The area below Annapurna South provides a stunning wilderness of alpine ridges, holy lakes and sensational mountain views. The Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, both over the magical 8000-metre height, are the great attraction, along with the beautiful fish-tail peak of Machapuchhare. Part of this trek takes us well of the beaten track, and by staying at Peregrine Community lodges we help provide support for the local economy and local schools. And after the exertions of your trek a day’s relaxation at beautiful Pokhara can be the icing on the cake.
RETURNING TO NEPAL:
Thank you for choosing to visit Nepal. It is a decision you can be proud of because by visiting you are helping Nepal get back on its feet after the devastating earthquake of April this year. The following trip notes reflect our itineraries before the earthquake occurred. As Nepal rebuilds, there are likely to be changes. We may not be able to visit some destinations and sights, some accommodation may be closed and some activities may not be available. We are working closely with our operations team in Nepal to finalise as much as we can.
We will be able to let you know about some of these changes in advance before you travel. Others may need to be communicated to you by your tour leader once you are already in the country. We ask all our travellers to be flexible, patient and understanding both as you prepare for your travels and while on your trip in Nepal.
Why we love it
- This spectacular adventure treks through the Annapurna foothills to the wild and remote Kopra Ridge – one of the best vantage points in the Himalaya.
- The opportunity to stay in newly constructed lodges, a joint venture between Peregrine and the local community whose profits benefit local schools and village projects.
- Ascending the terraced hillsides to Upper Ghandruk, and enjoying fine views of the Annapurna mountains.
- Leaving the popular main trail at Tadapani and heading through remote alpine terrain to Bayeli, before ascending to Kopra.
- The spectacular view across the lofty peaks of Nilgiri, Annapurna I, Fang and Annapurna South. With Dhaulagiri dominating the western skyline across the deepest gorge in the world, the Kali Ghandaki.
- Descending through open alpine pastures, oak forest and rhododendrons to Swanta before rejoining the main trail and unwinding beside Lake Phewa in lovely Pokhara.
Day 1 - Kathmandu (1360m)
- On arrival in Kathmandu, you will be met at the airport by our representative who will be waiting with a Peregrine sign outside the terminal.
- After you settle into the hotel there will be a group briefing with your tour leader in the late afternoon. He will discuss the trek details and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements.
- The evening is free, but the tour leader will usually organise dinner (optional) at one of Kathmandu’s fine Nepali restaurants.
Shangri La Hotel or similar
Day 2 - Kathmandu (1360m)
- This morning you will explore Kathmandu on an organised sightseeing tour that includes: Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world. Here you can observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. You will also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. You will see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing, and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats.
- The rest of the afternoon in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration.
- In the late afternoon you will be issued with your Trek Pack and departure information for the next morning.
Shangri La Hotel or similar
Day 3 - Shyauli (1160m)
- You will have an early departure from the hotel today for your flight to Pokhara. The flight often boasts spectacular views of the main Himalayan chain to the north.
- In Pokhara you will be transferred by road (private bus) to the starting point of the trek at Nayapul. The porters will be waiting, and after a brief stop to stretch your legs while the porters organise the load, you will set off on the walk.
- You will walk through the busy trading post of Nayapul. You will cross a small stream via suspension bridge and continue on a dirt road before crossing the Modi River to reach Birethanti. At Birethanti your trekking permits will be checked at the Annapurna Conservation Check Post. You will continue to hike following the Modi Khola upstream, passing through settlements inhabited by the Chettris and Brahmins. On a clear day looming majestically in the distance, you will see the Machapuchhare (6993m).
- Soon you will reach the small hamlet of Shyauli Bazaar where you will stop for the day.
Day 4 - Ghandruk (1950m)
- Today you will start the climb to Ghandruk. The trail gradually climbs out of Shyauli, and you will cross a steel suspension bridge. From here the trail climbs more steeply up stone steps through settlements of Klieu, Kimche and Chane, where one can see beautiful scenery and village life.
- From the small village of Chane the trail traverses and then climbs up to the village of Ghandruk, where you will stop for lunch and spend the night. Ghandruk is one of the biggest Gurung villages in the area, the difference in the Gurung's lifestyle here to that of their neighbours in the lower areas is very apparent. Ghandruk is well known for the number of its men folk who have served in the British Gurkha regiments.
- From the lodge at Old Ghandruk, you will have spectacular views of Annapurna South (7219m), Hiunchuli (6441m), Machapuchhare (6993m), and Hiunchuli (6434m).
Day 5 - Tadapani (2450m)
- Another day ascending ahead, but the walk will be easier now that you’ve found your trekking legs! Leaving the terraced hillsides and the village of Ghandruk behind, you will enter oak and rhododendron forest. This is a particularly pretty part of the walk, the forest is alive with the sound of birds and small tumbling waterfalls, and if you visit in spring, (late March to April) the rhododendron will be in full bloom.
- There are no villages on today’s route, but there will be a few teahouses at Baisi Kharkha, providing welcome drinks and a place to rest. There will be fine views of Annapurna II (7937m), Annapurna III (7555m), Annapurna IV (7525m), Annapurna South (7237m), Machapuchhare (6993m) and Lamjung Himal (6931m) along the way.
- Your lodge at Tadapani is the perfect setting for sunset and sunrise views.
Day 6 - Bayli Kharka (3400m)
- You will leave the main trail that leads to Ghorepani today and follow a rarely used trail - initially through thick rhododendron forest - that leads to local water buffalo pastures. The climb is gradual and soon you will emerge above the tree line to superb views of the Annapurna range.
- You will take lunch by a small stream and then continue to climb gradually though open countryside to reach a small pass, where the trail descends through rhododendron to an open clearing known as Bayli Kharka, and the lodge.
- From the lodge there are great views of Dhaulagiri Himal.
