12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek is an exciting and remarkable Himalayan expedition that circumnavigates the towering snow-capped wonder of the north-central part of the Himalayas, Mt. Annapurna [8,091 meters/ 26,545 feet].
This second most popular and mainstream trekking route in Nepal takes you on an enchanting journey across the diverse landscapes, historical monuments, spiritual epicenters, culturally immersive settlements, and enthralling natural habitats of the Himalayan flora and fauna of the Annapurna Conservation Area.
This iconic Himalayan expedition used to be a three-week journey, but the construction of the two roads on both sides of the Annapurna Circuit Trekking route has significantly reduced the length of the adventure. As of 2015, the circuit trek route connects the road up to Marsyangdhi Valley up to Manang on the east side (Besisahar). Similarly, it stretches to Jomsom in the Kali Gandaki Valley on the west side.
Now, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the most easily accessible and comfortable expeditions in the Himalayas. Whether you are completely new to Himalayan trekking, looking for a family vacation, or a thrilling journey, this second-most popular trekking route in Nepal caters to all your needs. Among others, 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek is the most comprehensive adventure package that is both time efficient and offers the best value experience in this epic Himalayan quest.
Table of Contents
General Trek Outline- 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek
You can expect the following itinerary plans in a standard 12-day Annapurna Circuit Trek; the plans might vary slightly depending on the route, highlight exploration, services, and amenities.
Day 01: Arrival at Kathmandu [1,350 meters/ 4,429 feet], hotel transfer and trek preparation
Day 02: Kathmandu to Dharapani [1,800 meters/ 6,430 feet] drive
Day 03: Trekking from Dharapani to Chame [2,710 meters/ 8,891 feet]
Day 04: Chame to Pisang [3,300 meters/ 10,824 feet] trek
Day 05: Trek from Pisang to Manang [3,540 meters/ 11,482 feet]
Day 06: Acclimatization day at Manang
Day 07: Manang to Yak Kharka [4,050 meters/ 13,020 feet]
Day 08: Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi [4,420 meters/ 14,501 feet]
Day 09: Thorong Phedi to Muktinath [3,800 meters/ 12,467 feet] via Thorong La Pass [5,416 meters/ 17,769 feet]
Day 10: Trekking from Muktinath to Jomsom [2,700 meters/ 8,858 feet] to Pokhara [820 meters/ 2,690 feet]
Day 11: Drive back from Pokhara to Kathmandu [1,350 meters/ 4,429 feet]
Day 12: Departure day, airport drop-off
Best Time for 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek
There are generally two seasons that are the most ideal for the 12-Day Annapurna Circuit Trek Itinerary: spring (March to May) and autumn (September to October). Both of these seasons are considered to be peak seasons for trekking adventures in Nepal and offer stable weather conditions, warm temperatures, incredible mountain views, and stunning landscapes.
For an exhilarating and memorable Annapurna trekking adventure, the peak seasons like autumn and spring are the safest bet. But what would be the best season for your 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek, even among these peak seasons? Although both of these seasons are the most popular times for the Himalayan adventures in Nepal, both of them have their own unique specialties and allurements.
12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek in Autumn
The autumn season in Nepal is considered to be the ‘Number 1’ season for Himalayan trekking and mountain expedition in the country. The mild temperatures of the autumn seasons make it the perfect time for outdoor adventures; it is neither too cold nor too hot, averaging around 14°C to 18°C. The fresh-chill morning and evening breezes will make you feel refreshed during your trekking adventures in 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek.
This season has a low precipitation rate, so you can expect to enjoy the clear views of the Himalayas. Similarly, the different unique shades of the fall season will add magic to your trekking adventure. The Autumn season has a festive vibrance in the air as the country celebrates some of the grandest festivals like Dashain, Tihar, Mani Rimdu, Chhath, and Indra Jatra.
