Introduction: Everest Base Camp Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek
Everest Base Camp Trek and Annapurna Circuit Trek are two of the most popular trekking routes in Nepal. The Everest Base Camp Trek takes you to the base camp of the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest. In contrast, the Annapurna Circuit Trek takes you around the Annapurna mountain range, one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the world. Both treks offer stunning views of the Himalayas, cultural experiences with local communities, and a chance to challenge oneself physically.
Trekking in Nepal has a long history that dates back to the early 1900s. British explorer, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Roberts in 1950, made the first recorded trek in Nepal. After the successful ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953, the popularity of trekking in Nepal increased. In the following decades, trekking became a popular activity among adventure enthusiasts and tourists from all around the world. Today, Nepal is considered one of the best trekking destinations in the world.
The purpose of comparing the Everest Base Camp Trek and Annapurna Circuit Trek is to provide a clear understanding of the differences and similarities between the two treks. The comparison can help trekkers decide which trek to choose based on their preferences, budget, and physical abilities. The comparison can also help identify each trek's unique features and make an informed decision when planning a trekking trip in Nepal.
Trek Highlights: Everest Base Camp Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek
- Views of Mount Everest: The trek offers stunning views of the world's highest peak, Mount Everest, along with other towering peaks of the Khumbu region, including Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, and Thamserku.
- Sherpa Culture: The trek provides an opportunity to experience the Sherpa culture, visit traditional villages like Namche Bazaar, and explore the famous Tengboche Monastery, which is one of the most significant Buddhist monasteries in the region.
- Khumbu Icefall: The trek passes through the Khumbu Icefall, a frozen waterfall of ice and snow, which is one of the most challenging and dangerous parts of the trek.
- Namche Bazaar: The trek includes a visit to Namche Bazaar, which is the gateway to the Khumbu region and the last major settlement before reaching Everest Base Camp. Namche Bazaar is a vibrant town that offers a blend of traditional Sherpa culture and modern amenities.
- Views of Annapurna Range: The trek offers spectacular views of the Annapurna Range, including Annapurna I, II, III, and IV, as well as other snow-capped peaks of the region.
- Annapurna Conservation Area: The trek takes you through the Annapurna Conservation Area, which is one of the largest protected areas in Nepal and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
- Thorong La Pass: The trek involves crossing the Thorong La Pass, which is the highest point of the trek at 5,416 meters. The pass offers stunning views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks and is a significant highlight of the trek.
- Tibetan Culture: The trek provides an opportunity to experience the rich Tibetan culture of the region, including visits to traditional villages like Manang and exploring the famous Muktinath temple, which is an important pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists.
Trek Difficulty: Everest Base Camp Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek
Distance and Elevation
The Everest Base Camp Trek is a longer trek with a total distance of around 130 kilometers (81 miles) round trip. The trek starts from Lukla (2,800 meters) and reaches a maximum elevation of 5,545 meters at Kalapatthar and 5364 meters at the base camp of Mount Everest. On the other hand, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is a longer trek with a total distance of around 230 kilometers (143 miles) round trip. The trek starts from Besisahar (830 meters) and reaches a maximum elevation of 5,416 meters at the Thorong La Pass.
Both treks offer varied terrain, including steep ascents and descents, rocky trails, and narrow paths. The Everest Base Camp Trek has more rugged terrain and involves a lot of uphill climbs, including a challenging ascent to Kalapatthar (5,545 meters). The Annapurna Circuit Trek has a mix of terrain, including lush forests, waterfalls, and valleys, and also involves steep ascents and descents, including a challenging ascent to the Thorong La Pass (5416 meters).
The weather in both treks varies depending on the season. Both treks are best done in the months of March to May and September to November when the weather is relatively stable with clear skies.
Both treks involve high altitude and the risk of altitude sickness. The Everest Base Camp Trek has a higher risk of altitude sickness due to the higher elevation gain and the rapid ascent. Trekkers need to acclimatize properly and take necessary precautions to avoid altitude sickness. The Annapurna Circuit Trek also involves high altitude but has a better acclimatization plan with gradual ascent and longer duration, which reduces the risk of altitude sickness.
Trek Duration:Everest Base Camp Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek
Length of Trek
The Everest Base Camp Trek is a shorter trek compared to the Annapurna Circuit Trek. The trek takes around 12 to 16 days to complete, depending on the route and itinerary. The Annapurna Circuit Trek, on the other hand, takes around 12 to 21 days to complete, depending on the route and itinerary.
