This classic lodge trek starts with a long climb to and then descends to the world's deepest gorge, on the Kali Gandeki River, going all the way from rhododendron forests to the beginning of the Tibetan plateau. This trek also offers you a chance to encounter unique cultural people who practice their ancient traditions even today. The maximum altitude reached on this trek is 3800m and can be completed by anybody with a moderate level of fitness.
The first part of this trek ascends through rice terraces and villages inhabited by the fearless Gorkha people, renowned for their strength and as pillars of both the Indian and British armies. A fascinating museum of Traditional Nepalese Life awaits you in Ghandruk. Walking up slowly through rhododendron forests, the majestic Annapurna range reveals itself as you emerge from the forest into Ghorepani. A short hike from Ghorepani will bring you to Poon Hill (3210m), a place of timeless beauty presenting magnificent views of the Himalayan Mountains. The trek gets interesting in Tatopani where you will have the opportunity to relax in natural hot springs! Continuing along the Kali Gandeki River Gorge, marvel at the splendid peaks of Annapurna-I and Dhaulagiri both of which reach heights in excess of 8000m. The grandeur of the Dhaulagiri Glacier is on show a little further up along with the first glimpse of the windy Tibetan Plateau on the way to the holy Hindu pilgrimage site of Muktinath (3800m). The sacred temple has 108 waterfalls that resemble water flowing from taps and mysterious natural gas fires that boggle the mind. From here it is downhill to Jomsom village, on the Tibetan Plateau where you can look around at the gateway to the "Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang", and get a glimpse of the ancient traditions still in practice. A flight the following day will bring you back to Pokhara while you enjoy a last look at the beautiful Himalayan Mountains.
Day 01 - Arrival in kathmandu
Upon arrival at Kathmandu International Airport transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu or Bhaktapur. Short briefing will follow concerning the necessary formalities and your trekking itinerary. Depending upon your arrival time you may spend free time visiting nearby sanctuaries or resting.
Day 02 - Sightseeing / Cultural Day in Kathmandu Valley
Half day sightseeing around UNESCO Bhaktapur / Kathmandu where your guide will escort you on a tour of Buddhist and Hindu temples and shrines reflecting ancient local traditions. There is time to explore the city’s many places of interest on your own or take a rest while trekking permits are finalised. In the evening sample a delicious traditional Nepali dinner. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 03 - Kathmandu to Pokhara
Fly or drive to Pokhara, from where you will depart on your trek. Overnight in Pokhara.
Day 04 - Pokhara to Tikhe Dhunga(1491m)
Take breakfast before an early morning departure at 7am for Pokhara (200km), to take a plane to Pokhara. Drive from the airport to Naya Pul (42km) by car via the large village of Lumle and walk for about 20 minutes to Birethanti, a large and prosperous town. The trail follows the main street of Birethanti, going through bamboo forests and past a large waterfall and swimming hole. Beyond a pasture used by pony caravans, the trail reaches Sudami where you have lunch. After lunch, climb steadily up the side of the valley, reaching Hile at 1495m near Tikhe Dhunga (4 hrs).
Day 05 – Tikhe Dhunga to Ghorepani (2855m)
Breakfast is served at 0700hrs. From Tikhe Dhunga the trail crosses a stream on a suspension bridge near the camp site at Tikhe Dhunga. The trail ascends a steep stone staircase (which has about 3300 steps) to the large Magar village Ulleri at 2080m. Above the village, the trail climbs gently through pastures and cultivated fields. There is a camp site for a rest and water stop one hour’s walk above Ulleri. The trail crosses two sparkling streams before making a short, final climb to Nangethanti where we stop for lunch. Thanti is a Nepali word meaning "rest house”. In the winter the trail can be covered with snow. From Nangethanti climb to Ghorepani at 2750m, from here we can see the spectacular panorama of Dhaulagiri I (8167m), Tukuche Nilgiri (6940m), Annapurna South, Annapurna I (8091m), Hiunchuli (6441m) and Tarke Kang (7193m). Overnight in Ghorepani 4-6 hrs).
Day 06 - Ghorepani to Tatopani (2520m)
A very early start – about 05:30 hrs - to climb to Poon Hill (3210m) for a spectacular sunrise with unobstructed views over the high Himalayas. You will see a panorama of mountain peaks from this viewpoint. After sunrise, return to our guesthouse and enjoy breakfast. Ghorepani means "horse water" and it is no doubt a welcome watering stop for the teams of horses, mules and ponies that carry loads between Pokhara and Jomsom. From Ghorepani the downhill trail follows the Jomsom route. Across the rhododendron forest, we pass some small villages and walk along side the Ghaja Khola. In Tatopani (which means hot water in Nepali) there are natural hot water springs for your refreshment, be sure to bring a bathing costume. Overnight in Tatopani (5-6 hrs).
