Mardi Himal Trek

  • Duration
    10 days
  • Trip Grade
    Moderate
  • Max Altitude
    4200 Meters
  • Group Size
    Min. 1 Pax
  • Best Time
    March - May & Sept - Dec

Trip Overview

The Annapurnas are rightly famous as one of the most scenic regions in the entire Himalaya. It’s here that you’ll find accessible hiking trails leading to quaint hillside villages, picturesque homesteads cultivating terraced fields of rice and barley, and shaded paths through groves of blue pine, resplendent with twittering birdlife and the furtive rustlings of shy mammals. You’ll stand witness to the mesmerizing sight of iconic snow-laden summits rising above the clouds: Machapuchare, Hiunchuli, the Annapurnas themselves, and Mardi Himal. While many visitors come to this part of Nepal to undertake the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, we’ve been inspired to craft an itinerary which takes you off the beaten path. This is the Mardi Himal Trek: a new route that has only been open to international travelers since 2012. If you’ve ever wanted to witness the majesty of the Annapurna region without the crowds, this is the trek for you.

Don’t think for a second that the Mardi Himal Trek is a lesser alternative to any of the more famous routes in the Annapurnas. This is an unforgettable adventure that takes you through verdant jungles, across swiftly flowing rivers of glacial meltwater, and through pastoral settlements populated by diverse groups of people representing Nepal’s many different ethnicities.

The trail crisscrosses its way beneath the unmistakable fishtail-shaped summit of Machapuchare as it ascends to high pastures, marvelous mountain vantage points, and quiet guesthouses catering to travelers seeking the path less traveled. And because the entire itinerary can be completed in just over one week, this route is an excellent option for trekkers who don’t have time to spend multiple weeks on the trail. This combination of accessibility, natural grandeur, and cultural authenticity makes the Mardi Himal Trek a true hidden gem that’s just waiting to be discovered.

The Mardi Himal Trek begins from the city of Pokhara, situated alongside the reflective waters of Phewa Lake. This uniquely photogenic town is widely regarded as the adventure capital of Nepal. After enjoying the sights and sounds of the city, you’ll embark upon a grand journey into a bona fide Himalayan wilderness. With each step you take, you’ll ascend higher and higher through the forested slopes of the Annapurnas, reaching the evocatively-named milestones of Forest Camp, Low Camp, and High Camp. No matter the season, stunning vistas of raw natural beauty will reveal themselves to you around every corner.

The trek is renowned for blossoming rhododendron flowers at the height of spring, terraced fields flourishing with the first flush of summer rain, clear mountain panoramas and crisp autumn air, and glittering winter landscapes of ice and snow. If you’re in search of unspoiled alpine bliss, look no further than the Mardi Himal Trek.

Highlights of the Mardi Himal Trek

The Mardi Himal Trek takes you deep into the Annapurnas: a region famous for its rich, untarnished natural beauty. You’ll be hiking through an area of astounding biodiversity, and you’ll have the chance to encounter some of the many animal species which call these mountains home. Keep your eyes peeled to catch a glimpse of the tree-dwelling red panda or Nepal’s national bird, the danphe. The opportunity to spot wildlife against the spectacular backdrop of Himalayan summits like Dhaulagiri and Machapuchare is an indisputable highlight of this itinerary.

Booking the Mardi Himal Trek also means you’ll also get to have cultural encounters in both urban and rural settings. You’ll visit Nepal’s most picturesque city, Pokhara, where you can enjoy fine dining and a cruise on Phewa Lake. And once you hit the trail, you’ll meet with villagers of Rai, Limbu, and Chhetri ethnicities to learn about their unique ways of life. This enticing combination of natural beauty and genuine cultural interaction is what makes the Mardi Himal trek truly special.

Is the Mardi Himal Trek Difficult?

The Mardi Himal Trek reaches a maximum elevation of approximately 4,200 meters. In fact, this is one of its biggest draws: it’s a rare treat to achieve such amazing views of Himalayan scenery without ascending to much greater heights. And while it’s possible to encounter altitude sickness on this itinerary, our highly skilled team will make sure you stay in good condition.

Our guides will help you to maintain an appropriate pace, rest frequently, and stay hydrated at all times. You can also prepare for your trek by exercising regularly in the weeks leading up to departure. Cardiovascular activity generally serves as good practice for strenuous trekking: swimming, walking, or running at home is a good place to start. This preparation will allow you to enjoy the Mardi Himal Trek to its fullest extent, but no previous trekking experience is actually required. This is only a moderately difficult itinerary, and booking with Nepal Hiking Team will ensure both your safety and satisfaction during one of the best treks in the Annapurnas.

