Annapurna Base Camp Trek: A Complete Guide For Beginners

One of the classical trekking routes located in Pokhara, Nepal, Annapurna Base Camp Trek is a must for every travel enthusiast. Whether a novice traveler or a highly experienced trekker, Annapurna Base Camp is undoubtedly one of the best high-altitude trekking trails.

For anyone taking this trail, you can even try an independent hike on this trail. You will also be able to experience the spectacular views of the majestic mountains and culture-filled villages, which makes it exactly like the peace of heaven made on Earth.

Also famous by the other name Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, ABC trek takes you to its base camp, a beautiful viewpoint of Poonhill, and numerous beautiful destinations. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience as you reach an altitude of 4130 meters while surrounded by some of the world’s highest peaks.

The Guide To The Annapurna Base Camp Trek

  • Starting And Ending Point: Nayapul
  • Trekking Distance: 80 km / 50 miles
  • Trekking Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Maximum Elevation: 4,130 meters, Annapurna Base Camp
  • Duration: 7-10 days
  • Best Season: Mid-September to November (autumn) and March to May (spring)
  • Permits And Entrance: TIMS, Annapurna Conservation Area Project Fees, and any other permission fees
  • Cost Of Permits: NPR 2000/US$17 (TIMS card) and NPR 3000/US$25 pp (Annapurna Sanctuary Permit)
  • Guide: Not necessarily needed
  • Accommodation: Guest Houses

ABC Trek Itinerary

Depending on your fitness level, walking pace, and style, the ABC trek will take about 7-10 days. It also depends on which route you wish to take for this trek.

Here, the shortest trail starts from the Nayapul bus station. From there, you move to Jhunu, Chhumrung, and finally, the base camp. Later, you follow back the same route along the Modi Khola River.

Modi Khola flowing from Annapurna
Modi Khola flowing from Annapurna (Source – Wikimedia Commons)

However, you can also opt to walk from Ghorepani Poon Hill, which will be a relaxing round. Gradually, you will walk through the villages of Landruk, Tolka, Pothana, and Dhampus before ending the tour at Phedi.

At the same time, this ABC trail can also go from Kande and Ghandruk, either of which can be the starting or ending point. You can also mix other routes to the ABC trek, such as the Poon Hill and Mardi Himal trails.

ABC Trail With Poon Hill Route

  • Nayapul to Ulleri (12 km)
  • Ulleri to Ghorepani (8 km)
  • Ghorepani to Poon Hill to Ghorepani to Tadapani (13 km)
  • Tadapani to Sinuwa (13 km)
  • Sinuwa to Deurali (14 km)
  • Deurali to ABC (9 km)
  • ABC to Bamboo or Sinuwa (15 km or 19 km)
  • Bamboo or Sinuwa to Ghandruk (14 km to 10 km)

ABC Trek With Mardi Himal Route

  • Kande to Landruk (16 km)
  • Landruk to Forest Camp (5 km)
  • Forest Camp to High Camp (8.5 km)
  • High Camp to Base Camp and back to High Camp (9 km)
  • High Camp to Landruk (12 km)
  • Landruk to Sinuwa (12 km)
  • Sinuwa to Deurali (14 km)
  • Deurali to ABC (9 km)
  • ABC to Bamboo or Sinuwa (15 km or 19 km)
  • Bamboo or Sinuwa to Ghandruk (14 km to 10 km)

Difficulty Level And Trekking Season

Annapurna Base Camp trek is family-friendly as it sits with easy to moderate difficulty levels. This is because it does not require advanced physical fitness, so it also gives a sensation of nature walks.

In addition to it, this trekking trail also makes you ready and accustomed to high altitudes. Hence, experienced trekkers can trek this trail within a short period.

Furthermore, altitude sickness is rare during the ABC trek as the highest elevation here is 4,130 meters, which is the base camp itself. Hence, you can have an easy walk during this trek if you are physically fit with no health problems. The moderate difficulty level can make you walk about 6-8 hours per day per the requirements.

Annapurna Base Camp
Annapurna Base Camp (Source – Wikimedia Commons)

The best season to score this trail is from mid-September to November (autumn) and March to May (spring). For monsoon season, the ABC trail is fine for eager botanists.

If you travel during March, April, and May, you will find Rhododendron forests blooming. Furthermore, it also gives you an astounding view of spectacular mountain ranges. However, if you want to avoid crowds, you should travel during the winter (December to February).

Natural And Cultural Beauty Of ABC Trek

The Annapurna region is a delight for every traveler who wishes to observe the natural and cultural beauty. Along this trekking trail, you will come across a dense settlement of Gurung and Magar ethnic groups. Their warm hospitality and friendly nature will welcome you. Altogether, you will get a closer look at their lifestyle and culture.

Furthermore, this trekking trail will also provide you with a view of an expansive landscape, terraced lands, lush rhododendron forests, deep rivers, and stunning mountain ranges. During this trek, one of your passing routes, Poon Hill, provides a spectacular sunset and sunrise view.

All in all, you will be surrounded by Mount Dhaulagiri, the Annapurna Range, and Mount Machhapuchhre (Fishtail Mountain) in the northern part. While in the western region, you will see the butterfly peaks.

Lastly, after a long day, you can also enjoy the hot spring near Jhinu Danda, with bathing areas in the lap of the mountains. According to the locals, these hot springs have a healing quality that eases away your aches and pains.

