Should I trek Everest Base Camp or Annapurna Circuit?

Okay, so you want to go to Nepal, and you want to trek while you’re there.

And so begins the eternal debate: should you trek Everest Base Camp or Annapurna Circuit?

Which is better?  The famed EBC, or the less well-known ‘hipster’s’ choice of Annapurna?

Well, there’s no easy answer to this question, and the fact of the matter is that if you’re a pretty serious trekker, you may well want to do both in your lifetime – once you get the bug for Nepal it’s pretty difficult to never return.

Nevertheless, depending on what you’re looking for, there might be a trek that suits you better right now.  Let’s take a look at some of the key elements of each trek, to help you make up your mind:

The Accessibility

First things first: these days it’s relatively easy to get close enough to start both these treks.

You’re not exactly on uncharted territory with either of them, although clearly Everest Base Camp is more popular, and has some mystique and romance that Annapurna doesn’t.

Flying into Lukla is the way to kick off your Everest Base Camp trek, and it’ll take you around 14 days from that point, so it’s not for the fainthearted.

The Annapurna trek is similarly gruelling – you can expect a ten-day trek as a minimum, but it’s also really easy to get to Pokhara where you kick off your trek – a bus or a plane from Kathmandu will get you there (unless you want to go the whole hog and trek from Kathmandu!).

Everest Base Camp trek - Gyoko Lakes

The Trek Itself

In a nutshell, Everest Base Camp is a bit harder than Annapurna, for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, the average altitude is lower, which makes trekking a bit easier.

There are less really steep bits, which also makes the descents a touch more gradual (good for the knees!), and because it’s a circuit, you’re never walking the same ground twice which is good for morale!

However, without stating the obvious: Everest Base Camp is – well – Everest Base Camp.  The legendary status of the highest mountain in the world will never wane, and the views are spectacular for the entire duration of the trek.

If you’re after something truly spectacular, you’ll get it with either of these treks, but EBC is certainly the route with more bragging rights.

Lukla Runway

The Aesthetics

Talking of spectacular, the scenery on the trek to EBC is hands down the most spectacular in the whole of the Himalayas.  And I don’t say that lightly.  Your trek through the Gyoko Lakes gives you an amazing opportunity to see the biggest, most incredible mountains in the world, and it really is EPIC.

Annapurna’s not exactly rubbish either though – it offers a different, but almost equally epic scenery, and there’s more variety.

As well as the huge, dominating peaks, you’ll also take in beautiful old forests, rice fields and – if you come in Spring – beautiful flowers.

Everest Base Camp monument

The Culture

Both treks allow you to take in some genuine Nepalese culture: Annapurna gives the opportunity to trek through a lot of rural farming areas, and meet the Gurung people.

If you’re looking for western culture, you’re in the wrong place – the Gurung people have minimalist, laidback and hard-working lives, and it’s refreshing to see the simplicity with which they live.

Similarly, your EBC trek will take you through the Sherpa’s natural habitat, and with a number of Buddhist monasteries in the area, there’s a real sense of spirituality in the air.  However, if you trek in March or April, you’ll probably come across a lot of other trekkers, some of whom are preparing to make their ascent to the summit.

Everest Prayer Flags

Simply put: there’s no right answer here – apart from maybe “both”.

If you’re a less seasoned trekker, then Annapurna might be the place to start, but put them both on your bucket list, that’s my recommendation!

To find out more about our treks in Nepal and to talk to an experienced member of the team about which trip is right for you, feel free to contact us today on 0176 930 9007.