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Trekking in Nepal: Everest vs Annapurna

  • 19-Jan-2015
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Annapurna or Everest Base Camp trekking in Nepal? It’s like asking whom do you love most, mom or dad? Well, it’s been the most common question with easy answers. Attempt both! Or Love both I must say. Yes, Everest Base Camp (EBC) and Annapurna Base Camp (ABC); two of the well-known Base Camps on the planet, and both are in Nepal. But still, if you have to choose one, here are some differentiating factors that might help you in making your decision.

Each of them has somewhat unique and exciting to offer. With the right preparation and trekking supplies, both treks are possible throughout the year. Everest base camp trek is an accomplishment in itself as it lets you be at the base of the top of the world which is still a dream for many. On the other hand, the Annapurna region lets you be one step closer to Mother Nature, rich vegetation, and spectacular Himalayan scenery at much below elevation from sea level. If you still are not sure which one to choose from, allow us to make it easier for you. These are some of the astounding factors that the Everest and Annapurna region have in store:

Namche to Tengbuche - way to Everest Trekking

About the trip

Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp Trek is a classic journey on the foot of the tallest peak of the planet- Mt. Everest. Starting the journey from either Jiri or Lukla, one follows the footsteps of legendry Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa reaching the ethnic settlements of Sherpa people including Lukla, Phakding, Monjo, Namche, Tengboche, Dingboche, Lobuche, and Gorek-shep before reaching the ultimate destination Everest Base Camp.

On the way, you shall pass, century’s old monasteries, long and large Mani walls, prayer wheels and flags, airy suspension bridges over torrential rivers, waterfalls, exotic flora, and fauna of Sagarmatha National Park and big yak pastures. The Himalayan view from different vantage points i.e. The Everest View Hotel, Kala Patthar, and Everest Base Camp looks astonishing. It generally covers 130 kilometers on the round trip (Lukla to Lukla) spending 12 commercial days.

Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna Base Camp Trek is a marvelous journeying via distinct landscapes, terrains, and cultures of western Nepal. The journey commences from the city of Pokhara, a heavenly site passing the green forests, terraced fields, ethnic settlements of Magars, Chetteries and Gurungs, stone steps high suspension bridges, and exotic wildlife of Annapurna Conservation Area Park.

The journey continues passing the ethnic beautiful settlements of Tikhedhunga, Ghorepani, Poonhill viewpoint, Tadapani, Chommrong, Bamboo, and Deurali before reaching Machhapuchre Base Camp and ultimately to Annapurna Base Camp. The round trip to ABC covers approximately 110 kilometers spending 12 days. Some parts of the trails can be skipped here. Choosing a short ABC Trek, one can complete within 7 days covering 67 kilometers only.

Probably the best view of the Annapurna massifs can be witnessed throughout the trek especially from the popular viewpoints of Poon Hill and Annapurna Base Camp. The mighty Mt. Machhapuchre( Fishtail) and Dhaulagiri also can be observed from different angles. The first rays of the sun over these glittering peaks look mesmerizing.

Getting there

Annapurna Base Camp

Getting Annpurna region is quite easier. You can either catch a short flight (around 21 minutes) or drive 6 hours to reach Pokhara, the gateway of the Annapurna region from Kathmandu before commencing the journey. Pokhara, the perfect place to embark and end any trek, is surrounded by Annapurna Himalayas, lakes, waterfalls, tourist places with lots of adventurous activities to put your hands on.

Everest Base Camp Trek

First of all, you have to land at Tribhuwan International Airport in the capital city of Kathmandu to embark on any trekking regions of Nepal. The most common way to land in Khumbu/Everest region is to take a short and scenic flight to Lukla from Kathmandu and follow the way to Everest. Alternatively, you can drive to Jiri from Kathmandu and embark on the classical way (Tenzing and Hillary way) spending 7 days to arrive Phakding, a three hours’ trek from Lukla airstrip.

Solo or group

Both the treks are well-known treks, both group and solo treks are possible. Almost every month, both the treks are doable. Both the destinations have well-formed trekking trails. In case of elevation, Everest Base Camp is higher elevated that reaches up to 5545m at Kala Patthar in comparison to Annapurna Base Camp that elevates only 4130m. Above 3000m, you might suffer from Acute Mountain Sickness. Trekking with a professional guide or in a group is highly recommended in both treks.


Accommodation and food are almost the same on both trekking routes. At the beginning of the trek Kathmandu and Pokhara, there are plenty of options from budget hotels to five-star ones. On the trekking routes, there are only a few choices for lodging and flooding.

Only some teahouses with basic amenities are established that usually have small cozy and tidy rooms with the shared bathroom. A twin sharing room is offered that contains two beds. Each of the beds contains a mattress, a pillow, and a blanket. Carrying a sleeping bag is highly recommended. In the lower elevations of both trails, there are slightly more fancy lodges as well being a bit more costly and considered luxury trekking.

Trekking terrain

Annapurna Base Camp

The trek begins from very lowland at Nayapul (1050m) passing some ethnic villages, river valleys, various landscapes, meadows, suspension bridges, deep river gorges, and forests, ascend high ridges, forested lands of Annapurna conservation area to icy lands, and glaciers viewing the mighty Annapurna ranges.
The trail is well maintained and marked. You can walk easily 5-7 hours each day with some rest and acclimatization. Walking these altitudes makes you sure that you can trek in even higher elevations. There are some steep climbs and descents which can help the knees in the long run.
Annapurna Base Camp 4130m is the highest altitude of the entire journey which is surrounded by tall snow-clad peaks.

