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This trek is a great alternative to the more popular and more crowded Ghorepani trek, taking you higher and closer to Mount Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Tukuche, Machapuchare and Annapurna South. You will trek well off the beaten path on a community-managed trail. With the support of international and Nepali organisations, community lodges have been built and local villagers trained to help you enjoy this special route, in a little-visited area. The proceeds are invested in increasing local access to education and health.
Where will you go?
What will you do?
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu
Welcome to Nepal! Our adventure begins here in Kathmandu where we will be welcomed by our local guide. We will then transfer to our hotel in the city centre for a nice welcome dinner.
Day 2: Pokhara
After breakfast we take our private bus to drive to Pokhara, the second largest city of Nepal. It’s a long drive but very scenic. We pass through small villages, rural landscape, alongside rivers and if the sky is clear we can see the Himalayan range. On arrival in Pokhara we check in our hotel and have the evening free to discover the city known as the City of Paradise.
Day 3: Ghandruk (1950m) – 4 hours
After breakfast we have a scenic drive to the start of the trail. We take a steep climb (the first of the many, many climbs and steps on this trek!) up to Kimchee and then a gentler ascent up to Ghandruk, where we spend the night. From here we can already enjoy great views of the Machapuchare and Hiunchuli mountains. We spend the night in a charming little family owned lodge and enjoy our first dinner in the mountains.
Day 4: Tadapani (2650m) – 5 hours
This morning we wind our way up through the beautiful old houses of Ghandruk and climb through a forest with incredible purple rhododendron trees and amazing views on the Annapurnas. We cross a bridge and the real climbing starts with a very steep section up to a tiny village (look out for the Langur monkeys playing in the trees!). After lunch we continue trekking into a dense forest with gigantic old growth trees keeping out the light, until we reach Tadapani, where we stay for the night.
Day 5: Dobato (3420m) – 7 hours
After breakfast, we leave Tadapani and enter into an incredible rhododendron forest. We gain altitude steadily today but every step higher rewards us with an even better view of the Himalayas. We continue walking until we reach the open hillside and take a path going through a fascinating Gurung temple to arrive at our final destination for the day: Dobato.
Day 6: Secret viewpoint (3637m) and Khopra Danda (3660m) – 8 hours
Before sunrise we have an optional excursion to a secret viewpoint. It is not compulsory but the hike is well worth the effort! We then start trekking through the forest before crossing to the western side of the ridgeline. We have great views towards Ghorepani, Poon Hill and Swanta, far down in the valley (stay away from the yaks!). When we finally arrive at Khopra Community Lodge, Mount Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Fang and Annapurna South can all be seen, feeling incredibly close and overwhelmingly huge. We have an early night before a tough day ahead.
Day 7: Khayer Lake excursion (4620m) – 10 hours
Today is the toughest day of the trek as we climb up to 4620m. Altitude sickness can now become a risk so we must follow the advice of our guide and take it slow and rest often. After a fabulous sunrise across the mountains we start climbing up towards the sacred Khayer Lake. We stop for a pic nic lunch at the top and finally retrace our steps and descend back to our lodge.
Day 8: Chitre (2390m) – 6 hours
This morning we bid farewell to the incredibly close up views of the Himalayas. From here it is all down, down, down so it’s tough on the knees. As we approach Swanta we see Mount Dhaulagiri re-emerge and it provides a lovely backdrop to the terraced fields and traditional houses of the village. We then continue up to Chitre where we stay for the night.
Day 9: Tikhedhunga (1540m) – 7 hours
From Chitre we descend through terraced fields and cross rivers before reaching colourful villages where a steep section of seemingly never-ending stairs is waiting for us. We cross a suspension bridge and finally arrive in Tikhedhunga where we enjoy a final sunset in the mountains.
Day 10: Pokhara (800m) – 4 hours
The valley opens up more and more and our weary legs enjoy the gentler grade and the complete lack of steps. We meet the river and if it’s warm we can jump in and cool off in one of the beautiful pools. We continue along the road taking a short detour through beautiful and tiny villages where we stop for lunch. We then drive back to Pokhara. Tonight we celebrate all together over a nice dinner.
Day 11: Fly to Kathmandu
After breakfast we take a short but spectacular flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu. We have the rest of the day free to explore Kathmandu.
Day 12: Return flight back home
We take our transfer to Kathmandu airport for our return flight back home.
What do you want to know?
How tough is this challenge?
This trip is quite tough with a lot of uphills and downhills so it should be undertaken by someone with previous experience in trekking. You will trek in a very remote environment, where facilities will be different to what you would expect at home for sure (long-drop toilet but amazing views!). You will reach a maximum altitude of 4620 meters above sea level during this trip so anyone undertaking this challenge should have experience with altitude trekking. In general, endurance training should be your primary focus. Begin slowly, without the weight of a pack, eventually adding weight as you increase your training pace, go up and down hills or mountains, take the stairs as much as possible (you will climb a lot of steps on this challenge so be prepared!). Supplement this activity with running, cycling, and/or swimming, for additional aerobic conditioning.
Do you organise training weekends?
Yes, our partner can offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK. These training weekends will help you become physically prepared for the challenge and will give you the opportunity to gather tips about equipment, health, teamwork etc. To book your training weekend, please get in touch.
Do I need a VISA?
British Citizens need a visa to travel to Nepal. We will send you all the information you need to get your VISA once you book your adventure. Visas are also available on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport but be prepared for long queues! For any other nationality please check directly with your embassy. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Nepal. Without this minimum validity entry to the country will be denied.
Do I need to buy travel insurance?
