Mardi Himal Trek offers you an exciting ridge-line trekking adventure across a pristine and untouched Himalayan trail. Mardi Trek is a short and inspiring trek that takes you to one of the least explored trails in the Annapurna Region. Within five days of trekking, you reach Mardi Base Camp, close to the forked summit of Machhapuchhre (Fishtail Peak). Filled with stunning close-up views of Mardi Himal, Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Machhapuchhre, and Dhaulagiri, Mardi Himal Trek is a must-do trek for those looking for a short and authentic Himalayan experience off-the-beaten-path. Opened recently, the Mardi Himal Trek route is quite new and less crowded than the popular Annapurna Base Camp and Everest Base Camp trails.
Your trek begins from Kande, lying just an hour’s drive from Pokhara. Hike through virgin forests of rhododendron, oak, and birch. During spring, rhododendron blooms fill up the forest, and it’s a dreamlike experience to follow a trail studded with pink and red blooms. The route traverses a wild and uninhabited part of the Annapurna Region, with snow-covered peaks looming close. Don’t forget to stargaze at night, as the overnight stops during your Mardi Himal Trek are the best spots for stargazing. The Milky Way and the constellations look amazing from Badal Danda, Low Camp, and High Camp.
Mardi Himal Trek involves walking on a narrow ridgeline, surrounded by awesome Annapurna Massif and green valleys. The unhindered and exposed views of the frozen mountains and valleys offer ample opportunities for budding and professional photographers and filmmakers to capture dramatic mountain shots. Mardi Himal Trek is highly recommended for novice and experienced trekkers looking for an easy and short trek in the Annapurna region. This is a teahouse trek where you will be stopping for food and rest at teahouses run by locals. Our experienced local guide will offer cultural insights and will help you reach your goal safely.
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu (1,400m/4,593ft)|
|Day 2||Fly to Pokhara, drive to Kande and trek to Pothana (1,990m/6,528ft)|
|Day 3||Trek to Forest Camp (2,600m/8,531ft)|
|Day 4||Trek to Badal Danda (3,210m/11,528ft)|
|Day 5||Trek to High Camp (3,600m/11,810ft) and Acclimatization|
|Day 6||Hike to Mardi Himal Base Camp (4,500m/14,760ft) and trek to Low Camp (3,050m/10,006ft)|
|Day 7||Trek to Sidhing and drive to Pokhara (800m/2,624ft)|
|Day 8||Fly to Kathmandu|
|Day 9||Final Departure|
Our representative will welcome you at the airport and drive you to your hotel. He will help you check in. Later in the day, there will be a trip briefing where your guide will brief you about the route, condition of the trail and some dos and don’ts while trekking.
Go through your gear list for the final time. If you have forgotten any item, you can buy or hire from any of the trekking gear shops in Thamel. Your guide will help you out in case you need help. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Take an early morning flight to Pokhara. During the flight, enjoy mesmerizing views of rolling green hills and Himalayan mountains. After reaching Pokhara, you take a short 1-hour drive to Kande, the starting point of your trek.
Begin with an ascent along a well-laid stone trail. After walking uphill for an hour or so, you reach Australian Camp. Enjoy panoramic views of the Annapurna Massif and Lamjung Himal from here.
Walk downhill and proceed to Pothana, a Gurung village, and your stop for the night. On reaching Pothana, head to a local tea-house and rest your tired muscles.
Enjoy a hot beverage and gaze at the beautiful forked summit of Macchhapucchre or Fishtail Peak. You will be walking close to this peak in the next few days.
Overnight in Pothana.
Today’s trek takes you past a dense forest of rhododendron, oak, birch and hemlock. If you do this trek during Spring season, the rhododendrons will be in full bloom and you will get to walk under canopies of blooming rhododendrons. It will feel like a walk through an enchanted forest. Do be careful while stepping on the gnarled roots spreading over the trail. Covered with algae, these can be slippery and a wrong step will make you fall. After an uphill hike you reach Forest Camp. There are a few teahouses and you head to the one where your room has been booked. Up in the middle of the forest, you can soak in the tranquility listening to nothing but the chirping of birds. Take a well deserved rest.
