Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) Trek is one of the most popular treks in Nepal. It is quite easy and shorter trek than other high altitude treks in Nepal. This trek incorporates diverse terrain, culture, and wildlife. Along with the most spectacular and close up view of Annapurna range, Machhapuchhre, Hiunchuli, and Dhaulagiri.

In Spring, it showcases many beautiful flowers including the national flower of Nepal ­­­­– Rhododendron. Orchids, Machhapuchhre massif and the deepest gorge Kali Gandaki accompanies you during the trek.

You will spot at times high cascading waterfalls. And, you will get to learn about people of different ethnicity, especially Gurung people when visiting the Ghandruk museum.

Depending on which route you take, you may not pass through Ghandruk though. The trail is the same from Chomrung onwards but you can choose to include or not include Ghorepani Poon Hill and Ghandruk. Poon hill is a vantage point for the view of Annapurna plus other peaks and for sunrise and sunset.

Other highlights of this trek are the hot springs! Very relaxing and healing for your aching muscles.

Also, ABC passes through MBC (Machhapuchhre Base Camp). What a blissful moment. Visit two base camps in one trip!

Together with Annapurna Circuit, these trails welcome about seventy percent of the total trekkers visiting Nepal.

Trip Highlights

  • Spectacular and close view of Annapurna, Machhapuchhre and Dhaulagiri
  • Hot springs
  • Gurung Museum in Ghandruk
  • Exotic flora and fauna
  • Kali Gandaki is the deepest Gorge

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Earthquake Update for Annapurna Base Camp

The devastating earthquake of 25 April and 12 May was kinder to the Annapurna region. It suffered the least damage. According to Miyamoto International’s report on damage assessment, less than 1 percent of the route and 3 percent of guesthouses dismantled during an earthquake. Most of the damage occurred on the Annapurna Circuit trail rather than ABC trail. So, the region welcomed trekkers during the peak season of autumn (September-November).

Fixing minor damages the route regained its beauty by September the same year. Now, it is back to normal, as safe as it ever was.

When is the best time to do Annapurna Base Camp trekking?

You can go to Annapurna Base Camp trek any time of the year. Yet, the monsoon is not a good time. There is heavy rainfall during the evening or night but the dark clouds are ever present. This means bad to no view of the beautiful peaks. It also means leeches, mosquitoes, possible landslides and slippery roads. But, this is the time when animals are most active. If you are a keen biologist, then monsoon is best for you.

First, here are the seasons. In Nepal, there are six seasons but it translates as:

  • Spring (March to May)
  • Summer/Monsoon (June to August)
  • Autumn (September to November)
  • Winter (December to February)

Autumn is the best time to do this trek. Autumn is a dry season that offers clear blue sky and moderate temperature. This is the best time do any trek in Nepal and is, therefore, very crowded.

You could go during December if you would like it to be quieter. ABC is possible in winter as well. Dry air and clear sky with the  best visibility but, during winter, it will be very cold and will snow. If you plan to trek in December, you need to prepare well with appropriate packaging.

Starting from January, you need to be careful about the avalanche when traveling from Deurali to Machhapuchhre Base Camp. This stretch is prone to avalanche. Trekkers should be careful no matter what time in a year they are trekking when trekking from Deurali to MBC.

Spring is another best time to do Annapurna Base Camp trek. Watch out for the avalanche though. Listen to the locals for the news about the avalanche ahead. In spring, the trail will bloom with red and white rhododendrons and many other exotic flowers found in this region, a good time to go for botanists.

Annapurna Base Camp trek route/itinerary

There are 2/3 routes that you can take to ABC. From this, you can plan out many itineraries. All routes coincide at Chomrong and follow the same path to the base camp.

The trail can go straight to the Annapurna Base Camp or take a detour to Ghorepani Poon Hill or take a smaller detour to Ghandruk or both. You can make the climbing stop and returning stop at different villages. Of course, taking different routes causes plus or minus 3-4 days.

Here is a sample itinerary. This trail goes through Ghorepani Poon Hill. In general, the trek starts from Pokhara to Nayapul and ends like Phedi to Pokhara.

