A Complete Guide To Annapurna Base Camp

complete guide to Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna Base Camp (also known as Annapurna Sanctuary Trek) is one of the most iconic & popular trekking destinations in the world which offers you stunning natural beauty. This Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) trek takes you through the diverse landscapes, remote traditional villages, elegant snow-capped peak of the mountains, terraced lands, lush rhododendron forests & a wide variety of flora & fauna. Along with the majestic close-up view of Annapurna range, Machapuchre  (Fishtail) & Himchuli. Here is the complete guide to Annapurna Base Camp:

Where is Annapurna Base Camp located?

Annapurna Base Camp is located at an altitude of 4,130m & lies within the Annapurna region which is also the largest conservation area of Nepal.

With a trekking route that covers 115km, it is one of the popular and moderate trekking trails of Nepal. Despite the high altitude of 4,130m, there is very little chance of getting altitude sickness. Whereas, see the highlights of Annapurna Base Camp:

Trip Highlights:

-360° panorama view of Annapurna Himalayan range

-Stunning closeup view of Machhapuchre 6,993m & Annapurna I 8,091m

-Beautiful traditional Gurung village & Gurung museum at Ghandruk

-Sunrise & panoramic view of Annapurna range along with Machhapuchre & Dhaulagiri from Poonhill

-Hot spring at Jhinu Dada

-Dense rhododendron forest, pine forests and many more

-Guaranteed scenic natural beauty all along the trail

When is the best time/season to do Annapurna Base Camp Trek?

complete guide to Annapurna Base Camp

Basically, trekking in Nepal is classified into four-season: Summer, Spring, Winter, and Autumn season.

Similarly, spring & Autumn are considered to be the best season, whereas Monson & Winter is considered to be the least time of the year for trekking. However, all these four seasons offers its own charm & uniqueness.

Likewise, you can do ABC trek at any time of the year depending upon the experiences you want to have.

But, choosing the best time for doing ABC trek also determines the difficulty of this trek as most of the trails are steep uphill & downhill.

Autumn in ABC(September to Mid-December):

autumn season in ABC

The autumn season is without a doubt the most popular time for Annapurna Base Camp trek. The temperatures get moderate & the weather gets fabulous providing spectacular mountain views. But wait, being the peak time of the year, transportation & accommodations are mostly all booked. Also, the trail can be busier.

In order to get out of this hassle, we recommend you book your Annapurna Base Camp Trek with us.

Winter in ABC(December to February):

Weather in ABC

Yes, you can trek to ABC during winter but the only downside is challenging weather. The temperature can fall down to -10 to -15°C during the night & will be freezing cold. Also, you can expect snowfall at higher altitudes. But the days are most likely to be warmer with clear skies.

We recommend you to trek at lower elevations only during this time.

Spring in ABC(March to May):

complete guide to Annapurna Base Camp

This is the second-best time to trek at Annapurna Base Camp. This season offers you the best view of snow-capped along with the blossoming wild flora, especially rhododendron. The best part of the season is that the number of trekkers is comparatively less than in autumn. You can easily explore & enjoy the trek & Himalayas.

Go in April for a more exotic experience. You can pre-book ABC trek for spring with us.

Summer/Monson in ABC(June to August):

complete guide to Annapurna Base Camp

This is the rainfall season in Nepal. Not only heavy rainfall you can expect occasional thunders & storms too. During this time most of the trails are muddy & you will encounter leeches all along the way making it hard to trek during this time.

However, it doesn’t mean that you cannot trek during monsoon. With proper guidance, anyone can easily finish this trek & have a distinct experience. We can organize your ABC trek during monsoon.

14 Days Standard Annapurna Base Camp Trek Itinerary

Basically, there are two different routes to do ABC trek.

Option 1: From Nayapul to Ghorepani to Chhomrung to ABC.

Option 2: From Dhampus to Landruk to Chhomrung to ABC

Either way both of these routes coincide at Chhomrung.

