• Last Updated on Dec 24, 2023

How to prepare for a Short Annapurna circuit trek? Preparing for these short hikes requires careful planning. This short hike is a condensed version of a 19-day trek and covers the same path and milestone points as the larger one, only that you will take ten days, not nineteen. Yes, you will also be conquering the infamous Thorong La Pass, the highest peak in the journey.

One of the most renowned trips in the high Himalayas, the short Annapurna circuit trek minimizes the risk of getting altitude sickness at Thorung la Pass (5416 meters) in 9 days. This is a multi-day trek in the Annapurna mountains, one of the most beautiful yet culturally rich sections of the Nepal Himalayas.

The short trekking trip in the Annapurna region departs from Kathmandu. The first leg of your adventure involves driving through Besisahar to the designated stop for the day – Chame.

The following day, we start the Annapurna short trek from Chame to Pisang and pass through a beautiful wooden trail. You will see Paungda Danda Rock along the way. You will rest at Pisang for the day. The next day, you will depart Pisang, and on your way to Manang, pass through Nagwal with views of the north side of Annapurna II, III, IV, and Gangapurna. You will stop for the night at Manang before continuing to Ledar/ Yak Kharka the next day.

The journey then goes on from Ledar to Thorong Phedi. You will then have an exciting trek to Thorong La High Pass to Muktinath, a holy site for Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. Then, after spending a night in Muktinath, you will take off from Muktinath to Jomsom the following morning. On the next day, you will fly from Jomsom to Pokhara and later to Kathmandu.

On the trek way, you climb steep and old trails, follow along valleys, walk on tight and level trails, crosshair bridges, and many more challenges and amazing things. In due course, you will ascend to Thorung La's snow-covered pass. The pass, at 5,416m above sea level, provides stunning views of the Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri.

The moderate hike is perfect for every trekker, regardless of fitness level. Therefore, people are attracted to the spot, and hundreds of trekkers from all corners get themselves into the area.

Furthermore, the Annapurna region's rich biodiversity and cultural diversity will also enthrall you. This classical track goes on the spectacular Marsyangdi Valley, the North side of the Himalayas. These are also the harsh landscape of the desert and Tibetan scenery of the Kali Gandaki Valley.

Moreover, the highest peak of the trip is at Thorong la Pass, which measures 5416m. In addition, the trail passes through the beautiful villages inhabited by Gurungs, Tamang, Thakalis, Manangis, and other communities in Nepal. You can also take this opportunity to learn more about the culture, the heritage of the people in the community, and their traditions.

Furthermore, the splendid Annapurna Mountains' view of 7000m plus will sweep you off your feet. You will also go camping and reside in small huts where you will appreciate the kindness of the villagers. The side trips to Manang, Muktinath, and Jomsom make this trek the best. 

Trekking involves a lot of preparation beforehand. The trek should be well prepared by even the most experienced trekkers. Preparation could be in any form, such as physical training or logistical preparation. Therefore, your body should be physically fit and prepared for the Annapurna circuit trek. Having a few ideas and tips to implement while hiking will also come in handy. Remember, here is how to prepare for your 9-day short Annapurna circuit trek in Nepal. 

Table of Contents

Strategical Preparation

This part includes tailored training for hikers to face different conditions in high altitudes, slopes, and distances. Hence, knowing more about the hike category matters since it will help you prepare for the trip. You can begin your strategic preparation by studying and understanding the trek route. Here is our trek route map and detailed route itinerary that you can study before you make your training program below: 

Day 1:Drive Kathmandu to Besisahar (800m) - 5 to 6 hours & Drive to Chame (2670m) - 3 to 4 hours

Day 2:Trek Chame to Pisang (3310m) - 4 to 5 hours

Day 3:Trek Pisang to Ngawal (3,540m) - 4 to 5 hours

Day 4:Trek Ngawal to Manang (3,540m) - 4 to 5 hours

Day 5:Explore & Acclimatization Day in Manang.

