Mountain lovers can understand what reaching the Himalayas means. It’s a long, tough journey to get there and admire the highest mountains in the world. A new challenge, another dream come true.
You wake up and it’s cold. You put on some warm clothes and sit on the edge of a cliff with a cup of tea warming your hands. The wind gently moves the clouds that cover the mountains. Gradually, great snowy peaks emerge, the sun rises, the mist descends and the show overwhelms you. Now you are in a magical place. Take a deep breath and watch. Enjoy your tea and feel the peace surrounding this place that you will never forget.
The Annapurna base camp trek (also known as Annapurna Sanctuary trek) can be completed in about 7-8 days, and although you must be physically fit, the difficulty is not that high. With good acclimatization, you can enjoy this wonderful route gracefully, going on your own, without guides.
Total distance: 110 km
Time: 7-8 days
Maximum elevation: 4,130 meters
Annapurna base camp trek, Itinerary for eight days
Day 1: Nayapul – Ulleri
Day 2: Ulleri – Ghorepani
Day 3: Ghorepani -Poonhill -Tadapani
Day 4: Tadapani – Chomrong
Day 5: Chomrong – Doban
Day 6: Doban – MBC
Day 7: MBC – Annapurna Sanctuary – Chomrong
Day 8: Chomrong – Nayapul
DAY 1: Nayapul – Ulleri
The adventure begins. After leaving the village of Nayapul, we started our trek into the mountains. The route this day was mainly uphill, with lots of stairs.
The hike to the Annapurna base camp is one of the most popular in the world, so the trails are well preserved. It’s not exactly a wild path; there are a lot of stairs, some paving stones, bridges and signs in many places to make your experience easier.
When we got to Ulleri, we found a nice celebration that brightened the evening with dances, songs and performances of the local culture. It was an excellent welcome.
DAY 2: Ulleri – Ghorepani
We continued our journey uphill. Another day with lots of stairs to reach the small village of Ghorepani. This part of the trek passes through beautiful green areas and rice paddies.
DAY 3: Ghorepani -Poon Hill -Tadapani
The plan for the third day was to wake very early and walk up to Poon Hill, watch the sun rise over the mountains and keep on the route. The sunrise itself was quite cloudy, so we couldn’t enjoy the show from this viewpoint, which is said to be very spectacular. On the way back to Ghorepani, the sky began to clear up so we could partially see the big mountains for the first time.
DAY 4: Tadapani – Chomrong
We kept our hike going uphill and downhill before getting to the village of Chomrong, situated in the valley that leads directly to the Annapurna Sanctuary. Chomrong is quite loved by hikers because of the really good bakery there. I remember how we enjoyed a cinnamon roll and a chocolate cake, with the excuse that we needed to recharge our batteries before the final stage.
DAY 5: Chomrong – Doban
It was a mild hike this day. Lush cliffs and rivers around us, and a valley ahead constantly calling us. We knew that we were close to the end.
DAY 6: Doban – MBC
The valley became narrower, or at least that’s the feeling watching the mountains rise around you, making you feel like you’re walking through a terrible gorge.
Finally, we arrived at the Machapuchare base camp, at 3,700 meters. That was the night we slept at the highest altitude, but we didn’t have any problems with altitude sickness. All we felt was the excitement of being so close to Annapurna. We were almost there!
DAY 7: MBC – ABC – Chomrong
We woke up at 4:00 am to get to the Annapurna base camp at dawn. It was less than two hours away.
Just before sunrise, there we were, enjoying the Annapurna Sanctuary, situated at 4,130 meters high, deep in the heart of the frozen mountains.
The Annapurna base camp is located on a high plateau surrounded by huge peaks in all directions.
Gently, the sun rose, coloring the crests of the mountains. The sky opened and the show began. Definitely, one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my life.
After having a hot ginger tea and realizing what we had just seen, we were ready to return. We walked on and on until we got back to Chomrong.
DAY 8: Chomrong – Nayapul
The last day was quite tiring because our bodies needed a break but it was a long day of walking before getting back to Nayapul and taking a bus to Pokhara. At the end, we left the mountains with our legs destroyed but big smiles on our faces.
TRAVEL BUDGET FOR HIKING THE ANNAPURNA BASE CAMP
The average budget for accommodation and food was about $ 12 US / day, not including the entrance fee.
Annapurna Conservation Area Project entrance fee / Permits
Foreigners: $ 20 US
Accommodation during the trek
We didn’t pay anything in most of the lodges. You can negotiate to get free accommodation in exchange for purchasing snacks, dinner and breakfast at their restaurant.
In the lodges of Doban and Machapuchare base camp, it’s harder to negotiate. The price for a simple bed is about $ 3- $ 4 US, depending on the season.
They usually charge extra for hot showers, heaters, etc.
Accommodation in Pokhara
When visiting Pokhara, I recommend that you stay in Pushkar Backpackers. It’s a good place with nice atmosphere, friendly travelers, and cheap food and beers.
