The Annapurna Base Camp trek is a popular trekking destination in Nepal that offers breathtaking views of the Annapurna mountain range. Our group of eight, including my wife’s parents, her sister-in-law, their two kids, and our two children (ages 6 months and 3 years), embarked on this seven-day journey with the help of a guide and porters to carry our belongings and one of our children. We flew from Kathmandu to Pokhara and began the trek with a drive to Ghandruk Phedi, where we began our ascent. Our itinerary took us through charming villages, lush forests, and ultimately to the base camp of the majestic Machapuchare mountain. The journey was challenging but rewarding, and we were able to enjoy some of the stunning landscapes of Nepal along the way.
Items to Bring
Here is a list of items to consider packing for the Annapurna Base Camp trek:
- Clothing: warm layers, waterproof jackets, trousers, hats, gloves, socks, and comfortable walking shoes.
- Sleeping gear: warm sleeping bags, comfortable sleeping pads, and pillows.
- Trekking gear: backpack, trekking poles, headlamps or flashlights, and sunglasses.
- Personal care items: sunscreen, lip balm, insect repellent, wet wipes, tissues, and hand sanitizer.
- First aid kit: including medicines for altitude sickness, painkillers, antibiotics, and any other prescription medications.
- Food and snacks: energy bars, chocolates, nuts, and dried fruits.
- Water bottles and a water purification system or water treatment tablets.
- CASH – make sure to bring some with you from Kathamandu. Not many CC readers (if any) at the tea huts.
- Other considerations: camera or phone for capturing memories and a map or guidebook.
It’s important to keep in mind that trekking with small children requires extra planning and precautions. Consider the altitude and the duration of the trek, and make sure that everyone in the group is physically and mentally prepared for the journey. Additionally, you may want to bring along extra clothing and equipment for the children, such as raincoats and warm layers, to ensure their comfort and safety. Finally, remember to take breaks when needed and stay hydrated throughout the journey.
Staying at Teahouses
Staying at a tea hut or teahouse on the Annapurna Base Camp trek is a unique and rewarding experience. These teahouses are scattered along the trekking route and offer basic accommodations, food, and drinks for trekkers.
The tea huts are typically simple and rustic, with basic amenities like shared bathrooms, small bedrooms, and common dining areas. The rooms may have twin or bunk beds, and bedding and blankets are usually provided. The teahouses are run by locals and offer an opportunity to experience the local culture and hospitality of the Nepalese people. There are places to charge your phone and you can purchase access to WIFI – but sometimes it’s not that great.
The teahouses have toilets, but don’t expect anything glamourous. Some teahouses have squatting style latrines. You can occasionally purchase a hot shower at some of the huts, which feels amazing after a long hiking day.
The menu at the tea huts is often quite extensive, with a variety of Nepalese and western dishes available. Popular menu items include dal bhat (rice, lentil soup, and vegetables), momos (dumplings), fried rice, noodles, and various soups. Breakfast typically includes eggs, toast, pancakes, or porridge, along with tea or coffee. Snacks like chocolate bars, cookies, and potato chips are also available.
The cost of food and accommodation at the tea huts varies depending on the elevation gain, with prices increasing as you climb higher. On average, expect to pay around $5-10 USD for a simple meal, and $5-15 USD for a basic room. The prices may be slightly higher in peak trekking seasons.
One interesting aspect of the tea huts is the way supplies are transported. Donkeys and mules are commonly used to carry food, water, and other supplies up the steep mountain trails to the tea huts. This is an important aspect of the local economy and adds to the unique atmosphere of the trek.
Overall, staying at a tea hut on the Annapurna Base Camp trek is a memorable and authentic experience.
Ghandruk Phedi Trek to Chhomrung: 3hrs – 7,120 ft – 9.8 kilometers / 6 miles
On the first day of the Annapurna Base Camp trek, you will take a flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, which takes approximately 25 minutes. After arriving in Pokhara, you will then take a drive to Ghandruk Phedi, which takes around 1.5-2 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.
After being dropped off from your ride, you will first cross a very long suspension bridge that spans over a deep river gorge. The bridge can be quite intimidating, but it’s a thrilling experience and offers an opportunity to take some amazing photos.
From Ghandruk Phedi, the trek begins with a steep ascent up a long flight of stairs. The stairs can be challenging for some, but they offer a great workout for your legs and a chance to acclimatize to the altitude. As you climb, you’ll pass through beautiful forests and traditional villages, where you can observe the unique culture and lifestyle of the local Gurung community.
After about 3 hours of trekking, you’ll reach Chhomrung, a charming village perched on the side of a hill. This village is a great spot to stop and rest, as it offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. You’ll be staying overnight in a teahouse here. Staying on the top of the hill offer breath taking views and promises of more beauty to come along the hike.
