The Annapurna Conservation Area Permit: A Gateway to Himalayan Adventure

The Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) demonstrates Nepal's commitment to preserving its rich natural and cultural heritage. Spanning 7,629 square kilometers, the ACA encompasses several major trekking routes providing access to incredible biodiversity and cultural heritage within this area. From lush rhododendron forests to arid high-altitude landscapes, the ACA protects one of the most diverse ecosystems in Nepal. Over 1,226 species of flowering plants, 518 birds, 105 mammals, 40 reptiles, and 23 amphibians inhabit this mountainous region. Rare wildlife, including the elusive snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, and musk deer roam the more remote areas.

At the heart of exploring this breathtaking landscape lies the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP), a key to unlocking the gates to an extraordinary adventure. In this comprehensive guide, we look into the significance of the ACAP, its role in sustainable tourism, the diverse landscapes it encompasses, and the cultural treasures it safeguards.


Understanding the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)

The ACAP was established to promote sustainable tourism and ensure the conservation of unique biodiversity and cultural heritage in 1992. Managed by the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), this permit serves as a financial resource for conservation initiatives while regulating the influx of visitors.


Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) Categories and Fees

ACAP offers various permit categories catering to the diverse interests of trekkers, mountaineers, and cultural enthusiasts. The fees collected contribute directly to environmental conservation, community development, and infrastructure improvement. Understanding the permit categories and associated fees is crucial for planning a visit to the region.

ACAP permit fee for foreigners: 3,000 NPR (Approx. US $24)
ACAP entry permit fee for SAARC (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) nationals: 1,000 NPR (Approx. US $8)
ACAP permit fee for Nepalis: 100 NPR

Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) card permit:

SAARC Countries: NPR 1000; approximately US $8
Other Countries:  NPR 2000; approximately US $16

Community Involvement and Development

The ACAP operates on the principle of community-based conservation. Local communities actively participate in decision-making processes, benefiting from tourism revenues that fund education, healthcare, and infrastructure development. This inclusive model ensures that the economic benefits of tourism reach those directly involved in preserving the natural beauty of the Annapurna region.


Environmental Conservation Initiatives

The Annapurna region boasts a diverse ecosystem, from lush subtropical forests to alpine meadows. The ACAP allocates funds for conservation projects, afforestation efforts, waste management, and wildlife protection. Thus, the ACA permit system plays a crucial role in maintaining the ecological integrity of the region.

Cultural Treasures and Heritage Sites

Gurung and Thakali Culture: The Annapurna region is home to diverse ethnic communities, including the Gurung and Thakali people. Trekkers can immerse themselves in local cultures, partake in traditional festivities, and stay in teahouses run by the welcoming villagers.

Historic Monasteries and Temples: The trek through the Annapurna region takes you through various Tibetan Buddhist villages where monasteries and stupas dot the landscape. These spiritual structures, adorned with prayer flags and wheels, create an atmosphere of tranquility and reflection.

ACA not only encompasses natural wonders but also safeguards historical and religious sites. The region is dotted with ancient monasteries, such as Braga Monastery, and sacred temples like Muktinath, adding a spiritual dimension to the trekking experience.

Diverse Landscapes and Trekking Routes

Here are some major trek routes that require Annapurna Conservation Area permit.

Annapurna Circuit: The iconic Annapurna Circuit is a trekker's dream, encircling the Annapurna Massif and providing awe-inspiring views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Machapuchare, and other peaks. The trek takes adventurers through diverse landscapes, from terraced fields and rhododendron forests to high mountain deserts.

Annapurna Base Camp Trek: The Annapurna Base Camp trek is renowned for its proximity to the towering peaks and the amphitheater of surrounding mountains. Trekkers traverse picturesque villages, terraced fields, and dense forests, culminating in a surreal experience at the base camp.

Mardi Himal Trek: The Mardi Himal Trek is a captivating journey nestled in the Annapurna region of Nepal. This relatively short trek, spanning about 5-7 days, unfolds through picturesque villages, lush forests, and terraced fields. The trail offers enchanting views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. A highlight of the trek is reaching Mardi Himal Base Camp, where trekkers are rewarded with panoramic vistas of the iconic Machapuchare (Fishtail) and Mardi Himal. 

Upper Mustang Trek: The Upper Mustang Trek takes adventurers to the mystical Trans-Himalayan region of Nepal, bordering Tibet. This trek is characterized by unique landscapes featuring barren, desert-like terrain, ancient caves, and a distinct Tibetan-influenced culture. The highlight of the trek is the exploration of Lo Manthang, the ancient walled city that was once the capital of the Mustang Kingdom. Trekkers traverse through a region with monasteries, chortens, and hidden caves adorned with intricate murals. 

Nar Phu Valley Trek: The Nar Phu Valley Trek offers a lesser-trodden path to trekkers seeking an off-the-beaten-track adventure. This journey explores the remote Nar and Phu valleys, providing a unique insight into traditional Tibetan culture. Trekkers encounter remote villages, ancient monasteries, and breathtaking mountain views as they trek. Crossing the challenging Kang La Pass, the trek offers panoramic vistas of the Annapurna and Manaslu ranges.

Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek: The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is a shorter yet equally enchanting journey, renowned for its panoramic views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. This trek winds through charming villages, rhododendron forests, and terraced fields. The highlight is the ascent to Poon Hill, where trekkers enjoy the spectacular sunrise over the Himalayas, including the Annapurna range, Machhapuchhare, Dhaulagiri, and others.



The Annapurna Conservation Area Permit is not just a ticket to explore the Annapurna region but a commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism. As visitors traverse the diverse landscapes, engage with local communities, and witness the wonders of nature, the ACAP stands as a guardian, ensuring that the beauty of the Annapurna region endures for generations to come. Embracing the spirit of conservation, adventure seekers can embark on a transformative journey that goes beyond the thrill of the trek, leaving a positive impact on the environment and communities that call the Annapurna region home.

If you trek with us, we will acquire Annapurna Conservation Area Permit for you so you can trek hassle-free. 

Paul Gurung

Paul has an extensive experience in the tourism industry. Through his blogs, he shares his deep knowledge about the stunning trek regions in Nepal, inspiring trekkers worldwide to explore these regions and enrich their lives. In addition to geography, his writings delve into the human side of the trek regions, including culture, traditions, religions, and etiquette, offering a comprehensive and enriching perspective on the Himalayan trekking and expedition experience.