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The Mardi Himal trek – a complete guide and itinerary

Mardi Himal is a challenging and beautiful 4-day trek in the Annapurna region that offers breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountain range. It’s a lesser-known route compared to the famous Everest Base Camp trek or Annapurna Circuit trek.

We started the Mardi Himal trek in Ghandruk after finishing the Poon Hill trek. Like on most trekking routes inside the Annapurna Sanctuary you have several options where to start and to finish the trek. Most people we met on the trek did the Poon Hill or Annapurna Base Camp trek before the Mardi Himal it seems quite popular to combine the route with one of the other treks in the sanctuary.

Mardi Himal used to be the lesser-known trek in Annapurna Sanctuary to see quite a lot of people hiking this route was a bit of a surprise for us. There are still fewer people on this route than on the Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp, or Annapurna Circuit but it’s definitely not as off the beaten trek as it used to be.

A view of High Camp on the Mardi Himal trek
A view of High Camp on the way to Base Camp on the Mardi Himal trek

Mardi Himal trek overview

  • Distance – 40 km/25 mi
  • Time – 4 days
  • Permits – TIMS card and Annapurna Sanctuary permit required
  • Guide – can be done independently, with a guide/porter or in a group
  • Main starting points – Kande/Ghandruk/Landruk 
  • Main finishing points – Siding/Landruk
  • Highest point – Mardi Himal Base Camp, 4500 m
  • Total ascent – 3274 m
  • Total descent – 3731 m
  • Cost – US$24,5 per person per day (including permits) 
  • Accommodation – guesthouses, camping (at lower altitudes)
  • Food – Nepali, Indian, Western, Chinese

*All trekking data is for our trekking route starting in Ghandruk/finishing in Landruk.

Mardi Himal trek YouTube video thumbnail
Watch our video about Mardi Himal trek

Mardi Himal route options

Four hiking routes of the Mardi Himal trek
Different route options of the Mardi Himal trek

Starting in Kande/finishing in Siding. It’s the standard route to Mardi Himal, trekkers who come from Pokhara or Kathmandu usually do it this way. The route starts at Kande goes through Australian Camp to Landruk and then up to Forest Camp. For the first day, I’d suggest walking from Kande to Landruk, it’s about 12 km with moderate ascend. The next day, continue to Forest Camp. Finishing in Siding is probably the best option for the route if you’re not planning to do any other treks in the park and if you don’t want to walk the same way from Landruk to Forest Camp and back. You can take a jeep from Siding to Pokhara for about NPR 1000/US$9 pp. 

Starting in Ghandruk/Kyumi/finishing in Siding. Trekkers who come to Mardi Himal after finishing Poon Hill or Annapurna Base Camp trek usually take this route. We started in Ghorepani it was quite a tough walking day to get from there to Forest Camp with a very steep a long descent in the beginning and even longer ascend in the second half. We didn’t end the route at Siding because we were still planning to trek to Annapurna Base Camp after Mardi Himal we walked down to Landruk. Most people we met on the route went back through Siding. There is a bus or jeep option from Landruk to Pokhara but the road is really bad we took a bus from Tolka (the next village after Landruk) and that ride was definitely the worst ride in our lives (on a terrible dirt road next to the edge) so I wouldn’t recommend it.

Starting in Landruk/finishing in Siding. It’s the shortest option of the Mardi Himal trek if for some reasons you don’t have much time you can do it but if it’s your first hike in the area I’d recommend having an extra day for acclimatization at about 3000 m to make sure you don’t get altitude sickness at High Camp or Base Camp. If you want to start in Landruk you’ll have to take a bus or a jeep to get there and this trip is really bad I’d say walking 12 km extra to Landruk from Kande is a much better option.

Starting in Ghandruk/finishing in Kande. The longest route option you get to see more plus you escape bumpy drives either from Siding or Landruk. From Kande, the road is far from perfect but it’s much better than the roads inside the park. To complete this route you’ll need 5 days.

How to combine Mardi Himal with the Annapurna Base Camp trek?