Highlights Of ABC Trek

  • Stunning view of Mt Fishtail (Machapuchare), Mt Annapurna South, Mt Annapurna Fang, Mt Annapurna III, Mt Hiunchuli, Mt Gangapurna, Mt Khangsar Kang, and Tent Peak.
  • Walk across dense rhododendron forests, bamboo forests, high mountains, and lowland villages.
  • Relaxing hot spring at Jhinu Danda.
  • View of glaciers drains into Modi Khola River.
  • Exposure to the unique culture, tradition, and warm hospitality of Gurung and Magar ethnic groups.
  • Beautiful sunrise and sunset view from Poonhill.

The Cost Of ABC Trek

The total cost of your ABC trek depends on the type of trek you are planning, your route, your time on the trail, and by the season you choose to trek. If you are not up to planning all the decisions for the trek by yourself, several agencies can help you.

Looking into a local agency, the trek costs around $500, including a guide, porter, and all other accommodations and food. You can also sign up with the international trekking agency, which will cost you about $850 with an extra budget of $300 to $400 for food.

Altogether, if you wish to organize your trek, you might as well be able to save at some points. If you are traveling independently, you will also be able to find your way as the trail is well-marked and easy to follow. If by any means, you fall into confusion, you can ask people nearby for directions, and you are good to go.

Likewise, you can also hire a guide for yourself, which will cost you around $25 a day. Not only this, but if you wish to hire a porter, it will cost you approximately $20 a day.

Permits And Fees

During the trial of Annapurna Base Camp, you will need two total permits. One is the TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System), and the other is an Entry Permit for the Annapurna Conservation Area. You can buy both of these permits from the Tourism Board, Pokhara.

Here, the Entry Permit for the Annapurna Conservation Area will cost Rs 3,000 (26$) for foreigners and Rs 200/- for SAARC nationals. This permit is only valid for single-time use.

Annapurna Conservation Area
Annapurna Conservation Area (Source – Wikimedia Commons)

The other is the TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) which will cost you 2,000 (20$). For this, you will require two passport-sized photographs and a photocopy of your passport.

Altogether, children under ten do not require any permit to get in. Also, the permit is non-transferable and non-refundable.

Accommodation, Food, And Water In ABC Trek

As a fun fact, the Annapurna region has multiple lodges and guesthouses along the trekking route. Hence, accommodation is not a big deal unless it’s a prime season. During the prime season, it gets harder to get rooms as they also have a limited number.

Compared to the city area, these lodges and guesthouses also have lesser facilities and typically cost $3-7 per night. All these guesthouses vary depending on what level of luxury you wish for.

Most guesthouses do not have AC or heating facilities, while some have a typical heater. As for the internet and wifi facilities, almost every guest provides them alongside the laundry facilities.

All the lodges and guesthouses provide quality food, and you can even find teahouses along the trail. You can check out the menus, and they will have a variety of items for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian eaters.

A normal food package includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Likewise, drinking water is also available in every lodge and guesthouse. In lower altitudes, you will also find beverages such as beer.

However, if you are thinking of snacks, it is better if you carry them yourselves. This is because the higher you go, the more expensive the snacks.

Transportation To Start Your ABC Trek

If you are currently in Kathmandu, you first need to reach Pokhara. You get two options to travel to Pokhara, either by air or road. If you wish to enjoy the scenic surroundings as you travel to Pokhara, it is the best option to go by road. You can even take a local bus or hop on a tourist bus.

The tourist bus will cost you around NPR 1000 ($10) and take about 6 hours to reach Pokhara, While the local bus will cost you about NPR 500 ($5) and will take nearly the same time as the tourist buses. Keeping it all aside, if you wish to travel by air, you will only be on a 30-minute flight.

After reaching Pokhara, you will need to go to the trailing route. Starting your trail from Kande will cost you NPR 400 ($4) on a local bus and will take you about an hour. But if you negotiate with a taxi driver for a ride, it will be around NPR 2000.

Get Ready For The ABC Trek

It is always best to try to stay fit and healthy before your trek. You can start working out about 5-6 weeks before the trek to maintain your stamina on the trail. Some exercises that might help you are cycling, running, swimming, uphill/stair climbing, and so on.

Likewise, for muscle-strengthening activities, you can try squats, pushups, pull-ups, weight lifting, and so on. Additionally, you can also try yoga to help to regulate breathing. The most important factor is to be hydrated throughout the trek.

All in all, below are some of the checklists for your trip to ABC.

  • Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance, air tickets, voucher, passport-sized photos
  • Flashlights, binoculars, and a sleeping eye mask
  • Toiletries items, moisturizers, sanitary pads, lip balms
  • Sleeping bag
  • First-aid kit
  • Water bottle
  • Comfortable running shoes, sandals, thermal gloves, sunglasses, and waterproof jackets

Additional Items during winter:

  • 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

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the duration of the Annapurna Base Camp Trek?

Annapurna Base Camp is accessible from several trailheads and depending on your route the duration is between 6 and 12 days.

Are there any trekking permits required for ABC Trek?

Two permits are required to do this trek, a TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) and a Entry Permit for the Annapurna Conservation Area. Both permits can be purchased at the tourism office in Pokhara, if needed visas for staying in Nepal can also be extended here. The permits are checked along the way.

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