If you are a trekking enthusiast and want to trek in Nepal, Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) and Everest Base Camp (EBC) might be at the top of your wish list. But deciding which of the two treks is the better one is tricky.
There are many factors to consider while comparing EBC and ABC. These factors include the best time to trek, level of difficulty, the weather of these regions, duration of the trek, and other considerations. You should carefully compare all of these aspects before you choose to go to either of these trekking destinations.
So let us look at all of the details of these two treks in detail.
Annapurna Base Camp, as well as Everest Base Camp, lie in the Himalayan region of Nepal. Therefore, these places can be extremely cold in the winter. Annapurna Base Camp has an altitude of 4130 meters whereas Everest Base Camp has an altitude of 5380 meters.
This means that on any given day, Everest Base Camp is colder than the Annapurna Base Camp. Both of these regions have four seasons- Summer, Winter, Autumn, and Spring. Summer is the hottest season while winter is the coldest. Spring and Autumn are the seasons when the temperature is mild.
The Summer season in Nepal also coincides with the monsoon making the trekking trails wetter than other seasons. In Everest Base Camp, the chances of rain during the monsoon is lower than that in Annapurna Base Camp because the higher altitude part of Nepal receives lower rainfall than regions with lower altitudes. So if you are looking for a monsoon trek with less interruption, EBC is the place to go.
However, during winter Everest Base Camp has a lower temperature than Annapurna Base Camp. In Annapurna Base Camp, the minimum winter(December/ January) temperature is a mere -8°C However, in the winter the temperature of EBC can get as low as -20°C. So if you are looking for trekking in December or January and don’t want to get to places that have very low temperatures, ABC might be the destination for you.
Spring and Autumn are the seasons where you can find many trekkers in both of these regions. As ABC lies at a lower altitude, the temperature of places along the way is, on average, higher than that of EBC.
Altitude is another factor that you need to look at before you consider while trekking in these regions. You should not only look at the altitude of the two Base Camps but the altitude of the places along the trek and how much altitude you gain in one day.
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These are some of the places that you are likely to encounter along the way. You need to check with the travel company that you are traveling with to know which places you will be going to and how much altitude you will gain along the way. They will customize the trip according to your needs.
Places along EBC are much higher in altitude in comparison to ABC. This makes it necessary for you to spend a few more days in certain places of EBC trek for acclimatization. While going trekking in the Base Camps of mountains, you are advised not to gain a lot of altitude in a single day.
Altitude sickness is the biggest threat for people who want to trek to these Base Camps. As Everest Base Camp is much higher in altitude, the likelihood of altitude sickness is greater in EBC than ABC.
But as long as you train properly, carry the necessary items and go slow, there is little chance that you will get altitude sickness.
Another major factor to consider while choosing EBC vs ABC is the number of days you want to spend trekking. Everest Base Camp trek is only slightly longer than Annapurna Base Camp trek as you have to spend a couple of days acclimatizing in the high altitudes of the Everest region.
The traditional Everest Base Camp will take you 14 days to complete. Annapurna Base Camp, on the other hand, can be completed in 13 days.
These trekking durations are not rigid by any means. You can also go for a short Annapurna Base Camp trek or a short Everest Base Camp trek. The shortened version of ABC and EBC treks last 10 days and 12 days respectively (check 12 Days Everest Base Camp Trek).
Although you might be tempted to shorten these durations even further, you should keep in mind that acclimatization to the altitude as well as temperatures of these regions is extremely necessary. Proper acclimatization is the only way to guarantee that your health during the treks is at an optimum.
Your trek to EBC will be elongated if you want to customize your trip by choosing to go to other places in the Everest region. There is a trek route to EBC from Jiri which will take you 22 days to complete.
The starting point of the Annapurna Base Camp trek and Everest Base Camp trek is accessible by various means including roadways as well as airways. The starting point of the EBC trek is Lukla whereas the starting point of the ABC trek in Pokhara.
From your country, you will take a flight to the international airport in Kathmandu. From Kathmandu, you can fly to Lukla in merely 35 minutes. You cannot, however, drive to Lukla. There is another trekking route to EBC where the starting point of your trek will be Jiri. Jiri is accessible on a bus in a drive of merely 8 hours.
You can reach Pokhara, the starting point of ABC, on either a local bus or an airplane. A local bus will take you to Pokhara in merely 7 hours. You can also catch a 25-minute flight to Pokhara from Kathmandu.
The wonderful mountains of the Himalayas region are the main attractions of ABC as well as EBC trek. Both of these trekking trails are full of glorious mountains and it is hard to say which trek is better for scenic views.
The mountains that are visible in the Annapurna Base Camp trek include Annapurna I (8091 m), Annapurna II (7937 m), Annapurna II (7555 m), Annapurna IV (7525 m), Gangapurna (7455 m), Annapurna South (7219 m), Khangsar Kang (7485 m), Tarke Kang (7202 m), Machhapuchhre (6993 m), Hiunchuli (6441 m) and others.
