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A unique combination of a maiden trek to the unknown beauty in the Annapurna region during the Festival of Light in Nepal! Situated just east of one of the most popular treks of Nepal, Poonhill and the Annapurna Base Camp trek, the Mardi Himal trek is a hidden beauty. As it is hardly known, just a few trekkers made their way before to the Mardi Himal Base Camp, which is spectacularly situated at the base of Mardi Himal and the impressive Machapuchhre. So here is your chance to be one of the pioneers in this recently opened area for trekkings in Nepal.
But this group trip (also as an individual trip available!) is unique to also another facet. We will join and celebrate Tihar which is a Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal which comes soon after Dashain. All ethnic groups celebrate this festival. The name Tihar means the festival of lights, where many candles are lit both inside and outside the houses to make it bright at night. The festival is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crow, cow and dog, who maintain an intense relationship with the humans. People make things outside of their house, called “Rangoli” in Nepali & Hindi, to make their Home look attractive & beautiful at night. We invite you for these celebrations with family, having a ‘tika’, delicious food, sweets, join the traditional dancing and witness the colorful festival from inside. All Kathmandu light up with candles and decorations, an unique experience!
After the festival we leave for Pokhara and start the maiden group tour to Mardi Himal. The trail goes eventually to the high base camp, but starts ease off along small paths through magical rhododendron forests, until you climb out of the forest around 3,300 meters. The landscape then changes quite abruptly into a rough high mountain landscape, with amazing views of Mardi Himal, Machapuchre, Annapurna South and Hiunchuli.
From High Camp (3.900 meters), we trek in one day to Mardi Himal Basecamp at 4.500 meters, which offers spectacular close up views of the entire Annapurna Range. The return trip is partly different since we will descend to the Mardi Khola river and by that way to Lwang.
We offer simple guesthouses and homestays along the entire route, which make this trip unique since it does not cover any of the beaten tracks. So be one of the first to join us on this new adventure. The trekking is partly strenuous, so you need some basis condition for walking at least 5/6 hours a day. Climbing experience is not needed.
Program starts on November, 7th, 2018 in Kathmandu and ends on November 20, 2018 in Kathmandu.
The alternative to the classic Annapurna trails
Day 1, Nov.7th, 2018: Arrival in Kathmandu , o/n in a hotel + D.
Arrival at the Tribhuvan International airport in Nepal. You will be transported to your hotel in Thamel where in the evening we invite you to our traditional Nepali welcome dinner. Because of the Tihar festival in Nepal in the evening goddess laxmi is worshipped. Days before the house are cleansed and decorated. For goddess likes clean and tidy places. In the evening a small potion of the house out side the main door is painted red with red mud and an oil lamp is lit on it. A pathway is made from here to the place where the old money box and valuables are kept in the house that is the puja room. All the Nepalese have a box where from generation to generation money is put every year worshipping goddess laxmi. On this day throughout the evening groups of girls come to houses singing song of praise of the goddess and they are taken as guests and given gifts. This day the entire place is lively through out the night.
Day 2: Sightseeing Kathmandu, o/n in a hotel +B
Early rise for a breakfast in the hotel after which it’s time to visit Pashupatinath, the most venerated Hindu temple of Nepal and Boudanath, the biggest Buddhist stupa of the world. It really impresses all foreign tourists. In the afternoon we visit Durbar Square with its impressive monuments.
Day 3: United Tihar festival, o/n in a hotel +B
We invite you today for the Tihar celebrations with family, having a ‘tika’, delicious food, sweets, join the traditional dancing and witness the colorful festival from inside. All Kathmandu light up with candles and decorations, an unique experience! We will join and celebrate Tihar which is a Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal which comes soon after Dashain. All ethnic groups celebrate this festival. The name Tihar means the festival of lights, where many candles are lit both inside and outside the houses to make it bright at night. The festival is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crow, cow and dog, who maintain an intense relationship with the humans.
Day 4: Drive by tourist bus to Pokhara, 7 hrs, o/n in a hotel +B
This morning you will drive to Pokhara (200km). On the route we will see more of the amazing countryside of Nepal that offers greeneries, rivers, villages, farms and beautiful mountain sceneries. In the afternoon, we reach Pokhara, the second largest city. The city is famous for its magnificent views of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Machhapuchhare, the five peaks of Annapurna. It is the starting point for all the adventurous trekkings.
