Everything You Need To Know About the Annapurna Base Camp Trek in Nepal
In the north-central part of Nepal lies a 55 kilometers long, compact group of mountains, which is commonly known to the world as the Annapurna massif. This massif is protected by the largest conservation area of the country, the Annapurna Conservation Area (7,629km2). Trekking to the base camp of Annapurna or the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, allows trekkers to enjoy the most spectacular section of this massif including the view of the 10th highest mountain in the world, Annapurna I. Located north of the beautiful lake city, Pokhara, east of Poon Hill and Ghorepani and west of Mardi Himal; the Annapurna Base Camp is one of the most popular trekking destination in Nepal. Every year two third of all trekkers in Nepal visit the Annapurna region.
Some facts related to the Annapurna Base Camp Trek
- Annapurna Base Camp trekking is trekking to the base camp of the Annapurna South.
- Annapurna Base Camp trekking presents trekkers a chance to view the 10th highest mountain in the world, the Annapurna I.
- The Annapurna Base Camp presents the 3600 panorama of stunning mountains in the Annapurna region that include, Machhapuchhre (6993m), Annapurna III (7555M), Gangapurna (7454m), Singu Chuli (6501m), Annpurna I (8091m), Annapurna South (7219m) and Hiunchuli (6441m).
- During the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, trekkers can enjoy two base camps – a) Annapurna Base Camp and b) Machhapuchhre Base Camp.
- Trekkers can either directly go to the Annapurna Base Camp or take a detour to Ghorepani- Poon Hill or Ghandrunk or both. Nevertheless, all these trails coincide at Chhomrong and further lead to the base camp.
- If trekkers choose to take a detour to Ghorepani-Poon Hill, then trekkers can enjoy the second famous view point after Kala Patthar in the Khumbu region, the Poon Hill. The view of Machhapuchhre (6993M), Hiunchuli (6441m), Annapurna South (7219m), Baraha Sikhar (FANG) (7647M), Nilgiri South (6839M), Tukuche (6920m) and Dhaulagiri (8167m) are magnificent.
- The entire area is inhabited by people, which offers a great opportunity for trekkers enjoy unique teahouse trekking.
- During the trekking season, the trail gets very crowded, therefore, this trail is not recommended for trekkers seeking solitude.
Highlights of the Annapurna Base Camp Trekking
- The very famous Lake City in Nepal, Pokhara, which serves as the starting point of the trek.
- Incredibly diverse scenery, including both, high mountain and lowland villages.
- Exposure to unique settlement, lifestyle, culture, tradition and hospitality of Gurung, Magar and Thakali people.
- Availability of guest houses, tea houses and Homstays from start to finish as the entire area is inhabited by people.
- Beautiful sunrise and sunset view and Annapurna range, Dhaulagiri and Machhapuchhre from Poon Hill, the second famous view point in Nepal after Kala Patthar in the Khumbu region.
- Subtropical and alpine climate, vegetation, animals and birds.
- Famous Gurung, Magar and Thakali villages like, Ulleri, Ghorepani and Ghandruk.
- Homestay and Gurung museum in Ghandruk.
- Hot Spring in Jhinu Danda, a perfect tub to relax your tired muscles after the trek.
- Perfect blend of scenery and amazing landscape.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only the page. – Saint Augustine.
Permits and Costs required for Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Since the Annapurna Base Camp is located inside the Annapurna Conservation Area, both solo and group trekkers are required to obtain an individual ACAP entry permit. Trekkers can apply for the permit with two passport size photographs. The permit fee for SAARC Nationals is NPR 200/- (Two Hundred only), while for nationals other than SAARC countries is NPR 3,000/- (Three Thousand only). However, children under the age of 10 do not require any entry fee. This permit is valid for single entry only and must be carried during the entire trip and shown to the concerned person at check posts, upon request. This permit is non-transferable and non refundable. Also, this permit only allows trekkers to enter the designated places within the conservation area.
