Annapurna Dhaulagiri Overview
Experience Nepalese village life on a trek through Kathmandu and Pokhara, with incredible mountain peaks and charming landscapes along the way.
- 2014-01-01 - 2015-05-31
Trek through Kathmandu and the Annapurna region of Nepal
Trek into the heart of the Annapurna region and experience a slice of Nepalese village life. Explore Nepal's first and second cities, Kathmandu and Pokhara, noticing the stark differences in tone and temperament; see incredible mountain peaks tower over valleys below, dominating the skyline; and get a feel for what life is like for the locals, where children run off to school each day, and porters and mule trains relentlessly carry supplies to villages throughout the region. Head off the main trail and see the positive benefits of tourism, backed by the construction of community lodges, with profits going to local projects and schools.
What's included in this trip
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Arrive in Kathmandu and dive head first into this exhilarating, exciting and exhausting city. Touristy Thamel is well worth a scout out, particularly if you need to pick up some trekking gear (just don't expect the quality to last). Step outside Thamel's walls and wander the streets of the Old Town for a better insight into the 'real' Nepal. Enjoy a guided city tour, marvel at Durbar Square or perhaps go on a Mt Everest scenic flight through a crescendo of the highest peaks in the world.
Rise early for the short flight to Pokhara before transferring by private bus to Nayapul – the start and end point of many trips into the Annapurna region. Set off through Nayapul, over a suspension bridge and across the Modi River to reach Birethanti, the entrance to the Annapurna Conservation Area. Continue upstream following the Modi Khola, passing through Chettris and Brahmins settlements. On clear days, Machhapuchhre, also known as the 'Fishtail', looms dramatically in the distance. Spend the rest of the day at the small village of Shyauli Bazzar.
Begin the climb to Ghandruk, one of the biggest Gurung villages in the area. After a gradual climb out of Shyauli, the trail steepens up stone steps through some beautiful villages, where you can start to get a feel of what everyday life is like for the locals. Continue climbing through rolling terraced hillsides all the way to Ghandruk, where the massive peaks of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli and Machhapuchre tower over the valley below.
Upon leaving Ghandruk and making your way to Tadapani, take in the change of scenery as the green irrigated fields backed by the brilliant blue sky make way for oak and rhododendron forest. It's a particularly pretty section of the trek, and if visiting in spring, the rhododendron will be in full bloom. Listen to the sounds of small waterfalls and chirping birds while continuing along the trail to Tadapani. Watch the sun set over the the Annapurna Himal or wake early to see the sunrise.
After another tea house breakfast of Gurung bread, a vegetable omelette or perhaps banana pancakes, head off on an alternate and rarely used trail. Gradually climb through thick rhododendron forest and water buffalo pastures before emerging above the tree line for superb views of the Annapurna range. After lunch, continue along the trail before it opens into a clearing known as Bayli Kharka, where you'll find your lodge for the night and some more impressive views of Dhaulagiri Himal.
Enjoy a morning descent to the pastures of Lower Chistibung. Stop here for lunch, refuel the kilojoules and kick off the afternoon ascent to Upper Chistibung. On reaching the village, the trail opens up into a temporary herder's settlement; spend the night here. Because this lesser-known trail is little visited by tourists, these villages have been unable to enjoy the benefits of tourism. The lodges where you'll stay over the next week are run by local communities and were constructed, with the help of our travel community, to help boost tourism. The profits go to benefitting the local communities, local projects and schools.
Fuel up at breakfast for a steady climb to Kopra Ridge. Today is all about the monstrous mountain peaks, and after arriving at the lodge in time for lunch, you'd be hard pressed to find a more spectacular site to marvel at over a meal. Annapurna South towers directly above and sits only 6 km away, while Fang and Nilgiri command the sky in the north, and the Dhaulagiri Himal dominates the entire western skyline. Spend the afternoon pondering the not-so-subtle beauty of these amazing peaks before retiring to bed in the community lodge.
Descend steeply downhill, retracing the trail back to Chistibung, passing shrines used by pilgrims on their yearly visit to the sacred lakes. Watch villagers go about their daily lives and perhaps see shepherds on the trail. Continue trekking to the village of Swanta - perhaps visit the local school and interact with the kids and enjoy an overnight stay in the newly constructed lodge.
After descending out of Swanta and stopping at the local watermill, head back to the main trekking trail. On reaching the village of Ghorepani, take a well-earned rest with a cup of tea in hand and behold the views of the Dhaulagiri massif. Take relief in knowing that the rest of the day is all downhill – but be sure to look after those knees. Stop for lunch at Nangethanti and arrive at Ulleri by mid-afternoon.
The final stretch is all downhill to Naya Phul. Stop along the way for lunch and to rest the knees. Revel in the achievement of the past few days while waiting to be transferred back to Pokhara. Enjoy the luxury of a hot shower and spend the next couple of days exploring the peaceful surrounds of this picture-perfect town. Perhaps spend an evening dining at one of the many lakeside restaurants.
After a free morning in Pokhara, head to the airport for a 30-minute flight back to Kathmandu. Enjoy a free afternoon exploring the sights or spending up on souvenirs and last-minute present shopping. Take the opportunity to participate in a final group dinner – the last chance to eat delicious momos and dal bhat – while reminiscing the days gone by.
Annapurna Dhaulagiri Reviews
Our Annapurna Dhaulagiri trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews in the last year.
Annapurna Dhaulagiri, March 2014
Great experience, great guide, great sherpas. would book it any time again and recommand it to any body. Binot our guide make the trip to full of joy and happiness.
Review submitted 30 Apr 2014
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