Everest Base Camp trek
Length: The Everest Base Camp trek will normally take 12 days and you will typically walk for between six and nine hours each day for the duration of the trail. Expect steep ascents and descents as you make your way up to the Base Camp, and then back down again.
Altitude: The highest point on your Everest Base Camp trek is the peak of Kalar Pattar, which stands at 5,545 m above sea level. You'll usually tackle this after you've visited the camp and can look forward to unrivalled views of the world's tallest mountain - Everest itself. Two acclimatisation days will be included in your itinerary before you get to this point - one at Namche Bazaar and the other at Dingboche - to help you get used to the thinner air.
What you see: This is where the Everest Base Camp trek really stands out - after all, there aren't any other trails you can follow that will bring you this close to the highest peak on the planet (unless you plan to climb it yourself). If you're lucky, you may even see a team preparing to scale Everest when you visit the Base Camp. Namche Bazaar is another highlight, as it is home to the Sherpa Museum, where you can learn more about the fascinating people who live in the region. The Tengboche Monastery - which is the largest in the Khumbu area - is also worth a visit and you can even attend a Buddhist ceremony if you don't mind an early start.
Length: With 17 days trekking on the Annapurna Circuit and between six and eight hours of walking each day, this route takes a little longer than the trail to the Everest Base Camp. Allowing for a couple of rest days at either end of your hike, you'll need to set aside three weeks for this trip, as opposed to the two and a half weeks for the Base Camp route.
Altitude: The highest point on the Annapurna Circuit is the Throung-La Pass at 5,416 m above sea level. On the day you cross the pass, you will ascend almost 1,000 m from Thorung Phedi, before descending more than 1,600 m to reach Muktinath at the end of the day. It's definitely a challenging trek, but one that is more than worth it when you see the amazing views of the Annapurna mountains and Kali Gandaki Valley from the summit of the pass.
What you see: In addition to the wonderful vistas from Thorung-La Pass, you'll have amazing views of Annapurna I, Annapurna II and Machapuchare for the duration of your tour. The beauty of this circuit is you see them from various locations, allowing you to appreciate them at sunrise, sunset and during the middle of the day. There are numerous temples on this route, although among the most interesting are the two at Muktinath. One of these is dedicated to Hinduism and the other to Buddhism, allowing you to get a good appreciation of both faiths and their importance to the Nepali people. The hot springs at Tatopani are another highlight, especially for weary walkers, as the naturally-warm waters here do an amazing job of soothing aching muscles.
(Photos via [ThinkStock - iStockphoto])