HomeAsiaSouth AsiaNepalDIY Annapurna Base Camp Trek in Nepal By Marcos Detourista. Updated on April 10, 2016.A photographic journey on the trek to Annapurna Base Camp, which meandered deep into the Himalayas and to a heavenly view of the snow-capped mountains of Nepal. Seeing the snow-capped peaks of the World’s tallest mountains seemed only like a dream when I started my life of adventure. On my first journey to South Asia, I traveled for one month in Nepal. There was one thought that lingered on my mind as the trip came closer to realization — I had to go trekking in the Himalayas!The call of adventure was too strong that I could have went trekking on my own. Luckily, Daiki, a Japanese friend that I met a year ago while backpacking in Cambodia stumbled upon a Facebook post about my travel plans. He told me that he was also traveling in Nepal the whole time I was there. We arranged to meet at Kathmandu and planned the trek on the spot. When I finally arrived at the Nepali capital, he introduced me to Kota, another Japanese solo traveler who wanted to join us.There were many worthy options for great treks in Nepal with the Everest region being the most famous and the Annapurna Range as the most popular. We decided to go with the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) trek since it was the easiest, fastest, and cheapest option yet afforded a close-enough and unobstructed view of snow-capped summits.Adventure AwaitsOur unlikely trio continued the journey to the lakeside city of Pokhara, the main gateway to the Annapurnas and Western Nepal. From there, it took us four days of tiring long treks to reach Annapurna Base Camp. Our total return trek took 6 days, which was crazy quick considering that the guidebooks say it should take 10 to 14 days to complete. The total (horizontal) distance to ABC was probably around 50 kilometers. We started trekking from the trailhead in Nayapul, which was around 1000 meters above sea level (MASL). ABC is perched at 4,130 MASL making the altitude difference to a little over 3 kilometers. The local bus from Kathmandu dropped us off at a row of small food shops in Nayapul, where we started our trek to Annapurna Base Camp. Sub-tropical mountain views on the lower parts of the Annapurna Himalayas. The scenery looked like most highland areas in Southeast Asia and reminded me, most especially, of the Cordillera Mountains in the Philippines. One of dozens of waterfalls along the trail that could easily take the spot as one of the tallest in the Philippines. Now this totally looked like it could be in the Philippines.The uphill trail made it quite challenging and it didn’t just go up the entire way. There were at least two steep descents on the trail, which also meant the same number of thigh burning (and curse-inducing) ascents.To give a bit of perspective, Mount Everest is found at the eastern half of Nepal, while the Annapurna mountains are situated on the western half. Mount Everest peaks at 8,848 meters above sea level (MASL), while the tallest of the Annapurnas, Annapurna I, reaches a height of 8,091 MASL, the 10th tallest in the World. We didn’t dare to trek that high :) A view of the summits half-way up would be awesome enough.The Annapurna Base Camp Trek may be one of the easiest major treks in Nepal but it was already the most challenging that I had ever attempted by far. Previously, the tallest I had ever climbed was Mount Pulag, the second tallest peak in the Philippines. The summit of Mount Pulag peaked at 2,922m, which was already at a significantly lower altitude than ABC’s 4130m. My country’s tallest peaks are like dwarves compared to the Himalyan mountains. The trek was very tiring but refreshing views like this were a welcome distraction and inspiration.Tea House TrailPreparing for the trip did not take a lot of effort since the trek did not require us to bring a lot of gears. The trail was clearly marked and was either cemented, cobbled, or not too rocky. Along the trail, were villages with many guesthouses called “tea houses” where we could spend the night and order food, so we did not need to bring tents or cooking gears. Accommodations were cheap and very basic.At the start of the trek, we mostly hung out at the outdoor seating to enjoy the mountain air