Everest Base Camp

Following the legendry trails, trekkers reach Everest Base Camp spending 8 days from Lukla. Commencing the journey from Lukla (2860m), one passes high ridges, lustrous vegetation of Sagarmatha National Park, river gorges, airy suspension bridges, changed forested lands, and distinct flora and fauna.
Phakding, Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Pheriche, Dingboche, Lobuche, and Gorekshep villages perform like Tibetan cultures and the way of living. Sherpas, the legendary and brave people reside entirely in the Khumbu region, and their culture is worth noting. The monasteries, Chortens, Mane walls, prayer flags, and wheels witness Sherpas are great devotees of Buddhism. Tengboche Monastery, one of the most popular religious shrines.
A plethora of side trips is available in this region. Gokyo Lakes Trek, Everest High Passes Trek, Island Peak Climbing, Mera Peak Climbing, Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek, and more.

Elevation gained

Annapurna Base Camp
The base camp of Annapurna requires us to hike to a much lower altitude than the Base of Everest. Beginning the trip to Annapurna, Nayapul elevates at 1050m above sea level and summits at 4130m above sea level. The elevation is gained 3080m that is three kilometers vertical height.

Everest Base Camp

The journey commences at Lukla 2860 m above sea level and reaches Everest Base Camp at 5364 meters. Base Camp is not the most elevated point of the trek. The next day in the early morning, you will head towards Kala Patthar which stands at 5545m. You ascend a total of 2685m during the trip which is approximately 2.6 vertical kilometers.

Trek duration

  • The length of both journeys depends on several things;
  • The starting and ending point of the trek,
  • Number of side trips done,
  • Number of days spent on exploration and acclimatization and  
  • Length of trekking days.

Therefore, the Annapurna Base Camp trek can be extended from 7 to 16 days and Everest Base Camp can extend from 14 to 30 days

Trekking permits

Everest Base Camp

To trek Everest Base Camp, you need to have;

  • Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit that costs NPR. 3000 each.
  • Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Entrance Permit that costs NPR 2000 each.

Annapurna Base Camp

For Trekking Annapurna, you need to get;

Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) that costs NPR 3000 each.

Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) which costs NPR. 1000 each.

What about scenery?

Sceneries from both regions are incomparable. Both of these trekking regions offer the best Himalayan views like never seen before.

Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna region trek takes you through forests, valleys, small and big settlements, with awesome backdrop views of the Annapurna Himalayan range from day one. Early morning hike up to Poonhill after a couple of days trek offers the best panoramic views of the snow-capped Annapurna Himalayan range including, Mt. Dhaulagiri, Mt. Machhapuchre, and other snowy peaks. On reaching Annapurna base camp; if you turn 360 degrees then you will be surrounded by the grand Himalayas from every side.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Regarding the Everest region, Kala Patthar is the best sunrise or sunset viewpoint of the grand Himalayas including Mt. Everest, Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Amadablam, and other neighboring peaks. Also if you are on for Gokyo lakes trek with EBC then the view from the top of the Gokyo Ri is simply out of this world. The pristine glacial turquoise lakes along, snow-capped mountains keep you captivated in every possible way. You will see mountaineers preparing for summiting Mt. Everest on rocky, icy Everest base camp.

Cultural differences

Everest region is famous for the traditional Buddhist tribe of Sherpas known for their mountaineering skills and easy adaptation to high altitudes. While visiting Buddhist monasteries around the region, watching the prayer flags and mani walls constantly gives us an insight into their culture, tradition, rituals, and lifestyle.

Annapurna region hosts majorly small and large Gurung settlements along the trekking trail. Majorly around Ghandruk, you will get an opportunity to explore local culture and tradition. Gurung is also known as brave ‘Gurkhas’ as majorly they are tented towards British Gurkha Army.

Trek summary table

Highlights Annapurna Base Camp Everest Base Camp
Trek Start Point Nayapul Lukla
Trek End Point Nayapul Lukla
Maximum Elevation
Independent Trek Possible Possible
Number of Days 7 to 16 14 to 30
Ethnics Tribe Brahmins, Chetteries, Gurungs, Magars Sherpas
Accommodations Well established teahouses Well-built teahouses
Food Menu available Menu available
Communication Nepal Telecom, Ncell, Landline Phone, and Wifi Nepal Telecom, Ncell, Landline Phone, and Wifi
Side Trip Poonhill Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Chitwan Jungle Safari Tour Gokyo Lakes Trek, Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek, Island Peak Climbing, Everest High Passes Trek, Lobuche Peak Climbing
Permits Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) and Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS)  Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit and Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Entrance Permit
Perfect time to trek March to May & September to November March to May & September to November
Access to Flight Yes ( Airport in Pokhara) Yes (Airports in Lukla and Syangboche)
Medical Facility   Yes (Health Care in Lukla and Pheriche)
Mountain Sceneries Annapurna I (8091 m), Annapurna II (7937 m), Annapurna II (7555 m), Annapurna IV (7525 m), Gangapurna (7455 m), Annapurna South (7219 m), Khangsar Kang (7485 m), Tarke Kang (7202 m), Machhapuchhre (6993 m), Hiunchuli (6441 m) and others. Mt. Everest (8848 m), Mt. Cho Oyu (8188), Mt. Lhotse (8516 m), Mt. Nuptse (7861 m), Mt. Pumori (7161 m), Mt. Ama Dablam (6812 m), Mt. Imja Tse (6160 m), and Mt. Thamserku (6623 m).

Finally, the decision is all yours. Either you embark for Annapurna or Everest region first; you would definitely get back for the second. Happy trekking!

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