Annapurna base camp trek falls under one of the most popular treks in Nepal. Gateway to the pristine mountain ranges from the north-central part of Nepal, this trek is shorter and easier compared to other high-altitude treks. Annapurna flaunts the 55-kilometer long mountain ranges, protected by the largest conservation area in the country- Annapurna conservation area (7,629km2). Thus, the trek is also known as Annapurna Sanctuary Trek (ABC).
The trek itself is very diverse with varying landscapes of lush green meadows, dense forests to close up views of Annapurna mastiffs. Passing through Gurung villages, this trail is less strenuous and comparatively shorter. Anyone physically fit irrespective of age can easily complete this trek in the Annapurna region.
Altitude is often less of the problem while on this trek. Although the trail route elevates up to 4,130m, risks of altitude sickness are very low due to the length of the trek and adequate time for acclimatization.
The Annapurna base camp trek is the complete blend of the relatively easy trail with beautiful landscapes leading to spectacular scenery. Within the few days of the trek, you will be able to view the marvelous range of Himalayan vista, including Annapurna III (7,555 m), Machhapuchhre (6,993 m), Gangapurna (7,454 m), Annapurna South (7,219 m), Singu Chuli (6,501 m), Annapurna I (8,091 m), Hiunchuli (6,441 m), Baraha Shikhar (7,647 m), Nilgiri South (6,839 m), Tukuche (6,920 m), Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), Manaslu (8,163 m) and other surrounding mountain peaks.
Annapurna base camp is located in the Annapurna conservation area which is very close to Pokhara. The sanctuary lies east of the popular Poon hill Ghorepani trek in maps while it lies to the west of the Mardi Himal trek route.
Annapurna base camp trek also is known as Annapurna sanctuary trek starts from the beautiful city of Pokhara, which is just 5 to 6 hours’ drive away from the capital. You can reach Pokhara from Kathmandu via road or plane. The easy accessibility of the trek and the reduced chances of any flight cancellations or delays makes it an ideal choice for many trekkers. The trekking journey is very feasible with good communication services and safety.
While the main Annapurna base camp trek route remains the same, there are different variations according to the side trails, weather conditions, natural calamities and time of the year.
Annapurna base camp weather
Situated at the height of 4190m, the weather on the Annapurna base camp route is always subject to change. Weather at high altitudes in Himalayan regions is always subject to drastic change. If you are looking for trekking offseason to Annapurna region be well prepared and well informed.
Best time to travel to ABC
Nepal basically has 6 seasons, each lasting 2 months. While Spring (Basanta Ritu), Summer (Grishma Ritu), Monsoon or Rainy (Barsha Ritu), Autumn or Fall (Sharad Ritu), Pre-winter (Hemanta Ritu) and finally Winter (Shishir Ritu) are 4 known seasons worldwide, Monsoon (Rainy) and Pre-winter add into the list. So, it translates to;
- Spring : (March to May)
- Summer/Monsoon: (June to August)
- Autumn: (September to November)
- Winter: (December to February)
Autumn is the best season for trekking in the Annapurna region. It is a dry season offering clear blue sky and moderate temperature, the best time to go for any treks in Nepal as it presents you with spectacular weather window to observe the majestic beauty of landscapes in any treks.
The next best season to head for the trek in the Annapurna region is spring (March-May). The weather is warm and the trail is blooming with beautiful rhododendrons.
Another best time to trek in Nepal is spring (March to May) when the weather is warmer and forests are blooming with beautiful rhododendrons. The trail is usually crowded during this season as it is the best time to enjoy gorgeous mountains and the surrounding landscapes. The skies are clear and the mountains are seen throughout your trekking journey. The average temperature would go anywhere from 17 degrees. Since the winter has passed away, the mornings and nights are no longer below freezing point. During the daytime, the temperature may rise up to 20 degrees. The temperature is just perfect for trekking in Spring.
If you prefer a bit quieter time to trek through this region then winter is also an option. But be well clothed as per the weather.
