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Annapurna Base Camp Trek Guide | Best Itinerary to Choose

Overview of Annapurna Base Camp Trek

If you have dreamed of walking through the trail, surrounded by perennial vegetation and picturesque scenery, leading all the way to the majestic glacier-topped mountains, the Annapurna Base Camp trek should be on your bucket list. These kinds of places are isolated but worth the effort to get there, where nature shows its most beautiful colors. Annapurna Base Camp receives attentive visitors in its heyday.

Highlights of Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Annapurna Base Camp Trek offers a walk through a diverse landscape with some truly remarkable and mesmerizing sights that make other treks seem redundant (for those who have limited time and budget but want to get the most out of the Nepal trip). The route passes through the terraced fields, peaceful villages offering unique cultural and traditional experiences, snaking river swerving through the lush forests filled with colorful rhododendron and pine trees, bamboo forests, the splendor of landscapes, 360° view of lofty, dove-white Annapurna range and the burbling glacier.

Once the glorious sunshine kissed the mountain, you can’t help yourself from falling in love with the aesthetic view. Restrain yourself if you think you are pulled closer to the beauty of the Himalayas (unless you are a dedicated alpinist!).

The best part of the Annapurna Base Camp Trek is you can have a close-up view of Annapurna South (7,219m), Annapurna I (8,091m), Annapurna III, Machhapuchhre (6,993m), Hiunchuli (6,441), Gangapurna, Ghandarvachuli.

Another best part of this trek is that you can choose among the variations of routes, and different itineraries that suit you, that can be taken to complete this trek depending on your time availability.

Annapurna Base Camp Trek ulimate destination
Annapurna Base Camp



Facts:

Maximum Altitude: 4,130m/13,545ft

Fitness level: Moderate

Number of walking hours/day: 6-7 hours

Duration: 7-10 days depending on routes and length of walking

When to start (Best time to trek Annapurna Base Camp):

Though the Annapurna Base Camp trek (ABC) can be done all year round, I recommend you to go either in the Autumn or Spring season.

Autumn (September–November): This is a dry season where the sky gets clear and the weather is clement. You have a great chance of having a close-up view of the mountains. This is the main (first) season for trekkers in Nepal. That’s why the trail often gets crowded with internal as well as foreign visitors.

Spring (March-May): This is the shoulder season where the spring awakens in the hilly regions, the best part being Rhododendron (a national flower of Nepal) along with the other flowers blooming all over the jungle. Trek in this season if you prefer a quieter trail.

Note: There is a risk of avalanches coming down the trail between the Deurali and Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC), especially during the spring season. Travelers should remain cautious during other seasons too, though, while passing this section. (You DON”T have to be afraid at all). In fact, we did our ABC trek during spring, but we didn’t feel that much threat. It is advisable to pass this section of trail as early as possible, before 9 AM.

Winter (December–February): If the chilling cold doesn’t get on your nerves, you are good to go trekking in the winter season too. You will be rewarded with mountains and the surroundings completely hooded with the snow due to snowfall which creates awe-inspiring scenery (also, the quieter trails and serene surroundings). Base Camp might get closed sometimes due to heavy snowfall, though. Visibility for the view remains good for most of the time during winter otherwise.

Monsoon (Summer)(June–August): Though the ABC trek can be done in monsoon, I will not recommend this. There is a high chance you may not get a glimpse of the peaks due to the clouds wafting all around. Other complications like slippery and muddy paths, mosquitoes, frequent rainfall, etc. are worth mentioning.

Avalanche Prone Stretch during Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Avalanche Prone Stretch during Annapurna Base Camp Trek

If you are looking for other places to visit in Nepal, narrow down the list.



Where to Start the Annapurna Base Camp Trek:

Where to start depends on your route and other treks you may want to combine with ABC. Trekking to ABC comes with different options and duration. The one which you opt for depends on your interest and availability of time.

Annapurna Base Camp Trek Itinerary:

1) Annapurna Base Camp Short Trek (Just Annapurna Base Camp only): 5 days to 6 days itinerary depending on your physical fitness

If you have booked your trekking with an agency, it should make an arrangement for your trip.

