Annapurna Panorama and Mardi Himal Trek
Less than fifteen miles north of Pokhara, as the crow flies, Mardi Himal is the most southerly small peak of the Annapurna range: from some viewpoints it seems little more than an outlier on the south-west flank of Machhapuchhre.
Although the route to the summit was tackled and introduced over five decades ago, the trekking trail itself was introduced only recently. Mardi Himal (5,587m), is the triangular-shaped mountain which rises from the long ridge along the southern slope of Machhapuchhre, from where the superlative views, including a fine vista of the picturesque Pokhara valley, encompassing many of the world’s highest peaks, namely Annapurna l (8091m), Annapurna ll (7937m), Annapurna lll (7555m), Annapurna lV (7525m), Annapurna South (7219m), Dhaulagiri (8167m), Manaslu (8163m), Nilgiri ()7041m), Machhapuchhre (6998m), Hiunchuli (6441m), Glacier Dome (7193m), Gangapurna (7454m) and Lamjung Himal (6986m). This unique trek is sure to provide outstanding views of many of these giants, particularly Machhapuchhre, which dominates the trail throughout, primarily because of its position as the southernmost mountain in the whole Annapurna range, thereby appearing unbelievably close.
Even though these huge and often familiar-shaped peaks are nearby, there is still an essence of exploration on this beautiful trail, which leaves behind the more popular trekking routes and affords the opportunity to walk high on the ridge for the most part, looking down on scenery often only appreciated from afar or below. Beyond the mountain vistas, the dramatic scenery of the Mardi Himal trek is unforgettable, with its incredible landscape of rocks, hills and forests, colourful with rhododendrons in the Spring, and always home to many species of flora and fauna.
Trekking through dense forests and discovering high alpine pastures adds to the sense of exploration; the sparsely scattered Gurung and Magar settlements at the beginning and end of the trail retain much of their traditional charm, receiving few visitors, apart from the shepherds and other animal herders who pass by on their way to summer pastures, as they have done from time immemorial. Exploration of the unique blend of culture, rituals and lifestyles of the various ethnic groups is a rare opportunity, as is the chance to discover as yet unexplored features of the area.
The entire Mardi Himal trek is dominated by a sense of remoteness, yet accompanied throughout by the sounds of both well-known and unfamiliar birds, and sometimes of silence – always with the ever-present Machhapuchhre.
The ten-year celebration of North Lewisham Scout expeditions to Nepal starts with the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu and exciting visits to various world heritage sites in the Valley. There will be an exhilarating although short flight to Pokhara, during which there should be an almost unending vista of snowy peaks.
Superb views of Annapurnas and Dhaulagiris will be enjoyed throughout the trek, which begins at Nayapul, a short road journey from Pokhara. The early part of the trek is dominated by dense forests of Rhododendron, Oak, Magnolia, Pine and Bamboo, rich with birds, butterflies and many mammals, including Muntjac and Musk deer, also Rhesus Macaque and Grey Langur monkeys: even an outside chance of spotting the endangered Red Panda or Black Bear!
The up–and-down trail passes through narrow gorges, alongside mountain streams and rushing rivers, traversing high ridges and deep valleys, with Gurung and Brahman villages to be visited and enjoyed along the way, providing a unique cultural experience of some of the Nepalese ethnic groups living in the Annapurna foothills.
Another aspect of the trek is the ascent of Pun Hill, the famed site of a 360 degree panoramic view of the Annapurna range, from a completely different viewpoint to that from the Mardi Himal ridge. To enjoy the spectacular panorama at its best, dawn is the ultimate time to see the mountains, as the golden sun rises above them.
The last few days of the trek will see a reunion with the Mardi Himal Summit Team, and back to Pokhara together, where there will be a couple of days’ rest and relaxation, including optional activities, such as Nepalese Cookery Experience, Paragliding, Mountain biking, Pony trekking, Zip Ride, or enjoying peaceful boat excursions on Lake Phewa. Then follows a resurgence of physical activity – white water rafting on the Trisuli River, en route to Chitwan National Park for jungle experience including elephant riding, dug out canoe and bullock cart rides, before driving back to Kathmandu.
