For a truly authentic experience in rural Nepal, this trek in the Himalayas takes you to the lesser visited villages close to Macchupichhre, Dhaulagiri and the magnificent Annapurnas – some of the highest mountains in the world. You trek through a pristine and unspoilt landscape where you are unlikely to meet many other trekkers. Instead, you’ll meet local farmers, yak herders and village people in the communities where you will be treated more as a guest than a tourist.
This trip starts with a tour around some of Kathmandu’s heritage sites. You have your first taste of village life by exploring Bungemati and Khokana in the Kathmandu Valley, before spending the night at a monastery where you can join the monks in their prayers. Breaking your journey to Pokhara at the old Newar town of Bandipur, you get a chance to stretch your legs with a day hike to the village of Ramkot where you get your first glimpse of the mighty Annapurna mountain range.
This is an easy 6-day trek that takes you up Mohare Hill, where you can admire the panorama of the Himalayas stretching in both directions as far as the eye can see. You stay in community lodges and Homestays where the benefits of tourism go straight back to the local communities.
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Kathmandu Sightseeing|
|Day 3||Bungamati and Kokana – Newar villages; Neydo Monastery|
|Day 4||Drive to Bandipur|
|Day 5||Bandipur – Hike to Ramkot|
|Day 6||Drive to Pokhara|
|Day 7||Trekking Day starting from Bas Kharka|
|Day 8||Danda Kaske and Nangi|
|Day 9||Mohare Hill (3300m, 5-6hrs)|
|Day 10||Danda Karka (2,800m; 2 hrs)|
|Day 11||Tikot (2300m; 5-6 hrs)|
|Day 12||Tipling and Pokhara (900m; 2 hrs trek and 3-4 hrs drive)|
|Day 13||Pokhara – free day|
|Day 14||Back to Kathmandu|
Trekking: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail condMore...
Trekking: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail conditions. The guide in charge of your trip may have to alter the schedule if necessary and any such changes are at the discretion of Royal Mountain Travel and your guide.
The trekking day
Your day starts with a wakeup call, followed by breakfast and baggage pickup. You are then driven to the start point of your trek. While trekking, your day starts with breakfast at the tea house where you are staying. You need to pack up your baggage before breakfast as porters usually set off early.
Normally you are on the trail by 8 am and stop for a leisurely lunch around noon, with the chance to stop along the way for short breaks. Lunchtime usually lasts a couple of hours to give you time to relax or to explore the village where you have stopped. The afternoon walk is shorter and you can expect to arrive around 4 pm to allow time for short excursions to nearby sites, monasteries, exploration of the village or for relaxing with a book or catching up on your diary. Dinner is generally around, 7 pm.
Everyone walks at different speeds and you should always go at the pace that is comfortable for you. The grade of the trek is only an approximate indication of what to expect, based on the altitude and the hours of walking per day. In general, the condition of trails is good as these are the main routes between villages.
What you carry?
Each porter carries 15kg so you should pack 7.5 kgs of baggage, sharing one porter between two persons. These things will not be available to you during the day as the porters usually leave early and do not walk with you. Your daypack should contain all that you need during the day. This should consist of warm clothes for when you stop, a water bottle, camera, sunscreen, lip salve and maybe waterproofs depending on when you’re trekking. Your guide will let you know each evening about any extra items you might need for the following day. You should take a comfortable daypack to carry just a few kilograms of things you need along the way.
Food and drink
No meals are included on your trek. These are available in tea houses, lodges and bhattis that may sometimes have quite limited menus. There are a lot of tea houses and lodges along the way while you are trekking. Meals are generally simple, but filling, but you may wish to stock up on ‘trail munchies’ before leaving Kathmandu or Pokhara. Although mineral water in plastic bottles can be found along the way in many places, you should try to avoid using this. Plastic bottles are a serious problem on the trekking routes as there is no way to dispose of them. Instead you should use water purification tablets, a water filter or ask for boiled water at the lodges. It is a good idea to bring a heat resistant water bottle which can double up as a hot water bottle when you go to bed at night too!
It is not recommended to drink alcohol at altitudes above 3,000m or so, where altitude sickness can start to have an effect.
