Annapurna region is the most popular trekking destination in Nepal. More than half of the trekkers who come to Nepal go to Annapurna for trekking. Annapurna Circuit trek and Annapurna Base Camp Trek are the most popular choices here. Therefore, many tourist who want to trek this region are confused about which route to undertake. Here is a comparative study between the two in terms of length, difficulty, popularity and such.
Trekking Time or Length
Annapurna Circuit Trek is longer. It could last well over 3 weeks while Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) Trek is a little more than two weeks or two weeks program. But then, due to transportation facility, you could greatly shorten the circuit trek. At the same time, the journey to base camp can be lengthened by side trips. Trek to Lake Tilicho is the popularly preferred side trip.
Option of side trips are numerous in circuit trek. It does not really have a fixed itinerary. There are a number of ways to do this. In fact, the whole of Annapurna region is a cluster of great tourist destinations and you can tailor your own route, choose which places you want to go through. Circuit trek takes you through most of these places. You can even include the base camp as a part of circuit trek. The thing is, ABC takes base camp as the destination while the point of circuit trek is to go around the massif making it easier to break off the etched out route.
ABC is a steep climb up and down. It is hard on your knees. Circuit trek goes around, gradually gaining in height. It has lesser descent. However, it is longer and goes over Thorong La Pass, the highest pass in the world. It depends on what you consider ‘difficult’. Everyday walk is easier in circuit trek but you will be walking for a lot of days.
Both the trails are rich in beauty. But it is the circuit trek that wins this one. It takes you through the most charming villages and offers the best of Annapurna region. This is because it goes around the massif. ABC trek is pretty much a straight path up to the base camp. But, it is the closest you come to mountains like Annappurna, Himchuli, Machhapuchhre and others.
Trek to Base Camp will take you through some Gurung and Magar villages. Most buildings here are tea house lodges. You do get a good opportunity to interact with them. In the circuit route though, you get to see the temples, Gompas, monasteries and other artifacts and that of the Tibetans in addition.
Annapurna Circuit Trek is the most popular trek in Nepal. It has been voted one of the world’s best long treks. ABC trekking is comparatively less popular. This could be because trek to ABC can be incorporated in the circuit trek. Annapurna circuit and base camp trek is a combined package offered by many agencies. Considering the experience, it is no wonder circuit trek is more popular.
Base camp trek seems to have paled in front of circuit trek but it is actually a great and popular trail. It really depends on your convenience like how much time and energy you can spend or what you really want to see. So, which adventure would you like to go on?