Nepal is probably the best trekking destination in the world, with spectacular areas such as Annapurna, Mustang, Langtang Valley or Sagarmatha National Park.
Every year thousands of travelers explore the natural beauty of the Nepalese mountains on popular routes such as Everest base camp, the Annapurna circuit, the Annapurna ABC or the Poonhill viewpoint.
If you are passionate about the mountains and are looking for an alternative and accessible route in Nepal, I recommend the trek to Mardi Himal base camp, located in the southern part of Annapurna. On this route you can admire the beauty of Mardi Himal and Machapuchare, a sacred and untouchable mountain considered by Nepalis the throne of the Hindu god Shiva.
Route from Kande to Lumre in 5 days
There are several routes to reach Mardi Himal base camp, being the most popular the 5 or 6 day circuit from Kande to Lumre, both accessible villages from Phokara by shared Jeep.
Other alternative routes connect this trek with the Poonhill and Annapurna ABC, linking at Ghandruk and ending at Lumre.
The traditional route starting at Kande and ending at Lumre covers a distance of 42 km and can be done in 5 or 6 days depending on your physical condition. The highest altitude is the base camp, which is 4,500 meters above sea level.
There are some guesthouses along the way, which don´t require to be booked in advance. This allows you to be flexible with the route and customize the itinerary according to your physical or weather conditions. Below is a map of the places offering accommodation.
We started in Kande and slept the first night in Deurali, the second in Low Camp, the third in High Camp and the fourth in Sidhing.
permits required for trekking: ACAP and TIMS
Mardi Himal is located within the Annapurna conservation area, so it is necessary to obtain the ACAP, a permit to access that costs 3000 NPR and TIMS, an accreditation card for trekkers that costs 1000 NPR. Both can be obtained at tourist offices in Kathmandu, Pokhara or Besisahar. In addition, two passport-size photographs are required for each permit.
10 basic items to pack for the trek:
Waterproof Trekking boots.
Adjustable trekking poles: it gets quite muddy on the way up to forest camp.
Headlamp: the toilets are usually outside outdoors.
Sleeping bag: it gets quite cold at night and the accommodation only provides a woollen blanket.
Waterproof cover for the backpack
Light thermal clothing
Water purification tablets: the lack of bottled water can be an issue.
Why do I recommend Mardi Himal?
Mainly because it is off the beaten path and it doesn’t require an extraordinary physical condition. The scenery is beautiful, passing through forests, small Buddhist temples, local settlements, hanging bridges, rice fields and valleys. Mardi is a great alternative to Poonhill, the most popular trek in the area.
As of 2018, the route was not signposted, therefor it is recommended to go with a guide, to avoid getting lost on the trail. We hired Aita Chetri, a local guide from Phokara, who made our trek even more unforgettable.