Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Internet Access during Annapurna Base Camp Trek

In doubt about the internet access during the ABC trek? Delve into our comprehensive blog guiding you through all the available options for connectivity amidst your adventure.

Internet Access during Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Located right in the heart of the majestic Annapurna range, the Annapurna Base Camp trek is an unforgettable odyssey through various landscapes and cultures of Nepal featuring moderate challenges but beyond impeccable rewards.

With the warmth of the local hospitality, the trekkers are exposed to stunning views gazing straight into the panoramas of the shining snow-capped mountains. Amidst all this, it is kind of hard to imagine the need to be online.

However, in today’s age internet connection is extremely important to be updated with the reality of the world that you will go back to after your adventure. At the same time, being able to communicate with your family is of utmost importance too.

During the ABC trek, having an internet connection might work in your favor at times as you can get information about the weather conditions in the area that you are ascending towards.

Due to all these factors, questions regarding connectivity along the Annapurna Base Camp trek are a rising concern amongst most of the trekkers.

Therefore, in this blog, we delve into the details surrounding the availability of internet connection on the ABC trek.

Is there internet access during Annapurna Base Camp trek?

All thanks to the digital world that we live in, even conquering the infamous Annapurna Base Camp trek doesn’t mean complete dysconnectivity.

The Annapurna Base Camp trek does feature internet access across limited available options.

With Wi-Fi options available in the teahouses and mobile data coverage in some places along the route, the trekkers do get access to the internet.

However, keep in mind that the connection is patchy and can get disconnected at any point during the trek.

Connectivity Along the ABC route

LocationPhone NetworkInternet Service (extra charges in most teahouses)
Pokhara (9,00 m)AvailableAvailable
Ulleri (2,020 m)AvailableAvailable (extra charges applicable)
Ghorepani (2,840 m)AvailableAvailable (extra charges applicable)
Tadapani (2,610 m)AvailableAvailable (extra charges applicable)
Jhinu (1,780 m)AvailableAvailable
Chhomrong (2,140 m)AvailableAvailable
Bamboo (2,310 m)Mostly availableAvailable
Himalaya Hotel (2,950 m)Mostly availableAvailable in dining hall (extra charges applicable)
Annapurna Base Camp (4,130 m)Mostly availableAvailable in dining hall (extra charges applicable)

SIM Card and Mobile Data

The most practical and feasible way to get internet access during the Annapurna Base Camp trek is to get a local SIM card.

Getting a SIM card is rather easy, comparatively cheap, and allows you to choose from the wide range of data options to top it up.

You can purchase a SIM card following the steps given below:

Comparing the mobile carriers

Nepal features a limited number of telecom operators among which Ncell and NTC stand out in terms of popularity and performance.

While Smart Cell is also a recognized name, NTC and Ncell are the ones used most by the locals.

NTC is a state-owned service and the oldest in Nepal while Ncell is a private company owned by Axiata. Both these operators offer good services and competitive prices when it comes to a data plan.

These companies provide you with access to a wide range of options ranging from prepaid to postpaid plans.

Ncell even offers a Visit Nepal SIM dedicated for travelers. You can compare thoroughly and subscribe to any plan that suits your needs.

Picking a suitable mobile carrier

While purchasing a SIM, it is important that you make the right choice which needs you to analyze different factors like price, plans, coverage, and overall flexibility.

Both Ncell and NTC offer good coverage throughout the country including villages and trekking trails. But NTC might have the upper hand in terms of the Annapurna Circuit Trek.

Although both the operators might provide exceptional coverage when in a lower elevation like Pokhara, NTC becomes more reachable as you ascend towards higher altitude.

This is because NTC has coverage even in the remote corners of Nepal and offers slightly cheaper plans.

Ncell provides a higher speed as compared to NTC and is the better choice when it comes to treks in the Everest region, but the coverage might be slightly shaky in the Annapurna region.

If you are unable to pick one, you might as well go for both the SIM operators as that gives you an added advantage. Most of the locals have both the SIM as one might have coverage where the other does not.

However, it is important to note that no matter which mobile carrier you opt for, expect the coverage to diminish as you ascend because there is only a feeble chance of getting network at higher elevations amidst the ever-changing weather conditions such as in the Annapurna Base camp.

Locate an authorized seller

Once you have decided on a mobile carrier, the next step is to locate an authorized seller for the same. If you are in Kathmandu or Pokhara, you will find plenty of ‘Ncell Centers’ or NTC offices in different locations.

Some of the common places where you can find authorized stores of these mobile carriers are popular places like shopping malls, airport area, or any major city hub.

Complete your purchase

To complete your purchase, you will be required to present some of your documents at the center. These documents include your passport and a passport sized photo.

