Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the incredible adventures in the world. The pristine landscapes of the Annapurna region is ideal for trekking in the Autumn and Spring. However, trekking the Annapurna Circuit in December is also possible. Trekkers will find a unique perspective of the region in December.
You will pass through the scenic landscapes of the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA), home to abundant flora and fauna of the region. The Poon Hill viewpoint provides incredible views of the sunrise overlooking the snow-capped mountains including Annapurna I-IV, Manaslu, Mt. Dhaulagiri, Annapurna South, and others.
Moreover, this trek also lets you explore the cultural settlements of Gurung, Tamang, and Magar communities. You will stay at cozy tea houses and lodges along the trail. The trails also pass through green hills, serene rivers, pristine waterfalls, vast valleys and other beautiful landscapes. If you love trekking along the quiet and peaceful trails, this trek is ideal for you.
Furthermore, trekking in the month of December is a challenge for adventure seekers. Crossing the majestic “Thorong La Pass (5416m)” will test you to the core. Trekking in late December comes with a high risk of accidents and injuries. Hence, if you are planning to trek, you should always choose early December as it is a favorable time for trekking.
Read further to know more about the Annapurna Circuit Trek in December and other relevant information.
- Significant Highlights of the Trip
- Outline Itinerary – Annapurna Circuit Trek
- How Difficult is Trekking the Annapurna Circuit in December?
- Annapurna Circuit Weather in December
- Food and Accommodations During the Trek
- Pros and Cons of Trekking the Annapurna Circuit in December
- Do You Need a Guide for Annapurna Circuit Trek in December?
- Things to Consider For the Annapurna Circuit Trek in December
- Training Routine for Trekking Annapurna Circuit in December
- Permits for the Trek
- Essential Tips for the Trek
- Packing List for the Annapurna Circuit Trek in December
- The Final Say
Significant Highlights of the Trip
- Awe-inspiring views of Mt. Annapurna, Mt. Dhaulagiri, Mt. Manaslu, and others snow-capped mountains
- Gorgeous sunrise from Poon Hill viewpoint
- Crossing the adventurous Thorong La Pass (5416m), which is the highest point of the trek
- Passing by the natural landscapes of the Annapurna Conservation Area
- Exploring the incredible flora and fauna of the Annapurna region
- Visiting the famous pilgrimage site of Muktinath Temple
- An opportunity to explore the culture, heritage, and lifestyle of the region
- Exploring the Kali Gandaki Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world
- Incredible hospitality of the local people
- Relaxing hot water bath at Tatopani
- Tasting the delicious cuisine
Outline Itinerary – Annapurna Circuit Trek
Day 01: Kathmandu to Bulbule
Day 02: Bulbule to Chamje
Day 03: Chyamje to Bagarchhap
Day 04: Bagarchhap to Chame
Day 05: Chame to Pisang
Day 06: Pisang to Manang
Day 07: Acclimatization day in Manang.
Day 08: Manang to Ledar
Day 09: Ledar to Pedi or High camp
Day 10: Phedi to Mukti Nath
Day 11: Mukti Nath to Jomsom Via Kagbeni.
Day 12: Drive from Jomsom to Tatopani Natural hot spring.
Day 13: Trek down to Ghorepani
Day 14: Trek to Poon Hill – trek down to Ghorepani and Nayapul – back to Pokhara.
Day 15: Back to Kathmandu.
How Difficult is Trekking the Annapurna Circuit in December?
Annapurna Circuit Trek is moderately challenging. The trek can be quite challenging for beginners who have not trekked the higher altitude before. Trekking the Annapurna Circuit in December is difficult but not impossible.
However, you should avoid trekking the Annapurna Circuit in late December as it comes with a lot of risks. Hence, with proper packing and preparation, you can trek in early December. Some of the major difficulties along the trail are as follows:
The Annapurna Circuit Trek in December is a high altitude trek hence the risk of altitude sickness is quite high along the trail. Minimal oxygen and air pressure causes Acute mountain sickness (AMS) in the high altitude region. Headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, tiredness, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath are some of the symptoms of altitude sickness.
Moreover, if not treated properly the altitude sickness can lead to severe forms of High-altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), and High-altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). You can descend to the lower altitudes until the symptoms of altitude sickness subsides.
Furthermore, you should get medical help if you show the symptoms of altitude sickness along the trail. Altitude sickness is prevalent in the higher altitude region as the amount of oxygen in the air gets thinner in the higher altitude.
The weather remains perfect in the lower altitudes along the trail in December. But, the higher altitude regions can experience some occasional snowfall which makes the trails slippery and hence challenging. But, some trekkers might find it adventurous and fun too.
