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Your flights to Lukla from Kathmandu may be diverted to Ramechhap Airport. Here’s Why!

Your flights to Lukla from Kathmandu may be diverted to Ramechhap Airport. Here’s Why!

The Mardi Himal Trek- Everything you need to know.

The Mardi Himal Trek. Everything you need to know.

Mardi Himal Trek is a marvelous journey through a ridge-line trail leading to the Mardi Himal Base Camp, from where one can marvel at the close-up views of Fishtail Peak (Machhapuchre). The lonely forest route to Mardi Himal Base Camp was a hidden gem, but in recent years, domestic hikers, as well as international travelers in thousands, have explored this pristine trail. In just a few years, Mardi Himal Trek has gained unimaginable eminence, making it a popular choice among novice and experienced trekkers. Among the renowned treks in the Annapurna region, like Annapurna Circuit Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Poon Hill Trek, and Tilicho Lake Trek, to name a few, the Mardi Himal trek stands as a worthy addition to the list of top favorites.

Mardi Himal Trek takes you to one of the lesser-traveled trekking trails in the Annapurna region of Nepal. The Mardi Himal trek excels in every aspect, ticking all the boxes for an exceptional trekking experience—from awe-inspiring mountains and breathtaking views to encountering diverse cultures and meeting wonderful people. This trek rewards awe-inspiring views of Mardi Himal, Machhapuchre, Annapurna South, Huinchuli, and Dhaulagiri. For those finding pleasure in solitude and prefer a less-crowded trail, Mardi Himal Trek can be the best option than the popular Annapurna Base Camp Trek.

The Mardi Himal Base Camp trek is approximately a 5 to 7-day journey from Pokhara. The trek commences from the scenic village of Kande, ascending through Forest Camp and Mardi Himal High Camp before reaching the breathtaking Mardi Himal viewpoint or the base camp. The diverse and scenic trail takes hikers through lush forests, traditional villages, and panoramic mountain vistas. The trek presents a moderate trail, catering to both beginners and experienced trekkers. Despite its scenic allure, the Mardi Himal route is notably less crowded than more popular treks in the region, offering a serene trekking experience. The trek culminates at Mardi Himal Base Camp, rewarding adventurers with stunning, unobstructed views of the Himalayan peaks and serene mountain landscapes, making it a truly captivating and less-traveled trekking destination.

How long is the Mardi Himal Trek?

The Mardi Himal Trek typically spans around 6 to 9 days to and from Kathmandu. The adventure often starts in Kande, a picturesque village near Pokhara. The initial part of the trek leads through vibrant rhododendrons and oak forests, gradually revealing enchanting landscapes and traditional Gurung villages. The route passes through Forest Camp, Low Camp, and High Camp, unveiling diverse landscapes ranging from lush greenery to alpine meadows. Hikers revel in awe-inspiring views along the way, featuring the stunning Annapurna range, Machhapuchhre, and Hiunchuli.

The trek is relatively moderate and suitable for both novices and experienced trekkers. What sets Mardi Himal apart is its tranquility, offering a less-crowded trail compared to popular routes in the region. This seclusion adds to the appeal for those seeking a serene and intimate trekking experience. The journey’s highest point is Mardi Himal Base Camp at 4,500m (14,763ft), a vantage viewpoint to embrace the unparalleled grandeur of Machhapuchre. The sheer magnificence of this less-traveled trek destination, combined with its manageable duration, makes the Mardi Himal Trek an attractive option for explorers looking to immerse themselves in the stunning natural splendor of the Annapurna region without an extensive time commitment.

How to get to Mardi Himal Base Camp?

To reach the Mardi Himal Base Camp, you typically begin your trek from the village of Kande or Phedi, around an hour’s drive from the lakeside town of Pokhara in Nepal. If you’re starting from Kathmandu, you should fly (or drive) to Pokhara and head to Kande or Phedi. The trek then progresses through various points such as Pothana, Forest Camp, and Low Camp. The trail passes through lush forests, and charming villages and gradually ascends through different terrains like rhododendron and oak forests and alpine pastures, and eventually leads to High Camp. From High Camp, it’s a day’s hike to the Mardi Himal Base Camp, offering incredible views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks. The trek back follows the same route in reverse.

