Nepal has always been a core trekking destination for visitors all around the world. An unprecedented number of hikers come to Nepal each year to explore its mountain landscapes, river valleys, and snow peaks.
There are many places that draw trekkers with their vast wilderness, rich wildlife, and stunning land formations. One such many hiking destinations is Annapurna Base Camp in central Nepal.
Located 40 km north of Pokhara, Annapurna Base Camp is one of the most popular hikes. It’s also the most explored given easy hiking trails that require no technical skills. Most of its paths are well-defined and can be easily accessed with just a little preparation.
The trails of Annapurna Base Camp are hike friendly as they pass through several remote villages and towns. You can meet locals here and learn about their culture, lifestyle, and beliefs, especially Tamang, Gurung, and Magars.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek is a moderate trek with no extreme difficulties and challenges. There are few rugged terrains and steep hills along the way to the camp, but anyone with a good physique and preparation can ascend the base camp.
The 71 miles trek begins with a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara and a trek from Tirkhedhunga to Ghorepani. The steep trails of Ghorepani will lead you to Poon Hill and then Chomrong. After a few switchbacks and a steep ascent on a rugged hill, we’ll arrive at the Himalayan Hotel.
From here, we’ll push for a final ascent to Annapurna Base Camp, which is quite demanding with continuous steep slopes and sharp inclines. The path to bade camp is rugged, and it can take little over three hours to reach there.
Upon arrival, you’ll be delighted to watch the scenic natural beauty of undulating landscapes and rock cliffs. The trek also offers you a breathtaking panoramic view of Annapurna massif, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchre, and Tilicho Peak.
An entire day at the base camp will help you discover the best of Annapurna Base Camp and its gorgeous landmark. The next morning, we’ll descend Bamboo, leaving behind Annapurna Sanctuary and Modi River Valley.
Climbing the trail to Shinwa Danda and a downhill trek will take us to the natural hot spring of Jhinu Danda. From there, we’ll return to Chomrong and then Ghandruk, a beautiful Gurung village, on the way to Annapurna Base Camp. We’ll end the expedition after taking a scenic drive to Pokhara, which provides us with a picturesque view of lush green hills and forests.
Highlights of Annapurna Base Camp Trek
- A pristine view of Manaslu, Gangapurna, Machhapuchre, and Pisang Peak
- A scenic road trip to Pokhara
- Clear, tranquil lakes and streaming waterfalls
- Wild subtropical forests with rich flora and fauna
- Beautiful hot spring at Jhinu Danda
- An apprehension of rural Nepalese culture, lifestyle, and values
As outlined, our team members will keep track of your flight and the arrival time to avoid delays. They’ll be just on time to pick you up at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. A little over 3 miles drive away from the airport is your hotel. After getting there, you can freshen up and go to rest.
A day without Kathmandu’s trip is a day wasted. So, we’ll spend the day exploring some of the city’s historic sites, going shopping, and taking an insight into the local Newari culture. Although Kathmandu is best explored on foot, we urge driving through its beautiful streets and visiting its famous tourist attractions.
Being at the heart of the city, Kathmandu Durbar Square makes a popular day out from the capital. It displays Nepalese art and culture at its finest. You can see many ancient temples, stone statues, and courtyards in the square.
After a quick tour of the royal palaces, we’ll visit Monkey Temple and Boudha Stupa in a row. First, we’ll explore Swyambhunath stupa at the hilltop in Kathmandu Valley, then visit the sacred Buddhist pilgrimage to experience the country’s spiritual side.
We’ll walk around the dome of both monasteries and spin the prayer wheels as we go. After offering respect and extolling architecture, we’ll leave the monastery and drive to Pashupatinath Temple. There, we’ll attend evening prayers on the bank of the Bagmati River.
The roads of Kathmandu are walkable, so, you can also run errands or take a stroll through the city. There are plenty of department stores and shopping malls in the city, where you can buy souvenirs for your closed ones.
Pokhara Altitude: 820m / 2,690 ft
Driving Hours: 6-7 hrs
Overnight at: the hotel
After early morning breakfast, we’ll set off on a road trip to Pokhara. We’ll take a tourist bus to Pokhara and hit the open road of Prithvi Highway. The scenic journey follows the Trishuli River and Marsyangdhi River most of the day, providing a beautiful view.
The trail passes through many hills and rocky mountains along the course. It goes past a couple of remote villages and towns to arrive at the gateway of Annapurna Circuit. With over 205 km to drive, it’ll take at least 6 hours to get to Pokhara from Kathmandu.
We’ll use up an entire day sitting on the bus and looking through the window. After arriving at Pokhara, we’ll check in at our hotel and wash up. We’ll take a short evening walk through the city before dining at a hotel in lakeside Pokhara at night.