Day 7 - Upper Chistibung (3000m)
- This morning you will descend through open ground and forest to reach the pastures of Lower Chistibung, where you will have lunch.
- After lunch you will continue to walk through forest, ascending gradually and passing through several buffalo grazing pastures to reach a clearing and temporary herder’s settlement at Upper Chistibung, where you will stay in the small community lodge.
- For a few days you will stay in lodges run by the local communities. We have contributed to the construction of these lodges, part of a series of projects designed to aid the local community. Being off the beaten track, the villages haven’t previously enjoyed the benefits of tourism. Now with the network of our Community Lodges, there are profits to benefit local projects and schools.
Day 8 - Kopra Ridge (3660m)
- To reach the ridge at Kopra, you will embark on a steady climb that carries you above the tree line. This area is noted for wildlife, so you should keep your eyes open for Himalayan tahr and Danfe pheasant. The best way to tackle the climb is to ascend steadily, take your time and rest as often as you wish.
- You will reach the lodge on Kopra Ridge in time for lunch and will be greeted by more awe-inspiring views. This extraordinary panorama includes Annapurna South, towering directly above you at only six kilometres away, with Fang and Nilgiri prominent to the north. Across the depths of the Kali Gandakhi Valley, the Dhaulagiri Himal dominates the entire western skyline.
- The Kopra Community Lodge is the highlight of our work in the region. Profits from this lodge have contributed to the secondary school at Nangi, which you will visit in a few days' time.
Day 9 - Swanta (2200m)
- From Kopra Ridge you will descend off the hillside and continue steeply downhill. You will retrace the route back to Chistibung.
- You will then head to the village of Swanta, where you will stay overnight in the newly constructed lodge. We have supported the local school over the years and there is time to pay a quick visit and perhaps interact with the kids.
Day 10 - Ulleri (2070m)
- From Swanta you will descend through the village fields to a small river and take a quick look at the local water mill. From here you will cross the suspension bridge and head upwards to the village of Chittre, where you’ll join the main trekking trail.
- There is a further ascent to reach the village of Ghorepani where you will be met with great views of the Dhaulagiri massif and a well-earned rest.
- For the rest of the day it is all downhill. The walk passes through beautiful rhododendron forest and you will have lunch at the village of Nangethanti. In the afternoon you will continue to trek through the forest and for those trekking in late March or April the rhododendron should be in full bloom.
- You will arrive at Ulleri in the mid afternoon with plenty of time to explore this picturesque village.
Day 11 - Pokhara (850m)
- Another early start today, to make the most of the day ahead. From the lodge at Ulleri there is a very steep descent of 500 metres on a stone staircase to the Bhurungdi Khola River where you will cross a small suspension bridge to reach the village of Tirkedunga.
- After giving your knees some time to recover, you will continue a more gentle descent to the village of Birethanti, on the banks of the Modi Khola. Here you will have lunch and then cross the new bridge to the east bank, before following the river back to the pick-up point at Naya Phul.
- After saying farewell to your porters, you will be transferred by coach back to Pokhara. You will stay at the Hotel Barahi, which is located close to the lakeside. This hotel has a swimming pool, so you may wish to bring your swimming costume. After a welcomed shower, the rest of the day will be free to relax or do some exploring. It is worth hiring a boat for a row out on the lake (Phewa Tal), which is the second largest in Nepal.
- Pokhara has an interesting old area as well as an elaborate Hindu temple and a Buddhist monastery. The lakeside area has great shopping and Internet cafes. In the evening there is the option to dine out at one of the many lakeside restaurants (cost not included).
Day 12 - Pokhara (850m)
- Another day has been allocated to enjoy the peaceful surroundings of Pokhara.
- Your leader can advise you of sightseeing opportunities or you may just wish to relax and laze around the hotel swimming pool.
- There are various small museums scattered around town including the International Mountain Museum, which is well worth a visit.
Day 13 - Kathmandu (1360m)
- After breakfast you will have the morning free in Pokhara to relax or do some more sightseeing.
- You will then fly back to Kathmandu and enjoy a free afternoon to shop for souvenirs or see some more sights.
- Patan, which is located in the south of the city, is also worth a visit with its own Durbar Square full of historic structures and statues of past kings.
- Tonight you will have the opportunity to go out on the town and enjoy a final dinner (optional) with your travelling companions and newfound friends to celebrate your last night in Kathmandu.
Shangri La Hotel or similar
Day 14 - Kathmandu (1360m)
- Your trip will come to an end today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements.
- A departure transfer to the airport will not be included. Kathmandu has so much to offer, we recommend that you consider booking pre-tour or post-tour accommodation and a departure transfer before you commence your travels.
- At the end of your tour please consider donating to the KEEP Porters Clothing Bank. As you will have come to realise on your tour, porters play a vital role in the tourism industry enabling tourists to visit Nepal’s most picturesque and difficult terrain. The majority are subsistence farmers who travel from lower areas of Nepal to the higher elevated trekking routes to find employment. Contrary to the belief that porters are well-adjusted to the cold and altitude of the Himalayas, every year many porters suffer from a variety of illnesses such as altitude sickness, snow blindness, hypothermia and frostbite and some even die as a result. The Clothing Bank was set up in 2009 to provide ill-prepared porters with better clothing suitable for trekking in a mountain environment and reduce the number of unnecessary illnesses and fatalities which occur each year.
- Usually donations of used jackets and trousers/pants from Westerners do not fit Nepali porters who tend to be smaller. However donations of other clothing items such as socks, boots, sunglasses, warm gloves and sleeping bags are always welcome. Your leader can ensure that your donation is passed on.
- If you would like to make a financial contribution to KEEP please do so through the Intrepid Foundation and we will match your donation dollar for dollar.