Earning the label and maintaining the reputation for almost half a century as the world’s most celebrated trek, the Annapurna Circuit Trek has made the stakes high for trekking.
Each day on the Annapurna Circuit Trek is like a package of surprises that only gets progressively better from day one to the last day. Amidst the breathtaking peaks, challenging terrains, and stunning vistas, you’ll embark on an early morning trek to one of the highest glacial lakes, followed by another morning ascent over the majestic Thorang La Pass at an impressive altitude of 5,416 meters- this voyage is the feast of nature through and through.
Moreover, conquering the Annapurna region during the captivating month of May is a delight in itself. During May, nature awakes from winter slumber and spreads vibrant fragrances to make landscapes come to life with blooming flowers and lush greenery. The extended daylights create the perfect setting for the Annapurna circuit trek in May, where you can challenge the rugged mountain trails and serenity of pathways alongside the forest.
So, are you enthusiastic about connecting with nature profoundly, unraveling the Annapurna circuit, and discovering how the Annapurna region and its massifs unveil itself?
- Spectacular sunrise and sunset view from the lap of mountains
- Explore how the drama of the landscapes culminates through various climatic zones, including tropical, sub-tropical, and arctic.
- The path represents the pinnacle of everything nature has to offer.
- Airy vantage points, the panoramic view of the valley below, and the entire Annapurna barrier above which dominates the sky
- Thorang La Pass, at an elevation of 5416 m, connects the green Manang Valley to the distinct Mustang Valley
- An amazing gush of water in the creeks and the movement of glacial rivers and lakes
- A door to heavens, Paungda Danda, lying southeast of the Pisang Peaks
Table of Contents
Annapurna Circuit Trek Grade
Annapurna Circuit Trek is deemed to be a moderately challenging trek. The trek traverses through the routes of deep gorges, dramatic landscapes with different climatic regions, rugged terrains, steep ascents and descents, suspension bridges, fast-flowing streams, glacial moraines, high altitude lakes, and extreme passes. As the trek comprises of landscapes and terrains from the foothills of the Annapurnas to the high passes, the Annapurna Circuit trek grade is considered a bit challenging at various points such as Thorong La Pass. Whereas, the route encircling the Annapurna region starting from Besisahar or Dharapani and ending at Pokhara is rewarding and worth the effort.
Should You Consider the Temperature and Weather During May while Organizing Annapurna Circuit Trek?
May in Nepal is considered the transition month when the chilling cold of winter has dissipated, and the scorching hotness of summer is at the gate. It falls right at the end of spring.
During May, the lower altitude in the Annapurna region is warm, with temperatures ranging between 18 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius. But the more you move to a higher altitude, the temperature generally decreases. Likewise, the temperature can drop roughly by 5 degrees during morning and night time.
Although the sun shines brightly during the daytime, the weather is usually on a softer and calmer tone because of the mix of breezy winds in spring. Moreover, May prepares the Annapurna region for the upcoming monsoon, so the risk of pre-monsoon rainfall is slightly probable at the end of May.
Why Annapurna Circuit in May?
Pleasant Climatic Condition
One of the benefits of trekking to Annapurna Circuit during May is the climatic conditions of the region. Despite the fact that the trail to the Annapurna circuit goes through three different climatic zones, the climate is particularly on the warmer side but not too hot as in summer.
Furthermore, the weather is stable, with very little likelihood of precipitation and snow, so the trails will be dry, which will enhance your trekking experience. Additionally, the days are comparatively longer during May which provides you additional time to explore the Annapurna region.
Spring is synonymous with flowers and the rebirth of the greenery. When the spring is in full swing, the Annapurna circuit also bursts into life with different shades of colors varying from pink to red to white and many others.
When the lush green forest and rhododendrons come alive in a riot of colors, the trails in the lower elevation create a magnificent canopy, adding a touch of spellbinding energy to the Annapurna circuit trek.
Furthermore, as you continue to conquer the Annapurna region by gradually elevating to a higher altitude, the wildflowers dotting the hillsides add charm to the dramatic landscapes. The combination of towering mountains and blooming flowers creates a visually appealing backdrop for your trekking memories.