Tirkhe Dhunga Altitude: 1,577m / 5,174 ft
Walking Hours: 2 hrs
Overnight at: the guesthouse
After a delicious breakfast on the bank of Phewa, we’ll leave the city and take a drive to Tirkhedhunga. The ride is quite smooth and relaxing, with not many twists and turns. It passes through Nayapul and Brethanti before advancing to Tirkhe Dhunga.
The drive will provide us with picturesque scenery of rolling green hills and verdant meadows. You’ll see beautiful terrace farms and streaming rivers along the Bhurungdi Khola. After Birethanti, we’ll take a cross-country road, which is cragged and dusty.
This may slow down the bus and take a few more hours. Finally, after reaching Tirkhe Dhunga, you can relish the picturesque view of gentle slopes and distant villages. Overnight stay at Tirkhe Dhunga.
Ghorepani Altitude: 2,860 meters
Walking Hours: 5-6 hrs
Overnight at: the lodge
We’ll start trekking from Tirkhe Dhunga and pass through Sudame and Hile Villages before heading to Ulleri. The entire walk will take us three hours, passing through dense forests and climbing hills in and out.
We’ll briefly stop at Ulleri for lunch, then continue the journey on a steep trail. As we trek, the view of Machhapuchre, Annapurna, and Hiunchli gradually comes into our sight. Coming past the terraced hillside, we’ll enter the lush green rhododendron forest and cross the bridge.
After an hour or so of trekking, we’ll finally arrive at the beautiful village of Ghorepani. Being a prime trekking destination, Ghorepani has a lot of guesthouses and lodges for trekkers to stay and spend the night.
Poon Hill Altitude: 2,630m / 8,630 ft
Walking Hours: 7-8 hrs
Overnight at: the teahouse
Hoping to catch the golden sunrise view, we’ll leave for a trek early in the morning. The walk is mostly uphill with no flat bottom and smooth ground. It takes about an hour or two to reach Poon Hill and finally enjoy the spectacular view.
After discovering the pristine landscapes, beautiful valleys, and mountains from the hilltop, we’ll climb down the trail and head to our lodge. After having breakfast to pull around enough strength, we’ll continue hiking the trail.
Starting out along the Deurali Pass, we’ll ascend the trail as steep as before. Climbing the ridge of a hillside, the trail leads us through the rhododendron forests and a yak farm. Walking past the lofty hills and through the small village of Bandthanti, we’ll finally arrive at Tadapani. Overnight stay at the teahouse.
Chhomring Altitude: 2,165m / 7,105 ft
Walking Hours: 5 hrs
Overnight at: the teahouse
After breakfast and some well-deserved rest, we’ll proceed to Chhomrong, which normally takes 5 hours of walking. It starts with a continuous descent of almost three hours, losing much of the altitude. From there, we start climbing uphill, which is exhausting for obvious.
The trek will take you through the rhododendron forest and mountain villages before ascending the hills.
The change in elevation can make you wear out, but it also provides you with a stunning view of Annapurna South, Machhapuchre, and Hiunchuli. The trek gets surprisingly easier after we reach the bottom of the valley, then cross the suspension bridge.
We’ll guide ourselves along with the yak farm and into the village before making a final ascent to Chomrong. There are plenty of teahouses and lodges in Chomrong which accommodate trekkers. We’ll spend the night in the village.
Himalaya Hotel Altitude: 2,890m / 9425 ft
Walking Hours: 6-7 hrs
Overnight at: the hotel
Trek to the Himalayan Hotel is relatively longer and more strenuous than any of our hikes till now. Thus, we’ll leave the village early in the morning and start descending Chomrong Khola on stone stairs. Shortly after, the trail rises up and runs through terrace fields before entering bamboo and rhododendron forests.
As soon as we get through the wild forest, the view of Annapurna and Machhapuchare comes into sight, making us relieved. After a short trek to Khuldinagar, we’ll descend the trail and follow it into a thick bamboo forest.
A few miles away is the small settlement called Bamboo lodge. Although it provides accommodation to visitors, not many of them stop here, and nor will we. We’ll keep climbing the steep trails through bamboo and rhododendron forests until it finally stops at Himalaya Hotel. We’ll call it a day after checking in the room.
Annapurna Base Camp: 4,130m / 13,550 ft
Walking Hours: 5 hrs
Overnight at: the teahouse
After fueling up with a hearty breakfast, we’ll set out on a trek to Annapurna Base Camp. Out of the village, we ascend the trail through a narrow gorge along the Modi Khola Glacier Valley. After passing the dense forest and a Hinku Cave, the trail heads to Deurali and makes access to Annapurna Sanctuary.
