Trek Highlights

  • Short and less explored trail in one of the Annapurna regions in Nepal.
  • The superb views of majestic Himalayas — Machhapuchhre, Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, and Dhaulagiri.
  • Immerse into the cultures of diverse ethnic groups, their warm hospitality, and local delicacy. 
  • Pass through the ever-changing landscape with the narrow meandering paths, rhododendron forests, high valleys, and rugged Himalayan terrain.

Trek Overview

The Mardi Himal Trek is an ideal choice for trekkers who are looking for less-traveled routes in Annapurna Region. 

This trek is a hidden gem, just east of Annapurna Base Camp, spectacularly nestled at the base of Mardi Himal and the awe-inspiring Machhapuchhre. This trekking is a spectacular and less crowded alternative to the Annapurna Base Camp Trekking. 

Mardi Himal Trek is a relatively new route that has been officially opened to international travelers in 2012. For centuries, these highlands were meadows and homeland to yaks, buffaloes, and sheep.

 The trail passes through from lush lowland to the alpine valley in just a few days, which is a unique feature of this trek. You pass through verdant valleys, interesting villages, rolling hills, enchanted forests, and terrace farms on the way to high ridges that nestled above the tree line area.

The trek starts with a short drive from Pokhara, followed by a scenic trek through dense forests, and beautiful trails. On reaching the upper viewpoint, you catch glimpses of the Mardi Himal along with adjacent peaks like Macchapuchhre, Hiunchuli, Baraha Shikhar, Singu Chuli, Annapurna I, and Annapurna South. Besides the exotic natural scenery, this trek allows you to experience diverse cultures and discover the authentic countryside of Nepal. 

 This is a sample itinerary of Mardi Himal Trek. We can tailor-make the program as per your needs and preferences.

Note: below trekking hours, altitudes and distances are approximate, and absolutely for general idea only.

 

Map

Itinerary

  1. Day 01: Arrive at Kathmandu airport

    Altitude above sea level: 1,302 m

    Driving Time: Approx. 30 minutes, depends on traffic

    Accommodation: Hotel Tibet or similar

    Upon arrival at Tribhuvan International airport, our representative will be awaiting you to cordially welcome you with great hospitality. The representative will be displaying the “Nepal Sanctuary Treks” placard outside the airport terminal.

    You will be then escorted and transferred to the hotel in our private vehicle. Further, you will be given a brief description of the activities that will take place during the upcoming trip and a preliminary briefing on hygiene and safety by our representative.

  2. Day 02: Cultural Introductory Tour and Trek preparation

    Altitude above sea level: 1,302 m

    Tour Duration:  Approx. 8 hours

    Accommodation: Hotel Tibet or similar

    Meal: Breakfast

    9:00 AM: After breakfast, we start our guided cultural tour around Kathmandu Valley. On this cultural tour, you will experience the numerous colors, sounds, and tastes of authentic Kathmandu and its surroundings. Our experienced tour guides will tell you all you need to know and answer all your curiosities regarding those sites.

    Kathmandu Durbar Square

    You will head towards Kathmandu Durbar Square, also called Hanuman Dhoka Durbar. This ancient site used to be the residence of the Nepali royal family and administrators. It incorporates an architecturally extraordinary complex of ancient palaces, temples, courtyards, and shrines dating from the 15th to the 18th century.

    The prominent sites of Kathmandu Durbar Square are Kumari Ghar or the house of the living goddess.  Kasthamandap is a huge rest house that is said to have been built with the wood from a single tree and is the source of which Kathmandu valley got its name. Other sites around Kathmandu Square are the ferocious Kal Bhairab – the red monkey God- Hanuman, hundreds of erotic carvings, temples, and statues dedicated to different deities.

    Swayambhunath:

    Swayambhunath (monkey temple), is the magnificent ancient religious architecture and center of faith of Hinduism and Buddhism. Its lofty white dome and dazzling golden spire are visible from far and wide. Swayambhunath is the ideal place to observe the religious harmony in Nepal. In the shadows of the imposing structure and besides the integrated architecture can be found the daily surge of devotees faithfully offering their prayers to the gods. Upon arriving at the top, you can hear the Buddhist song “Om Mani Padme Hum” resounds everywhere. The candles and the aromatic fragrance of incense that burns constantly create a serene vibe and enormous prayer wheels which encircle the stupa.