Food prices increase the higher you go. Annapurna base camp is obviously where you will pay the most for food because everything is transported manually. A bowl of rice with vegetables or some noodles costs about $ 3- $ 5 US.
The bus from Pokhara to Nayapul costs around $ 2 US.
You can also share a taxi with fellow travelers for about $8 – $10 US.
WEATHER. WHEN TO COMPLETE THE ANNAPURNA BASE CAMP TREK.
The two best seasons for this route are autumn (September to November) and spring (March to May). From December to February there is too much snow and from June to August too much rain.
I was there in October and the weather was pretty good. I was told that it’s worth it to go during the spring, because the landscape is more colorful.
Flying to Nepal during the high season can be more expensive. I recommend that you download the free Skyscanner app which shows you a comparison chart with the cheapest flights in each month.
TIPS FOR TREKKING THE ANNAPURNA BASE CAMP
Poon Hill route
The Poon Hill Trek can easily be completed in about 7-8 days. Therefore, I recommend that you take the regular trail going through Ghorepani – Poon Hill -Chomrong to visit different landscapes.
However, if you do not have many days, you can take the shortcut by going through Nayapul – Ghangruk – Chomrong and save one or two days of hiking.
Jhinudanda Hot Springs
Near Chomrong, there is a small village called Jhinudanda, which has some amazing hot springs. The pools are built right next to a wild river surrounded by spectacular views.
Acclimatization and altitude sickness
Although this is not an extremely high trek, it’s very important to ensure good acclimatization; drink plenty of water and if you are not feeling ok, descend.
Should I take a guide?
The trail is well marked and you will always find people to ask if you are in doubt, so although optional, it is not really necessary to get a guide.
Whether you hire a guide or not, I highly recommend that you get a travel insurance before you visit Nepal. Trusted by thousand of adventurers, World Nomads is one of the best and more reliable options.
Traveling to Nepal? Check out on Amazon: Lonely Planet Nepal and Lonely Planet Himalaya
Next Read: Best things to do in Pokhara
Do you have any doubts about the Annapurna Base Camp trek? Leave a comment!
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Hi, I’m Miguel; Adventure traveler, scuba diver and hiking lover. I have been traveling the world for the last 12 years and I hope my experiences, photos and hiking routes inspire you to travel the world too.
I’m going to Nepal in October and want to do that trek.
Do you have any idea how long it took you in between each stops approximatively?
I’d like to try this one as some kind of speedtrek, so I’m wondering if it is possible to skip one or two of the stops you mentionned. I will be already well acclimatized since I will have done the Annapurnna circuit a few days before.
So for exemple if you’ve done 2 days of walking 4 hour, I’d be doing one day of 8 hours or maybe stopping after 6 hours if there are any other lodges one the way.
Your photos are very nice btw!
well, I think I walked around 6 hours a day on the way up and a bit longer on the way back.. but we did skip a lot of towns getting down… you can definitely do it shorter and faster… I was enjoying the scenery, taking pictures, etc..
Good luck, it’s a beautiful place!
Thank you for your help! I can’t wait to be there 🙂
Seems i will follow your way, i’ll be there next month for solo trekking to ABC.
About the backpack what size did you bring and total weight did you carry on it? and how about the drinking water and snack/food for each day, was it easy to find food stall along the way? thanks.
Hi teguh, great! you’ll love the hike.. it’s awesome! about the backpack.. you need to bring your own sleeping bag and warm clothes.. You’ll need at least a 40-50 liter backpack. You will find plenty of food and water along the hike.. there are many villages in which you sleep and get all the food and drinks. 🙂
Good luck and enjoy!
I will be doing this same trek next month with my boyfriend. We are also not going to get a guide, our only worry is not being able to get a place to sleep in the teahouses, as we wont be able to book ahead. How did you find getting a place to sleep each night?
Hi Liza! Don’t worry too much about that, there should be some place! Most people don’t book in advance. I went there during the high season and I had no problem! 🙂
Rahmen Ali says
Thank for sharing your trekking experience at the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek. It was inspiring.
We are planning to do this trek this October.
I assume your point of arrival was at Kathmandu? How do you travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara?
What type of sleeping bag should I bring for this trek in October?
Hi Rahmen! Thanks! I’m glad you liked it!
October is a very good moment to visit the Annapurna Sanctuary. Yes, I traveled from Kathmandu to Pokhara. I took a van, there are buses, vans, etc. It’s easy to find transport.
At the time, I had a 10º sleeping bag which is a bit too cold for that hike. But you can borrow an extra cover in most homestays. Otherwise, I recommend that you bring a warm sleeping bag. at least one for 0º or -10º. Mainly for the last two days, the rest isn’t that cold.
Have a nice trek!
Another thing, how do you adapt to the acclimatization and altitude sickness. If I see from your itinerary, you trekked from Nayapul to Ulleri and if I am correct, the height difference between this 2 areas is rather huge, right?