Furthermore, the icy paths and trails during December makes the trek slippery. Most of the trails in the higher altitude get blocked because of snow. The Thorung La Pass (5416 meters), which is the highest point of the trek, is quite tough for trekkers to cross. There are thick layers of snow along the trail to the majestic Thorung La Pass.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek in December passes through the rugged terrains of the Annapurna region. Hence, the trek is quite challenging for first-time trekkers. Trekkers should take part in strength, stamina, and endurance training. You should indulge in hiking, cycling, swimming, jogging, paddling, and other cardiovascular exercises before the start of the trek.
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Annapurna Circuit Weather in December
Annapurna region weather in December varies according to the altitude of the place. The weather remains warmer below the altitude of 4000 meters; the higher regions are comparatively chilly. Annapurna Circuit Trek in December has a temperature of around 5-10 degrees which gradually decreases as you go up the higher altitude.
Moreover, the temperatures in the night can drop around 0 to -5 degrees. You will get moderate weather at the beginning of December in the Annapurna region. There are ideal weather conditions in the lower elevations. You will get clear skies all along the trail and you can observe the snow-capped mountains in all its glory. With proper packing and preparation, you can trek the Annapurna Circuit Trek in December with ease.
Furthermore, you should not forget to pack warm clothes, thermals, crampons, and a trekking pole for the trek in December. Overall, the weather in the early part of December is ideal for the trek in the Annapurna region.
Food and Accommodations During the Trek
There will be several tea houses available along the Annapurna Circuit in December. You will stay in the local tea houses along the trail. You will find many other options in the lower areas including standard hotels. However, you will not have many options in the higher areas other than the basic and limited teahouses.
You will get the basic Nepalese dish along the Annapurna Circuit Trek in December. Dal Bhat which consists of rice, dal (pulses), spinach, lentils, vegetables, pickles, gundruk, and meat is quite common in the tea houses. You will also get served noodles, pasta, burger, porridge, bread, sandwich, egg, and others.
Besides that, potato, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, beans, etc are some of the most common vegetables found in the teahouses. You will also get served hot beverages including tea, coffee, garlic soup, Rhododendron tea, lemon tea, and others. You will also find various alcoholic beverages such as beer, rum, wine, etc but you should avoid them while trekking.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek in December is a teahouses trek and you will stay in most tea houses with basic facilities. December is an off-season in the region and hence you will find teahouses with ease as they remain mostly empty.
Therefore, you will get the best accommodation and all the facilities available. The room has twin beds, a mattress, blanket, pillow, and a cupboard. You can find an attached bathroom in some of the teahouses.
Moreover, you should bring your toiletries during your Annapurna Circuit Trek because you won’t find them in the teahouses. As December is an off-season trek, you will also find the best accommodations at a bargain price.
Pros and Cons of Trekking the Annapurna Circuit in December
December is the first month of winter in Nepal. You will not find any extreme harsh conditions in the Annapurna Circuit Trek in early December. Therefore, you will get to experience the winter wonderland along the trail. December also means empty trails, which makes for a quiet and peaceful adventure in the Himalayas.
Moreover, you can observe the beautiful snowy mountains and landscapes. There are snowy glaciers, icefalls in the region which makes the trek more adventurous. The breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains and stable weather conditions is the highlight of the trek.
However, trekking the Annapurna Circuit in late December is quite challenging as the conditions worsens and the temperatures drop significantly. You might have to face heavy snowfall. This increases the risk of slippery trails, avalanches, and snow covered trails. Hence, it is generally recommended to trek the Annapurna Circuit only in the early parts of December.
Do You Need a Guide for Annapurna Circuit Trek in December?
Annapurna Circuit Trek is a challenging trek even during the peak seasons. Thus, trekking in December is even more difficult. Annapurna Circuit is more comfortable with the help of a guide in December. Hiring a guide will make the journey easier and more comfortable. A guide will help you along the Annapurna Circuit by providing the best and easiest route to reach your destination.
Guides assures your safety and security and also motivates you when you feel low during your trek. During the trek, you can take the help of the local people for interacting with the local people as they act as a translator. Hiring a guide will help you throughout the journey. The uncertain weather and temperature during December can cause emergencies. Hence, hiring a guide is essential for trekking in December.
Moreover, you can also hire a porter for the Annapurna Circuit trek in December. Porters can carry up to 10 kgs of your heavy load. They will cost you around 15-20 dollars per day and a guide will charge you around 20-25 dollars per day. You can also bargain and add tips based on their service.
Things to Consider For the Annapurna Circuit Trek in December
Some of the things you should consider for the trek in December are as follows:
Altitude sickness is a major problem in the high altitude Annapurna Circuit Trek in December. Proper acclimatization and hydration is essential even for experienced trekkers. Trekkers should also walk at a slow but steady pace to tackle the risk of altitude sickness.
Some of altitude sickness include nausea, headache, vomiting, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, and others. If not treated properly and in time, it can turn fatal. Hence, trekkers should take necessary precautions by descending to lower altitudes and evacuating even if necessary.