Accommodation is in lodges and teahouses and is of a basic standard. Rooms may be twin or multi-share with basic shared toilet facilities. Hot showers are available in some places for a small charge. It is a good idea to pack wet-wipes to freshen up, especially useful when you reach high altitudes where the water can be very cold. It is not recommended to wash your hair when you are at higher altitudes and where the outside air is cold, as you run the risk of getting a chill when your wet hair takes a long time to dry.
Lodges usually have a common room where later in the day, when people start to arrive from their day’s trek there might be a stove that is lit to keep warm. Bedrooms, however, are not heated. Lodges provide clean bedding, but you may want to pack a sheet sleeping bag for peace of mind.
The main means of transport is on foot, or in some cases by horse, with mules or donkeys sometimes carrying baggage. On most trekking routes, your baggage will be carried by the porters. You should ensure that anything you might need during the day is in your day pack as you will not see the baggage that is being carried again until the end of each day.
You will be provided with government licensed experienced trek guided assisted by the porters who transport your baggage with one porter for every two trekkers. The guide is in overall charge of the trek and looks after you. This is the person you should go to with any problems, concerns or questions. Our guides are highly trained in all aspects of trekking, conservation, high altitude medicine, first-aid and emergency procedures. They are professionals selected for their knowledge and passion for Nepal and its peoples. However, you should remember that they are local guides and their English may sometimes be quite basic and limited to trek-related topics. Usually, porters will have a more basic understanding of English. Please try to speak slowly and clearly to make communication easier.
Trek grading and preparation
It is impossible to have a ‘foolproof’ grading system as everyone has different expectations and perceptions of their own fitness level. Remember that no trek in the Himalaya is a stroll as all involve going up and down, often at altitude. Altitude affects everyone differently, and even if it has not affected you much before, each time can be quite different in how it affects you.
Regardless of age or fitness, preparation, before you arrive, is a good idea. Aerobic activity, swimming, cycling or brisk walking is recommended or, at the very least, walking up and down stairs in your trekking boots to be sure that they fit well and are comfortable. Try to use hiking boots that you have already broken in to avoid blisters. Remember that the trek should be fun and you should go at your own pace.
It is best to bring cash in major currencies such as US, Canadian or Australian dollars, Euros, or Pounds. Ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations. Everyone’s spending is different, but as a guide we suggest about USD 8 – 10 per meal in Kathmandu and Pokhara and USD 30 – 35 per day whilst trekking. If you drink or smoke you need to allow a bit more.
You should exchange enough money into Nepalese Rupees to last the entire time of your trek before leaving Kathmandu. You can find the money exchange counters near your hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara but there are no exchange facilities in villages along the way.
Communication: mobile phones and internet
Please note, as you will be often trekking through valleys and will not always be close to mobile towers, mobile phone reception can be very patchy. NCELL, the local mobile company has quite good coverage, but sometimes the signal can be very weak. Usually, lodges have powerpoints to recharge your mobile, although this sometimes can be at an extra charge.
Tipping is a personal and voluntary matter and is not included in the trip price. If you wish to reward the efforts of those who have worked to make your trek the best they can, we suggest the following: USD 4 per day for groups of 8+, USD 5 per day for smaller groups which will be shared amongst the whole staff, including porters.
Travel insurance is not included in the trip price. It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your trek. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation (including helicopter evacuation) and personal liability. We also recommend that it cover cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Be careful to check the small print of your insurance regarding altitude as some policies only provide cover up to 2000m.
There are no specific health requirements for entry into Nepal. Your health condition must be sound as you will be climbing to above 4000m. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date information regarding vaccinations, high altitude medication and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Nepal. Be aware that some drugs, including anti-malarial, have side effects at altitude. Please discuss this carefully with your doctor.
Please be aware that you will be in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal First Aid kit as well as sufficient quantities of any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses)
AMS (acute mountain sickness) is a serious issue. It is the result of the failure of the body to adapt to high altitude and can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness. It usually occurs above 1,800 meters and the likelihood of being affected increases as you ascend. The way to reduce the affects of altitude is to ascend slowly, 300 meters per day above 3,000 meters until you have acclimatized. Poor acclimatization can result in headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, difficulty breathing and swelling of fingers and glands. The only cure for AMS is to descend to lower altitude and your guide’s decision on this matter is final. There is a possibility of AMS in any trek that passes through altitudes above 4000 meters.
