The Annapurna Circuit is consistently ranked among the top treks in the world, and is easily the best in Nepal. Offering everything from beautiful rhododendron forests, crystal clear alpine rivers, ancient teahouses, and endless Himalayan peaks, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Travellers generally visit in the dry months between March to April and September to November to avoid the rain. Does that mean you shouldn’t consider trekking the Annapurna Circuit during monsoon season?
What to Expect
Monsoons are often accompanied by excessive rain, high risks of landslides, and missing road signs, which is why it’s usually suggested that you avoid trekking during the wet season. However, the Annapurna Circuit is nestled in the shadow of the Annapurna Conservation Area and is less vulnerable to rainfall – which comes in handy during the monsoon season. Generally, it only rains during the evening, so you won’t have to worry about trekking in the rain.
Though it’s a valid concern that a landslide may block the entire road, ruining your trek, this is unlikely. You’ll be able to easily walk over most landslides that may fall across your path, unless a very serious landslide has occurred. If you’re concerned about the leeches that come with the monsoons, simply carry some salt with you. Sprinkle this on the leech and they will drop straight off. Most teahouses will give you salt for free if you feel you’ll need it. It’s important to remember though, that while most teahouses will be open during the wet season, many convenience stores will be closed as there aren’t as many trekkers coming through the area.
Unfortunately, one of the downsides of trekking the Annapurna Circuit during monsoon season is the near constant fog and cloud cover. That means if you’re visiting for the stunning photography opportunity that it presents, avoid the circuit between June and September.
You’ll also have to trek through rivers and across flooded roads. This isn’t anything more than a minor hassle – but it doesn’t hurt to take off your shoes if you know they will be getting wet. You’ll find it very hard to dry your boots while no matter what the temperature.
Is it worth it?
Expect to be muddy, wet and cold, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be one of the greatest adventures of your life. There will be far less people on the circuit as most travellers avoid Nepal during the monsoon season. You won’t have to fight for a bed at the hotels and teahouses, and you’ll even be able to name your price at most of the places you stay. You’ll probably get free Wi-Fi at most teahouses during the low season. Less people mean there won’t be as many parties at night either, so if you like the quite life, this could be ideal for you.
Even though it’s raining, monsoon season is actually the warmest of the year. You can expect the temperatures during the day to reach 20 degrees Celsius, so you won’t need to carry as many thermal layers or jackets.
The best part about Himalaya trekking during monsoon seasonis that you’ll have it all to yourself. No long waits to get a photo with the summit sign, and no pressure to wake up early to get there before everyone else. You’ll be able to spend hours sitting and taking in the beauty of the summit which you’d trekked for so long to reach.