The snow-capped peaks of Nepal are already so popular. And among many such awesome peaks in the Himalayan range, the beauty of Annapurna is comparable to none. The melody of the Annapurna range keeps everyone awe-inspired. However, it’s not a mountain that gives you a memory to cherish for a lifetime. And do you know what makes this journey so prodigious?
The ancestral traditions live within the hidden villages, mist-shrouded valleys, cascading waterfalls, pristine rivers, and unbelievable landscapes. Along with the little blend of comfort in the latest built tea house, one gets to experience the beauty of Mother Nature like never before. Above 5000 meters, one immerses themselves in a mountain wilderness. This Annapurna promises peace and rejuvenation.
However, trekking to the remote Himalayas of Nepal can bring unimaginable challenges. And it’s always wise to be prepared. So, this article is all about Annapurna Base Camp trek guides where we answer all your queries about Annapurna.
Let’s get started. Shall we?
Firstly, let’s know more about Annapurna and its base camp trek.
Annapurna is the world’s ten tallest mountain that lies at 8,091 meters above level. It lies in the Annapurna mountain range of Nepal, close to the famous Pokhara city in Gandaki province.
The Annapurna mountain was first conquered by the Frech team led by Maurice Herzog in 1950; thus becoming the first 8,000 m+ Mountain ever climbed. Since then, over a million travel freaks have become close to Annapurna vista- one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. However, the beauty of the mountain can also be experienced without making a life-risking climb. That’s why the Annapurna Base Camp trek is so popular. It is among the easiest, cheapest, and most exciting mountain treks in the world.
Classic Annapurna Base Camp trek begins with a drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara and then to Nayapul. From here, we cross many Buddhist villages that are the representation of diverse Nepalese cultures and traditions. On the same day, we reach Ghorepani Poonhill. This is a very popular trekking destination itself, known for its magnificent sunrise. Then, we move towards Chhomrong and Himalaya before crashing at Annapurna Base Camp (4130 meters). Before that, we also get to witness the beautiful Machhapuchhre Base Camp at an altitude of 3700m.
Annapurna Base Camp at 4130 meters is among the world’s most beautiful places to spend your night. With the 360-degree Panorama of the entire mountain range, you are bestowed with the best sunrise of your time. Then, we walk down to the natural hot spring of Jhinu Danda for a rejuvenating bath. Finally, back to Pokhara, you get to visit this wonderful city of Lake.
The Annapurna Base Camp trek does sound magical, doesn’t it?
Annapurna Base Camp is noted to be one of the cheapest treks in Nepal. Unlike the Everest Base Camp trek, the cost of food and accommodation on this trekking trail is very reasonable. Moreover, since it’s optional to take the flight, the Annapurna Base Camp cost is very affordable.
The real cost can only be calculated when you fix your Annapurna Trek Itinerary. The standard 14 days of Annapurna Base Camp trip cost by MyEverestTrip is about $900 to $1200. This includes everything from picking you up at the tour to the cost of your guide/ porter and every other expense of the trip. You might see the international travel agency offering a Luxurious Annapurna Base Camp trek package that cost above $1500 but the cost isn’t worth it. When you take the Annapurna Base Camp trek package, make sure you carry $300 to $500 extra for additional food, tips, and donations.
Traveling a group of over 3 people, independent trekkers might be able to travel for $600 to $700 if they manage to arrange everything. Also, note that there’s no ATM beyond Pokhara and you need to get all the money in cash.
Don’t rely on our statement; calculate the cost yourself. Here we explain all the cost items so that you have a general idea about what the price of Annapurna Base Camp might be.
From Kathmandu to Pokhara: The flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara cost about USD 115. The cheaper option is a local bus that cost USD 7 (but is very uncomfortable) and a tourist bus that cost USD 10 to 20 (the best option indeed). You can also get a private car for the same cost as the flight. The choice is yours.
Pokhara to Nayapul: About 2 hours of ride from Pokhara to Nayapul (the starting point of the Annapurna base camp trek) cost USD 20 for a private vehicle and USD 2 to 3 per person for a local bus. Since it’s a short journey, a local bus can also be a reasonable choice. You might also start the trek at Kande, Phedi whose cost is also similar.
