You will be met by a representative of World Expeditions and transferred to the Radisson hotel. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. A pre-trek briefing will be given around 5pm where arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag and down /fibrefill jacket. Evening drinks are held in the hotel from 6.30 7.15pm for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members before heading out to dinner.
This morning we take a flight west to Pokhara, Nepal's second largest town (820m). On arrival you are greeted with sights of the entire Annapurna Range. The drive to the roadhead at Nayapul takes around two hours. Our trek today is short as we wind uphill through terraced fields and mixed oak and rhododendron forest to our first overnight at an eco lodge in Syuli Bazaar.
Our destination today is easily seen across the valley, the attractive Gurung village of Ghandruk. We descend the valley floor through terraced fields and cross steel suspension bridge to commence our ascent. As we trek up the staircase, we enjoy the beauty of the Himalaya at a relatively close range and observe the glaciers flowing from them to form the river below us. It really is a magnificent location and a photographer's delight. On our leisurely approach along these ridges we savor the magnificent scenery with fine mountain views. Ghandruk is the second largest Gurung settlement in Nepal and provides a further insight into the lifestyles of villages that have traditionally provided the backbone of the famous Gurkha regiments. The afternoon can be spent at leisure, or take a tour of the old village. Overnight at our private eco campsite.
Our trail meanders uphill through fields and into the forest of rhododendron and magnolia. We pass by waterfalls that cascade down narrow gullies that provide the perfect home for many small ferns and delicate plants. Tadapani is a clearing in the forest and a rest place for porters. We overnight in an eco lodge and observe the local people as they travel by.
Today we join the old Tibet-Nepal trade route. The walk this morning offers excellent views of the Dhaulagiri range as the trail zigzags until we reach Ghorapani. This is a sizeable town and you may wish to wander through the bazaar this afternoon. Overnight eco lodge.
From Ghorapani a pre dawn 45 minutes climb brings us to the summit of Poon Hill (3200m). The view of the Himalaya are tremendous, with forested foot hills as a fore ground and some of the world's greatest mountain ranges surrounding us .The glow of the rising sun catches Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri and Annapurna, making the early morning rise more than worth the effort. We descend to camp for breakfast and during the morning we descend further through small settlements to enter a deep ravine where multiple waterfalls follow our trail. We over night in an eco lodge in the village of Ulleri. From Ulleri we will have an over view of our trek route, as well as views of the Annapurnas at the head of the valley. Overnight at our private eco campsite
After absorbing even more spectacular views of Annapurna South we head down the Modi Khola valley along a secluded village trail that is rarely followed by other trekking groups. After lunch at the scenic village of Dansing we complete a short, steep descent to the village of Birethanti along the Modi Khola. We cross a substantial bridge before making our way to the bustling bazaar of Nayapul. Here we are picked up and transferred back to Pokhara to stay at our private eco campsite.
There are a million things to see in Kathmandu and we recommend you spend this day wandering the town and exploring the valley on bicycle or by taxi. The old Royal Palace, Durbar Square, Swayambhunath (the Monkey Temple), Pashupatinath (a major Hindu shrine) and the giant Buddhist stupa at Boudhanath are some of the worthwhile options. Our W.E. staff can arrange a guide and/or transport should you wish, or you can head off armed with a map and let the afternoon unfold.
We transfer to the airport for the 45 minute flight to the STOL airstrip at Lukla. This was the airstrip built by Sir Edmund Hillary and his friends to service the Everest Region when he began his work of building schools and hospitals for the Sherpa people. It is a memorable flight, with marvelous views of the Eastern Himalaya. At Lukla we are immediately impressed by the scale of the huge peaks that surround the village, but this is only a foretaste of what is to come. Our crew assemble and we head downhill towards the Dudh Kosi, named "Dudh" (milk) Kosi (river) because of its colour, a raging river that flows from the highest peaks. The broad and well-marked trail meanders around fields of potats and buck-wheat and passes through small villages, as we pass rows of tree dahlia to make our way to the first campsite at Monjo. Along the trail, across the valley to the North-West, Nupla (5885 m) and Kongde Ri (6093 m) rise above the forested ridges. At a turn of the trail, Thamserku (6808 m) rises majestically, seemingly from the river floor.
We will see many Mani walls today. These stone structures are a compilation of many stone tablets, each with the inscription "Om Mani Padme Hum" which translates to "Hail to the jewel in the lotus" and is mantra (chant) venerated by Buddhists and Brahmans alike.
Buddhists will walk to the left of these Mani Walls and chortens but you may notice that people of the lowlands who have no knowledge of Buddhism do not follow this ceremony.
This morning we cross the green/aqua waters of the Dudh Kosi and pass through the gates of the Sagamartha National Park. The establishment of this national park is a significant attempt to stem the use of fire-wood in the area. Self-contained trek groups must use only kerosene fuels for cooking, a philosophy we follow everywhere in Nepal, whether we are in a national park or not. Tea-houses and lodges are encouraged to use kerosene, yak dung or electricity but unfortunately continue to use mostly fire-wood for cooking, heating and for hot water for trekker's showers. This practice continues to deplete the forests. We follow the river course to the confluence of the Dudh Kosi and the Bhote Kosi and cross a spectacular high bridge before commencing our ascent to the village of Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa "capital" of Nepal. It is a tough climb as the trail passes through forest of pine to a vantage point that provides our first view of Mt Everest. The trail continues to climb and meander to Namche and the sight of this prosperous village spread within a horse-sh shaped valley opposite the beautiful peak of Kongde Ri is worth every step. After lunch you may wish to peruse the Tibetan trader's stalls or the Sherpa shops in search of a bargain. Our accommodation will be at our private eco campsite.
We head off on a small trail that ascends to the villages of Khumjung and Khunde. It is a comfortable days walk, with time to explore these unique and more traditional villages. As we near the villages we pass through terraced fields that are home to a brightly coloured pheasant, the Danphe Pheasant, the national bird of Nepal. Khumjung is where Sir Edmund Hillary built his "Schoolhouse In the Clouds", and the famed Khunde hospital is close by. World Expeditions supports both of these famous community facilities, as well as the many other projects operated by the Himalayan Trust. There will generally be the opportunity for you to visit the hospital and school. We will also be able to visit the monastery at Khumjung where we may have the opportunity to see the "scalp of a yeti". We return to Namche for and overnight in our private eco campsite.
Nearby on a hilltop, with views of the mountains, is the Everest View Hotel, a joint Nepali - Japanese project, where you can stop for refreshments before passing through the yak breeding farm and descending to Namche. After a break we continue down through the forest to the valley floor to follow the Dudh Kosi downhill, and out of the national park to our private eco campsite at the small settlement of Ghat.
Retracing our steps along the valley, we pass through a variety of settlements and forests before a gentle climb to Lukla. We savour our final mountain sunsets of the trek as we complete this exhilarating journey.
This morning we fly to Kathmandu, a thrilling flight over forests, fields and villages, with the Himalaya in the background. On arrival, we transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
After breakfast arrangements cease unless further arrangements have been made. Those people travelling by aircraft to further destinations will be transferred to the airport.