Overall, the first day of the Annapurna Base Camp trek is a great way to start your journey. While the steep ascent up the stairs can be challenging, it’s a great way to acclimate to the altitude and take in the beautiful scenery. The village of Chhomrung is a great spot to rest and recharge before continuing your trek.
Chhomrungtrek to Dovan: 5hrs / 8530 ft – 11.2 kilometers / 7 miles
Day 2 of the Annapurna Base Camp trek takes you from Chhomrung to Dovan. This is a moderately difficult day of hiking, with a total distance of approximately 7 miles and an elevation gain of around 1,500 feet. The trek takes about 5 hours to complete, but the timing may vary depending on your fitness level and pace.
After a hearty breakfast at the tea house in Chhomrung, you’ll begin the day’s trek. The trail starts with a steep descent down to the Chhomrung Khola (river), which you’ll cross via a suspension bridge. The bridge can be a bit intimidating due to its height and length, but it’s safe and sturdy.
Once you’ve crossed the bridge, you’ll begin ascending up the opposite side of the valley. The trail is steep and rocky, but the views of the surrounding mountains and valley are spectacular. Along the way, you’ll pass through charming villages and may have the opportunity to see some domesticated buffalos grazing in the fields. The locals refer to them as “buffs.”
As you continue climbing, you’ll pass through millet fields and other beautiful gardens tended by the people who call these hill villages their home. There are some small shops along the way where you can purchase snacks or drinks if needed, or even gear if you forgot to bring something important, like an extra jacket or gloves.
After several hours of hiking, you’ll arrive at the small village of Dovan, where you’ll spend the night at a local teahouse. The accommodations are basic, but comfortable, and the meals are hearty and delicious.
Dovan trek to Deurali—3.5hrs / 10,600 ft / 7.7 Kilometers / 4.8 miles
Day 3 of the Annapurna Base Camp trek takes you from Dovan to Deurali, covering a distance of approximately 4.8 miles with an elevation gain of around 1,070 feet. The trek is moderately difficult and should take around 3.5 hours to complete, depending on your pace and fitness level.
As you leave Dovan, the trail continues to climb, taking you through beautiful forests of rhododendron, bamboo, and oak trees. Along the way, you’ll pass several stunning waterfalls that cascade down the steep cliffs, creating a magical and serene atmosphere.
This part of the trek is also a great opportunity to see some of the local wildlife, including monkeys and various birds, so keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready.
As you approach Deurali, you’ll notice that the landscape starts to change, becoming more barren and rocky. This is because you are getting closer to the high mountains, where the terrain is more rugged and the climate is harsher.
When you arrive at Deurali, you’ll notice that some of the tea houses do not serve meat due to their Buddhist beliefs. However, there are plenty of delicious vegetarian options available, including dal bhat (rice and lentil soup), vegetable curry, and momos (steamed dumplings filled with vegetables or cheese).
Along the way to Deurali, there are also a few coffee shops that serve espresso and cappuccinos, which can be a welcome treat after a few days of hiking.
Deurali trek to Machapuchare Base Camp (MBC): 4.5hrs / 12,140 ft – 5.1 Kilometers / 3.2 miles
Day 4 of the Annapurna Base Camp trek is one of the most awe-inspiring days of the entire journey. You will trek from Deurali to Machapuchare Base Camp (MBC) for about 4.5 hours covering a distance of 3.2 miles. This section of the trek offers breathtaking views of the majestic Machapuchare (Fish Tail) Mountain, which is one of the most iconic peaks in the Annapurna Range. The elevation gain is short but significant, so it’s important to take it slow to acclimate to the altitude.
Along the way, you may have the opportunity to see a helicopter take off, which can be a thrilling experience for kids. We had the opportunity to let the kids get inside one and see it takeoff from a pretty close distance. They loved it! The views on this day are truly spectacular, and it’s an experience that you won’t forget. Keep monitoring the kids and see if they have any altitude sickness symptoms: nausea, headaches, and general discomfort.
Machapuchare Base Camp is the highest place that you will spend the night on this trek. You can opt to go spend the night at ABC, but given the elevation, we thought that it would be best to spend the night at MBC. The teahouses here offer some of the best views of your trek. Take a moment to watch the clouds roll over the mountains and make sure to go outside to see the stars. It’s important to note that due to the high altitude, the teahouses may not have all the amenities you’re used to. Be prepared for colder temperatures at night and make sure to have adequate warm clothing.