Jhinu danda/ Potahana to Pokhara: Local bus cost USD 6 and private can cost USD 120.
Visa to Nepal Cost: USD 30 for 15-day multiple entry visas and USD 50 for 30-day multiple entry visa
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) entry permit: USD 30
TIMS card: USD 10 for Solo trekkers and USD 20 for Group trekkers
SAARC member countries
Visa Costs: Free (no visa is needed for Indians)
TIMS card cost: NPR.300/- per person (group trekkers) and NRP 600 per person (for solo trekkers)
ACAP cost: NPR. 1000/- per person
Cost of guide and porter: USD 25 to USD 30 for a guide and USD 20 for a porter per person per day. A porter can carry the bag of two people and a guide usually sees 6 to 10 people
In Kathmandu and Pokhara: Ranges from USD 10 to USD 150 (USD 20 for a comfortable 3-star hotel)
Travel Insurance: Should be done before you come to Nepal so depends on your home country
Trekking gear: Depends on what you buy (might cost USD 300 to 1000 as per the brand. However, you can rent the trekking gear as a Sleeping bag, map, bag, boots, etc in Pokhara and Kathmandu for USD 1 to 2 per day per item
Hot shower: USD 2 to 3 for a single hot shower
Internet: Free in Kathmandu and Pokhara/ cost USD 2 to 3 on the trekking trail
Gadgets Charge: Might be free in many areas and cost 1 to 1.5 USD per hour
Tips: For guide, porter, and restaurants as per your will (below 10% of the total cost)
Donations: In temple and monastery as per your will
Cost-saving tips for the Annapurna Base Camp trek
Traveling in a larger group is always cheaper than traveling in a smaller group
Share your ride with other people while you hire a private vehicle
Drive to Pokhara on a tourist bus and you can skip the expensive domestic flight to save about USD 200.
Eat only in the tea house you sleep, otherwise, they charge you higher for the room
Carry chocolate bar, juice, energy drink, cookies, and instant coffee to save money on food
Make sure you carry your own water bottle and sterilizing tablets to refill the bottle in natural springs
Order one high-calorie meal instead of multiple meals
Did you know that the Annapurna base camp distance is only 115kms of the walk-in total? The round trip from Nayapul to Pothana is actually shorter than you would be thinking. And as per MyEverestTrip’s Annapurna Base Camp trek Itinerary, this distance is covered in nine trekking days. Basically, it takes 14 days to reach the Annapurna Base Camp trek but the walking days are only 9 days. So, it’s basically about 12 km of walk each day.
However, there are other Itineraries to the Annapurna Base Camp trek which take a lot less time. If you skip Ghorepani/ Poonhill trek and start the walk via Ghandruk, the walking days will be about 7 days. If you add more destinations and stop for a few days in Ghanduk or Ghorepani for acclimatization, the Annapurna Base Camp trek can be longer. And if you complete the entire Annapurna Circuit trek, this trek can be about 20 days long.
Although the distance is less, the rocky mountain terrain is a bit difficult. You must be careful at the steep places and avoid walking in the passes during the snow. While experienced ones cover this distance easily, it might take a little longer for the newbie. So do not worry about the distance; walk slowly and enjoy the trail; you will surely reach the destination before sunset.
Here’s the short Itinerary and distance of the Annapurna Base Camp trek for each day your spend on the trip
- Day 01 – Arrival in Kathmandu
- Day 02 – Drive Kathmandu to Pokhara -200 kilometers (6-7 hours)
- Day 03 – Hike Nayapul to Tikhedhunga – 9 km (4 hours)
- Day 04 – Hike to Ghorepani – 13 km (7 hours)
- Day 05 – Hike to Tadapani – 9 km (7 hours)
- Day 06 – Hike to Chhomrong village – 8.5 km (5 hours)
- Day 07 – Hike to Dovan – 9 km (5 Hours)
- Day 08 – Hike to Deurali – 7.8 km (4 Hours)
- Day 09 – Hike Annapurna Base Camp 8 km (6 hours)
- Day 10 – Walk to Bamboo – 18 km (7 hours)
- Day 11 – Walk to Jhinu Danda – 12 Km (6 hours)
- Day 12 – Jhinu Danda to Pokhara – 5 km (3 hours of hike and 2 hours’ drive)
- Day 13 – Pokhara to Kathmandu
- Day 14 – Departure
Well, easy is a relative term and it depends on how you perceive the trek. However, there are experts who have graded the Annapurna Base Camp trek difficulty as “Easy to moderate”. It means the trek will be easy on some days and a little harder on some sections. However, this is not a mountain climb and doesn’t need any technical skills. Any newbie who has never been to a higher altitude can also easily complete the Annapurna Base Camp trek. However, you shall need proper guidance from the experts to overcome the major difficulty of the Annapurna Base Camp trek.