Optional: an 3 hours exiting rafting tour in the Trisuli river that splits the long drive, just bring an extra towel and either extra clothes or swimming suit. No experience needed!
Day 5: Free day in Pokhara, o/n in hotel +B
Pokhara is also called the city of lakes and has numerous beautiful lakes. We can explore the most accessible and beautiful of it, Fewa Lake during the afternoon -also by taking a boat. Explore, relax and dine by this tranquil Lake Fewa. You can even do some shopping during evening hours in the colorful streets alongside the lake.
Day 6: Drive Pokhara-Kande and trek to forest camp (Kokar), (2.600m, 6/7 hrs.), o/n in lodge +B+L+D.
After a very early breakfast we drive to Kande and start our long trek (!) to the Forest Camp in Kokar. Our trek starts easy on plain way before we have to pass from the Pine Forest road which contains steep hills. We arrive halfway at Bhichok Deurali which offers panoramic views after we which we take a right turn. The forest we cross next is covered with the most unique flower called Rododendron. We will have a nice packed lunch because now on our way there are almost no any accommodations to Forest camp at Kokar.
Day 7: From forest camp (2500 m) to Mardi Himal low camp (3.050 m, 2/3 hrs.), o/n in lodge +B+L+D.
Today we trek from Forest Camp at Kokar to Low camp. At Low camp (3.050m), we have amazing and clear views of Mt. Machhapuchhre (6.997m). Beautiful flora and fauna will accompany us, next enchanting village views, walking through alpine forests. We meet the authentic Gurung and Thakali culture.
Day 8: From Mardi Himal low Camp (2.990 m) to Mardi Himal High Camp at Kew (3.900 m, 3/4hrs), o/n in lodge +B+L+D.
After breakfast we start our trekking from Low camp to High Camp at Kew (3.900m) where you can see various snow-capped mountains likke South Annpurna, Himchuli and Machhapuchhre or also known as Fishtail. After we will walk upwards along the Nangge Danda to High Camp at an altitude of 3.900 meter where you will be staying overnight.
Day 9: From Mardi Himal high Camp (3.900 m) to Mardi Himal west base camp (4.500 m, 7 hrs.) and back to high camp, o/n in lodge +B+L+D.
The day starts with breakfast at High camp and we take our packed lunch to go for our highlight of the trip and also our highest altitude: Mardi Base Camp’s (4.500m). It will take us whole day to go there and back. It is a series of steep, rocky climbs separated by more comfortable walks through lush, green fields, alongside the high Himalaya’s. Enjoy your lunch with a magnificient view of Mardi Himal, Annapurna-I, South Annapurna, Himchuli, Ten Peak, Gangapurna and Gandarbhachuli and the impressive Mt. Machhapuchhare at our side. After lunch we descend to high camp and stay overnight there.
Day 10: High Camp (3.900 m) to Sidhing (1.885 m, 5 hrs.), o/n in lodge +B+L+D.
After breakfast we decend from our high camp to towards Sidding in just 5 hrs of walk. It is a different route we came from, taking us to the cross the mardi khola river. Again we cross the breathtaking beauty of unspoiled nature and forests and the beautiful red rhododendrons. In the afternoon we reach Sidding, a traditional local village where we will stay for overnight.
Day 11: From Sidhing (1.885 m) to Lwang/Banskot (1.460 m, 4-5 hrs.), drive to Pokhara, o/n in hotel+B.
Our last trekking day we walk from Lwang (1.460 m) through small traditional villages like Hyangjakot (1.545 m) and down to the road at Banskot (1.100 m), where we drive back to Pokhara.
Day 12: Fly or drive back to Kathmandu, o/n in hotel +B
After a good rest and breakfast we drive (or optionally fly) back to Kathmandu, where we drop you off at your hotel.
Day 13: Free (shopping) day in Kathmandu, o/n in hotel +B.
Today you have a free day in Thamel, which is the tourist district of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Thamel has been the centre of the tourist industry in Kathmandu for over four decades starting from the hippie movement when many artists came to Nepal and spent weeks in Thamel. Even though Thamel has been referred to as the “ghetto” by some, most low-budget travelers consider it a tourist heaven, also for buying souvenirs.
Day 14, Nov. 20th, 2018: Transport to the international airport, +B
Tip: read what Tripadvisor has to tell about this fabulous pioneers trekking.