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A complete guide to Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Author: Rabindra Adhikari
by Rabindra Adhikari
Posted: Aug 25, 2020
base camp

The trek to Annapurna base camp is the most popular trek in Nepal. Well established lodges and the spectacular views of the Himalayas with couple of 8,000 m peaks make the trek popular among the global trekkers.

Annapurna is the massif in the central Nepal which comprises gigantic snow peaks including the 10th highest mountain in the world the Annapurna I (8,091 m). The area of 7,629 sq km comprising Annapurna massif and its territory in the trans-Himalayan region known as Mustang is being preserved as Annapurna conservation. Annapurna conservation area project is the biggest and the most diverse conservation area in Nepal. There are about a dozen of splendid treks in the Annapurna conservation area. Annapurna base camp trek is the most popular because of easy access from the nearest city Pokhara, the well established lodges and the access to alpine landscape within short trek.

Here are highlights of the Annapurna base camp trek.

  • Trek through the biggest Rhododendron forest in the foothills of the Annapurna massif.
  • Spectacular view of gigantic snow peaks including two eight thousand meter peaks; Dhaulagiri I (8,091 m) and Annapurna I (8,091 m).
  • Short but scenic trek. One week trek from the nearest city Pokhara will take us to the alpine glacial valley at 4,190 m surrounded by world’s highest mountains and back.
  • Moderately difficult trek could be enjoyed by trekkers with wide fitness level, families with kids and also senior citizens.
  • Easy access from the second biggest city Pokhara connected by flight and tourist bus.
  • Well established teahouses along the trail make the trek comfortable and cost effective.
  • Culturally Rich : Foothills of the trek are habituated by Gurung and Magar ethnic groups popular for their rich culture.

How difficult is the trek?

Annapurna base camp trek is moderately difficult trek which is suitable for reasonably fit trekkers. However it is the easiest trek compared to other base camp treks. Since the trek starts from the subtropical foothills, it climbs up and down a lot at the beginning. At the higher elevation, it follows the deep, narrow valley where the climbing gets relatively gradual but the altitude makes it difficult. Depending upon the season, room temperature could go down to – 10 degree centigrade and the avalanches and snow makes it more challenging.

Best season for the trek

Spring and Autumn are the best time to do the trek. The rhododendron blossoms from mid March to mid April make the trek extraordinarily beautiful. Similarly, the post monsoon clear sky and comfortable temperature make October and November the busiest season. It is also sensible to avoid the crowd of peak time. The good weather continues throughout mid November till mid December. The snow may close down the trail during the peak winter. Similarly it is often cloudy and rains a lot to trek during the summer.

Trek Formalities

You can simply fly to Nepal and acquire visa on arrival at the Kathmandu airport. Two different types of permits are required to trek to Annapurna base camp. Trekking agencies can arrange the permit before trekkers arrive to Kathmandu to save time. It is also possible for individual trekkers to make permit. The Annapurna conservation Area Project (ACAP) permit costs USD 30 and the Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) costs USD 20.

Water, food and accommodation

There are well established teahouses along the trail to Annapurna base camp. Teahouses are run by local families. Since it has been over 30 years, teahouses are now more comfortable with attached western toilets and hot showers in most of the places. Rooms are basic at higher reaches though. They cater simple international cuisines with basic standard of hygiene and taste. The most common breakfasts are pancake, cereals, eggs and Tibetan bread with tea and coffee. Fried rice, noodles, pastas, roasti, momo, veg and non veg curries with rice and the traditional Nepalese food – Dal Bhat are common lunch and dinner.

For water, one needs to carry reusable water bottle. Boiled and purified drinking water is available at lodges for refill at small charge. The conservation area has banned importing plastic bottled water.

TIPS for Annapurna base camp trekking

  • Regular jogging, hiking and other physical activities prior to coming on a trek will be helpful.
  • Avoid the peak tourist season for less crowd in the trail. Early March and end of April are the best time. Similarly mid November to mid December also have good weather with less trekkers.
  • Travel light. You don’t need to carry sleeping bag as the teahouse provide blankets. Wash your socks, underwear and t-shirts to reuse than carry extra pairs.
  • Dress in layers to adjust with changing weather from low to high altitude.
  • Start walking early in the morning, so you can be at the destination early enough to settle and enjoy the surroundings. Weather gets bad in the late afternoon and also the lodges may get over crowded.

Annapurna base camp trek could be planned in as less as one week from Pokhara to Pokhara. 8 days trek will give you more time to take the detour from Poon Hill popular for best sunrise view point. Nepal tour could be customized with one hour helicopter tour of Annapurna base camp from Pokhara. Using helicopter flight, the trek could be cut short for about 4 to 5 days only.

About the Author

I am an adventurer from the Himalayas of Nepal. I love exploring new places, reading no fiction books and writing travel journal. Here is my Nepal Tibet Bhtutan tour blog.

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Author: Rabindra Adhikari
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Rabindra Adhikari

Member since: Nov 05, 2019
Published articles: 11

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