    PM: Boudhanath

    Then we drive towards Boudhanath.  From the moment you step into the sanctuary, you’ll immediately feel the spiritual energy that comes from the place. Boudhanath is one of the biggest stupas in Nepal built in the 5th century and listed on the world heritage list by UNESCO in 1979. The surrounding area is a central spiritual hub of Tibetan life and culture in Nepal. You can see the beautiful dome-shaped structure stupa surrounded by brilliant colorful prayer flags. It is believed that prayer flags convey mantras and prayers into the universe while fluttering in the wind. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of Kassapa Buddha.

    You can witness monks draped in maroon robes rolling the prayer wheels, burning incense, and flickering butter candles. Moreover, it’s fascinating to see the people feeding grains and maize to hundreds of pigeons around stupa areas. The devotees turn the prayer wheels & chant, which is humbling to see such dedication to their beliefs.

    Delight in the serenity as you hear the Buddhist mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ being chanted by devotees, alongside the echo of music streaming out from the nearby shops.

    Pashupatinath

    Moving on, you will visit the Pashupatinath temple, a Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva located on the bank of the Bagmati River. The word Pashupati means “the king of animals” and the temple is famous for its monkeys. You will be visiting the Pashupatinath area to indulge in a spiritual journey.

    Pashupatinath is more than just a religious destination. It is a combination of religion, art, and culture. The temple, spread across 246 hectares of land, abounds in temples and monuments. Hundreds of rituals are performed here every day. You will get to witness people performing the religious ritual and funeral pyres burning at open-air cremation. Also witness elaborately dressed holy men meditating outside the temple and pilgrims placing offerings at the shrines.

    After touring around prominent sites, you will be transferred safely back to your hotel. 

  3. Day 03: Flight Kathmandu – Pokhara – Drive Phedi - Hike Pothana

    Altitude above sea level: (1,890 m), Pothana

    Flight duration: 25 minutes approx.

    Driving duration: PKR-Phedi 1 hour approx.

    Hiking duration: 4 hours approx.

    Accommodation: Tea House Lodge

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

    After breakfast, you take a short flight to Pokhara. Upon reaching Pokhara, take a drive from Pokhara to the starting point of the trek-Pothana. We will climb the stairs from Phedi. The trail ascends all the way to Pothana through the lush forest that includes oak, magnolia, rhododendron, and pine till you reach the Dhampus. Dhampus is a picturesque Gurung ethnic village that offers fantastic views of iconic Machhapuchhare (Fish Tail Mountain) and the Annapurna range.

    From Dhampus, you continue to climb until you reach Pothana village. Pothana offers excellent panoramic views of Mount Machhapuchchhre and the other mountains. You will notice the village has forests of rhododendrons around it. If you trek during spring, you’ll witness these in bloom with enormous red flowers.

  4. Day 04: Trek Pothana-Kokar (Forest Camp)

    Altitude above sea level: (2,554 m), Kokar

    Hike duration: 6 hours approx.

    Accommodation: Tea House Lodge

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

    Wake up to the cheerful chirping of the birds and the smell of tea and local breakfast after a wonderful deep sleep in your cozy room. In the morning, you can appreciate the remarkable sunrise view over the mountain from Pothana.

    After a hearty breakfast, you start your trek with a steep uphill hike through dense forest along with the magnificent vistas of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges. Along the trail, you might catch sight of some exotic birds and animals.

    You will stop by Pritam Deurali for local lunch. This is also where the trail diverges from the main Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, and you will share the path with fewer other trekkers from this point forward.    

     After lunch, you make your way to Forest Camp, which is densely populated with beautiful forests. The air is rich in organic smells, and the trees kept us shaded and cool. The final destination is Forest Camp also locally known as Kokar. As the name suggests, Forest Camp is a village in the middle of a forest.

  5. Day 05: Trek Forest Camp – Low Camp

    Altitude above sea level: 3,150 m (Low Camp)

    Hike duration: 4-5 hours approx.

    Accommodation: Tea House Lodge

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

    Enjoy a lovely breakfast and then continue your journey towards the Low Camp. You head up a steep, winding trail through dense mossy forest. You will be delighted with the sight of an occasional ray of sunlight piercing the misty atmosphere. As you ascend, you can see a sneak preview of Mt. Machhapuchhre right in front of you.

  6. Day 06: Trek Low Camp- Badal Danda- High Camp

    Altitude above sea level: (3,600 m) High Camp, (3,210 m) Badal Danda

    Hike duration: 4-5 hours approx.

