You will be met by a representative of World Expeditions and transferred to the Radisson hotel. Remainder of the afternoon is 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 for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. Drinks and snacks will generally be served from 6:30 pm until 7:15pm, and this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members before heading out to dinner.
This morning a sightseeing tour takes in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu. We will visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath, returning to the hotel by 2pm. In the afternoon you may have time to explore Durbar Square, Patan, Swayambhunath or Bhaktapur, and the lesser-known towns that dot the valley on foot, by bicycle or trishaw. The area has an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops contrast with fantastic centres of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world. It is possible that the Kathmandu sightseeing tour will take place at the conclusion of your trek instead of at the beginning. If this is to occur with your group, your leader will brief you locally.
This morning we take a flight west to Pokhara, Nepal's second largest town (820m). In good weather we are greeted with sights of the entire Annapurna Range. From here we drive for an hour to a pass between two river valleys to the village of Phedi, where we commence our trek. There is no need to rush as this is a short day with plenty of time to reach our overnight stop. The trail ascends for the first hour, following a ridge through fields of bamboo clusters to magnificent rhododendron forest. Villagers greet us with "Namaste", the traditional Nepalese greeting, as we pass their homes and continue to the ridge top where at the crest the scale of the mountains astounds us. Machapuchare (6993m), Hiunchuli (6441m) and Annapurna South (7219m) can be seen from our immediate viewpoint. Overnight eco lodge.
After a glorious mountain sunrise we follow the trail through rhododendron forest before continuing through a series of Gurung villages where lifestyles have not changed substantially over the centuries. After lunch we follow a well-marked trail to the prosperous village of Landruk where we camp for the night. Our private eco campsite affords dramatic views of Annapurna South.
Our destination today is easily seen across the valley, the attractive Gurung village of Ghandruk. We exit the village and slowly descend through rice terraces, crossing a steel bridge that spans the glacial river of the Modi Khola and commence our ascent. As we trek up the many staircases, we enjoy the beauty of the Himalaya at a relatively close range and observe the glaciers flowing from them to form the rivers below us. It really is a magnificent location and a photographer's delight. Our leisurely approach along these ridges with their fine mountain views ensures proper acclimatisation and the un-hurried opportunity to fully savour this magnificent scenery. Overnight at private eco campsite.
Our trail meanders uphill through fields and into forest of rhododendron, magnolia and lichen covered fig. We pass by waterfalls that cascade down narrow gullies that provide the perfect home for many small ferns and delicate plants such as exotic orchids bursting with colour. Tadapani is a small village with limited campsites, our overnight accommodation will be in an eco lodge. This is the last stop before we head into the more uninhabited regions of our trek.
Leaving the main trekking trail we continue to ascend on a less defined path through old growth forest where we may be fortunate enough to see Himalayan Thar, Hyrax or Ressus and Langur monkeys. Eventually we rise above the tree line and gain stunning views of the Annapurna Himal, our lunch spot will most likely be a yak pasture at Timuje perched high on the hillside with fantastic views of Annapurna South and Himul Chuli. Following our lunch break we ascend steeply to the ridge where spectacular views of Dhaulagiri and it's surrounding peaks unfold before us. This section of the trek is magnificent and we are now well off the main trail. Continuing down the opposite side of the ridge we drop into smaller rhododendron forest and arrive at our remote campsite high on the hillside overlooking the valley.
Setting off early today we make our way downward towards the valley floor, eventually entering the old growth forest, surrounded by colourful rhododendron. We glimpse a small settlement lower down at Chistibung, which will be our lunch spot. After a relaxing lunch we begin our ascent to the stunning location of the eco lodge at Kopra. The views here are truly amazing and some of the best in the entire Annapurnas. Dhaulagiri dominates the scene and towers above the deepest gorge in the world, the Kali Gandaki.
For those who are feeling fit and motivated for a big day hike, and dependent on weather and route conditions, the trip to the sacred Khayer Lake high above us is well worth the effort. The views are outstanding and you will trekking along an ancient pilgrimage trail to the site of the annual Badau Purnima Festival. The trail contours the steep hillsides and takes us even closer to the impressively sheer cliff face of Annapurna's Fang Face. In the late afternoon, we will descend back to our eco lodge at Kopra. Our staff will accompany you on this hike and you may turn around after a few hours if you choose to, or simply enjoy a rest day in the comfort of our eco lodge.
We descend steeply from our lodge towards a stream and pass through the village of Chistibung. Today's route takes us through heavily forested terrain. Overnight in our private eco campsite in Swantha.
A short walk brings us to Chitre where 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 our lunch stop at Ghorepani. This is a large village which is on the main tourist trail. You may wish to wander through the bazaar for a short period following lunch, as there are many Tibetan wares on display, and also a bakery or two.
Most trekkers to Ghorepani take a a pre dawn 45 minute climb to the summit of Poon Hill (3200m), which is a highlight of trekking in the Annapurnas. We will make the climb in the afternoon, when there are no crowds. From Poon Hill we leave the main trail and traverse on old yak herder trails to Upper Phulbari. The location affords spectacular views of the Dhauligiri Massif, with the luxury of no pre-dawn start, unless of course you chose to photograph the stunning views at sunrise. Overnight eco lodge.
The views in the early morning are tremendous, with forested foot hills as a fore ground and some of the world's greatest mountain ranges surrounding us. If you are up early enough, the glow of the rising sun catches Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri and Annapurna. Our trail takes us through beautiful forests of rhododendrons, fir, pine, cedar and bamboo, there are many small trails through the forest, and we are unlikely to see any other westerners in this section of the trek. Eventually we emerge to open grassland ridges that offer a particularly pleasant trekking experience, before descending to a pretty lunchspot in a narrow valley skirted by multicoloured rhododendron bushes. From here there are three trails, we take the south trail which leads us to our private eco campsite at Les Par (Swarga).
Trekking along the ridge of Bharmakot Dhanda we gain excellent views of Annapurna South, Machapuchare, Hiunchuli and the Manaslu ranges. Ghibrang is a delightful village, largely untouched by western influence, and our private eco campsite offers yet more stunning views in a peaceful terraced setting amidst this pretty village.
Have your trekking poles at the ready today as our descent is approx. 1000m. We pass through interesting villages situated on steep rocky hills and terraces. The villages we pass are mixed communities of predominantly Gurung, Brahmin & Chettri. The final descent into Nayapul is 20 minutes on stone stairs. Here we will have a quick lunch break and then board the bus for Pokhara and our private eco camp. Once settled in we highly recommend you take a stroll down to the lake at Pokhara, there are many stores selling Tibetan wares which are less expensive than Kathmandu. The main street running along the lake is vibrant and an interesting place to sit and watch the world go by.
This morning we transfer to the airport for the spectacular 40 minute flight back to Kathmandu. 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.