Do I need permit for Mardi Himal Trek?

Yes, you need permits for the Mardi Himal Trek: a Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) card and an Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP). Mardi Himal Trek is located within the Annapurna Conservation Area, and hence, the ACAP permit is required. These permits help in the conservation and management of the area. You can obtain both these permits at the Tourism Information Center in Kathmandu or Pokhara.

To obtain a TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) card for trekking in Nepal, you’ll typically need passport-sized photos, your passport, personal details like name, insurance, and details of your guide and trekking route and itinerary. The cost is NPR 2000 (approximately 23 AUD). Please note that, as per the revised TIMS provision effective March 31, 2023, a trekking guide is mandatory to trek in the Annapurna region and other regions. To get the ACAP permit, fill out the form with your passport and two photos and pay NPR 3000 (approximately 35 AUD). Permit requirements might change, so it’s essential to verify the current regulations and necessary permits from the authorities in Pokhara or the tourism office before starting your trek.

How difficult is Mardi Himal Trek?

The Mardi Himal trek is classified as a moderate-grade trek with limited demanding ascents. Anyone with a good physical fitness level can easily do this trek. The trail involves a mix of terrains, from gentle inclines through lush forests to steeper sections as you ascend higher, particularly the climb from Mardi Himal High Camp to the viewpoint. The trek provides a moderate challenge due to some ascents and descents, but it doesn’t usually involve extreme altitudes like some of the more challenging treks in the region.

Do I need a guide for Mardi Himal Trek?

Yes, you need a licensed guide for the Mardi Himal Trek, like with every other trek in Nepal. As much as we hate to say this, you cannot trek solo to Mardi Himal Base Camp. As of April 1, 2023, a trekker must hire a government-certified guide. Remember that you must hire a guide through government-authorized trekking companies in Nepal. You can expect to pay $40 per guide per day, which is subject to change depending on his experience and the nature of the trek.

Where the Mardi Himal Trek does starts?

The Mardi Himal Trek commences from the village of Kande, nestled in the vicinity of Pokhara, Nepal. Kande serves as the gateway to this picturesque trek, offering a starting point for adventurers. You can reach Kande via a scenic drive or a short taxi ride from Pokhara. This beautiful village provides a stunning backdrop of lush landscapes and offers an initial ascent through charming trails and terraced fields. Or, you can choose to start from Phedi or Dhampus village. Phedi serves as an alternate starting point for the Mardi Himal Trek, accessible by a short drive from Pokhara. The trail from Phedi gradually gains altitude, offering panoramic views of the Annapurna and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) peaks.

How to combine Mardi Himal Trek with Annapurna Base Camp Trek?

Combining Mardi Himal Trek with the Annapurna Base Camp trek is a great idea. It will definitely offer a comprehensive and diverse trekking experience. The journey starts with the Mardi Himal trek, typically commencing from Phedi village. The trail weaves through lush forest, slowly ascending to Mardi Himal High Camp. After reaching the Mardi Himal Base Camp and absorbing its breathtaking panoramas, you can then segue into the Annapurna Base Camp Trek by descending from the Mardi Himal High Camp. From Low Camp, head to Jhinu Danda, following Deurali and eventually Annapurna Base Camp. Upon merging into the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, trekkers traverse along the well-trodden path towards Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC) and onwards to the revered Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). It will take around 12 days to complete this trek.

How to combine Mardi Himal Trek with Poon Hill Trek?