while sipping down a cup of fresh coffee and chai. Once we reached the colder upper parts of the trail, we would cozy up at the dining hall, which was filled with other trekkers from around the world. The staff, sherpas (Nepali trekking guides), and other trekkers were all very friendly. They made the experience so much more memorable. Better stock up on warm scarves and dry clothing if ever you’re passing through one of these stores. A typical meal at the tea house. The best dish on the menu is Dal Bhat, steam rice with lentil soup, fresh vegetables, and unlimited refills! Thick verdant rainforest and a valley of golden rice paddies. Raging rivers surrounded by untouched forest. These golden moss on boulders looked so beautiful under the right light. The tea house in Bamboo, where we spent our second night. Himalayan Shangri-laThe whole way up the winding slopes, we did not see a view of the summits because of the thick cloud cover and rain. There was a point when I started to lose hope on seeing the post-card perfect view of blue skies and gleaming snow. I was content regardless, finishing the trek was already an accomplishment in itself. It was the hardest I had ever attempted and the views were already amazing even without the snow capped peaks.The scenery approaching the base camps of Annapurna and Macchapucchre were the most breathtaking. Mesmerizing clouds and mossy shrubland on our way to Macchapucchre Base Camp. The thick clouds covered the mountain tops. I could only guess if there were snow-covered peaks hiding behind. Still amazing and beautiful even without blue skies. The landscape got more arid as we trekked closer to Annapurna Base Camp. See those white dots in the distance, that’s a big herd of sheep grazing on the grass at 4,000 meters above sea level. A land where time stood still. Serenity. Literally breathtaking. It was very cold on this part of the trek and the trail was less developed. Still no view of the moutain tops. Finally, we got to see a tease of snow approaching Annapurna Base Camp. Namaste. Amazing Annapurna Base Camp welcomes all external and internal trekkers :) The snow-capped peaks starting to reveal themselves. So beautiful! and there was a waterfall to boot. The arid and beautiful glacial moraine at Annapurna Base Camp. A reflecting pond near the cluster of tea houses at ABC. Celebratory photo at Annapurna Base Camp with my travel buddies, Daiki and Kota. The cute lamb that followed my otherwise lonely trek back to Annapurna Base Camp. My travel buddies went down the mountain on our fourth day since they wanted to finish the trek earlier, while I stayed one more night at the top on the off-chance the sky would clear up. Since we spent the night at Macchapucchre Base Camp, I had to go back there to get my backpack and then continue the trek to ABC on my own. The sherpas excitedly announced that the sky had cleared up. Everybody rushed out in frenzy to see this view. Still cloudy but it was better than not seeing it at all. The fun group of Chinese trekkers who kept me company at ABC.Annapurna SunriseI spent one night more than my trekking buddies at Annapurna base camp hoping that the clouds would let up. I wasn’t alone for too long. A group of hyperactive Chinese trekkers that we met two nights back also stayed at the same tea house, the only place which still had a vacancy. All the tea houses at Annapurna Base Camp were full and this one open place offered to let me sleep in their kitchen together with the staff and other sherpas.Come daybreak, the sky magically opened up as if to welcome the sunrise. A ring of snow-capped mountains of the Annapurnas totally surrounded the base camp. The view was simply surreal. I was shutter happy for one full hour before the clouds and fog rolled-in like clockwork. The sherpas woke us all up before daybreak. We were in awe of this clear view of the summits! On the photo is Mt. Macchapucchre (6993 MASL), also called the “fish tail” mountain. The sun starting to rise past the horizon and thick fog rolling in from the lowlands. The scene was so surreal. It seemed like I was in a painting forever trapped in time. Pure bliss! A clear view of Annapurna South (7219 MASL) and Annapurna I (8091 MASL) with the glacial moraine on the foreground from