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Your flights to Lukla from Kathmandu may be diverted to Ramechhap Airport. Here’s Why!

Your flights to Lukla from Kathmandu may be diverted to Ramechhap Airport. Here’s Why!

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek (ABC Trek)

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek: Everything you need to Know

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek⁠—a popular and unique trek⁠—takes you to the Annapurna Sanctuary, a pristine Himalayan amphitheatre. Enveloped by mountains on all sides, the sanctuary rests at an elevation exceeding 4,000 meters. This trek rewards breathtaking panoramic views of some of the world’s highest and iconic peaks, including Annapurna Massif, Annapurna South, Machapuchhare, and Hiunchuli. Additionally, the sanctuary offers unique perspectives on the glacier-clad slopes and alpine landscapes. In this blog, we will discuss everything related to the Annapurna Sanctuary trek, from packing lists and planning tips to permits and physical fitness tips.

Overview of Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

Location: Central Nepal

Trek Starting Point: Nayapul, Ulleri, Tikhedhunga or Phedi

Trek finishing Point: Nayapul, Matque, Jhinu Danda or Phedi

Trekking Duration: 8 to 15 days

Trek Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging

Best Seasons: Spring and autumn

Permits: TIMS card and Annapurna Sanctuary permit

Highest Elevation: 4,130m/13,551 ft

Accommodation: Teahouse, Guesthouse, Lodge

Add-on Treks: Poon Hill Trek, Mardi Himal Trek

Why Choose Annapurna Sanctuary for Your Next Trek?

Annapurna Sanctuary trek takes you through lush tropical jungles of rhododendrons and bamboo, picturesque villages, and alpine meadows, offering breathtaking landscapes, rich biodiversity and cultural immersion. In a few days, you will reach two base camps, Annapurna Base Camp and Machhapuchhre Base Camp, taking in the awe-inspiring views of majestic mountains, including Annapurna South, Annapurna I, Hiunchuli and Machhapuchhre. Beyond the majestic landscapes, cultural richness, and Himalayan backdrops, the Annapurna Sanctuary trek also stands out for its diverse flora and fauna, providing trekkers with the opportunity to witness unique alpine ecosystems, vibrant rhododendron forests, and elusive wildlife.

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek Route Overview

The Annapurna Sanctuary Trek route shares a similar trail with both the Annapurna Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit treks, meandering through steep green valleys as it leads trekkers to and from Annapurna Base Camp. Commencing with a short drive from Pokhara and the starting point of Nayapul or Phedi, the trail unfolds along a well-trodden path through terraced fields, lush rhododendron and bamboo forests and rustic villages. Poon Hill is the popular viewpoint along the route of the Annapurna Sanctuary trek.

As the trek gains elevation, the trail leads its way to the alpine meadow, unveiling vantage points of Machhapuchhre Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp. The trek has the last stopping point at the heart of the sanctuary and then retraces the trail, concluding in Nayapul or Phedi.

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek Difficulty

Annapurna Sanctuary trek is a moderate to challenging trek, recommended for both novice as well as experienced trekkers. However, beginner trekkers must prioritize their fitness level and training regimen even more than experienced trekkers. The trek takes you to an altitude of 4,130 meters through a variety of terrains, from well-defined paths to steep ascents and rock and uneven terrain. This means the trek poses challenges related to altitude. The hiking duration can range from 4 to 7 hours per day, demanding sustained physical effort.

Getting to Annapurna Sanctuary

If you are starting from Kathmandu like most trekkers, first you need to catch a domestic flight or drive overland to Pokhara. If you are short on time, we recommend you catch a flight. The overland route from Kathmandu, whether by public vehicle or private jeep, takes around 6 to 8 hours. From Pokhara, depending on your itinerary, the next leg involves a drive to either Nayapul or Phedi. The journey to Phedi is approximately 1 hour, while Nayapul is a 2-hour drive from Pokhara. Some itinerary takes you to Hile from Pokhara, which takes about 2.5 hours.

Permits for Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

You need the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the TIMS card. To obtain a TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) card for trekking in Nepal, you’ll typically need passport-sized photos, your passport, personal details like name, insurance, and details of your guide and trekking route and itinerary. The cost is NPR 2000 (approximately 23 AUD). After getting a TIMS card, you can apply and get the Annapurna Sanctuary Permit which requires you to fill out the form and present necessary documents like passport, photos and a fee of NPR 3000 (approximately 34 AUD). You can obtain both these permits at the Tourism Information Center in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Permit requirements might change, so it’s essential to verify the current regulations and necessary permits from the authorities in Pokhara or the tourism office before starting your trek.

Best Time to Visit Annapurna Sanctuary

Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the two prime seasons to do Annapurna Sanctuary Trek. The best months are March, April, October and November. These periods offer clear skies, balmy weather and excellent visibility of the majestic mountains. While autumn offers cooler temperatures and cleaner air following the monsoon, making it a popular destination for hiking, spring brings flowering flowers and a somewhat milder climate. Both seasons present ideal conditions, allowing trekkers to experience breathtaking landscapes and remarkable mountain views. Please note that you can also trek during off-seasons (winter or monsoon), which has its drawbacks and challenges, particularly cold weather, heavy rainfall and limited services along the route.

Essential Gear and Packing List for Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

When it comes to packing for any treks in Nepal, the packing list remains largely consistent. The packing list for the Annapurna Sanctuary trek tends to be similar to that of the Annapurna Circuit Trek. However, specific considerations may vary due to differences in altitude, climate, and trek duration. For the Annapurna Sanctuary trek packing list, you can consider the following items. This packing list serves as a general guide. Adjust it based on your personal preferences for the specific season of your trek.