Most of the trekkers go with option 1 because this route walks you through Ghorepani Poonhill from where you can experience the alluring sunrise view & also spectate the panoramic view of the famous Himalayas including Fishtail, Annapurna range & Dhaulagiri.

Our standard 14 days ABC treks also follow the same route. Here is the outline itinerary.

ABC itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Kathmandu

Day 2: Drive to Pokhara

Day 3: Drive to Nayapul & trek to Tikhedhunga

Day 4: Trek to Ghorepani

Day 5: Hike early morning to Poonhill & trek to Tadapani

Day 6: Trek to Chhomrong

Day 7: Trek to Dovan

Day 8: Trek Machhapuchre Base Camp

Day 9: Trek to Annapurna Base Camp

Day 10: Trek down to Bamboo

Day 11: Trek to Jhinu Danda (hot spring)

Day 12: Trek to Nayapul & drive to Pokhara

Day 13: Drive to Kathmandu

Day 14: Departure from Kathmandu

You can check our detail itinerary for complete understanding.

Total Distance:115 KM
Difficulty:Medium-Hard
Duration: 14 days
Max Elevation:4,130m
Region:Annapurna, West Nepal
Permits: ACAP & TIMS

Annapurna Base Camp Map:

Detail-map-of-ABC

This Annapurna Base Camp map is designed according to the real map to make the readability easier. You can see on the map how you will gain the altitude slowly which is the best way to succeed this Annapurna Base Camp trek.

Annapurna Base Camp Trekking Permits:

TIMS, ACAP

Most of the trekking trails in Nepal including Annapurna Base Camp fall under conserved areas. So in order to trek in these regions foreigners requires the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) & Trekking Information Management System (TIMS).

Throughout your whole trek, these permits will be checked in various checkpoints.

Permit Fees

ACAP fee for foreigners: NRS 3,000 / Approx. USD 30

ACAP fee for SAARC nationals: NRS 200

TIMS fee: NRS 1,000 Approx. USD 10

Where to get these trekking permits?

If you are doing this trek on your own then you can get these permits from Nepal Tourism Board Office located on Pradarshani Marg, Kathmandu or in Pokhara at the Nepal Tourism Board Service Centre.

If you have booked a trekking agency they will arrange all the necessary permits.

Are there proper accommodations during Annapurna Base Camp Trek?

Rooms in ABC

When it comes to finding a well-facilitated accommodation during ABC trek, you don’t have to worry a bit as there are plenty of good hotels, lodges & teahouses. All the hotels & lodges will provide you quality rooms with cozy beds on the basis of twins sharing.

Is there anything better than to relax on the snuggly bed after a long tiring hike?

Well, wait! It’s not just this much. To your surprise, the hotels & lodges even have a well-equipped attached bathroom with hot showers. In addition, they have proper electricity where you can recharge your electronic devices & also you can have access to WIFI. Getting everything you wish for during the trek in the Himalayas is mind-blowing.

Note: You have to pay a certain extra fee (mostly $1 or $2) for using WIFI & charging your devices.

Better to book earlier in peak season

During the peak season (Sep to Mid-Dec) the number of trekkers increases in a tremendous amount. Many visitors hike this time to catch a stunning view of Annapurna range, Machhapuchre/Fishtail & other famous mountains & natural sceneries. So the hotels & lodges are always packed with lots of visitors. In the worst-case scenario, you have to sleep in the dining hall or outside the camp.

Getting a room at peak hours is almost impossible until & unless you book it beforehand. So if you are planning to trek ABC during autumn then we suggest you book with our agency.

What’s the best food I can have in Annapurna Base Camp Trek?

Foods while trekking in Nepal

The hotels & lodges are not just famous for their top quality services & hospitality, they also serve you with the mouth-watering delicious foods. The best food you can taste while trekking in every part of Nepal is a typical Nepali food: “Dal Bhat”.

