Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Stunningly Beautiful, Surprisingly Accessible
From the lowest forest foothills to the highest glacial basin of the Annapurna Preserve, the Annapurna Base Camp Trek takes you right into the heart of the Annapurna Range. Whether it’s a predawn hike up to Poon Hill for a spectacular sunrise over the Dhaulagiri Massif or relaxing in the hot springs at Jhinu at the end of a long day, every step of this trek is packed with the sights and sounds of the Himalayas. Day 1: Kathmandu to Pokhara
Day 2: Pokhara to Tikhe Dhunga
Day 3: Tikhe Dhunga to Ghorepani
Day 4: Ghorepani to Tadapani
Day 5: Tadapani to Chomrong
Day 6: Chomrong to Deurali
Day 7: Deurali to ABC
Day 8: ABC to Chomrong
Day 9: Chomrong to Jhinu
Day 10: Jhinu to Landruk
Day 11: Landruk to Pothana
Day 12: Pothana to Pokhara
Day 13: Pokhara to Kathmandu
Day 1: Kathmandu to Pokhara
You will be transported to Pokhara in a tourist bus or private car. If you prefer, we can pick you up at your residence or hotel!
Day 2: Pokhara to Tikhe Dhunga (5 hours)
After an early breakfast in Pokhara, we travel approximately 2 hours by private car to Nayapol, where your trek begins. After checking in at the TIMS checkpoint, we will head up the road into Annapurna National Park. After a short uphill climb, we turn off the road onto the footpath and pass through several charming villages before we arrive in Tikhe Dhunga.
Day 3: Tikhe Dhunga to Ghorepani (8 hours)
Our day begins with approximately 1000m of rough, rocky stairs that switchback up the nearly vertical hillside. But the visual payoff is worth it; at about 200 meters into your climb, Annapurna South will appear between a break in the hills, and Machhapuchhre peeks out above foothills to the northeast. We then round the side of the ridge and follow an up-and-down path above the river, eventually crossing it on a small bridge beneath some low overhanging rocks and above a beautiful waterfall before pressing on the final hour to Ghorepani.
Day 4: Ghorepani (Poon Hill) to Tadapani (5 hours)
TThe hike from Ghorepani to Tadapani begins with an uphill ascent, beginning with a staircase of shallow steps. Once you’ve ascended the top of the ridge, you’ll have a short ridge walk with incredible views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna south, as well as a view down the opposite slope and into the adjacent valley. The mountains will slip out of sight eventually as you head downhill, via uneven rocky steps and slopes to the river. Cross the river and head up; this section of the trail is difficult but much shorter, and the path flattens out as we approach Tadapani.
Optional: Poon Hill (1 hour)
In the morning, you can wake up early to take the stairs up to Poon Hill. As the sun comes up, you will get your first real taste of Dhaulagiri Massif, Annapurna South, and Machhapuchhre, peaks that dominate the Himalayan landscape. After you’ve had your fill of the Himalayan panorama, you can head back down the steps and catch the gorgeous flowers growing by the side of the trail, which were hidden in the dark on the way up.
Day 5: Tadapani to Chomrong (5 hours)
After breakfast, our day will again begin with a downhill walk of stone steps, clay and tree branch switchbacks, and muddy slopes. Keep your eyes on the path to avoid missteps or falls, but make sure to stop and look up if you hear rustling; there are families of white monkeys in the area, and you might be lucky enough to see them leaping through the trees. We descend all the way down to the river and again come all the way back up via a rough staircase and two suspension bridges that overlook small waterfalls. The view of the mountains will be blocked until you mount the final set of steps to Chomrong and round the eastern side of the hill. Suddenly, you will have Annapurna South, Hinchuli, and Machhapuchhre laid out before you, as a preview of the trail that is to come.
Day 6: Chomrong to Deurali (9 hours)
After stopping at our final TIMS checkpoint we head down the stairs to a long suspension bridge over the ?? river, where we begin our real ascent into the Annapurnas. Follow the path above the river, crossing several small bridges over small rivers that splash happily down the surrounding cliffs, and enjoy the gorgeous views of Machhapuchhre until you reach Bamboo. The path will become noticeably steeper as we pass Dovan and Himalaya; the last section of the hike is quite difficult, with oversize stone steps and noticeably thinner atmosphere. After a strenuous ascent that may require some minor scrambling in parts, you can stop for a quick rest at an impressive rock outcropping sheltered by an enormous granite slab. Catch your breath and then head down to cross two wooden bridges and make the final push to Deurali.
Day 7: Deurali to ABC (4 hours)
The terrain of this hike is much less difficult the the previous day, although the altitude may make it challenging. About halfway from Deurali to MBC, we will ascend to an alpine river floodplain, bordered by steep cliffs and topped by Machhapuchhre. At MBC, we round the side of the hill into the Annapurna glacial basin and take slow, uphill climb towards Annapurna 1 and ABC.
Optional: Glacial Basin Hike (1-4 hours)
Once you’ve reached ABC and settled in, you can take a couple of short hikes into the hills if the weather cooperates. Either fork left and walk east up the trail, which will give you a bird’s eye view of hikers walking up from MBC, or fork right and walk west all the way up to the edge of what remains of the massive glacier at the foot of Annapurna I. The valley carved out by the glacier’s retreat is eerily incredible; you can still hear echoes of stones falling into the valley and, if you listen closely, the faint groaning of the remaining glacier as it grinds its way down the mountainside.
