Annapurna circuit vs Annapurna base camp

Annapurna Circuit Vs Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna circuit vs Annapurna base camp
Annapurna circuit vs Annapurna base camp

If you are planning to visit the Annapurna region ahead of Pokhara, then you have made the right decision. But have you acknowledged that Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Base Camp are different? While many plan to visit the base camp, they might be considering the package of the Annapurna Circuit trek. That’s why you need to do enough research before going to any destination.

Your quest of cherishing the beautiful and majestic Himalayan experience never comes true without a trek to either Annapurna Base Camp or Annapurna Circuit. As one of the top routes of Nepal, these regions have a wide range of opportunities for risk-takers. From the high-altitude mountain passes to frozen lakes and valleys, with the mystic touch of natural beauty and even endangered flora and fauna, you can count on everything you want to relinquish on your trip.

Another well-known peak among those who live in the mountains is Annapurna. The picturesque Annapurna region of Nepal is one such famous tourist destination. Travelers must choose between the traditional Annapurna Circuit Trek and the imaginative Annapurna Base Camp Trek. 

The region isn’t famous for nothing – one of the top ten high, chilly mountains with an elevation of more than 8000 meters is Annapurna, which sits right in front of this place. While the Annapurna Base Camp trek brings you to Mount Annapurna’s lap, the Annapurna Circuit Trek circumnavigates the Mount Annapurna routes.

Introduction to Annapurna Circuit 

Annapurna circuit
Annapurna circuit

Let’s start with Annapurna Circuit. The trek to Annapurna Circuit begins from Pokhara and ends in Pokhara; it covers multiple places like Ghorepani, Poon Hill, Tatopani, Muktinath, and more.

You will start your drive from Nayapul/Birethanti and hike across the Modi river to Tikhedhunga/Ulleri. After that, you will reach Ghorepani, seated at an altitude of 2760 meters above sea level.

Your trek to Poon Hill begins as you leave Ghore Pani behind. It takes 2 to 3 days to reach the spot from Pokhara, situated at 3,210 meters altitude. The next stop is Tada Pani and Chemrong – from there, you will get to see the panoramic view of several famous peaks like Annapurna South to Annapurna I, Khangsar Kang, Machhapuchhre, Annapurna II, and others.

Your half of the Annapurna Circuit trekking is packed here, and now comes the descent. You can make your trail to Thorang La Pass at 5,416 m and extend your hike to Muktinath. After you pass Muktinath, you will be heading to Tatopani.

After that, you will walk through the villages of Poonhill and Ghorepani and finally return to Pokhara.

Overview of Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna Base Camp has always come in the first place when it comes to the trekker’s destination checklist. And the environment that base camp stands in has more to offer, whether it’s the abundance of culture, climate, and natural diversity, or the adventures that you extract from the hike.

The beautiful scenery of the long-ranged mountains that features Mount Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I – II and III, and Machapuchhre, are the most attractive entities. Moreover, other resources like Tilicho, Pasang, and Pungda Danda add icing to the cake during your trek to Annapurna Base Camp.

ABC Trek is also known as the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek since you will be hiking inside the conservation area. This hike is more accessible and shorter than other high-altitude trekking. During the journey, you will traverse various landscapes, see traditional highland culture, and encounter multiple climatic conditions.

Annapurna Base Camp
Annapurna Base Camp

Your trek begins at Tikhedunga, where you catch a track that runs through rice fields along the Modi river to reach Ulleri (1,540m / 5,050ft), the day’s target, after a drive from Pokhara through Birethanti (1039m / 3,250ft) to Tikhedunga.

You will hike to Ghorepani (2,860m/9,385ft) the following day. The Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, Dhampas, Nilgiri, Barash Sikhar, and Machhapuchre can all be seen magnificently from Ghorepani (Fishtail).

From there, your next stop will be Tadapani. As you follow the track, you will reach Ghandruk, which descends to the Kirmron River. You will be walking to Chomrong, famous for overnight stays.

The last two stops are Himalaya and the Annapurna Base Camp itself. As you leave Tadapani and Chomrong, you will be heading towards Himalaya at 2,890m / 9,425ft. You will stay a night there before you begin your journey to the Base Camp.