We’ll spend most of our day climbing the steep trail that narrows the gap between Annapurna Glacier and us. On our way, we’ll see Machhapuchre Base Camp, providing a stunning view of Annapurna massif, Gangapurna, Himal Chuli, and Machhapuchre.
After a long and difficult ascent, we’ll finally reach Annapurna Base Camp at 4,130 meters above sea level. The hike will take us nearly 5 hours and still be worth it. The trek will reward us with a 360-degree view of Annapurna massif, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Pisang Peak, and Paungda Danda.
We’ll see sparkling glaciers, tranquil lakes, and beautiful landscapes from the base camp. After exploring the base camp and sightseeing, we’ll head towards our guesthouse and spend the night there.
Bamboo Altitude:2,350m / 7,700 ft
Walking Hours: 5 hrs
Overnight at: a guesthouse
After having a warm breakfast with a beautiful backdrop of surrounding mountains, we’ll brace ourselves for a long day. The trek to Bamboo kicks off with a quick drop to Kimrong Khola and ascend through bamboo and oak forests.
We’ll gently climb the trail, heading to Jhinu Danda. It’s one of the major tourist attractions at Annapurna Base Camp Trek, appealing to trekkers with its natural hot spring. You can take a bath here to relax your muscles and relieve stress.
The trek from Annapurna Base Camp to Bamboo takes almost 4-5 hours, depending on our pace and the effects of high altitude. The trails pass through several villages and thick forests to arrive at the village.
Today’s trek will take us somewhere between 5-6 hours with most of the trek downhill. The day starts with a scenic walk through bamboo and rhododendron forests. From there we’ll ascend steep stone stairs and follow them to the village of Khuldigar.
We’ll spend the rest of our day trekking through dense forests and relishing the drop-dead gorgeous view of Machhapuchre and Annapurna. After a quick descent, we’ll arrive at the small village of Chomrong. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.
Ghandruk Altitude: 1,940m / 6,364 ft
Walking Hours: 5-6 hrs
Overnight at: the teahouse
After breakfast, we’ll bid goodbye to Chhomrong and start descending the stone stairs. After plummeting the trail for three hours, we’ll arrive at Jhinu Danda, our first stop of the day. Although for a little, we’ll take our load off and have lunch before trekking further.
Crossing the bridge, the trail takes an extra drop and passes through the wild forest. After a gradual descent along Modi Khola, we’ll follow a narrow lane that leads to Ghandruk, a usual stop for trekkers of Annapurna. It’s a popular short trekking destination for hikers wishing to watch the majestic Annapurna.
Ghandruk is one of the most beautiful Nepalese villages with post-card beauty and age-old charm. It’s stunning, surrounded by towering mountains and wooded hills. Overnight stay at Ghandruk.
For the last day of our Annapurna Base Camp Trek, we’ll trek beautiful Ghandruk and descend Pokhara. The trek starts with a gentle descent through the village and down the road. From there, we’ll take a bus to Pokhara, which lasts around 2 hours to reach the town. Throughout the way, we’ll enjoy splendid views of shimmering mountains and rapid streams. Overnight stay at Pokhara.
When is the best time for Annapurna Base Camp Trek?
While Annapurna Base Camp can be trekked all around the year, the best time to visit it is during Spring. During this period, you avoid both chilly winter and the hot spell of summer. The weather is warm and fuzzy now, making it feasible to go out and relish nature.
With winter still around, the weather may be cold at the start of the season, but it gets hot by the end of March. Days are usually warm with beaming sunshine, while evenings are chillier as the cold wind hits the region. You can expect the temperature to go as high as 14 Degrees Celsius in the daytime while the evenings remain frosty.
Steel yourself for the cold nights as the minimum temperature is recorded below -8 Degree Celsius. Late spring is quite hot as the temperature soars 20 Degree Celsius during the day. Their nights are still crisp, with temperatures falling up to -10 Degree Celsius.
Apart from lovely weather, Spring brings a mesmerizing view of rolling green hills and towering mountains. We can see blooming flowers all along the course, providing a sweet fragrance and adding to the beauty of the region.
If you lag trekking base camp in spring, do it in the fall as it too offers pleasant weather and wonderful views. As a shoulder season in Annapurna, Autumn provides us with a moderate temperature and great atmosphere.
Like spring, it has also got a beautiful climate that favors hikers. The weather this time of year is mild, but it can be tropical, with a few rain showers in early September. It can feel like summer, but as the temperature falls, the weather becomes cold.
October can be warm, cold, or a combination of both. The weather is temperate in the first two weeks of the month but then gets frosty as the temperature drops promptly. It’s hot during the day but cold at night. As a pre-winter, November is wet and frosty. The weather is bright and sunny during the day, but the night tends to be wintry, so you need to bring a few warm clothes.