Day 6:Trek Manang to Yak Kharka/Letdar (4040m) - 4 to 5 hours

Day 7:Trek Ledar to Thorong Phedi (4420m) - 3 to 4 hours, or Thorong High Camp (5416m) - 4 to 5 hours

Day 8:Trek Thorong Phedi via Thorong La Pass (5416m) to Muktinath (3800m) - 7 to 8 hours

Day 9:Trek Muktinath to Jomsom (2720m) via Kagbeni (2800m) via Jhong -6 to 8 hours

Day 10:Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara (820m) -25 minutes, then your destination

Note that the route map of the Annapurna circuit shows the rugged terrains it covers. The difficulty of this short hike is generally due to long stretches ahead, high altitudes, steep climbs, and descents. 

This trek is normally completed in around nine days, but like all other activities, it depends upon an individual's fitness and experience. Fresh trekkers might require more rest stops as compared to veteran trekkers, which would thus result in a delay in the overall hiking process.

Adapting to these problems related to high elevation is very important. Some people may drive by Jeep up to Manang or even more just to shorten the trip; however, proper acclimatization, which could take longer than the normal walk, would be the best option.

Concentrate on cardiovascular training for endurance, leg muscles for steep ascents and descents, and altitude-specific training for acclimatization to low oxygen levels. Also, ensure that the duration and acclimatization strategy best suit your fitness level. Ideally, a comprehensive training plan specifically adapted for the Annapurna Circuit provides a more pleasing and productive hiking journey.

How Can I Train?

Trek training enhances cardio endurance, strength endurance, and the ability to hike uphill with a daypack for long hours. Aim at hiking or long walks for not less than 8-12 weeks before your trek (pay close attention to the duration and avoid concentrating on mileage so much). Ultimately, you will have to train to be able to walk/hike for at least five to six hours with minimal stopovers. Here we advise you on six pieces of training below: 

Cardiovascular training

By engaging in cardiovascular conditioning, your body will become more efficient in utilizing oxygen. Regular cardiovascular training and hiking should form the basis of your foundation. You may also jog, walk, swim, or cycle as a mix. For this reason, the duration selected for an exercise activity should be at least half an hour/hour (45-60 minutes). A prolonged period extending to several hours with few short breaks. The cardiovascular training should be conducted no less than twice/three times per week.

Strength Training

Hiking strength will be built using free weights or machines in the gym. Climbing stairs with backpacks should mimic the hiking environment. Start with a small day pack and gradually add more weight to it. Furthermore, we suggest practicing your lungs and squats to develop strong legs. There are low-hanging obstacles that need a person to duck under, while there are low-squat toilets.

Endurance Training

Gradually extend the length of your training sessions before beginning your trek to develop endurance. You should be able to climb to an elevation of 3000ft in about 3-4 hours two weeks before your scheduled visit day.

Training Hikes

Gradually increase your backpack weight with each hike along steep trails until you reach your target backpack. Where feasible, go up about 600 to 1000 meters while carrying roughly 8 to 10 kg load in your sack, and observe how far away you can see on each occasion. Going upwards roughly 300 meters per hour is fine; ensure that there are at least two-liter water bottles along during hiking, preferably Camelback type.

Moreover, hikers can incorporate breathing exercises into their training routine, which would also help. Furthermore, yoga goes the extra mile to prepare you for the expedition.

Altitude Training

Going up a steep hill, staircase, or the like that allows continuous climbing for a few minutes may be an important altitude climbing technique. Take a hard climb and rest when you go down the mountain. Repeat this for 30-60 minutes.

Get Acquainted With Your Ability and Experience

Before setting out on a trek in Nepal, one should consider their capability and expertise. Don't be overly ambitious. 

The decision on which trail you pick out, your itinerary, and whether you can handle it alone, with a guide, or maybe with both trekkers and porters depends on how fit you are and how many trekking experiences you can claim.

Making prior arrangements before booking a trek with a certain company allows you to train and prepare. Nevertheless, people planning and organizing a trek the moment they touch down in Nepal will have limited preparation and training time.

In Nepal, almost every category of skills has a trail. Therefore, considering your safety and pleasure, pick one who fits in with your experience and fitness levels. Therefore, you should take some popular lower-altitude treks and then take this shorter high-altitude trek.

The best one is the Poon Hill trek, which is a short trek at a high altitude for some days. Similarly, one opts to fly to Josman, travel to Muktinath, and back. The key trick is choosing appropriate issues based on your skill and experience.