Next, trekkers are also required to obtain Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card in order to trek to the Annapurna Base Camp. TIMS card should be obtained by both Free Individual Trekkers (FITs) and those with government authorized agencies. Trekkers need a copy of passport and two passport sized photos and Nepali currency equivalent to $20/person (Green TIMS card) for free individual travelers and $10/person (Blue TIMS card) for travelers travelling in a group, in order to apply for the TIMS card. TIMS card can be obtained at the offices of Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu and Pokhara and TAAN Secretariat at Maligaon and TAAN Pokhara Secretariat in Pokhara .
The cost of the standard Annapurna Base Camp Trekking packages by Amigo Treks and Expedition also includes the cost of all permits required during the Annapurna Base Camp Treks.
Routes that lead to the Annapurna Base Camp
Starting Pokhara, the standard route, that is, via Ghorepani Poon-Hill requires 11 days to reach the Annapurna Basecamp and come back to Pokhara. The trail starting Nayapul passes all the way through Birethanti, Ramghai, Sudame, Hille, Tikhedhunga, Ulleri, Banthanti, Ghorepani, Tadapani, Sinuwa, Deurali, Annapurna Base Camp. While returning from the Annapurna Base Camp, trekkers will follow the same route down till Chhomrong and then continue to Bamboo, Jinu Danda, and Pothana, where the ABC trek normally ends. Nevertheless, there is a good news for travelers, who cannot spend 11 days to get to the ABC. Most of the companies offer Short Annapurna Base Camp Trek packages, which allows trekkers to complete the ABC trek in just 8 days. However, trekkers always have the option of a detour, if they have time and are looking to explore more.
Food and Water during the Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Proper food and water intake is a very essential part of any trekking. Since, the Annapurna Base Camp route is entirely inhabited by people, eatery options are more along the trail, compared to the other trekking routes in Nepal. Therefore, the meals served during the trek will be as per the tea house menu. The standard packages offered by agencies usually include three major meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and tea and coffee.
Breakfast: Oatmeal boiled in water, French toast served with jam, honey or butter, eggs cooked in your preferred style, pancakes, Muesli, or Chhapati are available options for breakfast.
Lunch: Usually, traditional Nepali food (Lentil soup, rice, curry, pickle and meat cooked in Nepali style) is provided for lunch. Food served are organic, fresh and made using local ingredients and is very tasty. However, if you are looking for some western food, you can always choose the one provided in the tea house menu.
Dinner: Both traditional and Western food is available for dinner. You can order as per the tea house menu.
Water: You can buy bottled water from the starting point of the trek till the end. But the prices increase, with the increment in altitude. Therefore, using water filters is wiser than buying bottled as it reduces your budget as well as the waste on the trek.
It is always recommended to pack protein bars, cheese, nuts, chocolates or candy bars, which provide additional energy while walking.
Accommodation during the Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Guest houses, basic lodges and tea houses are the available accommodation options during the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. The rooms are very basic with one or two beds and very little or no additional furniture at all. Some accommodations provide attached bathroom; however, most offer shared bath and rest rooms. Some provide hot shower facility, however, in the absence of hot shower facility, trekkers can always ask for a bucket of hot water (extra charge applicable). The rooms, although very basic, are very comfortable. AC or heater facilities are not available, therefore, it is recommended to bring your own sleeping bag. Moreover, if you are looking to enjoy the local lifestyle and settlement of people, then ask your company to book some of your accommodations in Homestays.This allows you to enjoy local food, culture, tradition, and lifestyle of local people by spending time with them.
Transportation during the Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Nayapul is the starting point of the most of the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Local transportation (bus) is available from Pokhara to get to Nayapul. It takes about 2 hours to reach Nayapul from Pokhara. However, if you are starting your trip from Kathmandu, you can either drive, or fly to Pokhara. If you take a tourist bus from Kathmandu, it takes about 7 hours to reach Pokhara. However, if you wish to take a flight it will only take about 20-25 mins to reach Pokhara. You can also hire a private jeep or a car to get to Nayapul from Pokhara, if you are willing to pay a little extra.