Both trekking routes start in Landruk it’s very easy to combine them. You’ll need 10 days to complete the loop. Here is the suggested itinerary;

  • Day 1. Bus Pokhara – Kande. Trek Kande – Landruk, 16km
  • Day 2. Landruk – Forest Camp, 5km
  • Day 3. Forest Camp – High Camp, 8,5km
  • Day 4. High Camp – Base Camp – High Camp, 9km
  • Day 5. High Camp – Landruk, 12km
  • Day 6. Landruk – Sinuwa, 12km. From Landruk you can follow our Annapurna Base Camp trek itinerary.
  • Day 7. Sinuwa – Deurali, 14km
  • Day 8. Deurali – ABC, 9km
  • Day 9. ABC – Bamboo/Sinuwa, 15km/19km
  • Day 10. Bamboo/Sinuwa – Ghandruk, 14km/10km

How to combine Mardi Himal with Poon Hill trek?

Another popular option to combine these two trekking routes. First, you walk on the Poon Hill trek till Ghandruk, from Ghandruk you go to Landruk and from there start the Mari Himal trek. It’ll take about one week to complete the route. Here is the suggested itinerary;

  • Day 1. Bus Pokhara – Nayapul. Trek Nayapul – Ulleri, 12km. From Nayapul you can follow our Poon Hill itinerary.
  • Day 2. Ulleri – Ghorepani, 8km
  • Day 3. Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Ghorepani – Ghandruk, 19km.
  • Day 4. Ghandruk – Forest Camp, 9,5km
  • Day 5. Forest Camp – High Camp, 8,5km
  • Day 6. High Camp – Base Camp – High Camp, 9km
  • Day 7. High Camp – Siding/Landruk, 8,5km/12,5km

How to combine the 3 treks?

The ultimate loop that will allow you to explore every corner of the southern part of the Annapurna Sanctuary. The best way is to start on the Poon Hill route, then go to Chhomrong and continue to ABC, from ABC to Landruk, and from there to Mardi Himal. You’ll need 12-14 days to complete the route.

How to get to Mardi Himal trailhead?

Kande – there are many buses from Pokhara that go to Kande, the journey takes 1h30min., price NRP 200-300/US$2-3 pp. Buses leave all day long both ways. Note! Sometimes after heavy rains, the road gets very muddy (it’s not a tarred road) and the same trip can take 4-5 hours (we had this experience on the way back from the Annapurna Circuit trek, it took us 5 hours to get from Nayapul to Pokhara).

Landruk – there are few buses and some jeeps going to Landruk from Pokhara but not in monsoon season then it’ll be difficult to find transport to get all the way there or back. Buses leave in the morning between 8am and 9am but from a different bus station (outside of Pokhara), taxi drivers usually know where buses leave from. Bus price NPR 500/US$4,5, jeep – NPR 1000/US$9. 

Siding – to get from here to Pokhara (or the other way) you have to take a jeep, price depends on the number of people, season and your negotiation skills, usually, it’s between NPR 800-1000/US$7,5-9 pp.

Alya with a big backpack on the way up on the Mardi Himal trek
Alya on the way up to High Camp on the Mardi Himal trek

Trekking permits for Mardi Himal

Like for any other trek inside the Annapurna Sanctuary area to trek Mardi Himal you need the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit  (ACAP) and TIMS card. You can get both at the Tourism Information Center in Pokhara (about 1,5 km from Lakeside) or in Kathmandu. We got ours in Pokhara, the office is opened Mon to Sun from 10am to 5pm. We prefer to do paperwork in Pokhara; it’s a much nicer place than Kathmandu, you can get around walking. 

To get a TIMS  (trekkers information management system) card and a permit you’ll need a passport, insurance (nobody asks to show it but you’ll need its details to fill in the form), a contact person in Nepal (we usually give our hotel details) and 4 photos (can be taken at the office free of charge).