If you are on your own, you have 3 options:

1) Public bus/Public Jeep:

Catch a bus/jeep that goes to Ghandruk directly, get off at Ghandruk, and start your trek from there. For the bus, you should head to Pokhara-Baglung bus park. For the jeep, you should reach either Zero Kilometer or Archalbot.

Catch a jeep to Siwai/Jhinu Danda, and start your trek from there. To catch a jeep for this option, you should reach Hari Chowk. (You can even reserve the jeep all the way to Nayapul or Ghandruk or Siwai if you are in a group.)

Catch a bus going all the way to Baglung/Beni/Jomsom, from Pokhara-Baglung bus park, which is located alongside the Pokhara-Baglung highway, and get off at Nayapul. It’s about 1.5 hours ride but a cheap option. Then catch a jeep from there to Siwai/Jhinu Danda, and start your trek from there.

These public transports are untidy, overly crowded, and can take a long time to reach the destination.

2) Taxi/Cab: You can hire a taxi from Pokhara-Baglung Bus Park and reach either Nayapul or Ghandruk and take another means of transportation from there. Hiring a taxi can be a comfortable and fast alternative. But it is more expensive than public transport, obviously.

Enjoying the 360 degree view at Annapurna Base Camp
Annapurna Base Camp

MY RECOMMENDATION: Read the itineraries below to get the rest of the information so that you could  avoid needless lengthy trips, and save your time, money, and energy.)

Day 1: Fly to Pokhara ((25 mins of flight) ), drive to Siwai (3 hrs. drive), trek to Chhomrong (2170 m; 4.5 hrs.)

Set forth your journey early in the morning after having breakfast. After reaching Pokhara, catch a jeep that provides direct service to Siwai from Hari Chowk. Your trek starts once you reach Siwai. You will follow the trail that passes through the green pastures and leafy forests. After 2 hrs. walking and crossing the suspension bridge over Modi River, you will reach Jhinu Danda. You can take a rest for a while. Then start your steep climbing of the stone steps (2hrs) that lead you to Chhomrong, a Gurung village, from where you start to see a fairly pretentious view of Annapurna South, Fishtail, and Hiunchuli mountains. You can find an abundance of accommodation options there in Chhomrog. Overnight at some decent lodge.

Chhomrong on the way to Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Chhomrong

Day 2: Chhomrong to Himalayan Hotel (2920m; 6-7 hrs. trek)
Wake up early to see the sunrise if the weather permits. Take breakfast and start your trek. You will climb down the stone steps and come across the suspension bridge over Chhomrong Khola from where you have to follow the track uphill that takes you to Sinuwa. Then you will pass through the bamboo forests, rhododendron forests, and oak forests before you reach Bamboo. From there, the trail ascends to Dovan followed by Himalayan where you spend your night at the lodge.

Day 3: Himalayan Hotel to ABC (4130m) via MBC (3750m); 6-7 hrs trek
Start your day early from Himalayan towards ABC. This part of the trek is the reward in itself. Expect to be enchanted by the astounding mountain scenery along the way. (Since this stretch is prone to avalanches, you should remain cautious, especially if you are traveling during the spring months or if you are traveling just after the heavy snowfall. It’s always better to collect information from locals and groups returning back.)
First, you have to climb uphill to reach Deurali, and then MBC. It takes around 5 hours to reach MBC from the Himalayan Hotel. Your tiredness disappears as soon as you reach MBC, where you will be captivated by an ineffable beauty jutted into the sky before you.
Drag your feet two hours further and be ready to drop your jaw—a 360-degree view of the majestic mountains from Annapurna Base Camp, almost impossible to find somewhere else. But it’s the glorious sunrise that really seals the deal for the trekkers. Overnight at the lodge.

Himalayan Hotel



Day 4: ABC to Sinuwa (2,250m; 7-8 hrs trek)

Wake up early. Drink a cup of tea/coffee. Prepare yourself to enjoy the first rays of the sun that fall over the peak. Feel the beauty and appreciate the magic of nature. This could be an exhilarating and life-changing experience.
Prepare to descend (return back following the previous trail) after having breakfast. This time you will follow the trail back downhill. Overnight at Sinuwa.

Day 5: Sinuwa to Siwai (4 hrs trek) and drive to Pokhara (3 hrs)
Climb uphill the stone steps to reach Chhomrong and descend downhill to reach Jhinu Danda, from where you have to ascend again gradually to reach Siwai. Catch a local jeep to Pokhara. Check-in at a hotel.

