The one very question that always pops back in the mind while planning a trip to the Himalayas is the trekking trail you want to hike. Most people find it hard to choose between the famous route of Annapurna Base camp and Everest Base Camp.
Plus, an added confusion when you find tons of information as you walk the jam-packed avenues of Thamel with signs promoting both equally, and bloggers with their own arguments over which is the best, ABC or EBC?
Google adds more puzzles to the issue as well, providing compelling information on both the destinations. Never the less, these are two trekking trails in the Himalayas, among the numerous treks in Nepal that stand out of the rest, and are the most famous for both amateur and experienced trekkers.
Here, today I will provide some aspects for both trekking trails and hope will help to decide which might suit your interest for time being. This article will cover aspects such as difficulty, the best time to visit, accommodation, scenic beauty, days required, accessibility, and a few other factors to consider.
Annapurna Circuit versus Everest Base Camp: General Information
1. Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit both the trials to Annapurna Base Camp and Everest is during Autumn (Sep – Nov) and Spring (Mar-May).
The climatic condition of both regions is particularly good with bright and warm days and no possible rain. View of blooming rhododendrons flowers can be seen as soon as you get past the 2500 m mark, on both the trails. Everest could be a bit crowded in May as this is a peak expedition season and some fascinating events could be observed at the moment.
This month also marks the remembrances of the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary. Thus, a time for celebration!
On the other hand, Annapurna Base Camp is accessible throughout the year while climbing Everest and trek to the trail is difficult during the months of Dec- Feb.
2. Days Required
Trek to Annapurna base camp is typically 14 days to and fro Kathmandu in general.
Everest base camp trek can also be around 16 days. A short trek of Everest will lead you only up to Tengboche Monastery which will be around 8 days. Days for both the trails can be customized as per your fitness level and vacation schedule.
Some other factors that determine the length of your trek are side trips, rest days, refreshing time in Kathmandu and Pokhara, before or after the trek.
3. Trek Starting Points
Annapurna base camp trek starts from Nayapul near Pokhara. You can either choose between for 7 hours drive or a mere 30 min flight from Kathmandu which lands you in the city of lakes.
For Everest base camp trek, you fly to Lukla, a 35-minute flight from Kathmandu. If you are looking for a longer trek in the Everest region (18-20 days), you can follow the path of Hillary and Tenzing via Jiri.
4. Accommodation / Facilities – Annapurna versus Everest Base Camp
With more rest stops, cafés, and Western toilets available to you, the Annapurna base camp trek feels progressively 'true' versus the Everest Base Camp.
Both the trekking trails have a small family-owned guest house, but Annapurna base camp trek passes through more dense settlements and has more guest houses and accommodation options. You may come across some very luxurious hotels and guest houses in the Everest region though.
In terms of facilities, both are comparable as you can access WIFI, hot shower, and quality food in both regions.
Pricing is a very relative topic, so we are comparing just the basics here. Since Everest base camp trek involves a flight to Lukla, it will cost you more than ABC, which doesn’t necessarily require flying.
The longer duration also contributes to the higher cost of the trek in the Everest region. You will pay around USD 1200 for a typical Annapurna base camp trek (excluding international flights), whereas you will be paying around 400 more for a typical 16 days Everest base camp trek.
Both trails can be having plenty of tourists during the peak season. Everest is more crowded during spring. But you will have solitary moments in both the trek if you walk in the right place.
7. Social Experiences – Annapurna Circuit versus Everest Base Camp.
The Everest region is dominated by Sherpas with a very vibrant and interesting culture and traditions. On the other hand, the Annapurna base camp trek has varied settlements throughout the trail.
Annapurna region is home to Gurungs, Puns, Magars, Thakali, Chhetris, Brahmins and other ethnicities. So you will get a more diverse cultural and social experience trekking to Annapurna Base Camp.
8. Difficulty level.
Everest base camp is definitely a winner here as it goes more than 5000 m. Some landmarks such as Kala Patthar can go as high as 5600 m.
The trails of Annapurna region reaches up to altitudes of 4700 m. Though not an excessively big difference in the Himalayas, altitude can affect your speed and duration of the entire journey.
9. The X factors in Everest and Annapurna base camp trek
Everest region is famous for Mount Everest, the highest mountain on earth, also with Lhotse, Makalu, and various other peaks some of which are the highest on earth.
Annapurna Base Camp trek takes you closer to the 10th highest Mount Annapurna, Mt Dhaulagiri and Manaslu, the other peaks such as Mt Fishtail ( Machhapuchre), not as high as others but definitely very popular.
I could compare some of these topics but one thing that is incomparable is the immense love that Nepalese people will give you on both the trekking trials. If you are still finding it difficult to decide between both of these treks then visit the detailed itineraries of Everest base camp trek and the Annapurna base camp trek.