Annapurna Circuit Trek vs Everest Base Camp Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek vs Everest Base Camp Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek and Everest Base Camp Trek are two famous and most visited trekking routes in Nepal. Thousands of trekkers come to trek every year and EBC has to be the first priority. All credit goes to Mt. Everest which is popular and a desirable destination.

Being on the footsteps of the world’s highest peak, the Everest Base Camp Trek, out rules Annapurna Circuit Trek. But, trekkers choosing the EBC first, definitely, consider ABC on their second expedition. Because once in the mountains is not enough.

But, the number of people at Annapurna Circuit Trek is definitely not lesser than Everest Base Camp Trek by a large number. Both trekking routes have thousands of visitors every season.

Everest Base Camp trek will take you to highest trekking destination all over the world with more than three high passes above 5,000 meters above sea level, whereas Annapurna circuit trek trail encircles the Annapurna mountain ranges with Thorong La Pass which is high at 5,416 meters above sea level.

There are more diverse landforms in Annapurna region than in Everest region. Annapurna trek allows you more interaction with the local people and their culture and tradition. Annapurna area is one of the rich areas of biodiversity, different variety and variation of vegetation and can be seen from the trails of Annapurna trekking route.

If you are trekking for the first time, we will recommend you to start with the Annapurna Trek. The trails in Annapurna circuit are easier compatible for the first timers than the challenging trails of Everest Base Camp trek.

How to get there?

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Your trekking journey on foot to Annapurna Circuit Trek starts from Besisahar. To get to Besisahar, you will need to take a bus ride from Kathmandu. Approximately 6 hours of scenic bus ride along the Trishuli River, in the winding roads up the hills will drop you to Besisahar.

Everest Base Camp

In the 1950s, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay summited the Mount Everest by walking to the Everest region from Kathmandu. There weren’t proper roads like in the present day and the trekking routes weren’t built as they are right now. The mountain view flights to Lukla has added into making the journey a lot easier and quicker these days.
So you can say there are two different ways to get to Everest Base Camp; via bus ride through Jiri or flight to Lukla.

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The Locals and the Ethnic Community

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The Annapurna circuit will take you through a lot of local and ethnic communities and their rural settlements. There are a lot of different tribes living in the region including Brahmin, Chettris, Gurung, Magar, Tamang, and others. The Annapurna Circuit Trek is though dominant of the Gurung communities.
The Mongolian face people in the Annapurna region are mostly recruited as Gurkha Soldiers in British Army. Hinduism, Animism and Buddhism religions can be observed through the Annapurna Circuit Trekking route. There is a different kind of gesture and warm hospitality in different tribes and villages you go through along the route.

Everest Base Camp

The Everest region is the habitat of the Sherpa people. Sherpas migrated to the Everest region from Tibet long ago. This is the main reason why the community is influenced by Tibetan culture.

Tibetan people used to trade in the village of Namche Bazar, centuries ago. Some Tibetan traders still visit Namche these days too. The main occupation of the people here is Tourism. During trekking and mountain climbing season, they help the trekkers and mountaineers by providing them with the food and shelter. And in the off-season, they come down from the high altitude to the lower places. That’s why very few of the tea houses will be open during the off-season.
Along the trails near the settlement of Sherpas, you will come across the numbers of Chortens, Mani Walls, prayer wheels and prayer flags and Buddhist monasteries. This shows the religion and belief of the people in Everest region.

Visible Mountain Ranges and the Scenery

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is popular mainly for its 360-degree panoramic views of the Himalayas. Some of the majestic mountain peaks you will be viewing are Mt. Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), Mt. Annapurna I (8,091 m), Mt. Manaslu (8,163 m), Mt. Annapurna II (7,937 m.), Mt. Annapurna III (7,555 m), Mt. Annapurna IV (7,525 m), Mt. Annapurna South (7,219 m), Mt. Nilgiri (7,041m), Mt. Machhapuchhre (6,998 m) also called Mt. Fishtail, Mt. Hiunchuli (6441 m), Mt. Lamjung Himal (6986 m), Tukuche peak (6920 m) and Tilicho peak (7134 m).
Annapurna Circuit Trek will give the chance to explore the incredible biological and cultural diversity in the Annapurna region. The region is full of fertile lowlands; emerald rice terraces; and trees like oak, alpine, bamboos, and rhododendron. If you trek around the mid-spring season, preferably April, you will be able to see the rhododendron forests bloom.

Everest Base Camp

Nepal is the country of mountains. The primary reason of the trekkers who come to trek here is to view the Himalayas closely.

Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular adventurous trekking in the Himalayan Range. It is because it provides views of  the world’s highest mountain the Mt. Everest (8848 m) and other mountains such as: Mt. Lhotse (8,516 m), Mt. Nuptse (7,855 m), Mt. Changtse (7,550m), Mt. Pumori (7,161m), Mt. Amadablam (6,856 m), Mt. Lingtren (6,679 m), Mt. Thamserku (6,723 m), Mt. Kantega (6,685 m), Mt.Kusum Kanguru (6,367 m), Mt. Twitch peak (6,367 m), Mt. Cholatse (6,335 m), Island peak (6,179 m), Lobuche peak (6,145 m), Honku south peak (6,119 m), Mt.Kongde (6,011 m), Mt. Khumbila (5,761 m), and Pokalde peak (5,806 m).
A lot of travelers are attracted by the majestic scenery. The incredible alpine forest in the lower altitude and the man-made religious Buddhist monasteries, prayer flags and wheels, mani wall etc. on the trail will add up the beauty of the region.

