Mardi Himal & Machhapuchhre Ridge Trek
Situated just east of one of the most popular trekking areas of Nepal, but hardly known as yet, the Mardi Himal trek is a hidden gem. At less than fifteen miles north of Pokhara, as the crow flies, Mardi Himal itself 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.
Surprisingly, although the route to the summit was tackled and established 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 there are 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, yak- 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.
Superb view of the Annapurnas and Dhaulagiris will be enjoyed throughout the trek, which 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.
The Mardi Himal experience both starts and finishes in Pokhara, the attractive, lakeside town which is the closest large settlement to any of the high Himalayan peaks – in this case, the Fishtail mountain, Machhapuchhre, which is only 29km from the town. Lakeside Pokhara is a relaxing place, where post-trek rest and enjoyment are assured: Lake Phewa boating, Nepalese coffee drinking, fine dining with local and international menus, bookshop browsing, or souvenir hunting.
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/Bhaketpur), and preparing for trek
Day 03: Morning drive or fly to Pokhara (820m) and overnight in Hotel, rest of day will be spent at leisure and preparation for the trek.
Day 04: Drive to Kande (1130m), and trek Pothana (1900m) or Pitam Deurali (2100m) via Australian camp (1880m), 1½hrs drive and 2hrs to 3hrs walk
Day 05: Trek to Forest Camp (2550m), 5hrs to 5½hrs walk
Day 06: Trek to Low Camp (3000m), 3hrs walk
Day 07: Trek to High Camp (3900m), 4hrs to 4½hrs walk
Day 08: Exploration day,trek to Upper Viewpoint (4100m) or Mardi Himal Base Camp (4250m) and return to High Camp (3900m), 6hrs to 8hrs walk
Day 09: Trek to Sidhing (1700m) 6hrs to 7hrs walk
Day 10: Trek to Lumre (950m) and drive to Pokhara, 3hrs walk and about 2hrs drive
Day 11: Exploration day at Pokhara: relax, shopping & leisure, overnight in hotel
Day 12: Drive back to Kathmandu, rest of day will be spent at leisure and shopping
Day 13: At leisure in Kathmandu, optional visit to Jamarko projects (EPHC), our project in support of disadvantaged children
Day 14: Transfer to airport for international departure
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.
... in Lodge TrekAccommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara, bed & breakfast basis, (accommodation in twin room unless otherwise arranged) – see itinerary above for dates - accommodation facilities/details outlined below
All three meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) during the trek
All internal transportation as stated in itinerary (see itinerary above)
All lodge accommodation on trek – twin room with clean beds and mattresses, toilet facilities may be outside – no attached bathroom, unless specifically arranged, and where available.
Annapurna Conservation Area entrance permit
Trekking Permits (TIMS) for Annapurna area
Experienced English speaking government licensed guide/s
The required number of local porters to carry your luggage during the trek (We assign one porter for every two guests on lodge treks)
Staff and porter insurance
Guided world heritage sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with private tourist vehicle (2 or 3 sites - Durbar Square/s and Swayambunath (Monkey temple)) (English speaking licensed guide & private transport only)
Lunch on the overland travel (see itinerary)
Welcome dinner in Kathmandu
Free gift of Access-Himalaya trekking kit bag for each member of group (to be distributed on arrival in Kathmandu)
Free hire of four seasons Sleeping Bag and fleece liner for trek (should be returned after the trek).
Free airport pick and drop
... in Lodge 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, shower/bathroom facilities on the trek etc.
Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and elsewhere-apart from trek (see itinerary)
Heritage sights/Monastery/Temple entrance fees
Trek and Tour crew and driver gratuity/tips at end of tour/trek
Any others expenses which are not mentioned in 'Price Includes' section
- 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 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 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..
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.