Like most of the protected areas of Nepal, Annapurna conservation area also requires the permit to trek through the region. Foreigners must obtain an entry permit from the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) as well as a TIMS card (Tourism Information Management System) to trek in the Annapurna region.
To trek to Annapurna base camp, you require two permits:
Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP)
- For SAARC nationals: Nrs.200 (about US $2)
- For Others: Nrs.2000 (about US $20)
- Green cards (US$ 20) for independent trekkers
- Blue cards (US$ 10) per person for organized groups
The Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) and TIMS Card (Tourism Information Management System) permits are basically available at travel agents. You can also get it through the official Nepal Tourism Board offices in Kathmandu and Pokhara (usually trekking guides take care of this for you).
If you are an independent traveler then you must obtain TIMS in advance from either of the offices of Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu and Pokhara, TAAN Secretariat at Maligaon in Kathmandu and TAAN Pokhara Secretariat in Pokhara. For more information on permits and its requirements read: TREKKING PERMITS IN NEPAL
Level of difficulty
The Annapurna sanctuary trek is labeled a moderate trek for it's not so demanding trails and easy routes. This trek goes through quiet stone-built indigenous villages, along with mountain farms, forests, and breathtaking panoramic mountain views.
The first few days take you through an uphill route which then flattens out and you can cover more distance. There are plenty of steps to cover but also plenty of rest stops. While acclimatization is not a huge factor, it's still important to keep an eye open for symptoms. The Annapurna Base Camp treks main destinations include both Machhapuchhre Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp.
Depending on the time of year you'll need to make adjustments to clothing and equipment. The following equipment list for the trek will help:
- A lightweight trekking boots: It is possible to do this trek in sneakers or trainers. Many people do it. It’s just that you will be walking in snow for some part of the trek and boots offer more safety. But, make sure your shoes are well-fitting, light and comfortable
- A pair of crocs
- Four pairs of liner socks: Two pairs for a warm climate and two pairs for cold climate. Trekking/liner socks are better but it is okay if you only have the normal ones.
- Few pairs of underwear:There is trekking underwear that you could buy at home. They are good for other outdoor activities as well. You can find normal underwear in Nepal.
- A high-quality best ultralight packable down jacket and a down pant: You can buy or rent a good down jacket and a down pant in Nepal for cheap for a $1 or less per day.
- T-shirts and trousers: Keeping in mind both cold and warm temperatures you will be traversing.
- A set of thermalsOr, you could layer up.
- A light sleeping bagYou can either buy or rent in Nepal or bring from your country.
- A trekking poleThough easy, there are many ups and downs in this trek and a trekking pole can assist you. Else, you can find a sturdy stick en route and use it to support yourself.
- Two pairs of GlovesOne for warm weather and one for the cold.
- A woolen hat
- A torchlight or a head torchlight
- A First aid kit including Diamox and Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS)
- ToiletriesToilet paper, hand sanitizer, water purifiers, sunscreen, moisturizer, toothpaste, and toothbrush.
- A waterproof map of Annapurna Base Camp
- Snacks you like and entertainment such as books, cards, an iPad, etc.
Routes and itinerary
Day Route Distance (time) Highest Altitude
1 Pokhara - NayaPul to Ghandruk (bus/trek) 5-6hrs avg 2,000m
2 Ghandruk to Chomrong 4-5hrs avg 2,210 m
3 Chomrong to Bamboo 4-5hrs 2,310m
4 Bamboo to Deurali 5-6hrs 3,200m
5 Deurali to Machapuchare Base (MBC) Camp/Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) *
2 hours avg 3,700m
6 Machapuchare Base Camp/Annapurna Base Camp* 2hrs 4,130m
7 Annapurna Base Camp to Bamboo 6-7hrs 2,310m
8 Bamboo to Jhindu Danda 5hrs 1,780m
9 Jhindu Danda to Potana 5hrs 1,780m
10 Potana to Phedi 20 km (bus/trek) (5hrs/ 2-4hours) 1,600m
Check detailed itenerary: Annapurna Base Camp trek