Mardi Himal Trek, which was officially announced open for trekking in 2012, is a short and easy trekking package in Nepal tempting hikers and trekking enthusiasts to discover one of the hidden gems of Nepal. Located on the east side of one of the most popular treks of Nepal, that is Annapurna Base Camp trek, the Mardi Himal trek is no lesser than other off-the-beaten trekking destinations in Nepal. Within a short span of time, Mardi Himal trek has been one of the most popular trekking packages in Nepal, which involves walking along beautiful forested areas and rocky mountain terrains. Colonel Jimmy Roberts, an officer in the Gorkha regiment of the British Army who nicknamed this top trek in Nepal as ‘The Other Sanctuary’, is a low-altitude trekking trip in the Annapurna region.
Trekking in the Mardi Himal region involves marvelous forest walks, alpine landscapes, and dissimilar ethnic insights. Out of several teahouse trekking destinations in Nepal, this particular trek is preferred by regular hikers owing to its location on the quieter side of the Annapurna region, its tranquil valleys, fascinating villages, glittering rivers and exceptional views of Annapurna, Machhapuchhre, and Hiunchuli mountains. One major advantage of this popular trekking route in Nepal is that, the trail makes a small circuit up to Mardi Himal Base Camp and that the trekkers don’t have to return on the same path traveled before.
Autumn and spring seasons would be the best time for trekking in Nepal’s Mardi Himal region. However, some prefer winter for their hike, which is not recommendable because there are higher possibilities of the high passes being closed due to heavy snowfall. Come and join Royal Holidays to get attached with the indigenous people in the less trodden, non-touristic trail and gather a huge experience of the far-flung villages of Nepal. Take delight in the picturesque landscapes and the eye-catching terraced fields. All you need is good health and a strong determination to hike along the exotic and enchanting trails roving through luxuriant valleys, alpine meadows, countless streams, and scenic waterfalls.
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On arrival in Kathmandu and fulfilling immigration formalities, you will be met by one of our representatives near the exit gate of the airport with a placard for precise identification. You will then be transferred to your pre-assigned hotel room where you may stretch your legs and relax to regain your energy due to a possible jet lag. If your arrival time is early, then you may hit the streets of Thamel in the evening and saunter around, buy things that may entice your eyes or simply sit back and relax at some pub or music bar with your favorite beer and soothing melodies. Overnight in Kathmandu.
After a satisfactory breakfast in your hotel, you will embark for a guided tour to some of the most historical and spiritual attractions of the city that are listed under the UNESCO world heritage sites. A visit to the highly venerated Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the high-flying monkey temple at Swayambhunath, Bouddhanath – a Buddhist shrine and one of the largest stupas in the world, and the charismatic Basantapur Durbar Square leaves impressive reminiscences at the back of your head for a considerable period of time. Later in the afternoon, you will visit our office where you will meet your trip manager, other trekkers, and crew members. Your trip leader will brief you shortly about your upcoming trip in the Mardi Himal region, check your equipment and interact for any unclear thoughts in your head before you go back to your hotel. Overnight in Kathmandu.
You will depart from Kathmandu after an early breakfast in a private vehicle to the Lake city of Pokhara. Driving along the Prithvi Highway all the way to Mugling alongside the raging Trishuli River, you will drive past several small towns and snaky roads. From Mugling, you will drive around three hours leaving the main highway through beautiful terraced fields and changing landscapes and small towns and agricultural farms. On arrival at Pokhara, you will be shifted to your pre-assigned hotel room where you are advised to relax for a few hours before you stroll along the pavements at the famous lakeside. There you may relax by a wayside inn or a small restaurant and bar, enjoy some local music performance while sipping your favorite malted beer. Overnight in Pokhara.
After breakfast at your hotel, you will embark on a short drive from Pokhara to Phedi, which is the starting point of the Mardi Himal trek. On reaching Phedi, you are ready to begin your adventurous spree with a steep climb up to a hill along stone steps crossing amazing terraced fields, small villages, and green forests. Hiking for around 2 hours, you will reach a beautiful hamlet of Dhampus that offers exceptional views of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Machhapuchhre and several other mountain peaks. You will continue your trek after lunch at Dhampus, through rhododendron forest and the Mardi Khola thundering down the hills along with beautiful views of the snow-capped mountain peaks till you reach the village of Deurali. Deurali is a small picturesque village located on a ridge that offers spectacular mountain views. Overnight in Deurali.
