Possibly the most diverse cultural and scenic trek in the Annapurna region.
Our guides have carefully scouted this route so you get up-close views of the stunning Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges while enjoying Nepal’s friendly hospitality and diverse culture. Only a short drive from the majestic lakeside city Pokhara, we make our way through farming communities and thick forests to reach the scenic Kopra Ridge. Here, white peaks of Dhaulagiri Mountains contrast sharply with gushing waters of the world’s deepest gorge, the Kali Gandakhi. As we meet local villagers and use trading trails to hike over grassy fields, skies become vivid and evening skies twinkly brightly with stars. You’ll want to make sure your camera has plenty of memory stored, as this is a trek postcards are made of.
Day 1: Arrival / Welcome Dinner
Our staff will be waiting for you at Kathmandu’s International Airport. After escorting you to your hotel, you’ll have plenty of time to rest and relax before our evening dinner. Meet your teammates over a traditional Nepali Set and enjoy a dance performance with various cultural themes. Bring your camera! Guests often join the revelry.
Day 2: Cultural Tour of Kathmandu
Explore Kathmandu’s historic and cultural sites, including the towering white dome of Boudhanath and riverside Hindu temples of Pashupatinath. In the afternoon, we’ll distribute all necessary gear for our trek and answer any questions about what to expect in the days leading up to Annapurna Base Camp.
Day 3: Pokhara (850m)
Green rice fields and the tiered farming countryside will be ours to savor as we make our way to the start of our trek. We’ll spend time in Pokhara, a charming city nestled beside Fewa Tal. Downtown Lakeside boasts shops, restaurants and bars where you can bargain for souvenirs and register for yoga classes. Rent a boat and paddle into the middle of the lake to take in views of snow-capped Fishtail Mountain. At night, there’s plenty of live music and even an outdoor movie theater.
Day 4: Ghandruk (2050m)
Today’s route stretches towards the charming Gurung settlement of Ghandruk where endless stone paths wind like mazes through quaint homes and local homestays. Rice fields surround the village, and you can spend your afternoon wandering through the picturesque alleyways. To reach Ghandruk, we will cross rice terraces and climb a seemingly endless number of staircases. Not to worry, we will take our time enjoying the mountain scenery and getting our bodies used to higher elevations. Our evening accommodations are pleasant --- a warm eco-lodge with freshly prepared meals. Some may choose to sample “tin-pani” raksi, alcohol fermented and brewed from millet and rice.
Day 5: Tadapani (2650m)
After ascending through rhododendron and magnolia forests, we will stop for lunch. Our destination is the small township of Tadapani. Guesthouses here are limited but comfortable, and we can enjoy steaming coffee along with gorgeous early morning views. The rest of our journey will appear remote in comparison to this bustling community.
Day 6: Bhaisi Kharka (3420m)
A less used route will be our choice today, as we step off the frequently trodden tourist trail and cross steep terrain navigated by shepherds and traders. Your guide will carefully lead you above tree line and over rocky ridges. With increasing altitude, your heart may start to pump, but don’t worry, your hard work will be rewarded with fantastic views of glistening mountain peaks. This might be one of the most magnificent points on our trek! In the afternoon, we will drop down into another thickly wooded forest to reach our hilltop campsite. You will have earned tonight’s meal and will sleep peacefully with the quiet valley below.
Day 7: Kopra (3660m)
Our day starts early as we begin our decline towards the valley. We will rest at Chistibung for lunch. After our midday fuel, we will start a tough climb towards Kopra. Considered one of Nepal’s best kept secrets, Kopra is worth every step. After standing on top of the Kopra ridge, you’ll see why: crystal clear views of the Annapurnas and the Kali Gandakhi valley below. This moment is one to treasure forever.
Day 8: Kopra Camp, Khayer Lake (4600m)
Those feeling strong can trek up to banks of Khayer Lake, an icy blue gem set against turquoise skies and shimmering mountain ridges. The path uses the same route religious devotees pass over annually to celebrate the Badau Purnima Festival. Here, snow-swept faces of the Annapurna range become even clearer as we navigate steep inclines and sidestep rocky ledges. If weather is not ideal for climbing, we can use the day to recover and relax at our comfortable mountain lodge in Kopra.
Day 9: Swantha (2400m)
Descending from Kopra, we will follow the ridgeline leading towards the Kali Gandaki river. Our route passes rivers and streams, and we may meet local shepherds or villagers on the trail to Swantha. The village is a picturesque spot to enjoy dinner together, sample local brews and sleep comfortably in the crisp mountain air.
Day 10: Upper Phulbari (3210m), Ghorepani and Poon Hill (3200m)
After our morning coffee, we will head towards Chitre using an old path for trade between Tibet and Nepal. Our lunchtime destination is Ghorepani, a comparatively large settlement that has adjusted to the yearly influx of trekkers. You may want to stop into one of the several bakeries for a slice of cake or free wifi. In the afternoon, we will set out for Poon Hill, a popular sunrise viewpoint of the Annapurna mountain range. Our timing will allow us to enjoy the scenery without the morning-time rush. From Poon Hill, we will continue on a yak trail to reach Upper Phulbari. Here we will be treated with stunning views, and the most ambitious can rise early for a spectacular sunrise.
Day 11: Les Par via Jaljala Dil (2600m)
The morning scene here is one to behold. We will take our time to enjoy before heading down through familiar rhododendron and pine. In this part of our journey, we will meet few – if any – other tourists. Thick trees give way to grassy fields and our lunch spot reveals itself, a beautiful valley surrounded by woods and brush. With full bellies we will continue to make our way south to our private campsite at Les Par.
Day 12: Ghibrang (2000m)
Following the Bharmakot Dhanda ridge, the mountain peaks frame the scenic village of Ghibrang. Though the village is larger than other settlements we’ve seen, it remains rustic charm and has evaded the usual developments of tourism. Enjoy a freshly cooked meal and stargaze beneath mountain skies before resting for the night.
Day 13: Nayapul (1340m)
Our last day takes us back to the transit point Nayapul. A steep descent may test weak ankles and knees, but quant farming communities and rice fields will serve as a welcome distraction. Before returning to Pokhara, we will stop for lunch and let shaky legs rest. Our bus will drop us at bustling Lakeside where some may choose to visit local spas for a massage or relax in a coffee shop with wifi. In the evenings, live music floats through the streets and youngsters head to clubs to dance the night away. Pokhara is also an excellent place to stock up on gifts and souvenirs for friends back home!
Day 14: Return to Kathmandu
We’ll return to Kathmandu valley through winding countryside roads. For an extra fee, it is possible to book a flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu and arrive in less than thirty minutes. Fill your afternoon with a visit to Thamel, a maze of trinkets and Buddhist charms for tourists, or venture into Kathmandu’s more upscale neighborhoods like Lazimpat or Sherpa’s Mall.
Day 15: Departure
Our guides will make sure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to catch your flight and say good-bye to your new friends. Like many visitors who travel to Nepal, “Pheri Betaula,” or, “See you later,” is the easiest way to depart. You may not want to leave!