The major challenges of the Annapurna Base Camp trek are:
We begin the journey from Pokhara which lies at 800meters above sea level and then head towards Annapurna base camp at 4130 meters. Here’s the altitude of different places along the Annapurna Base Camp trek route
- Kathmandu altitude: 1300 meters
- Pokhara altitude: 820 meters
- Tikhedhunga altitude: 1540 meters
- Ghorepani altitude: 2880 meters
- Poonhill altitude: 3193m
- Tadapani altitude: 2630 meters
- Chhomrong altitude: 2170 meters
- Dovan altitude: 2600 meters
- Deurali altitude: 3230 meters
- Annapurna Base Camp altitude: 4130 meters
- Machhapuchhre Base Camp altitude: 3700m
- Jhinu Danda altitude: 1780 meters
With such a swift change in altitude, your major concern should be altitude sickness. The oxygen level lowers as the air pressure decreases. And when your body doesn’t get enough oxygen, symptoms like nausea, fatigue, headache, and loss of appetite are common. It might get worst as you experience diarrhea, vomiting, insomnia, and shortness of breath. If these symptoms are severe, you should stop the trek and rest wherever you are. It’s better if you head to a lower altitude and take some medications. In the worst case, one needs a helicopter rescue in Annapurna. That’s why we recommend you get travel insurance to Nepal that covers high-altitude rescue.
Tips to overcome altitude sickness
Altitude sickness might sound very risky, but it’s manageable with some preparation. Start by hiking only for a few hours and gain a little altitude each day. Hydrate yourself and always have high-calorie, healthy meals that keep you energetic. Also, avoid all kinds of alcoholic beverages and carry some medications; ask your doctor to prescribe you some medicine. Also, some cardio exercises like running, hiking, swimming, and cycling a few months before the trek are helpful
Unfortunately, if you catch the symptoms of altitude sickness, do not climb further. Get back to the lower altitude and let your body rest. Carry acetazolamide for altitude sickness and ibuprofen/ paracetamol for the pain in your body. If the symptoms become severe, you might have to call for a Helicopter rescue. So, keep informing the guide about your situation.
The weather and temperature of Annapurna also determine the comfort you experience during the trek. Autumn and Spring is the easiest month to travel as the temperature are moderate and there is no snowfall and no rainfall. Pokhara might get rainfall in the evening during Spring, but the trekking trail is mostly dry. The temperature at high altitudes also lies between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius which is quite bearable.
Trekking in Summer might be warm, but the rainfall makes it hard to trek. About 15 to 20 days in June and July is wet in the evening and the path is quite slippery. Also, there are leeches and mosquitos on the trail. In winter, the entire Annapurna Base Camp region is covered in a thick layer of snow. The temperature ranges from 0° to minus 17 degrees centigrade making it very hard to survive. This kind of weather only remains in January/ December and is the hardest time for the trek.
Tips to overcome Annapurna Base Camp difficulty
Always hire a porter to carry your bag- you might feel that you are strong enough to carry 10 to 15kg of a backpack on your own. However, once you start the trek, it becomes really hard to carry with a bag.
Hire a guide so that you don’t get lost in the forest and he/she shall assist in emergency
Confirm your packing list with the guide before you leave Kathmandu, if you miss any essentials, you can buy them in Pokhara
Always carry dress in layer and keep down jacket and sleeping bag irrespective of the weather (the mountains are always cold)
Autumn in Annapurna
Besides the perfect weather, autumn has many other perks of trekking in Annapurna Base camp. The skies remain clear until the evening when the amazing Annapurna vistas shines to the best. The unobstructed views of the prominent Himalayans make your heartache with happiness. Since this is the harvesting season, the farmers are seen working in the field, and the vegetation is absolutely beautiful. The crowded path and teahouse make everything vibrant, and you will meet a lot of fine people on the trail. It’s also the time for major festivals like Dashain and Tihar in the lower region. Autumn is definitely the best season for the Annapurna base camp trek.
