Annapurna Base Camp is one of the adventurous treks that trekkers chose for their trekking. It is located in western part of Nepal. Annapurna Base Camp trek falls in the Annapurna region where most of the popular trekking spots are located. Trekkers can reach up to Annapurna Base Camp reaching after Annapurna Sanctuary which lies 40 km north of Pokhara. Annapurna Sanctuary is oval in shape and stands tall at an altitude of 4000 meters.
The majestic view of mountains based in Annapurna region can be seen from Annapurna Sanctuary. As the place is covered with high mountains from all sides, it rarely receives maximum 7 hours of sunlight each day. Approximate trekking days of 5 to 7 and amazing combinations of tall height and depths make this place an extraordinary to watch.
The south slopes are covered in tropical jungles and north slopes have rain shadow. It has a drier and colder climate mostly similar to near place of Tibetan Plateau. One of the native people is Gurungs who are residing here since a long time. The area covers many stories about gods and deities from Buddhism and Hinduism. The entrance place at Machapuchare was believed as a home of God Shiva.
According to the strong beliefs on God and mythologies, local Gurung peoples don’t allow eggs and meat into Annapurna Sanctuary. The number of people trekking to Annapurna Base Camp is increasing each year. It nearly takes 12-16 days to complete trekking in Annapurna Base Camp. Amazing scenes of high mountains, rhododendron forests, and windings of Modi Khola makes this trek really enjoyable. The best season for trekking in Annapurna Base Camp is in the month of March-May and September-November.
Overall trekking in Annapurna Base Camp is great fun. You will surely have one-time great experience of your life in Annapurna Base Camp. Starting journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara and thereon traveling to Tikhedunga will be your first day of a trip. After reaching to Tikhedunga, you will be moving towards Ghorepani which will take nearly 5-6 hours. You will move towards Poonhill after reaching Ghorepani. It will take you nearly 1 hour 45 minutes to reach Poonhill. From there, you will travel to Tadapani taking nearly 5-6 hours. After walking 4-5 hours there, you will reach to your next destination Chomrong.
This wonderful journey will take you to Bamboo from Chomrong taking you nearly 4 to 5 hours. From Bamboo, you will move towards Deurali which lies at the high-altitude place of 3200 meter taking nearly 4 to 5 hours. From Deurali, you will reach your desired destination Annapurna Base Camp.
Annapurna Base Camp Highlights
Stunning and amazing views of Annapurna Range are major highlights of Annapurna Base Camp. Besides that, the local resident people Gurung and their traditional villages is another highlight of this trekking destination. Some other major highlights that people can’t miss are Jhinu Hot Springs, Sunrise view from Annapurna Mountain range, mouthwatering and delicious homemade apple pie.
1. Jhinu Hot Springs
Trekkers must visit hot springs based in Jhinu Danda while trekking at Annapurna Base Camp area. It surely works as magic if your legs are tired of trekking. It also makes your body relax. The hot spring is set on a top side of the ridge from Chomrong. There is additional facility provided of teahouses and craft shoppes.
It takes nearly 20-25 minute to reach hot springs from by walking down on descending path of river Modi Khola. Trekkers can have fun there with its three pools which have different temperatures with basic changing facilities. It has a natural shower to wash sweat and tears from a body. It also gives magical treatment to feet.
2. Gurung village and homemade apple pie
The famous Gurung village, Ghorepani, and Chhomrong are one of the central parts of an attraction of this trek. Trekkers get to know about their culture and tradition. Many teahouses welcome and serve best meals to their guests. The traditional Nepali meal Dal Bhat and mouthwatering Mo: Mos are the favorite dishes of trekkers. Homemade apple pie is served as a staple dessert of this region. You will surely love the delicious apple pie.
3. Poon Hill trip
Another major highlight of annapurna base camp trek is the famous Poon Hill trip where trekker can get the views of mesmerizing mountains Annapurna and Machhapuchhre. It makes trekkers forget their tiredness and boost up extra energy after watching these beautiful scenarios.
There are also wonderful photographic opportunities trekkers can find in Annapurna Base Camp trek. Trekkers will get to visit the gateway to Mustang, Kagbeni which is a wonderful place to visit. You will also have great experience walking near to Kali Gandaki, which is the world’s deepest river.
How Difficult is the Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Annapurna Base Camp trekking is not that difficult. Anyone can trek in this base camp. Trekker who is physically fit and has taken specific training takes this trek as very easy. But it doesn’t mean that normal person without training cannot trek in Annapurna Base Camp trek.
Annapurna Base Camp gives you a close view of high altitude mountains which are above 7000 meters height. So this trek is very special who loves to view tall peaks. There is constant up and down steps during the trek, which can be a challenging part. Technical knowledge of climbing up the hill will be good for this trek.
