A complete guide to Annapurna Base camp Trek
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
The trek that takes to the base camp of the world’s 10the highest mountain and one of the technically very difficult mountains to climb is the Annapurna Base Camp trek. Even reaching the summit is one of the toughest jobs compared to other peer mountain reaching the Base camp of the same mountain is one of the easiest job compared to other similar mountains. Annapurna actually is the massif that is located in the western part of the Nepal Himalaya. Numerous small glacier and rivers starts from this massif. Following one of the rivers upstream is the easiest access to reach the Annapurna Base Camp. The camp actually was Shepherd’s stop when they have taken their animals for grazing in the summer in seventies. They made small huts and small enclosures for their animals out of stones so the animals would not escape from the area. The roof was made out of mats of a species of bamboo called Nigalo, so they could protect themselves and their animals against small rain and snow. The descendants of the same shepherd’s family later started selling some food items and their animals and they have facilitated for trekkers who has gone there by providing them a safer camp grounds. Slowly those families started making the conditions better and running small tea house in late 80’s. As Annapurna Base Camp is part of the protected area by Annapurna Area Conservation Project, outsider are neither allowed to start the business in the area nor allowed to construct the new tea houses. Even for the entrepreneurs who already run the small tea houses in Annapurna Base Camp, making an extension of their existing tea house or adding up the facilities, needs special permits from the authorities. In the very busy season there often lacks rooms for the trekkers but they are invited to sleep in the very cozy and warm dining halls. The existing facilities are much better than in nineties. The Annapurna Base Camp located at the elevation of 4,130 meter above sea level, the solar water heating system burst due to the freezing temperature and due to frequent snowing and low temperature the western toilets are not efficient. Most of the guest houses are furnished with eastern squat toilets; some of the guest houses have some western toilets that function well when the temperature is relatively above the freezing point of the water.
Annapurna Base camp Trek Itinerary
The itinerary varies as per the route. There are different route to go to Annapurna Base Camp which varies in number days, landscape and the area covered. The most popular trek itinerary for Annapurna Base Camp Trek now is Pokhara- Nayapul- Birethanti-Ghorepani- Annapurna Base camp-Pokhara. This itinerary covers the most important attractions in the area. The details of this itinerary are:
Day 01: Short drive from Pokhara to Nayapul and walk up to Tirkhedhunga
Day 02: The walk from Tirkhedhunga to Ghorepani
Day 03: Discover Poon Hill in the morning and trek down to Tadapani for overnight stay
Day 04: Trek from Tadapani to Chhomrong and discover the village of Chhomrong.
Day 05: Trek from Chhomrong to Bamboo
Day 06: Trek from bamboo to Deurali
Day 07: trek from Deurali to ABC
Day 08: Trek from ABC to Dovan
Day 09: trek from Dovan to Jhinudanda and enjoy the natural hot spring there in the afternoon time
Day 10: Trek from Jhinudanda to Nayapul and drive to Pokhara
The alternative itineraries is start the trekking from Phedi, a short drive from Pokhara, and reach Annapurna Base Camp by following Modi river upstream and retrace back the same river downstream to complete the trek. The trek gives opportunity to discover the village of Dhampus but miss the popular view point of Poonhill. The itineraries go from Phedi – Dhampus-Tolkha-Landruk-Jhinudanda-Deurali-MBC-ABC-Dovan-Chhomrong-Birethanti and drive to Pokhara again.
For people who have less time and want to go to Annapurna Base Camp they can follow the Modi River upstream from Birethanti and retrace back the same river can be done within less than a week. The trip itineraries go as Birethanti-Ghandruk-Chhomorong- Dovan-Deurali-MBC-ABC- Jhinudanda-Birethanti and drive back to Pokhara.
The itineraries depends with the interest of the individual so we recommend our valuable clients please contact us mentioning your interest in detail so it will be comfortable for us to figure out what you exactly want. If interest of our customer is to see the culture and village we focus our trip take you to the diversified villages as possible. If our customer’s interest is to see the landscapes tell us in detail so we will direct you to the route where the focus will be given to landscapes. It will be extremely helpful for both parties if you mention us whether you prefer to go more uphill or more downhill so we plan the route accordingly. We cannot avoid going uphill or downhill totally but we know about which route has more uphill walk and which route have more downhill walk so you will get the better experience. We have lots of people who feel comfortable going uphill and another folk who find comfortable going downhill. There are rough roads in few villages so your information helps us to take some drives where it is not essential to walk.
Annapurna Base Camp trek cost
The cost of the trek varies as usual like from where you book the trip and type of trekking you want to do. An overseas operator who has more administrative cost must charge more than us or if they charge same as ours, they will certainly reduce some of the service which you supposed to get. We don’t claim our price is the cheapest you get in the market and neither allure customers with cut throat prices but we assure if you like to join our trips we give you value for what you have paid to us. The price varied greatly with what you want to include and excludes. Accommodations in Kathmandu and Pokhara as well as type of transportation to and from the trail head make a significant difference in the price. The bigger the group we can offer the cheaper price but the group treks has their own problems so do some research whether you really like to be in a group tour or not?