Best Time of Year for the Mardi Himal Trek

Like most treks in Nepal, the Mardi Himal Trek takes on many different aspects as the seasons change. Many visitors prefer to hike during spring or autumn. Spring in the Nepali Himalaya arrives in February and lasts until May; this is the best time of year to enjoy long days with mild weather and brightly colored landscapes blanketed in wildflowers and rhododendron blooms. Autumn occurs from September to November, and it’s an excellent choice for photographers. Clear blue skies and an endless horizon will reveal stunning panoramas of the Annapurnas during these months.

Of course, you can also enjoy the Mardi Himal Trek during winter and summer. The possibility of snow and ice between December and January can make hiking more challenging, but the eternal majesty of Himalayan Mountains draped in snow is hard to beat. During the summer months between June and August, you can expect heavy rainfall as the annual monsoon sweeps across Nepal—but the trail springs to life with lush green forests and rushing rivers. No matter which time of year you’ve chosen, Nepal Hiking Team will work with you to deliver an exceptional trekking adventure.

Is the Mardi Himal Trek Right for Me?

If you’ve ever wanted to revel in the unbridled majesty of the Annapurnas while enjoying a trail free from crowds and congestion, the Mardi Himal Trek should be at the top of your wishlist. You’ll journey into the clouds to discover mountains cloaked in snow, lush forests dripping with tropical rainfall, and villages populated by some of the friendliest people in all of Nepal. We’ve arranged this itinerary to give you the best possible experience, with an appropriate pace and acclimatization schedule. Our expert guides will take care of each member in your trekking party to ensure that everyone has a great time exploring this spectacular region of green hills and White Mountains.

The Mardi Himal Trek is also ideal for visitors who don’t have a lot of time, as the entire itinerary takes just over one week. If you’d like to spend more time in the Annapurna’s, consider our Annapurna Base Camp Trek or Classic Annapurna Circuit Trek packages instead.

Itinerary Expand all

Day 01 - Arrive at Tribhuwan International Airport, Kathmandu

Welcome to Kathmandu! A friendly representative from Nepal Hiking Team will meet you at Tribhuvan International Airport when your flight arrives. After transferring to your hotel, you’ll have the opportunity to get checked in and discuss the arrangements for your upcoming trek. There are no other planned activities for today; depending on the time of your arrival, you can spend the afternoon or evening perusing the colorful markets of Kathmandu. The Thamel neighborhood is especially well-regarded as a shopping and dining destination, and no visit to Nepal would be complete without an exploration of its labyrinthine streets, fragrant with incense and bedecked with glowing lights. After dinner, return to your hotel room to relax and spend the night.

Day 02 - Drive to Pokhara (910m); Duration: 6-7 hours

Get an early start this morning to begin your journey to the famous lakeside city of Pokhara. Your guide will pick you up at your hotel at about 6:30 AM. Together, you’ll go to a nearby bus station, where you’ll board the tourist bus to Pokhara. The bus leaves at 7:30 AM and takes approximately six or seven hours to reach Pokhara, passing through beautiful river valleys, alongside terraced fields of barley and rice, and over green hills blanketed with lush vegetation. When you arrive at your destination, you’ll check in with your hotel and have the evening free to explore. Pokhara is situated on the shores of the stunning Phewa Lake; many tourists take a boat onto its reflective waters to enjoy the view of Machapuchare rising above town. You can get an even better view from the nearby lookout of Sarangkot, where you’ll see Machapuchare joined by the peaks of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna II. When you’ve had dinner and you’re ready for a good night’s sleep, return to your hotel to spend the night. Today’s breakfast is included.

Day 03 - Drive to Phedi and Trek to Pothana (1,925m); Duration: 4 hours

It’s time to begin your adventure on the Mardi Himal Trek! After an early breakfast in Pokhara, you’ll catch a ride to the little town of Phedi. This trip should take less than an hour—then you’ll be ready to hit the trail. Today’s hike will take you through shaded woods and small villages as you ascend along a series of stone staircases. The scenic town of Dhampus is a great spot to take a lunch break while soaking up an alluring vista of the Annapurna range. After lunch, you’ll continue hiking to reach today’s destination: Pothana. This picturesque village is constructed of traditional stone-built homes and paved paths, but you’ll also find evidence of modernization in the form of souvenirs and snacks for sale. Many trekkers continue through the forest to reach the next village of Pitam Deurali, but we’ll stop here for tonight to enjoy the friendly atmosphere and excellent mountain views. Your overnight accommodations will be in one of Pothana’s comfortable guesthouses. Today’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner are also included.

