Trekking to the Annapurna Circuit takes you to the rainshadow area of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs. This trek can be a lifetime adventure for travel enthusiasts.
To gain such adventures, you can either travel alone or hire a guide for this trek. Unlike other restricted regions, trekking to Annapurna Circuit without guide is also possible. However, you need to be extra prepared for the trek alone.
You will be walking for many days in the trans-Himalayan region with the extreme weather(occasionally) so you should plan properly before you go solo treks.
If you have previous trekking experience in Nepal or in high altitudes, you can trek independently.
But, if you are new to high altitude treks or if you have some health issues, you should better hire a licensed guide for your comfortable trekking.
How to Arrange Trekking Permits For Annapurna Circuit Without Guide?
Trekkers wishing to trek in Nepal need to get different trekking permits. These differ depending on which part of the country you wish to trek in. Without a guide, you need to know which ones to get and where.
For Annapurna Circuit Trek, you will need to get these permits:
- Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)
- TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System)
You can get all these permits from Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu. You can also get these in Pokhara or at the start of your trail. A guide does handle all the paperwork for you if you hire one.
How Long Will be Annapurna Circuit Trek Without Guide?
Annapurna Circuit Trek can take anywhere between 9-28 days to complete. This includes the day of your arrival and departure.
On average, you will trek around 5 to 6 hours per day during the trek days. It can be shorter or longer on some days of the trek.
For treks without a guide, this time may vary. You can spend a lot of time on personal photography, or opt to stay in many villages along the way or explore more.
When is the Best Time to Trek to Annapurna Circuit Without Guide?
For treks without a professional guide, the best time of the year to hike Annapurna Circuit trek is autumn and spring.
The local autumn months are from September to November and spring months from March to May.
These seasons and months offer dry, clear weather along with warm temperatures. The trails are also at their best conditions during these months. October and April have some of the most stable weather conditions in the high altitudes of Annapurna Circuit.
Because of the favorable weather, you will have less difficulty while trekking in Annapurna Circuit without a guide. Except these months, the cold or the rain may cause many difficulties while trekking alone in Annapurna Circuit.
Can a Trekker Arrange for Accommodation in Annapurna Circuit Without Guide?
Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the most popular treks of Nepal. Hence, you will find plenty of accommodation through the towns and villages of the trail.
The higher you ascend during the trek, the number of the guest house decreases. Most of the guest houses offer rooms on a sharing basis. You can opt for single rooms at extra cost.
These guest houses will also provide meals.
You can manage the rooms and food in the teahouses on the trekking trail. However, with a trekking guide you will be in quite a safer side. They will help you pre-book the room and food in any season you travel. So, with them, you do not have to rush on the trekking trails to find the room or food.
Plus, as they are very familiar with the local language and culture, they help you negotiate in the price for the food and room.
Pros and Cons of Annapurna Circuit Trek without Guide
Deciding to do this trek without a guide is a personal choice. Having a Guide does have its cons and pros.
A professional and licensed guide can add to your trekking experience. Some ways a guide can do this are:
- Lead or show you the best trails to take.
- Recommend the best places to rest, eat at and spend the night in.
- Arrange all your permits.
- Help you interact with the locals.
- Give you first aid treatment in case of emergencies.
- Get the latest updates on the weather conditions of the trails. A guide gets this from fellow guides, travel agency or the locals and experts as well. This is key during treks in the winter and summer season of Nepal.
- Can provide you information on the mountain peaks you see throughout the trail (Height, Name- Local name)
- Can give you information on the flora and fauna of the region.
The total expense of your trek can be more with a guide. You can hire a professional, licensed guide can cost US$ 22-25 per day.
What to Pack During Annapurna Circuit Trek Without Guide?
If you are trekking to Annapurna Circuit without a guide you need to be extra careful about what you pack inside your trekking bag. Walking alone means you will have to bear all the challenges during the trek.
So, you must pay special attention to your packing list for Annapurna Circuit if you are trekking without a guide. Along with the packing list, you must bring travel insurance that covers you in every difficult situation and unpredictable happenings.
Will Annapurna Circuit Trek be Difficulty Without a Guide?
Annapurna Circuit Trek is a moderate level trek. Done the entire way, it is also one of the longest trekking routes in the region.
Without a guide, you may also have to focus on making lots of decisions. This can include the duration of your rest stops, when and where to rest and sleep at. It can also include decisions on which villages to skip or explore, the routes to skip and explore.
