My friend Binod Bhandari and I set out on our journey to Mardi Himal Base Camp on October 7, 2019. We estimate it should take us around a week to come back to Kathmandu. And we reckon Rs. 15,000 each should be enough for the trek.
Mardi Himal Trek is one of the underrated treks in Nepal. Popular (recently) for spectacular close-up views of Machapuchare, Annapurna South, and Huinchuli, and ridgeline adventure, Mardi Himal Trek is a good trek a novice trekker can start with.
Bike ride to Pokhara
As we don’t want to go on a local bus, we decide that we will ride (on a motorcycle) to Pokhara from Kathmandu. Ready with two backpacks, and two motorcycles, we hit the road. After 6 hours of delightful ride, we reach Pokhara. Tired and hungry, my stomach growls for dal bhat. But before that, we head to the bus station to catch a bus to Dhampus for overnight- our first night of the trek.
The first night at Dhampus
Traveling through the bumpy road, we reach the beautiful village of Dhampus. The striking views of the Annapurna range welcome us. Two local guys (we shared the bumpy ride on the roof of the minibus) usher us to one of the guesthouses. We put in our order (dal bhat) and watch the beautiful views of the mountain the village has to offer us.
Hike through Mardi Himal Trail
Waking up early in the morning and getting ready, I think about the beautiful day ahead of us. For the next couple of days, we will be hiking through thick forests and small villages. We hike through rhododendron and bamboo forest and soggy trail. After 7 hours of trekking, we reach Forest Camp, where we meet two beautiful travelers.
Meeting two beautiful travelers- Abhishek KC and Awantika Thapa
At Forest Camp, we meet two beautiful travelers, our friends, for the rest of the trek. They are coolest, and most importantly friendlier enough to laugh every day. ( The four of us, made it to View Point with laughter and memories to cherish for lifetime)
Tired from hours of trekking, I find myself restless—my stomach aches for dal bhat and local chyang, an ethnic fermented beverage made of white rice. Binod and I join other trekkers in the dining room heated by a wood-burning stove, powerful enough to dry my wet trekking shoes and jackets. Everyone in the room shares their story, lifestyle, and next destination along the trail.
After drinking 5 glasses of chyang and sharing stories, we depart from the room, with a promise to wake up early in the morning and continue our journey to High Camp. The bedroom is cold enough to keep us awake, so we wear warm clothes and dive into the blanket.
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We hike every day for almost 6-7 hours. There are very few tea houses along the trail. The higher we go, the challenging the day. We rest every few minutes to catch our breath. We hear and share “Namaste” with fellow trekkers along the way. Some of them would stop by and share the details of the trail. We climb up and down through forested trail, and after a couple of hours of hiking, we reach High Camp. The trail to High Camp from Low Camp reveals the sky dominated by Machapuchare Himal ( Fishtail mountain.)
Night Before Mardi Himal View Point
At High Camp, there are a handful of tea houses and no surprise to see all of them almost full. Luckily we find room for ourselves, but we have to share the room with the two beautiful traveling souls- the four of us. We eagerly wait for our meal, and in the meantime, we listen to each other’s stories and sing songs together.
Abhishek dai would play the guitar, and we would try to sing, but unfortunately, there’s no song in this world, we all could sing together. The room (common dining room) is full of charisma- some playing UNO (an American shedding-type card game), some reading books, and some simply chatting in distinctive language.
I read the note ” Rs. 250 per hour for charging your device” at the counter of the hotel we are staying in. There are few souvenirs on sale, but we didn’t even think of buying it for no reason. The dining room is (with more than four beds) large enough for almost ten guests to sleep in. The advantage of sleeping in the dining room is that the wood stove heats the entire room.
After having delicious dal bhat, we head to our room to rest. The room is cold, so I snuggle under the blanket, pulling on my warmest pairs of clothes. The next day, we will be waking up at 3 am and hike to Mardi Himal View Point under the black sky and explore the rocky route.
Hike to Mardi Himal View Point
Finally, we will embrace Machapuchare from Mardi Himal View Point. We climbed up the precipitous path following fellow trekkers ahead of us. Fueled by hot water (only), my body finds it challenging not to stop for a while. But the excitement of being there in any minutes gets me going. At the first appearance of dawn, the ridge in golden-shade appears beautiful like never before. And the mountains rise up, to excite the photographer in me. The hues of dawn adorn the sky above us.
Suddenly we are surrounded by the lofty mountains. The views are otherworldly, and we are in a trance. We are walking along the ridge that reveals Annapurna South, Huinchuli and Machapuchare, and other surrounding mountains. Every step brings us closer to the mountain- to Machapuchare, the holy mountain. Machapuchare has never been summited and is believed to be the home of Lord Shiva.
After spending quality time embracing the Himalayas’ sight, we now retrace our steps back to Pokhara. It is unfair to leave so suddenly. I wish I could stay here longer.
Retracing steps to Pokhara
With a promise to reach Pokhara via Sidhing as soon as possible, we retrace our steps. This time I feel easy to walk-to descend. We will be walking for almost 5 hours to Sidhing and catch a local vehicle for an hour ride to Pokhara. Marcos is with us, Awantika didi and Abhishek dai had to descend to Forest Camp to collect their backpacks. But we promise to meet in Pokhara. We, along with four other trekkers, reserve a local vehicle to Pokhara.
In Pokhara, we meet again. We enjoy the quality time but unfortunately, it is time to say goodbye. But before leaving, we promised to meet again, in Kathmandu, and probably embark on another adventure again.
Mardi Himal Trek Duration
You can do Mardi himal trek for as short as 4 days, to 10 days.
We completed it in 6 days.
Mardi Himal Trek Itineraray
The best itinerary I can recommend to you:
Day 1: Kathmandu to Dhampus
Day 2: Dhampus to Forest Camp
Day 3: Forest Camp to High Camp
Day 4: High Camp to Mardi Himal Base Camp and back to Low Camp
Day 5: Back to Pokhara
Day 6: Back to Kathmandu
Mardi Himal Trek Cost
Like I said earlier, we completed the trek for Rs 15,000 (approximately), from Kathmandu. But don’t hesitate to bring extra money. On average, we spent Rs.1000- 1500 per day. Please remember in lower part, the cost is cheaper than in higher section of the trek.