Nayapul is at 1070 mts, and Ulleri at 1960 mts. it’s a big diffence but you’re still lower than 2000 meters.. no problemo! 🙂
Acclimatization shouldn’t be a big issue on the route since most places are located lower than 3.000 meters.. It’s the last few days only when you get higher than 3.000. and your body should be acclimatized by then. The Annapurna Base Camp itself is at 4.100.. which is not that high. Most common problems at that altitude may include headache, nausea and vomits… but it shouldn’t represent any high risk if you have done some acclimatization (the previous days of hiking). Anyway, If you feel really bad anytime, hike back to a lower town and rest.
Enjoy the Himalayas!
Very nice post Miguel, the pictures are awesome.
This is the best blog/itinerary/information I have found yet so thank you for sharing.
Some people say you don’t need to bring sleeping bag, do you think it really necessary to bring one? As well, this is in the middle of a year long trip for us so we will have a lot of unnessasry gear with us, have you heard of bag storage in Pokhara and is it easy to rent hiking gear (jackets, sleeping bag) ?
Thank you very much Lisa! You’ll get some blankets at the guest house, but I don’t like to be cold (and it’s pretty cold at night) so for me it was really good that I brought my sleeping bag. You can leave your gear at your hostel in Pokhara, most people do that, and you get it back once you return to the city. There are plenty of hiking stores in Pokhara, you can buy or rent anything you need. No worries! 🙂
Safe travels and let me know how it goes!
Aditya Nigam says
Thank you for sharing your experience. How much money is sufficient for a ‘solo travel to ABC? What is the best time to plan for a snow trek?
Hi, you can do it on your own, so you’ll spend a few dollars a day, just for accommodation and food. From December to February you’ll find snow. Safe travels.
zoe cusack says
Really enjoyed reading your blog, I’m travelling to Nepal in March and it will be my first trek. I haven’t had much time to prepare in terms of trekking/hiking practice, I counting on the good fitness levels I have through cycling/swimmer/yoga – most days.
Do you think I will be ok during the trek, its taking us 15 days so that includes leaving Kathmandu and returning to Kathmandu. The guide says we go pretty slow.
Hi Zoe, well… I can’t say for sure, but I guess you’ll be fine if you take it easy.. it’s not especially hard. Safe travels!
Alpine Ramble Treks says
Very helpful post for the new trekkers who wish to explore the Annapurna Himalayas of Nepal. welcome to Land of the Himalayas!
Garry Doyle says
My wife and I will fly to Kathmandu at the very end of may
we will probably do the same path as you have done. we will go on our own without a guide. I have done the poon hill walk before with out a guide
( 28 years ago ) but never did the ABC (Beautiful Spot )
. Can you please tell me on an average how many hours did you walk a day and do you think we would need sleeping bags for that month or would sleeping liners be fine
Hi Garry, it depends on how much you want to walk.. there are several villages to sleep, so you don’t need to stop in all of them.. if you have time and energy, you can keep walking till the next village.. On average, I’d say you walk 6-7 hours a day. I’d take a sleeping bag.. you can also borrow a blanket from the guest houses, but it’s pretty cold up there. Safe travels!
I’m doing this trip in October, 2018 solo, and your post is everything that I have been looking for, so thank you. Is there somewhere to download the information that you have shared?
Hi Rachae, thanks for your comment! You can copy the info from the post and paste it in a text document I guess. Safe travels.
Thank you for sharing your experience and this helpful information. I’m doing the ABC trip next week. The first plan was going with an organised group, then things changed at the last minute. Now I have to go for it on my own. I was quite worried and afraid as I had no ideas and pictures of managing everything by myself. It seems so hard. But after reading this best piece of guidance of yours, I feel that I can do it. Thank you for the inspiration. Keep it up 🙂
Wish you travel safe and enjoy wherever you go.
All the best
Hi Jamie, I hope you have a great hike! You’ll see that it’s not hard to do on your own! Enjoy that beautiful place! Miguel
The best blog ever. Thank you, Miguel.
Thank you Sam! 🙂
Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m planning to trek solo next year 3rd week of April.
Im having a dilemma as I found avalanche during spring season is higher. Any tips?
Hi Maricar, April is considered high season for hiking the ABC so there should be no problem. You can ask a local company just in case to be sure. Safe travels,
Yana Maximova says
Love your picture at ABC with the clouds beneath you! I’ve done several treks in the Annapurna region (Poon Hill, ABC, Mardi Himal), and I find that every trek is beautiful in its own way. But still, ABC impressed me the most. I just loved being surrounded by all those giant mountains. You feel so small there 🙂 Though our itinerary was a bit different, and we stayed at ABC for a night, so at 4 am we were the only people outside, watching the stars and dancing to warm up, as it was too cold (-10C).
I loved this trek! Brings back such good memories! Thanks for sharing I love reading your posts. Have you done Mera Peak? I’m going on a few weeks and would love some reads on it.
Hi Millie, thanks! I haven’t done Mera Peak, let me know how it goes!