If you are someone who has a special affinity with the mountains, you are sure to know what being around the Himalayas feels like. Annapurna Base Camp trek is a long, tough yet once in a lifetime journey to get to the mountains and encounter some of the highest peaks in the world. One of the world’s most popular and spectacular trekking regions in Nepal, the number of trekkers reaching here is second only to the Everest region. Annapurna region is also known as Annapurna Sanctuary. As you make your way through the fascinating landscapes with the magnificent view of some of the world’s tallest mountains from the start to finish, you realize that ABC(4200m) trek truly special.
Along with spectacular views of the mountains, ABC trek also offers amazing rhododendrons and bamboo forest, culturally wonderful Gurung and Magar villages. The trek offers outstanding views of Annapurna South, Himchuli, Annapurna I, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchare, Gangapurna, and many other mountains. Experience Nepal’s rich cultural diversity and amazing villages including different tribes with their own culture and traditions along your way. Towards the end of the trek, you can even visit the natural hot spring at Jhinu danda for some rejuvenation. Annapurna base camp trek can be completed in about 7-8 days. Physical fitness is a must for anyone looking forward to this trek. You can set on this journey on your own, or with your trekking partners without guides and porters.
Annapurna had been on my bucket list for quite some time now. This May 2019, I finally checked it off my list.
Total distance —115 km
Maximum Elevation— 4200 meters
Ktm to Ghandruk – 5 hours microbus/jeep ride from Kathmandu to Pokhara (to the Baglung bus park)
4 hours bus ride from Baglung bus park to Ghandruk village
Ghandruk to Upper sinuwa – 8 hours
Upper sinuwa to Deurali – 7 Hours
Deurali to ABC – 4 hours
ABC to Lower sinuwa – 8 hours
Lower sinuwa to Jhinu Danda 5 hours or Pokhara 8 hours
Back to Kathmandu
Day 1 (Kathmandu to Ghandruk – 2012meters) The first day of the trek. I woke up all set and excited to begin our adventure. We took a microbus from Kalanki, Kathmandu to Pokhara at 6:30 am. After around 5 hours of a ride through the hills and river banks, we reached Baglung Bus park at around 1 pm. The bus rode through the narrow and rocky roads, small villages, and paddy fields just next to Modi Khola (river). As it had been raining from the afternoon, the unmaintained roads were muddy and slippery. This had already made our journey adventurous. We reached Ghandruk after sunset. We wrapped our day with a set of Dal-Bhat and local chicken curry, which was filling and tasted amazing. Then we went to bed hoping for a clear sky and a beautiful view of the mountains the next day.
Day 2 (Ghandruk to Upper Sinuwa 2340meters )- 8 hours Our adventure began. We woke up at 4:30 in the morning with an aim to watch the sunrise. But unfortunately, a veil of darkness had clouded the sky. We had local vegetables, eggs, and roti bread with famous masala tea for breakfast and headed off to our next stop Sinuwa. We passed through the beautiful Ghandruk village, green fields, and rice paddies. As they say that the first push is always hard, we were tired already. However, we continued to hike uphill and downhill before reaching the village of Chomrong for our lunch. Chomrong is a tiny village which is loved by all trekkers and guides because of its beauty, cleanliness, the natural view it offers, and availability of bakery-cafes and tea houses. We enjoyed our spaghetti and noodle soups there.
After 4.5 hours of a hike from Ghandruk, we really needed the food to recharge ourselves before the final push to Sinuwa. We were going nice and slow; so it took us another 3hrs to reach the village of Upper Sinuwa. We considered ourselves very lucky because as soon as we reached Sinuwa it started raining heavily with hailstones. We stayed at a tea house, had some local alcohol, and watched the mighty Machhapuchare and Gangapurna mountains.
Day 3 (Upper Sinuwa to Deurali 3200m) -7 hours After 12 hours of the bus ride and 8 hours of walk, we woke up to the most beautiful and mesmerizing view of the mountain ranges. We had our breakfast under the clear blue sky at Sinuwa. Our breakfast was just perfect to start our day off. That’s when our excitement elevated, the most amazing part of the trails began. We walked through the forests, waterfalls, tiny rivers, crossed locally made bridges, greenery and the view of lovely mountains. We passed through the small villages and stops line Bamboo, Dovan and Himalaya. Finally, after 7 hours of walking, our team arrived at Deurali(3200m). Mountains and hills were slowly being veiled by dark clouds. We got lucky again and it rained as soon as we reached Deurali. We decided to stay at Dream Lodge which turned out to be a very bad idea. We really had a bad experience with their food and service they provided. I don’t recommend anyone to stay at Dream Lodge.