Hence, it can be a bit difficult if you are not used to trekking in the high altitudes. However, you can minimize the trek difficulty be preparing both physically as well as mentally for every situation that may come along.
How to Trek Safely During Annapurna Circuit Without Guide?
Going on any high altitude trek can be a challenge. Annapurna Circuit trek is no different.
Taking care of your body and getting proper acclimatization are ways to improve your safety during the trek.
Furthermore, you should eat balanced meals and stay hydrated throughout the trekking process. Without a guide, you will need to watch out for yourself.
Some things you need to consider to remain safe during the trek are:
Although you are trekking without a guide, you must not escape acclimatization days. Your body needs enough rest before and after the treks in high altitudes.
You need to make sure you plan an itinerary that has proper acclimatization periods and rest days. Without a guide, you will not have someone looking after you. So, you must take care of everything by yourself.
Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal
In Manang, there’s a medical facility staffed with western doctors. They are part of the Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal and are usually present during the peak trekking seasons.
They conduct a free daily talk about acclimatization. This talk also includes topics on how to recognize and respond to various symptoms of AMS. If time permits, attend this session. It might save your or a fellow trekkers life.
Also, consult the doctors for any problems you have faced. There are no doctors above this point of the trek.
When you are trekking without a guide, this talk and consultation are highly recommended. Without one, you may be unsure, so as a safety precaution you should consult with the doctors.
Learn First-Aid Techniques
Injuries and accidents can and do happen during hikes and treks. Without a guide, you need to look for the cure by yourself.
However, if you have a professional guide, they could monitor your pace, equipment and supplies during and before the trek. She or he would also take the necessary steps to reduce any injuries and accidents during the trek.
How to Get To and From the Start and End Points of The Annapurna Circuit Without a Guide?
For Annapurna Circuit Trek, you first need to get to Pokhara and then to the actual start point of your trek.
As mentioned before, there are different points of the trails where you can choose to start or end your trek. There are also different ways to get to these points of your trek.
If you had a guide, she or he could recommend and take you to the places from where you can catch your transportation.
Without a guide, you will have to get as much information as you can of them. Some of the most common ways to travel are:
Jeep: It can fit around 6-8 people. You can get a jeep to take you from Kathmandu to Pokhara to your start and end point. In Kathmandu, you can find car rental services in Thamel, New Bus Park, Kalinki.
Flights: There are domestic flights from and to Jomsom-Pokhara, Pokhara-Kathmandu. These take you to Pokhara in less than half an hour.
Local Buses: Local Buses run daily to the different points of the Annapurna Circuit Trek. With the ongoing construction of the road, the places accessible by road is increasing in the region. It is the cheapest mode of transportation. This bumpy adventure provides a unique look into the lives of the people of the region.
The Starting and Ending Points During Trek to Annapurna Circuit Without Guide
Start Points: Besisahar, Bahundanda, Chamje, and Bagarchap. (The same local bus takes you through these places from Pokhara.)
End Points: Kagbeni, Jomsom, Marpha, Tatopani, Ghorepani, Nayapul, Ghandruk. (Different local buses operate on these routes. You may have to change buses along the way to reach Pokhara or Kathmandu).
Tips for Annapurna Circuit Trek Without a Guide
- Make sure you have a rough or planned route guide/map of Annapurna Circuit trek with you. The Annapurna Circuit is a well-marked route with lots of accommodation. This can improve your chances of not getting lost.
- If you are uncertain about the trails to take, ask the locals. Most locals will put you on the right path.
- Avoid asking the locals of the distance or duration of the next village. Their time is quite different from the one you will take.
- Make sure you find a trekking partner or group to do this trek with you. It reduces risk.
- Do not ever skip your acclimatization days.
- Purify the water if you have doubts about it. Else, find another source of water.
- Carry enough small denomination of the local currency (cash) to last you throughout the trek. In the high altitudes, there are few ATMs. The few ones are not reliable.
- If you are a beginner or novice trekker, opt for a porter to carry your luggage.
- Safety is a huge concern for trekkers without a guide. Keep your contacts updated regularly on your whereabouts.
- Have fun.
As long as you keep your safety in mind, take care of your health, get correct direction, Annapurna Circuit Trek without a guide can be a dream come true.
But, if you do decide to get a guide, make sure to check the credentials. Any reputable tour or trek agency in Nepal can help you with a reliable and licensed one.
Do not hesitate to contact us for this or any further questions or queries you have of your trek and visit to Nepal.