Annapurna Base Camp. In my excitement, I forgot to put on my shoes and brought my flip flops instead. It was freezing cold and I wanted to remember my blooper by taking barefoot self-portraits :) South Face of Annapurna I half lit by the sunrise. The overly excited dog that followed me to the crowdless spot, where I took these photos.Down the MountainAfter the clouds completely covered the mountain tops again, I started my long journey back. I was supposed to meet my travel buddies at the hot springs in Jhinu village (1,780 MASL) two days after. You’d think that the hardest part of the trek was over but it wasn’t quite yet, for me at least. I spent the whole day trekking from ABC to Chomrong (2,170 MASL), one village shy of Jhinu. I trekked 2/3s of the way in just one day. It was raining as hard as ever for most of the trek and the trail didn’t go downhill all the way. There were at least two grueling sections of the trail that descended steeply into a valley and then continued with an equally steep ascent to get to the next village. I never felt my thighs burn so much in my life. The sky was already pitch black by the time I got to Chomrong and I could have probably endured the final stretch of steep, completely downhill steps to Jhinu if nightfall had not caught up with me. Herd of sheep between Annapurna and Macchapucchre Base Camps. Porters carrying insanely heavy packs on their backs. They trudge this trail all the time and they only wear rain boots, a plastic rain jacket, and just enough clothing to keep warm. Dangerous wooden bridge crossing over a raging river. Mossy Forest on my way to Bamboo Village. So beautiful! Lots of swollen waterfalls lining the mountainside. Early morning view of partly covered peaks from Chomrong Village.The next day, I reached Jhinu but Kota and Daiki were nowhere in sight. I went down to the hot springs anyway to rest for a few hours, maybe even for the night. I was thinking that they might have already decided to go back to Pokhara. Just as I reached the hot springs, someone tapped my shoulder from behind. It was Kota! He told me that Daiki had an awful ankle sprain and had to take the bus earlier.That same afternoon, Me and Kota also started to trek back. To get to Pokhara, we shared a chartered jeep with another group of trekkers from the bus stop in Sinuwa. A golden sunset revealed itself during the last moments of our Annapurna adventure. All I can think was, “Why now!?” but I guess all I could do was to sit back and just enjoy the view. Even if the weather wasn’t as good as I wanted, I still had the time of my life, met new friends, and got to see a clear view of the Annapurnas even for a brief moment. Revitalizing hot spring at Jhinu Danda Village. The golden sunset light slithering over rice paddies on our way back. Scenic sunset twilight. [ Insert credit roll here ]Detourista Tips Before you goAnnapurna Base Camp Trek BriefThere were a lot of awesome trekking trails in Nepal but three of the most popular ones were: (1) Mount Everest Base Camp Trek; (2) Annapurna Circuit Trek; and the (3) Annapurna Base Camp Trek. We decided to go with the last option since it was the quickest, easiest, and cheapest. The Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) was located at the Annapurna Sanctuary, which lay at the heart of the Annapurna Mountain Range at the Western Half of Nepal. Annapurna I, the 10th tallest mountain peak on Earth at 8,091 meters (above sea level), could be seen on the base camp trek as well as over a dozen more peak overs over 7,000 meters. To give a brief comparison, Mount Everest peaks at 8,848m and is situated at the Eastern Half of Nepal.Do-it-yourself (DIY) Trek to Annapurna Base CampConquering the summits should be a whole different ball game but trekking to the base camps wasn’t as hard as I initially expected. There was no need to bring a tent, food or cooking equipment because many villages and guest houses lined the trail. Some travelers even trek solo because the trails were well defined and easy to navigate.We did not hire a guide or porters on our trek. We just brought a map and followed the trail. There were about two or three times when the path forked out but there were people around to ask for directions. The trail was clearly defined