Mardi Himal Trek Complete Guide

Look for best short treks in Nepal (Google), and Mardi Himal Trek pops up among few other treks. Mardi Himal Trek, opened in 2012, is gaining popularity among foreign trekkers and young Nepalese trekkers. 

Mardi Himal Trek can be done in 3-7 days and extended to 12 days as per your demand and requirement. The trek is graded moderate, but for experienced hikers, it is an easy trek. There are enough tea houses and lodges along the route, and you can go camping as well (in a higher section (but not recommended)).

The route leads from Pokhara, all the way to Mardi Himal Base Camp at 4500m. The trail traverses lush forests and ridge, and the view of Machapuchare already visible from Dhampus. 

Mardi Himal Trek Highlights

  • short and rewarding trek in Annapurna region
  • astounding view of Machapuchare, Mardi Himal, Lamjung Himal, Hiunchuli, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, and Annapurna South
  • less crowdy than Annapurna Base Camp trail
  • incredible close-up view of Machapuchare, Mardi Himal, Hiunchuli and Annapurna South from Mardi Himal View Point and Mardi Himal Base Camp
  • Warm Hospitality of local people

Mardi Himal Trek Overview

  • Duration– 3-7 days (you can customize your itinerary)
  • Permits– TIMS card and Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Entry Permit
  • Trip Difficulty– Moderate/ easy
  • Accommodation– lodge and tea houses
  • Maximum Altitude– 4500m, at Mardi Himal Base Camp
  • Walking Hour (per day)– 5-6 hours
  • Best Time– Spring and Autumn
  • Starting Point-Kathmandu/Pokhara (via Kande, Dhampus, or Landruk)
  • Ending Point– Kathmandu/Pokhara (via Siding, or Landruk)

Best Trek Route

The majority of trekkers start from Kande.

Though you can start from Kande, Ghandruk, and Landruk, the best starting point I can recommend is Dhampus. It is a small village that offers stunning views of the Annapurna range and Machapuchare. You can embrace magnificent sunrise and sunset views from here.

Dhampus Village

From here, you will climb up Pothana village, Forest Camp, Low Camp, and High Camp, before setting out in the middle of the night (at 3 am/4 am) through precarious route to Mardi Himal Base Camp. 

To get to Dhampus, you will have to catch a local bus from Pokhara. It takes around 1 hour to reach Dhampus. 

Best Time to Trek to Mardi Himal

The trek is doable all year round. In Nepal, the best time to trek is during the spring and autumn season. And same goes for Mardi Himal Trek. April and May are considered the best month to trek to Mardi Himal Base Camp. 

Please avoid trekking during monsoon season, as the trail gets muddy, and the weather obscures the views of towering peaks. Heavy rainfall could be an unpleasant experience for you. 

And if you contemplate trekking in winter, you can do it. But you seriously have to prepare for the cold weather. The trail gets covered with snow. But the views are promising.

Permits for Mardi Himal Trek

For Mardi Himal Trek, you need two permits:

  1. ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project), costs USD 20. 
  2. TIMS Card (Tourism Information Management System) costs USD 20.

You can collect these two permits at Tourism Information Centers in Pokhara or Kathmandu. You will need two passport size photographs for ACAP. And for TIMS card, you will need a passport, insurance (sometimes they don’t ask for it), and two passport size photographs.

Guided and Independent trek

You can trek to Mardi Himal Base Camp without a guide and porter- all by yourself. Trekking independently to Mardi Himal Base Camp is easy- the trail is well-marked and easy to navigate. There are white-and-blue stripes on trees and rocks that you can follow along the route.

white-blue stripes on Mardi Himal Trek Route

In recent years, lodges have sprung up, and finding accommodation is easy. Tips here: you will need to book a room for yourself in advance. For example- if you are at Low Camp, you will need to book a room before reaching High Camp. That will help you a lot.

And if you don’t want to do an independent trek, you can hire a guide and porter. A qualified guide usually charges USD 25, and a porter charges USD 20 per day.

Food and Accommodations during Mardi Himal Trek

On the trail, you will enjoy Nepali, Indian, Chinese, and Western food. Dal Bhat is considered the best meal.

Mardi Himal Trek Guide, Dal Bhat
Dal Bhat

Dal Bhat literally means “steamed rice (dal) with cooked lentil soup (dal)” and is a staple meal of Nepal. Dal Bhat is served with seasonal vegetable curries, popadoms, pickles, curds, and meat curry (buffalo, chicken, or mutton) in a metal tray. 

Food items like pasta, pancakes, and chopsey are also popular. Items on the menu also include Momo, Tibetan bread, pizza, noodles, soups, spring rolls, etc.

Guest House at Forest Camp

You will find tea houses and lodges along the trail. The rooms are basic: facilitate a simple bed, outside toilet, and shower. There is a common dining room at every tea house/ lodge. (Note: you might have to share a room with 2-4 other people)

Mardi Himal Trek Guide, bed room
Bed room in one of the guest houses at Forest Camp

Remember, you will have to pay extra for a shower, to charge electronic devices, and to use the internet.

Internet on Mardi Himal Trek

If you are concerned about the internet, there is internet (WiFi) facility in the lower section, but are not reliable. And you will have to pay a certain amount for it.

