Day 1, Monday: Arrive Kathmandu.
Our trip starts in the lively and bustling hub of Kathmandu. If you arrive early, you can head out to explore the city’s labyrinth of back street courtyards, colourful market stalls and ancient temples, giving you your first taste of Nepal’s rich culture and friendly people. The sights and sounds of this place are all encompassing and completely intoxicating!
Later your trip leader will meet you at our hotel with a cup of hot, sweet Nepali tea (bound to be the first of many) and run through what to expect from the days ahead. Afterwards we’ll head out for dinner at a local restaurant to share our first experiences of Nepal. Accommodation: Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu. Includes: (D).
Day 2, Tuesday: Visit Swayambhunath Temple, fly to Pokhara.
Today we’ll walk a short distance out of town on an ancient stone pilgrim stairway to the Swayambhunath Temple. Keep an eye out for macaque monkeys as they often join us on the walk up the stairway – they’ve even been known to steal hats on occasion, so stay alert! According to local legend, Swayambhunath was given its name (meaning “self-arisen”) as it was said to have risen up from the lake that once covered the land where Kathmandu now stands.
Up on the hilltop, the smell of incense and butter lamps will follow you as you gaze out over the sprawling city of Kathmandu below. Local devotees come here daily to make a ritual circumnavigation of the centre piece stupa (a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine) and spin the prayer wheels set into its base. After taking in the sights and sounds of the temple we’ll make our way back down into town and head to the airport, where we’ll take a short flight to Pokhara, the beautiful gateway town of the Annapurna Himalayas. Accommodation: Hotel, Pokhara. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 3, Wednesday: Hike to Tolka.
Today we hit the trail! We’ll start by driving to Phedi, where we’ll meet our Gurung porter team and start our trek. Our first steps will have us weaving our way up a series of stone staircases and trails to the village of Dhampus, which sits high on the ridgeline. This is where we’ll get our first highland views of the Himalayas, but don’t use up too much of your camera memory – it gets even better!
We’ll continue our trek, ascending through a rhododendron forest, before arriving in the tiny village of Pothana under Machapuchare (6997m), the famous “fish tail” mountain that’s the namesake of our trip (not to be confused with ‘Machu Picchu’ in Peru). After a tea break in Pothana, we’ll make our way down a side canyon laden with birds, ferns and orchids to Tolka, where we’ll spend our first night on the trail in a homely tea house. Accommodation: Tea house, Tolka. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 4, Thursday: Hike from Tolka to Chhomrong.
Today starts with a short descent to the Tigu Khola river before we climb through the forest to a ridgeline leading to open pastures and roaring mountain streams. It’s a day of contrasts as we ascend and descend jungle trails, cross rivers on suspension bridges and walk into high clearings to be treated to views of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli and other peaks that tower above the village of Chhomrong, where we’ll spend the night. Oddly enough, this town is world famous for its pizza and chocolate cake – a heavenly reward after a big day on the trail. Accommodation: Tea house, Chhomrong. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 5, Friday: Hike from Chhomrong to Bamboo.
We’ll feel the mountains rising above us today as we hike through a landscape of dense bamboo and rhododendron forests, dotted with orchids and ferns. As we enter the Modi Valley, we’ll follow a cobbled pathway and series of staircases to the village of Bamboo, perched on the edge of this narrow valley – it’s a spectacular spot to spend the night. Accommodation: Tea house, Bamboo. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 6, Saturday: Hike from Bamboo to Deorali.
Our day begins with a short hike up out of the canyon, with the sights and sounds of the forest providing a fantastic distraction from the climb! We’ll soon reach a clearing above the forest, where we’ll continue to follow the ravine to Hinku Cave, which is a town named after a huge overhanging rock that once housed a small hotel. From here we’ll follow the trail to Deorali, our home for the night. Accommodation: Tea house, Deorali. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 7, Sunday: Hike from Deorali to Machapuchare Base Camp.
Today we’ll break through the treeline and head into the alpine area. This means we’ll be leaving the forest and its wildlife behind – but it also means this is where the mountain views really kick in. As we progress, the valley becomes gradually flatter and widens as we hike towards the “gates” of the Sanctuary. We’ll criss-cross the valley a little while longer before arriving at Machapuchare Base Camp. The mountain panorama that greets us here includes the peaks of the Annapurna massif and the triangular south face of Machapuchare itself. We’ll spend the night at the foot of these icy giants before our hike to Annapurna Base Camp in the morning. Accommodation: Tea house, Machapuchare Base Camp. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 8, Monday: Annapurna Sanctuary!