Trekkers don’t have to worry anything about accommodation and guesthouses while trekking at Annapurna region. They are made very comfortable throughout their stay at hotels and guest houses. Even after few hours of walking, trekkers are facilitated with local accommodation where they can have rest and sleep.
There are many steep stone steps named Ulleri all along the way in the first-day trekking from Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. To walk and cross that difficult path can be challenging. Making prepare yourself by doing few walks on the same steep stones path will make your trekking journey easier.
As the trekkers reach the final destination, the difficulty level will be more, compared to the first step. They will be walking up to the high altitude mountains, so they might have some breathing difficulties. This is not a big problem who is physically fit and healthy person. But a person who has breathing problem might have serious difficulties while climbing up the hill area.
The overall difficulty level of Annapurna Base Camp is taken as moderate. Prior training and physical fitness should be benefited if you are planning to trek at this high altitude trekking spot.
Necessary Permits for Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Trekkers should take permission before entering into Annapurna Base Camp. Without taking permission of concerned authority, you will not be able to enter in Annapurna Base Camp as the local staff will ask for necessary permit cards to get entrance. Basically, trekkers have to fulfill 2 types of permit cards they are ACAP card and TIMS Card.
1. Annapurna Conservation Area Permit Card (ACAP)
ACAP is necessary to make an entrance in a conservation area of Annapurna. To fill up the form, you should have 4 passport size photos and a copy of passport. Trekkers can buy this card either directly from Kathmandu or from Ghauri Ghat.
2. Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) Card
TIMS Card is also required to make an entrance in some of the places of Annapurna Base Camp. Trekkers must carry TIMS Card along with them because there will be regularly checking on the trial. To get TIMS Card, you need to submit 4 passport size photos and a copy of passport.
Trekkers have to pay around the US $40 to 45 to get these cards through an agent based in Kathmandu. You will also able to get these cards through an agency in Pokhara.
Annapurna Base Camp Weather
As we all know Annapurna Base Camp’s weather will be very cold in all seasons. But the temperature and weather in all seasons will not be same.
From the month of March to April, the weather will not be that cold. In the morning time, the weather will be very clear and at afternoon time clouds can cover the sun. It would be better to start trekking at early morning. If you wake up at around 5-6 am and start trekking, you will have many possibilities of reaching to bed by 7:30 to 8 pm.
Most of the routes to Annapurna Base Camp are out of danger of avalanche. But it would be very less chance of any danger in spring time. During this time, the beautiful Rhododendron flowers will be seen around the place which makes this season awesome to trek. However, the weather will not be stable as much as in Autumn season. But trekkers can travel in the spring season.
During the autumn season, the weather will remain stable compared to other seasons. It will be really cold at night so it would be better to take fleece jacket and wool socks to get your body warm. However, the daytime weather will not be that too cold. The weather will remain in average temperature at day time.
Best Time to Travel Annapurna Base Camp Trekking
It will be much better to visit Annapurna Base Camp during Spring and Autumn season. In the spring season, we get to see beautiful rhododendron flowers all around the place and sky will be clear. It is taken as the best time to trek during this season.
In the monsoon season, it will be good to visit several other parts of the region that fall in rain shadow. During the rainy season, the best place to visit is an upper Mustang.
Likewise, the winter season is not considered good for trekking in Annapurna Base Camp. The high altitude places will all cover with snow which makes difficulty in walking. But the winter is good to trek throughout the foothills of Annapurna base camp area.
The best two months that trekkers can visit in Annapurna Base Camp is during the month of October-November and April-May. Trekkers will capture the perfect picture of high altitude Himalayas both at the day and night time during this season. During the month of April to May, there will not be much cold as compared to other months. Due to that, the view of the peak of Annapurna will be clear.
Similarly, the month of October and November is considered as the best among other months because, in this season, the monsoon passes and winter move in. Due to this, there is a possibility of viewing the best scenes of mountains. The number of climbers and trekkers will also be more in this season comparing to March-May.
Hiring a Guide and a Porter
Guide and porter can be a great help for trekkers who want to make their journey comfortable and easy. The guide shows the easiest way to reach the desired destinations while Porter carries their luggage until they reach the end point of their trekking spot.
Many trekking agencies are there which provides a well-experienced guide to make their guests easy. In return, trekkers have to pay a certain amount of money to them. Porters are also arranged by the trekking company. But it’s better to find Porter in the trekking area otherwise the porter’s cost may be too high.
There is also an option of hiring an independent guide. Trekkers must be aware while selecting an independent guide. They should possess the certain experience to be a guide. Those people who have good knowledge about each and every area of the trekking destination can be taken as a guide. Friendly and good behavior can be a plus point.
Possible points that trekkers should look in a guide are:
Do they have insurance and license?
How many years of experience do they have as a guide?
How good is he/she can communicate with trekkers?
