The Royal Trek is one of the cheaper treks in Nepal and generally costs between US$450 – US$950. However, this become significantly more when you add in flights to Kathmandu etc.
Two permits are required for the Royal Trek. The Annapurna Conservation Permit and the TIMS Trekking Permit. Generally in the region of US$35.
The best seasons for the Royal trek are spring (March to May) and autumn (mid-September to mid-December) when days are warm and nights are cold to the point of freezing. Winter (December to February) is an option, but obviously colder and having the possibility of paths blocked by snow, although there is recompense in that the routes are uncrowded. It can be very hot during the days from May to September, with potential monsoon rains.
Although one of the lowest altitude treks, the Royal Trek still reaches altitudes of 1700 meters.
Therefore, it is very important to have a basic understanding of the risks associated with trekking at altitude and how your body acclimatises to the experience.
Walking will be along village trails where the underfoot conditions are good. There are some long stretches that both ascend and descend, so some stamina is required. Minimal fitness is required and the absence for any technical climbing knowledge means that this trek is recommended for beginners who are short of time. Most trekkers take five days, this is also true of children and elderly people. It is, however, recommended that anyone who undertakes this trek exercises regularly, including jogging, for several weeks prior, to improve strength and stability. Altitude sickness is not an issue – the highest point reached is the summit of Tara Top Hill, 8,858 feet up. It can be harder to ford rivers when they are flooded in the summer. There will be five to six hours of walking each day.
Trekking in the Annapurna region requires a number of essential pieces of trekking clothing and equipment. The Royal Trek, although not long, exposes you to a range of altitudes where temperatures fluctuate dramatically between night and day.
Many pieces of equipment can be rented or bought in Kathmandu or Pokhara, but we recommend bringing the most important pieces of gear with you.
To help you plan and prepare for your trek we have written a detailed gear list here.
Trekking insurance is a must in Nepal. This is particularly the case in the Annapurna Region, which is, at stages, very remote. If an accident should happen that requires medical assistance and evacuation you will definitely want trekking insurance that can cover the costs of air ambulance and treatment.
It is also prudent to have insurance that covers you for any travel related risks, like lost, stolen, damaged or delayed baggage; flight delays and interruptions; and tour operators default.
This article on travel and trekking insurance provides detailed information on what type of insurance you need, as well as provides a quote calculator from a leading travel operator.
Two or three star hotels such as Pokhara’s Hotel Mt. Kailash can be used, while on the trek, it will be tea houses unless you opt to sleep under canvas – tents and mattresses can be hired in Kathmandu. Tea houses
feature wooden beds with foam mattresses and some have en suite toilet facilities. Accommodation is on a twin sharing basis unless a supplement is paid, although this is not always possible in remote places. The most common dish that will be encountered is dal bhat – rice, potatoes and lentil soup.