    Accommodation: Tea House Lodge

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

    Enjoy a hearty breakfast, before hitting the trail to High Camp. You start your trek, taking the ascending trail along the ridge towards Mardi Himal and Mt Machhapuchre. As you hike further, you will reach Badal Danda (meaning hillock above clouds). The place is called Badal Danda (Cloud Hill), as oftentimes, the areas below the hill are covered with fluffy clouds. The views are in and out of the clouds, but occasional glimpses of Machhapuchre. From Badal Danda, you leave the tree line and reach the shrubby alpine zone. 

    You will notice the change in vegetation as you climb higher, the rhododendron forests will now be less since mosses and lichen will take over nature on today’s trail. Upon reaching the top, you will be rewarded with a 360-degree view of snowbound canyons, towering mountains, and steep cliffs. At night, you can stargaze and view the constellations, which appear a lot closer.

  7. Day 07: Hike to Upper viewpoint-High Camp-Trek back to Low Camp

    Altitude above sea level. (4,200 m), Upper View Point

    Hiking duration: 4-5 hrs. Approx. (Upper View Point round trip), 3-4 hours approx.

    (High Camp-Low Camp)

    Accommodation: Tea House Lodge

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

    Today the mountains revealed themselves on both sides of the ridge, gigantic and magnificent, snow glittering in the bright early sun. They were much closer than you had imagined the night before.

    You wake up early in the morning to catch the sunrise over the Himalayas, which turn snow into gold with the first rays of the sun.

    The hike commences with a walk up a ridge towards a marvelous viewpoint where you can see the iconic vista of the massif Machhapuchre (Fishtail), Annapurna South, Himchuli, just in front of you.

    On the way, layers upon layers of hills behind you surely amazed you. The route follows a well-established trail through the meadow, although the going is steep and occasionally narrow.

    Upon reaching the vantage point, indulge yourselves in the scenic views of the Annapurna Sanctuary, Mardi Himal, Annapurna I, Machhapuchhre, Hiunchuli, and other massive peaks.

    After a tea break and photos, you retrace your route to high camp for lunch and follow a steep descent till Low Camp.

  8. Day 08: Low Camp- Siding village- Drive Pokhara

    Altitude above sea level. (1,700 m), Siding, (825 m) Pokhara

    Hiking duration: 3-4 hours approx.

    Driving duration: 3 hours approx. (Siding-Pokhara)

    Accommodation: Mount Kailash Resort or similar

    Meals: Breakfast, and Lunch

    After a hearty breakfast, you take a route that leads to Siding village. Leaving the grassy highland behind, the trail today is mostly the gradual downhill under the shades of thick forests.

    Siding is a traditional Gurung village with a peaceful and ambient atmosphere. Surrounded by lush hills; the village is scattered over a huge area of land and houses some hospitable people in the region. Upon reaching Siding village, you take a private vehicle to Pokhara.

    Check in at the hotel and spend some time at leisure exploring Pokhara. You can either visit caves and pagoda or hire a boat that takes you to Tal Barahi, a temple that sits on a small island in Phewa Lake.  It is worthwhile visiting International Mountain Museum if you are keen on Nepal’s indigenous history and mountain climbing,

  9. Day 09:  Flight to Kathmandu

    Altitude above sea level: (1,302 m), Kathmandu

    Flight duration: 25 minutes approx.

    Accommodation: Hotel Tibet or similar

    Meals: Breakfast

    After breakfast, you take a short flight back to Kathmandu. Check in at the hotel and spend some time at leisure. You can spend your leisure time shopping for souvenirs for your beloved ones or simply relax after an exhausting but momentous adventure.

  10. Day 10: Final Departure

    Driving Duration HTL-APT: Approx. 25-30 minutes depending on traffic

    Meal Included: Breakfast

    It is time to fly back home, keeping all the terrific experiences of Nepal in mind. Make sure you reach TIA airport on time, as you should check-in 3 hours prior to your scheduled flight. If you wish to stay a few more days, there are still plenty more places to explore around Kathmandu valley.