You can combine Mardi Himal Trek with Poon Hill Trek for an amazing trekking experience. The trek begins with the Mardi Himal Trek, starting from Kande or Phedi. Traverse through serene forests and terraced fields, reveling in the picturesque vistas of the Mardi Himal range. After reaching Mardi Himal Base Camp, you can descend to Sidhing, connecting to the Poon Hill Trek. From Sidhing, follow the trail to Ghorepani via Ghandruk. Ghorepani, Tadapani, Nayapul and Ghandruk are the major stopping points en route to Poon Hill. The trek showcases the beauty of Poon Hill’s sunrise panoramas before winding through verdant terrains towards Pokhara.

When is the best time to do Mardi Himal Trek?

Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the two prime seasons to embark on an adventure to Mardi Himal Base Camp or viewpoint. These periods offer clear skies, balmy weather and excellent visibility of the majestic mountains. Trekkers can admire breathtaking views of iconic peaks, including Mardi, Fishtail, Annapurna South, Huinchuli and surrounding peaks. While autumn offers cooler temperatures and cleaner air following the monsoon, making it a popular destination for hiking, spring brings flowering flowers and a somewhat milder climate. Both seasons present ideal conditions, allowing trekkers to experience breathtaking landscapes and remarkable mountain views.

How much does the Mardi Himal Trek cost?

The cost of the Mardi Himal Trek can vary depending on several factors such as the trekking season, the services included in the package, the duration of the trek, guide and porter charges. In general, the price can range anywhere between AUD 600 and AUD 1500 per person for a standard 5 to 7-day trek. That said, some travel agencies can charge more. This cost often includes permits, accommodation, meals, guide and porter fees, and transportation. However, the prices can differ based on service, the trekking agency, and any additional activities or services included. During peak seasons or if additional services are added, the cost can be higher.

What is the accommodation like in the Mardi Himal Trek?

The route of the Mardi Himal trek is dotted with teahouses and lodges. In recent years, many teahouses have sprung up to cater to the growing number of trekkers. The teahouse is the most common accommodation option on the Mardi Himal trek, featuring basic facilities like a twin bed with blanket and pillow, a shared bathroom and a communal dining area. Dining areas in the tea houses serve a variety of meals, including both local and international dishes. They might have shared bathrooms with squat toilets and cold running water, although some places might offer hot showers for an extra cost. Electricity is often available for charging devices, but it might come with an additional cost.

What is the food like on Mardi Himal Trek?

The teahouses and lodges along the trail predominantly serve Nepali cuisine and also provide international dishes to accommodate diverse tastes. Traditional Nepali meals often include dal bhat (rice and lentil soup), a staple dish providing energy for trekkers. You’ll also find momos (dumplings), noodles, and pasta dishes. Teahouses usually offer a selection of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Along the trail, the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables may become more limited due to the remoteness of the areas. Breakfast often includes options like eggs, bread, porridge, and pancakes. While the food is generally basic, the teahouses aim to offer wholesome meals to sustain trekkers throughout their journey. It’s important to remember that the variety and quality of food may vary from lodge to lodge, and the menu options might be more limited as you ascend to higher altitudes.

Mardi Himal Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Drive from Kathmandu 1,400 m/4,593 ft to Phedi 1,130 m/4,265 ft and trek to Deurali  2,100m/6,889ft.

Kathmandu to Phedi: 10 to 12 hours drive, Phedi to Deurali: 5 to 7 trekking hours

We begin our adventure with a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Phedi. This scenic journey by road, winding through the picturesque landscapes of Nepal, is nothing short of magical. The approximately 7 to 8-hour drive takes you on a path that gradually descends in altitude to Phedi. As you travel, you’ll witness stunning countryside views, terraced fields, and the everyday life of local communities. Upon reaching Phedi, the trek commences with a gradual ascent towards Deurali. The initial trail leads through dense forests, providing a mix of rhododendron, oak, and bamboo. The journey encompasses a relatively gentle ascent with mesmerizing views of the surrounding landscapes and a serene atmosphere for a tranquil night’s rest.