Another option is hiring both Guide and Porter as one person that is often known as PG. PG plays the role of both porter and guide who will show you way and carry your luggage. It is not necessary that PG might be best in a guide as well. Sometimes you might get lost without knowing PG and hire him. You should always know him first and his work experience as PG then only you should hire him. The estimated cost of PG is around the US $20 to 25 per day.
Annapurna Base Camp Trekking Cost
Trekkers must bear a certain amount of expenses for visiting Annapurna Base Camp. The cost depends upon the group size, accommodation and other facilities they use. Generally, it is estimated that the group of around 1 to 12 people have to pay in an average of USD 800-900 to trek to Annapurna Base Camp.
This includes the cost of meals, accommodation, entrance fees, guide, porter, trekking permits, transportation, lodge and other. Trekking agency can arrange all these facilities for trekkers.
Taking visa permission after arriving at Tribhuvan International might cost you a certain amount of money. If you are to stay more than 15 days, you have to pay around US$24-28. Likewise, if you are making multiple entry visas for 30 days you will be paying around the US $40 to 45. In the same way, for making multiple entry visas for 90 days, you have to pay around the US $100-110.
Trekking agencies can arrange all facilities and services that trekkers need. In return, they have to pay all charges for all services they have used. The cost price of trekking companies differs according to the services they provide. If high standard service is required by the trekkers, the cost will also be higher. In the same way, trekkers chose average standard trekking companies the cost will be lower.
It is found that some trekking companies exclude the cost of travel insurance, hot & cold drinks, sightseeing entry fees and accommodation in Kathmandu. These free services will surely be benefited for all trekkers. So trekkers must be clever to choose good trekking companies which will maximum services with minimum cost.
Trekking in Annapurna Base Camp doesn’t cost much in comparison to other trekking destinations. The cost price is lower compared to Everest Base Camp. In the same way, the cost of accommodation, lodges, and guesthouses are low. The local people of Annapurna Base Camp are very friendly and supportive; they will give their best service with minimum cost.
As it is not easy to travel alone in Cold hilly areas, you will need to bear guide and porter cost. You don’t have to pay too much amount to local porter and guide. If guide and porter are arranged by the trekking companies then only their cost will be higher. Otherwise, you can hire an independent guide or PG (Porter Guide). The cost of porter and guide will add an extra cost but it will be good for your amazing journey.
How to Prevent Altitude Sickness on Annapurna Base Camp
Annapurna Base Camp lies in the high altitude place so it is obvious that trekkers might get a problem of altitude sickness. By reaching at the height of 2500 meters, trekkers might start to have a feeling of altitude sickness. For healthy and fit people, altitude sickness is not a problem. They can easily get out of it. But for those who are not physically fit, it can be seriously a big problem.
It is recommended that after reaching 3000 meters of Annapurna Base Camp, trekkers must sleep in the higher area of 300 to 500 meter each day to prevent high altitude sickness. There is some prevention that trekkers can choose to get out of altitude sickness problem. It is better to move slowly and drink lots of water while trekking in high mountain areas.
If trekkers are having a continuous headache, it will be better not to go in high altitude places. The more you move fast, the more you will have a problem of altitude sickness and headache. So trekkers should move slowly and reach to the desired location.
Minimizing the weight in a backpack will prevent from altitude sickness at some point. Porters can carry your luggage. Trekkers should also avoid strenuous activities that cause altitude sickness. Another think trekkers should consider in their mind is to avoid alcohol. Hydration is caused by drinking alcohol. Taking lots of water into your body through carrying a bottle of water with you will help to keep trekkers hydrated.
Taking medicines like Diamox and acetazolamide some days for trekking will increase levels of carbon dioxide while trekking at high altitude areas. Generally, it is recommended that a dose of 125 mg-250 mg twice a day before two days of trekking is appropriate. After reaching the highest altitude place, trekkers can continue the dose for 3 days. This will help you to prevent from high altitude sickness problem.
How to Train for Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Preparing yourself before trekking in Annapurna Base Camp will surely benefit you while going on a real trek. Trekkers can take train themselves by their own before trekking to Annapurna Base Camp. As you are about to travel in high altitude areas, you must get proper training. Going on a real trek without training can be harmful your body sometimes.
Making your legs and thigh strong by climbing up the near hill areas daily can be great exercise. If you take a walk on a hill nearly 2 to 4 hours daily, you will have a habit of walking in the high hill areas and ultimately benefits you while trekking in cold hill areas of Annapurna Base Camp.
Getting an experience of staying in cold place can be a second advantageous point for all trekkers. Those who are living in a hot place and suddenly they move in cold place, it can seriously harm your body and you might get sick there.
Some points that are mentioned below that will surely help for trekkers who are trekking to Annapurna Base Camp for the first time.
The practice of carrying a backpack with the minimum 5 kg of load for an hour
Covering the distance of 6000 meters by feet before the journey will be an advantage
Minimum 14 days of hiking on a continuous basis