Highlights of the Autumn Season
- Favorable weather and temperature for trekking
- Clear and stunning views of Himalayan vistas
- Amazing shades of color of the fall season
- Opportunity to explore some of the grandest festivals in Nepal
- Easy access to high Himalayan passes
- Wide range of delicacies and golden landscapes of the harvest season
- Less crowded route than spring
- Dry and stable trails
- Fewer/no insect activities
12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek in Spring
The spring season is another peak season most suitable for the 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek; this season is particularly popular among nature lovers. You will have a high chance of witnessing the endangered wildlife of the Annapurna Conservation Area in this season, and it is also a wonderful season for birdwatching as the migratory birds flock in the region.
Known as the blooming seasons, the stunning visuals, dry trekking trails, lush landscapes, and clear mountain views of the spring season offer the best value experience of this 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek.
The temperature of the Annapurna region averages around 15°C to 22°C during the spring season, so you will be able to enjoy a warmer and comfortable trekking experience even at the alpine altitudes.
Highlights of the Spring Season
- Stunning visual of the blooming season, trekking trails covered by rhododendrons and other wildflowers
- Pleasant temperatures that make even trekking at alpine altitudes comfortable
- High chances of witnessing endangered flora and fauna of the Annapurna Conservation Area
- Longer daylight hours for an extensive immersive experience
- Favorable season for outdoor camping
- Light and comfortable clothing options
How Difficult is 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek?
This iconic Himalayan adventure that circumnavigates the 10th-highest snowclad peak in the world has a ‘moderate’ level of difficulty. There are no technical sections in this trekking route, and you don’t need any prior trekking experience to do 12-days Annapurna Circuit Trek. However, this is still a high Himalayan adventure with several difficult factors, so you need to make an adequate amount of preparation to overcome the hurdles of this remarkable Himalayan adventure.
Let’s break down some of the major difficulty factors of the 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek that you will have to overcome during your expedition.
12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek is a high-altitude adventure in the Himlayas, thus the risk of altitude sickness is the potential challenge of this adventure. There are risks for the human body to suffer from altitude sickness above the altitude of 2,500 meters. As you spend a significant amount of time at altitudes over 3,000- 4,000 meters, you will have to acclimatize properly and pay attention to your body language.
You will start your Annapurna Trek from Dharapani [1,350 meters/ 4,429 feet], moving further ahead in your Himalayan journey, you will overcome high altitude points like Pisang [3,300 meters/ 10,824 feet], Manang [3,540 meters/ 11,482 feet], Yak Kharka [4,050 meters/ 13,020 feet], Thorong Phedi [4,420 meters/ 14,501 feet] and the highest elevation point of this adventure, Thorong La Pass [5,416 meters/ 17,769 feet].
Annapurna Trek Nepal explores the remote, isolated trails of the Himalayan region; you will have to overcome the remote and rugged trails of this expedition, from rocky, loose soil segments to boulder-strewn glacial moraines. A standard Annapurna Trek that circumnavigates the base of the Annapurna massif lasts approximately 12-22 days which covers a distance of approximately 160- 230 km, depending on the itinerary plans.
Thus, in your 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek, you will walk a distance of about 6- 7 hours during your trekking days. Traversing such distance for an unprepared body can be pretty difficult as physical activities get more draining with the rise in altitude.
For the best value Annapurna Trekking experience, the peak seasons like spring and autumn are ideal choices. However, if your 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek is scheduled for the off-seasons like monsoon (June to August) and winter (December to February), it can add challenging weather components to your adventure. Colder seasons like winter, where the high-altitude regions are completely covered in snow, can make the acclimatization process difficult.
The howling freezing winds and snowfalls make heavyweight packing an absolute necessity; you will also need to pack extra sets of gear to tackle the cold. As for the monsoon, the muddy-slippery trails add a bad experience to the adventure. Similarly, transportation delays due to heavy downpours, cloud-foggy days, and natural disasters (landslides, floods), make outdoor adventures in this season quite challenging.
Annapurna Trek Nepal is an iconic and mainstream trekking adventure in the Himalayas; however, what many fail to realize is that it is a remote expedition that explores the secluded-isolated part of the country. If you are expecting top-tier services and amenities like a luxurious vacation destination, then you might be disappointed.
