A Complete Guide To Mardi Himal Trek
Mardi Himal trekking route is a perfect escape from bustling touristic trails with congested lodges giving you a fine combination of culture, mountains and wilderness. It is an amazing trekking destination recently unlocked in 2012, less crowded and unadulterated which is a hidden gem that lies at the lap of Mardi Himal and Machhapuchhre in the Annapurna region of Nepal. This exciting trail leads you through the astounding views of Mardi Himal, Annapurna range, glacial lakes, natural waterfalls, vegetations, terraced fields, Rhododendron forests and valleys. This new trekking route definitely offers you exciting experiences of geography that Nepal has to offer.
Mardi Himal Trek not only offers you to endure a special blend of two religions i.e Buddhism and Hinduism but also allows you to come across traditions and culture of ethnic groups like Gurungs, Magars, Brahmins, Chhetris of Nepal and their lifestyle. The vibrant landscape with contrasting colours of mother nature and the warm welcome you receive from the Gurung and Magar villages makes you feel lively. The ascends and descends of the rocky trail might seem off-beaten but it is less challenging than few other treks in Nepal. Since this trial is considered as a moderate trip grading, the trekkers need not have any previous trekking experiences.
The best thing about Mardi Himal trek for the many trekking enthusiasts is that Mardi Himal trek can be combined with other routes like Annapurna base camp (ABC) or Poon Hill or both so that the trek can be further extended to these destinations.
Major Highlights of Mardi Himal Trekking
- Less crowded and newly discovered trekking area in Nepal
- Himalayan Flora and fauna
- The stunning view of Annapurna Ranges, Mount. Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), and Mount Dhaulagiri
- Unspoiled cultural and traditional experiences
- ‘Eco-Tourism route’ in the Annapurna region
- Sightseeing in Kathmandu and Pokhara
Mardi Himal Trekking Routes
Like on most of the Annapurna Sanctuary trekking routes there are several options where to start and finish the trekking. However, the standard route to Mardi Himal that the trekkers who come from Pokhara or Kathmandu usually take would be starting in Kande and finishing in Siding. The route from Kande goes through Australian camp to Landruk and then up to Forest camp. It is a 12km walk with moderate ascend while walking from Kande to Landruk. Finishing in Siding is the best option for the route if one is not planning to do the further trek in the park. If walking the same way back seems like a nightmare, you can always hire a jeep on your way back to Pokhara.
Another route usually preferred by the trekkers who complete their Poon Hill or Annapurna base camp trek and intend to go for Mardi Himal trek consider their starting point Ghandruk and finish in Siding.
One of the shortest route options for the Mardi Himal trek is starting at Landruk and finishing at Siding, which measures a distance of 30.5 km. It is preferred by those trekkers who are short on time yet interested in covering this amazing trekking area.
The longest route measures about 52 km which starts at Ghandruk and finishes at Kande. This route is perfect if one wishes to see more and is less worried about the time frame.
Brief Itinerary of Mardi Himal Trekking
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
Day 2: Explore Kathmandu
Day 3: Move to Pokhara
Day 4: Drive up to Kande and trek to Pothana from Kande
Day 5: Pothana to Forest Camp
Day 6: Continue the trek to Badal Danda (5 hours)
Day 7: Trek to High Camp
Day 8: High Camp to Mardi Himal Base Camp and hike back to Middle Camp
Day 9: Trek to Kalimati
Day 10: Trek to Lwang Village
Day 11: Drive to Pokhara
Day 12: Drive back to Kathmandu
Day 13: Depart Kathmandu
Mardi Himal Trek Route Map
Permits for the hiking to Mardi Himal
Mardi Himal Trek is situated inside the Annapurna Conservation area, also known as Annapurna Sanctuary Area. And trekking inside Annapurna Sanctuary area require permits namely ACAP
(Annapurna Conservation Area Permit) and TIMS card (Trekkers Information Management System).
Trekkers Information Management System Card (TIMS)
- SAARC personals: NPR 600, about $6 for individual trekker and NPR 300, about $3 for groups.
- All other personals: NPR 2,000, about $20 for individual trekker and NPR 1000, about $10 for groups.
Annapurna Conservation Area or ACAP
- SAARC personals: NPR 200, about $2
- ALL other personals: NPR 3,000, about $30
You can get them both at the Nepal Tourism Board office present at Kathmandu or Pokhara itself. Getting the permits might take a few days and could be hectic due to insufficient information or because of the documentation.
So, what are the best months for the Mardi Himal Trek?
The best weather conditions that favour the trekking would be September – October – November or April – May and it is during these months the hiking season in Nepal peaks. However, many trekkers even try the border seasons i.e March or November to avoid busy routes but sometimes you can be unlucky with the weather. As for the people who like to trek in winters, December- February could be your choice. But as the place can get very cold and there are no local villages, it might be difficult to find accommodation and food.
What accommodation to expect on the trail?
Accommodation on this trail is cheap like any other routes in Nepal. The Mardi Himal trail, unlike many other trekking routes in Nepal, doesn’t have many local villages to stop by. Having said that, in the peak seasons, there are stops on the route exclusively for trekkers. It is up to the trekkers to stay in the guest house or camps, as there are few campsites too. The guest houses are well equipped with standard rooms, dining area, toilets and shower.
Worried about the food on the trek?
Of course, the typical Nepali food you usually get while hiking in Nepal would outnumber all other dishes. Local dal, bhat and vegetables would be the best value for money as you would want to be full and not pay a lot at the same time. But you can always find numerous other dishes like soups, spring rolls, Nepali momos and also chocolate bars on the menu.
Possible obstacles one can face during the trek
Any physically fit individual is liable to get mountain sickness due to less atmospheric pressure and low oxygen levels while climbing uphill causing decreased oxygen saturation in the body. Mardi Himal trekking takes you to an altitude of 4,500 meters above the sea level. Symptoms like weakness, diarrhoea, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath could be encountered by the trekkers. That is why maintaining the correct hydration level throughout the trekking and avoiding possible dehydrators like alcoholic beverages is important. Also, taking a day off for acclimatization and letting your body adjust the new altitude is the best way to prevent it.
The weather conditions of this trek route are quite unpredictable, however, the above mentioned months of Autumn and Spring would be the best time to trek. During the cold weather like in December – January, the temperature could fall extremely low up to -16 to -20 degree celsius and the snowfall in this region might as well cause blockade of the passes due to the avalanche. The heavy rainfall during the monsoon periods i.e May to September makes it difficult to trek during that time of the year too.
What trekking gear do I need for Mardi Himal Trek?
Well speaking about the trekking gears, it usually depends on the trekking season that you’ve decided to trek. Here is the general packing list for Mardi Himal Trek:
- A good backpack (Capacity: 40L to 50L)
- A good pair of hiking boots x 1 pair
- A windcheater style jacket x1
- Long sleeve shirts x3
- Trekking trousers x 2
- Rain jacket/down jacket depending on the season
- Shorts x1
- Socks x5
- Rubber sandals x 1 pair
- Underwear x 5
- Water bottles (water purification system) x 2
- Trekking Map
- Lip Balm
- Sleeping Bag
- Head Lamp
- Soap/shower gel
- Humid tissues
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper
Please note that the list above is very basic. For a fully comprehensive list, please check my article on Nepal Trekking Gear List.
Guided vs independent trek
Mardi Himal Trek can be done with or without a guide. It really depends on you and how much experience you have on high altitude trekking.
If you decide to do the trek solo, then, you need to prepare well to complete the trek. The Mardi Himal Trail is well marked with white and blue strips and you can see the signs point to the direction. So, there is very less chance to get lost on the trail. Finding accommodation is not that tough as there are many teahouses along the trail. You just need to get to the teahouse and ask for the room and the food.
In case, you are an inexperienced hiker, then this trek might be quite challenging; high altitude, unpredictable weather, steep ascends and descends so it is highly recommended to join on a tour. You can find many trekking tours from Kathmandu to Mardi Himal that include accommodation, transport, permits, guides, full board, etc. It’s a great option if you want a stress free hiking holiday.
However, if you don’t want to trek with a group then, you can easily hire guides or porter for the trek. Guides usually charge around US$25 per day including their food and accommodation. You can share the guide with tow or more people as well. While the porters charge US$20 per day including their food and accommodation. Porters carry up to 25kg if you don’t pack too much you can hire one porter for two trekkers.
Some Tips for Mardi Himal Trek
- Packing properly for the trek is very crucial. Thus, pack appropriate gears and equipment according to the trekking season you are trekking in.
- If you are trekking during the monsoon season then make sure to pack your rain gear. Pack rain jackets, good-quality trekking boots with sturdy soles, waterproof socks and trekking pants.
- If you are hiking to Mardi Himal during the off-season then it is better to hire a licensed professional trekking guide as there are no permanent villages in this region and it can be very difficult to find the accommodation.
- Use water purifier while using the local water resource. By using it, it will reduce your trek cost and also will be safe for you. And always keep your body hydrated.
- During the peak season, pre-booking for the accommodation is highly recommended as there will be huge traffic in the trail.
- Physical fitness is very important. You must be able to walk for hours a day. Also, you must prepare to trek over the rugged landscapes between the high camp and base camp.
- Before heading toward the trek, make sure you learn about the altitude sickness, its symptoms and remedies.
Mardi Himal trekking is the best short trek in Nepal that takes you to the lap of Mardi Himal in the Annapurna Region. Be sure to keep yourself happy and healthy throughout the trek. With little preparations, you can do this trek at any time of the year.
I hope this Mardi Himal Trek guide helps you to prepare and plan for your trek well. If you have any further questions or queries regarding this trek or any other trek in Nepal then please feel free to contact us or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.