To get the TIMS card;

  • First, fill in the form that you get at the counter 
  • Second, take a photo. You don’t have to bring your own photos they take it right there at the office and it’s free of charge (4 passport size photos, it’s included in the price of your TIMS card).  
  • Third, give the filled form, two photos, and NPR 2000/US$18 pp. (paid only in Nepalese Rupee) at the counter
  • Forth, get your TIMS.

Note! TIMS card and permits are valid only for one entry to the park every time you exit you’ll have to get a new TIMS card and a new permit to enter the park again. It’s checked and tasted, we met some people trying to get with their old papers but it didn’t work and they had to pay NPR 6000/US$55 at the entry point.  

To get the Annapurna Sanctuary Permit;

  • First, after getting your TIMS card go to the next-door room and get the form
  • Second, fill in the form
  • Third, hand the filled form, passport, two photos and NPR 3000/US$27 pp.(paid only in Nepalese Rupee) at the counter.
  • Forth, get your permit.

Important! Don’t lose your TIMS and permit keep them till you exit the park there are control points throughout the park.

Insurance for the trek

The Mardi Himal is a high altitude trek through remote and difficult to access areas of the Annapurna Conservation Area, having travel insurance is highly recommended. In fact, it’s required for getting a TIMS card and a permit. Nobody has ever asked us to show our insurances but when you fill the form they ask you to provide the name and the phone number of your insurance company.

There are many travel insurance companies we’d recommend using one that has experience in covering outdoor activities and working in the region like World Nomads. Nepal is one of their top hiking destinations with thousands of people buying World Nomads insurance policies for trekking in the region. Their insurance is very flexible you can buy one that covers the entire trip or just the period of the trek. For example, if you have cheaper travel insurance that doesn’t cover high altitude hikes you can buy World Nomads policy covering only the hike. You can get insurance just a day before the planned activity or even the same day, it takes just a couple of minutes, quick and easy.  Get a quote right now! 

Best months for trekking

April and May are considered to be the peak hiking season in Nepal when you get the best weather conditions as the result all trekking routes get very busy. We always try to hike in border season; March or November. There are significantly fewer people but sometimes you can be quite unlucky with the weather.

We trekked Mardi Himal at the beginning of March and got a lot of snow on the route in fact Base Camp was closed nobody could walk, you couldn’t even see the route it was buried under snow. Some other routes like Annapurna Base Camp and parts of the circuit were closed as well so we had to wait in Pokhara for about a week before we could start hiking. It was the most snow in February and March that they got in Nepal in the last 30 years so I guess it doesn’t happen every year just our luck. Luckily there are many great things to do in Pokhara to keep one busy! While waiting we did the Panchase trek, an easy 3-day route outside the Annapurna Sanctuary.

From May to September it’s the monsoon season a lot of rain, the roads and trails get very muddy not nice weather for hiking in the mountains. As for the winter months, I read that some people like hiking in December – February because there are very few people but it gets very cold and on the routes like Mardi Himal where there are no local villages it might be difficult to find accommodation and food because the places are closed for offseason.

Stingy Nomads posing for photos at High Camp on the Mardi Himal trek
Stingy Nomads at High Camp on the Mardi Himal trek

Guided vs independent trek

The trail is well marked with white & blue strips most of the time it’s the only route, at the splits, there are signs pointing in the directions. Finding accommodation is easy you just arrive at a guest house and ask if they have a room. Though for inexperienced hikers this trek might be quite challenging; high altitude, unpredictable weather, steep ascends and descends so we’d recommend joining a tour. There are 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. 

If you don’t want to trek in a group you can hire a guide or a porter (or both) for the trek. Guides usually charge US$25 per day including their food and accommodation. You can share one guide with a couple of people. 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.

Mardi Himal trek cost

Accommodation prices change according to the season, in April and October they’re the highest. In March we paid NPR 300/US$3 for accommodation for two people but in the high season, it can be between NPR 400/US$4 and NPR 500/U$5 on average.