The teahouses along the Annapurna Trekking route are run by the natives of the region. Although they are not star hotels, you will receive fresh accommodations and healthy-nutritious meals with a diverse range of delicacies. There isn’t a proper transport mode in the higher region, and the medical institutes along the trail are limited. So, you will also have to prepare yourself for the discomfort and inconveniences part of this Himalayan adventure.
Training and Preparation for 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek
With an adequate amount of training and preparation, you will able to significantly reduce the overall difficulty level of 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek. So, make sure to start your training program at the recommended period (4-6 weeks before the trek) for a comfortable and memorable experience.
If you are an athlete or work out regularly, you may not have to put in a lot of hours during your preparation part. But, if you are not that physically active, you can properly assess your capabilities and decide what aspects you need to emphasize during your training regime.
Doing practice hikes on steep landscapes carrying your backpack (with significant weight) is one of the most effective ways to prepare for the 12-day Annapurna Circuit Trek. This way, you will have a proper understanding of the steep section you have to overcome during your trek, and it is also a perfect opportunity to test the comfort level of your hiking boots. Here are some strength, endurance, and cardiovascular exercises that you can include in your training program.
Strength and Endurance Exercises
- Push up
- Bicep curl
- Overhead press
- Leg extension
- Cable press
- Leg raise
- Step up
- Lateral raise
- Pull up
- High knees
- Jumping jack
- Mountain climbers
As the physical preparation for the 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek is an absolute necessity, you also shouldn’t overlook the mental preparation part. Having the right mindset, determination, and positivity goes a long way to determine the success and enjoyability scale of challenging adventures. Things might not always turn out to be what you expect during your adventure and you might have to often face minor discomforts.
So, with the mental preparation factor, you will have a proper mindset to deal with the inconvenience and difficulty factors of this 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek. Here are some tips for mental preparation that you can include in your training and preparation part.
- Practice controlled breathing technique
- Stay focused and positive
- Leave your comfort zone
- Work on your fears
- Learn to stay positive consistently
- Have a lower expectation
- Engage in positive self-talk
- Surround yourself with positive people
Food and Accommodation
Annapurna Circuit Trek is the second most popular trekking route in Nepal, just behind the highest base camp adventure, Everest Base Camp Trek. Thus, in this mainstream trekking route, you can expect a moderate to luxurious level of food and accommodation service during your 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Generally, at the teahouses in your trekking trail, you can expect a wide variety of local delicacies, Tibetan and Indian culture-influenced dishes, as well as some of the popular continental menus. Here are some tasty delicacies that you can expect in the standard teahouse menus.
- Juice, tea, coffee
- Egg/ omelet
- Tibetan bread
- Corn flakes
Lunch and Dinner
- Daal bhat tarkari
- Thakali khana
- Riki kur
- Sherpa stew
Note: Vegetarian and vegan food options are available in almost every eatery establishment in the country
You can expect a moderate level of services and amenities in your standard accommodation packages. In general, the rooms at the teahouses along the trail are well-furnished and warm; there are two to three adjacent beds in each of the rooms. You will receive a comfortable mattress, pillow, and blanket during your stay at the teahouses; you are still recommended to carry a four-season sleeping bag during your trek.
As for the bathroom facilities, you will also use them on a shared basis in a standard trekking package. You can upgrade to a luxury or custom itinerary plan for a more personalized experience.
What About Water?
For drinking water in your Annapurna Circuit Trek 12 Days itinerary, you can buy bottled mineral water at the teahouse along the trekking route. However, they can be expensive and cost upto US$ 3- 5 at higher altitudes, and the tap water along the route isn’t safe for consumption.
So, the most cost-efficient and safe way to consume the recommended (3- 4 liters) of drinking water during each day of your trekking adventure is to drink and store the boiled drinking water at the teahouses. You can also use purifying solutions and pills to be extra cautious.