Obtain The Required Permits For The Trek

Trekkers in the Annapurna region generally required two permits: ACAP and TIMS card, a trekkers information management system. 

Furthermore, the ACAP permit cost is NRs. One hundred rupees per person for Nepali nationals. Trekkers from the SAARC countries NRs. 1,000 per person. Moreover, the permit is around NRs. 3,000 per person for other foreign nationals. The entry is free for children below ten years of age.

You need the TIMS card's passport, photocopies, and two passport-size photos. The cost of this permit is Rs 2,000 per person. 

How to Obtain the Permits?

Normally, the trekking company would have taken care of the required permits if your trek had booked with me. Trekkers can obtain both permits at the same office. 

Once you secure your TIMS, you just shift to another desk, and there is the form for ACAP. Having collected all the necessary papers, visit the nearest tourism centre and fill in the necessary forms. It should not take longer to complete the necessary formalities to obtain the permits. As long as everything is right with you and you hand over everything to the staff, you will get both TIMS and Annapurna trekking permits within 15 minutes.

When To Take a Short Annapurna Circuit Trek?

You must pick the right time for the short Annapurna Circuit trek as part of your preparations. When hiking, one should not be in the wrong season since it is usually very uncomfortable. However, choosing the best time helps make your journey unforgettable. This trek is possible in normal conditions all around the year. Nonetheless, the autumn months from September to December and the spring months from March to May are the ideal time for short Annapurna Circuit Trek.

Spring season (March-May)

The most appropriate time for this hike is from March to May. The clear blue skies and stable weather are the first reasons why people love the Annapurna Circuit Trek during spring.

All over the hills, including the national flower of Nepal, the rhododendron flower blooms with wildflowers. This will give you moderate temperatures ideal for morning or mid-day trekking. It does not rain heavily during a typical spring, and the sky is almost always cloudless.

Autumn (September to December)

In Nepal, Autumn is the period that spans between September and December. Autumn is the season that turns Annapurna beautiful. Additionally, post-monsoon season implies that the skies are free from clouds, and one can see an unrestricted view of the hills.

In addition, in most parts of Autumn, the higher elevation zone is colder while the lower elevation area remains warm. Another major attraction towards this hike is that all the major festivals, Dashain, Tihar, and Holi, fall in the Autumn. While on the trek, the lively cultural exploration will make you love the place.

Summer (June- August)

The summer season is very hot and accompanied by the heaviest annual rainfall, called monsoon.

You ought to be thinking of a lot if you plan your Annapurna circuit during the monsoon seasons. As the name implies, it rains heavily during the rainy season.

We might say that the Annapurna Range acts as an obstacle, and the trail passes into rain shadow, but at the same time, you can hardly escape from getting wet anywhere on this route. 

July is the wettest month of this year; hence, you might wish to visit in the off-peak season of this activity but with good weather. Your number one option should be an early part of June or late August.

Winter Season (December- February)

We said that doing the Annapurna Circuit trek is possible during all seasons, but to be honest, we excluded the winter as the initial period. Having our experience, we knew by heart that winter is not an adequate time for hiking. However, the winter may also be perfect for you- you only need to understand what to expect.

Using this data, one can observe that winter is the coldest season in the Himalayas, although not every year will be the same weather. In the lowlands, temperatures are still bearable around 12, but as you get up, the temperature decreases fast.

Moving higher up makes you more likely to face cold conditions. During the day, temperatures are typically above zero; however, it is not like that during the night or in the early morning hours once the sun still hasn't come out.

Pack Properly For The Trek

While the pack may seem light in Kathmandu, at 4000 meters up and on a sloping path, 15kg will not be a pleasant weight. Take just half as much stuff as you think you need, and attempt to become a real minimalist – even though that may not be in your character. Although those extra luxuries will appear to be a good option, you don't want them for your legs and back.

When trekking with tea house treks, all you will require is a sleeping bag and some clothes. Investing in merino wool clothing is the best thing you can do regarding hiking. This makes it naturally odor-resistant and moisture-wicking so that you can pack fewer t-shirts since you won't be changing them often. People often end up overpacking their bags, but in this case, consider all the items of clothing you put inside your rucksack). Here is our detailed packing list for trekking in Nepal. 