Itinerary

DayActivity
Day 1Kathmandu to Pokhara (By flight or Bus)
Day 2Drive to Nayapul and trek to Ulleri
Day 3Trek to Ghorepani
Day 4Early trek to Poon Hill for Sunrise, Back to Ghorepani and Trek to Tadapani
Day 5Tadapani to Chomrong
Day 6Chomrong to Dobhan (Dovan)
Day 7Dovan to Deurali
Day 8Deurali to Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC)
Day 9MBC to Annapurna Base Camp
Day 10Trek to Bamboo
Day 11Trek to Jhinudanda (Hot spring in Jhinudanda)
Day 12Jhinu Danda to Pothana/Jhinu Danda to Ghandruk
Day 13Pothana to Phedi and drive to Pokhara/ Ghandruk to Nayapul and drive to Pokhara
Elevation during Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Elevation during Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Personally, I think Ghanduk is a prettier village but Pothana is no less beautiful. Also, it is better to go through Ghorepani than to do a straight march up to ABC and back.

Trekking Permits and Costs for Annapurna Base Camp

To trek to Annapurna Base Camp, you need two permits.

  • One is Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) card. This costs:

For SAARC nationals: Nrs.200 (about US $2)

For Others: Nrs.2000 (about US $20)

  • Second is Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card that costs NRS. 2000 (about US $20)

Trekking Gears or Trekking Equipment Required

What to pack for the trek is one of the important questions. Not having proper gears can prove troublesome. It may cause health issues or ruin your mood.

Here is a general idea of what you should bring to Annapurna Base Camp trekking.

  • A lightweight trekking boots. It is not impossible to do this trek in sneakers or trainers. Many people try it. Just that you will be walking in snow for some part of the trek and boots offer more safety. But, make sure that your shoes are well fitting, light and comfortable
  • A pair of crocs
  • Four pairs of liner socks. Two pairs for a warm climate and two pair for cold climate. Trekking/liner socks are better but it is okay if you only have the normal ones.
  • Few pairs of underwear. There is trekking underwear that you could buy at home. They are good for other outdoor activities as well. You can find normal underwear in Nepal.
  • A high-quality best ultralight packable down jacket and a down pant. You can buy or rent a good down jacket and a down pant in Nepal for cheap for a $1 or less per day.
  • T-shirts and trousers keeping in mind both cold and warm temperature you will be traversing.
  • A set of thermals. Or, you could layer up.
  • A light sleeping bag. You can either buy or rent in Nepal or bring from your country.
  • A trekking pole. Though easy, there are many ups and downs in this trek and a trekking pole can assist you. Else, you can find a sturdy stick en route and use it to support yourself.
  • Two pairs of Gloves. One for warm weather and one for the cold.
  • A woolen hat
  • Sunglasses
  • A torchlight or a head torchlight
  • A First aid kit including Diamox and Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS)
  • Toiletries– Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, water purifiers, sunscreen, moisturizer, toothpaste, and toothbrush.
  • A waterproof map of Annapurna Base Camp
  • Snacks you like and entertainment such as books, cards, an iPad etc.

Are you unsure of what equipment to buy in Nepal and what to bring from home?

For detail info, check this: buy trekking equipment at home or in Nepal.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions answered to provide a clearer picture of Annapurna Base Camp Trekking.

1) How fit do I need to be to do this trek?

Annapurna Base Camp is a Grade B or a moderately difficult trekking route. So, any fit person can do this trek, even if you do not have any previous experience. You should be aware of what to expect and mentally prepare for it. Then, as long as you dare to, you can.

2) How long do we walk every day when doing Annapurna Base Camp trekking?

On average, you walk about 4 to 6 hours per day.  Sometimes your working hour is only 3/4 hours. While during pleasant and easy trails you walk for 6/7 hours.

3) What is the highest altitude reached in this trek?

The highest altitude reached is 4190m. This is the elevation of Annapurna Base Camp. ABC is the highest we will climb in this trek.

4) What about battery charging and hot shower facilities?

You can charge batteries en route. For this, you need to bring your charger. There are hot shower facilities as well. You may have to pay a certain amount for both ($1-$2). Negotiate. Also, hot water facility could be free at a lower elevation.

5) Are there ATMs on the way to Annapurna Base Camp?

No. There are no ATMs on this trek route. You have to draw enough cash from Pokhara or Kathmandu. There are many ATMs in these cities. Everything you do is in Nepali rupees. So, you need to carry enough Nepali currency before you set off for the trek.

6) What about internet access?

Yes. You will have enough Internet access in most places. Sometimes, there might be some technical problems. Internet in Nepal is not as fast as you in your home country and at losing connection is very common at times.

7) Is it necessary to hire Guides/trekking agency for Annapurna Base Camp trekking?

Not really!.

