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Annapurna Base Camp vs Everest Base Camp

Get your facts right before deciding where to trek: Annapurna base camp or Everest base camp?

So, you want to hike in the Himalayas? That’s fantastic! And, if you are still unclear in making a sensible decision, you might want to keep on reading. We have tried to bring out all the aspects of Annapurna vs Everest base camp trek here. It may help you to make a perfect choice based on your preferences. We have discussed topics such as trip duration, difficulty, weather, cost, and other significant areas.

Both Annapurna and Everest base camp trails have attracted nature enthusiasts and adventure lovers from all around the world since decades. Both nature hikes have some similar features and some unusual differences. Having said that, it totally depends on what you desire to see and experience. While some may choose Everest base camp trek, others may choose Annapurna base camp.

Here are the influential specifics on ABC vs EBC that will help you choose the most appropriate one without any regrets:

1. ABC vs EBC: Trip Duration

One major factor to consider while choosing ABC vs EBC is the total number of trekking days. Annapurna base camp trekking duration is from 11 to 14 days while Everest base camp trekking duration ranges from 14 to 16 days. EBC trek incorporates 2 rest days while they are not required for ABC trek.

However, there are options of shortening the duration for both of these regions. Travelers would love to shorten the number of trekking days, but it is good to understand the importance of getting used to new environments. Customizing or tailor-making your trip itinerary is the best option one can choose.

2. Trip Difficulty ABC vs EBC

Both ABC and EBC treks are considered to be moderately challenging. However, anyone with a proper training and guidance can complete this trek, even without prior hiking experience. Comparatively, Everest base camp trek is more physically strenuous and reaches up to an altitude of 5,545m (18,193ft.). While ABC trek is not difficult in a way that would tire your limbs.

Everest Base Camp trekking trail; One way to choose ABC vs EBC

Owing to lower altitude levels, there are minimal chances of getting altitude sickness on the Annapurna trekking trails. The highest point on this trail goes up to 4,130m (13,551ft.), so there is no requirement for acclimatization days. However, one needs to get acclimatized while doing the EBC trek. So, is the Annapurna base camp trek difficult or the Everest Base Camp trek difficult?

Other factors of difficulty

  • The altitude of EBC is higher than that of ABC trek, so more strength training is required to complete the EBC trek.
  • ABC trek requires fewer trekking days than the EBC trek.
  • In terms of the total trekking distance, EBC trail is the longer route as compared to the ABC trail.
  • ABC trek begins at Ghandruk at an altitude of 1,940m (6,363ft.) while EBC begins at Lukla at 2,800m (9,187ft.)
  • The Everest trail is more crowded than the Annapurna trail comparatively.
  • Flying up to the trailhead at Lukla is the only option in a day’s time on the Everest trail. Likewise, one can drive to the trailhead on the Annapurna trail or else fly to Pokhara and drive up to the trek starting point..

3. Trip Comfort ABC vs EBC

There are various factors that define the levels of comfort while trekking in the Annapurna region or the Everest region. The following are few factors that really matter in portraying the trip comfort levels:

  • Both the trekking trails have accommodations with standard facilities, but comparatively less developed on the ABC trail.
  • Most of the lodges and teahouses offer combined rooms with attached bathroom on both trails, except for some teahouses on the ABC trail.
  • There are lesser western toilet facilities on the Annapurna trail in comparison to the Everest trail.
  • There are more rest stops, and cafes available on the Annapurna trail making the hike feel progressively true vs the EBC trek.
  • In terms of facilities, both trails provide access to Wi-Fi, hot shower, and quality food.
  • While there are no very luxurious hotels and guest houses in the Annapurna region, you will come across luxurious hotels and teahouses in the Everest region.
  • Both EBC and Annapurna trails have pretty good mobile phone reception and 3G connectivity.

4. Cost of Annapurna trek vs Everest base camp

Various factors are responsible for determining the cost of any trekking destination in the Himalayas. Here, we try to bring out some interesting facts about Annapurna and Everest base camp trek cost. On a starting note, it wouldn’t be biased to say that the treks within the Annapurna region are more affordable than treks within the Everest region.