Overnight in Forest Camp.
It’s uphill once again as you gather your things and head onwards to Badal Danda(Cloud Hill). Walk up a forested path. At intervals you will come across a clearing from where you can gaze at the valley below. Enjoy the view of the Modi Khola Valley that leads to the Annapurna Sanctuary from here. After walking for some time, the vegetation begins to change. The lush jungle gives way to short scrub and grasses and the iconic Machhapuchhre(Fishtail Peak appears closer). When you reach Badal Danda, make your way to a tea house. The place is called Badal Danda( Cloud Hill), as oftentimes, the areas below the hill are covered in a sea of white cottony clouds. At night you can stargaze and view the constellations, which appear a lot more closer.
Overnight in Badal Danda.
From Badal Danda take a leisurely walk to High Camp. The tree line ends and you get a great view of Machhapuchhre. Walk slowly as you are about to reach above 3,000 meters.
The air is slightly thinner up here and you start feeling the altitude. You are advised of plenty of water to offset the symptoms of altitude sickness. You walk along a ridgeline with great views of Himalayan peaks and green valleys. It is a 360-degree extravaganza.
You remain on this narrow ridge facing Mardi Himal with Machapuchhre towering right above. It is a memorable short hike filled with once-in-a-lifetime views as you walk to the final settlement in this ridgeline, the High Camp. High Camp is the highest point at which you sleep on this trek. There are only a handful of lodges at High Camp and you head to the one where your room has been booked. Spend the rest of the day at leisure reading by the warmth of the hearth, playing cards or explore the ridge and capture incredible pictures of the Himalayas. Take things easy and don't over-exert yourself as tomorrow you have a tough day.
Overnight in High Camp.
Wake up early in the morning and hike to Upper Viewpoint or Mardi Himal Base Camp. This hike to the Base Camp is the real highlight of this trek. After walking further on the ridge, you reach the Upper View Point. From here, continue to Mardi Himal Base Camp.
The ridge becomes increasingly narrower, and the views become surreal. The grand summits of Annapurna South, Huinchuli, and Machhapuchhre appear very close. The peaks loom right above you, and you can see the massive glaciers tumbling down the mountainsides. This is a view to kill for!
Machhapuchhre, which looked so far away from Pokhara, is in front of you. After reaching the base camp, take pictures, have your packed lunch and retrace your steps before the clouds roll in. Make your way down Badal Danda(Cloud Hill) or Middle Camp, from where the valley below is covered with white clouds that look like a sea of clouds. Descend to Low Camp, where you stay overnight at a local teahouse.
Overnight in Low Camp.
Get up early to catch breathtaking views of the Himalayas. After breakfast, begin your journey down to Sidhing, a traditional village rarely visited by trekking groups.
At Sidhing our vehicle will be waiting to drop you at Pokhara. The drive is filled with delightful views of green hills and mountains. Once you arrive in Pokhara, you will be driven to your hotel. Take a well-deserved rest.
Overnight in Pokhara.
You have an afternoon flight to Kathmandu. You can spend the first half of the day as you wish. Take a rest at the hotel or explore Pokhara on your own. You can stroll down the lakeside and take a boat ride on Phewa Lake. You can also visit Davis Falls, Gupteshwar Cave, and the island Temple of Tal Barahi on Phewa Lake.
You will be driven to the airport on time to catch your flight to Kathmandu. From the plane, catch the last few glimpses of the inspiring hills and mountains which gave endless memories to last for a lifetime.
Once you reach Kathmandu, head back to your hotel and take rest. If you aren’t too tired you can explore Thamel and shop for souvenirs. Come evening, celebrate the completion of your wonderful trek with a farewell dinner with your guide or our representative. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Spring (March to May) and autumn (mid-September to November) are considered the best seasons to trek to Mardi Himal. The weather stays dry and clear during these times, making it ideal for trekking and enjoying unobstructed views of mountains. The days are warm and the nights chilly. On the downside, however, these are peak seasons, and the trails get crowded and busy.
The Mardi Himal trail passes through a pristine forest that is filled with wildflowers and orchids during spring. Rhododendron trees burst into colorful pink, white and red blooms. Walking past the hills covered with wildflowers and rhododendron blooms against the backdrop of the snowy Himalayas will seem heavenly.
Autumn is the most popular season for Mardi Himal Trek. With the end of the wet monsoon season, which clears the skies of dust and impurities, you can enjoy crystal clear views during this season. Timing your trek around late September or October will allow you to experience the most important festivals of the Nepalese, Dashain, and Tihar. These festivals celebrated by Hindus last for several days. Expect good food, merry-making, dance, and music at the villages along the trail.
You can also opt for a monsoon or winter trek if you want to avoid the crowds. Trekking during these times will let you enjoy some off-season discounts at teahouses that remain mostly empty. But you should be ready to face some discomforts (rain, leeches, snow, and extreme cold) if you take to the trail at these times.
First, you need to travel to Pokhara, which can be done by taking a flight or driving overland. Many private airline companies operate daily flights on the Kathmandu- Pokhara route. Taking a flight may be expensive, but it saves you time and is more comfortable. In less than 30 minutes, you reach your destination.
If you are traveling on a budget, you can opt to travel by tourist coach or a local bus. The journey takes around 6 to 7 hours. The tourist bus to Pokhara departs daily from Sorahkhutte and Thamel at 7 AM. If you want to travel like locals, you need to go to Naya Bus Park in Gongabu and get yourself a bus ticket to Pokhara. There are also micro vans or Hiace vans that leave for Pokhara at intervals of 1 to 2 hours daily. Private vehicles are also available on hire. The vehicle comes with a driver, and rental charges vary according to the size and type of the vehicle.
As per our itinerary, you travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara and vice versa by flight. Due to the mountainous terrain, aircrafts used for domestic flights in Nepal tend to be small and light. You will be flying in a 70 to 47 seater ATR, 30 seater Jetstream, or 18 seaters Beechcraft. The 25 minutes flight lets you enjoy incredible views of Himalayan peaks.
On reaching Pokhara, you board a private vehicle and drive to the trailhead of your trek, Kande. The drive, on a pitched highway, lasts for about an hour. From Kande, you trek all the way to Mardi Himal Base Camp and return to Sidhing., from where you will be picked up and driven to Pokhara.
The permits you need for Mardi Himal Trek are – 1) Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Entry Permit, and 2) TIMS (Tourist Information Management System) card.
Both Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Entry Permit and TIMS Card can be obtained from the Nepal Tourism Board’s Office in Kathmandu or Tourist Information Centre in Pokhara.
To get these permits, you need to provide the following documents and information:
Permit Fees: Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Entry Permit: NRS 3000 per person for foreigners, NRS 1000 for citizens of SAARC countries, and NRS 100 for Nepalese.
TIMS Card: NRS 1000 if you are trekking with a guide. NRS 2000 for free individual trekker (FIT). For SAARC country nationals, NRS 300 if trekking with a guide and NRS 600 for a solo trekker.
You won’t have to worry about queuing up to get the permits as the company, or our guides will arrange all the permits for you.
Mardi Himal Trek takes you very close to Mardi Himal Peak (5,587m), Fishtail Peak or Machhapuchhre (6,993m), and other 7000 and 8000 meter peaks. The highest point of your trek is Mardi Himal Base Camp, located at 4,500 meters above sea level. The low levels of oxygen in such an environment will sometimes make breathing difficult.
