The Annapurna range in central Nepal is home to some of the world’s most iconic mountain landscapes and crisscrossed by some of the country’s most popular trekking routes. For those looking for a less-travelled and gentler glimpse of this spectacular terrain, the 4-5 day Mardi Himal trek is perfect.
Slightly more rigorous than your average mountain ramble, the trek consists of walking up and then along a ridge that juts into the Annapurnas, to a viewpoint perched at the end of it. Stunning views of the lesser-known side of one of the range’s most famous peaks – the 6993 metre-high Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) – alone make the trek worth doing.
Interested in this trek? Have a look at Inside Himalaya: The Mardi Himal Trek During Monsoon
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Cultural Tour - Bhaktapur and Panauti|
|Day 3||Drive to Pokhara|
|Day 4||Drive from Pokhara to Kande & trek to Deurali|
|Day 5||Forest Camp (2550m; 04 Hrs)|
|Day 6||Low Camp (2990m; 03 Hrs)|
|Day 7||High Camp (3580m; 03 Hrs)|
|Day 8||Hike to Mardi Himal Base Camp (4500m ) & return back to High Camp.|
|Day 9||Landruk (1620m; 07 Hrs)|
|Day 10||Jhinu Hot Spring (1780m ; 03 Hrs)|
|Day 11||Nayapul (915m; 02 Hrs) & drive back to Pokhara|
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 condRead More...
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 wake-up 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 in 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, a 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. The lodges provide clean bedding, but you may want to pack a sheet sleeping bag for peace of mind.
The main means of transport are 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 the 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 powerpoint’s 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 covers 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 travel 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 effects 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 a 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 passed 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 the 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.
Royal Mountain Travel is a Nepal-based sustainable tourism operator. We specialize in curating once-in-a-lifetime experiences to showcase indigenous and community based tourism projects. We work with travel agents and tourism companies to help plan travel experiences that highlight authentic, local lifestyles throughout some of the most unique landscapes on earth.
Arrival in Kathmandu
If you fly into the Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport during the day, you will be treated to views of the snow-capped Himalayas in the distance, and the high wooded hills of the Kathmandu Valley. After you are picked up in the arrivals hall by our representative, you will be briefed about our company and given other general information. There are no pre-organized activities today, so you have time to rest and settle into your comfortable hotel, but you’ll set a time for a full briefing.
Overnight in Hotel Traditional Comfort
Cultural Tour - Bhaktapur and Panauti
Bhaktapur is the quintessential Newari city, with some of the finest architecture in all Nepal. Among the three oldest cities of the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur was once the largest and the capital of Nepal during the Malla period. In the narrow lanes and open squares of Bhaktapur, you can see traditional crafts being made, such as pottery, metalwork, art, and the finest woodwork. Newari craftspeople are still renowned today as producers of some of the best traditional crafts in Nepal.
After our sightseeing in Bhaktapur city, we will drive to Panauti (approx 1 hour). Upon arrival at Panauti, we will be welcomed by the whole community. You will be introduced to your hosts, at whose home you will eat a delicious traditional lunch.
Panauti is one of the oldest typical Newari villages, and here you will see a number of beautiful and fascinating Hindu temples. Panauti has generally been spared much earthquake damage over the centuries, even though neighbouring towns and cities have suffered. It is believed that Panautiwas built on a single stone, thus making it more stable and secure that neighbouring places.
Breakfast at Hotel Traditional Comfort.
Lunch with a local family in Panauti
Overnight in Hotel Traditional Comfort
Drive to Pokhara
You may wish to fly, take a bus or drive to Pokhara.
Drive from Pokhara to Kande & trek to Deurali
After breakfast, you are taken on the one and a half hour drive to Kande. We begin our journey walking on stone paved steps, local settlements, followed by forest and wildflowers, and reaching Deurali, we will be welcomed by the stunning views of the Annapurna South, Mardi Himal and Macchhapuchhare.
Forest Camp (2550m; 04 Hrs)
The trekking route goes through a lush green forest accompanied by the bunch of colourful rhododendrons, Nepal’s national flower. It is a tranquil trail, which is quiet, peaceful till the forest camp. We can take rest and explore the area which is also known locally as Kokar.
Low Camp (2990m; 03 Hrs)
We perpetuate to ambulate through dense forests revering Nepal’s opulent biodiversity and reach the low camp. From here, the fantastic view of Mt. Machapuchhre (Mt. Fishtail) up the valley is mesmerizing. We can spend some time in the evening observing the local lifestyle.
High Camp (3580m; 03 Hrs)
If fortuitous, we might even come across the Daphne pheasant (national bird of Nepal) peregrinating to high camp. We ascend up to the high camp, which the final destination of the day. However, on the beginning of the trekking day, we trek uphill alongside a ridge towards Mardi Himal and Macchhapuchhre. The tree lines start getting thinner and the area mostly consists of shrubs with isolated rhododendron bushes along the trail.
From here the mountain views are stunning.
Hike to Mardi Himal Base Camp (4500m ) & return back to High Camp.
We hike along a narrow ridge afore reaching the Upper Viewpoint. The view of the Himalayan vista from here is astonishing. We visually perceive Mardi Himal (5587m), Annapurna I (8091m), Annapurna south (7219m), Hiunchuli (6441m), Baraha Shikhar (Mt. Fang) (7647m), Tent Peak (5695m), Singhachuli (6501m), Machapuchhre (6993m) and others. We trek back to the high camp for an overnight stay.
On the same day, we return to High Camp, which will take 2 hours to reach from Base Camp.
Landruk (1620m; 07 Hrs)
Jhinu Hot Spring (1780m ; 03 Hrs)
Nayapul (915m; 02 Hrs) & drive back to Pokhara
It is an easy three hours drive back to Pokhara. Here, you can get a hot shower and relax in one of the many bars and cafes along Lakeside.
Returning to Kathmandu in the morning, 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.