Travel tips for Annapurna base camp trek

Himalayan base camps are often most difficult to reach with glacial moraine, avalanches and high altitude. However Annapurna base camp is the easiest of all treks to base camp. The trek can be done in one week from the nearest city Pokhara while other treks takes much longer time. Annapurna base camp is at 4,190 m which is lower than many other base camps in the Himalayas. The well established lodges make the trek comfortable and economic as well.

The most awe-inspiring Himalayan scenery within short trek and vibrant trek through the culturally rich foothills make the Annapurna base camp trek the most popular in the Himalayas.


How long is the trek ?


Annapurna base camp trek is 9 days long trek from the nearest city Pokhara of Nepal. 9 days trek includes the detour of Ghorepani / Poon Hill and comes back downstream following the Modi River. The recent road expansion have made it possible to do the trek in 5 days as well. However, trekker need to have at least one week to do the trek without rushing.


How difficult is the trek ?


The trek is moderately difficult and is suitable for reasonably fit trekkers. Remember, trekking in the Himalayas are much more difficult than walking and hiking in the west. So regular jogging and hiking prior to the trek is much helpful. The foothills have lots of ups and downs of about 500 m each. The rough trails with uneven steps and bitten path makes it tricky to walk on. The shortness of breath makes it difficult at the higher reaches. The trail at higher elevation passes through avalanche prone areas and snow fields. Teahouses are basic and the room temperature may get down to - 10 C. Like all treks in the Himalayas, Annapurna base camp trek is also made challenging by weather and high altitude.


Best Seasons


Spring and Autumn are the best time to do the Annapurna base camp trek. The summer is rainy season in the Himalayas. The peak winter snow covers the trail at the higher reaches making it impossible to traverse. With Spring, snow melts and sky clears up. Whole trail is covered in Rhododendron blossoms from mid March till mid April. This also makes the trail over crowded. The first half of the March and second half of the April have similar good weather with less trekkers. Similarly October and November are the peak season for the Annapurna base camp trek. Early October and December is the best time to enjoy the good weather and less crowd.


Trekking permits


Two different types of permits are required for the trek to Annapurna base camp. The trekking region falls in Annapurna conservation area and the conservation permit is charged. The conservation permit costs USD 30. Similarly the other permit is 'Trekking Information Management System' which costs USD 20. Both permits could be acquired from Nepal Tourism Board office in Kathmandu. Pictures and passport details are required for the permits. Normally permits are bought by trekking companies included in the package.


Food, Water and Accommodation


There are well established lodges run by local families. They have been catering and accommodating trekkers for over thirty years for the service to be terrific. Lodges have western toilets, hot showers and attached toilet in most of the places. Teahosues are basic at the higher reaches. Basic International cuisines along with local foods are available in the teahouses. Food serves are of basic international standard in taste and hygiene. Trekker need to take reusable water bottle in the trek. Every teahouse have boiled and filtered water for refilling with small charge.


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