Trekking the Annapurna Base Camp On A Budget

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Guide To Annapurna Base Camp

“Wake up Shannon, its time…” A voice whispers.

It’s 4:30 in the morning and a shiver runs down my spine as I wrap my yak wool scarf closer to my neck before putting on my wet socks and equally wet boots that never dried.

“I’m Ready,” I whispered only to stop seconds later to stare at the sky above me in wonderment. There sparkled a million stars above me; so close you felt you could touch them.

A headlamp lit my way through the frozen snow as I trekked and skidded across and up the recently avalanched path. With each passing minute the sky transformed into hues of blue to purple, pink and orange until I took my final step to my destination: Annapurna Base Camp.

Never in my life have I felt such a sense of accomplishment . As I stood at the top of the base and marveled at the unspeakable beauty of nature surrounding me in a 360 circumference, I felt time stop.

There’s an old saying that, “A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there”. For each ounce of sweat, bruises, avalanches and wet boots to name a few – pushing through to reach the top of the base may have been a challenge but damn, was it ever worth it!

Best Time To Go?

From wild jungles to mystifying paths, to avalanches and breathtaking views of the Himalayas – ABC has something for everyone. Photo credit: Shannon Wolf

Peak Season: End of October/November/(early) December
Second Best Season: March-May. (Costs are lower)

How to Trek the Annapurna Base Camp on a Budget

The idea of trekking the famous Annapurna Base Camp sounds like an experience of a lifetime with a heavy price tag but it doesn’t have to be. Granted, there are certain costs you are unable to avoid; however it is possible to do it as cheaply as you’d like.

Penny Pincher Budget: You can bring a tent to wild camp along with necessary equipment/food to cut costs. But keep in mind you will have to lug it all with you to the top.
Budget Conscious: The best way to save money is to bring your warm clothes/boots from home. Secondly, before the trek purchase enough (lightweight) snacks to eat along the trail. 1000/Rupees a day grants you 1 hardy meal/day, 1 beverage of choice (the hot chocolate is incredible!), 1 hot shower, 1 nights accommodation in a teahouse and 1 ice-cold beer at the end of your trek to celebrate.

Below is a cost breakdown for the budget conscious trekker:

Pre-Trek Costs:

ACAP & TIMS Permit: 4000/Rupees
Gear for Trekking: (Please note that the prices are lower due to bargaining.)
Second-Hand Winter Coat: 900/Rupees
Hiking Boots: 3000
2 heavy cotton socks & Fleece Zip Up: 1000/Rupees
Food Items:
5 Instant Noodle Packs, Medium bag of peanuts, 15 Homemade Energy Balls, Leftover Muesli/Chocolate Chips/Honey, Package of Cookies: 500/Rupees
Other Items:
Water Purification Tablets: 80/Rupees
Tylenol: 80/Rupees

Getting to Annapurna Base Camp  Starting Point:

Taxi from Pokhara Lake Side to bus station: 300/Rupees
Local bus to Naya Pul: 200/Rupees
Local bus to Siwai (starting point): 200/Rupees

During Trekking:

Average Budget Conscious Cost: 1000/Rupees per day
Jhinu Hot Springs: 150/Entrance Fee
1 Beer: 500/Rupees
Total Amount: 2,610/Rupees
(Note: Total cost includes 8 days trekking and return trip on local busses to Pokhara)

Gear Checklist:

– Small backpack with hip straps
– Worn pair of hiking boots
– Flip-flops
– Winter Coat
– Raincoat/Poncho
– Long sleeve/Flannel button up
– Fleece zip up
– 3 t-shirts
– Leggings/Trekking pants
– shorts
– Bathing suit (for hot springs)
– Underwear
– 4 socks
– Scarf
– Hat
– Sunglasses
– 2 Water bottles
– Water purification tablets
– Tylenol
– Pre-bought snacks
– Trekking Poles (Optional & available to rent at reasonable cost)

Obtaining Your Permit

The view looking down from the Annapurna Base Camp will leave you speechless. Photo credit: Shannon Wolf

Getting your permit in Katmandu or Pokhara is a simple and easy process – Just be sure to arrive early to beat the long lineups.

When you arrive at the office you will need:
– Passport
– Travel Insurance Claim Number
– 4000 Rupees in cash
– Pen

When you arrive at the office, go to the counter to fill out the provided ACA Entry Permit Application Form and TIMS form. Next, get your FREE passport photograph taken. When completed, hand over your form, passport and passport photographs to the attendant, pay for the ACA Fee of 2000 Rupees and they will give you the TIMS Card. Lastly, head to the TIMS counter with your filled out form, passport and TIMS Card. Pay the 2000 Rupees when you are called and you’re done – It’s that easy.

Permit Office Location:
Open: Monday-Sunday except on public holidays.
Kathmandu: Nepal Tourism Board ,Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu
9 am – 5 pm
Pokhara: Nepal Tourism Board, Tourist Service Centre, Pardi Damside
10 am – 5 pm

Route to Annapurna Base Camp

A typical teahouse in MBC Base Camp – Only two hours from your final destination! Photo credit: Shannon Wolf

You can easily do the ABC Trek without a guide or porter. The trail is clear to follow with many teahouses along the way to rest at after ALL the stairs you’re about to climb.

Days Needed: 8-10
Temperature: Warm in the day, Cold at night
Hours of Trekking: 4-6/day 
Note: Due to acclimatizing to 4130m in elevation, DO NOT trek more than 6 hours a day or under 8 days for safety measures.

Day 1: Take local bus from Pokhara to Naya Pul and local bus to Siwai > New Bridge > Jhinu

Day 2: Jhinu > Chhomrong > Bamboo > Dovan

Day 3: Dovan > Machapuchare Base Camp (MBC)

Day 4: Machapuchare Base Camp (MBC) > Annapurna Base Camp (ABC)

Day 5 to 8: Take your time enjoying the scenery as you make your way back down to Jhinu. Be sure to stay one night and enjoy the natural hot springs before making your way back to Pokhara.

Related Articles:

10 Of The Best Treks In Nepal

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Shannon Wolf

Born in Toronto, Canada, Shannon Wolf has lived and worked around the globe as a freelance writer and photographer. Over the years her work has been featured and published both in print and online in various publications. Shannon has travelled over 40+ countries on 4 continents in the last 3 years and is an avid food lover and adventurer with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping.


2 thoughts on “Trekking the Annapurna Base Camp On A Budget

  1. Clementich says:

    Hi Shannon, at what time (hour) did you take the bus from Pokhara to Siwai, and vice versa? How long did the journey last?

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