Spring in Annapurna
While praising Autumn for being the best, we cannot ignore how beautiful Annapurna Base Camp look during spring. Right after the winter, the thick layer of snow gives a breathtaking view of the mountains. The snow along the trail melts, and the entire path appears exquisite with floral shades of Rhododendron. The average temperature rises, and people are back for celebrations and festivals. Spring is a good season to visit the base camp of Annapurna.
Now, let’s look at the less-visited months of winter and summer. If someone ever said you could summer and winter trek in Nepal is impossible, kindly ignore them. Yes, the summer rain can sometimes make the trail slippery, but all you need is a good pair of trekking boots. It’s the warmest month of the year, and the lush green vegetation makes the surroundings clear. After the pour (which usually occurs in the evening), the area looks even more beautiful, and the mountains are clear.
Similarly, some days of January might be hard for the trekkers due to snowfall. But the fall occurs only 2/3 times and quickly melts away. The views of frozen waterfalls, icy lakes, and mountains are at their best in winter. Also, it’s time for the celebration of Loshar, the major festival in Annapurna is Losar (February-March) which marks the Tibetan Buddhist New Year. The Sherpas, Gurungs, and Tamangs celebrate these 15-day festivals with great excitement. So, winter can also be a great time for the visit as long as you have a flexible Itinerary and warm clothes, you got nothing to worry about.
MyEverestTrip trek helps arrange the trek to Annapurna base camp at your feasibility throughout the year.
Can you see Everest from Annapurna?
Sadly, NO, you cannot see Everest from Annapurna. Annapurna Himalaya range is the 10th tallest mountain that lies in the northwest of Nepal and then there’s Everest (Nepal’s tallest mountain) that lies in the northeast, towards the Chinese border. Now, since these two peaks lie in two different corners of Nepal, you cannot see both of them together.
So, if you are heading for the Annapurna Base Camp trek, where are the spots to see Mount Everest?
Firstly, you can see Everest at Nagarkot, which is the hilltop lying a few km away from Kathmandu. From here, the Everest peak appears far in the north and is only visible on a clear day. For a better view, you can take a helicopter flight to Everest Base Camp (about 3 hours of tour) or trek to the Namche Bazaar (about 3 days from Kathmandu).
Although you cannot see Everest from Annapurna, there are many other peaks around Annapurna that one can witness during the trek. The peaks are:
- Annapurna I (Main) 8,091 m
- Annapurna II 7,937 m
- Annapurna III 7,555 m
- Annapurna IV 7,525 m
- Gangapurna 7,455 m
- Annapurna South 7,219 m
- Dhaulagiri 8,167 m
- Macchapuchhre 6993 m
- Hiunchuli 6441 meters
- Mardi Himal 5587 meters
- Pisang peak 6091 meters
- Lamjung Himal 6,983m
- Ganesh Himal 7,422m
As we have mentioned earlier, the Annapurna Base Camp trek is 10 to 12 days of the journey. Getting beyond Annapurna Base Camp needs technical mountain climbing skills and a special climbing permit. The climbers get to Annapurna peak from the southwest ridge and it takes about 40 to 46 days in total. It includes the training time in Kathmandu, the trek to Annapurna Base Camp, and the time taken for the climb and acclimatization.
There are four camps between Annapurna Base Camp and Annapurna peak.
Annapurna Camp I (5200m/17,060ft) 4hrs
Annapurna Camp II (5700m/18,700ft) 4½hrs
Annapurna Camp III (6500m/21,325ft) 5-6hrs
Annapurna Camp IV (7100m/23,294ft) 3½hrs
Annapurna Summit (8,091m/26,545ft) 16-17hrs
Annapurna climb needs a lot of training, skills, practice, and even money. However, the Annapurna Base Camp trek is an easy hike with an equally rewarding experience. So, stop overthinking and pack your bag today.
So, how excited are you to trek to the Annapurna Base Camp this season?
We are here to help you with everything to plan your Annapurna Base Camp trek. Just leave your queries or send a mail to MyEverestTrip.
We will be happy to help.