Food prices on Mardi Himal are fixed (at least it says o on the menus), they increase steadily with the altitude and depend on how long it takes to deliver supplies to a specific place. From Landruk on there are no roads, it’s people and donkeys who carry stuff up, obviously, the higher you go the most expensive everything gets. 

  • Breakfast (eggs, porridge, muesli etc.) – between NPR 300-400/US$3-4 pp.
  • Meal (pasta, rice, Dal Bhat, noodles etc.) – between NPR 400-600/US$4-6 pp.
  • Tea – from NPR 40 to NPR 120/US$0,4-1 per cup
  • Drinking water – from NPR 40/US$0,4 to NPR 120/US$1 per liter

The facilities on the route are quite basic compared to the more popular routes around Annapurna e.g. on the Poon Hill or Annapurna Circuit where you can get free wi-fi, hot shower and electricity basically at every place, on Mardi Himal most of the time for all these you have to pay extra and many places at higher altitude don’t have these facilities.

Our budget breakdown for the Mardi Himal

  • Permits (TIMS and Annapurna Sanctuary permit) – NPR 10 000/US$90 (NPR 5000/US$45 pp.).
  • Accommodation (3 nights) – NPR 900/US$8, we paid standard NPR 300/US$3 for two people everywhere.
  • Food (meals, tea, snacks) – NPR 9500/US$85 or 1186/US$10,5 per person per day for 3 meals.
  • Transport – NPR 1520/US$13,6; bus from Pokhara o Kande – NPR 400/US$4 (US$2 per person); bus from Landruk to Pokhara – NPR 1040/US$10 (US$4,5) pp.; return bus from Lakeside to the bus terminal – NPR 80/US$0,8  (US$0,2 pp.). Transport is a big money-saving aspect of hiking in the Annapurna region which makes the cost of trekking significantly less compared for example to the cost of the Everest Base Camp trek.

Total: NPR 21 920/US$196 for 2 people/4 days or NPR 2740/US$24,5 per person per day.

Note! we didn’t have a guide or a porter and didn’t buy water on the trek because we had our LifeStraw filter bottle. If you do add to our budget; guide – US$25 per day per group; porter – US$20 can carry 2-3 people’s luggage (up to 20-25 kg); 1 liter of drinking water between NPR 40/US$0,4 and NPR 150/US$1,3 (the higher you go the more expensive it gets).

Money-saving tips for the trek

  • The higher you go the more expensive food gets so bring some snacks and chocolate with you.
  • Bring a water filter or any other water purification system with it’ll save you between US$2-4 per person per day.
  • Try to negotiate accommodation price if it seems too high, we usually say that we’re going to eat 3 meals in the place (we don’t stop for lunch on the way) and get a room for our price.
  • Make sure to bring enough cash with there will be no place on the route to draw money.

Accommodation on the trek

Unlike some other routes in the Annapurna conservation area, Mardi Himal doesn’t go through local villages all stops on the route from Landruk to Base Camp are set only for the season and exclusively for trekkers, nobody lives there permanently. It explains poorer infrastructure on this route no electricity, no gas shower, etc.

Accommodation on the Mardi Himal trek is cheap like on any other route in Nepal but you have to eat at your guesthouse twice, usually dinner and breakfast. Food is the main source of income for the local community. On Mardi Himal accommodation was a little bit more expensive NPR 300-400/US$3-4 compared to the more popular routes e.g. on the Poon Hill we paid NPR 200/US$2 for two, on the circuit sometimes they didn’t charge us for accommodation at all. 

Trekkers can stay in guest houses or camp there are a couple of campsites at lower altitudes e.g. Forest Camp, Low Camp I’m not sure if it’s worth it because you pay basically the same for camping and staying in the room so it’s not really a money-saving option. The guesthouses are quite standard; a simple room with beds, outside toilet, and shower, dining area. On this route, there are more shared rooms than private e.g. rooms for 4-6 people. We never had this on any other trekking routes in Nepal usually we get our own double room. We shared a room with other people (4 beds) at Forest Camp and High Camp. It’s different at lower altitude e.g. in Landruk, Siding etc. there you can get a private room with electricity and power outlets.