Both treks require acclimatization days to prevent altitude sickness. The Everest Base Camp Trek has two acclimatization days, one in Namche Bazaar and another in Dingboche. The Annapurna Circuit Trek has more acclimatization days, including one in Manang and one in Thorong Phedi.
Trek Costs: Everest Base Camp Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek
Permit and Visa Fees
Both the Everest Base Camp Trek and the Annapurna Circuit Trek require permits and visas. For the Everest Base Camp Trek, the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality permit will cost around USD 20 = NPR 2000 per person, and the Sagarmatha National Park Permit costs approximately USD 23 = NPR 3000 per person. A Nepal tourist visa is also required, which can be obtained upon arrival at the airport or border crossing. The Annapurna Circuit Trek requires Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) and Trekkers' Information Management System (TIMS) card which costs 2000 Nepalese Rupees (about $15 USD) per person. Talking about the cost, these permits will cost you NPR 3000 per person on a single entry, and a Nepal tourist visa.
Trekking Agency Costs
The cost of a trekking agency for both treks depends on the services offered, such as guides, porters, accommodation, and food. The Everest Base Camp Trek is generally more expensive than the Annapurna Circuit Trek due to its popularity and demand for services. However, the cost can vary depending on the trekking agency and the level of service provided.
If you select our 14 days itinerary package, it will cost you $ 1150 per person. However, if you go for the 12 days Everest Base Camp trek, the booking price will be $ 1125 per person. Nevertheless, if you visit our website, you will notice that we also provide group discounts. Regarding food and accommodation during the Everest Base Camp trek, you will have to spend $8-$12 per breakfast, $10-$15 for Dinner, and the same for lunch. Besides, accommodation in lodges or teahouses of the Everest Base Camp trek will cost around $10 per person per night.
Similarly, the total budget to book the Annapurna Circuit trek is $ 995 per person if you choose us as your trekking companion. If trekkers are in a group of 5 to 10 people, the total cost decreases to $ 900. You can also allocate $1.15 to $5 per meal. Remember that the meal cost is cheaper in the lower altitude but gets expensive as much as you ascend. Accommodation facilities can be accessed within $1-$2 per night, including extra services like free Wi-Fi, shower, charging electronics, etc.
Equipment and Gear Rental Costs
Both treks require specific equipment and gear, such as trekking poles, sleeping bags, and down jackets. These items can be rented or purchased in Kathmandu or Pokhara. The cost of the rental depends on the duration of the trek and the type of equipment required.
Trek Crowds: Everest Base Camp Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek
Everest Base Camp Trek is more popular and can attract significantly more trekkers than the Annapurna Circuit Trek. During the peak season, both treks can be crowded, with the Everest Base Camp Trek experiencing higher volumes of trekkers. During the off-season, both treks can be less crowded, with the Annapurna Circuit Trek being more accessible due to less severe weather conditions. It is essential to consider trek crowds when planning the best time to trek and to book accommodation and services in advance.
Even after COVID-19, between 35000 to 40000, people visit the Everest Base Camp, according to statistics and data gathered. In comparison, just 15,900 people made the walk across the Annapurna Circuit in 2022. These figures, in our opinion, have demonstrated how many people choose the Everest Base Camp voyage over the Annapurna Circuit trek. In the end, we advise trekkers to select the Annapurna Circuit or the EBC journey based on their preferences. The Annapurna Circuit excursion is the perfect choice if you want to avoid crowds and take pleasure in a quiet journey along a largely empty hiking road.
Accommodation: Everest Base Camp Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek
Since the Everest Base Camp Trek and the Annapurna circuit trek are both regarded as challenging treks, experienced hikers are advised to go on these treks. Your body may need more energy and greater acclimation resources because of this level of difficulty. Therefore, improved lodging and nutrition are required for anyone trekking the Everest Base Camp Trek and the Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Both EBC and Annapurna Circuit have accommodations that are quite comparable. Trekkers can relax and camp or stay the night in one of the many hotels or lodges, which also serve lunch and dinner. But keep in mind that the Annapurna Circuit trip also offers homestay accommodations, which are not accessible on the EBC climb. Additionally, tea houses are only accessible at a few locations within Everest Base Camp. The Annapurna Circuit hike, in contrast, offers tea houses at practically every rest point.
Preparation: Everest Base Camp Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek
Regardless of the journey you select, you must be well organized and plan your trip to ensure safety. The Annapurna Circuit Trek and Everest Base Camp Trek are comparable. These two treks are the most difficult hiking routes in Nepal, which require organized planning and preparation. The Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit treks need both mental and physical stamina. From selecting the best package to hiring the right guide, trekkers must be organized and clear.
