The Annapurna Base Camp Trek everything Nepal promises from lush valleys, centuries old village life, to snowcapped mega mountains. What separates it from Nepal’s other hikes is time requirements: 7-10 days, roughly half the time of Nepal’s other mountain hikes.
Starting from almost tropical farming villages you will quickly ascend through a craggy valley, finally reaching Annapurna Base Camp, a collection of teahouse lodges that are surrounded by the Annapurna Range. This hike gives you the most bang-for-the-buck of any of Nepal’s hikes.
Chomrong is where you will get your first views of Annapurna. Just before this city are hot springs that you can rest upon return. Chomrong’s “fixed price” store at the end of town (towards basecamp) is the last place to purchase treats or food supplements (i.e. tuna) at reasonable prices.
While Annapurna is the draw, fishtail is actually the most beautiful mountain of the area, peaking through clouds and piercing the sunrise, sending a kaleidoscope of colors through the valley below.
The moon setting and the sunrising are worth waking up for. When we arrived in May this meant a 4AM alarm.
—————– THE DETAILS —————–
THE BIG DRAW: Annapurna Base Camp, the bottom of a bowl of permanently snow-capped mountains.
WHERE IT STARTS: Dhampus, just outside Pokhara, easily accessible by flight or bus from Kathmandu.
HOW LONG IT TAKES: 7-10 days, slower hikers or those wanting to have shorter days should take 10 days. Completing it in seven days requires 6-8 hours of vigorous hiking daily.
HOW MUCH IT COSTS: $15/day/person unguided; $40 guided; $100 with tour packages.
WHEN TO GO: March-early-May or late-September-November
DIFFICULTY: Moderate. The hike requires ascending and descending several valleys, a couple on stone stairs that are knee killers. If you have knee problems give yourself extra time and bring hiking poles.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING: Permits are purchasable in Kathmandu or Pokhara(TIMS card and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit). Bring a warm jacket and sleeping bag for the night at Base Camp. Be sure to bring good sunscreen as many of the days you will hike in shorts and t-shirts.
HELPFUL LINKS TO LEARN MORE: Learn about the accommodations and food in Teahouse Trekking; Nepal Travel and Photo Guide; the Lonely Planet’s Trekking in Nepal is a must-have guide to plan and prepare; Do you need a guide? Read Himalayan Hiking to decide for yourself.
Enjoy these photos? See more photos from this hike and others from our 40 days of hiking the Nepalese Himalaya by clicking here. Plan your own trip with our money saving secrets in our Nepal Travel Guide.
The big challenge of this hike are the stone stairs. For even the fittest these stairs will begin to wear physically and mentally. Those with knee problems need to bring hiking poles.