Packing List for the Annapurna Trek
For an exhilarating and comfortable Annapurna Circuit 12 Days Trek, you should pack all the essentials and required gear for the Himalayan expedition. You will be trekking for a long period during the trekking days and pass through different climatic zones. Failing to pack the right clothes and equipment won’t only mean that you will have to face uncomfortable situations, but you might also fall sick and may have to withdraw from your Annapurna trek.
You are recommended to pack light for your Annapurna Trek Nepal, but you don’t want to miss the essentials like:
For Head and Body
- Sun hat/ brim hat
- Headscarf/ bandana
- Scarf/ neck gaiter
- Light, wool, and waterproof gloves
- Windproof/ waterproof lightweight jacket
- Fleece jacket
- Insulated jacket
- Heavy down jacket
- Thermal top-wear
- Insulated-synthetic jacket
- Half t-shirts
- Full sleeve t-shirts
- Hiking shorts
- Fleece pants/ trousers
- Light thermal trousers
- Heavy woolen trousers
- Several pairs of socks
- Trekking boots
- Trainers or sports shoes
- Crocks, sandals, or slippers
- Waterproof gaiter
Personal Hygiene and Medications
- Soap, shampoo, and conditioners
- Toothbrush, toothpaste
- Small mirror
- Body lotion, sun protection cream
- Lip balm
- Toiler paper, tissues, and wet wipes
- Female hygiene products
- Handkerchief, quick-drying towels
- Insect repellents
- Small first aid kit with general medications
- Duffle bag
- Trekking poles
- Rain cover
- Four-season sleeping bag
- Compression sack
- Hydration bladder
- Power banks and solar charger
- Journals, pens, and magazines
- Water bottle and thermos
- Card games and board games
Annapurna Circuit Trek Cost
The standard Annapurna Circuit Trek cost is approximately US$ 700 to US$ 1,800. You can expect the cost to vary depending on the itinerary plans, highlight explorations, and services-amenities of the package. If you want a personalized experience for the Annapurna Trek, you can also switch to the custom-tailored packages.
Although these custom-tailored packages can be slightly expensive, you can decide the number of acclimatization days, the pace of your adventure, the quality of the amenities, and even the highlight explorations. For booking and any kind of queries, you can contact our support team via our Contact Page.
What Will Your Annapurna Circuit Trek Cost Include?
Before buying any trekking packages for your Annapurna Trek Nepal, you need to understand what kind of services and amenities your trekking package will cover. This way, you will be able to allocate a proper budget for your Himalayan adventure.
My Everest Trip’s best value 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek package includes the major expedition heads of this adventure like:
You cannot do the Annapurna Circuit 12 Days Trek without the necessary permits; you will have to get two permits to do the Annapurna Trek Nepal. If you are caught doing the trek without the necessary permits, you will have to pay extra fines, including the cost of the permit.
- Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ANCAP) [Costs approx. US$ 30]
- Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) Card [Costs approx. US$ 20]
Food and Accommodation
My Everest Trip’s 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek will also cover the cost of all food and accommodation facilities during your trekking period. Your Annapurna Circuit Trek cost will cover the expenses of three meals per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and the accommodation facilities at the teahouses along the trekking trail. [Costs approx. US$ 8-20 (accomodation), US$ 10-20 (food)]
Another major expense head in your Annapurna Circuit Trek Cost, transportation is also covered by your package. Our 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek package will cover the cost of all the ground transportation, including the airport pick-up and drop-off. My Everest Trip arranges comfortable and convenient private vehicles to take care of all ground transport needs. [Starts at approx. US$ 10]
Guides and Porters
You cannot expect to do the Annapurna Trek Nepal without guides and porters. These exceptional crewmembers for this Himalayan expedition not only make the exploration more informative and immersive but also safer and enjoyable. Even your standard package will cover this expense head of the Annapurna Circuit Trek Cost. [Costs approx. US$ 30-35 (guide), US$ 20-25 (porters)]
**Note: My Everest Trip’s 12 Days Annapurna Circuit Trek package is the official service cost that includes government expenses and our service costs. There are no hidden expenses whatsoever**