Clear Mountain Views
One of the prominent features of trekking in May is clear views. With relatively stable weather and a lower chance of precipitation and cloud appearance, you can witness the grandeur of the Himalayan vistas, including Annapurna massifs, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Manaslu, Gangapurna and other peaks.
Moreover, the play of light and shadows on the peaks and rainshadow area with the vibrant hues of the clear skies are sure to create a picturesque that will be a feast for your eyes.
Wildlife Exploration and Birdwatching
Spring month, May, not only brings out the life of nature but also provides an environment for animals and birds to feast on nature’s nectar. After the completion of the hibernating period, animals come out of their months-long sleep to dance to the rhythm of the spring. If lucky, you will be able to witness the endangered animals and birds in the Annapurna conservation area.
Additionally, you can see the wonderful sight of birds migrating from colder regions to warmer places. Hence, trekking to the Annapurna circuit in May is the ideal option to connect with nature more.
Be part of hospitality
While trekking to the Annapurna circuit, you will be offered a golden opportunity to interact with people of different races, cultures, and religions. Moreover, many people in the Annapurna region open the homestay service to introduce you to their rites and traditions. The major inhabitants, Thakali and Sherpa people, will extend the gesture of warm welcome and closeness toward you that will definitely remain in your memory for a lifetime.
Difficulties of Annapurna Circuit trek during May
Peak season/ Difficulty to find rooms
As you all are aware, May is the peak season for the Annapurna circuit trek. Even though the services and accommodations are moderate, sometimes you may not be able to find rooms for lodging due to tourist inflow in the area.
So, it is better to priorly inform the teahouses and lodge owners about your arrival so that they can make the necessary preparations to make your stay more comfortable and cozy.
Even though the trails during May remain dry, it is a fact that the pathways of the Annapurna circuit are composed of deep gorges, high Himalayan passes, steep ascents and descents, arid landscapes, and undisturbed forests. So, encountering these rugged terrains adds a new level of difficulty to the Annapurna circuit trek.
It is very normal to suffer from altitude sickness while elevating to a higher altitude. Usually, the chances of altitude sickness begin above the altitude of 2500 m from the sea level. Moreover, the air at the higher altitude gets thinner, decreasing the composition of the percentage of oxygen in the air. So when you ascend to a higher altitude quickly without giving time for your body to acclimate to the environment, the symptoms of altitude sickness arise.
Furthermore, this trek will lead you to an altitude of 5416 m, so there are more chances to fall under the risk of altitude sickness. Hence, proper precautions should be taken to avoid the chance of AMS in higher altitudes.
It is said that nature unveils itself when you travel on foot. However, the unveiling of nature comes with a price. Likewise, the cost to uncover the Annapurna circuit is your convenience and luxury.
Since the Annapurna circuit takes you to the remote and secluded areas of Nepal, there may not be developed infrastructures and amenities in comparison to the city areas of Nepal. You cannot demand full-signal wifi or good network reception in remote areas. So, it will be better if you come prepared mentally to adapt to the unforeseeable situations.
The duration to complete the Annapurna circuit trek can vary from the itinerary and highlights you choose. The days can generally vary from 12 to 22 days.
Imagine the physical exertion and mental stress of hiking for about 6 to 8 hours daily to transverse a total of 160 to 230 km for about 20 to 22 days. Moreover, if the longer days are not balanced with acclimatization days and recovery time, then it will create more pressure and stress on trekkers like you.
Food and accommodations during the trek
The accommodation facilities along the trails of the Annapurna circuit are moderate, with teahouses and lodges being common modes of lodging. You can find the room with two or three adjacent beds or even in bunk bed style. Moreover, some may have an attached bathroom, while some teahouses may have bathroom facilities in a shared vicinity.
If you want to explore the food of various regions, then this trek might be perfect for you. The culinary options on this journey are diverse, ranging from regional to traditional Nepali food to Tibetan, Indian, and various Western cuisines.