Itinerary at a glance
Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu and transport to Hotel
Day 02: Kathmandu: half-day world heritage sightseeing (Monkey temple and Patan/Bhaktapur), and preparing for trek
Day 03: Morning flight to Pokhara (820m) and drive to Nayapul (1070m) via Kande (1770m), and trek to Tirkhedunga (1540m)
Day 04: Trek to Ghodepani Deurali (2870m)
Day 05: Ascend to Pun Hill (3210m) and trek to Tadapani (2520m)
Day 06: Trek to Chomrong (2170m)
Day 07: Trek to Landruk (1565m) via Jhinu Danda (1780m) - visit Hot Spring (tatopani)
Day 08: Trek to Kokar (Forest Camp, 2510m)
Day 09: Trek to Kumai (Low Camp, 3050m)
Day 10: Trek to Khorchon (High Camp, 3900m)
Day 11: Exploration day, trek to Upper Viewpoint (4100m) and return to High Camp (3900m)
Day 12: Trek to Sidhing (1700m)
Day 13: Trek to Lumre (1200m) and drive to Pokhara
Day 14: Pokhara: relax and leisure time, possible Nepalese Kitchen Experience (DIY Dinner)
Day 15: Pokhara: leisure time with optional extra activities
Day 16: Early morning drive to Charaudi and start rafting on Trisuli river, overnight camp on beach
Day 17: Rafting to Gaighat and drive to Chitwan
Day 18: Chitwan jungle activities: Elephant Safari and Bathing; other activities
Day 19: Finishing off final activities, and mid-morning drive back to Kathmandu
Day 20: Kathmandu; leisure time or optional visit to Jamarko (EPHC), our project in support of disadvantaged children, and last night farewell
Day 21: Transfer to airport for international departure
Every effort will be made to keep to our published itineraries, but as almost all of our treks involve adventure travel in remote mountain regions, we cannot guarantee this! Weather conditions, availability of porters, the health of team members, or even local political turmoil, can all contribute to changes beyond our control. Our trekking guides and their teams will endeavour to ensure that all our trips run according to our planned itineraries, but please be prepared to be flexible, if necessary.
Date & Price
All ACCESS-HIMALAYA adventure travel trips are small group departures and therefore places can fill quickly. To avoid disappointment, we suggest you book your trip as soon as possible.
... on River RaftingAll three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during rafting
Internal transportation (as stated in itinerary)
Rafting equipment (boat, safety helmet and life jacket, safety kayak, handheld paddles, dry bags etc)
Camping equipment (two-man tents, mess tent , mattresses, plates, cutlery and kitchen gear)
River permits and entrance fees.
Experienced staff (river guide, safety kayaker and some helpers)
... in ChitwanAll meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Twin room with a/c and ceiling fan
Elephant-back safari and possibility of elephant wash as well
A short walk inside national park with a jungle guide
Visit to elephant breeding centre, and brief bird watching
Dugout canoe excursion with probable observation of Marsh Mugger & Gharial crocodiles
Brief visit to typical local Tharu village, and evening cultural programme presenting local tribal dances
After your exciting daytime activities, you may enjoy starting your evening by taking a dip in the outdoor swimming pool or relaxing on the banks of the Budi Rapti River viewing the sunset and bird watching
... in Camping TrekAccommodation in Kathmandu and elsewhere-apart from trek (see itinerary) bed & breakfast basis, (accommodation in twin room unless otherwise arranged) – accommodation facilities/details are outlined at 'Trip Notes'
All meals during the trek (all breakfasts, lunches and dinners will be hot and freshly prepared)
All internal transportation as stated in itinerary, including domestic flights (see itinerary) We use Tourist Bus/Privately hired vehicles/Domestic air transport - whichever is available, and viable
All Camping equipment [Large A-shape or D, two-man tents about 5’2”high internally, Mess tent, Kitchen tent, Shower tent (on request), Toilet tents, Mattresses (dense foam with removable cotton cover), Tables, Chairs with back support, Stainless steel plates and cutlery, and Kitchen gear]
Free hire of four season down sleeping bag and fleece liner for trek only (see individual trips)
Experienced staff - (cook, kitchen helpers, sardar, sherpa helpers, porters/animals for camping trek) as appropriate
Staff and porter insurance
Sightseeing in Kathmandu as stated in itinerary (guide and transport only)
Free gift of Access-Himalaya trekking kit bag for each member of group (to be distributed on arrival in Kathmandu)
Free airport pick and drop (usually international only)
Trekking and TIMS permits (as appropriate)
... in Camping TrekYour personal equipment
Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond our control
Your travel insurance, (Make sure the policy covers helicopter rescue and evacuation service)
Medical examination and vaccination costs
Personal expenditure, including bar bills, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc.
Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and elsewhere-apart from trek (see itinerary)
Heritage sights/Monastery/Temple entrance fees
Trek and Tour crew tips at end of tour
- A AVAILABLE - Trip date is available and open for bookings. Go for it!
- G GUARANTEED - Trip is reached minimum numbers and this is 'Guaranteed to Run'
- L LIMITED - Trip is 'Guaranteed to Run' and there are a very limited number of available places remaining. Immediate booking is recommended.
- C CLOSED - Trip has reached maximum numbers and it is unavailable. Please Contact Us to enquire about other trip departure dates or booking this trip as a private departure
Trip Info (Tour/Trek Styles) Explained
- PG Private Group: This style of trip is organized for specific groups of people (families, friends,school and college students, colleagues, business associates etc.), and is closed to outsiders. If you are interested in this particular trip departure date then please get in touch with us.
- OA Open to All: This trip departure is open to all. However, if you are interested in this particular trip departure date but want your own private group, then please get in touch with us.
- LT Lodge Based Trip/Trek: This trip/trek is lodge (teahouse) based. All accommodation, including food, is provided in local lodges. Occasionally however, where a large group is concerned we may choose to send our own cook along, as well, to take care of your food hygiene and to cook some special additional items.We provide all necessary documentation, including permits, and arrange all internal transport. We provide trekking guide, assistant guide(s) and porters/animals for transport of your gear. You merely carry a daysack with essentials, including water.
- CT Camping Based Trip/Trek: This trip/trek is camping (tent) based. We will provide one 3-man tent for every two people, also single tents, where requested, on payment of supplementary costs. All food and drinks are provided by our experienced cook and his kitchen team. We provide all necessary documentation, including permits, and arrange all internal transport. We provide trekking guide, assistant guide(s), cook, kitchen crew, food and drink, and porters/animals for transport of your gear. You merely carry a daysack with essentials, including water.
- GAP Guide, Accommodation & Porter only: In this trip neither food nor transportation is included. Clients are responsible for food and local transportation, and our responsibility is to provide insured guide, insured porter, and all necessary permits. All additional costs are the responsibility of the clients, including charges incurred as a result of delays or cancellation of services beyond our control. Clients pay for their own accommodation. Any additional costs are the responsibility of the clients, We can arrange hotels and international airport transfer, on request.
- SG Self Guided/Budget Trip: This trip is specially designed for low-budget travellers who prefer fairly basic facilities with reduced services. It is a pre-requisite that a porter is hired for any self-guided trip, which is an ideal set-up for those who enjoy independent travel with minimum cost. We have added support to minimise the hard work of planning and costing, and we will be available to help in the unlikely event of an emergency. We will arrange all documentation (including permits), before you arrive in Nepal, so that you are free to get on with your adventure, relying only on your porter to help you on your way. All additional costs are the responsibility of the clients, including charges incurred as a result of delays or cancellation of services beyond our control. Hotel accommodation, local transportation and international airport transfers may be arranged, on request.
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Accommodation in Kathmandu
It is our policy to use Nepali-owned accommodation, always, as we feel this is an aspect of fair trade, and the hotels we use in Kathmandu are comfortable, clean, efficient and friendly. Most hotels are also family-run; we visit, and stay in the hotels ourselves, to ensure that facilities are ... read more..
Food on Camping Trek
Three meals a day, plus afternoon hot drinks with biscuits, are provided on our camping treks. We will provide a tasty, nutritious mixture of Nepalese, Indian and Western food prepared hygienically by our trekking Cooks who are masters at preparing foods under less then ideal conditions. As much as possible ... read more..