Food and Cost

Food and cost are somewhat the same in terms of quality and service in both Annapurna Circuit Trek and Everest Base Camp. Even in typical tea houses, you will get hygienic local cuisine. Most of them will provide you with all three meals that you are used to eating, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The local cuisine includes Dal (lentils), Bhat (rice) and Tarkari (vegetables)

Annapurna Circuit Trek

As compared to Everest Base Camp trekking, Annapurna Circuit Trekking route has more fertile terrain. So you can see a lot of rice terraces and vegetable farming. This concludes that you will have plenty of fresh vegetables and meat on your menu each day.
Regarding the cost, Annapurna region is more affordable as compared to the Everest region. Food and accommodation cost is more reasonable in this region.

Everest Base Camp

Food in Everest Base Camp has a different story. You can get the local cuisine and other western style cuisine but food must be bought and brought from the lower villages up to the base camp.

You will also be amazed to find Starbucks in the village of Lukla.
The cost in Everest region trekking is quite expensive than Annapurna region. There are various factors for it. Due to the reason for being at the footstep of the highest mountain in the world, the permits are a bit higher.

The story is the same for the Flight tickets as well. If you want to travel by bus, you can do that from Jiri. As the elevation level is higher at Everest Base Camp, the food and other items are being carried up by people themselves and their mules, this adds into the cost.

Accommodation

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The accommodation in Annapurna Circuit Trek is somewhat similar to Everest Base Camp. The only difference is the presence of western-style toilets. Some tea houses tend to have common bathrooms outside of your room rather than an attached bathroom. Some good guest-houses these days have been providing attached bathroom facilities but are limited and hard to find in regular seasons. You will have a bed set up but don’t expect to have a luxurious bed as you get in the urban areas. Besides, trekking is all about experiencing and exploring the rural places, right?

Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp trek is more popular among the tourist trekkers. The trekkers will be provided with the tourist standard facilities in this trekking route.
Even Though Everest region is a rural and mountainous area, its route is more developed in compared to other regions of Nepal.
The rooms in the hotels and lodges are much better, with attached bathrooms in lower altitudes. In higher altitudes, lodges possess shared indoor bathrooms.

Weather and best seasons

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The best time to trek in Nepal would be during autumn and the best month, in October. You can choose the Annapurna Circuit Trek can trek in any season with some extra research and preparation.Spring is another great season to trek. The beauty trekking at this time of the year is to view the rhododendron forest with the backdrop of the mountain range. The weather in autumn season and spring season are quite similar and favorable as the days are warmer and nights and morning aren’t freezing cold.

Everest Base Camp

The best season to trek in Nepal is during the autumn season and Everest Base Camp trek is not an exception. Most trekkers prefer to trek the Everest Base Camp during October and November. The weather is perfect at this time and the skies are crystal-clear, this gives you a perfect view of the magnificent Himalayan range.

Difficulty Level

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek is a bit less challenging and less difficult than the Everest Base Camp trek. The main reason being the altitude in the latter case. The second day in Everest Base Camp is above 3000 meters while it takes around 6 days to reach the same altitude in Annapurna Circuit trek. Due to the gradual ascend towards the Thorong La Pass, the highest point of this trek, there is minimal chance of getting altitude sickness. This eases out the trek in a long run.

Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp Trek is definitely more challenging and difficult than Annapurna Circuit Trek. The major factor for this difficulty level is the altitude. The second day of the trekking in Everest Base Camp is above 3,000 meters, this makes the trek slightly more difficult. But with proper acclimatization, it shouldn’t be problematic.

Everest Base Camp is a challenging trek and most of the trekking packages include acclimatization at two different places for the same reason. The trekkers are advised to acclimatize their body properly at the rest points. And if they sense the symptoms of the altitude sickness, they should be immediately taken to the lower level.

Looking back

Experience of the both Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp trek is different their own ways in t. Everest Base Camp Trek gives you a strenuous and adventurous trekking experience whereas Annapurna Circuit Trek provides you the comparatively easier trails due to slow ascending. You will witness varieties of biodiversity and cultural diversity in Annapurna Circuit Trek than in Everest Base Camp Trek.

If you love adventure and wish to trek the challenging trekking trail, the Everest Base Camp Trek is what you would be looking for. If you wish to watch the vivid culture and tradition of the community in the trekking trail, choose Annapurna Circuit Trek.

Both the trekking trails will give you the awesome and satisfying experience of trekking into the mountains. With the equal amount of time to spend in the lap of the mountains, you won’t be disappointed choosing either one of the trekking trails.

Enjoy your trekking!!!

Do you have any question about trip to Nepal?

Tell us about your trip to Nepal and what you expect from it. We will answer your questions in 24 hours and help you design a trip with a comfortable itinerary to best meet your needs.
1 Group Size
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About Author

Mukti is is the founder and CEO of Himalayas on Foot. He started Himalayas on Foot in 2008 after working as a trekking porter, guide and then a sales manager for a decade.

He has done most of the treks in Nepal such as Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp, Manaslu Circuit Trek, Poon Hill, Langtang Trek, Annapurna Circuit, etc. Apart from Nepal, he has also travelled to Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Finland, Norway, Germany, Belgium, France and USA.

Mukti was also secretary of Trekking Agency Association of Nepal (TAAN) for the year 2015-2017. TAAN is an umbrella association of trekking agencies in the Nepal.

He speaks fluent English, Japanese and Nepali.

Mukti is friendly and he is the one who answers most of your trip questions. So if you have any inquiry about our trip, don't be shy. Write to us.

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