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Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the popular trekking destinations, especially for trekkers in the UK. Generally, 20,000 tourists come to Nepal to indulge in the adventure of the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Among them over 15% are from the United Kingdom. They love traveling across mountain paths and exploring new cultures and traditions.
The trek starts from Kathmandu with the drive towards Besisahar. During your trek, you will come across small villages like Chamje, Pisang, Dharapani, Manang, and Muktinath Temple. You will conclude your trek after reaching Thorong La Pass.
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Thorong La Pass is the highest pass in the world which lies in the altitude of 5413m. From the peak of the pass, you can see all the stunning mountains like Nilgiri, Fishtail, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri.
So if you are from the UK and are planning to trek the Annapurna Circuit, then this guide is for you. In this guide, we will talk about all the details on the transportation mode from the UK, food, accommodation, and others. Moreover, we will also let you know all the costs you will incur. These include the costs of Porters, guides, and other miscellaneous costs.
So let’s delve into it in more detail.
Flight From the UK To Nepal for Trek
To enjoy your Annapurna Circuit Trek from the UK, you have to first visit Nepal. There are two ways of visiting Nepal from the UK: Flight and Car. Since the UK and Nepal are quite far apart booking a flight is wiser than planning a road trip.
Booking a flight from the UK to Nepal is fairly easy but you might have to follow some simple steps:
Plan Your Trekking Dates
It is essential to plan your trekking dates if you want to trek the Annapurna Circuit. You must also remember the best seasons or times you want to trek. But if you are planning to trek in peak months like April, May, or October then it is wise to book in advance. Once you have decided on your date for the trek, it is time to check for flights.
Now it’s time to check flights from the UK to Nepal around the month that you are planning to trek. You can use search engine slights like Expedia, Skyscanner, and Google Flights to Nepal. There are two international airports in Nepal but we recommend you book your flight to land in TIA in Kathmandu.
Pay Flight Price
Now that you have checked flights it’s time to compare airlines. There are various airlines you can choose to visit Nepal. Some of the popular ones are Emirates, Turkish Airlines, and Qatar Airways. You must know there is no direct flight from the UK to Nepal as you have to step over in either Dubai or Qatar.
You must also check the schedules and compare prices of various airlines. The price ranges from lowest to highest based on the airlines and the seats you book. Generally, the price is from $350 to $500.
Now that you have decided on your plane it’s time to look at finer details. You have to now select seats, learn about baggage allowance, and also decide your desired stopovers. Once you are satisfied with everything it’s time to book your ticket online.
As mentioned earlier booking a flight from the UK to Nepal is not too hard. But there are several small details you must be aware of that can cause you problems before, during, or even after the flight.
Visa Fee to Nepal
Foreigners traveling to Nepal other than Indian citizens must obtain a visa, including children. There are no additional categories to apply for a visa in Nepal, so even if you are going for business, you can still apply for a tourist visa. Many visa services in the UK can assist you in applying for the Nepal visa, but you will need certain documents to be eligible.
- Nepalese Visa Application
- Original Passport
- Copy of NRIC / EP /S Pass/Work Permit front and back
- One passport-size photo
Stay Duration and Validity of Visa
If you’re from the UK and applying for a Nepal visa, the visa is valid for six months from the date of issue. You must enter Nepal within those six months and choose your desired stay duration, either 15, 30, or 90 days, from the date you enter Nepal.
The charges for each duration vary. Be aware that your permitted stay is limited to the days you have chosen, and exceeding them will land you in legal trouble. If you don’t use the visa within six months, it will expire, and you’ll need to apply for a new visa if you plan to travel beyond the visa’s expiry date.
Visa Processing Time
The processing time for UK people’s visa application to visit Nepal is 5 to 6 working days. There is no express route for processing the visa. Once processed, the visa will expire after six months, regardless of whether the person visits Nepal or not.
Major Attraction of ACT Trek in Nepal
Annapurna Circuit Trek is among the most popular trekking destinations in Nepal. The Annapurna region has several amazing trekking programs among which ACT is the most popular. Annapurna Circuit Trek is quite different from Annapurna Base Camp Trek. It is because the trekking days are longer and you will reach some amazing places which you don’t explore in ABC.
So let’s get into some of the major attractions of Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Thorong La Pass
Thorong La Pass is the main highlight and major attraction of the ACT. The pass lies at an altitude of 5416m and is the highest point you will reach in this trek. This place is one of the most beautiful places in the world. You will get a glimpse of beautiful mountain peaks like Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Fishtail, and Nilgiri. The route is also very pretty as you pass through snow-covered mountain trails.
Muktinath Temple is another major attraction you can visit during ACT. The trek to Muktinath is normally at the end of your trekking. Muktinath Temple is a sacred site for the people of Mustang. The temple is very important to both Hindus and Buddhists from Nepal and neighboring countries.
The place is not only beautiful for trekkers but for pilgrims as well. Many religious people believe that taking a bath in Muktinath cleanses your sins. They also believe you will get rid of your skin and internal disease if you bathe in the water.
During your trek, you will reach the famous Tatopani spot. Tatopani is a famous destination for shopping and resting in a quality lodge after a long trek. However, there is also one more attraction which you can find in the place. That is a natural hot spring. After a long and tiring trek along the way, when you settle in the hot spring you will feel rejuvenated.
These hot springs are believed to be therapeutic and also have some medicinal features. They not only make you relax but also heal your body aches or joint pains.
Hence these are some of the major attractions of ACT. There are a few more attractions like Tilicho Lake, Monasteries, and cultural settlements which you can enjoy. People from the UK who love cultural and traditional villages, settlements, etc will love many places you will visit during the trek.