Day 07 - Tatopani to Ghasa (2120m)
The trek now starts up the Kali Gandaki valley, which is said to be the deepest gorge in the world Here we will enjoy a beautiful day’s walking along the Kali Gandaki riverside, gradually ascending into sub-tropical vegetation. We will cross the Bhalu Khola on a high suspension bridges before arriving at Dana (1450m) Around 30 minutes from Dana we will see a very high waterfall: Rupse Chhahara (which translates as “beautiful waterfall”). From there we will continue through the steepest and narrowest part of the Kali Gandaki valley, where much of the route is cut through solid rock. We will cross the river again on a 120m long bridge to the east side. We will continue on to Ghasa, an ethnic Thakali village and this marks the southern most limit of Tibetian Buddhism in the valley. We will stay overnight in one of the guesthouses here (6-7 hrs).
Day 08 - Ghasa to Larjung (2560m)
The trail follows the Kali Gandaki river, passing through a narrow gorge before reaching Thakali traditional villages. Today we will cross the gorge and river numerous times via long suspension bridges, which make great photo opportunities. We will pass a couple of villages (eg. Lete, Kalopani and Kokhethati). On the way we can see the top of Dhaulagiri mountain peeking over the west side. We will end our day in the village of Larjung (5 hrs).
Day 09 - Larjung to Marpha (2776m)
An easy and lovely day’s walking where we will first see the village of Khobang, which has narrow alleyways and tunnels connecting houses. We can make short side trip to the Kanti gompa (a Buddhist temple). Then our route continues to Tukuche village (2580m), one of the most important Thakali villages. We can see a wine-brandy distillery here and walk through the orange orchard street. We will continue our trek for another 2 hours before reaching our days final destination at Marpha. Here we will visit some of the Buddhist gompa’s, some of them are very attractive. The gompa’s are painted with a whitewash produced from a special local stone (4 hrs).
Day 10 – Marpha to Kagbeni (2840m)
We wake up early today, because although the road is not difficult it can become harder because of strong winds in this particular area in the afternoon. Our trail leads us to the village of Shyang at 2800 m before crossing the Shyang Khola to Jomsom (2760m). Jomsom is the administrative headquarter for the region. From Jomsom we follow the trail along the river to Eklai Bhatti and from there on to the medieval looking town of Kagbeni (2840m). This town has closely packed mud houses, dark tunnels and alleys and a large ochre-coloured gompa perched above the town. From here we will follow a flagstone trail and passes two tunnels. We will stay in one of the guesthouses here (4 hrs).
Day 11 – Kagbeni to Muktinath (3800m)
Today we will do the 900 meter ascend to Muktinath which is an important pilgrimage place for Hindus and Buddhists. We will first walk through Khingar (3400m) and then onto Jharkot (3500m), which is an impressive fortress like village. We will continue our way to the first part of Muktinath which is known as Ranipauwa, where we will stay the night. There will be time to explore the area and see some of the holy Hindu places like an eternal flame coming from natural gas next to a spring which is considered holy as well (4 hrs).
Day 12 - Muktinath to Jomsom (2713m)
This is an easy day walking back to Jomsom following a different route, but can be tedious if we are unlucky to get the strong winds. From Muktinath to Jomsom, you will see the people of Mustang, a restricted area to the north, who come to sell handicrafts to pilgrims. Among their merchandise is the highly-revered mollusk fossil called shaligram. We will pass some ancient caves and see the impressive white mountain that is the Dhaulagiri. We also transit at the significant town of Kagbeni, which is at a junction of 2 rivers and the north-south and east-west trading routes (6 hrs).
Day 13 - Jomsom to Pokhara
Fly to Pokhara and spend the day at leisure, relaxing, and maybe enjoying a massage or enjoy sightseeing around Pokhara valley. Overnight in Pokhara.
Fly or drive back to Kathmandu.
Day 15 - Kathmandu
Departure from Kathmandu.
Airport transfers, all transport, accommodation.
Items of a personal nature, alcoholic drinks, phone calls, laundry, additional tours and meals not listed under 'Included' are not included. Passport, visas, flights and airport departure taxes, excess baggage charges and tips are your own responsibility.