What Should I Pack?

Below is the packing we recommended for the trek 


  • Short-sleeved Trekking shirts
  • Trekking boots
  • Trekking pants and jackets
  • Thermals underwear
  • Woollen cap
  • Long-sleeved Trekking shirts
  • Insulating down jackets
  • Trekking Gloves
  • Raincoats


  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet Paper
  • Sunscreen
  • Shampoo
  • Moisturizer

First Aid

  • Diamox tablets
  • Anti-nausea Medicines
  • Sanitary pads / Tampons
  • Mosquito and insect repellents
  • Band-aids


  • Sunglasses
  • Solar Chargers
  • Sleeping bag
  • Batteries
  • Cameras
  • Water Bottle
  • Hot water Thermos

Preparing For High Altitude 

Anybody can get altitude sickness no matter their previous experience with a similar height level. Even people with high physical fitness will experience the consequences of altitude, and it is just a matter of how much.

All people will experience difficulty breathing and slow walking except those who adapted to higher elevation levels during that time. Moreover, they will have a headache and feel weak. 

The headache and nausea are normal symptoms that should fade as time progresses. 

Read about AMS beforehand and listen to your body on the mountain. A couple of acclimatization days or even a rest day later in the climb is definitely better than taking any of it as a weakness or lack of physical fitness.

The other viable option is to use diamox, a medication for relieving altitude symptoms and altitude sickness. It is advised that most people should be able to acclimatize properly without it, provided they take it slow and easy for most of the multi-day treks in Nepal. 

However, trekkers should not attempt to move quickly, take too many steps at once, or finish a hike or climb in fewer days than prescribed.

The best advice is to always sleep only 500 meters above 3000m. Therefore, it is recommended that trekkers should have a rest day after ascending 1000m; however, it depends on how you feel about it. I

If trekkers start experiencing signs of high altitude sickness like headache or nausea, rest for a day. If it does not improve, then it is better to descend. It is advisable not to push AMS farther beyond what one feels you should.

Ways To Acclimatise During the Trek

Gradual ascent: A trekking itinerary that allows for as little as possible of ascending, ideally should cover not more than 1000-300 feet of vertical increase above 3 km altitude per day. Ensure you have some rest or acclimatization days where you may walk up a bit on a certain day but end your day low.

Staying hydrated: Dehydration may worsen the effects of altitude sickness. Ensure you take approximately 3 to 4 liters of water daily, regardless of when you feel like drinking. Do not overindulge in coffee intake and alcohol because they can cause dehydration.

Maintaining a balanced diet: You have to eat well to be strong enough, with enough energy to work in high-altitude areas. Opt for lighter, easy-to-digest foods like carbohydrates and refrain from eating too much fatty or spicy food.

Listening to your body and resting as needed: When suffering from any symptoms of high altitude disease, pay attention to your body and change pace or schedule if needed. When necessary, rest, and if you have anything to say, do not hesitate to inform your trekking guide about it or share it with your fellow trekkers. If your state deteriorates or does not improve with rest, you should descend to a lower altitude for the cure to take effect.

Logistics Preparation For the Trek

Don't expect luxury: Tea Houses Accommodation

Annapurna circuit is one of the busy routes so you will be accommodated in teahouses en route. They all promise a bed, blanket, and warm food, all one should expect. These facilities play crucial roles in the life of trekkers and frequently need easy access near a town.

The quality of teahouse facilities can change immensely, and there are many new lodges with facilities, hot water, and internet – although this is true only in rare instances. 

Ultimately, you are trekking at high altitudes and in remote mountains. So, any small measure they provide should not be taken for granted because anything is better than nothing when climbing under such conditions.

However, it is important to note that teahouses are a social affair whereby your trekking will be a great experience as long as you do not have overly exuberant expectations. 

Wi-Fi and Connectivity

People usually trek in the Himalayas for two reasons: to have a physical adventure and to appreciate the exciting scenery. It is a usual tendency to desire to inform all your friends about this via social media. Still, the nature of hiking implies disconnecting yourself from all technologies and internet facilities instead of concentrating on your location.