Lukla airport, Starting point of Everest Base Camp Trek
Airfare to Lukla is one of the major costings of Everest Base Camp Trek

The following facts will throw light upon the several cost affairs while trekking to Annapurna and Everest base camp:

  • Cost of gears and equipment for both trekking trails are more or less similar.
  • Accommodation options such as teahouses or luxury hotels will bring variation in trip costs. As such, there are no luxury hotels in the Annapurna trekking region.
  • Hiring a guide and a porter for both the treks will incur their cost throughout the journey. One can do both the treks without them, but we always recommend that you have a local guide and a porter for several reasons.
  • Annapurna trekking comprises fewer days than EBC trek, so the accommodation cost, food cost, and guide-porter cost will be lower.
  • To further reduce the cost of Annapurna trekking, one can take a bus ride instead of hopping into a 30-min Pokhara flight.
  • Flying to Lukla is the only option to reach the trailhead in a day during Everest trek. If you don’t wish to fly, then there is an option of taking a 10-hour bus ride to Jiri. From there you need to hike for 5-6 days to reach Lukla.
  • The Everest trail has a bigger brand name until now, therefore the permits to EBC cost more than that on the ABC trek.

5. Cultural Experience on ABC vs EBC routes

On the Annapurna base camp trekking trail, you will come across a lot of local communities such as Gurungs, Magars, Tamangs, Thakalis, Brahmins, and Chhetris. But, there isn’t much variation in the ethnic communities on the Everest base camp route. The whole of the Everest region is dominated by the Sherpas.

Sherpa Culture in Everest Base Camp, one way to chose EBC vs ABC
Knowing the local culture

If you’re someone who wants to engross in just one culture, then EBC trek is just right for you. The ABC trek exposes a hiker to many more communities and cultures, thereby giving a better perspective of the ethnic groups in Nepal. Hinduism is a prominent religion in the Annapurna region while Buddhism is what the Khumbu Sherpas practice, with a pinch of Tibetan Buddhist flavor.

While people of the Annapurna region depend on farming besides the tourism sector, people of Everest region totally depend on tourism. The Sherpas in the Everest region have a very vibrant and interesting culture and traditions. While, visitors get to experience a more diverse cultural and social experience while trekking in the Annapurna region.

Although communities in the Khumbu region practice Buddhism, trekkers get to encounter inhabitants with stronger ethnic, cultural and religious ties to Tibet. This can be observed as you hike higher into the Annapurna mountains. People up there look different, dress differently, build peculiar houses, and speak a different dialect.

6. Landscape: Annapurna vs Everest base camp trek

More than just mountains, the Annapurna base camp trek has much more to offer. The entire region is a very beautiful place with a picturesque scenario. There are plenty of views of the wonderful landscapes of hills and mountains. Also, blooming rhododendron forests, particularly during spring time.

Everest base camp trek, on the other hand, has beautiful mountain scenery and small settlements between the huge rocky hills. Various snow-capped mountain peaks are visible from different places on the entire journey to the base camp. Prayer flags and wheels, Mani walls dotted everywhere on the trail, add up to the beauty of the Himalayan landscape.

Views along the Annapurna Trail; another way to choose ABC vs EBC
View along the trails of Annapurna Region

Everest base camp trek can be designated as the perfect trek for all those mountain lovers. Likewise, Annapurna base camp trek is a nature-lover’s paradise, apart from mountain lovers. Annapurna trail has mountain views, dense jungles, beautiful terraces, and farming communities. While EBC trek is a high-altitude trek with spectacular and direct scenery of the giant Himalayas.

Although there are similarities between the world’s two most popular trekking destinations, there are some differences too! Annapurna offers much variety of scenery as compared with EBC trek. ABC leads hikers through the canyons of the Modi Khola (River), high glacial pass, and landscape of the Tibetan Plateau. Similarly, Everest trek also leads trekkers to Tengboche Monastery and Kala Patthar, stunning glaciers, and other ancient monasteries.