In high season (April and October) it’s recommended to book guesthouses in advanced especially at High Camp, you can do it over the phone (2-3 days beforehand should be fine) if you arrive without a booking they will find a place for you to sleep but it might be a bench in the dining room or something similar. Outside these months you should be able to get a spot without previous booking.

A list of guesthouses on the Mardi Himal trek with their phone numbers
Guesthouses with the phone numbers on the Mardi Himal trek. I took this photo at Forest Camp. These are not all guest houses there are definitely more but these you can book over the phone.

You’re usually charged extra for a hot shower, charging your phone or using wi-fi so before you use any of these make sure if you have to pay extra and how much, they don’t always put signs with prices when you check-out you might get a surprise.

All the places we stayed had blankets but at High Camp, it can get quite cold we used both our sleeping bags and blankets.

Food on the Mardi Himal trek

Typical food you usually get hiking in Nepal; Nepalese, Indian, Chinese, and Western food. Local Dal Bhat (rice, lentil soup, chapati, grilled vegetable, and spinach) is the best value for money you guaranteed get bottomless rice and dal sometimes vegetables so it’s the best meal if you want to be full and not to pay a lot. Soups are a great option for the starter they are always good and tasty. For hungry trekkers who need a lot of calories, I can recommend a spring roll, it’s not a traditional small deep-fried roll it’s more like a big fried pie usually stuffed with whatever they have in the kitchen (spaghetti, vegetables, rice, etc.). We’ve done several treks in Nepal including EBC, ABC, Annapurna Circuit, Langtang trek, and overall food options, and prices everywhere are very similar.

Another fatty and filling thing is Mars or Sneakers roll it’s a chocolate bar inside deep-fried dough a good addition to the main meal. The menu on the trek is quite diverse the main problem is finding something fresh like vegetables or fruit you end up eating a lot of pasta, rice, bread, and sweets but after a tough day in the mountains, I guess it’s what your body needs.

Mardi Himal trek itinerary

As I already mentioned before we did this trek in between two other routes, for this reason, we started in Ghandruk and finished in Landruk. If after Mardi Himal you’re planning to exit the sanctuary and go back to Pokhara or Kathmandu you can finish in Siding,  this option is included in the itinerary.

Day 1. Ghandruk – Forest Camp, 9,5 km

Ghandruk (2780 m) – Kyuni (1358 m) – Landruk (1673 m) – Forest Camp (2459m), 9,5 km/6 mi

  • Starting point – Ghandruk
  • Finishing point – Forest Camp
  • Distance – 9,5 km
  • Time – 4h16min.
  • Total ascent – 1110 m
  • Total descent – 754 m
Mardi Himal trek, day 1. Elevation profile route Ghandruk - Forest Camp
Elevation profile Day 1 of Mardi Himal trek, walk from Ghandruk to Forest Camp

The route was marked pretty good at some places there were arrows pointing to Forest Camp at some just white & blue markers on rocks or trees (all secondary trails in the park are marked with white and blue). We didn’t use any GPS navigation except for walking out of Ghandruk.

We started the day at Ghandruk it’s not the most traditional start of the Mardi Himal trek but we just finished the Poon Hill trek and happened to be there. The first part of the walk was long and steep ascend all the way down to the river. It took us about 1h30min. to get there. On the way down there are a couple of places to stop for food and water.

At Kyuni (a small place at the river) you can stop for lunch or rest from there you start a long and steep ascent. After about 240 m up you’ll reach Landruk we’d suggest to stop here as well, rest a little bit and refill water, after Landruk there will be no places to buy or get water till Forest Camp. The ascend from Landruk is very long and steep you’ll get very thirsty. It’s possible to get to Landruk by jeep or even by bus from Pokhara and start walking from here.

The ascend from Landruk to Forest Camp is very long and tiring, about 870 m up, it took us about 1h45min. to get to Forest Camp. 

