Get ready for something straight out of the twilight zone. Stand proud among some of the tallest of mountains and breathe in the magic. Bordering a catchment of three major river systems is a magnificent mountainous panorama begging to be seen at close quarters, which includes the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Manaslu, Gangapurna and Tilicho Peaks. The Annapurna Base Camp itself, standing at 4130 meters, is a gem – with majestic panoramas only the Himalayas can contain. This is the land of the legendary Gurung people, an ethnic group renowned for bravery in the Gurkha Army. The culture is as diverse as the flora and fauna, and even though the main trekking season is October and November, it is mostly possible to do the trek all year.
Your guide will pick you up at the airport. Get a feel for the streets the first day, absorb the sights and sounds, or rest at the hotel. We discuss the game plan in the evening.
Kathmandu, the capital city, boasts an intense mix of cultures and religions unique to Nepal. Turn the Buddhist prayer wheels at Swoyambhu- the monkey temple, and meet the steady gaze of the Buddha’s eyes at the famous Boudhanath stupa. Experience the valley’s olden days at the Kathmandu Durbar Square which has remained authentic even as modernization has crept in all around it. See Kathmandu, with your Advex guide.
The Tourist Capital of Nepal, Pokhara is loved by the world for being a picturesque jewel straight out of post cards. A valley of lakes, Pokhara boasts spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges and a lively party atmosphere. Spend the evening in this magical city after an early morning drive from Kathmandu.
We start walking an hour-drive away from Pokhara- at Naya Pul. After a short walk along the banks of the Modi Khola stream we’ll reach Birethanti (1015 meters), a large village that has many quaint little shops and teahouses. As the trail continues through the village and follows the north bank of the Bhurungdi Khola stream, it climbs steadily up the side of the valley to Hile at 1495 meters. A short climb takes us to Tikhedhunga at 1570 meters. Today’s walk is relatively short and easy, and it will prepare us for the days ahead.
Leaving Tikhedunga, we begin our journey with a steep climb to Ulleri. Ulleri is a large village at 2070 meters- home to the friendly Magar people. The trail then continues to ascend more gently, through fine forests of oak and rhododendrons towards Banthanti at 2250 meters. Then we trek towards Nangethanti at 2460m. Another hour of walking and we get to Ghorepani at 2900 meters.
An early morning hour-long hike to Poon Hill at an elevation of 3210 metersprovides a superb view of the sun rising over the high Himalayas- including the Annapurnas, Dhaulagiris and Machhapuchhare, or the famous Fishtail. Poon Hill deserves at least an hour before returning to Ghorepani where we continue our trek to Tadapani after breakfast, along ridges and through pine and rhododendron forests.
The trails drops down from Tadapani through dense rhododendron forests towards Chiule where a few lodges are located. A maze of small paths leads down through the terraced fields to a big suspension bridge over the Kimrong Khola. From the bridge, the trail climbs past a school and along terraces to the little village of Klisigo Chiukle. After a series of waterfalls, the trail climbs and contours along the terraces to join the main Ghandrung-Chomrong route, from where we make our way to Chomrong or Bamboo for the night.
After a steep descent from Chomrong followed by a demanding climb to Sinuwa we continue up through forests passing the small villages of Bamboo and Dovan until we reach an area known as Himalayan Hotel, which is not really a hotel, where we’ll spend the night.
Here, we have great views of the Machchapuchhre mountain (6997m) which explain why its name translates to “fishtail”. After crossing a ravine, the trail climbs along boulders, as the trees slowly disappear behind us. The valley broadens out and the scenery becomes wilder as we approach the gates of the Annapurna sanctuary. Passing between the peaks of Hiunchuli and Machhapuchhare, we will reach Machhapuchhare Base Camp (3700m) and at the entrance to this great amphitheatre, we will spend the night. The views are exhilirating, with a panorama that includes the Himchuli, Annapurna 1, Annapurna 3, Gangapurna and Machhapuchhare peaks.
After a very early wakeup call, a slight climb of around 2 hours will take us to the Annapurna Base Camp, which is surrounded by the snow capped peaks of some of the highest mountains in the world. Hiunchuli, Annapurna South, Annapurna 1 and 3, Gangapurna and Machhapuchhhure all encircle us at the camp. The sunset and sunrise are magnificent in this mountain arena.
From the Annapurna South glacier, the breathtaking panoramic view is astounding as the Annapurna 1 soars above rubble covered glaciers while, to the south, Hiunchuli and Annapurna South soar majestically. The grandiose peaks of Annapurna three and the frivolous Fishtail lift the soul. For a view of Gangapurna, you can climb a moraine with a few rock cairns to the south. Once you have soaked up the stunning views of the Annapurna range, breakfast’s at the lodge at the Base Camp before we start the descent all the way back to Sinuwa, passing Deurali, Himalayan Hotel, Doban and Bamboo.
Immediately after leaving Sinuwa, the trail drops steeply to a river before climbing up again till we reach Chomrong. After lunch in Chomrong we begin the steep descent towards Ghandruk (1950m), which is a large, prosperous Gurung village and after arrival we will have time to explore the maze of narrow alleyways separating the neat slate-roofed houses and watch the sunlight on Macchapuchhare, Annapurna South and Hiunchuli. It’s also possible to visit the small but interesting Gurung Museum.
From Ghandruk we descend to Syauli Bazaar for a pleasant easy walk following the river to Birethanti (1040m) where we cross the bridge and walk back to Naya Pul, where the journey began, to be picked up and driven back to Pokhara
We pack up early and head back to Kathmandu, where a bit of relaxation or shopping might be in order. We say our goodbyes at a farewell dinner in a Nepali cultural restaurant.
We’ll drop you off at the airport, and bid you farewell, most probably discussing plans for your next visit.