To let your body get used to the thin air, you need to walk slowly, steadily and keep your body hydrated. If you try to hasten and walk fast to reach your destination in less time, chances are you may suffer from AMS or Acute Mountain Sickness.
AMS symptoms like dizziness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, etc., are seen at elevations above 2000 meters. Taking Diamox and a good night’s rest may work for mild cases. Drinking plenty of fluids (water, tea, soup, etc.) and keeping your body hydrated will also help keep the sickness at bay.
One should take necessary precautions to ensure that the condition does not worsen. But if the symptoms worsen, one may have to return to a lower elevation and get medical help. In the worst-case scenario, an air evacuation will be arranged, where the patient will be flown to Pokhara or Kathmandu to receive medical aid. AMS, if untreated or ignored, can take your life.
Experts and veteran guides have designed this itinerary. The trek is well-paced and allows your body to gradually get used to low oxygen levels in the mountain air.
The chart given below will give you a rough idea of the oxygen level in the atmosphere on the trail.
It is important to keep your body hydrated on the trail as dehydration also causes AMS. One should drink at least 3-4 liters of fluid.
To tackle the menace of plastic waste in the Annapurna region, the sale of bottled water has been banned since 2015. Inside the Annapurna Conservation Area, you will find several safe drinking water stations. We highly recommend you to carry a reusable water bottle with you, one that can hold hot water. You can use one with a steri pen or an inbuilt filtration system like LifeStraw.
You can also use water purification tablets to treat the water. While the water in the mountains tends to be pure and without impurities, it’s better not to take chances and filter or treat the water before drinking.
Using chlorine or iodine tablets to treat the water may alter its taste. You can add flavored electrolyte powder (readily available at pharmacies in Kathmandu) to mask the bitter chemical taste. Adding electrolyte to your drinking water may also be beneficial as the minerals (sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc.) you lose while walking gets replenished.
Teahouses offer boiled and filtered drinking water at an additional cost. Charges vary according to altitude (the higher you reach, the more expensive it will be) and quantity. You will be charged from USD 1 to 2 for a pot of hot filtered drinking water.
Internet connection (though erratic and irregular at some places) is available in the Annapurna Region. You can connect with your loved ones while trekking, post updates, and upload pictures on social media. Wi-fi is available at all teahouses. Teahouses charge extra for using their Wi-Fi hotspot. You can also get a sim card (preferably Ncell) in Kathmandu and purchase internet data to use on your trek.
As opposed to popular belief, you don’t need a lot of complicated gear and equipment for this adventure. Here’s a basic checklist of the essential items that you should not forget to bring with you during your Mardi Himal Trek:
These are only some of the essential items. Find a more Packing List For Trekking In Nepal.
Most of the trekking equipment is available on hire in Kathmandu. You can keep your baggage light by only packing the essential items and renting or buying the rest in Kathmandu. Shops in Thamel offer branded as well locally made gear and equipment.
You can leave your spare luggage in your hotel’s storage room. It is completely safe and free. But do make sure to lock your luggage before leaving it at the storage unit.
Mardi Himal Trek takes you close to Fishtail Peak or Machhapuchhre (6993m) and Mardi Himal Peak(5587m). Having an experienced local guide accompanying you will enrich your trip in so many ways. Trekking with a person who has in-depth knowledge of the mountain will also keep you safe and secure.
When you book a trek with us, we pair you up with one of our local guides. All our guides have experience of more than 10 years and have a vast knowledge of the area you are visiting. They have completed the trekking guide course and have the required government license to work as mountain guides. They can communicate in English and have received training on wilderness first aid and crisis management.
A chief guide or trek leader will lead the trek. For every 4 trekkers, there will be an assistant guide assisting them personally. One porter will carry the luggage of 2 clients. Make sure that your luggage does not exceed 15 kg, as the porter can only carry a weight of 30 kg.