and many parts of the lower sections were even cemented or cobbled.When to GoThe guidebooks recommend doing the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek from March to early May or late September to November. I timed my trip in October which promised blue skies and clear views of the summits. Unfortunately, the rainy season ended late that year. The fog and rain clouds completely covered the view of the summits for most of our trek. The March to early May period is the dry season, which may provide better chances of seeing post card perfect views of the Annapurnas.What to BringSince we made sure to bring a light backpack, we didn’t need any specialized foot wear… shoes comfy to walk in for several miles and waterproofed were enough. My pack was around 3 to 5 kilos. Most of the weight was because of my DSLR camera, one additional lens, thick clothing for the cold climate at the base camp, trail food, and water. Waterproofed gears were very important to bring since it rained heavily more than half of the time on our trek. Good thing the Goretex jacket and pants that we bought in Kathmandu served us well. My shoes didn’t fare so well and I did not bring extra closed foot wear for the cold nightsThe important things to bring were the trekking permits, cash in Nepali Rupees for the entire trek, comfy footwear, rain proofing, cold-weather clothes for the freezing temperatures, and medications (especially in the event of altitude sickness).Where to Buy Trekking GearsSince I had just spent one whole month in the deserts of India before coming to Nepal, I didn’t bring heavy trekking gears with me beforehand. I bought my trekking gears when I arrived in Kathmandu. Thamel, the main tourist district, was chock full of outdoor shops that sell cheap trekking equipment. Nepal is the trekking capital of the world and it shouldn’t be too hard to buy everything you would need for a trek.How much does it CostSecuring a trekking permit and TIMS card is needed before going on the trek. They are available at the Nepal Tourism Board Office in Pokhara and cost NPR4,000 (US$40) in total. Our daily budget on the actual trek was around NPR1,500 (US$15 per day) for food and accommodation since we did not hire a guide and/or porters. The bus ride from Pokhara to Nayapul cost NPR110 (per person) and we were charged NPR6,000 for the chartered jeep from Sinuwa to Pokhara (NPR1,000 per person since there were 6 of us that shared the cost).Excluding trekking gears that we bought, we spent around NPR14,000-15,000 (US$140-150) for the entire 6 day trek.Travel NotesYou may find more photos and my itinerary notes on these pages:Pokhara and Annapurna Sanctuary ItineraryNepal ItinerarySouth and Southeast Asia Itinerary Don’t leave yet. There’s more!6 Best Places to Visit in Nepal for First-TimersIndochina Itinerary – Thailand, Cambodia…26 Most Beautiful Islands & Beaches in the PhilippinesBalabac Trip Guide for First-TimersDiscover more blogs and travel tips in:AnnapurnaNepalSouth AsiaAsia See all placesLeave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *CommentName * Email * Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Comments James saysDecember 23, 2014 at 5:19 pm This is awesome Marcos! Drooling in envy. Reminds me how your DIY Indonesia trip inspired me to take the same ‘path’. Inspiring, as usual.Reply Marcos Detourist saysDecember 23, 2014 at 7:45 pm Thanks James! I struggled for a long time to make this post. This trip was actually a year old. I think I’ve lost my blogging mojo for a bit. I really appreciate your comment!Reply Kirk saysDecember 23, 2014 at 7:28 pm A year ago, I saw your Mt. Bromo photos, and booked flight to Indonesia. Then now, this! Hmmm. :) Thank you for inspiring us and sharing you awesome adventure!Reply Marcos Detourist saysDecember 23, 2014 at 7:50 pm Thanks Kirk! Sayang hindi tayo naka meet-up sa Manila. Next time, sama na tayo on the road ^_^ Let me know if you have any trips planned next year. I don’t have any plans yet.Reply Francis Balgos saysDecember 23, 2014 at 7:44 pm Epic post! :)Reply Marcos Detourist saysDecember 23, 2014 at 7:49 pm Thanks Francis! Halong lang da ah :)Reply Darwin | Tracking Treasure saysDecember 24, 2014 at 2:09 am Marcos, ypur experience made me think to prioritize