Forest Camp

Views from Forest Camp were by far not as impressive as from Ghandruk or even Landruk. Unlike other places on the way Forest Camp is not an actual village it’s basically just a couple of guest houses built for tourists there are no local people who live there permanently. 

A guesthouse at Forest Camp

We stayed at a brand new place with no name at the top of the hill, it was the only available option. Price NPR 300/US$3 for two people (shared a room with 3 beds) if you eat dinner and breakfast here. They asked NRP 500/US$4,5 first but agreed for NRP 300/US$3. To our surprise food prices here were a little bit cheaper than in Ghandruk.

  • Hot shower – yes, NPR 250/US$2 pp.
  • Flush toilet – no
  • Electricity – yes, only in the dining room
  • Power outlets – no
  • Wi-fi – no
  • Blankets – yes
  • Extra – washing lines
Two guesthouses with blue roof at Low Camp on the trek
Low Camp an alternative to Forest Camp on the first day, it’s about 3 km on

Day 2. Forest Camp – High Camp, 8,5 km

Forest Camp (2459 m) – Rest Camp (2621 m) – Low Camp (2985 m) – Middle Camp (3250 m) – High Camp (3550 m), 8,5 km/5,2 mi

  • Starting point – Forest Camp
  • Finishing point – High Camp
  • Distance – 8,5 km
  • Time – 3h45min.
  • Total ascent – 1100 m
  • Total descent – 75 m
Mardi Himal trek, elevation profile day 2, Forest Camp to High Camp
Elevation profile Day 2 of Mardi Himal trek. Walk from Forest Camp to High Camp

The first half of the day was through the forest you could spot many different birds hiding between the tree. From Low Camp on we started seeing some snow peaks and far away mountain ranges. There were many places to stop on the way for rest, tea, food, water etc. From Low Camp, the views were getting better and better if you’re lucky with the weather you can see several peaks e.g. Machhapchhre, Annapurna South, Mardi Himal. The walk is tough but not as tough as the previous day, the ascend is quite long but not as steep and tiring as on the way to Forest Camp.

If you feel tired or weak you can stop at Low Camp, it’s about 1h30min. from Forest Camp, there are a couple of tea houses there. The facilities are very similar everywhere on the trail. Room NPR 300/US$3 for two people, hot shower – NPR 200/US$2, wi-fi – NPR 200/US$2, charging the phone – free.

From Low Camp you go over 3000 m going up is getting more and more challenging. The best you can do is to walk up slow, frequently stop for rest and drink enough water there will be several tea houses on the way. If you start having a headache or any symptoms of altitude sickness rather stay for the night at a lower altitude, give more time to your body to adjust and continue the next day.

After the Middle Camp the scenery was breathtaking you could see mountains and canyons around, snow peaks looked very close, massive vultures were gliding in the skies, etc. some of the best views in this part of the park.

High Camp

As I mentioned, in the beginning, we got a lot of snow on the route due to it Base Camp was closed, High Camp was the last place to stop. Even at High Camp snow was up to the roofs, water in pipes was frozen so no running water in the whole settlement, locals melted snow for cooking and making tea. High Camp has the most basic facilities on the route but the views from up here are spectacular if you’re lucky you can see the amazing night sky and stunning sunrise.

There are four or five smallish guest houses at High Camp in high season it’s highly recommended to book a spot in advance over the phone.

Namaste guest house

We paid NPR 300/US$3 for two but it’s actually NPR 250/US$2,4 per person you can lower it down to NPR 400/US$4 for two people. There are no private rooms the smallest room is for 4 people so be ready to share it with other trekkers. It was very cold at High Camp the only warm place was the dining room where everybody was sitting all day drinking tea and playing cards, it was probably one of the most social tea houses on the route. The rooms were very cold our sleeping bags were quite handy here. 

