Annapurna Base Camp trek vs Everest Base Camp trek

Nepal is home to some of the most incredible Himalayas in the world. Just consider the fact that Nepal is home to eight of the ten highest peaks in the world. Most people recognize Nepal as the home of Mt. Everest - the highest mountain in the world. However, Everest is just one of the 866 named mountains in Nepal. Undoubtedly, Annapurna Base Camp and Everest Base Camp treks are the most popular treks in Nepal.  Discovery World Trekking has been conducting treks to Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp for over a decade. 

Though Annapurna Base Camp and Everest Base Camp have their own identity and strengths, in this article, we will look at the similarities and differences of these treks, including trek duration, cost, difficulty level, highlights, preparation, food, culture, etc.

This one is quite obvious. You can travel to the Everest region or Annapurna region on land, but it is not practical to reach Everest Base Camp via land. Almost everyone flies from Kathmandu to Lukla, start their trek from Lukla, and gradually ascends to the Everest Base Camp. The flight lasts around 40 minutes. If you are short on time or physically unprepared, you can always book a helicopter tour to EBC.

The Annapurna region is very accessible on land. From Kathmandu, you can take a bus to Pokhara. The bus follows Prithivi Highway and will take roughly seven hours to reach Pokhara. However, you can also take a 20-minute flight to Pokhara from Kathmandu. Pokhara is the tourist capital of Nepal, and the city is much larger than Lukla or even Namche Bazaar in the Khumbu region. 


Trip duration
The standard Annapurna Base Camp Trek length is 110 km, while the Everest Base Camp is 130 km. So, the Annapurna Base Camp is shorter compared to Everest Base Camp. However, you can complete both of these treks through different routes, which can alter the number of days you will require to complete these treks. 

The classical Everest Base Camp trek lasts fourteen days, but if you choose, you can finish the Everest Base Camp trek on a helicopter. During these days you can witness breathtaking views of Ama Dablam, Mt. Lhotse(8,516m), Cho Oyu(8,201m), and Mt.Makalu (8,463m). You have the option to visit the incredible Gokyo Lakes. 

In the case of the Annapurna Base Camp trek, you can complete the hike in as little as seven days or as many as twenty-seven days. Longer Annapurna Base Camp treks include other notable paths in the Annapurna region. The path can include Annapurna Circuit and other highlights such as Tilicho Lake and Muktinath.


Difficulty level
Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) lies at 4,130m. This is also the highest altitude you will reach during the ABC trek. However, Everest Base Camp is at 5,364m, and the highest point of the EBC trek is 5,555m at Kala Patthar Viewpoint. Most trekkers reach Kala Patthar to enjoy the fantastic early morning views. Generally, treks above 5,000m are regarded as challenging. 

Hence, Everest Base Camp treks are much more challenging than the Annapurna Base Camp trek. Higher altitudes mean lower oxygen levels and hikes become very exhaustive. The temperature also falls at higher altitudes.


Cost differences
How much you spend on your treks depends upon personal preferences. However, as EBC treks are more remote and last longer, you can safely assume that the ABC trek is relatively cheaper. As a rule of thumb, the higher you get, the more the cost of food and accommodation. The exact trek cost also differs according to the trek group size. If you have a bigger group, you can get higher discounts.


Trek regions
Everest Base Camp treks start at 2860m and reach 5,364m at Everest Base Camp. So, by flying to Lukla, you will have gained a substantial height. But, as Annapurna Base Camp treks start at Pokhara (820m), you will enjoy the landscape and vegetation change as you trek higher. 

In ABC treks, you will see the subtropical forests gradually, giving way to alpine terrain. You can see the dense jungles and multi-ethnic villages on the way. You can see how the Magars, Gurungs, and Thakali villages differ. Hence, if you love diversity and want to get a peak into what typical Nepal is all about the Annapurna Base Camp treks should be more appealing to you. 

The Everest region is comparatively less diverse. You will mostly be visiting the Sherpa settlements. The climate and the vegetations are less varied compared to ABC treks. 

In terms of wild animals, you can find yaks in the Everest region, which are absent in the Annapurna Base Camp regions. Both of these base camps are in protected regions. ABC lies in the Annapurna Conservation Area, while EBC lies in the Sagarmatha National Park. Annapurna Conservation Area is much larger compared to Sagarmatha National Park. 


The thrill
If you are an adventurous person seeking the adrenaline kick, you should choose the EBC treks. We suggest you pick the three-high passes trek, which is quite challenging. Since the paths will elevate a lot, you will find more thrill factors in the Everest Base Camp treks. 


Altitude sickness

Both of these hikes are high-altitude treks, so there remains a small chance of catching altitude sickness. Since the ABC treks take place at a lower altitude, the chances of getting altitude sickness are less in the ABC treks compared to EBC treks.


Though you do not have to stay in camp tents during your EBC or ABC treks, the services available will differ. The Annapurna Base Camp lies near Pokhara, one of the affluent cities of Nepal. So, if you prefer comfort, then ABC treks are more suitable, with numerous hotels and lodges catering to a wide range of trekkers' preferences. 

After you have finished your trek, when you return to your country and tell your friends you have reached Everest Base Camp, they will understand where you have been. But, if you tell them you completed a trek to Annapurna Base Camp, you will probably need to introduce them to the Annapurna mountain.

ABC and EBC treks have their own distinguishing features and are equally attractive. However, personal preferences might differ. In this article, we have captured the differences between these treks, making it easy for you to choose your next trip. However, it is always better to experience both of these treks. 

For hassle-free and rich trek experiences, call us at 977-9840055491 or email [email protected]. Trek booking is open for the year 2023/2024.

Paul Gurung

Paul has an extensive experience in the tourism industry. Through his blogs, he shares his deep knowledge about the stunning trek regions in Nepal, inspiring trekkers worldwide to explore these regions and enrich their lives. In addition to geography, his writings delve into the human side of the trek regions, including culture, traditions, religions, and etiquette, offering a comprehensive and enriching perspective on the Himalayan trekking and expedition experience.