  • Moisture-wicking base layers (at least 2 pairs)
  • Fleece or down jacket
  • Dry t-shirts (at least 2) and long sleeve shirt
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Trekking pants ( 2 pairs)
  • Convertible pant
  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Moisture-wicking socks (at least 3 pairs)
  • Gaiters
  • Sandal
  • Sun hat or beanie
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Poncho or rain jacketPersonal Items:
  • Sunscreen
  • Personal medical kit (optional)
  • Wet wipes and hand sanitizer
  • Towel
  • Power bankToiletries:
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • biodegradable soap
  • Deodorant
  • Camera and gearGear:
  • Backpack
  • Sleeping bag with liner
  • Trekking poles
  • Headlamp
  • Water bottle or hydration systemDocuments:
  • Passport and its photocopy
  • Passport-size photos for trekking permits
  • Travel Insurance document

Accommodation Options on the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

The teahouse is the most common accommodation option on the Annapurna Sanctuary trek, featuring basic facilities like a twin bed with blanket and pillow, a shared bathroom and a communal dining area. Dining areas in the tea houses serve a variety of meals, including both local and international dishes. They might have shared bathrooms with squat toilets and cold running water, although some places might offer hot showers for an extra cost. Electricity is often available for charging devices, but it might come with an additional cost. At higher altitudes, it might be cold, so we suggest you bring your own light sleeping bag.

Food option on the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

The food menu of most teahouses generally includes a mix of local and international dishes, ranging from everyone’s favourite Nepali dal bhat (rice and lentils) to pasta, noodles, soups, and hearty breakfast options. Food items like dal bhat, noodles, vegetables, and meat (chicken) are staples and readily available. Nepali cuisine includes dal bhat, momos, gundruk, and local soup. You may find pasta, pizza, and other international cuisines in developed areas. For hot beverages, generally, they serve teas like ginger tea, lemon tea, masala tea, hot chocolate, and coffee. Espresso coffee is available only at selected teahouses along the Annapurna Circuit trek. For special dietary requirements, we suggest you communicate about the dietary preferences in advance.

Altitude Considerations

The imminent danger of trekking to the mountains in Nepal is Acute Mountain Sickness or altitude sickness. If you’re traveling above 2400m (8000 ft.), you should be careful of altitude sickness. Since this trek takes you to an altitude of over 4000m, you must be wary of altitude sickness. Most people easily develop symptoms of altitude sickness like headache, breathlessness, difficulty sleeping and vomiting. The best way to avoid altitude sickness is by acclimatizing to the altitude. It’s important to prioritize a gradual ascent with a slow pace, allowing your body to adjust to the increasing altitude. Staying hydrated and avoiding smoking and drinking are equally important. If you experience any of the symptoms of altitude sickness, you must not ascend further and consider descending to a lower altitude.

Physical Fitness Tips for Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

You must be physically fit and ready for the adventure to Annapurna Sanctuary. If you have done any treks in Nepal, you are familiar with the fitness level and training for the trek. Engage in a progressive training routine for at least 2 months before the trek. Your training should incorporate cardiovascular exercises like running and strength training to prepare muscles for the trek through rugged terrains. You must be mentally prepared for challenging days, varying weather conditions, and high altitudes. Acclimatization is another crucial aspect of preparation. During the trek, follow a gradual ascent approach, stay hydrated, and maintain a steady pace. The best rule is to listen to your body and act accordingly. And remember to pack the right gear and clothes.

Wildlife Spotting in the Annapurna Sanctuary

The Annapurna Sanctuary route falls under the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA), the largest protected area in Nepal. According to the status of biodiversity in ACA, there are 1352 species of plant, 128 species of mammal, 518 species of bird, 40 species of reptiles, 23 species of amphibian and 348 species of butterfly in this conservation area. No doubt, trekkers have the opportunity to encounter a variety of flora and fauna while doing the trek to Annapurna Sanctuary. But it’s rare. The sanctuary is home to elusive species like Himalayan tahr, wild goat, snow leopard and an array of bird species, including the colorful Impeyan pheasant and Himalayan Monal. You may catch glimpses of mammals like the Himalayan marmot and the red panda.

Guide for Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

You need a licensed guide for the Annapurna Sanctuary trek, like with every other trek in Nepal. As much as we hate to say this, you cannot trek solo to Annapurna Sanctuary. As of April 1, 2023, a trekker must hire a government-certified guide. Remember that you must hire a guide through government-authorized trekking companies in Nepal. You can expect to pay $40 per guide per day, which is subject to change depending on his experience and the nature of the trek. You can hire a porter as well, who carries the bag for you and charges $30 per day.

Wi-Fi and Electricity on the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

The Annapurna Sanctuary trek route is one of the most popular trekking routes in Nepal. Most teahouses en route have Wi-Fi and electricity. In developed trekking villages like Ghorepani, Chhomrong, and the base camp itself, many teahouses offer Wi-Fi services and have electricity. In remote areas, the availability of Wi-Fi is limited or non-existent. Many teahouses and lodges along the trekking route do offer some form of charging facilities for electronic devices, usually for a fee. However, the availability and reliability of electricity can be affected by weather conditions and the infrastructure in each village. It’s advisable to pack a portable power bank or solar charger to charge your electronic devices. You may also want to buy a local sim card (NCELL or NTC) with data to ensure convenient communication and internet access during your trek.

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