Our current price for Annapurna Base camp trek is $980 per person with two persons minimum. We are happy to cater for solo travellers too with some extra supplement. We are flexible and try to make our customers comfortable so do not hesitate to write to us and discuss about any matters, not only the price. It would be rather cheap trekking on your own but when you join the company you are trekking for a reason as you are creating a job opportunity for locals and know more from the locals. The guide and porter not only take you for the trek but also help to avoid your name in the list of missing solo trekkers who disappeared every year in different trekking routes. They will be your great companion with little extra.
What to pack for Annapurna Base Camp Trek
As Annapurna Base Camp Trek is not of that very high elevation trek, the normal packing will be fine. The normal packing includes comfortable clothing for daytime, night time and rest time, a warm sleeping bag; a towel, a medical and personnel hygiene kit, a flash light with some spare batteries, comfortable worn out shoes, water purifying pills or any other means to purify the water. Regarding papers, an insurance document with clear policy, a copy of a passport, permits to enter the Annapurna Conservation area, a copy of flight tickets if you have any, a day to day itinerary, a handy map of the area would be appreciated. Oxy meter to check your oxygen level would be beneficial if you get any health issues during the trek.
Available accommodation in Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Most of the tea houses and guest houses are furnished with small and clean twin rooms. They are of different capacity and variable from village to village. Every village has their own lodge management committee who decides and revised the pricing every year. Practically whichever guest house you stay you are paying the same price. The accommodation price is ranging from about $2 to $10 depending where you are and what type of room you want. Now in the bigger village rooms with private bathrooms are available whereas above the last villages of Bamboo and Dovan accommodations are simpler than the lower elevation.
The main point to remember is accommodation is not the major part of the income for tea house or lodge owners, the major part of the income come from the food. All trekkers must eat at the same lodge where they sleep. Some village even they have rules if you go to the restaurant of another lodge than where you stay they don’t serve you. If the lodge owners know that you have gone outside for meals, than they will charge extra for accommodation which eventually is same amount as you have eaten there. Our professional guides not only look after accommodation but they take due care regarding the food and dining experience during the trek. Sometimes the outlook of the guest house and rooms seems Ok but the foods served there is exceptionally good than other guest houses in the area.
In the high season, the lodge-owners try to sell each and every bed, solo travellers are often discouraged as they occupy twin rooms and there will be less money from foods. Our guides who bring clients quiet frequently sort these problems more comfortably so even solo travellers get room when they trek with us.
What happened if you do not get the rooms in high seasons?
There are lots of people who don’t get the rooms in the high seasons as there are more visitors than the number of beds available in the entire location. This actually happens in higher elevation where authorities do not allow construction of new hotels and extension of the existing hotels. Regarding this matter in Annapurna Base Camp Trek the problem occurs above the last villages of Bamboo and Dovan. The dining halls have the wide benches so people can sleep there. Sleeping in dining hall is often warm and cozy as they have the fire place in the middle. Only problem sleeping in the dining hall is you have to be early bird to wake up and very less privacy.
When is the best time to do Annapurna Base Camp Trek?
The best times to do these treks vary with individual’s interest. If you love to see greenery, go in the monsoon time or post monsoon time. If you love to see blossoming rhododendron, mid-April to May will be the best time. If you wish to get wonderful views post monsoon and pre summer would be the great months. If you like to see less people on the trail try low seasons like January-February and May to June. The writer has seen people doing this trek in August and they loved it because they like to try the leech Therapy and these groups of people has gone deep in the forest outside the main trail to find concentration of the leeches. Extremes in this trek are not common but with climate change everywhere even in April it was snowing few years back.
Do I need insurance to do Annapurna Base Camp Trek?
The authorities in Nepal has not made mandatory to have insurance doing the trekking in Nepal. If you are insured, the difficult situation if you get any would be easily handled. If you buy the insurance policy, make sure to cover up to 4,500 meter of elevation, any kind of emergencies and medical issues. Trip delays and flight cancellation is exceptional but due to bad weather trip extension and dropping the trip might occur in the rare cases. If you are taking a flight from and to Pokhara post trek, pre trek this might get affected with weather but any of the case you can take land transfer pushing your itineraries.
As the trek has ups and downs, natural trails and man-made steps without railings in many areas, a good insurance policy would be appreciable. If the policy covers any type of delay due to bad weather, loss or wear that would be still beneficial. Leave a copy of your policy with local agency in Kathmandu so they can coordinate with you in case of any emergencies. When you are hiring a guide and porter make sure they are properly insured. It is illegal to hire somebody for trek without insurance in Nepal. Your insurance does not matter but your guide and porter must be insured. All our guides and porters has proper insurance policy by the company.