Relishing an excellent breakfast on a beautiful morning over the ridge top Deurali village, you will kick off and divert away from the main Annapurna trekking route. There is a “right turn” diversion sign written on a signpost at Deurali as “Forest Camp”, and this trail leads through beautiful forests and absolute boondocks. It starts getting cooler and you will feel the refreshing air soothing you along with superb views of Annapurna I, II & IV, Annapurna South, Hiunchuli and Lamjung Himal. Today, you will carry packed lunch and adequate drinking water while leaving Deurali as you won’t find any teahouses on the way to the forest camp. As usual, the day’s walk comprises gentle saunter in the rhododendron forests with a gradual uphill walk and frequent ups and downs. It is time that you arrive at the forest camp, which is also known as Kokar, and there are only a handful of basic lodges here. Overnight in Forest Camp.
Today after breakfast, you will climb with a gradual ascent through rhododendron forests along the valley ridge. The initial track is quite steep but with the eventual progress, the path becomes much easier and you will reach a pastureland from where dazzling views of Machhapuchhre, Annapurna mountains, and Mardi Himal seem to appear very close to you. You will keep hiking uphill amongst classic forests of mosses, lichens, ferns, and orchids and reach the low camp. There are only a few basic lodges here but the warmth of hospitality you will receive is awesome. Overnight in Low camp.
After an early breakfast today, you will start hiking a gradual climbing in juxtaposition with a ridge towards Mardi Himal and Machhapuchhre. With the preliminary climb, you will reach Badal Danda, which is also known as the Cloud Hill. The tree lines start thinning from here and you will arrive in a shrubby alpine area consisting of deserted rhododendron bushes. After walking several ups and downs for almost three hours, you will make a final climb up to the High Camp, which is just a small pasture with few lodges. The High camp provides stunning views of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, and Machhapuchhre along with frosty fields and blue glaciers of the Annapurna sanctuary. Overnight in High Camp.
It is advised to wake up early today for majestic sunrise views that spread out the ominous mountain to the gleaming condition. After breakfast, you will hike up the ridge leading towards the Mardi Himal Base Camp. With several undulating tracks on steep and narrow trails across yak grazing pastures, you will reach to the top of the ridge which is marked as MBC. This marking suggests your direction towards the Mardi Himal Base Camp. This top of the ridge is actually the Upper Viewpoint and unsurprisingly the highest point of our trek. From here, the brilliant peaks visible are Mardi Himal, Annapurna I, Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Varaha Shikhar (Mt. Fang), Tent peak, Singachuli, Machhapuchhre and many more. After spending a considerable amount of time capturing pictures of a lifetime, you will retrace your footsteps back to the high camp. Overnight in High camp.
After breakfast at High camp, you will descend following a different route leading you to Sidhing village instead to the forest camp at Kokar. The day’s hike is an easy downhill walk along the banks of Mardi Khola through terraced farmlands and interesting suspension bridges. Tucked away from the much busier trail and situated on a junction to other routes leading to Mardi Himal is the Sidhing village, a cherubic and an enchanting Nepali countryside which offers a serene and a tranquil stay for trekkers and adventure seekers. Overnight in Sidhing.
Strutting for about two to three hours after breakfast from Sidhing village, you will arrive at the road head at Lumre leaving behind tiny villages of Kalimati and Ghalel. After a short rest in Lumre village, you will get onboard a private vehicle that will drive you to Pokhara which is more or less around two-hours drive. On arrival at Pokhara, you will be transferred to your hotel room where you may stretch your weary legs and relax in leisure. Later in the evening, it is the perfect time to stroll around lakeside and perhaps sit beside a candlelit restaurant and sip your favorite beer and listen to some live bands performing some soulful melodies of Nepal. Overnight in Pokhara
You will board on an early flight to Kathmandu today. On your flight back, you have time to saunter into flashback the nostalgic moments during your mesmerizing trek to the Annapurna region. On arrival at Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel room. In the afternoon, you are free to catch up on some last minute shopping or explore exceptional landmarks that you would not want to miss in Kathmandu. Overnight in Kathmandu.
