Standing at an altitude of 8091m above sea level, the majestic Annapurna is the 10th highest mountain in the world. It is one of the most popular trekking destinations in Nepal after the Everest base camp trek which takes you to the base camp of Mt. Annapurna. The trek offers jaw-dropping sights of the snow-covered peaks with the ever-changing landscapes, a beautiful village with rich culture; trails surrounded by the lush jungle and so many more. Thus, a 9-day long hike takes you to interesting landscapes.
The starting point of the trek is Pokhara, following that the trails pass via rhododendron forests, alpine, and glacial terrain. During this trek, the maximum height that you will reach is 4,110 m above sea level. So, you may find breathing more difficult and more physically demanding as you ascend higher. For such a long trip ascending to high altitudes, you surely need to know how fit you need to be to hike the Annapurna base camp trek and what should you prepare for the trek. Because, it helps us to make the trek successful, memorable, and interesting. The given tips help you to be prepared before the Annapurna base camp.
Plan at the best time
Talking about the best time to travel the Annapurna base camp trek, there are two main seasons. The first is in late October- November when the weather is dry and warm. The second is the start of spring from April- May when it can be wetter but flowers are in bloom. During this time the sky remains clear, you can have picturesque views of the mountains, and the trail is dry.
In the spring, you will able to witness the hills covered by rhododendron flowers. Rhododendrons and several other flowers bloom in this season. The days are normally dry and you should not encounter heavy snowfall and rain at this time. Meanwhile, autumn is a festival time in Nepal. The two great festivals as Dashain and Deepawali fall in this season. During this time you will able to explore the culture and traditional lifestyle even the festival of this nation.
Along with the perfect weather for the clear views of the gorgeous and magnificent snow-capped mountain and diverse landscapes, lush green forest, and blooms of rhododendrons, this season is the best season to travel to Annapurna Base Camp. Panning during this time not only benefits you with an amazing view but also with the cultural aspects. Thus, the suitable season for you also should include while preparing for the Annapurna Base Camp.
Trekking gears, equipment, and supplies
As we have mentioned above the trek requires trekking at above 4000m. While trekking here you will need well equipment. This will help you to make your journey easier and more comfortable. Below we have listed some gear that you should not forget while preparing for Everest base camp.
Trekking Gear & Supplies
- Torch/flashlight – headlamp style is ideal
- A duffel bag
- Waterproof day pack bag to carry your personal belongings during the day
- Sleeping bag
- Trekking poles
- Minimum 1-liter refillable aluminum or Nalgene polypropylene water bottle
- Waterproof jacket with hood
- Top and bottom thermals
- Warm hat, sunhat/bandana, scarf, sunglass, gloves – wool or fleeced and Gore-Tex
- Wind and waterproof jacket & pants
- Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes (often worn before departure)
- Running shoes or evening sandals
- Extra warm clothes during winter (December to March)
- 3-4 Long and short sleeve t-shirts
- Long sleeve shirts
- Inner clothes like underwear, bra, etc
- Heavy fleece or down jacket
- Wool jumper/sweater/fleece (1 lightweight during summer and one heavyweight or two
- Hiking socks
- Soap, shampoo, hairbrush, face lotion
- First-aid kit; should contain an anti-histamine, Imodium, or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, lip balm, aspirin, and bandages.
- Insect repellent
- Sunscreen, and lip balm
- Wet wipes, toilet paper
- Diamox (in case of altitude sickness)
- Mask, hand sanitizer
- As per your interest
- Personal medical prescriptions
- Rehydration powder
Permits and documents
On your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, you can get a visa for your entire journey. Similarly, you can get your visa from the Embassy of Nepal and in your own country as well. Speaking of the permits, ABC trek requires two permits Transport Information Management System (TIMS) and Annapurna Conservation Area Entry Permit (ACAP).
You can take your permits from the tourist centers in Kathmandu or Pokhara. The TIMS card costs 2000 NPR for foreigners and the permit 2260 NPR. For the permit, you have to provide 4 passport photos which they take and print for you at the Pokhara center free of charge. The entire process takes around 20 minutes but it can be longer if the center is busy. Thus while preparing for the Everest base camp treks make sure that you have permits.
Furthermore, it is highly suggested to get travel insurance which includes travel cancellation, postponement of the journey, emergency evacuation, interruptions, loss of baggage, and so forth. You should do this Travel Insurance in your own country.
Picking the right itinerary
The Annapurna Base Camp trek is very different from the Annapurna Circuit trek. The Annapurna base camp trek encompasses 10+ days of continuous hiking predominantly on stairs or steps and lots of them. Choosing the right itinerary is also important while preparing for the Annapurna base camp. As there are several itineraries available. To make your trek more fruitful or worse it all depends upon the itinerary. Thus while choosing the trek think wisely.
Training and exercise
Speaking of the difficulty of the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, it is considered to be moderate. This trek does not require other trekking experience and knowledge. Anyone with different ages, knowledge, capacity, and skill, can complete this trek.
Nevertheless, the Annapurna Base Camp is at a high altitude so some muscular training should be done. Normally during the trek to the peak region, one should walk 4-5 hours per day. To get better your walking skills you should walk downhill and uphill for a month previous to booking the trip to Annapurna Base Camp. Do swimming, yoga, and exercise for a week to increase your strength, and to be calm during the trip. Here is some exercise that you can do while in your hometown.
- Strength Training
- Aerobic Training (Cardiovascular)
- Altitude Training
By now you might have already known about the factors that are needed for the preparation of the famous Annapurna base camp trek. Trust us; the above-mentioned lists will help you a lot during the trek.