Its daytime temperature ranges from 12-17 Degree Celsius and drops to -5 Degree Celsius at night. Snowfalls are frequent in late October, especially at the base camp. You may experience light winds and thundershowers while trekking the region in the fall.
But, overall, the weather is nice and breezy, making it easy to navigate the trail. The changing colors of tree leaves, verdant meadows, and a serene atmosphere makes the trek exciting and delightful.
Food and Accommodation
A wide variety of accommodations is found along the trails of Annapurna Base Camp. You can see a lot of hotels, guesthouses, and lodges on the way accommodating visitors. They may not be super fancy and luxurious, but they do cater to you with all-the-needed facilities.
These accommodation options are available everywhere, so you can choose anyone depending on where you want to stay. The favorite type of accommodation at Annapurna Base Camp Trek is teahouses, though.
They are incredibly affordable and easily accessed, with many of them being built-in remote areas with sparse human settlements. They are convenient and readily available, even at high altitudes, making the services more rudimentary.
Most of them have a range of rooms, from shared to budget, and doubles with ensuite. They all feature basic facilities like a comfy bed, a pillow, and a blanket to make your stay more pleasant and comfortable.
Teahouses are a better choice for backpackers as they are cheaper, but the services might be limited. Still, it’s worth booking a room in teahouses as they come with all the required amenities and for a fair price.
Apart from rooms, they also offer visitors a full meal three times a day along with other snacks and drinks. Dinner and lunch usually have authentic Nepali dishes like dal bhat tarkari with relish. For breakfast, you can have hot milk tea, bread, rice porridge, or a bowl of muesli with milk.
Those who don’t want to eat the same dish now and then can try other foods. There are plenty of western and Asian dishes on the menu, including fried noodles, dumplings, pizza, and other various items.
Foods in lodges and guesthouses are quite tasty as they are made of local ingredients. Most of the items used to make dishes are fresh produce from farms. Others are transported using yaks and porters; therefore they are a bit overpriced.
How to prepare for Annapurna Base Camp Trek?
Annapurna Base Camp is an amazing place surrounded by majestic mountains and high hills. It has varied landscapes with forested valleys rolling plains, serene blue rivers, and glacial lakes. The trek even offers you a breathtaking glimpse of charming villages and a sunrise view, which is impressive.
But to get the reward, you’ll have to prime yourself for a long and difficult journey. You’ll have to improve your paces and your stamina to beat the rugged terrains of Annapurna Base Camp. You must be in shape as the trek is physically demanding with miles of twists and turns.
Its steep trails are no joke as they can cause injuries to your leg. Not to forget that altitude and weather also stand in the way, preventing you from reaching the base camp. Therefore, to avoid such difficulties and get better off it, develop your training plan in advance.
The guide will help you with the trail, but they’re unable to back you up with the trek itself. Hence, you have to follow a strict fitness regimen and comprise it with cardio exercise as it improves your endurance.
Prepare by hiking long trails that vary in difficulty and height. Regularly trekking the mountainous terrains with elevations above 3000 feet will help you overcome the harsh and difficult terrains of Annapurna Base Camp.
Aside from physical preparation, you’ll also have to take care of your mental health and its training. You’ll have to build your mental toughness as the trek difficulties and challenges can be overwhelming. Life during Annapurna Base Camp Trek is basic, with limited supplies.
You’ll be more focused on surviving the tough atmosphere rather than enjoying the luxuries. This can add pressure on you and make the trek even harder. Therefore, don’t stress, and prepare well in advance if you want to make it to the base camp.
Listen to your tour guide while climbing high altitudes. Acclimatize well, as some sections are too hard and can make you sick. You’ll also have to build your resilience and flexibility to walk the long trails.
Trekking Annapurna Base Camp isn’t tough, if well-planned. Of course, you’ll need some training and exercise before the trek but other than that you don’t have to worry much about it. But, yeah you’ll have to bring all the required trekking equipment and gears if you want to ease the strain.
Certain basic trekking essentials will make your travel convenient and comfortable. A few of the supplies may or may not go into your backpack depending on the climate. Most of the trails of Annapurna Base Camp have teahouses where you can stay so there’s no need for a sleeping bag.
Hence, you’ll have to be extremely careful about what to bring on the trek as the unwanted item only adds to the load. The items may differ based on the weather, altitude, and season. Following is the list of some of the items needed during the Annapurna Base Camp Trek.
Clothing & Footwear
- A windproof jacket or warm vest
- Moisture-wicking pants/shorts
- Fleece pants
- Lightweight t-shirts and long sleeve shirt
- Synthetic or wool socks
- Hiking boots or shoes
- First-aid box
- Journals and pens
- Water filter/purifier
- Waterbottle or reservoir
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Hand sanitizer and sanitation towel
- Extra daily food and snacks
- Camera with extra battery and a mobile charger