You will be dropped off at the airport well ahead of your scheduled flight time by one of our representatives. If you have an evening flight, you may wish to visit certain heritage sites of Kathmandu on your own. However, if you wish to extend your holidays in Nepal, then Royal Holidays are ever ready to create another wonderful trip in the Himalayas.
This is a standard itinerary designed with a view to allow sufficient acclimatization period for trekkers. However, if you are not satisfied with this itinerary or wish to modify it according to your needs, we will happily do it for you. You are free to choose your own hotels, guides or porters if you wish to. We are always there to customize or tailor-make your trips as per your plans and convenience.
During your Annapurna region trekking, very basic accommodation, in the form of guesthouse, is available in almost every village. These lodges have neat and clean beds and comfortable mattresses. The bed is small and the bathroom must be shared. Some lodges are better than others. Although blankets are provided, it is better to have your own sleeping bags as it gets very cold at higher elevations and there is no provision of heating system inside the rooms. Usually at peak seasons, lodge owners expect you to dine at their lodge in order to guarantee you a sleeping place. At most lodges, there is a chimney heater in the common dining hall. Some lodges may offer hot showers for an additional fee as well.
During your Annapurna region trekking, you will find plenty of food items to eat. Lodges have menu offering Chinese, Tibetan, Indian, Nepali cuisines including some continental food. Normally, you will have your dinner and breakfast at the lodge where you stay overnight while lunch will be served on the way where your trekking guide deems right for you. Eating Nepali dishes is a lot healthier and energetic that typically includes steamed rice and lentil soup aka Dal Bhaat along with local cooked vegetables like cabbage, green beans, carrots, potatoes, greens etc,. This powerful Nepali diet will be your basic lunch and dinner menu. Meat is readily available for non-vegetarian lovers. You may have Tsampa porridge, corn bread, buckwheat bread, barley bread or eggs & rice for breakfast. We suggest you to carry some energy bars, nuts etc. on your own in case you run into a situation where you have fewer options to choose from a menu.
Autumn in Nepal falls during the months from September to November while spring falls during March to May. These months have the best weather for trekking in the Annapurna regions. During these months, the skies are clearer than other seasons and you will be blessed with some of the most outstanding views of the Nepal Himalayas including the peaks like Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. During the winter and monsoon months, the trekking routes are quieter, and food and accommodation is much cheaper. Due to the inconsistency in weather conditions during these months, the views may not be as impressive as during the autumn and spring seasons.
Trekking to the base camp of the world’s tenth highest mountain Annapurna is definitely not as easy as one may think. It is a journey with lots of twists and turns, ups and downs and walking on different terrains. It does not involve technical climbing but having a prior hiking experience will do good while trekking. The trek gets harder as one keeps ascending to higher altitude. Any person with a strong body and a positive mindset, any level of trekkers can accomplish the trek without a problem. With increasing altitude, the air gets thinner and the possibility of altitude sickness increases. Each day of walking involves 12 to 15 km and 6 – 7 hours of trekking.
Yes, it is possible to trek in the Annapurna regions independently. But it is highly advised for those trekkers with prior experience of walking for a few hours every day. In addition, trekkers must be willing to carry their own baggage of at least 15 kg while trekking alone. Trekking without a guide would be the cheapest option to trek in the Annapurna regions but then, be ready to manage everything on your own including accommodation in the mountains, transportation to the trailhead and of course your meals. Nonetheless, if it is your first time in trekking in the Annapurna region, then it is best if you use a trekking guide for several reasons you wouldn’t regret later.
You will carry only important items required for your trek during the trekking. Any extra items that you have can be safely stored in our store room at our office or in our hotel. Your belongings will remain safe with us and there will not be any extra cost for storing your extra baggage with us.