Day 04 - Trek to Forest Camp at Kokar (2,600m); Duration: 4 hours

Leaving Pothana in the early morning, your path will lead you to the village of Pitam Deurali. From here, you’ll want to snap a few photographs of Machapuchare, Annapurna South, and Mardi Himal: these summits look particularly resplendent in the morning light. When you’re ready to move on, you’ll begin ascending along a steep trail through a dense forest of lichen-draped oak, hemlock, and maple. If you happen to be trekking during the springtime, the delicate beauty of the rhododendron and magnolia blooms in this forest will take your breath away. This is also where the trail diverges from the main Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, and you can expect to share the path with fewer trekkers from this point forward. Today’s hike will come to its conclusion when you reach Forest Camp, known locally as Kokar. This small camp is situated within a forest clearing. You’ll overnight here in a basic lodge, which is more akin to a homestay than a hotel. You’ll enjoy dining communally in the lodge owners’ kitchen and getting to know this friendly family from the nearby village of Siding. Today’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included.

Day 05 - Trek to High Camp (3,600m); Duration: 6-7 hours

Departing from the tranquil clearing of Kokar, you’ll continue to ascend through mossy woodlands this morning. If you’re a photography buff, you’ll be thrilled when an occasional shaft of sunlight pierces the misty atmosphere of these woods, enhancing the mysterious and evocative mood that’s so characteristic of the Himalayas. After a few hours of trekking, we’ll stop for lunch at Low Camp, where you can enjoy a good look at the distinctive fishtail-shaped summit of Machapuchare. From here, you’ll start a serious climb in the direction of High Camp. As the trail turns westward, you’ll glimpse the glaciated peaks of Annapurna South and Hiunchuli looming over the path. Keep hiking along the ridgeline as the trees begin to thin out, passing abundant rhododendron bushes. This is good wildlife habitat where the danphe, or Himalayan monal, can often be spotted. As you approach High Camp, you’ll be rewarded with a 360-degree panorama of snowbound canyons, soaring mountains, and steep cliffs. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better view of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, and Machapuchare. We’ll stop here for the night; High Camp has a good selection of higher-grade guesthouses with basic facilities. Today’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included.

Day 06 - Day Walk to Upper View Point (4,200m); Duration: 4 hours

Wake up early this morning to catch the sun rising amidst the Himalayas. After a hearty breakfast, you’ll begin walking up a ridge towards a fabulous vantage point where you’ll enjoy the best sights of the entire Mardi Himal Trek. The route follows a well-established trail through grassy pastures, although the going is steep and occasionally narrow. Along the way, you’ll almost certainly get to see dzo grazing in the fields; this is a hybrid species bred from both yak and cattle. In the summer, these pastures are used as a grazing area for sheep and goats; you’ll see a number of herders’ huts as you pass by. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for the colorful danphe if you didn’t get the chance to see this pheasant yesterday. After ascending for about three hours, you’ll reach what’s known as the Upper View Point. This is a rocky outlook situated at approximately 4,200 meters. From here, you’ll be able savor gobsmacking views into the Annapurna Sanctuary. This high-altitude mountain basin is home to Mardi Himal, Annapurna I, Machapuchare, Hiunchuli, and other massive peaks. Take some time here to enjoy the scenery before returning to High Camp to spend a second night. Today’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included.

Day 07 - Trek to Siding Village (1,750m); Duration: 6 hours

It’s time to turn around and leave the high Himalayas behind you—but that doesn’t mean you have to retrace your steps. To keep things interesting, we’ll follow a different route on your return hike to complete the Mardi Himal Trek. You’ll depart High Camp and trek back in the direction of Low Camp, where the track diverges to approach the village of Siding. This is a traditional Nepalese settlement that doesn’t experience a very high level of tourist traffic, but its residents have embraced an entrepreneurial spirit that has enabled them to thrive in the modern era. Your hosts at Kokar are from this village; in fact, it’s likely that your accommodations tonight will be run by a family operating guesthouses both here and at Low Camp. Siding Village is also home to some of Nepal’s most daring citizens, who are willing to risk life and limb to extract delicious honey from cliffside bees’ nests. You’ll overnight here in Siding; breakfast, lunch, and dinner today are included.