Mardi Himal Trek Cost

You cannot decide on the exact cost for Mardi Himal Trek. The cost of Mardi Himal trekking fairly depends on many factors like 

  • Food and Accommodation Cost
  • Days of the trek
  • Permit Cost
  • Insurance Cost
  • Cost for Guide and Porter
  • Miscellaneous Cost

You can trek for as little as USD 200 (independently) to USD 700 and more. On average, the total cost for Mardi Himal Trek range between USD 450 to USD 700.

An organized trek can cost you from USD 900 to USD 1500 (All inclusive). 

Mardi Himal Trek Difficulty

As I said earlier, the trek is a moderate trek, suitable for all age groups. Anyone with no experience of trekking in high altitude can embark on this trek. 

The highest elevation of this trek is 4500m at Base Camp. And there are fewer chances of altitude sickness. That said, you should not ascend quickly and have to be cautious regarding altitude sickness.

Mardi Himal Trek Itinerary

Mardi Himal Trek 3 Days

Day 1: Pokhara to Dhampus to Forest Camp

Day 2: Forest Camp to High Camp to Mardi Himal Base Camp

Day 3: Back to Pokhara

Mardi Himal Trek 4 Days

Day 1: Pokhara to Siding

Day 2: Siding to High Camp

Day 3: High Camp to Base Camp

Day 4: Back to Pokhara

Mardi Himal Trek 5 Days

Day 1: Kathmandu to Pokhara to Dhampus

Day 2: Dhampus to Low Camp

Day 3: Low Camp to High Camp

Day 4: High Camp to Base Camp to Lumre to Pokhara

Day 5: Back to Kathmandu

Mardi Himal Trek 6 Days

Day 1: Kathmandu to Pokhara to Dhampus

Day 2: Dhampus to Forest Camp

Day 3: Forest Camp to High Camp

Day 4: High Camp to Base Camp to Low Camp

Day 5: Low Camp to Pokhara

Day 6: Pokhara to Kathmandu

Mardi Himal Trek 7 Days

Day 1: Kathmandu to Pokhara to Kande

Day 2: Kande to Forest Camp

Day 3: Forest Camp to Low Camp

Day 4: Low Camp to High Camp

Day 5: High Camp to Base Camp to Low Camp

Day 6: Low Camp to Pokhara

Day 7: Pokhara to Kathmandu

Mardi Himal Trek 8 Days

Day 1: Kathmandu to Pokhara to Dhampus

Day 2: Dhampus to Forest Camp

Day 3: Forest Camp to Mardi Himal High Camp

Day 4: Mardi Himal High Camp to Mardi Himal Base Camp

Day 5: Mardi Himal Base Camp to Low Camp

Day 6: Low Camp to Ghandruk

Day 7: Ghandruk to Pokhara

Day 8: Pokhara to Kathmandu

Mardi Himal Trek Packing List

Clothing

  • Gortex or waterproof jacket
  • Hiking shirts
  • Hiking shorts
  • Down Jacket
  • Fleece pants
  • Trekking trousers
  • Underwear
  • Woolen cap
  • Hiking socks
  • Neck gaiter or bandana
  • (please comment below if I missed any)

Trekking Gear

  • Duffle bag
  • 40L Daypack
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Trekking poles
  • Sleeping bag
  • Water bottles
  • Drybags in several sizes
  • First Aid kit
  • (please comment below if I missed any)

Toiletries

  • Sunscreen
  • Toilet Paper
  • Diamox
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face lotion
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Soap
  • Moleskin, medical tape
  • Antibiotics 
  • (please comment below if I missed any)

Tips for Mardi Himal Trek

  1. always wear sturdy hiking shoes- your important allies are your hiking shoes.

  2. pack proper clothes, and gears- pack as light as possible, for an easy walk.

  3. if you are trekking in the rainy season, carry all rain gear, from waterproof shoes to backpack rain cover and waterproof phone cases. 

  4. use water purifier

  5. book in advance for room and food

  6. stay hydrated every time

  7. bring Power Bank, (and extra battery for your camera)

  8. bring headlamp, torch or flashlight (will be helpful while hiking through the precarious trail to Base Camp from High Camp in the middle of the night, at 3 am or 4 am)

  9. if you ever feel lost, make sure to follow the blue-white stripes marked on the trees or rocks. 

  10. if you want to trek in winter, bring ICETrekkers Shoe or Ice & Snow Grips Over Shoe/Boot Traction Cleat Chains (that provides maximum traction) to avoid slipping, maintaining an upright position and for pleasant hiking experience on snow and ice-covered trail.

Mardi Himal Trek FAQs

How Difficult is Mardi Himal Trek?

The trek is graded moderate, but for experienced hikers, it is an easy trek.

What is the shortest itinerary of Mardi Himal Trek?

You can complete it in just 3 days from Pokhara.

What is the maximum elevation of Mardi Himal Trek?

4500m at Mardi Himal Base Camp

What permits are required for Mardi Himal Trek?
1) TIMS Card (Trekking Information Management System)
2) ACAP permit (Annapurna Conservation Area Project)

What is the cost of Mardi Himal Trek?

UDS 500 to USD 700 (approximately)

What is Mardi Himal Trek Cost for Nepalaes?

I completed Mardi Himal Trek for Rs.15,000 (from Kathmandu (6 days)).

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