As you continue on the trek, you’ll notice that the terrain becomes increasingly rocky and barren. This is because you are now above the tree line. Despite this, the views are still incredible, and it’s a unique and rewarding experience to be so high up in the mountains
MBC – Morning hike to Annapurna base camp and back to Bamboo—6/7hrs total, 1.8 miles up (1.5 hours) max elevation 13,549 ft at ABC (1,409 ft elevation gain), and then 13.5 Kilometers / 8.4 miles down (6-7 hours)
Day 05 of the Annapurna Base Camp trek is one of the most memorable days of the entire journey. We started the morning with ambitions to see the sunrise as ABC. Both Annapurna South and Machapuchare looked stunning view and especially incredible against the clear blue sky. However, the morning was freezing, so make sure to pack warm layers. The kids were not a fan of this part of the hike, and I’d be lying to say that this was easy for any of us. Plenty of tears shed by all.
The highlight of the day is the hike to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), which is located at an altitude of 13,550 ft. The hike is a 1.8-mile ascent, which takes about 1.5 hours. But don’t let the distance fool you; the altitude gain is what makes this hike challenging. Take your time, hydrate, and listen to your body.
Once you arrive at ABC, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most breathtaking views of the Annapurna Mountains. Here are some cool facts about these stunning peaks: Annapurna is a Sanskrit word, which means “full of food,” and it is named after the Hindu goddess of food and nourishment. Annapurna I has the highest death to summit attempt ratio of any mountain in the world. As of 2022, 365 people had reached the summit of Annapurna I, while 72 had died in the attempt.
We woke up at 5 am to catch the sunrise at ABC, which was worth every minute of lost sleep. The views are indescribable and will stay with you forever. After taking in the scenery and snapping a few photos, we hiked back down to Bamboo, covering 8.4 miles over 6-7 hours.
Keep in mind that the descent can be hard on your knees, so take it slow and steady. Don’t forget to hydrate and rest when needed. When we arrived at Bamboo, we were exhausted but thrilled with our accomplishment. We spent the night at an elevation of 7,700 ft, a much more comfortable altitude than ABC.
Trek to Hotspring (Jhinu Danda)—–5,840 ft / 6hrs – 11.75 Kilometers / 7.3 miles (.9 miles round trip to the hot spring)
On Day 06, you will trek to Jhinu Danda, a small village famous for its natural hot springs. The trail starts with a steep descent to the Chomrong Khola river, followed by a gradual climb through the lush forest. Along the way, you will cross several suspension bridges and pass through charming villages with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Once you reach Jhinu Danda, you can take a dip in the hot springs to soothe your tired muscles. The hot springs are located about 10-15 minutes walk from the village, and there is a small fee to enter. It’s a great way to relax and unwind after a long day of trekking.
In Jhinu Danda, there are a few nice accommodations that offer more comfortable amenities such as hot showers and comfortable beds. You can consult with your guide to make advance reservations if you wish to stay in a hotel. Additionally, there are also some tea houses available for those who prefer a more rustic experience.
In the evening, you can enjoy a delicious meal at one of the local tea houses or hotels. Most of the tea houses in this area do not serve meat, but they offer a variety of vegetarian dishes and traditional Nepalese cuisine. The cost of food and accommodation tends to increase as you ascend higher in altitude, so it’s important to be mindful of your budget.
Overall, Day 06 offers a well-deserved break from the rigors of trekking and a chance to relax and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs.
Trek to Phedi for 1.5hrs – 5 Kilometers / 3 miles and drive to Pokhara (1.5-2 hours)
After a hearty breakfast at Jhinu Danda, we start our last day of trekking towards Phedi. It will be a relatively easy and short walk of around 3 miles, taking approximately 1.5 hours to reach Phedi. The trail descends down towards Nayapul, and we pass through beautiful villages and lush green forests.
It happened to be the festival of lights on today, known as Tihar, in Nepal. We encountered children on the road who were blocking our path and asking for a toll to cross. It was a fun part of the trek being able to see the festival fun. It reminded me of trick or treating and then Christmas with all of the lights in the cities and villages.
Once we reach Phedi, we will board a vehicle that will take us to the beautiful lakeside city of Pokhara. The drive will take approximately 2 hours, and we’ll pass through some stunning landscapes and rice fields.
After checking in at your hotel in Pokhara, you can explore the city on your own. Pokhara is a vibrant city with plenty of things to do, such as strolling around Phewa Lake, visiting the World Peace Pagoda, exploring the Old Bazaar, or shopping for souvenirs at the local market.
There are also plenty of great food spots to try out, with both local and international cuisine on offer. Your guide will be happy to recommend some of the best options based on your preferences.
Overall, this is a relaxed day to end your Annapurna trek, and Pokhara is an excellent place to unwind and reflect on your trekking experience.
Overall, our trek in the Annapurna region was a fantastic experience, and our kids did great. We were happy to see that none of them experienced any altitude sickness, and we attribute this to the slow and steady pace that we maintained throughout the hike. Although we saw other kids on the trek, it seemed to be less common, and we were proud of our children for being able to keep up with the pace. We highly recommend this trek to anyone who wants to experience the beauty of the Annapurna mountains while also challenging themselves physically