Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) Trek is one of the most popular treks in Nepal. It is relatively easy and shorter while still incorporating diverse terrain, culture and wildlife along with the most spectacular and close up view of Annapurna range, Machhapuchhre, Hiunchuli and Dhaulagiri.
The region is home to different animals like clouded leopards, Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan Giant Honeybee, Pheasants etc. In spring, it showcases many beautiful flowers including the national flower of Nepal – Rhododendron. Orchids, Machhapuchhre massif and the deepest gorge Kali Gandaki keeps you company during the trek. You will spot at times high cascading waterfalls. And, you will get to learn about people of different ethnicity, especially that of Gurung People when visiting Gurung Museum in Ghandruk.
Depending on which route you take, you may not pass through Ghandruk though. The trail is same from Chomrung onwards but you can choose to include or not include Ghorepani Poon Hill and Ghandruk. Poon hill is a vantage point for the view of Annapurna plus other peaks and for sunrise and sunset.
Other highlights of this trek are the hot springs! Very relaxing and healing for your aching muscles. Also, ABC passes through MBC (Machhapuchhre Base Camp). Visit two base camps in one trip!
Together with Annapurna Circuit, these trails see about seventy percent of the total trekkers visiting Nepal.
When is the best time to do Annapurna Base Camp trekking?
Annapurna Base Camp can actually be done any time in the year. However, monsoon is not a good time. Rain mostly comes down during the evening or night but the dark clouds are ever present. This means bad to no view of the beautiful peaks. It also means leeches, mosquitoes, possible landslides and slippery roads. But, this is the time when animals are most active. If you are a keen biologist, then maybe monsoon is for you.
First, here are the seasons. In Nepal, there are six seasons but it translates as:
- Spring (March to May)
- Summer/Monsoon (June to August)
- Autumn (September to November)
- Winter (December to February)
Autumn is the best time to do this trek. Autumn is a dry season that offers clear blue sky and moderate temperature. This is the best time do any trek in Nepal and is, therefore, very crowded.
You could go during December if you would like it to be quieter. ABC can be done in winter as well. Dry air and clear sky but, during winter, it will be very cold and will snow.
Starting from January, you need to be careful about avalanche when travelling from Deurali to Machhapuchhre Base Camp. This stretch is prone to avalanche. Trekkers should be careful no matter what time in year they are trekking when trekking from Deurali to MBC.
Spring is another best time to do Annapurna Base Camp trek. Watch out for the avalanche though. Listen to the locals for the news about the avalanche ahead. In spring, the trail will be covered in red and white rhododendrons and many other exotic flowers found in this region, a good time to go for botanists.
Trekking Gears or Trekking Equipment Required
What to pack for the trek is one of the important questions. Not having proper gears can prove troublesome, cause health issues or just simply ruin your mood. So, here is a general idea of what you should bring to Annapurna Base Camp trekking.
- A light weight trekking boots. It is not impossible to do this trek in sneakers or trainers. Many people have. Just that you will be walking in snow for some part of the trek and boots offer more safety.
If you will be trekking this one time only, no need to spend on hiking boots. Just make sure that your shoes are well fitting, light and comfortable.
- A pair of crocs
- Four pair of liner socks. Two pair for warm climate and two pair for cold climate. Trekking/liner socks are better but it is okay if you only have the normal ones.
- Few pairs of underwear. There are trekking underwear that you could buy in home. They are good for other outdoor activities as well. Normal ones can be bought in Nepal.
- A down jacket and a down pant. You can buy or rent a good down jacket and a down pant in Nepal for cheap for a $1 or less per day.
- T-shirts and trousers keeping in mind both cold and warm temperature you will be traversing.
- A set of thermals. Or, you could layer up.
- A light sleeping bag. This can be bought or rented in Nepal too. If you are want to buy from outside of Nepal, check these best backpacking sleeping bags under 100 Dollar.
- A trekking pole. Though relatively easy, there are many ups and downs in this trek and a trekking pole can assist you. Else, you could find a sturdy stick en route and use it to support yourself.
- Two pairs of Gloves. One for warm weather and one for cold.
- A woolen hat
- A torchlight or a head torchlight
- Best Hiking Backpacks under $100
- A First aid kit including Diamox and Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS)
- Toiletries– Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, water purifiers, sunscreen, moisturizer, toothpaste and toothbrush.
- A waterproof map of Annapurna Base Camp
- Snacks you like and entertainment such as books, cards, an iPad etc.