Annapurna Base Camp Difficulty Level
Annapurna Base Camp trek is one of the easiest base camp treks in Nepal. Chances of altitude sickness are very low. All you need is a good health condition and stamina to walk for about 6-7 hours in a day. No prior experience is required to plan this trekking, however, some prior hiking, trekking or camping experience will surely make this trekking easier. Difficulty can only be expected in case of bad weather, disturbance in the trail caused by any unforeseen natural disaster.
Recommendation for Solo trekkers or female solo trekkers
Solo trekking or female solo trekking is definitely possible in the Annapurna region of Nepal. During the peak trekking seasons, the trekkers will get to enjoy the company of the other trekkers, while on the trail. However, trekking in a group is highly recommended. Solo trekkers can always join the existing groups. If you are a budget traveler and if you are concerned about your safety, then joining groups is the best idea.
How do I get ready for the trek?
First and the foremost, get your body prepared for the trek. Be informed regarding your current fitness level, get the required vaccination and medications, consult regarding the necessary guide walks prior to trekking with your doctor or a local General Practitioner. Start exercising at least 4-6 weeks prior to the trek. Focus on cardio exercise like cycling, jogging, running, swimming or uphill/stair climbing by carrying a backpack and muscle strengthening exercises like pushups, pull-ups, weight lifting and squats.
Next, get your luggage ready. Your checklist should include the following things:
- Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance, air tickets, voucher, passport sized photos
- Binoculars, alarm clock and torch/flashlight/headlamps, ear plug and eye mask,
- Reading and writing materials, travel games like , chess, backgammon, scrabble,
- Hand sanitizer, lip balm, face and body moisturizer, light weight towel, toiletries like toothbrush, toothpaste, multipurpose soap, deodorant, nail clippers, sanitary pads
- Money-cash and money bag,
- Sleeping bag
- Day pack (with waist straps), refillable water bottle
- Sun hat, sunglasses, scarf
- Bag liner,
- Sewing kit, swiss army knife, lighter, a small padlock
- Wind and waterproof shell jacket and trousers
- Comfortable walking shoes, running shoes and sandals
- Socks: thick wool blend and thin cotton to be worn in combination
- Lightweight thermal gloves
- Underwear and shorts
- Long sleeved shirt
- Trekking/Hiking boots with spare laces
- Lightweight long trousers
- First Aid Kit
- Regular medicines
Nevertheless, if you are planning the Annapurna Base Camp trekking, during the winter season, your pack list should be special. Do not forget to include the following things in the list.
- Layered clothing/thermals
- 1 heavyweight or 2 light weight wool jumper/sweater/fleece jacket
- Fleece wind-stopper jacket
- Down jacket or down vest
- Fleece or wool trousers
- Heavyweight gloves or mittens
- A four season sleeping bag
- Thick, warm wool hiking socks
- Gaiters (optional)
Best season to plan the Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to Mid-December) are the best season to plan the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. These seasons are very supportive in terms of trail, visibility, and weather condition. Trail during monsoon season are very slippery , the views are obstructed by clouds and rain and during the winter season its very cold due to snowfall.
What policies should my travel insurance cover?
Your travel insurance should cover all the extra expenditure that might come into account due to various health issues, injuries or accidents; the cost of the ambulance, helicopter rescue, hospital charges, cost of the medical treatment, medicine and doctor’s fee and the repatriation cost. Your travel insurance should also include all the other extra activities (not mentioned in the package) that you are looking to undertake while you are in Nepal and also the cost of theft and liability, cancellation and misplaced luggage.
What happens if I get sick or injured during the Annapurna Base Camp trekking?
If you get sick during the trekking or in case you are injured, our team leader will provide the First Aid service and take you to the nearest health post for further services. However, in the case, where the situation is not under the control of team leader, emergency rescue (helicopter rescue) will be arranged.
If you are looking for a hassle-free trekking experience, it is always good to take help from government authorized trekking agencies in Nepal. These trekking agencies are in good contact with service providers in various trekking regions of the country, which makes it easier for them to book services for you. Some of these trekking agencies will also provide the option of customizing the package if their standard package does not meet your requirements. These trekking agencies will understand your requirements and budget and customize the package accordingly. Make sure to choose the one that best company. Plan your Annapurna Base Camp Trek with Amigo Treks and Expedition for better experience.