The incredible experience of trekking in Nepal need not be purely for high level walkers. The Hindu and Buddhist temples of Kathmandu, the amazing medieval city of Baktapur, the serenity of Phewa Tal (‘Fish Tail Lake’) in Pokhara, and the breath taking views of the Himalaya are all features of this intermediate holiday to Nepal – including a 6-day circular trek to Ghorepani in the Annapurna region. At Ghorepani, weather permitting, we’ll climb Poon Hill and watch the sun rise over the magnificent Annapurna range. There’ll be bamboo forests and huge rhododendron trees in flower, monkeys in the trees, steep stone steps that we’ll take as slowly as we need, and little villages dotting the terraced hillsides where we’ll stop for tea. From Pokhara before the trek, we will have a warm-up walk to Sunrise View at Sarankot, and maybe cross the lake by boat to climb to the Peace Temple. The walks on this holiday are generally to the full limit of Intermediate height gain, but usually shorter in distance. We will stay in twin esnuite rooms at 3-star hotels in Kathmandu & Pokhara, and twin rooms in simple tea houses on the trek (Basic accommodation with clean rooms, most have squat toilets and showers). Luggage is transported for you – you carry a day pack only.
Price includes:13 nights in Nepal & all costs except flight, visa, entrance fees to sites in Kathmandu, tips, and snacks & lunch and evening meals when not on trek, but these are inexpensive.
Itinerary (subject to change)
- – Leave UK on overnight flight.
- – Arrive in Kathmandu. Settle into our simple ensuite twin rooms at Mandala Boutique Hotel (in a little back street away from the crowds and with a lovely garden/ bar area). Unless there’s a flight time change, there won’t be much time to explore before dinner, but there are small shops and change bureaux near the hotel in the Thamel district if needed and you can also exchange money at the hotel reception. Early evening chat with your guide about the trip and the trek. Eat out at a good local Thamel restaurant
- – Sightseeing in Kathmandu: which may include Swayambunath Monastery, Pashaputinath temple (Hindu), Boudhanath Stupa (Tibetan Buddhist) and a short drive to the incredible city of Bhaktapur which has hardly changed in the last 1000 years although, sadly, it was badly damaged in the 2015 earthquake. Spend some time wandering through its narrow streets, visiting its Durbar Square where all the temples are. Return to Kathmandu. Eat out in local restaurant.
- – Check out of the hotel. Fly to Pokhara – a beautiful small town beside Phewa Tal Lake where the kings summer palace stands. Check in to our hotel here. Phewa Tal means Fish Tail because Fish Tail Mountain looks down on it. It’s lovely to walk by the lake or explore the town and its small shops. In the afternoon we will do a short local walk to a waterfall and Tibetan Refugee Community village where they still make crafts in the traditional way. Eat out at local restaurant – plenty of excellent ones to choose from.
- – Early am drive to Sarankot for a sunrise view over the Annapurna range & Fish Tail mountain. Then after a short uphill walk and a stop for breakfast, we walk down to Pokhara through little villages and terraces returning along the lake. Leisure time in afternoon. Pack for trek. Eat out in Pokhara in the evening.
- – Leave early, and drive to Dampus (1.5 hrs) to start the trek. Fabulous views from the start and an easy gradual up through rhododendron forest to Pothana (1990m). Around 2 hr walk with 300m ascent. Lots to see with people and donkey trains passing. We will stay and eat at a simple lodge/tea house with views of Fish Tail mountain.
- – Leave Pothana for Landruk (1620m) with an initial 1hr uphill climbing through forests for a total of about 200m to a pass with views of the river far below and maybe a tea stop. If we’re lucky we will already have fine views of Annapurna South and Hiunchuli to the north and Fish Tail and Pokhara to the south. Then we descend, steeply in places, for around 450m down stone steps and through forests , until we cross a bridge and continue into the Gurung village of Ghandruk where we arrive at our tea house for the night.
- Landruk to Ghandruk (also known as Ghandrung, 1990m) We set off down hill until we reach and cross the river and then start making our way up hill for around 4hours climbing 600metres along paths running between villages and terraces. This path is the only ‘road’ and we will pass women carrying loads, children going to school in next village, donkey trains carrying grain higher into mountains… We may have lunch at one of first tea houses in Ghandruk, then walk up more steps through Ghandruk to our lodge. Ghandruk is the second largest Gurung settlement in Nepal and there are two little cultural museums and an also small temple.
- – Leave Ghandruk for Tadapani (2721m). First we climb steadily up to reach Rhododendron forest. On the way we have spectacular views of Annapurna South. Here we’ll take a breather before starting into the forest, passing waterfalls and trees in flower. We may see monkeys in the trees (taking care of the tree roots and any donkeys!) More tea houses to stop at before we reach the village of Tadapani for the night. It’s a busy little place and we willhav etime to shop at the Tibetan craft stalls before dinner.
- – Tadapani to Ghorepani (2860m). Crossing and recrossing a river (but not by rickety suspension bridges) we will make our way up to through rhododendron forest to a pass, then along a ridge and down to Ghorepani. Gorepani means “It is a larger village with a post office, a few shops and a place to swap books. Time to spare for exploring the village before we eat at the lodge. Bed early if the forecast is good.
- – Weather permitting up at 4am to climb up Poon Hill (3200m) in the dark with head torches & flap jacks for energy. Voices heard in the dark are others doing the same. Arrive on Poon Hill encircled by mountains at approx 5.30 to watch the sun rising over the Annapurna range – an unforgettable experience. Return to Ghorepani for breakfast, then set off down towards our lodge in the Magar village of Ulleri (2080) through rhododendron forest and bamboo and then past villages and fields. We will cover over 1000m of descent on this day, but it will be done in two parts and we will take our time and rest at tea shops.
- – Descend from Ulleri (2080m) to Hile (1480) – down a steep stone stepped path and a wide stone trail, stopping at tea houses to rest our knees. We walk for 3 hours before we meet the jeep or minibus that will drive us back to Pokhara to return to the Mountain Lodge Resort. We can spend the afternoon crossing the lake in a small boat and climbing the hill to the Peace Temple or exploring the small shops for souvenirs and presents or we can rest and take the time to just sit and take it all in by the lake. Eat out that evening in one of Pokhara’s many small restaurants.
- – Leave Pokhara and fly by small plane back to Kathmandu with different and striking views of the mountains if we’re lucky. Settle back into our hotel and then you have a free afternoon to do more shopping and sight seeing. Eat out in Kathmandu that evening.
- –Last day of leisure in Kathmandu. Could do early flight around Everest (weather permitting. Not included – approx £150) or take time for present shopping, see Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, or just wander the narrow streets and shops of the Thamel district. Eat out in Kathmandu
- – Fly back to UK arriving back in the evening.