7. Best time to travel: Annapurna vs Everest base camp

In Nepal, the year is divided into four distinct seasons. These seasons have their own unique features, so a traveler can choose the seasons that best suits him or her. These four distinct seasons are spring, summer or monsoon, fall (or autumn), and winter. The best time for Annapurna base camp trek is during the months of October-November. Besides these months, the months of April and May is also perfect for trekking.

Likewise, the best time for Everest base camp trek is during the spring and fall months, which fall during April-May and October-November respectively. The climatic condition of both regions is particularly good with bright and warm days, with less chances of showers.

View during the best time to visit Everest Base Camp
Beautiful view seen near Everest Base Camp

Summer months coincide with monsoon in Nepal. The Everest trail is slightly affected by the rains making it somewhat muddy. Bad weather conditions in the Everest region could lead to flight delays or even cancelations. But, chances of flight cancelations from Kathmandu to Pokhara are comparably lower. Temperatures during winter months from November to January in both the trails range from 41ºF on a warm day to -13ºF during cold nights. Comparably, the ABC trek is more doable during the winter months than the Everest trek.

All in all, Everest Base Camp is colder than the Annapurna base camp on any given day. And, the main seasons where you can find many other hikers on both the trails are spring and fall. The Annapurna trails lie at lower altitudes than the Everest trails. The temperatures in the lower trails of the Annapurna region are comparatively higher than that of the Everest region.

8. Crowds on Annapurna & Everest Trails

During the peak trekking seasons, both the trails get crowded with trekkers from all around the world. And, due to the over-crowdedness, getting an accommodation would be a problem, unless you book earlier or go with a trek operator. Winter and summer months are off-seasons and a handful of people will be seen on hikes.

The Everest trail is believed to be more crowded during the spring season than the ABC trail. Both the trails have grown in popularity in recent decades attracting more crowd. During the fall months, both the trails get busy and crowded with hikers and nature enthusiasts from all over the world. This time of the year has ideal weather conditions and visibility.

Crowds encountered in the Annapurna Base Camp Trail
Crowds seen on Annapurna Base Camp trekking trail

Mountaineers heading to summit the Mt. Everest are seen on the trails mostly during the local spring season with the best weather conditions. Winter and monsoon months attract the least number of trekkers in both the Annapurna and Everest trails.

9. Food Options: Everest vs Annapurna base camp

The food services on the Annapurna trail are moderate. The lodges and teahouses on this trail provide you with food ranging from pancakes and oatmeal for breakfast. Likewise, typical Nepalese cuisine including Dal-Bhaat, porridge, lentil soup, and mixed vegetable are items for lunch and dinner. There are options for other international cuisines at most places on the Annapurna trail.

Plenty of lodges and teahouses on the Everest base camp trail provide refreshment where trekkers enjoy the services of a hot meal and refreshing tea. The only thing to remember is that the price of the food items keeps on increasing as you walk higher. Typical food offered on the Everest trail includes eggs, Tibetan dishes, and porridge for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, hikers can choose from the menu, which include fried noodles, Dal-Bhaat with vegetables and lentil soup, Nepalese stew, Chinese and Italian dishes, and many more.

Overall, food items are pretty much the same in both the trekking trails. Both regions offer typical Nepalese cuisine to various international cuisines including pizza, pasta, burger, and meat items. With that said, food on the Everest trekking as well as Annapurna trails are not much different.

Popular food Dal Bhat in both Everest as well as Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Dal Bhat – Popular Nepalese cuisine available in both ABC and EBC trek

Himalayan Glacier will make necessary arrangement of food items for those who strictly follow vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian, raw vegan, frutarian vegan, gluten-free vegan, whole-food vegan or macrobiotic diets. Make sure you don’t forget to mention to your travel consultant about your food habits during the time of booking your trip with us.