Although our routes are carefully planned to allow proper acclimatization you may feel some effects of altitude for the first few days or at higher altitudes. Breathlessness, lethargy and mild headaches are not uncommon and generally decrease as your body adjusts. Maintaining adequate fluid intake is essential. Please advise your guide if you feel more severe symptoms and do not medicate yourself without discussing it with them first.
Variation of climate is directly proportional to the altitude. For this trekking, trekking routes are often passing through a range of altitudes from 850m upwards. Between about 2700m and 3000m a cool temperate climate prevails, and you should expect a cool summer and very cold temperatures in the winter. Above 3000m, even if the daytime is sunny and quite warm, the temperature will drop sharply as soon as the sun goes down.
The weather in mountains is notoriously changeable so always be prepared for a change in conditions and note that if severe or dangerous weather conditions occur your guide’s decision on any course of action is final.
Trekking permits are required for almost all treks and will be obtained by Royal Mountain Travel. The Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) is essential for the record of Nepal Tourism Board keeping in mind about probable hazards to occur. You need to provide your full name, nationality, home address, passport number, sex, date of birth and 2 photographs for each permit. Royal Mountain Travel also pays any fees required for entry to national parks, conservation areas or restricted areas.
Packing for your trek
You will need to bring a comfortable medium sized daypack to carry the things you will need during the day. This should have a waist strap or (better) a padded waist belt.
You should limit your baggage to about 7kg. You will find the following items useful.
Arrival in Kathmandu
Arriving at Tribhuwan International Airport is an experience in itself. Don’t let it put you off, as our airport representative will be waiting to welcome you with your name written on a placard. Depending on traffic, the drive to your hotel takes about 20-30 minutes. (Traditional Comfort Hotel or equivalent)
Visiting three of the major UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you start in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square Built between the 12th and 18th centuries, the ancient temples, palaces and courtyards and streets is a social, religious and urban focal point of the city. Visiting the Kumari’s house, home to the living goddess, if you are very lucky you might even see her peek out of her window at you. You also see the surrounding temples and the Itumbahal courtyard. This old Newari community that is set in its large courtyard is famous for its traders in herbal spices and medicines. From Durbar Square you then walk to through Asan to the bustling Indrachowk, one of Kathmandu’s most colourful local markets. Continuing to Asan Chowk you visit the Annapurna temple, dedicated to the goddess of Grains.
You then are taken to Swayambunath, otherwise nicknamed the ‘Monkey Temple’. This is one of the oldest and most revered shrines in the country. Perched on the top of a small hill, it is a not only a major landmark of the valley but a symbol of Nepal. The stupa has been an important Buddhist pilgrimage site since the 5th century. Buddha Jayanti (Buddha’s Birthday), Gunla (a month-long festival) and Lhosar (Tibetan New Year) are all celebrated with gusto here. You can reach the shrine by climbing 365 steps up the hill or by a less steep but not so scenic route that winds around the back of the temple complex. You see many chaityas and temples but look out for the mysterious Shantipur Temple. This is where the 8th century Tantric Shantikar Acharya lived. His meditation supposedly kept him alive for centuries.
Pashupatinath Temple, considered one of the sacred temples of Hindu faith sits on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu. The seat of the national deity, Lord Pashupatinath, the temple complex has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1979. A collection of temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions, it is lies along the banks of the holy Bagmati. A major festival celebrated here is Maha Shivaratri when over 800,000 devotees visit here. Hindus believe in cremation within a day of death. You may see funeral pyres smoking as this believed to be one of the most auspicious places to be cremated.
Bungamati and Kokana – Newar villages; Neydo Monastery
Bungamati and Kokana are typical Newari villages with traditional architecture and narrow, unpaved streets where the rituals of daily life are always in full swing. They offer a fascinating glimpse of rural life in the Kathmandu Valley. In both villages, day to day life takes place more outside on the streets than indoor, with villagers spinning, caring for their young children, gossiping, and drying their crops in the sun. Wood carving is still a living tradition and you can see beautiful pieces of woodwork being produced like doors and window frames. Bungamati is one of the two homes of the rain god, Raato Machhendranath. Kokana is particularly renowned as for its mustard oil.