Day 2: Trek to Forest Camp 2,600 m/8,531 ft

Deurali to Forest Camp: 6 to 7 trekking hours

Setting out from Deurali, we will stay at one of the teahouses in Forest Camp. The route from Deurali to Forest Camp winds through enchanting rhododendron and oak forests, offering trekkers a mesmerizing experience with vibrant flora and occasional glimpses of wildlife. As you ascend, the terrain evolves from verdant foliage to alpine meadows, with occasional panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The trek to Forest Camp spans approximately 4 to 5 hours.

Day 3: Trek to Low Camp (3,210m/10,531ft)

Forest Camp to Low Camp: 4 to 5 trekking hours

Departing from Forest Camp with a light breakfast, the journey offers a gradual ascent through rhododendron forests. The trail brims with serenity with occasional stunning vistas of the surrounding valleys and distant peaks. The trek to Low Camp typically takes around 3 to 4 hours. As the altitude gradually increases, transforming the terrain from lush forests to more open alpine pastures. Trekkers are rewarded with awe-inspiring panoramic views of the Himalayan ranges.


Day 4: Trek to High Camp 3,600 m/11,810 ft.

Low Camp to High Camp: 3 to 4 trekking hours

Today’s trek is truly exciting and rewarding. After a delightful breakfast, you ascend slowly through pastures with occasional shrubs, amidst alpine meadows. Every step unveils stunning views of Machhapuchre and Annapurnas. It will take 4 hours to reach High Camp from Low Camp. High Camp serves as a strategic point for acclimatization and relaxation, offering a serene and picturesque spot with magnificent views, preparing adventurers for the final leg of the Mardi Himal journey toward the Base Camp.


Day 5: Trek to Mardi Himal Upper Viewpoint (4,200m/13,780ft) and back to High Camp (3,600m/11,810ft)

Total trekking hours to Upper Viewpoint and back to High Camp: 4 to 6 hours

Today is the day! Wake up early, around 3 a.m. and hit the trail to Mardi Himal Viewpoint. It’s a bit challenging yet invigorating. The trail navigates through rugged terrains, at times steep and rocky. The approximately 2 to 3-hour hike to the Mardi Himal Viewpoint showcases unparalleled views of the Annapurna Sanctuary, Machhapuchhre, Mardi Himal, and the surrounding peaks. The viewpoint serves as a perfect spot to savor the awe-inspiring beauty of Fishtail, and surrounding peaks. This close-up view of Fishtail is absolutely unbelievable. After spending quality time marveling at the beauty of the mountains, you will retrace your steps back to High Camp.

Day 6: Trek to Sidhing (1,280m/4,199ft)

High Camp to Sidhing: 5 to 6 hours

Today marks the conclusion of the Mardi Himal trail, descending from the serene high-altitude landscapes to lower elevations. Starting from High Camp, the trail winds through alpine meadows, gradually transitioning to lush forests and terraced fields. As the altitude decreases, the surrounding landscapes transform, featuring vibrant rhododendron and oak forests, providing a scenic journey back towards the valleys.  The trek to Sidhing usually spans around 6 to 7 hours.  After reaching the teahouse, you can reflect on your Mardi Himal adventure amidst the picturesque surroundings before continuing the journey back to Pokhara.

Day 7: Trek to Lumre (1,206m/3,956ft), drive to Pokhara and fly to Kathmandu (800m/2,642ft)

Sidhing to Lumre trekking hours: 2 to 3 hours, Lumre to Pokhara drive: 2 hours, Pokhara to Kathmandu flight: 25 minutes

The last day of the trek takes you back to Kathmandu. The trek from Sidhing to Lumre is the final leg of the Mardi Himal trek before a return flight to Kathmandu. The trail gradually makes its way towards Lumre. The approximately 3 to 4-hour trek to Lumre brings travelers to the road-head, where a scenic drive back to Pokhara awaits. Upon reaching Lumre, trekkers take a drive back to Pokhara, enjoying the scenic views en route. Arriving in Pokhara, adventurers board a short, scenic flight back to Kathmandu, wrapping up the incredible Mardi Himal adventure and leaving trekkers with lasting memories of the breathtaking landscapes and cultural experiences encountered during the trek.

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