It consists of steamed rice (Bhat), lentils (dal) & curry (vegetable or meat). They are healthy & provides you enough calories to keep you fueled up. The price is normally $5-$10. Due to its popularity among the trekkers, you can frequently hear the phrase: “Dal Bhat power 24 hours.”

In addition to this, you can always count on to the Himalayan cook to let you serve with continental, European or western, Indian or Chinese cuisines & believe me they are super delicious.

In general $20 – $30 per person per day is enough to pay for your lodging & food.

Serious Note: As you know life is hard in Himalayan regions & the only source of income for the people living in such remote places is tourism. But over the years there have been many cases foreigners bargaining for discounts & not paying properly. So it’s a humble request for everyone to help the community grow there.

Annapurna Base Camp Trek Difficulty: Easy or Hard?

ABC difficulty

Annapurna, being the tenth highest peak in the world, stands at a max elevation of 8,091m. However, its base camp lies at an elevation of just 4,130m, which is surprisingly low compared to its top.

Due to its location at a lower altitude (with compared to other base camps), anyone can easily complete ABC trek with less effort & difficulties. However, there are certain factors that determine the difficulty of this trek.

Trek duration:

Normally it will take you 12-14 days to complete the ABC trek with full experience. But you can complete the trek in just 10 days or can also extend as per your wish. In addition, through your whole trekking days, you’ll have to walk for 5-6 hours covering around 10-15kms in a day.

Quick Tip: Strengthen your legs before you hit the trail.

Weather:

Choosing the best time of the year to trek ABC plays a crucial role in determining trek success. As I have mentioned above the best time for this trek, rest is up to you.

Altitude Sickness:

This trek doesn’t take you to the higher altitude like in Everest Base Camp trek or Manaslu Circuit trek. So, altitude sickness shouldn’t be a real problem while doing this trek. Furthermore, you will hike & ascend slowly.

But just in case you feel difficulty with the altitude you can follow this procedure or console with your trekking guide.

Which means of transportation will be available during ABC?

complete guide to Annapurna Base Camp

Your ABC trek kicks off from Nayapul & also ends to Nayapul as mention in the itinerary.

To reach the starting point (Nayapul) for the trek, you’ll be using all the land transportation. On your second day from Kathmandu, you’ll drive to Pokhara by tourist bus & on your third day, you’ll drive to Nayapul from Pokhara by local jeep.

As for returning back to Kathmandu after finishing your trek, we will use the same route with the same vehicles.

However, if you want a hassle-free 6-7 hours ride by bus then catch a direct flight to Pokhara. It will take 15-20 minutes to reach Pokhara by plane. Since you’ll reach Pokhara early, you can explore the paradise city the whole day.

Which is best; Book with agency or self-trek in ABC?

trekking-agencies-in-Nepal

Annapurna Base Camp is by far the easiest trek with all the aesthetic beauty. This trail is very popular & crowded after the Everest Base Camp trail.

Hence, with basic knowledge & information about the route, you can easily do this trek by yourself. However, I would highly suggest you book with our agency.

Why book with an agency?

Booking with an agency is the ideal choice for ABC trekking. They will take care of everything you need throughout the trek. The best part of booking with an agency is that you needn’t need to worry about the foods & accommodations, purchasing permits & carrying your heavy bags. In addition, you will get a professional guide & porter. You can just relax & enjoy every bit of your trek.

With guides by your side, you will always have a feeling of comfort & safety as well as get full information about the trails & the surroundings. Not just this, they will also prevent you from getting possible altitude sickness & other dangers in the Himalayan.

Solo trek: Is this the best idea?

On the other hand, some of you might love to travel/trek alone & enjoy yourself on your own. Well, I agree with this. You can enjoy the trek on your own comfort zone. But there is always a merits & demerits while hiking self or solo.

