Plan It | The Annapurna Circuit
Fly into Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport and spend at least a day or two in the city–sightseeing, getting your trekking permit, and shopping for supplies. Book a Kathmandu hotel in advance, and confirm it offers a free shuttle from the airport. The best for trekkers is Kathmandu Guest House ($8-$120 per night, ktmgh.com/kgh).
October is the most popular, thanks to reliably pleasant weather (80°F and humid at 2,000 feet; 20°F and dry at 17,000 feet) and clear skies. Rhododendron forests bloom in spring, but weather is wetter and leeches are a nuisance at lower elevations.
Map and Books
The best trail guide is Annapurna Trekking Map and Complete Guide, by Partha S. Banerjee (Milestone Guidebooks, $10); it can be found at every bookstore in Kathmandu. Use Trails Illustrated map Annapurna #3003 (natgeomaps.com, $17) and Nepal (Lonely Planet, $25) for pre-trip planning.
Every trekker needs a permit ($25), but no reservations are necessary. Just pick one up in Kathmandu at the Annapurna Conservation Area Project office on Tridevi Marg (open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily). ntnc.org.np/trekking.php
The trek starts in Besisahar (catch a bus at Kathmandu’s Gongabu Bus Park; they leave regularly) and ends in Pokhara (return on a Greenline Tours bus, greenline.com.np).
Cost (Less Airfare & Rental Car) DIY: Less than $500 // Guided: $1,000-$1,499
Cheap and Easy
Annapurna’s teahouses beat the huts on other classic treks in terms of convenience, cost, and local color. Teahouses charge about $12 per day for a room and meals, and they’re never more than three hours apart, making is easy to keep a flexible itinerary. But that’s not to say there aren’t rules. Here are six: Choose a teahouse before 3 p.m. to beat large guided groups to the nicest places; choose a smaller one for better meal service; take showers immediately after arriving (most hot water is solar heated); order breakfast before going to bed to speed your morning departure; and bring a padlock for your room and a ground pad for the beds, which may be foam, straw, or just blankets.