Day 08 - Trek to Lumle and Drive to Pokhara (910m); Walking Duration: 3 hours; Driving Duration: 2 hours

After enjoying breakfast in Siding, you’ll head out to the road, walking in the direction of Lumle. While you’ve now departed from the high mountain trails of the Mardi Himal Trek, your exposure to the varied cultures of Nepal isn’t over yet. As you leave Siding behind, you’ll pass the villages of Kalimati and Ghalel. Kalimati is populated primarily by Brahmin residents; Ghalel, like Siding, is peopled by a mix of both Brahmin and Gurung ethnicities. This is a great opportunity to learn how Nepal’s diverse mountain cultures live together side-by-side. Your hike today ends when you reach the town of Lumle. We’ve prearranged a Jeep to pick you up; climb aboard and head back to Pokhara, which should only take about two hours. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy a fine dinner in the city before turning in. You’ll spend the night here in Pokhara. Today’s breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 09 - Pokhara to Kathmandu; Duration: 6-7 Hours

It’s time to bid farewell to the Annapurna Mountains—you’ve finished the Mardi Himal Trek! After a final breakfast in Pokhara, it’s time to leave this City of Lakes. You’ll take the tourist bus back to Kathmandu today, which should take approximately six or seven hours. As you watch the rural countryside of Nepal zipping past your windows, take this time to reflect upon your trek. The sights you’ve seen and the people you’ve met will form the basis of memories you’ll cherish in the years to come. When your bus arrives in Kathmandu, you may have some time to do a bit of sightseeing after lunch. The Swayambhunath and Boudhanath stupas are easy to reach and are very much worth the trip: similar in appearance, they are vast domes painted with the eyes of the Buddha and decorated with endless strings of prayer flags. Tonight is also your last chance to grab any souvenirs from the local markets before sitting down to a final meal in Nepal’s most iconic city. You’ll spend the night here in Kathmandu; today’s breakfast is included.

Day 10 - Farewell/Departure

A representative from Nepal Hiking Team will meet you at your hotel and take you to the airport approximately three hours before the scheduled departure of your outgoing flight. We hope you’ve enjoyed your visit to Nepal and your exciting hike along the Mardi Himal Trek. Hosting you has been both a pleasure and a privilege, and we trust that you’ll think of us when you plan your next visit to Nepal.

Cost Includes

  • Airport pick up and drop- off by private transport
  • Two nights accommodation with breakfast at a 3-star category hotel in Kathmandu
  • Two nights accommodation with breakfast at a 3-star category hotel in Pokhara
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the trek
  • Best available twin sharing lodge to lodge accommodation during the trek
  • One highly experienced, helpful and friendly guide, porters (1 porter for 2 people) and their food, accommodation, salary, equipment, and accidental insurance for all staff
  • Surface transfer to and from Pokhara on tourist bus
  • Nepal Hiking Team Sleeping bag & down Jacket and duffle bags (if required)
  • Nepal Hiking Team T - shirt, trekking map and trip achievement certificate
  • First aid medical kit
  • Annapurna conservation permit fee
  • TIMS Fee- Trekkers' Information Management System (Please bring 2 passport size photos for permit)
  • Government taxes and office service charge

Cost Excludes

  • Meals not specified in the 'Meal Inclusions' in the itinerary'
  • Travel insurance
  • International airfare
  • Nepal entry visa: you can obtain a visa easily upon your arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu. (a multiple-entry tourist visa good for 30 days can be obtained by paying US $ 40 or equivalent foreign currency. Similarly, multiple-entry tourist visas for 90 days can be obtained by paying US $ 100. Please bring 2 copies of passport-size photos.)
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Any kind of drinks (hot and cold) during the trek
  • Tips for guide, porters, driver

Cost & Dates

Start Dates are your arrival date in Nepal and End Dates are the returning date from Nepal.

The set departure dates listed are specially quoted and specified for group joining option. Let us know if the set departure dates are not suitable for you- another dates which are suitable for you can certainly be added by us.

Upcoming Trip Departure
  • Guaranteed - Trip is Guaranteed to run
  • Available - Trip is available to run if minimum group size is filled
  • Limited - Only few space available
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25 Sep, 202004 Oct, 2020 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
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23 Dec, 202001 Jan, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
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25 Aug, 202103 Sep, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
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01 Sep, 202110 Sep, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
05 Sep, 202114 Sep, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
08 Sep, 202117 Sep, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
12 Sep, 202121 Sep, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
14 Sep, 202123 Sep, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
18 Sep, 202127 Sep, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
21 Sep, 202130 Sep, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
24 Sep, 202103 Oct, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
29 Sep, 202108 Oct, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
05 Oct, 202114 Oct, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
08 Oct, 202117 Oct, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
12 Oct, 202121 Oct, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
19 Oct, 202128 Oct, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
22 Oct, 202131 Oct, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
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01 Dec, 202110 Dec, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
05 Dec, 202114 Dec, 2021 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
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27 Dec, 202105 Jan, 2022 US$ 850Guaranteed Book Now
30 Dec, 202108 Jan, 2022 US$ 850Guaranteed

Private trips are available on any date of your choice at any time of the year. Let us know about your preferred travel dates and we shall organize it as per your convenience. Get in touch with us via bellow contact us form.