Food menu for Breakfast: Eggs, bread, Tibetan bread, toast, juice, soups, congee, tea, coffee, cornflakes, cereals, jam, butter, honey, Sel roti, puri tarkari, paratha, chapati, pancake, muesli, pudding, oats, etc
Food menu for Lunch & Dinner: Dal bhat tarkari, dhindo, gundruk, chowmein, Thakali khana set, momo/dumpling, spaghetti, pizza, pasta, khichdi, papad, thukpa, rildok, porridge, fries, etc
Since the Annapurna circuit is one of the mainstream trekking routes in Nepal, it is not a surprise if this trek offers you the option of different beverages, including cold, hot, and hard drinks. You can have readily available bottled water and can enjoy hot drinks like tea, coffee, hot chocolate and lemon water.
The teahouses and lodges will have diverse hard drinks from regional tongba, chyang, and Tin Pane to branded wines. Moreover, you can get limited sodas and cold drink options at higher altitudes.
Although hard drinks are available in the region, it is better if you are limited to water and hot drinks because hard drinks can affect your trek as you move to higher altitudes and influence your acclimatization process, too.
Precautions and safety measures to take while trekking to Annapurna circuit in May.
Do not forget your permits
Before you start the adventure to the Annapurna circuit, you will have to obtain permits. Yes, plural. You will need to acquire two permits to enter some specific areas.
The first permit is the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit solely to enter the conservation area.
SAARC nationals: NPR 1000 per person, about $10
ALL other foreign nationals: NPR 3000 per person, about $30
Another permit that you need to obtain is Trekkers Information Management System, commonly known as TIMS Card. This is a compulsory permit for foreign nationals to ensure their safety and security while visiting Nepal.
For foreign nationals who are group trekkers: Nrs 1000 per person (about $10)
For foreign nationals who are free individual trekkers: Nrs 2000 per person
For SAARC nationals who are group trekkers: Nrs 300 per person
For SAARC national who are free individual trekkers: Nrs 600 per person
All the charges are exclusive of VAT, and any children under the age of 10 are allowed free access to these areas.
It is very essential for you to acclimatize properly if you want to complete the Annapurna circuit trek during May comfortably. You can rest for a day when you reach a certain height and go for acclimatization walks to adapt your body to the increasing altitude. This will help you to stay away from altitude sickness.
During May, the days are warmer, so your body will lose water concentration faster in form of sweats. Therefore, you will need to replenish water in your body to maintain your overall health, endurance, and performance. You need to make sure that you drink about 3 to 4 liters of water daily. Moreover, do not forget your thermos flask while packing for the trek.
Travel insurance is like a safety key that will help to mitigate the risk and share the financial burden during the trek. Since you are trekking in the Himalayan region., there is no surety that everything will just go smoothly. Therefore, it is better that you are insured with a policy that will cover medical expenses, evacuation costs, air ambulance, hospital fees, and even cancellation charges in case of unforeseeable circumstances.
Be prepared physically and mentally
The success rate of the Annapurna circuit trek is 98% to 100%. But the trek is a moderately challenging and strenuous trek that demands good physical fitness and mental endurance.
So, to be on the safe side, you can try taking physical strength lessons like cardio or stamina exercises. You can even go on high-altitude hikes to make yourself comfortable. Moreover, this trekking can be quite exhaustive for novices, so you will need to keep low expectations and high mental resilience in terms of long days of hiking and adaptability.
Preparation for the trek
The packing list for the Annapurna circuit trek in May doesn’t drastically vary with other months. It is because you have to eventually come prepared for any circumstances, as the weather in higher altitudes can be unpredictable.
For instance, the temperature in Manang during May surged beyond 30 degrees Celsius, when in previous years, the temperature remained in the mid-20s. Likewise, the visibility in the same year was an extra 2 to 3 km more in comparison with other data from preceding years.
Hence, it is better to come prepared after keeping in mind all the unpredictable situations that can occur in the Annapurna circuit trek in May.