Day 4 (Deurali to ABC 4200meters ) 4 hours Day 4 was our final push towards the mighty Annapurna mountain. Some of the trekkers and guides we met along our way suggested us to start our trek early and slowly from Deurali because of the Avalanches. The trail from Deurali to ABC is prone to the small scale of avalanches so it’s better to start early. We started walking early at 6:30 am and just a couple of minutes of walk from Deurali, the view of mount Annapurna appeared in front of us. We walked through 3-4 avalanches and after 2 hours of hike, Machhapuchare Base Camp welcomed us. The view from Machhapuchare base camp is just amazing, especially because you get to see the other side of Mount-Fishtail which looks completely different and phenomenal. We were surrounded by majestic mountains like Gangapurna, Annapurna I and Annapurna III. If you ever reach the Machhapuchare Base Camp, keep aside all your bag packs, take some rest and enjoy the magical view from MBC with warm tea. You never know when you’ll the chance to do that again!
The next 2 hours of the walk took us to the Annapurna Base Camp. The trail from MBC to ABC was full of avalanches. As we walked up, the view of Machhapuchare got more clear and wider. You can just sit there for hours and enjoy the beauty of mighty Machhapuchare. With an unbeatable view, the Base Camp sits right below the South Annapurna and an amazing 360-degree mountain view welcomed us.
We knew we were almost there, but it still was really difficult and we were dead tired. Setting that last step at Annapurna Base Camp was a glorious moment for us personally. The panoramic view of some of the tallest mountains in the world is something to die for.
Base Camp was terribly destroyed by an avalanche that occurred a few months ago. Luckily no one lost their lives at the Base Camp. The houses are being renovated quickly for the upcoming trekking season. There was only one hotel that was partially affected by the avalanche. The place had just one big room with 9 beds. We shared that room with 6 other trekkers from different nations. The night at the base camp was even more exciting. At midnight, we woke up to watch the stars and Milky Way galaxy. We shot some pictures and gazed at the sky for the longest time. Imagine yourself looking up at the clear sky with uncountable twinkling stars at midnight and surrounded by tall mountain ranges. If this isn’t heaven, I don’t know what is!
Day 5 (ABC to Lower Sinuwa) 8 hours The final day. We woke up early in the morning. As it was freezing cold, we put on some warm clothes. We sat on the edge of a cliff with a cup of hot tea warming our cold hands. The gently moving wind swayed the clouds away from mountains and slowly soaring peaks emerged. The mighty mountains started to dominate the cloud, the sun rose, the ray of the sun touched Annapurna and the other mountains. The snowy peaks started changing their colors. I took a deep breath and kept on staring at the mountain; the show began. Now, I was in a dreamland. I was in heaven, then I realized I had never enjoyed a cup of tea this much before. I closed my eyes and felt the peace surrounding this magical place which is surely one of the most beautiful places on the planet. After having a hot masala tea and coconut biscuits, we descended from the base camp with a heavy heart. Our plan was to reach Chomrong but we had to stop midway because of the rain. We stayed that night at Lower Sinuwa in the lap of the Himalayas for one last time in this trip.
Day 6 —(Lower Sinuwa to Jhinu-5 hours/Pokhara) The last day was quite tiring. It was a long day walking downhill towards Jhinu and then another 3 hours drive back to Pokhara. Jhinu Danda is famous for its natural hot springs. Most of the trekkers stay at Jhinu for one extra day for the hot springs and refreshments. But our team decided to head towards Pokhara without visiting the hot springs. We took a jeep along with some locals and reached Pokhara at around 3 pm. Later in the evening, we explored the town, had some beer and sekuwa along with nightly live music. We met several trekkers like us from all around the world. In the end, we left the beautiful mountains behind, and our legs and muscles tired but with big smiles on our faces. Back at the hotel, we looked at the pictures we clicked and reminisced on the trek.
Tips to trekkers
- Best time to travel—September to November and March to May
- You need to carry some common equipment like down jackets, thermal shoots, torchlight, sun-cream, sunglasses, water bottle, water purifiers, hand sanitizers, raincoats, woolen cap and most importantly a pair of a walking stick. -Food prices increase the higher you go. Meats are not available.
- You’ll be staying at the tea house which is clean, facilitated and warmer.
- A trekker can trek to ABC without a guide and a porter. However, taking a guide and porter with you makes a trek easy and comfortable(especially for foreigners)
- Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) and TIMS cards are mandatory for foreigners.
- The difficulty level is moderate but you have to push yourself at some uphill paths. Some parts of the trail are very demanding and you need to be physically fit for the whole trek.
Have any questions about the trek? Email me at [email protected]