Mode of Transportation in ACT
Annapurna Circuit Trek is a fascinating trekking destination but first, you have to arrive in Nepal. When you land in Kathmandu, Tribhuwan International Airport, you will be checked into your hotel. The next day you will either head out for Kathmandu sightseeing or go straight to Pokhara where your Annapurna Circuit trek will begin.
There are three ways to reach Pokhara, and they are either by flight or bus. So let’s get into it.
One of the most common ways of reaching Pokhara to begin your Annapurna Circuit Trek is via flight. It will take up to 45 minutes to an hour to reach Pokhara via flight. You can search all the airlines that will take you to Pokhara like Buddha Airlines. The cost of the flight varies according to the flight. However, the cheapest round-trip flight ranges from $195 to $250 and the highest can even reach $500 per person.
There is no surprise that flights are more expensive than buses. But if you want an easier, cozy flight for almost an hour then choosing a flight to land in Pokhara is best for you.
Another mode of transportation you can use to travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara is Bus. There are two kinds of buses, a tourist bus, and a public bus. A Tourist bus is only available for tourists like people from the UK. You can book your tourist bus from the Thamel area for which it will cost you $25.
A public bus is quite cheaper at $7 but we don’t recommend you take it. You won’t get any privacy as there are many passengers. Furthermore, these buses are not maintained hygienically and many passengers even reach Pokhara by standing.
Accommodation during trekking
The accommodation facility is easily available to trekkers in the Annapurna Region. You do not have to set up camps to accommodate during breaks as there are many tea houses, lodges, guesthouses, and homestays along the Annapurna Trail.
Well if you are a thrill seeker or an adventurous person, camping is also an option. You will find it easy to find accommodation while you’re trekking to the Annapurna Base Camp. However, during peak season it is safer to book your room in advance or else you might find yourself sleeping in the dining hall.
Accommodation in City Areas
In Kathmandu and Pokhara, you can find three to five-star hotels for your accommodation. After Pokhara, there are mostly lodges, guesthouses, and tea houses. The price of accommodation differs as per the route and hiking season. During the off-season, it might cost you $2 to $3 at lower altitudes and about $5 to $7 as you go higher but during peak season, it might cost you $3 to $5 at lower altitudes and about $7 to $10 as you go higher.
Accommodation in lodges and teahouses
You can mostly find double bedrooms in your lodge or guesthouse. Thus, there are few single bedrooms and its price is twice compared to a double bedroom. When you rent a room, you can expect two single beds, mattresses, warm blankets, bedsheets, pillows, and pillowcases.
For your hygiene, you can bring your pillowcases or sleeping bags. Most of the hotels, guesthouses, and lodges provide you with private restrooms but as you go higher that might not be the case as you might find yourself sharing restrooms with other customers. In a room, you can also find a power socket and charging station. Regarding the internet, there might not be an issue at a lower altitude. Nonetheless, we recommend you purchase a data pack from your NTC or Ncell SIM card.
Food During the Trekking
For people of the UK, you will enjoy city areas like Kathmandu and Pokhara. In major cities, there are no restrictions regarding food and drinks. You can find your choice of food in Kathmandu and Pokhara but it will not be the same case in remote areas.
The Annapurna Trail does not have direct access to urban areas thus, you will mostly find local food items. It’s worth noting that the food items you’ll come across here may be locally sourced, but that doesn’t mean your options are limited.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the vast array of different and exciting items available. Seasons have a significant impact on the availability and quality of food items. The variations in food items are quite noticeable during off-season and on-season.
It is also worth noting that as you rise higher, the variety of food also decreases and your options will be limited. During the trek, you can find both vegetarian and non-vegetarian items. It is recommended not to get non-veg items at higher altitudes as it might hinder your digestive system.
Make sure that you eat fresh and healthy food or you might suffer from sickness which will hinder your hike. You will have three meals in a day during the hike and having side snacks is a smart idea.
The price range for breakfast is $3 to $8 based on altitude and portion size. Similarly lunch and dinner range from $4 to $10 depending on availability and altitude.
Guide and Porter Cost
Hiking Annapurna Range is difficult and without a proper guide, you might find yourself lost or even fall into the trap of scammers.
Porters are also equally useful for you during hiking. They will handle your luggage while ascending to the top. But this choice entirely depends on you if you want to carry your baggage yourself you hire someone to carry it for you.
Hiring a guide will cost you about $22 to $25 per day. This price includes his food, accommodation, and insurance so you do not have to worry about his extra expenses.
The cost of a porter is always negotiable but the average cost to hire a porter is approximately 15 per day.
Permits Required For the Trek
To trek the Annapurna region, you will be required to get some permits for trekking. Two permits are required to trek in the Annapurna region. They are a TIMS card and an ACAP ticket.
TIMS card and the Annapurna Conservation Area Project are both important trekking permits. Every trekkers need to acquire them before they explore the Annapurna region.
They cannot be obtained through an online portal and you must obtain them in either Pokhara or Kathmandu. You are also obliged to show the permit at different entry points in the Annapurna Region.
The cost of a TIMS Card is $10 if you join a trekking company or $20 if you are an independent trekker. Furthermore, the cost of an ACAP ticket is NPR 3000 including government tax.
Apart from your traveling accommodation, food, permit, and guide costs, there might also be unexpected costs. Such costs include tipping costs, internet costs, hot shower costs, battery charging costs, and others.
Tipping is generally not the culture of local people but if you are satisfied with their work, you can tip your employer. The standard rate for tipping is about 10% but if you do not want to spend then you have no obligation.
The internet in hotels and lodges is mostly weak. Thus, it is recommended to purchase data packs from NTC or Ncell SIM cards. The cost depends upon the data package you decide to purchase. Some hotels can also charge extra for hot showers and heaters. Hence it might cost about $6 to $15 extra for a shower, Wifi, and electricity.