Annapurna Base Camp Trek – In The Throne of the Gods

Updated: March 30, 2023

On this page you will find a comprehensive and impartial guide to the Annapurna Base Camp Trek.

Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Route Overview

The Annapurna Base Camp trek is one of the most popular hikes in Nepal. Why? Quite simply: the mountain scenery is incredible.

To main a few of the mountains you will be trekking amongst, there is Annapurna I (26,505 feet), Annapurna South (23,684 feet), Machapuchhre (22,943 feet) and Hiunchili (21,131 feet). These are arranged in a circle roughly 10 miles wide with a glacier-glazed amphitheatre at the centre which the locals, Gurungs, call the ‘Throne of the Gods' (much like Greece's Mt Olympus). It is more commonly known to Westerners as the Annapurna Sanctuary.

Machapuchhre is considered sacred by Gurungs and climbing it is forbidden, although a British party came within 200 feet in 1957.

The Annapurna Base Camp trek usually takes 10 to 15 days, depending upon how relaxed you take it, and the trek is of moderate difficulty.

Although the valley floor affords good camping if the weather is fair, you will usually stay in tea houses along the route. Please note that single rooms are rare. Cold showers are free, but hot ones must be paid for. Electricity usually costs NPR100 per hour. Read more Tea Houses – What to Expect.

The Annapurna Base Camp trek is the only trekking route in the region untouched by road construction. There are more than 100 kinds of mammal in the area, 60 kinds of reptile and amphibian, 450 kinds of bird and nine kinds of rhododendron!

The Annapurna range features some of the highest-possible mountain views. The finest moments of this trek are at sunrise, when the sun dances across the mountains. You will occasionally be granted 360-degree vistas at some of the higher points along the trail.

Annapurna Regional Map

The Annapurna Conservation Area is in the mid-western part of Nepal, from the Kali Gandaki river in the west to Marshyangdi in the east.


Recommended Annapurna Map


There are quite a few good maps available of the Annapurna region. The one we recommend is called Around Annapurna 1:125 000. It provides full coverage of the Annapurna Conservation Area and Annapurna Sanctuary, with detailed trails, walking distances and altitudes.

Annapurna Base Camp Itinerary


Please note that there are several Annapurna Base Camp trek itineraries that can be done. Below we have laid out the most popular version – 11 days, including a pre and post stay in KTM. It is possible to do the trek in a shorter time, but you would need to be very fit and well acclimatised. Equally, you could take a few more days and build in some time to rest and acclimatise. Click each day to read more.

Day 1-2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7 

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Recommended Guidebook

Trek to Annapurna Base Camp (Asia Series Book 8)

In terms of guidebooks we highly recommend Trek to Annapurna Base Camp by Brian Lawrenson or Annapurna: A Trekker’s Guide by Sian Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons.

For amazing photography check out Annapurna Base Camp Trek: A Photographic Journey by Sanjeev Mathur.

For a super entertaining read on the Annapurna region we recommend You Couldn’t Make it Up!: Ordinary Guy, Extraordinary Life by Mike Freedman.

Preparing for Annapurna Base Camp Hike


When is the best time to trek to Annapurna Base Camp?

The Annapurna Base Camp trek can be accomplished throughout the year. Autumn, from September to November, and spring, from March to May, are the best seasons. The rhododendron forests bloom in spring. Taking the trip in winter – from December to February – will free you of crowds but the Base Camp is sometimes closed due to snow. The monsoon season is unpleasant, very wet with lots of leeches.


How much does the Annapurna Base Camp trek cost?

The cost for an Annapurna Base Camp trek ranges from $1,000 for an unsupported / non-commercial trek (assuming $100 a day is enough to cover all your accommodation needs, food, permits and perhaps some support from a local guide) to $2,500 upwards for all-inclusive commercial treks (generally including return flights from Kathmandu to Pokhara).


How difficult is the trek to Annapurna Base Camp?

The Annapurna Base Camp trek is of moderate difficulty. You will be trekking for 4-7 hours a day for over a week, so you will need to be relatively fit. The best way to prepare is to get as many miles under foot on trails in your home country.


Are permits required for this trek?

An Annapurna Conservation Area Project permit and Trekker Information Management System registration are required for the Annapurna Base Camp trek.

If you are joining an organised tour, these will be arranged for you, but if you are looking to go it alone you will have to bring four passport-sized photographs and go to the offices of the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu to apply. We recommend bringing copies of your passport and insurance policy. The offices follow government working hours and days, and are not open on Sundays.


Is altitude sickness a risk on Annapurna Base Camp?

The Annapurna Base Camp Trek ascends to some high altitude points. At its highest point, the Annapurna Base Camp, you will reach an altitude of 4,130 meters (13,545 feet). Luckily, because of the treks length, the opportunities for acclimatisation are good, and hence the prevalence of moderate or sever altitude sickness is not high.

Nonetheless, it is important to have a clear understanding of the risks associated with high altitude trekking and how the body acclimatises to high altitude.

We recommend reading our detailed article on Altitude Sickness and Acclimatisation.


What gear do I need for Annapurna BC?

Trekking the Annapurna Base Camp requires a number of essential pieces of trekking gear and equipment. The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is relatively long and moderately hard. It exposes you to a range of altitudes where temperatures fluctuate significantly between night and day.

Much of your gear can be rented or bought in Kathmandu or Pokhara, but we suggest bringing the most important pieces of gear with you.

To help you plan and prepare for your trek we recommend reading our gear section. Here is an Annapurna Circuit Packing List.


What travel insurance do I need for Annapurna Base Camp hike?

Trekking insurance is vitally important in Nepal. This is particularly true on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek which is remote. If an accident should occur that requires medical assistance and evacuation you will most certainly want the right trekking insurance that can cover the costs of air ambulance and further treatment.

Make sure to have insurance that covers you for any travel related risks, like damaged, lost, stolen or delayed baggage; flight delays and interruptions; and tour operators default.

This article on travel and trekking insurance provides great information on what type of insurance you need

Explore More Hikes in Nepal


Everest Base Camp Trek

The Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular and iconic treks in Nepal. Trekkers get to retrace the early footsteps taken by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on their historic Everest expedition in 1953. Discover the Everest Base Camp Trek.


Langtang Valley Trek

The Langtang Valley Trek is a relatively easy trek and is often far less busy than other popular treks in the Everest and Annapurna region. The trek can be done in seven days, however, it usually takes 10 to 12 days. Discover the Langtang Valley Trek.


Manaslu Circuit Trek

Robin Boustead, author of Nepal Trekking & the Great Himalaya Trail: A route and planning guide, pronounced, “Many would argue that the Manaslu Circuit trail is the best general trek in the country.” Discover the Manaslu Circuit Trek.

About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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  1. Hi

    We are planning a trek to ABC via Poon Hill in May, 2020. Throughout this trip, we would want to book the best available accommodation options.

    Before contacting any trek organizing company, I am trying to find out the names of the best guesthouses, preferably with attached toilet.

    It would be a great help if you can suggest some names for places such as tikhedhunga, ulleri, ghorepani, tadapani, sinwa, deurali, bamboo, ABC, himalaya, and Jhinu.



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