However, someday, you won't have these mountains around you, and you will return to WIi-FI just to share your impressions. Therefore, you will multiply your impressions by admiring what is ahead.

Some of the lodges and teahouses have WIFI available, mainly from the region of Sagarmatha National Park, where Wi-Fi plans that cover the entire park are also available. If you are trekking alone/without a guide, then sending a message home to inform you that you are ok is logical. Nevertheless, if possible, do away with technology, and your future self will be grateful for the digital detox.

Take enough cash

It is equally essential to carry sufficient cash while trekking in Nepal. Therefore, you must determine your total amount and carry it all along. Of course, it is hard to determine just how much cash you should have with you, and in most cases, one will prefer to overdo rather than underdo.

It is normally not a matter of concern when one fears for security. Despite carrying hundred dollars in Nepali rupees with them, incidences of theft are rarely experienced. Nevertheless, this does not imply that you should not worry about your possessions; a sensible tip is to distribute your money across different segments or pockets in your handbag and not put everything in one compartment. You can go through our blog here if you need a detailed cost breakdown of the Annapurna circuit trek. 

Choose Trustworthy Guide and Company

Going on the Annapurna circuit trek is a lot of fun; however, preparation must be given some thought to get the best out of it. Choosing quality and reliable companions that will allow you to travel smoothly along the magnificent regions of Annapurna is important.

Firstly, reliable trekking firms have a good history and value safety and customer satisfaction. Carry out wide-ranging investigations through reading views and comments from various trekkers' blogs and the internet. Seek out companies known for professionalism, reliability, and strict adherence to occupational safety.

The dependable trekking company should have a license from TAAN and NTB, the authoritative bodies of Nepal.}. The accreditation indicates a professional company, qualified guides, and legal operation under local legislation. Always demand proof of the company's credentials and check their validity and licenses before committing to any contract.

Go for an experienced and knowledgeable person on Annapurna trails when picking an able guide. An experienced guide does more than secure your safety; it brings you closer to the traditions, plants, and animals of the wild. Ascertain that the guide is certified, trained, and well-versed in your intended route. An experienced guide is needed for the tough terrains, emergency management, and information on the surrounding environment.

Communication skills are equally important. Ensure that your guide understands English and whatever other language you can readily communicate with. Good communication promotes mutual understanding of the customs and characteristics of the locals and Annapurna as a special area.

Have a detailed discussion of the itinerary with the company and guide before finalizing your trek. The itinerary is important as it ensures one gets used to altitude, reducing the chances of altitude sickness. Moreover, it guarantees enough for you to enjoy the breathtaking views of the walk and their culture.

It is important to be transparent about costs, inclusions, and exclusions. Select a company with a detailed trekking package breakdown, including accommodation fees, meals, permit costs, and other additional charges. These "hidden" costs may incur unanticipated financial expenses during the hike.

Lastly, prioritize safety. Ask the company about its emergency procedure, ready-first aid access, and exit way out. Responsible companies must ensure that their consumers are secure and have backup plans in case of unexpected events.

Respect The Local Culture

There are different local cultures when trekking in different parts of Nepal. An example of such is, during the Annapurna circuit trek, there are Gurung, Magar, and Brahmin people.  

As you go about this trek, remember to do so with respect for these local cultures. This is something that should be taken into consideration when you are trekking because it has had effects on many such communities in Nepal. Make sure that you carry out your work in such a way as to avoid destroying the ancient cultures.

Be cautious upon entry to monasteries; don't photo people or kids unless you ask their permission, and avoid having any outrageous outfits on. 

Know that some, if not all, of the local communities regard the mountains as places with great respect and cultural significance. Any indication that you respect the landscapes, the mountains, and even the environment can also be viewed as a way to disregard them and their culture and heritage.

Trekkers can add taking a little time to talk around to add to the pleasure. Ask them about their culture, cultural practices, and how it started. People involved in this business, such as teahouse owners and staff, guides, porters, and local yaks or mules' drivers, are normally kind to talk about themselves and life in the Himalayas.

Understanding Short Annapurna Circuit Trek Challenges

This adventure is beautiful and exciting, but it still involves some difficulties that all the trekkers should be ready for. Analyzing these challenges ahead will make your hike safer and much more fun.