Day 8: ABC to Chomrong (9 hours)
After taking in the scenery one last time, we will begin our descent. You may have thought there were a lot of stairs on the way up, but you will be astonished at how far you climbed as you head back through Deurali, Himalaya, Bamboo, and Sinuwa. Your final ascent, up the staircase to Chomrong, will be difficult, but worth it; a hot shower and warm bed await you after your long day.
Optional: Annapurna Sunrise
The sunrise from Annapurna Base Camp is just as spectacular as Poon Hill, and you don’t have to go more than a hundred meters to see it! You’ll want to get up early and walk up to the ridge that overlooks the glacial valley for the best view of the sunrise. From this spot, you will have a true 360° view of the highest peaks in the Annapurna Massif, as well as a gorgeous, unobstructed view of Machhapuchhre’s western face. If you’re a particularly early riser, you’ll catch an unsurpassable view of the Milky Way and billions more stars that sparkle in the darkness before dawn.
Day 9: Chomrong to Jhinu (2 hours)
The descent from Chomrong to Jhinu all downhill and quite short, comprised mostly of—you guessed it—stairs!
Optional: Hot Springs
Once you settle into your room at Jhinu, you will want to head downhill for another 20 minutes to the Jhinu’s hot springs. The hot water is captured and tamed in large square stone pools, complete with separate pools men and women and a changing room. If you’re looking to relax and rejuvenate yourself, Jhinu’s hot springs are the best way to celebrate after your strenuous week of hiking.
Day 10: Jhinu to Landruk (4 hours)
The hike from Jhinu to Landruk takes you over two separate bluffs and then down through a river valley with a great view of AP south and several small waterfalls, before making the ascent up Landruk.
Day 11: Landruk to Pothana (5 hours)
We will leave Landruk via and easy walk on the bus road, but after about two hours we turn off and head up the stairs into the jungle. Once we’ve mounted the stairs, your path will be relatively flat (albeit slippery, especially if it has recently rained) the rest of the way to Pothana. If you want to stretch your legs after lunch, you can head to Australian Camp (approximately 30 minutes away) for a view of the mountains.
Day 12: Pothana to Pokhara (6 hours)
Our last day of hiking will take you down through the lush forests of Dhampus and across rice paddies until you reach the road at Pedi. From here you will take a car back to Pokhara, leaving you the entire afternoon to shower and relax, take a boat out on the lake, or hit the town for some shopping. We can also arrange for an extended stay in Pokhara if you want to take advantage of the hiking, paragliding, mountain biking, or any other activities in the area.
Day 13: Pokhara to Kathmandu
You will be transported back to Kathmandu in a private car or via tourist bus. If you wish to extend your stay in Pokhara, please let us know! We can arrange for further tours and hotels.
Cost includes: All transportation during trekking days, three meals a day, hotel and guesthouse accommodations, guide and porter salary, Annapurna Conservation fees, TIMS and trekking visa fees.
Cost excludes: Personal trekking equipment, travel insurance, emergency rescue, porter/guide tips, and personal expenses such as alcohol, wifi, snacks, and hot showers.
Dates: Treks are arranged according to your schedule.
Duration: 13 days/12 nights
Best times to hike: October-November, February-May
Visa/Tims requirements: Zen Travels will arrange your trekking permit and TIMS card
Terrain Rating: Moderate - Difficult
Altitude Rating: 4
See explanation for Terrain and Altitude Ratings here
So you’ve booked your trek to ABC with Zen and you only have a few days to go. What do you need to bring with you?
Comfortable daypack: You’ll need a pack to carry your water bottle, an extra jacket, and camera during the day.
Porter Bag: This bag hold the rest of your gear.
Hiking boots: Make sure your hiking boots or shoes are comfortable. Sections of the trail can be slippery, especially after the rain, so be sure to check the treads of your shoes. If they are worn flat, replace them; its not worth the tumble you’re sure to take.
Water Bottle: Hiking is thirsty work! You’ll have plenty of opportunities to refill, but you’ll want to rehydrate on the trail.
Warm coat and hat: It gets surprisingly cold when the sun goes down, especially at higher elevations.
Waterproof Jacket: Make sure this jacket fits over your warm coat for an additional layer of warmth.
Nice to have but non-essential
Camera and related equipment: ABC is gorgeous, so you’ll probably want a way to capture it.
Water filter or iodine tablets: You can fill your water bottle with purified water for less than 100rs/liter, but a filter or tablets enables you to fill from taps and streams at any time.
Trekking poles: Some people love them, some people don’t. They’re non-essential, especially if there is no snow, but they can be nice to have if the trail gets slippery.
Sleeping bag and/or travel sheet: Blankets may or may not be available at the upper elevations, as it gets colder and more crowded. A sleeping bag allows you to avoid a chilly night, and a travel sheet adds an additional layer of warmth.
Hiking Clothes: Hiking Pants, shirt, socks, baseball cap, underwear.
Camp clothes: comfy pants, long-sleeved shirt, spare socks and underwear, sandals
Nice to have but non-essential gloves, shorts, long underwear or leggings, pajamas, extra pair underwear, extra socks, spare hiking shirt (in case your go-to is gross)
Money for extras (alcohol, sweets, etc)
Chargers for electronic devices
Nice to have but non-essential
Salt baggie (for leeches)