We advise you to start engaging in physical activities that will improve your body's stamina, such as exercises and workouts. Another crucial step in preparing for these journeys is packing. Following that, we will provide a packing list for the treks to Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit.
Trek Itinerary: Everest Base Camp Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek
- Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (1400m)
- Day 2: Flight from Kathmandu (1400m) to Lukla (2840m), Then Trek to Phakding (2610m)
- Day 3: Trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3440m)
- Day 4: Acclimatization Day in Namche Bazar (3440m)
- Day 5: Trek from Namche Bazar (3440m) to Tengboche (3810m)
- Day 6: Trek from Tengboche (3810m) to Dingboche (4410m)
- Day 7: Acclimatization Day in Dingboche (4410m)
- Day 8: Trek from Dingboche (4410m) to Lobuche (4910m)
- Day 9: Trek from Lobuche (4910m) to Gorakshep (5140m) then Everest Base Camp (5364m) and back to Gorakshep (5140m)
- Day 10: Trek from Gorakshep (5140m) to Kalapatthar (5545m) then Pangboche (3930m)
- Day 11: Trek from Pangboche (3930m) to Monjo (2835m)
- Day 12: Trek from Monjo (2835m) to Lukla (2840m)
- Day 13: Flight back to Kathmandu
- Day 14: Final Departure or Onward For Next Program
- Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (1400m)
- Day 2: Drive from Kathmandu (1400m) to Dharapani (1860m)
- Day 3: Trek from Dharapani (1860m) to Chame (2610m)
- Day 4: Trek from Chame (2610m) to Upper Pisang (3300m)
- Day 5: Trek from Upper Pisang (3300m) to Manang (3540m)
- Day 6: Acclimatization at Manang (3540m)
- Day 7: Trek from Manang (3540m) to Ledar (4200m)
- Day 8: Trek from Ledar (4200m) to Thorung Phedi (4525m) or Thorung High Camp (4925m)
- Day 9: Trek from Thorung Phedi (4525m) to Muktinath (3760m) then Drive to Jomsom (2720m)
- Day 10: Take a Flight from Jomsom (2720m) to Pokhara (822m)
- Day 11: Drive from Pokhara (822m) to Kathmandu (1400m)
- Day 12: Final Departure
For those with a tight schedule, limited funds, and/or who like quiet hikes and wish to avoid large crowds, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is the ideal choice. However, the Everest Base Camp Trek is probably one of the best treks in Nepal if you want to explore the foothills of the world's highest mountain, take in the beauty of Mount Everest, feel safe while traveling with a large group of people, and have enough time to devote to trekking.
Please note that this comparison does not establish whether the Everest Base Camp Trek or the Annapurna Circuit Trek is superior to the other. Instead, it makes sure the trekkers select one in accordance with their requirements and constraints. As a result, Green Valley Nepal Treks encourages interested hikers to read more blogs on our website to get more in-depth information on each of these treks. Then and only then should you decide on one of these treks and get ready to create lifetime memories while traversing the Himalayas. We advise you to carefully consider your hike, abide by safety precautions, and fully appreciate Nepal's breathtaking natural and cultural splendors. We are also listing some other popular trekking in Nepal for you to choose from other than these two treks:
- Annapurna Base Camp Trek - 14 Days
- Mardi Himal Trek - 8 Days
- Annapurna Seven Passes Trek - 23 Days
- Everest Three High Passes Trek - 18 Days
- Gokyo Valley Circuit Trek - 13 Days
- Gokyo Chola Pass Trekking via EBC - 16 Days
Conclusion: Everest Base Camp Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek
Both the Everest Base Camp Trek and the Annapurna Circuit Trek offer unique and unforgettable trekking experiences in Nepal. The Everest Base Camp Trek is a more challenging and popular trek that offers breathtaking views of Mount Everest and the Sherpa culture, while the Annapurna Circuit Trek offers a more diverse and cultural trekking experience through the Annapurna range and the Tibetan culture.
When comparing the two treks, there are several factors to consider, including trek difficulty, duration, costs, crowds, and highlights. The Everest Base Camp Trek is generally more challenging and more expensive than the Annapurna Circuit Trek, with higher volumes of trekkers during the peak season. On the other hand, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is more diverse and less crowded, with lower costs and fewer altitude sickness risks.
Regardless of which trek you choose, it is essential to be prepared physically, mentally, and logistically. Some additional tips and advice include training and acclimatizing before the trek, packing appropriately for the weather and terrain, bringing proper trekking gear and equipment, and following trekking regulations and guidelines.