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Reviews

Anthony Joseph Borkowski , United States

I think I can easily say that the Mardi Himal trek was the trek of my life! It was one of the most impressive treks I had done. As an amateur mountaineer who had only had experiences with Alps, I always wanted to trek on the Himalayas. Starting off to a more traditional route with lots of ethnic settlements and secluded villages, Mardi Himal trek was perfect for someone like me. Sensational trip, the journey was everything I had expected it to be. The people were extremely friendly and attentive. I don’t think I have ever met anyone else who was as hospitable as the people there. I remember my guide Bal Kumar, would always look around the room in case we had forgotten something. He also always made sure that our food arrived on time and that everything I needed was on the table and he did not stop running around until I had what I needed and was satisfied! It was a refreshing change of scenery from where I am from because hospitality from people isn’t a priority here sadly. But Bal Kumar was well trained and seemed to know the area like the back of his hand!

I had never booked a trip like this via the internet nor a local agency and always relied upon booking my trips from home. However, with Nepal Hiking Team, my experience, even from the initial communication and query, really made me change my mind. I got exactly what I had planned for and the commutations were done very promptly and fast with lots of information by Balaram and Ganga. I would definitely be using a local agency since by this; the money tends to stay in the country and helps to improve the Nepali tourism versus just being cashed in by any foreigner. The quality you get is at least the same if not much higher since they really know their country and combine the knowledge with services. Being picked up at the airport, I had nothing to worry about and had my full mind on enjoying my trip.

With simple yet cozy lodges in the mountains, I had spent nights at a bunk bed near a window so I could look out into the vast white Himalayan wilderness. Gathering around the oven, I played cards with Bal Kumar and had rice dishes with traditional potato curry- it brings a smile to my face remembering that time! A simply fantastic trip and one of the most memorable times of my life! Nepal Hiking Team is now number one of my recommended travel agencies.

Jennifer , Australia

I had a long time to think about the trip as I had booked the Mardi Himal Trek with NHT last year. Because of this, I was on a constant communication with Ganga and Balaram from the office. Always kind and polite, Ganga and Balaram answered all of my confusions and gave knowledgeable information regarding the trek. It was my first positive experience with Nepal Hiking Team. Before the trek, Arun who was my guide gave detailed information about what to expect from the trek and how things were done in the mountains. It was a big reassurance regarding my health and safety and I am eternally grateful to Arun and to everyone at Nepal Hiking Team for this amazing consideration of my well being. The trekking journey was nothing short of amazing and spectacular views of the mountains of Annapurna and Machhapuchhre were constantly in sight throughout the trail. There was a lot of support and help from my guide and porter as well, I couldn’t have possibly have asked for a better group. The trek was absolutely more than I expected and I cannot emphasize more just how much I loved my time there with NHT! 

Lucas Almendra , Brazil

The Mardi Himal was supposed to be an off-the-beaten-paths trek and because of this, our preference for it was heightened. We were looking for a trek that wasn’t that crowded with other trekkers and the fact that Mardi Himal happened to be an out-the-way trek proved how much of a difference a crowd can make in a journey. We loved the trek very much and have nothing but positive words to say about our experience. The small villages and the views of the mountains I the distance really made the trip into a beautiful vacation for us.

Moreover, the team that we were provided with, including our guide and our porter were amazingly helpful and always there for us. Our guide’s knowledge and expertise in the field was something that really shone throughout the trek. He was always on the lookout for us and his care with our journey made us feel at ease. The prompt responses and helpful insight about the trek at the very beginning of the trek was also helpful to us in our preparation. When we arrived, we were greeted very cordially by the guide and our services throughout the trek were also satisfactory. The villages and the small houses in the outskirts of the valley with the sights of the mountains and the green landscape is something that is sure to be with us for a long time to come.

Thank you Nepal Hiking Team for your care and for arranging and catering to our needs throughout the journey! We loved and cherished every moment there with you!

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