Here is the list of top places to visit in Pokhara.

2) Annapurna Base Camp Trek combined with Ghandruk (7 days itinerary)

The only difference between this trek/itinerary and the ‘Annapurna Base Camp (only) trek/itinerary’ is that you stay at Ghandruk on your first day in this one.

If you have booked your trekking with an agency, it should make an arrangement for your trip.

If you are on your own, you have the same 3 options of transportation as above.

1) Public bus/Public Jeep:

Catch a bus/jeep that goes to Ghandruk directly. For the bus, you should head to Pokhara-Baglung bus park. For the jeep, you should reach either Zero Kilometer or Archalbot.

Catch a bus going all the way to Baglung/Beni/Jomsom, from Pokhara-Baglung bus park, which is located alongside the Pokhara-Baglung highway, and get off at Nayapul. It’s about 1.5 hours ride but a cheap option. Then catch a jeep/bus from there to Ghandruk. (These public transports are untidy, overly crowded, and can take a long time to reach the destination.)

You can even reserve the jeep/microbus all the way to  Ghandruk if you are in a group.

2) Taxi/Cab: You can hire a taxi from Pokhara-Baglung Bus Park to Ghandruk directly or Nayapul and catch a jeep or bus from there. Hiring a taxi can be a comfortable and fast alternative. But it is more expensive than public transport, obviously.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Read the itineraries below to get the rest of the information so that you could  avoid needless lengthy trips, and save your time, money, and energy.)

Day 1: Fly to Pokhara (25 mins of flight) and drive to Ghandruk (1940 m; 1.5 hrs.)
Take an early morning flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Catch a jeep that provides direct service to Ghandruk from Zero Kilometer. Tour Ghandruk village. Stay overnight.

Day 2: Ghandruk to Siwai (0.5 hr. drive), trek to Bamboo (2335 m; 5-6 hrs.)
Stay overnight at Bamboo.

Day 3: Bamboo to MBC (3750m); 6-7 hrs trek
Stay overnight at MBC.

Machhapuchhre Base Camp



Day 4: MBC to ABC (4130m, 1 hr trek); return from ABC to Bamboo on the same day (5-6 hrs trek)
Wake up early in the morning and head towards ABC to catch a glimpse of the stunning sunrise over Annapurna peaks. Descend down on the same day after taking breakfast, reach Bamboo, and stay there overnight.

Day 5: Bamboo to Siwai; 6-7 hrs trek and drive to Pokhara (3 hrs)

You might be interested in Mardi Himal Trek.

3) Annapurna Base Camp Trek combined with Poon Hill (8 days itinerary)

Day 1: Arrival in Pokhara, Drive to Tikhedhunga, and Trek to Ulleri

Day 2: Trek Ulleri To Ghorepani

Day 3: Watch Sunrise and panorama and trek to Tadapani

Day 4: Trek Tadapani to Chhomrong

Day 5: Trek Chhomrong to Himalayan (2920m; 6-7 hrs. trek)

Day 6: Himalayan to ABC (4130m) via MBC (3750m); 6-7 hrs trek

Day 7: ABC to Sinuwa (2,250m; 7-8 hrs trek)

Day 8: Sinuwa to Siwai (4 hrs trek) and drive to Pokhara (3 hrs)

4) Annapurna Base Camp Trek combined with Dhampus (Australian Camp) Trek (6 days itinerary)

Day 1: Arrival in Pokhara (early flight), ride jeep up to Dhampus, then trek to Australian Camp

Day 2: Australian Camp to Landruk to Jhinu

Day 3: Trek Jhinu to Dovan

Day 4: Trek Dovan to MBC

Day 5: Trek MBC-ABC-Dovan

Day 6: Trek Dovan-Jhinu Danda-New Jeep Station-Pokhara


Accommodation and Food


Things to be aware of:

  • Don’t forget to keep yourself warm, especially, if you are traveling during the spring and winter seasons—Numbness due to cold may ruin your trip.
  • Since some stretches are prone to avalanches, you should remain cautious, especially if you are traveling during the spring months or if you are traveling just after the heavy snowfall.
  • Public transports are untidy, overly crowded, and take a long time to reach the destination.