The Annapurna Circuit
The best trekking region in Nepal.
The first reaction of most hikers: “What about Maoist rebels extorting money from trekkers?”
YetiZone is the #1 website on the Circuit. Editor Ian Johnson says:
“No trekkers have been harmed during the conflict – both sides recognise the need for the revenues that tourism brings. Both sides are taxing tourists. You may therefore find that the Maoists may expect you to pay their trekking tax – keep the receipt! There is, in our opinion, no reason for tourists to be concerned about the Maoists.”
When we were there in 1998 the Maoists were sometimes collecting a “tax”. We did not meet any of them. In 2006 the fee seems to have become a little more structured.
If you decide to go, budget for the “extra donation to the Communist Party”.
Many call Annapurna the best hike in the world, by far. It is fantastic!
The entire Circuit is about 300km (186mi), 3 weeks circumambulating the Annapurna massif of peaks. This region is unique in the Himalaya in that it is relatively easy to get up close and personal with two of the world’s highest peaks.
Surprisingly, hiking here is recommended for all levels of ability and experience. Many non-hikers do the entire Circuit.
You can hike independently with a light pack, staying in wonderful mountain “lodges” and eating at wonderful restaurants. Or sign on with any of hundreds of trekking tours or independent porter guides.
There is not a more relaxed long hike anywhere. But if 3 weeks it too long, shorter sections recommended are the Jomsom Trek and Annapurna Base Camp.
Why we love it:
Details on our Annapurna Circuit information page.
Looking for more inspiration? Start with this, the best of a number of coffee table photography books: