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Annapurna Base Camp trek is one of the most popular trekking trails among the solo and adventure trekkers. This trip can fulfill their dream to see the 8,000 meters mountains and glaciers in less than 10 days city escape. It is also known as the Annapurna Sanctuary trek.
The trek offers an extraordinary variety of ecosystems due to its unique combination of heights, depths and cultures. This oval-shaped high glacial basin lies at an altitude of over 4,000 meters and surrounded by a ring of mountains-the Annapurna Himalayan range.
The Annapurna (8,091m/26,546ft) and Dhaulagiri (8,167m/26,796ft) massif are the center of attractions of this trek. Annapurna Sanctuary is like a natural amphitheater and has been sacred to the local people for centuries. The entire sanctuary is a holy land to the Gurung tribe of Annapurna region.
The Annapurna Base Camp trekking starts at Nayapul, about an hour scenic drive from Pokhara. We continue our trek towards the west trail from Birethanti which follows to Tikhedhunga and Ghorepani. The next early morning, our guide will wake you up to hike to Poonhill.
Poonhill is the stunning view point that offers the panoramic views of snow-capped mountains of the Annapurna Himalayan range. The views at sunrise from Poonhill are simply outstanding and impressive. We then trek towards Chhomrong and commence our journey into the Annapurna Sanctuary and further to Annapurna Base Camp.
|01||Drive/fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara||884m/2,900ft||Drive: 6-7 hours
Fly: 30 minutes
|02||Drive to Nayapul, trek to Tikhedhunga||1,540m/5,052ft||Drive: 1 hour
Trek: 4-5 hours
|03||Trek Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani||2,860m/9,383ft||Trek: 5-6 hours|
|04||Trek early morning to Poonhill then to Tadapani||3,210m/10,532ft||Trek: 6-7 hours|
|05||Trek Tadapani to Chhomrong||2,170m/7,119ft||Trek: 5-6 hours|
|06||Trek Chomrong to Dobhan||2,600m/8,530ft||Trek: 5-6 hours|
|07||Trek Dobhan to Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC)||3,700m/12,139ft||Trek: 5-6 hours|
|08||Trek to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), retrace to Bamboo||4,130m/13,500ft||Trek: 5-6 hours|
|09||Trek Bamboo to Jhinu Hot Spring||1,780m/5,840ft||Trek: 5-6 hours|
|10||Trek Jhinu to Nayapul and drive back to Pokhara||884m/2,900ft||Trek: 4-5 hours
Drive: 1 hour
|11||Drive/fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu||1,350m/4,430ft||Drive: 6-7 hours
Fly: 30 minutes
Therefore, Annapurna Base Camp trek is a good introduction to higher altitude without being too strenuous so that we have categorized this trek as medium-hard trek. Another positive side of the trip is it won’t require any internal flights like in the Everest region.
Best Season for Annapurna Base Camp Trek
There are two major seasons for trekking in Nepal such as spring and autumn. So, the best times for Annapurna Base Camp trek are from March to May and September to November. However, trekking in winter and summer is also possible in selected months and under favourable weather conditions. The summers are damp while the winter can be very cold at higher elevations. Summer trek could be more interesting to the naturalists though.
Autumn is generally a dry season that offers blue sky cleared by the summer rainfall and has moderate temperature. Spring is also an ideal season for a trek to Annapurna Base Camp. The trail is cherished with the red and white rhododendrons blooming over the hills in the spring. You need to stay cautious during late winter and early spring with the possible avalanche from Deurali to Machhapuchhre Base Camp.
Annapurna Base Camp Vs Everest Base Camp Trek
Both Annapurna Base Camp and Everest Base Camp treks have their own standard. However, they can’t be compared in terms of beauty, civilization, biodiversity and natural phenomena. Of course, the mountains seen from ABC and EBC are different.
The maximum elevation of Annapurna Base Camp is 4,130 meters while the Everest Base Camp lies at an elevation of 5,364 meters. Kalapatthar is yet higher at 5,545 meters, a popular spot for the mesmerizing view of Mt. Everest (8,848m).
Here we are trying to compare some facts so that travellers can choose the best trip suitable for them.
No internal flights are necessary for the Annapurna Base Camp trek. The ideal starting point of this trek is Pokhara, reached by a comfortable tourist coach everyday from Kathmandu. But Everest Base Camp trek starts with the weather-permitted thrilling flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. Trekkers are advisable to manage some spare days for Everest Base Camp trek so that they won’t miss their connecting flights back home.
Annapurna Base Camp comes within Annapurna Conservation Area and the Everest Base Camp comes within Sagarmatha National Park. Both are the protected areas and trekkers will need entry permits in order to trek in the regions. It costs Rs 3,000 or US $26 per person for either one. Additionally, all trekkers require getting TIMS permit as well and costs Rs 1,000 or US $9 per person.
Since the Everest Base Camp is situated higher than the Annapurna Base Camp, it may be experienced more difficult. But some advance preparation such as physical training, exercising or jogging can help a lot to achieve the success. It may be true that there are chances of catching high altitude sickness in the Everest region. So, drink water and fluids more than the normal and build up confidence.
Annapurna Base Camp has a mixed type of settlements including Gurung, Thakali, Magar, Chhetri and Brahmins but the dwellers in the Everest region are the Sherpas. They are also known as the people born for the mountains. Sherpas believe in Buddhism while the people in the Annapurna region have faiths on Buddhism and Hinduism as well. Annapurna region offers more mixed settlements altogether.
The cost for the ABC (Annapurna Base Camp Trek Cost) can be cheaper than the EBC (Cost of Everest Base Camp Trek) due to numerous factors such as trip duration, remoteness, mode of transportation, etc. ABC trek usually requires about 9-11 days while EBC trek needs 12-14 days depending on the itinerary. The cost of food and drinks are more expensive in the Everest region as they have to be transported either by flight or from Jiri.
The major factor to increase the cost on Everest trekking is Kathmandu-Lukla return flight. It costs US $180 per person for one way flight while Annapurna Base Camp trek begins at Nayapul. Nayapul is well connected by a nice motorable road reachable in an hour from Pokhara. The same is for the return. There are several modes available to reach Pokhara such as flight, car or tourist buses.
If you have a short duration of holiday, have a limited budget, worried for the flights due to bad weather and really concerned for the altitude and hardness, then Annapurna Base Camp trek is the right decision. However, there are no reasons to limit your spirit for the Everest Base Camp trek too. Your passion is the major key for a successful trip.
Thinking for more challenging adventure holiday in the Annapurna region?
Annapurna Circuit trek is the best alternative for those who are looking at more challenging adventures for longer duration.
- No internal flights required
- The shortest trek to the Himalayan glaciers
- Stunning Sunrise views from Poonhill
- Typical Magar and Gurung settlements along the trail
- Spectacular mountain views along the route
- Massive views from Annapurna Base Camp
- Natural hot spring pond at Jhinu
- The great countrysides, terrace farming and alpine forest