It depends on you. If you want, you can go solo on this trek.  You can hire a guide and a porter by yourself instead of going through an agency or not hire a guide at all. Although, not having a guide can be a little problematic during offseason.

It depends on you. Is it your first time in Nepal? How confident are you of being able to find your way around? How pressed on time are you? If you go through an agency, it will be costlier but they will plan everything for you. You come, trek and return. Simple!

8) How much do guides and porters cost?

For the Annapurna region, pay for guides range from $20 to $30 per day and porters take $15 to $25 per day.

9) How much should I tip guides and porters?

People have become used to receiving tips. However, there is no set amount as tipping is a westerner created culture. They will be happy to receive what you see fit to give. If you feel confused, trekkers have taken 15% of the total pay as the standard.

I.e. Say $20 per day times 10 days= $200 dollar. Therefore, 15% means $30 tip. This is quite enough. $30 = Nrs.3000 (roughly). So, you could tip anything from Nrs.2500 to Nrs.4000 depending on your satisfaction.

This is for guides and porters only. You do not need to tip taxi drivers or restaurant staffs. If you are adamant about tipping waiters, 10% of the bill is the standard pay. These are already included as a service charge though.

If there are other questions you like to inquire upon, please comment below. We would love to answer your queries.

Food, Accommodation and their Cost during Annapurna Base Camp trekking

Lodges cost around $2 per day. You can rent a private room with twin beds or a dorm room with 4-6 beds. They are small but cozy and tidy.

There are fancier hotels that cost much more but around $2 is the price for normal teahouses. Lodging in these fancy hotels refers to luxury trekking. They are costlier. ‘Comfort against weather’ wise, luxury trekking is not necessary at all for ABC trek.

Locals expect you to eat where you stay. Teahouses make money on food rather than lodging. You would agree that $2 is much lesser. There are different food options you can choose from. You can have eggs prepared in different ways, chapatti, cereals with milk, and sandwiches. Or, potatoes prepared in different ways, packet noodles, chowmein, momo, macaroni, pudding, Dal Bhat Tarkari and more. Dal Bhat is the cheapest and most filling option. For drinks, you can have tea, coffee, flavored hot drinks etc. They sell alcohols as well.

On average, $25 per day will cover three meals, no matter what you choose to eat, and many cups of hot beverage. This budget will not accommodate alcohols. If you drink, it is better to drink on your return trip. Alcohol and caffeine will make you vulnerable to AMS. Know below about  AMS:

What is AMS?

Anyone traveling over 2400m should know about AMS. AMS can be fatal.

Also known as altitude sickness, Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is the effect of high elevation on our body. Our body responds to the lower air pressure and lower concentration of oxygen at the heights.

You feel a headache, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, shortness of breath etc. Do not ignore the symptoms. It won’t get better in an instance. Rather, it will only get worse and turn into fatal conditions HAPE or HACE. if you do not take proper concern. You need to take proper rest and ascend downhill.

The best thing to do in case of AMS is to stop ascending. Turn back and descend or stay in the same elevation for the day. Most people acclimatize in a day, some people can take 2-3 days. Diamox helps in acclimatizing. If it does not get better, descend.

Annapurna Base Camp trek takes you over 4000m. So, it is very important to adopt preventive measures like staying hydrated, eating well, ascending slow etc.

Click here to know more about AMS prevention measures.

Some Tips for Annapurna Base Camp trekking

Here are some suggestions that may be of help while trekking.

  • If you order Nepali meal set or Dal Bhat Tarkari, you can take seconds and thirds for free, except for meat. Eat as much as you like.
  • Carry enough cash with you during the There are no ATMs in ABC trail.
  • Set aside about $150 to pay for transportation and entry fees for monasteries and museums.
  • Add some contingency days as you might need one more day for acclimatizing. Or, you may like to explore one more place.
  • Do not believe all the locals. Bad people can be anywhere. Let’s say, if you ask how far is place A, they may say you have reached place A to get you to stay in their tea house. Not all people are like that. Most are friendly and helpful.
  • You can rent the expensive gears instead of buying them if they will not be of use in the future.
  • Public display of affection is not welcomed and wearing revealing dresses will earn you unwanted criticism.
  • It is rude to click people without their knowledge. Ask them first, if it is okay to take their pictures.
  • Foods might take a little longer to cook. Order earlier.
  • Take proper precautions against AMS/altitude sickness.

Conclusion

Hope this helps in deciding on and planning out your trek to Annapurna Base Camp.

Happy journey.

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