Fast Facts

  • Max altitude : (4,200 m/13,779ft)
  • It is a new, isolated trail with very few trekkers trekking
  • Suitably designed itinerary for acclimatization
  • Accommodation in the best-selected lodges and tea houses along the trail and in Kathmandu
  • Amazing views of Mardi Himal, Annapurna Range, and Fishtail
  • Traditional villages inhabited by Gurung, Thakali, Tamang, etc
  • The fauna found in the region- pika, blue sheep, and Himalayan Tahr. 
  • The trail wanders through lush valleys, alpine pasture, lichen-laden dense forests, several streams, and waterfalls
  • Best view of sunrise and sunset
  • Picturesque Gurung villages, experiencing with local lifestyle and culture of Gurung ethnic communities

What's Included

  • Private Airport transfers,
  • Private transfer to/from trek point
  • Internal flight KTM-PKR-KTM
  • Guided Kathmandu sightseeing tour with entrance fees
  • 3 nights accommodation at ***Hotel in Kathmandu with breakfast
  • 1-night accommodation at *** Hotel in Pokhara with breakfast
  • Tea house lodge on full board during the trek
  • Trek Permits & National Park Fee,
  • Staff insurance on the trek,
  • Trek guide & porter/s
  • Duffel bag
  • Map

What's not Included

  • Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu, Pokhara (approx. US$ 20 per day)
  • Beverages
  • Personal equipment, 
  • Personal bills, 
  • International airfare
  • Excess baggage beyond 15 kilos, including day pack
  • Visa fees
  • Insurance (for cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss, theft of or damage to baggage and personal effects), Public Liability
  • Tips

Most Common FAQs

  1. 1 . Why choose Mardi Himal trek?

    Mardi Himal Trekking is a newly started trekking route; the trail makes a small circuit up to the base camp of Mardi Himal. This trek is an ideal choice for you if you are looking for isolated trekking routes in Annapurna region.

  2. 2 . How fit do I need to be for this trek?

    You will be walking for minimum of 5 – 7hrs a day, you don’t have to really fit but minimum level of fitness is required as the trek is not an easy one. You do have to be healthy and mentally prepared for trekking in this region although it doesn’t require mountaineering skills.

  3. 3 . What is the best time of the year for this trek?

    The trek is possible throughout the year. However, autumn and spring are the best seasons; choose to trek in autumn (Sep-Nov) as spring is busy with expedition stuff.

  4. 4 . Why should I trek with Nepal Sanctuary Treks (NST)?

    We (NST) believe in socially and environmentally responsible, sustainable tourism. Our personalized services are guided by these principles and our 27 yrs of experience in the field of trekking is invaluable in giving our clients quality service. Our itineraries are suitably designed for acclimatization and we use the best selected lodges through the trail and in Kathmandu.

  5. 5 . Can children trek in this region or are there any age restrictions?

    Yes, children can trek as there is no age restrictions. Nepal Sanctuary Trek can design suitable trekking itinerary for all age group above 8yrs. However, for children fewer than 8 can have high time trekking for longer period of time and altitude sickness can be a problem.

  6. 6 . What to take for the trek (clothes, personal kits)?

    To make it easier for you Nepal Sanctuary Treks have prepared you a kit check list, you can have a look at it below:

  7. 7 . Do I need travel insurance covered while trekking/traveling in Nepal?

    Insurance is a compulsion as anything can happen in the trek; for emergency rescue, personal liabilities, cancellation, loss of luggage and other reasons if necessary.

  8. 8 . How much weight do I have to carry or how much will my porter carry?

    You can bring as much as clothes you want but extra luggage is not required for the trek, you can leave your extra luggage in Kathmandu or Pokhara’s hotel. For the trek you can carry enough clothes you require in your backpack or carry only the camera, water bottle few clothes etc in your backpack. The potter can carry your extra duffle bag clothes which can weigh up to 15 to 30kgs and a camping porter carries up to 30kgs. However the local domestic flights allows maximum of 18kg per person.

  9. 9 . What medical facilities are there on Mardi Himal trek?

    In case of emergency you need to get evacuated by helicopter to Kathmandu, you need to take proper care of your health. Anyways, you will find small clinics along the trek. However, you need to bring your medicine (if any) and a first aid box will be provided by Nepal Sanctuary Treks, also your guide will be trained for first aid in case of emergency.

    For further enquiries you can contact Nepal Sanctuary Treks at:

Reviews

The trek involved a variety of landscapes and difficulties, with lovely tea houses, and I had my own guide and porter, both of whom were so welcoming and caring and taught me some basic Nepali in the evenings. I got a real sense of the culture of the country when passing through the beautiful villages and meeting the local people. The communication and organization for the trek were very professional, with my own direct chat with the manager of the company. I’ve had an amazing time in this stunning country and have made some wonderful friends, and to anyone looking for adventure,I would definitely recommend the Mardi Himal Trek with Nepal Sanctuary Treks.

100
Alex Fischer, United Kingdom