We’ll hike up just above the village to get spectacular views of the south face of Annapurna and the glacier falling beneath it. This is Annapurna Sanctuary. There are few places on the planet that can match this – the peaks of Annapurna South, Hiumchuli, Annapurna I and Machapuchare seem like they are barely a stone’s throw away and yet utterly unreachable at the same time.
Make sure you have plenty of space on your memory stick as you’ll be taking heaps of photos! After a cup of tea at Annapurna Base Camp, we’ll head back down the valley and back into the bamboo and cloud forest to Deorali. Accommodation: Tea house, Deorali. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 9, Tuesday: Hike from Deorali to Chhomrong.
Today we’ll retrace our steps down carefully maintained cobblestone paths through the forests and canyons, passing waterfalls and crossing rivers along the way. As we get lower, the air becomes more oxygen rich and slightly warmer, giving you a bit more bounce in your step. We’ll take the day to descend deeper into the valley, shrouded by rhododendron trees, ferns and bamboo stands, and we’ll finish with a short hike uphill to Chhomrong, where we’ll spend the night below the peaks of Annapurna South and Machapuchare. Accommodation: Tea house, Chhomrong. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 10, Wednesday: Hike from Chhomrong to New Bridge.
This morning we’ll have a chance to relax in Chhomrong before we head down the valley to soak in a hot spring right beside the raging Modi Khola river. The spring fills three pools, constructed from carved river stones, which have to be rebuilt every year after the monsoon rains wash them away. We’ll soak our muscles in the natural hot pools while the glacial river flows beside us and deep green tropical forest trees hang overhead – it’s sublime! Then it’s time for a tasty lunch in the village of Jinhu before a short hike to the tiny settlement of New Bridge, where we’ll spend the night. Accommodation: Tea house, New Bridge (B,L,D)
Day 11, Thursday: Hike from New Bridge to Naya Pul, Pokhara.
This morning we’ll hike along the flat trail beside the Modi Kola down to Naya Pul. This will be our last view of the rice paddies, Gurung villages and tropical forests before we take a short drive back to Pokhara. You’ll have two free nights in this great little town to explore the variety of activities and lakeside restaurants. It’s also a good chance to practice your haggling skills at the local markets and fill up your bags with gifts for home! Accommodation: Hotel, Pokhara. Includes: (B, L).
Day 12, Friday: Tandem Paragliding or free time in Pokhara.
Pokhara is the main town on the shores of Lake Phewa and is the adventure playground of Nepal. There are some fantastic street and lakeside cafes, outstanding bakeries, and heaps of outdoor activities to choose from including kayaking, bike riding and horse riding. Or, if you’re not feeling adventurous, it’s a fantastic place to explore at your own pace or just kick back and relax.
For those who are keen, we’ll head out for an exciting tandem paragliding experience over Lake Phewa. Pokhara is world renowned for paragliding, attracting recreational pilots from all around the world to fly here. After a short but spectacular drive up Sarangkot mountain, we’ll meet our local tandem pilots for a thorough safety briefing before launching off the side of the mountain overlooking Lake Phewa. Your experienced pilot will have you soaring through the air and catching thermal air currents at up to 2500 feet with the Annapurna range providing an incredible back drop. If you’ve never been paragliding before, you couldn’t pick a better place to try it! Accommodation: Hotel, Pokhara. Includes: (B).
Day 13, Saturday: Return to Kathmandu.
This morning, we’ll enjoy our last look at the Himalayas in Pokhara before we take a short flight back to Kathmandu. For those who are keen this afternoon, we’ll walk to Durbar Square, a fascinating place where Nepal’s kings were crowned in past times. The square is at the centre of Old Town Kathmandu and is the city’s greatest example of traditional architecture – so much so that it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. Tonight we’ll meet at a local restaurant for our final dinner together to celebrate our achievements and adventures in the Himalayas. Accommodation: Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 14, Sunday: Depart Kathmandu.
Today is the final day of your two-week Himalayas adventure. You’ll have completed one of the world’s most renowned treks – a feather in the cap of any outdoor enthusiast. If you have extra time after your trip, we’re happy to make suggestions on how to make the most of it. On the other hand, if you’re on your way home today, we’ll send you back refreshed and invigorated from the great hiking, food and adventures you’ve had with us in Nepal! Includes: (B).
We'll see you soon!
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Asia Nepal Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking