The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is perhaps one of the most appealing and naturally rewarding treks in Nepal, presenting trekkers with the pristine Annapurna valley embedded with amazing attributes made all the more richer by its multicultural dynamics amidst the flanks of the mighty Mount Annapurna massif.
Almost half of the visitors who come to Nepal for trekking tend to visit the Annapurna region and do the base camp trekking journey to Annapurna Base Camp. The natural features and the Himalayan ambiance of the region, along with many other cultural hallmarks make the trekking journey a delight. It is, simply put, one of the must-do adventures for any enthusiastic traveler as the merits of the trek outweigh its cons greatly, making it one of the easiest things to cross off one’s bucket list.
In this article, we shall be discussing different components that should be taken into consideration when doing the Annapurna Base Camp Trek and how such components can be tackled or dealt with for a smooth trekking adventure-
Keep Your Body Fit
The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is a moderate trekking journey. This means that although it does have elements of rough terrains and long distances to cover from one destination to the next on any given trekking day, it is still doable by trekkers with no prior trekking experience. The trekking journey has its path meandering through the terrain’s thick woodlands and traversing up-and-down-hill over swiftly flowing rivers and steep hamlets. Thus, in essence, having good physical fitness is key to a good trekking journey.
To prepare the body for the trek, you can practice cardiovascular exercises about two to three weeks before the commencement of the adventure. In extrapolation, trekkers are required to trek through the rocky landscape for extended periods, usually, 5 to 6 hours a day as they make their way from one village to the next. Thus, it is important to make your body be able to overcome the physical challenge the trek presents by proper training.
Pack Your Key Essentials
Primarily, the Annapurna Base camp Trek takes trekkers to two base camps in the span of the journey- one is the Machhapuchhre Base Camp and the other is the base camp of Annapurna. Along the way, spectacular Himalayan views are presented. Thus, during the trek, trekkers essentially gain altitude; the more altitude gain there is, the colder it gets. The base camp of Annapurna remains cold throughout the year, is situated at an altitude of 4,130 meters. Furthermore, the weather in the mountains and the considerable height is often unpredictable.
Because of this, it is important to pack the right way for the trip. In hindsight, it is best to pack only the essential items and leave out things that you can simply do without. Given below is a short list of essential things to pack for the trek-
- Hiking trousers and hiking shorts
- Lightweight trekking shirts
- Waterproof shell jacket and trousers
- Wide-brim Hat
- Lightweight scarf
- Warm Gloves
- A good pair of Hiking Boots (that have been broken into)
- Woolen socks
- All-season Sleeping bags
- Duffle Bags
- Small Hand-Carry Bags
- A Day Pack
- Toiletries and First Aid
- Water Purification Method, like Tablets or other purification kits
- Water Bottles
- Trekking Poles
Best Season to Annapurna Base Camp Trek
The best time to do the Annapurna Base Camp Trek is from March to May and September to November. March to May is the spring-time and September to November experiences the autumn season. These two seasons are ideal for the trekking journey as the day and night time temperatures are quite suitable. They also present good visibility without rain, and thus also present comparatively fewer flight cancellations. During spring, the average day-time temperature at lower altitudes can range from 10°C to 12°C when the sun is up. However, the higher up you go, the colder it gets.
When you gain an altitude of 4,000 meters, you can experience cold temperatures in the morning and the evenings. Daily maximum and minimum temperatures at high altitudes ranging from -4° to -8°C. At night, the temperature can drop down to about -10°C. Likewise, in the fall, the daytime temperature is mild and comfortable. Temperatures during the daytime range from 8° to 16°C in the daytime and tend to drop to about below-freezing temperatures at nighttime at -0°C.
Generally, the Annapurna Base Camp Trek packages provided by travel agencies cover most of the immediate expenses like accommodation, transportation, guidance, porter services, and food. The guesthouses and lodges throughout the ABC Trek journey tend to provide basic forms of food and meal dispensary like alcohol and snacks of various kinds, including chocolates and gums corresponding to heavy-set trek meals like rice and lentils, pasta, eggs, bread, and other dishes. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals are available while trekking.
In the same fashion, most of the guesthouses also provide laundry services, but they cost extra money. The same goes for hot showers as well. As for communication, visitors can buy local SIM Cards to communicate. Otherwise, they can use the local landlines that some guesthouses tend to have in function.
It is mandatory to have travel insurance while trekking in Nepal. The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is no exception. Having travel insurance is a safer way to travel. Overall, it is best to have a good travel insurance policy that covers the expenses of an emergency evacuation and helicopter rescue in the mountains while trekking in the country, as well as medical coverage. A minimum of USD 1,000,000 must be covered by the insurance policy.
Key Permits and other Fees
The Annapurna Base Camp Trek includes some permits, like TIMS Cards, that need to be filled out. For the most part, the travel agency tends to take care of the permits for its customers while traveling. During the ABC Trek, you are required to fill out the permit for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) as well as TIMS Cards. The ACAP permit fee for foreigners cost about 2,000 NPR (Approx. US $20). ACAP entry permit fee for SAARC nationals cost 200 NPR and for TIMS permit, it costs 1,000 NPR (Approx. the US $10). The permits can be filled out and purchased from Nepal Tourism Board Office in Kathmandu. Permits can also be purchased from Pokhara.
Acute Mountain Sickness or Altitude Sickness is an ailment that befalls trekkers when they reach a certain high altitude without properly acclimatizing. Getting properly acclimatized to the high altitude is a way of letting your body adjust to the extreme conditions at mountainous heights, like the oxygen intake level. The chances of Altitude Sickness occurring during the Annapurna Base Camp Trek are very slim.
However, the occurrence of Altitude Sickness varies from one person to the next. Nevertheless, whenever one is trekking to the mountains, it is important to maintain a comfortable pace and not rush the journey. It is important to let your body be adjusted to the altitude gain to reduce the chance of Altitude Sickness. One might do so by being properly hydrated, maintaining a comfortable pace and even taking medications like Diamox to prevent the onset of the sickness.
Some of the symptoms of Altitude Sickness include nausea, vomiting, headache, loss of appetite and dizziness. If the symptoms are properly taken care of, then it can also be fatal. That is why, if trekkers feel like they are experiencing symptoms of the sickness, then they have to rest and let themselves recover instead of pushing forward.
The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is one of the most fascinating trekking adventures that pose fewer chances of altitude sickness and presents majestic mountain experiences. It is relatively easier than other popular trekking adventures in Nepal and also naturally gorgeous. It is simply one of the best trekking experiences in the world!