- Moisture-soaking base
- Insulating layers of fleece or a down jacket
- Waterproof and windproof outer shell of a jacket and pants
- Convertible trekking pants and shorts
- Long-sleeved shirts and T-shirts
- Sun hat, woolen beanie
- A couple of pairs of socks and underwear
- Pair of gloves
- Buff or neck gaiter
- Extra pair of socks and underwear
- Sturdy and waterproof-fitting boots with good ankle support
- Comfortable sandals or shoes for evenings
- Trekking poles
- Duffle bag, packing sack
- Binoculars, camera
- Sleeping bag (four seasonal sleeping bags recommended)
- Headlamps and extra batteries for it
- UV-protective sunglasses
- Reusable water bottles
- Water-purifying iodine tablets or filters
- Power bank, solar charger
- Universal charging cord
- Reusable water bottles
- Thermos flask
- Ice axe
Toiletries and personal hygiene
- Toothpaste, toothbrush, facewash, Hand sanitizer
- Sunscreen, body lotion, and lip balm
- Soap, shampoo and conditioner
- Quick dry towels, toilet paper, Wet wipes, and face towel
- Foot powder
- Personal medication (if any)
- Water purification solution or tablets
- Small first aid kit with all basic medications
Tips for Trek to Annapurna Circuit in May
- Take the guides and porters with you in case you are not trekking through a traveling agency.
- Do not miss your meals.
- Pay attention to your body language, and don’t dismiss any indications of altitude sickness.
- In case of difficulties or challenges, communicate clearly with your guide.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution when exploring steep cliffs or hills.
- Learning how to navigate can be beneficial.
- Altitude sickness medicine, such as Diamox or Nifedipine, should be carried.
- Always be respectful of the local culture and traditions.
Outline Itinerary – Annapurna Circuit Trek in May
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1300m/4264ft)
Day 02: Drive from Kathmandu to Dharapani (1800m/6430ft)
Day 03: Trek from Dharapani to Chame (2710m/8891ft)
Day 04: Trek from Chame to Pisang (3300m/10824ft)
Day 05: Trek from Pisang to Manang (3540m/11482ft)
Day 06: Acclimatization day at Manang
Day 07: Trek from Manang to Yak Kharka (4050m/13,020ft)
Day 08: Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorang Phedi (4420m/14501ft)
Day 09: Trek from Thorong Phedi to Thorong La Pass (5416m/1176ft) to Muktinath (3800/12467ft)
Day 10: Trek or Drive from Muktinath to Tatopani (1200m/3937ft)
Day 11: Trek from Tatopani to Ghorepani (2850m/9350mft)
Day 12: Trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill to Pokhara (1950m/6396ft)
Day 13: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu
Day 14: Final Departure via International Airport
You may also like:
- What is the best time To trek the Annapurna circuit?
- Annapurna Circuit Trek in April
- Annapurna Circuit Trek in March
FAQs on Annapurna Circuit Trek in May
What is the hardest part of the whole Annapurna Circuit Trekking?
There are no any technical difficulties while trekking to Annapurna Circuit. However, trekkers with different physical strength and mental endurance can find different routes difficult. Likewise, major trekkers feel that crossing Thorong La Pass is difficult and challenging.
Do I need a guide to trek the Annapurna Circuit?
Yes, if you are an international trekker, then it is compulsory to have a guide as per new regulations from the Nepal Tourism Board. Moreover, having a guide by your side in the Annapurna circuit trek will help enhance your trekking journey with proper route navigation and essential information about the history, culture, and people of the region.
Which city is known as the gateway to Annapurna Circuit?
Usually, Pokhara is considered the getaway to the Annapurna circuit.
Is the trail to Annapurna Circuit crowded?
The Annapurna circuit trek is one of the mainstream trekking in Nepal so during the peak seasons, the trails are usually crowded.
What level of physical fitness and strength is required for the Annapurna circuit trek in May?
You will need to have a basic level of physical fitness for the trekking to Annapurna circuit. However, some training in physical strength and experience in higher-altitude trekking will always be beneficiary.