Neydo Monastery in Pharping, about 22 kilometres from Kathmandu, is a world apart in its little corner of the southern part of the Kathmandu Valley. A Tibetan monastery, there are up to 140 monks living in the monastery who come from Nepal and India. The present Karma Charmé is the seventh reincarnate lama of in the unique Neydo Kagyu tradition, which also follows the Nyingma lineage Tibetan Buddhism.
You stay in the monastery’s adjoining guest house. Originally built to accommodate monastic visitors, it was under-used so it was decided to open it for guests to stay, using the profits to contribute to the day-to-day expenses of the monastery. The rooms are all very comfortable with ensuite bathrooms, a kettle to make tea and coffee, and a private balcony.
The monks are very happy for you to join them for their early morning and evening ceremonies in the main hall. Watched over by a towering image of the Amitabha Buddha, many people chose this peaceful setting for personal retreats, meditation, and courses that are given on Tibetan literature, Buddhist philosophy and ethics. (Neydo Monastery Guest House)
Drive to Bandipur
You are driven to Bandipur Described at a ‘living museum of Newari culture’ by Lonely Planet, Bandipur lies on a ridge about 700m above the river. An important stop for traders along the India-Tibet route in the eighteenth century, the Newars brought their cultural heritage and architecture which has remained unchanged. In the nineteenth century, Bandipur was a prosperous trading centre, with its buildings that have ornate elegant neoclassical façades and wood-carved shuttered windows.
Although the town suffered a decline in the 1970s after the building of the Prithvi Highway from Kathmandu to Pokhara, a lot of work has gone into helping restore Bandipur to its former glory. Bandipur Eco-Cultural Tourism Project (BECT-Project) that is funded by EuropeAid supports Bandipur as a unique tourist destination. Now with its glorious 18th-century architecture, pedestrianized bazaar and cafes, it is a very relaxing place to chill out.
Visit the Silkworm Farm to see the fascinating process of how silk is produced. The farm grows mulberry plants which are fed to the silkworms that are reared indoors. There are temples all around the main bazaar with the ornate Bindebasini Temple, at the northeast end, a two-tiered temple dedicated to Durga with walls covered carvings; Mahalaxmi Temple to the southeast, dating from the medieval period, in the style of a pagoda; Chandithan to the west; and Narayan Temple to the east of the main bazaar area. Here there are statues of the god Harihar and the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu inside. Khadga Devi Temple is one of the most revered even if it looks more like an ordinary house. The shrine contains a Khadga, a sacred sword wrapped in layers of cloth and legend has it that it was a present from Lord Shiva to Mukunda Sen, king of Palpa (1518-1553 A.D.) The Khadga is worshipped as a symbol of the female power, hence the name Khadga Devi, which means goddess of the sword.
Bandipur – Hike to Ramkot
Today you hike to the Magar village of Ramkot, two-three hours’ walk from Bandipur. Here you see wooden balconied houses and a few, now rare thatched roundhouses. You first come to Purano Kot, formerly an old fort twenty-minute walk west from the bazaar. A small temple nearby contains old statutes. Beside this, a newer temple has been built, where local people come to pray for rain to the god Mahadev during times of drought. Ramkot is an easy couple of hours hike. It is a typical Magar village with traditional round houses and is untouched by modern development, offering an opportunity to see the lifestyle of people in rural Nepal.
Not only are there spectacular views from your hotel, but a short walk to Tundikhel gives an excellent vantage point to the north of Bandipur’s main bazaar where you can see the sun setting over the Himalayan Range including Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Langtang, Manaslu and Ganesh Himal, among others. You should be able to see the legendary Gorkha Palace and Manakamana Peak and look down to the Marsyangdi Valley, Bimalnagar and Dumre. Tundikhel was where traders gathered to bargain over goods from India and Tibet before starting the long trek to Lhasa or India. It was also a former parade ground for Gurkhas serving with the British Army.
Drive to Pokhara
From Bandipur, it is about three hours (but just 78 kilometres) on the Prithvi Highway to Pokhara. Continuing westwards across the Madi River, you climb again with views of deep rocky gorges crossed by suspension bridges before descending to the broad Seti Valley.