If this is your first time trekking in Nepal or Annapurna Base Camp then, believe me, you’ll miss most of the trekking experiences. Purchasing permits, finding hotels & lodges along the way, carrying your own backpack, etc is for sure going to be painful. But for a second-time visitor completing this trek shouldn’t be a big deal as the trails are easy to remember.

Trekking with a group of friends will be a viable option to hike ABC trail. With a company, you can enjoy the ABC trek without any difficulties. Also, the expenses will be less since you’ll be sharing the food & accommodation. You can also hire a guide & porter for an incredible experience.

What to pack for Annapurna Base Camp Trek?

what to pack for Everest Base Camp

Every traveler’s mind goes blank when it comes to packing for trekking in Nepal. But it’s not as hard as it seems to be. You just have to know the time of year you are traveling & pack as according. And for rest, all the trekking gears, clothes & accessories are easily available in Nepal.

With proper packing, you’ll reduce the burden on your back & shoulder making it easy to complete the trek. And when I say proper packing it doesn’t mean only clothing but all the other necessary trekking items & accessories.  

Here is the essential packing list for Annapurna Base Camp trek.

  • One down Jacket
  • Two Thermal Tops & Jumper
  • Two pairs of trekking pants & one trousers
  • One woolen hat & buff
  • One pair of woolen gloves
  • Two pairs of underwear & socks (you can wash)
  • One pair of waterproof trekking boots
  • One pair of sandal or shoe
  • Sunscreen & sunglass
  • Water purification tablets or sterilizer
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Trekking Poles
  • Portable charger
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Other basic personal essentials

Quick tip: Try to make your backpack as light as possible. Avoid bringing unnecessary items.

Can I buy all the above trekking items in Nepal?

Yes, of course. The good news is that you don’t have to come to Nepal with big loads of bags from your hometown. Almost everything you require for the trek is easily available in Nepal. You can purchase quality clothes, gears & accessories at a reasonable price in Thamel & Pokhara.

In addition, you can have stuff like sleeping bag & down jackets in rent as well. They will charge you per day.

Sleeping bag charge: Npr 100/ $1

Down Jacket charge: Npr 100/ $2

Frequently Asked Questions about Annapurna Base Camp:

Is Annapurna Circuit trek & Annapurna Base Camp trek the same?

No, don’t confuse yourself for ABC trek with Annapurna circuit trek. It may sound similar but they are completely different from different trail & itinerary.

Check the complete guide for the Annapurna circuit trek.

Are there any age limitations for ABC trek?

ABC trek is located in a low elevation of just 4,130m & the trek difficulty is considered to be moderate. The chances of getting altitude sickness are very low. So to sum up anyone (from the age group 10-65 years old) can easily complete this trek under the proper guidance.

What about drinking water?

Don’t worry a bit about water. Each & every hotel & lodge have purified safe water & boiling water for trekkers.  It is not allowed to use plastic bottles in most of this area. So you should have owned your water bottle and you can buy this safe drinking water. Or you can use purifying tablets or sterilizers.

Is it safe for solo female trekkers?

Definitely yes. During peak season, the trails are always crowed & can always join the group of other independent trekkers. However, we highly recommend going with your own groups. Its big risk about missing trails in the low season, it’s not only for females. For both males and females, walking through the jungle area as alone is always a risk. If you missed the way, it can be dangerous.

What happens if I get sick or injured during ABC trek?

In this case trekking with agency comes in handy. The guide/group leader will provide you basic first aid treatment & take you to the nearest health posts as possible. However, if the condition is worse, emergency rescue by helicopter will be arranged.

As for solo trekkers, you can seek help from fellow trekkers or contact with any guides available there. They will help you for sure.

Are there ATMs on the route of ABC?

No. We recommend you to bring enough cash from Kathmandu or Pokhara. The currency must be Nepali rupees.

Is this trek for a budget traveler?

If you are on a budget & willing to experience Annapurna Base Camp trek, we (Pristine Nepal Treks & Expedition P. Ltd) can arrange & organize the trek for you.

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