Should you do EBC or ABC?

In Nepal adventure parlance, that means a choice between trekking to Everest Base Camp (EBC) or Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). So which hike should you go for?

Having done both, here’s my take on the pros and cons, and similarities and differences between both treks.


If you are short on time, ABC or even Poon Hill (four days’ trek on part of the ABC route) are great options.

A standard ABC trek can be completed in as little as eight days, if you’re reasonably fit and fast, and also if the weather if good. The daily elevation pattern (ascending and descending the various mountain valleys) eliminates the need to take extra rest days for

However, the EBC trek takes 13 or 14 days for average trekkers due to the constant elevation gain to reach EBC at 5,380m (compared to ABC at 4,130m).

(Editor’s note: Altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness occurs when you climb a mountain too quickly as the body can’t adapt to the shortage of oxygen. Symptoms can start to appear when you go above an altitude of 2,500m.

Most cases are mild, with symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness and exhaustion. The UK National Health Service recommends that if you have mild symptoms, you shouldn’t go any higher for at least 24 to 48 hours.

Altitude sickness can become severe when fluid builds up either in the lungs or the brain. Symptoms then include coughing up pink, frothy liquid, walking in a clumsy way, confusion or even loss of consciousness. If your symptoms get worse or don’t improve after 24 to 48 hours, the NHS guidelines recommend that you should descend by at least 500m.)


The EBC trek begins and ends at such high elevations that you’ll enjoy uninterrupted views of amazing peaks and epic scenery throughout.

The mountain views going to ABC are excellent as well but the first few days are spent trekking up the deep canyon of the Modi Khola River which obstructs direct view of the peaks. However, standing at ABC itself, surrounded by peaks on all sides, is a breathtaking experience altogether.

Cost and accessibility

The easiest and fastest way to start the EBC trek involves taking a domestic flight to Lukla (2,860m), often known as the world’s most dangerous airport.

If the thought of flying on a small plane into a short airstrip and the cost of the flight (about US$330) are concerns, ABC could be the better option since trailheads can be easily reached by bus and car from Kathmandu.


Both treks are rather equal in difficulty with long stretches of steep uphill and downhill trails. The EBC trek tends be more physically demanding due to higher altitude, colder temperatures and thinner air. These factors could lead to a higher tendency of succumbing to acute mountain sickness.


All in all, both treks are incredible and unique experiences by themselves.

If you want an epic and accomplishment-driven trip where you push through thin air and high altitudes, head to EBC. There will be more views of snow-capped peaks too.

If (more) diverse landscapes and local culture are what you’re looking for, make your way to ABC.

Whichever one you end up doing, you’ll be rewarded with the best Nepal has to offer. And an adventure of a lifetime.