10. Safety on Annapurna vs Everest base camp

When it comes to safety concerns, both Everest base camp and Annapurna base camp are safe to trek. Although it is possible to do both the treks independently, we always recommend hiring a guide for several reasons including trip safety. The EBC packing list and Annapurna base camp packing list will give an idea on what to carry during your trek. This will help in making your trip safe and hassle-free.

It is always important to trek with someone taking care of you throughout the entire trek on both the trails. Not just that, but when you have good gears and trekking equipment with you, trekking becomes more safe and enjoyable. It is also wise to have a porter with you who will carry your major luggage. We advise not to walk alone on these trails, especially if you are trekking in Nepal for the first time.

11. Everest vs Annapurna: Solo, Couple or Group Travel

Both Everest and Annapurna base camp treks are considered to be moderately challenging. They are not too hard to achieve with proper preparation and proper equipment. Many hikers do these treks independently, some do it as couple while many others join a group to accomplish these treks.

Group Trek to Everest Base Camp
Group Trek to Everest Base Camp

Everest and Annapurna treks can be done solo or in small or large groups. But, Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek, Around Manaslu Trek, Upper Mustang Trek, and various others cannot be done solo. Treks to restricted areas require special permits and also a guide and/or porter with you.

If you plan to trek to Annapurna or Everest base camp without joining a group, we still recommend that you have a guide and a porter along with you. A guide can explain while you explore and make your trekking experience more fulfilling. He will help you understand the local culture, traditions, and lifestyle of the people on the trails. We also recommend that you have a porter with you who will help you carry your luggage and make your trip hassle-free and more enjoyable.

Himalayan Glacier is a tailor-made company that attends to all types of travelers, including solo travelers, couples, and small or large groups. Group departure travel is a perfect choice for solo travelers looking to join like-minded people with similar interests. On the other hand, you have a choice to plan your own adventure trip with us.

Summary of Differences: ABC vs EBC

It is in fact, really hard to choose the best trek among Everest and Annapurna base camp trek. If you are still struggling to decide between these popular treks, the following tabular representation is a summary of all the differences. The table may also contain certain topics that we haven’t mentioned above.

ParametersEverest Base CampAnnapurna Base Camp
Short duration 
Easy trek 
Comfort travel 
Longer distance 
Lower budget 
Easy accessibility 
Higher elevation 
Wildlife variation 
Varieties of bird species 
Diverse flora 
Multi-cultures 
Better landscapes 
More crowded 
Less risky 
High risk of AMS 
Peak seasonsSpring, FallSpring, Fall
CommunicationsGoodGood

Conclusion

It is a wonderful and unforgettable experience if trekking in Nepal is something on your bucket-list. Both Annapurna and Everest base camp treks are among the most popular treks in the world. There is no wrong decision when it comes to choosing one amongst these two famous treks in the world. Whether you choose Annapurna trek or Everest base camp trek, you are in a win-win situation.

While Annapurna base camp trek may be perfect for novice trekkers, Everest base camp trek is suitable for experienced trekkers. However, there is no doubt that that both EBC and ABC treks offer great opportunities to explore the amazing Himalayas. We recommend Annapurna base camp trek for first time trekkers. While on the other hand, there is no reason not to do Everest base camp trek with a little bit of training.

By now, you are most likely to feel confident as to which trek to do. Don’t hesitate to contact us or message us on Facebook if you’d like to discuss more about these treks. We’d be more than happy to share our knowledge and experiences of both the treks with you and help you plan a memorable trip in the Himalayas!

Himalayan Glacier
About the author

A leading adventure & tour operator in the Himalayas since 1992, Himalayan Glacier Adventure & Travel Company® is the #1 guiding adventure travel company on Mount Everest Base Camp and beyond with 98% success rate. Continuing its decades-old legacy, Himalayan Glacier is a little different from other adventure & tour operators. Each of our holidays is truly a tailor-made package which we design for all ages, groups, families & solo travelers. We have veteran mountaineering leaders who have been into this industry for several decades. So, we offer you complete choice and freedom to explore the real pleasure of traveling.

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