Food on LodgeTrek
On lodge treks clients are provided with three meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menus will be fairly standard, according to the region visited, but will vary in style from place to place, according to availability of ingredients, and in more remote areas choice will be relatively restricted ... read more..
It is a strict condition of joining an Access-Himalaya adventure holiday that you must be insured against all medical and personal accident risks, including repatriation if necessary. Helicopter evacuation, in the unlikely event of your being injured or taken seriously ill on trek, is very costly - an average rescue ... read more..
Nepal Visa and Passport
All visitors to Nepal require a passport (valid for at least 6 months after your return to your home country) and an entry visa. A visa application should be obtained from the Nepalese Embassy, in London (click here to download Nepal visa application form ), or in your own country ... read more..
Travellers' cheques are no longer accepted in Nepal, so please do not bring these as your currency. However, ATM facilities are widely available in Kathmandu, Pokhara and other large towns, so a Visa, or other internationally-recognized credit/debit card, would be useful. Larger shops accept payment by credit/debit card, although they ... read more..
Arrival in Nepal
At Kathmandu airport you should proceed through Immigration (you apply for your Visa here) to the baggage collection area. Once you have collected your baggage you should move on to the Customs officers to have your baggage cleared and chalked up, before leaving the Arrivals lounge. Immediately outside, you will ... read more..
Tipping and Service Charges
Tipping is an entirely personal and optional matter and at the discretion of the individual. Should you wish to give a tip in a restaurant, if there is not already a service charge included you may consider a tip of 10%. Recently there has been a recommendation for 10% charge ... read more..
Trekking Clothing & Equipment Guideline
The following is a guideline, not a prescription: we hope it will help you find your way through the minefield of items of clothing and equipment which fill the catalogues of outdoor adventure outfitters! Jacket x 1This should be breathable, wind-proof and waterproof (not showerproof), with attached hood. Suitable fabrics to ... read more..
Accommodation in Chitwan
In Chitwan, the wildlife resort facilities are slightly different to those of the hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara, because of its situation in the National Park buffer zone, although each room has en suite facilities and air conditioning. There is also a swimming pool, large and airy restaurant with bar, ... read more..
Accommodation on lodge treks
Accommodation will be in simple lodges offering twin-bedded rooms with standard foam mattresses (if you require additional comfort you might consider taking along Thermarest or similar self-inflating mattresses). Toilets are mostly of the squat type, situated outside the main building. Toilet paper is not provided, so you should bring this ... read more..
Accommodation on camping treks
Camping trek accommodation will be in A-shaped Vango-style spacious two-man tents (over 5’ internal height x 5’ width x 8’ long), or, for high pass/peak climbing expeditions and rafting, two-man dome tents. On trek, cotton-cased, thick, foam mattresses are provided (if you require additional comfort you might consider taking along ... read more..
Getting Around in Kathmandu
Your first day in Kathmandu is usually dedicated to settling in, and exploring the city. The next morning may include a sightseeing tour to Pashupatinath, Boudanath or the Monkey Temple (Swayambunath). During your free time, the best way to explore your environs is to walk, as this enables you to ... read more..
Accommodation in Pokhara
It is our policy to use Nepali-owned accommodation, always, as we feel this is an aspect of fair trade, and most of the hotels are also family-run.. The hotels we use in Pokhara are no more than 20 minutes away from the airport and are very close to the beautiful ... read more..
If our fixed departure dates are not convenient for you or your group, we can also arrange private departures on all of our small group tours. Private group departures will follow the same itineraries as our usual small group tours, or itineraries may be tailormade to suit your own convenient tour date/budgets.
Itineraries may be tailor-made to suit your dates. So if you can’t find a date to suit you or if you want to have your very own tour just with your friends or family then we can help you.
Customised Private Groups:
For most of our usual tours, or itineraries, where there is a group numbering 2 or more, we can customise and organise private group trip(s) where we design the itinerary and activities exclusively for you, according to your requirements and budgets, such as Honeymoon, Anniversary, Family, Scouts, School, College, Fundraising or Charity trips. Find out more about our private group tours.
To enquire about booking a private departure of this tour or about organising your own private group tour, please fill in the form below and we will get back to you shortly with details.