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. You have to be covered for trekking at high altitude as well as medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. A copy will need to be sent to us before departure. If you haven't got a travel insurance, please visit our page "Before you travel" to get a quote and book your travel insurance.
What vaccinations/medications do I need?
It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical conditions with your doctor. You can also check the NHS website www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations for advice on vaccinations and medications. Please make sure you take enough of your personal medications for the entire duration of the trip. Parts of your trip go above 2800 meters where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of the age, gender and fitness. Please discuss your condition and medications available with your doctor.
What food will be served?
The food in Kathmandu and Pokhara is varied. During the trek the food is mainly porridge, omelettes, soups, potatoes, pasta, rice, bread with vegetables. Meat and fish are rare and not recommended as electricity is temperamental. During your excursion to Khayer Lake you will have a simple packed lunch (chapatti bread and spreads, boiled eggs and fresh fruit). You can always buy extra snacks in Kathmandu or Pokhara or in the tea houses along the way.
What if I have dietary requirements?
We can cater for pretty much all diets (vegetarians, vegans, gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc) but it may not be very varied especially in more rural areas. We will however always make sure you have enough to eat. It’s a good idea to bring some of your favourite snacks with you. Please let us know your dietary requirements at least 4 months before your trip starts.
What will be the weather like?
The best season to trek in Nepal is beg-March to end-April and mid-September to mid-December. The temperature during the day can be quite warm (20-25°C) and the sun quite strong. As soon as the sun goes down, the temperature drops dramatically and is negative at night. Be prepared for both and remember mountain weather conditions are extremely unpredictable.
What is a typical day?
Breakfast is usually quite early around 7am (wake up earlier if you want to catch the sunrise!). Your bags need to be packed before breakfast. You will start trekking after breakfast and stop regularly. Lunch is usually taken in a lodge en route. You arrive in the afternoon at your lodge and have the rest of the day to relax. Dinner is quite early as well as bed time. Don’t forget that resting is one of the keys to success on every trek!
Who will be walking with us?
You will be accompanied by your local guide and his support team (assistant, porters). Your guide will set the pace and you should never overtake him. This is not a race! Back up support can be called in should there be an emergency.
What is the currency in Nepal?
The currency is the Nepali Rupee (NPR). For up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com. US dollars are accepted in some big restaurants and shops but we recommend getting some Nepali Rupees too, especially for extra drinks and snacks during the trek. If paying in USD the exchange rate will be set by the vendor, which may differ from the official exchange rate.
Do they accept Credit Cards?
Visa and Mastercard are becoming more widely accepted in big shops and restaurants, but will not be accepted in the rural areas. We advise you to bring lower denominations. Check with your bank regarding any charges applicable. For up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com.
Are there any ATM’s available during the trek?
ATMs are available in Kathmandu and Pokhara only so please make sure you have enough cash with you for your trek.
Do I need to bring money?
All accommodation and most of the meals are included within the price of the trip, as well as water during the days of your trek. You will only need money in case of emergency and for tips, hiring specialist equipment, additional food & drink, gifts & souvenirs etc.
What is the recommendation for tipping?
All our staff is paid a fair wage. However, local staff will generally receive a tip at the end of a job well done. We recommend approx. NPR1000-NPR1500 (US$10-US$15) per group per day for the guide and the same amount for a driver, NPR500-NPR1000 (US$5-US$10) per group per day for each porter and support staff. This should be given at the end of the challenge. Please don't tip with coins or notes of or less than NPR1, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
What type of accommodation are you using?
We always try to book nice and comfortable 3* hotels near the city centre with en-suite bathrooms. However in some rural areas the accommodation can be more basic.
In Kathmandu and Pokhara you will stay in a hotel located near the city centre.
During the trek you will stay in lodges. Mattresses, pillows and blankets are provided, but you should take a good quality four-season sleeping bag and a liner if possible to add extra warmth. Please note that lodges are basic but clean and they do not often have attached bathrooms or hot showers. You might have to pay to use hot water or for battery charging (usually NPR 100-300).
Do I need to carry my own bag?
During the day you will only have to carry your day bag with your essentials (extra layers, water, snacks, sun cream, medications, waterproofs etc). Your main bag (strictly limited to 15kg!) will be carried by porters each day to the next accommodation so you will have it with you every evening. If you need help to carry your day bag please get in touch as you might be able to hire a porter to help you.
What is the weight limit for the hand luggage and checked luggage for the domestic flight?
In the plane from Pokhara to Kathmandu you will be able to bring 20kg in your checked luggage and 5kg in your hand luggage. However porters are limited to 15kg and we recommend not taking too much in your day bag so it’s best to limit your main bag to 15kg and your day bag to 5kg. Extra items can be left in the hotel in Kathmandu.
Do I need any specific documents with me?
Please always carry with you your passport (leave a copy in your main bag) and your insurance details.
What should I pack?
Once your trip is booked we will send you a gear list. The essential packing list is:
- Travel documents: passport with visa (if required), travel insurance, flights tickets and photocopies of these documents
- Money: cash/credit card kept in a money belt
- Personal medication
- Daypack (30L to 50L) and duffle bag (80L to 100L)
- Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes (already broken in) with good walking socks
- Head torch with spare batteries
- Electrical adapter plug (for more information please check www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/)
- Toiletries/travel wipes and travel towel
- Sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses
- Refillable water bottle (no disposable plastic bottles) and Platypus/camelbak
- Wind and waterproof rain jacket and trousers
- Down jacket
- Camera with spare batteries
Can you teach me a few words in the local language?
Hello/Goodbye – Namaste
Thank you – Dhanyabad
Good night - Subha ratri
How are you? - Tapaaii lai kasto cha?
Good, thank you – Malai Thik Cha