Pokhara lays on a once vibrant trade route between India and Tibet. Even to this day, mule trains can be seen sometimes camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalaya. This is the land of Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and valiant warriors who have earned worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurial skill.
There are lots of things to see and do in Pokhara. There are a few museums, the most notable being the International Mountain Museum (IMM). In addition, there is an ethnographical museum, Pokhara Regional Museum and Annapurna Natural History Museum with collections of flora and fauna, and butterflies. There is also the Gurkha Museum featuring the history of the Gurkha soldiers. Gurkha soldiers are still recruited here in Pokhara. You might like to go boating or take the opportunity to try out paragliding. For the fearless, you might want to have a go at Nepal’s second bungee jumping site: Water Touch Bungee Jumping. Or if you are interested in Tibetan culture, you can take a tour of the Tibetan settlements with a Tibetan guide.
Trekking Day starting from Bas Kharka
You are driven to Galeshwor to start your trek. As you head up to Bas Kharka, climb through forest and then orange groves, passing scattered farmhouses on the way to this attractive village. You have time to explore this Magar village, maybe visit the school and health post, and in season, enjoy the sweet oranges that grow on the hillsides here. (Community Homestay)
Danda Kaske and Nangi
Heading up through the forest to Danda Kaske, this is where you stop for lunch. Overlooking the valleys, as well as admiring the lovely views, you get a good chance to meet some of the local people. and admire the views. After lunch, it is a leisurely walk on to Nangi, the main village where you spend the night. Here you can visit the school, see how the villagers make paper from the locally grown plants, visit a medicinal plant nursery, and see a number of other income-generating projects. (Community Lodge)
Mohare Hill (3300m, 5-6hrs)
Today you climb through forest, accompanied by stunning views of the mountains. On the top of Mohare Hill, you can see the Himalayas stretching as far as the eye can see, with close-up views of Macchupucchre (Fish Tail Mountain) and Dhaulagiri. Surrounded by forest, don’t be surprised to meet yaks grazing nearby. There is no village here, but there is the highest wireless internet relay station in Nepal, providing internet to the remote villages for schools and health posts that use telemedicine, linking up with hospitals in Kathmandu to provide better healthcare in the villages. (Community Lodge)
Danda Karka (2,800m; 2 hrs)
After a fantastic ridge walk with marvellous views in every direction, you descend through forest to the secluded lodge at Danda Karka. The mountains here seem so close, you feel could reach out and touch them. (Community Lodge)
Tikot (2300m; 5-6 hrs)
Continuing down, you pass through changing scenery as you go down to Tikot, a village of narrow lanes and beautiful houses. Here you visit the school and experience the fascinating Mayar dance tradition (the men dress as women, while the women sing traditional songs). Staying with families in their home, you get a close-up glimpse of village life in this fascinating and bustling village. Sit and watch the women carrying huge mountains of grass to feed their buffalo; see the children clutching their books on their way to school; see the villagers working in their fields. (Community homestay)
Tipling and Pokhara (900m; 2 hrs trek and 3-4 hrs drive)
Too quickly the trek is close to the end. From Tikot you descend a steep path down to Tipling, with amazing sheer views down to the Kali Gandaki river below. After about two hours of descent, at Tipling you are met and transported back to Pokhara.
Pokhara – free day
There are lots of things to see and do in Pokhara. The most notable museum is the International Mountain Museum (IMM). In addition, there is an ethnographical museum, Pokhara Regional Museum and Annapurna Natural History Museum with collections of flora and fauna, and butterflies. There is also the Gurkha Museum featuring the history of the Gurkha soldiers. Gurkha soldiers are still recruited here in Pokhara. You might like to go boating or take the opportunity to try out paragliding. For the fearless, you might want to have a go at Nepal’s second bungee jumping site: Water Touch Bungee Jumping. Or if you are interested in Tibetan culture, you can take a tour of the Tibetan settlements with a Tibetan guide.
Back to Kathmandu
Fly back to Kathmandu takes only about 35 minutes. You have the rest of the day free. You might like to try out one of the many cooking classes or workshops on offer, go for some more sightseeing or do some last minute shopping.
You transfer to Tribhuvan Airport to connect with your onward flight. Please note that you should check in three hours prior to your flight time.