We believe in the ethical treatment of our staff. All our Guides and Porters are provided with weather-appropriate gear and clothing to battle the harsh weather in the mountains. Before the start of a trek, we ensure that our mountain guides are fully insured. They are given fair wages and treated with respect.
We seriously follow the guidelines set by IPPG (International Porter Protection Group) and offer assistance to porters to develop other skills. A portion of the booking fee goes to fund the education of our field staffs’ kids.
For Mardi Himal Trek, you need a good travel insurance policy that offers you coverage for all activities and altitudes included in your itinerary. The highest altitude you reach is 4500 meters, and your travel insurance should offer you suitable coverage up to this elevation.
Though we take your safety as our number one priority, we cannot rule out mishaps and emergencies that may occur at this altitude. There is less oxygen in the environment, and trekkers usually suffer from Acute Mountain Sickness, which could prove to be fatal if not treated on time.
Walking in a treacherous mountain environment also exposes you to physical injuries. Therefore, make sure that your insurance covers the cost of all injuries and emergencies that you can face during this trekking adventure.
Your insurance policy should especially cover the cost of helicopter evacuation and hospitalization in case of an accident or medical emergency, as these happen to be quite expensive. Check for vaccination requirements as some travel insurance policies makes it mandatory to immunize yourself before you leave your country.
Before you decide on a policy, be mindful and don’t forget to read the fine print. It would be advantageous for you also to choose a company that offers insurance cover on domestic and international flight cancellations and lost or stolen baggage.
We ensure the safety of our clients by following all safety protocols during the trip. This itinerary has been designed by travel experts and veteran guides who have trekked on this route innumerable times.
To prevent AMS, the required number of rest days have been added to the itinerary. Our guides always carry a first-aid kit and pulse oximeter (to measure the oxygen level in your blood) with them. The guides assigned to you have more than 10 years of experience and know what steps to take during an emergency. They are well-trained in wilderness first aid and crisis management.
If a client shows symptoms of AMS and needs to descend to a lower elevation, an assistant guide will escort them and follow the safety protocol. He will closely monitor the client’s condition and take the required steps needed for the client's well-being.
If they feel alright after a night’s rest, the guide will escort the client back to join the group. But if the condition worsens, the client will be escorted down to a lower elevation or airlifted to Pokhara or Kathmandu for expert medical aid.
A typical day on the trail begins with a wake-up call at around 6 AM by your guide. Freshen up and get ready. Pack your belongings and head to the dining area for breakfast by 7 AM. Check your luggage for the final time and fill your water bottle before you hit the trail by 8 AM, along with your guide.
To avoid walking in the heat and enjoy clear mountains' views, you make an early start. En route, there will be short breaks to enjoy the views and take photographs. You stop for lunch at a local teahouse around noon or mid-day. After a quick rest of about an hour or 40 minutes, you get back on the trail and continue till you reach your overnight stop.
Upon reaching the stop for the night, you head to your teahouse, check in and have some rest. Tea with some light refreshments (cookies or biscuits) will be served at 5 PM. As the rooms are not insulated, you can warm yourself by the heater or stove in the communal area.
Exchange stories or play cards with other trekkers till dinner is served (around 7 PM). After dinner, your guide will brief you about the next day’s trek – the route you will take, difficulty, where you will stop for lunch, etc. Afterward, retire for the night and have a well-deserved rest.
On average, you may have to walk 3 to 4 hours daily. Apart from Day 6, which involves a long hike of about 8 to 9 hours and is probably your toughest day on the trail, the hikes on other days are relatively short. You will get plenty of time to enjoy the scenery at each stop.
Travel responsibly and try to limit any negative impact on the environment. Limit the use of plastic and be mindful about throwing waste in the mountains. When you trek with us, you will be supporting local communities (from the guides and porters to teahouse owners). We, as a company, support sustainable tourism and patronize local businesses. We partner with service providers who work towards saving the environment. As an active member of KEEP (Kathmandu Environmental Education Project), we make sure that our trips are environmentally friendly.