Annapurna Base Camp is a sanctuary of Annapurna South, Annapurna I, Annapurna III, Hiunchuli, Khangsar Kang, and Machhapuchhre.

Distances & Durations of Each Trek

Generally, Annapurna Circuit is longer than the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. The total distance of the Circuit is 197 Kilometers, while the Base Camp has a distance of 74 Kilometers.

It means that you will have to prepare for the trek’s distances and durations. If you are planning for Circuit Trek, then you will have to be ready to invest more time here in Nepal. Base Camp Trek is short and could be better for passive travelers.

Trekking route of Annapurna Base camp
Trekking route of Annapurna Base camp

Similarly, the basic range of time you need to separate is around 14-18 days for Annapurna Circuit Trekking. Or you can extend your stay if you want – it’s your choice. On the other hand, the hiking trail from Birethanti takes you to Annapurna Base Camp in about 6 to 12 days. But it depends on how active you are in hiking.

Differences in Elevation & Difficulty

Many consider that the difficulty level of Annapurna Circuit is higher than Annapurna Base Camp. It is one of the most extended trekking sites in the region. It covers some high-altitude spots like Thorang La Pass, Muktinath, Tato Pani, and many others.

If you are a regular trekker, you might find the Annapurna Circuit trek moderate; however, it can be difficult for starters or passive trekkers.

On the other hand, Annapurna Base Camp is accessible as it is a short trek. This hike is relatively easy. It has various challenges, including rugged terrain for hiking, navigating stone steps, and walking for 5 to 6 hours straight each day. Its elevation rises to 4,130m/13,549ft.

Accommodations Services on the Two Treks

Accommodation In Annapurna Circuit Trek

Accommodation in Annapurna Circuit
Accommodation in Annapurna Circuit

The lodging options change depending on your preference. You will be fine traveling to the lodges and motels once you arrive in Pokhara. If you book through a travel agency, you won’t need to worry about lodging because your agency will handle it.

However, if you are on your own, you must reserve a hotel room or lodging before beginning your walk to the Annapurna Circuit. You may find hotels that provide you with various services and amenities.

During your trek to Annapurna Circuit, you can find lodging services in the local lodges and tea houses. Depending on your chosen service, they charge around $2 to $5 per night.

Accommodation in Annapurna Base Camp

Accommodation in Annapurna Base camp
Accommodation in Annapurna Base camp

When it comes to Annapurna Base Camp Trek, tea houses are considered the best spot. They are affordable, and they provide the essential services of food and lodging. Most tea houses are underseen by NTNC (National Trust for Nature Conservation) and charge $2 to $5 per night. You can also make a custom menu for yourself that is more expensive than the standard one. However, you will be accepted for accommodation in your Annapurna Base Camp Trek.

Cost Comparison for Annapurna Circuit vs. Base Camp Treks

If you are on a tight budget, we suggest you take the trek on Annapurna Base Camp since it’s cheaper than the Circuit. It costs around 500 dollars to 800 dollars. Many travel agencies offer deals on their package, and you can turn yourself in on that.

Depending on the total days you will be trekking, your price elevates. If you are on a 12-day trek, you can pack up your hike at around 650 dollars, but if you extend your trip to 14 or 16 days, your expense can hit up to 800 dollars.

Apart from that, the cost of Annapurna Circuit Trek is higher than the Base Camp. The average price is 800 dollars – it can elevate to 1000 dollars if you extend your hike. Besides that, you may need to hire porters and guides, which can cost you more money. You can hire porters for 1500 to 2000 NPR per day in the region while hiring a guide costs you around 2500 to 3000 NPR per day.

Annapurna Circuit Trek and Annapurna Base Camp Trek are different, but both of them are adventurous. Both of them are home to natural beauty, majestic views of snow-capped mountains, and heart-welcoming people. If you plan to choose one out of two, this blog helps you a lot, for you never want to be in a dilemma about your destination.


Being a travel and trekking guide for over a decade, I decided to expand my passion for a travel to be a tour organizer and build my team of travel experts. What's best about my passion is that I get to spend a considerable amount of time every single day with the legendary climbers and mountain lovers from all around the worlds. There's no greater achievement for me than having a set of regular friends around who always have stories of their great feat or their special encounters with the locals in the mountains to share.

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