Annapurna Circuit Trek in December requires proper packing and preparation with the right gear and equipment. The correct trekking gear will provide a safe and comfortable trekking experience. Trekking pants, windcheaters, trekking jackets, waterproof trekking shirts, full sleeve shirts, down jackets, thermals, trekking boots, are some of the essential trekking gear.
Staying hydrated is essential for the high altitude Annapurna Circuit Trek in December. Trekkers will not get enough oxygen levels for the trek which can cause altitude sickness. Getting hydrated will help to provide oxygen in your body.
Moreover, you can carry water in a hot water thermos along the trek so that you can drink water whenever necessary. However, the tap water is not suitable for drinking on the trail. Hence, you can use water purification tablets or boil the water during the trek.
A basic level of fitness is essential along the trek. Trekkers should trek around 4-7 hours every day covering around 160km to 230km. You need to cross the majestic Thorong La pass (5,416m) on a snow-covered trail. The rigorous climb through Thorong Phedi will test you to the core.
Thus, trekkers should train with the aim of trekking 7 hours a day. You can take part in various fitness training exercises before the trek. Trekkers should also take proper acclimatization measures and hydrate regularly to avoid altitude sickness during the trek.
You should get proper travel insurance for the Annapurna Circuit Trek in December. The rugged and remote landscapes of the region have the risk of many injuries and emergencies. Trekkers should get Travel insurance that covers flight delays, injuries, accidents, theft, loss of luggage, and evacuations.
Training Routine for Trekking Annapurna Circuit in December
A basic training routine two to three months before the trek is essential. The training regime should focus on strength, endurance, stamina, and mental fitness.
Physical training is essential to gain strength, endurance, and stamina. It also increases your fitness levels. You should train with the aim of trekking 5-6 hours in the rugged terrains of the Annapurna region.
Moreover, these training regimes will help trekkers gain muscles in the arm, shoulder, and back. Besides that, trekkers should also eat a carbohydrate and protein-rich diet. Overall, physical training is essential for all trekkers trekking the Annapurna Circuit Trek in December.
Cardiovascular or aerobic exercises will help to increase oxygen levels in your body. Cycling, jogging, running, hiking, and other exercises will help you immensely along the trail. You will also get help in reducing the risk of tackling altitude sickness. Moreover, these exercises will help you reduce muscle strain, injuries and gain flexibility.
Mental preparation will help you in staying motivated and having an overall positive attitude during the trek. You can take practice hikes in a hilly landscape. You can also get the overall idea of the trek by talking to veteran trekkers and conducting some research on the internet. Hence, mental preparation is essential for all trekkers.
Permits for the Trek
You will need Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit (ACAP) and Trekker Information Management System Card (TIMS) for this trek. These permits are available in the Nepal Tourism Board’s office in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
The cost of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit (ACAP) permit is NRS 3,000 for foreigners. Trekker Information Management System Card (TIMS) is essential for the safety of trekkers in the region. These identification cards will help to locate if anyone goes missing along the trail.
Moreover, the TIMS Card fee is Rs 300 per pax For SAARC nationals trekking in a group. Similarly, The TIMS Card fee is NRS 600 if you are a Free Individual Trekker. The TIMS card fees are NRS 1000 per pax For foreign trekkers trekking in a group. Similarly, the TIMS Card fee is Rs 2000 per pax if you are a Free Individual Trekker.
Essential Tips for the Trek
- Always travel with a guide in December as heavy snowfalls make it challenging for trekkers in the region.
- Carry Diamox tablets to tackle altitude sickness along the trail.
- Acclimatization and regular hydration is essential along the trek.
- Pre-book all the accommodation facilities along the trail.
- Always check the weather forecast before the start of the trek.
- Alcohol consumption is not recommended as it can cause dehydration and altitude sickness.
- Walk gradually with regular breaks and rest in the middle.
Packing List for the Annapurna Circuit Trek in December
- Trekking boots
- Thermal Underwear
- Woolen gloves
- Waterproof trekking pants
- Pair of Sandals
- Full Sleeve shirts
- Down jacket
- Warm hat
- Umbrella/ Raincoat
- Sanitary pads/ Tampons
- Toilet Paper
- Lip Balm
- Face towel
- Diamox tablets
- Water purification tablets
- Antibacterial sanitizer
- Mosquito repellent
- Power banks
- Extra batteries
- Solar chargers
- Sleeping Bag
- Playing Cards
- Annapurna circuit Map
- Books or Kindle
- Travel permits
- Travel insurance
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The Final Say
The Annapurna Circuit Trek in December is an incredible experience. Trekkers will trek in the pristine landscapes of the Annapurna region. The trek takes you to the foothills of the Himalayas and serene villages of the Annapurna region. The trek will reward you with some of the amazing Himalayan mountain vista.
Moreover, trekking the Annapurna Circuit in late December is quite challenging as the “Thorong la Pass” gets covered in thick snow. Therefore, it is highly risky to trek in late December. Besides that, there are many chances of injuries, accidents, and delays in the latter parts of December. Hence, you should only trek the Annapurna Circuit in early December.