The mountains that are visible in the Everest Base Camp trek are Mt. Everest (8848 m), Mt. Cho Oyu (8188), Mt. Lhotse (8516 m), Mt. Nuptse (7861 m), Mt. Pumori (7161 m), Mt. Abu Dablam (6812 m), Mt. Imja Tse (6160 m), and Mt. Thamserku (6623 m).
As EBC is much higher than ABC, the skies are a lot clearer there. The chances of cloud covering as well as rainfall are much less in EBC. The view of Mt. Everest from Kala Pathar is mesmerizing. You are unlikely to get as good a view of mountains from anywhere other than the Everest region. In terms of scenery, EBC is a tad better than ABC.
As both the Base Camps are at high altitudes, the gear that you will need is the same. For trekking in these regions, multi-layered clothing that includes a base layer, an insulation layer, and the outer layer will be needed.
If you are looking to trek in the monsoon season, you need to ensure that you have clothing, bags as well as boots that are waterproof. Here is a list of trekking gear that you will during the EBC as well as ABC trek:
- A couple of long base layer shirts that dry quickly
- A couple of short-sleeved trekking shirts
- A couple of Thermal underwear
- 2 liner socks
- 3 pairs of woolen blend trekking socks.
- A pair of waterproof trekking pants with zip-off bottoms
- A couple of fleece sweaters (one lightweight, one heavier)
- 1 wind/rainproof outer-layer jacket and pants
- 1 down jacket. ( -20 D.C )
- 1 warm winter hat
- 1 lightweight thermal layer hat
- A pair of woolen gloves
- A pair of trekking boots
- Trekking Poles
- Best Sleeping Bags
- Foot powder (for stinky feet)
- Toilet paper
- A quick-dry Towel
- Gold Bond – this just feels good all the time
- Diamox – for altitude
- Vicks vapor rub
- anti-nauseant ( if you get nauseous a lot at altitude)
- Immodium – (in case of diarrhea)
- Mosquito repellent
There are various factors that come into play while determining the cost of EBC as well as ABC trek. One of them is the cost of gear. If you travel to these places at the same time, the gear you will need will be identical. Therefore, the cost of gear is identical.
Other determining factors are whether you will stay at tea houses for accommodation or luxury hotels. Teahouses in Nepal are cheap in comparison to luxury hotels. Food served there will also be cheaper.
But you will spend more days trekking in EBC trek compared to ABC trek. So even if you stay at teahouses in either of the treks and compare the prices, EBC will be more expensive than ABC as the costs of accommodation and food for extra days will be higher.
It is necessary for you to hire a guide/ porter during your trek. And a higher number of trekking days means that that the cost of a guide/ porter is also more.
Another factor that determines the cost is altitude. As Everest is at a higher altitude, transporting goods to high altitudes in teahouses is extremely difficult. Therefore, the costs of accommodation and food in higher altitudes in the Everest region are higher.
You can also reduce the costs of your trek by going to the starting points of the trek by roadways. The price of a flight to Pokhara is higher compared to the ride by bus there. Also, if you go to EBC by the classic Jiri route, the costs will be reduced.
Both of these treks are considered to be moderately difficult. Anyone with appropriate training and proper guidance will be able to complete these treks.
Everest Base Camp trek requires more strength training to complete than Annapurna Base Camp as the altitude of EBC is higher. And you will spend more days trekking in EBC.
Altitude sickness, which affects people as they cross the 3000-meter mark, is a major concern for trekkers. And most places during the EBC trek are higher than 3000 meters. Thus training for developing strength of the core, shoulders as well as legs will be important.
Even in the ABC trek, there are places such as Machhapuchhre Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp which are over 3000 meters. So, you should also undergo strength training for the ABC trek.
The culture of EBC and ABC is different. Everest region is full of Sherpas who practice Tibetan Buddhism whereas the Annapurna region is a mixture of Gurung, Thakali, and Manangba people.
During the EBC trek, you will also visit many Buddhist Monasteries in the Everest region. Tengboche Monastery is one of the most popular monasteries in Nepal where Buddhists from all over the Everest region come to practice their faith.
During the ABC trek, you will encounter villages that are a mixture of people across various faiths such as Hinduism as well as Buddhism. Places along ABC trek are culturally as well as religiously diverse.
If you have little or no trekking experience, ABC might be more suitable for you. The altitude of the places along the trek is lower and the whole trip is smaller in duration. This might be the reason why some people claim that the ABC trek is a must-do for EBC.
But with appropriate training and planning, there is no reason why you can’t take on the EBC trek as well. Just look at the factors mentioned above, weigh them in, and decide which awesome trek you want to be a part of.