trouble relating to altitude sickness. Here are a few tips from our experienced guides and travel planners to avoid altitude sickness during Everest Base Camp trek.
• Slow ascend with proper rest and enough acclimatization
• Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
• Eat enough and balanced food
• Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco during the entire trek
• Be head-strong and mentally prepared
• Train your body to cope with uphill hikes with enough cardio or gym workouts 3 months before the start of
Yes, cell phone networks can be found throughout the trails in the Annapurna region. Most of the small villages and the hiking trails get cell phone coverage either by NCell or NTC networks. However, in certain areas, network coverage may be very poor or not available at all.
The weather in the Annapurna region varies differently in different seasons. The snow-capped Himalayan region is never really hot, not even during summer season. The maximum temperature during the day reaches up to 25°C/77°F while the night temperature falls as low as -20°C/-4°F or sometimes lower. Considering the whole trekking journey, the lower hiking regions are much warmer than the base camp. Spring season is relatively hot especially during the daytime when there is no cloud or snowfall.
No. Normally, oxygen is not required on the trek itinerary is designed in such a way so that it allows enough acclimatization. In addition, we provide Diamox, a medication that suppresses altitude sickness symptoms, from the beginning to prevent falling sick. However, in case of severe altitude sickness, we will descend to a lower altitude immediately, which is extremely rare in the Annapurna region trek.
Diamox is a medication which is generally taken as a preventive measure for altitude sickness and not to cure its symptoms. There is less risk of altitude sickness in this trek in comparison with the Everest base camp trek. However, we will give you the medication from the beginning as a precautionary step. There is nothing to worry as your trekking leaders are well equipped with first aid kits and sufficient Diamox pills. It is advisable to consult with your doctor about any allergic reactions or side-effects that the drug may have on you.
Himalayan Glacier has a competent team of trekking leaders and mountain crew who are highly skillful in combating the difficulties or any kind of emergencies that might come up during the trip. If you feel sick with the altitude, in the first place you must let your leader know about it so that he knows just what to do. With all the years of experience, he can sense the intensity of the seriousness and respond accordingly, either by bringing you down to a lower elevation or rescue you using a helicopter. If the helicopter is unable to fly due to any reasons, we will use our local staffs and contacts to coordinate an alternative rescue and treatment procedures, which could mean using horses or stretchers to carry the sick person off the mountain to the nearest health post or safe helicopter landing spot.
Caffeine might contribute to altitude sickness as it could lead to dehydration triggering altitude sickness. Caffeine, on the contrary, is known to stimulate your brain, kidneys, and breathing, all of which are helpful at high altitude. For people who are into caffeinated beverages for a long time period and abruptly stopping to consume them on the trek may trigger profound headaches in them.
During the trek, electricity is available at all the teahouses where you will spend the night. You can recharge your phones, laptop or iPads from micro-hydropower and solar panels by paying a nominal charge. Regarding Wi-Fi, there are no free hotspots along the trekking trail, so we do not encourage carrying your laptop. Some teahouses do offer paid Wi-Fi services on hourly basis, but don’t expect high speed connectivity on the remote trails.
In general, crampons are not required for this trek if you are trekking during the season. But if you want to do the trek during mid-winter or monsoon season then crampons may be required. You will really not know what conditions you will encounter on the trekking trail until you get there, so it is better having your crampons and not using it rather than needing it and not having it if required.