Do I need previous experience or trainings for Annapurna Base Camp trek?
Practically no previous experiences are necessary to do this trek. Any trekkers with ability to go uphill and downhill and adapt with natural trails and man-made steps can do this treks. Seek for assistance with your guide or fellow trekkers while crossing the bridge if you have vertigo. Bicycling, running and jogging, doing some exercise prior to your trip will help to establish a good stamina for the trek. Any age group has enjoyed the trek very much. If you have any queries regarding these issues please write to us as we can personalize the itineraries for you.
Adopting to use squat toilets is beneficial but not the serious issues prepare for smelling as you go higher elevation for few days. The lower part of the trek has good shower facilities with hot water but some time they might charge extra for that.
Do I get Bottled water during the Annapurna Base Camp trek?
To avoid the huge piles of used plastic bottles and smoke that got generated burning these bottles, the use of plastic bottles are discouraged. Look for means to purify water but there are safe water stations where you can refill your water bottles. The lodge owners are happy to provide boiled water every day on extra cost. Give preference to can beer over bottles as you never know what they do with beer bottles.
Is there extension from the Annapurna Base camp Trek?
Yes, there exist some extensions if you wish to make few days extra. Mardi Himal Trek would be very good choice or you can extend to discover the Kaligandaki Valley. Few days of extension from Tadapani will take you to Khopra danda with stunning view of the Annapurna South.
Are there permits to do Annapurna Base Camp Trek?
Yes, every trekker needs to pay TIMS and ACAP entry permit to do Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Remember these permits are valid only for single entry. Be clear about entry and exit points as if you exit wrongly and want to reenter the conservation area they charge for permits again.
Do you suggest any post trek activities?
Many people after doing this trek stroll around Pokhara but it is advisable you can go to Chitwan National park for safaris and activities to see the wild lives there. The national park is especially famous for Royal Bengal tiger, one horned rhinos and different types of deer and crocodiles.
Where do I charge my device during Annapurna Base Camp Trek?
Most of the villages in the trekking area are now have access to small micro hydro so there is electricity. Normally you can charge your electric device in the public area like restaurant, reception of the tea houses. Some places they charge extra money to charge your electronic devices. Now people carry foldable small solar chargers so you can charge your device mean time you are walking. Our electricity supply is 220V, 50-60 Hz so if you come from the area where the electricity volt is different than this it would be beneficial bringing a proper adapter.
Is Annapurna Base Camp Trek safe for solo female travellers?
Practically Nepal is safe for solo travellers whether male or female. Regarding this trek travelling solo for females are discouraged as the trek passes through dense forest, lonely areas. It is recommended to get another like-minded traveller or you can hire guide and porter. If you really want to travel alone stick with other trekking groups in the risky areas. Dress properly, covering your knees and shoulders and do not undervalue the risk of travelling alone in the remote areas. The lodge owners seems reluctant to give rooms to the solo travellers especially in high season so it is advisable you stop in the villages where few people would stop for overnight stay or try to find tea houses where less people would go like at the beginning of the village or the last lodge of the village.
Laundry facilities during the Annapurna Base Camp trek
Now some of the tea houses have already bought the washing machines where you can do laundry paying extra. If there are no washing machines available you have to do laundry on your own. Every day as you reach the tea house do the laundry first so they will be ok to carry next day. Most of the tea house they have a fireplace to dry wet clothes in the dining hall. Make sure to collect before you go to bed otherwise somebody else will collect it and probably you never get them back. The people in the village do laundry with soap bars and always done in public taps or river or public water spouts. Doing laundry in these areas if available would add up your experience so ask your guide to find those place if they have any in the village.
High altitude problem during Annapurna Base camp Trek
ABC trek is rather comfortable regarding acute mountain sickness or high altitude sickness. There is very less chance that people would die out of AMS in Annapurna region specially doing the Annapurna base camp Trek. The first thing is the trek starts at very low elevation and even the base camp is located at the elevation of 4,130meters. Mild headaches are common for every trekker but no serious illnesses so that they could die out of altitude related problems. There are greenery and high air pressure except for few days. The trail climbs high just in few days especially above Himalaya Hotel so even if you get altitude problems can descend very fast and recover the problem. If some people get serious problems there are chopper available from Pokhara with no time as the distance to Annapurna from Pokhara is less than half hour of flight.
Every trekker is welcome to the one of the great trek of the world. You can check our well researched and well planned itineraries to Annapurna Base Camp for successful and enjoyable trip. The trek is still very important culturally and has incredible views. The trek can be done without previous trekking experience and is good for any age group. The facilities in the trek are better than any other similar trek. Our trained crew even makes your experience unforgettable and unique. Let’s create opportunity and experience together.