this in my bucketlist.PS. your photos are always stunning.Reply Marcos Detourist saysDecember 24, 2014 at 6:43 pm Thanks Darwin! Nepal is amazing even without the trekking. If you are planning to trek, two weeks is the minimum.Reply Kirk Acebron saysDecember 25, 2014 at 2:12 am Whatt? Two weeks?? So resignation pala ang katapat nito. Joke! Amazing yung mga photos mo talaga! Idol! Marcos Detourist saysDecember 26, 2014 at 12:57 am Haha, kelangan na mag ipon ng leaves :D Oo Kirk, if you want to go trekking to the base camps… but you can find many nice viewpoints that easily accessible from both Pokhara and Kathmandu for shorter trips. Annapurna Base Camp Trekking saysApril 10, 2015 at 6:06 pm Wow! Annapurna Base Camp Trek in 6 days congratulation you all made it. Thanks for your excellent blog. I enjoyed a lot while reading this blog. photos & your experience is amazing.Reply Julien saysAugust 8, 2016 at 7:05 am Hi! This looks pretty cool :)I know this was already quite a while ago, but would you happen to remember the exact stops, and approximate walking time between each stop ? This map may help refresh your memory https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/33761784/Annapurna%20Trekking%20Map.jpgI want to do this treks at the end of next september, and I will also try to do it at a fast pace. You are pretty much the only blog I’ve found that made it that fast.Reply Marcos Detourist saysAugust 21, 2016 at 2:05 pm Hey Julien. You can find more details of my itinerary on these pages:http://www.ambot-ah.com/pokhara-annapurna-itinerary/ http://www.ambot-ah.com/place/south-asia/nepal/Enjoy!Reply Julien saysSeptember 11, 2016 at 6:09 am thank you very much ! Kiera saysSeptember 12, 2016 at 11:43 am Looks like an amazing trip! Great pictures.. I am planning on doing the ABC trek this winter. Is there any chance you have a detailed itinerary or budget from your trip? I am trying to find the most cost efficient route. Please let me know! Thanks.Reply larry leong saysJanuary 27, 2017 at 3:51 pm Hi Marcos, Glad i was able to visit your website. i like your style of writing. it’s very personal. I’m planning a two week vacation by march and i am choosing wether india or nepal. I just wanna ask which is cheaper and given a chance to go back again which do you prefer india or nepal. i know both countries offer a different view and landscape. india more on architectural sites while nepal is nature. By the way, this would be my first solo travel! I’m scared but excited as well.Reply Marcos Detourist saysJanuary 27, 2017 at 5:12 pm Wow, first solo travel & in India or Nepal! That sounds really exciting. It’s really hard to decide between the two. That’s why I traveled to both in one trip :D But If I had to choose I guess it boils down to this:Go to India, if you want to see a variety of amazing sights.Go to Nepal, if you specifically want to go hiking. Nepal is cheaper, though I’m not sure how much it is now, after the earthquake.Nepal is also a lot easier to travel.Travel to both if you can but if your time is limited. Then, I suggest that you stick to one and go back on a later trip.Reply Gil Villadores saysMarch 20, 2017 at 5:14 pm I love reading your travel blogs Marcos. You have been my inspiration since I started traveling around Asia. I want to know if there is a need to bring a tripod when doing the Annapurna Base Camp trek.Reply Marcos Detourist saysMarch 21, 2017 at 8:09 am That was one of my main considerations as well. Ultimately, I decided not to bring my tripod because it was too heavy. My DSLR + Lens already weighed more than a kilo back then. My tripod was over a kilo also. My trekking buddy discouraged me to bring a tripod because we wanted a fast trek, and did not hire porters.Nowadays, I carry a lot more lightweight camera. So, it wouldn’t be a problem to bring a lightweight tripod.I carry a Tamrac Zipshot Ultralightweight Tripod. It can carry up to 3 pounds.If you need to bring bulkier camera gear. Consider hiring a porter :)Reply Birendra Duwadi saysNovember 27, 2018 at 3:55 pm Really valuable blog for Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Helpful and Informative for solo travellers. Thanks for sharing.Reply Start A TripSee travel guides and blogs about the Philippines and beyond.