You will carry your own luggage and backpack if you plan to trek independently. If you book your trip with us, we have not included porter cost in the package. However, if you require that your luggage should be carried by a porter and you are ready to bear the porter’s cost, then we will arrange a porter for you who will carry your luggage during the trek. But, you will be responsible for carrying you own daypack with all your valuable items, drinking water, camera, snacks and a medical pack.
In the past, there were no communication facilities until you returned to Kathmandu from trekking. But since the past few years, communicating with your relatives back home is not a problem at all from most of the places of the Annapurna regions, except from some places. While you are in Kathmandu, we suggest you to purchase a local SIM card, preferably NCell, and top up with certain amount of money. So, when you are walking in the mountains, you can talk to your friends or family, use internet facilities to upload photos of trekking and so on. Some lodges on the trek route also have Wi-Fi facilities for which you need to pay. Only some of the areas may face network problems due to which you may not be able to make phone calls or use your phone data to use the internet.
Your guide is a qualified, well-trained and an authorized person with a trekking license from the government of Nepal. He speaks English fluently and is also first-aid trained with an ability to handle almost any situation while trekking in the mountains. Some of the porters are also able to speak English fairly enough and all our guides and porters are fully insured.
A majority of the teahouses on the Annapurna trekking route have squat type of toilet facilities. In the recently built teahouses and lodges they have western style flush toilets due to the increasing flow of tourists in the Annapurna trail. However, at certain places, there may be shortage of water so it is advised to carry your own toilet paper and other toiletries.
Although it is not really necessary for you carry your sleeping bag, but we do advice you to carry one as sleeping at altitudes above 4000m during cold months could be really cold. The guesthouses at various places do provide blankets in the rooms but it may not be sufficient to keep you warm. If you do not have your own sleeping bag, we will arrange it for you to rent from some rental outlet at a small cost.
You can expect to have only about 3 – 4 showers during your trekking trip. Showers are normally the traditional hot water bucket showers that are available on request at an extra cost. It is not necessary to have shower at higher altitudes and our guide will provide tips on how to maintain personal hygiene during such times.
No, unfortunately there are no ATMs on the Annapurna trekking regions. Trekkers have to draw sufficient cash either from Pokhara or Kathmandu itself which have hundreds of ATMs. Every transaction in Nepal is done in Nepali rupees so you are advised to carry enough Nepali rupees bearing small denominations so that purchasing stuffs in the mountains is easier.
Teahouses and lodges in the Annapurna trekking regions provide filtered and boiled water, the major sources being taps, streams, and rivers from the Himalayas. Although it is possible to buy bottled mineral water at most of the teahouses on the trails, we do not encourage our fellow trekkers to use plastic bottles as they are not environment friendly. On the contrary, we recommend that you carry purifying agents like SteriPen UV, chlorine, iodine tablets or other purifying agents for environmental reasons.
We advise you to wear a comfortable pair of shoes that is previously broken in case it is newly purchased. Previously broken shoes will avoid your feet from getting blisters while walking. We normally recommend shoes with Gore-Tex style lining as it provides ultimate comfort and has thicker soles thereby making your walking experience on rough terrains a pleasant one.
Rainy seasons in Nepal fall during the months of June to August. During rainy seasons, the rainfall makes the trails slippery and less relevant for hiking. However, the trekking route remains less crowded and one can enjoy beautiful views of the Himalayan ranges and a wide variety of flora and fauna. Therefore, it is possible for you to trek during the rainy seasons or winters for a quieter experience with fewer trekkers on the trail.
Female tourists are subjects of esteem whether traveling alone, in pairs or as a couple. By and large, Nepali men are courteous and defensive of solo women travelers. There will be exemptions of course, but for the most part, there is no lack of enthusiasm related to traveling as a solo woman in Nepal. Nevertheless, for a solo woman or even a solo man, it is always wise to take a guide with you especially if it is your first trekking experience in the Nepal Himalayas. Overall, Nepal is safe for solo travelers where one can enjoy the companionship of other lone trekkers along the trail sharing the same passion.