The first among many difficulties that await the participant of Annapurna Circuit is a sharp increase in height. In addition, trekkers reach high altitudes rather fast, which makes them vulnerable to altitude sickness. This necessitates proper acclimatization, resting, and keeping oneself well-hydrated. The signs of altitude sickness include symptoms like a headache, feeling sick, and dizziness.

Weather Variability

Even the weather can sometimes be very unreliable in certain high-altitude parts of the Annapurna region. The seasons could be either rainy, snowy or extremely hot, depending on the time of the year. One should pack appropriately, i.e., with waterproof clothes, layers, and strong shoes. One should review the weather forecast regularly and adjust the trekking plan.

Challenging Terrain

A walk through diverse landscapes like woods, picturesque villages, rocky routes, and high mountain roads. Uneven and steep trails and the possibility of crossing rivers on a trekking trail are expected. At elevated altitudes, trekkers may meet with icy or snowy circumstances. Trekking with good physical fitness, proper gear, and a pair of trekking poles is likely to assist in negotiating these types of surfaces.

Remote Areas and Limited Facilities

Some parts of the Annapurna Circuit are located in remote areas which do not have convenient infrastructure. A trekker must also carry necessities, e.g., water purifying, snacks, and first aid kits. In these destinations, basic accommodations are to be expected, and this one should keep it real.

Total Distance Of The Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek route ranges about 60-90 miles, depending on where a motor transport goes and how far one walks. This means that you walk about 8 – 15 km/day.

The trekking goes relatively easy in hilly regions. However, it can become challenging if one needs to go up the mountain. These will involve walking on steep rocky surfaces, grasslands, and snow. And there is a tendency for winds up there. 

During winter, this road is also very difficult with snow-covered routes. Finding new routes this season should be avoided.

FAQS About Annapurna Circuit Trek 

How do I prepare for the Annapurna trek?

Prepare for the Annapurna trek by improving your cardio health and leg power. Add a bit of hiking and walking daily to the schedule, slowly building up time and effort. Moreover, go out for a practice trek with a filled-up backpack as if it were a simulation of the conditions you'll encounter. To have an easy time while trekking, one's core muscles should be strengthened, and the individual should become flexible.

Can a beginner do Annapurna Circuit?

Although the Annapurna Circuit is hard, fit beginners at high altitudes can do this walk. One must begin short trips to gradually develop their endurance and accustom them to the requirements of high mountain walking. However, as a beginner, consulting a trekking agency and hiring a competent guide will help improve your experience and ensure safety.

How fit do you need to be for the Annapurna Circuit trek?

A good level of fitness is required for the Annapurna Circuit trek. The trail involves long days of walking, varying altitudes, and challenging terrains. Regular cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and hiking practice with a backpack are recommended. Adequate preparation ensures that you can comfortably handle the physical demands of the trek.

Can you do Annapurna without training?

While it's technically possible to attempt the Annapurna Circuit without training, adequate preparation significantly improves the chances of a successful and enjoyable trek. Training helps build stamina, strength, and mental resilience, making coping with the trek's challenges easier. Prioritizing fitness and undertaking at least some training before embarking on the trek is advisable.

Am I fit enough for Annapurna?

It is important to determine your fitness capability before attempting Annapurna Circuit. You're fit enough when you do cardio daily, train often, and feel you can continuously walk without stopping. Nevertheless, it is important to consult a healthcare provider and share your proposed plans concerning this exercise with competent trekkers and/or guide(s).

What is the hardest part of Annapurna?

The whole Annapurna circuit trek is hard, but the toughest part is definitely through Thorongla. Before the sun rises, you will cross the narrow ridges covered with deep snow. After that, you must ascend continuously, although all these should not surprise you. This part of the trek requires enough training and mental preparedness.

Is Annapurna Circuit still worth it?

The Annapurna Circuit is still a great trek, giving spectacular landscapes, various ethical groups, and satisfaction. Though it entails a lot of preparation, climbing towards the Annapurna region is a unique experience that one can never afford not to endure.

Dipak Pande

Dipak Pande

Dipak starts to step up from potter, guide, and trekking leader to the company owner. Sometimes he share his experience with others as well as wrote in local travel news. Most of time he spend his time on mountain and his company.