Along with this, you will need to pick a plan that suits your requirements. You can choose one from the elaborate list of options that the mobile carrier will provide.

Once you are done with these steps, you need to pay a certain amount and you are all set to go with your new SIM and a new number.

Stock up recharge cards

Beyond the process of getting a new SIM, it is important that you stock up recharge cards in good quantity.

Assuming that you will be purchasing your SIM in a city area like Kathmandu or Pokhara, it is highly advisable that you purchase recharge cards from there as well.

While you are ascending on the Annapurna Base Camp trek, there is no guarantee that you will be able to purchase recharge cards. You won’t even find shops in some of these remote areas.

So, purchasing them when you can find them in every passing shop in the cities is a practical and convenient option.

Wi-Fi on the ABC trek

Almost all the teahouses and lodges in the Annapurna Base Camp trek feature Wi-Fi availability. You can access these services in increasingly more teahouses, mostly for an additional charge of just a few bucks.

However, don’t get your hopes too high as this digital lifeline can be short lived at times given the remoteness and the lack of accessibility of the region. Problems like losing connectivity are normal in case of power outage.

Also, manage your expectations as the speed of the internet is usually glacial as almost all the tourists use it. Therefore, you must be patient enough and prioritize essential communications.

Set your priorities straight and indulge in more important things like connecting to your loved ones over a text or checking your mails or sharing a couple of photos hoping that it goes through.

If you want to indulge in bandwidth intensive activities like streaming videos or even video calls, save these for lower altitude regions like Pokhara where you will have exceptionally strong Wi-Fi connections.

Internet Devices and Satellite Phones

Some of the travelers might want to go an extra mile to ensure connectivity throughout the trek and might be considering investing in specialized solutions like satellite phones and portable internet devices while venturing beyond traditional Wi-Fi access.

Although these devices might offer backup solutions, they come with a hefty price tag for people wanting to purchase. For those wanting to rent these devices, you can get these options in Kathmandu valley. However, be prepared to add a significant amount to your budget.

These devices do provide global connectivity, but they too come with a limited and expensive bandwidth. While these devices do come in handy during emergency situations, it is not practical to invest such a hefty amount for casual and limited internet access.

If you are still interested in purchasing one, be mindful of different factors like battery life, portability, and additional costs. Rental options also provide several plans suited to your needs.

Embracing Digital Detox

Although being connected to and updated about the real world is important in today’s age, one favor you can do to yourself is to embrace the journey and not the signal.

View the limited connectivity as an opportunity for digital detox rather than as a hurdle in your adventure.

The Annapurna Base Camp trek takes you to different places dripping natural grandeur even before you reach the Annapurna Sanctuary where you will be witnessing a heavenly amphitheater of nature’s splendor.

A trekker enjoying her moment during ABC
A trekker enjoying her moment during ABC

Amidst all this majestic beauty, disconnecting from all that hustle and bustle can be liberating and add a new facet to your trekking adventure.

Limited screen time might also give you a chance to connect with your inner self and reflect.

Remember that internet access during the ABC trek is a bonus and not a guarantee, it is merely one aspect of the trek.

Be prepared beforehand for less or no connectivity by informing all your loved ones and carrying all the essentials. Download resources related to the trek and offline maps.

Also, remember to carry some board games or other indoor games like cards so that you can keep yourself entertained amidst the lack of screen time and bond with the fellow trekkers.

You can also carry some of your preferred books, or a journal to document all the awe-inspiring experiences of the trek right as they unfold. Look beyond the screen to find the most rewarding aspects of the trek.

Is there Wi-Fi available at Annapurna Base Camp?

Yes, Wi-Fi is accessible at teahouses in Annapurna Base Camp, functioning in and around the dining halls.

However, obtaining mobile network reception in the region is challenging due to the mountainous terrain. The topography hinders mobile signals, resulting in limited or no mobile network availability in Annapurna Base Camp, making access to 3G/4G very difficult.

Tips Regarding Limited Connectivity

  • It is highly advisable that you respect others and avoid hogging Wi-Fi bandwidth while at the teahouses as everyone must make use of the same limited resources to connect to the real world.
  • Make sure that your device is unlocked while you purchase the local SIM so that you can use it as some of the devices are locked and do not support unknown mobile carriers.
  • Be prepared to face patchy connections and even lose the connection anywhere along the trekking trail, especially at the ABC.
  • When not in use, keep your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth switched off. You can also turn off your device to save charge.
  • During emergencies, prioritize a phone call instead of the internet in places with limited connections as a phone call might be more accessible and reliable compared to the internet services.
  • Enjoy the peaceful opportunity to be amidst the serenity away from the hustle and bustle of the real world.
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