  • Hot shower – no shower
  • Flush toilet – no
  • Electricity – yes, only in the dining room
  • Power outlets – yes, NPR 200/US$2 per device
  • Wi-fi – yes, in the evening, NPR 250/US$2 per person
  • Blankets – yes
  • Extra – drinking water refill, NPR 150/US$1,2 per 1 liter
Our guesthouse at High Camp on the Mardi Himal trek
One of the few guesthouses at High Camp on the trek. In the peak season, it’s highly recommended to book a spot in advance

Day 3. High Camp – Base Camp – High Camp, 9 km

High Camp (3550 m) – Base Camp (4500 m) – High Camp (3550 m), 9 km/5,5 mi

  • Starting point – High Camp
  • Finishing point – High Camp
  • Distance –  9 km
  • Time – 5-6 hours
  • Total ascent – 950 m
  • Total descent – 950 m

As I already said Base Camp was closed; due to a lot of snow the route was very dangerous and slippery in fact a couple of days before we arrived a hiker from Japan had slipped down on the way to Base Camp. We saw a helicopter looking for him or more likely his body for two days (not sure if they ever found it). We decided not to risk besides we didn’t even have crampons or trekking poles.

We walked early morning to one of the viewpoints and back, it took us about 1 hour. After breakfast, we decided to go down so our itinerary was 1 day shorter than it supposed to be but we couldn’t do anything about it. We’re planning to go back to the Annapurna region this year in October and will try our luck with Base Camp again.

Usually, people start walking to Base Camp in the dark before the sunrise for two reasons; first, the weather is better in the morning (less cloudy and windy) and second, to see the sunrise on the way.

Alternative! Depending on how long it takes to go all the way to Base Camp and back and how tired you’re you can stay at High Camp or start going down and overnight at Middle Camp or Low Camp, it’ll take you between 1h30min.-2h. to get to one of these places.

Himalayan snowy peaks view from the trek
Stunning views of the snowy peaks on the Mardi Himal trek

Day 4. Option 1. High Camp – Landruk, 13 km

High Camp (3550 m) – Middle Camp (3250 m) – Low Camp (2985 m) – Rest Camp (2621 m) – Forest Camp (2459 m) – Landruk (1673 m), 12,7 km/7,8 mi

  • Starting point – High Camp
  • Finishing point – Landruk
  • Distance – 12,7 km
  • Time – 4h30min.
  • Total ascent – 114 m
  • Total descent – 1952 m
Mardi Himal, elevation profile, route from High Camp to Landruk
Elevation profile Day 4 of Mardi Himal trek. Long descend from High Camp to Landruk

It was a long day of descending, almost 2000 meters down it’s not advisable to do if you have any knee issues. As an option you can split it into two days; stay overnight at Forest Camp and continue going down the next day. The part from Forest Camp to Landruk is the steepest part on the trek. The way down went quick and almost effortless compared to the two days that took us to get up and we actually could enjoy the scenery and spotted many birds in the forest on the way.


We really liked this town on the way up and thought that we’d like to stay here and so we did. There are several guesthouses some are quite fancy and expensive from NPR 700/US$6,5 but there are traditional tea houses for NPR 200-300/US$2-3 for two people. To find cheaper options go a little bit down from the jeep station.

Maya Guest House

We liked this place, it has a nice garden with great views, a cozy dining hall. It was neat and clean with a basic room, hot shower and outside toilet. Price NPR 300/US$3 for two people.

  • Hot shower – yes, solar shower free, electric shower – NPR 150/US$1 pp.
  • Flush toilet – yes
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, in the room
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Blankets – no
  • Extra – washing lines, beautiful garden

Day 4. Option 2. High Camp – Siding, 8,5 km

High Camp (3550 m) – Middle Camp (3250 m) – Low Camp (2985 m) – Siding (1885 m), 8,5 km/5,2 mi

  • Starting point – High Camp
  • Finishing point – Siding
  • Distance – 8,5 km
  • Time – 4h.
  • Total ascent – 120 m
  • Total descent – 1744 m

If you’re not planning to do any other treks after finishing the Mardi Himal the best option is to go to Siding and take a jeep back to Pokhara. At Low Camp there is a split one route goes to Forest Camp and one goes to Siding. Note! There is an alternative route to Siding from High Camp we did see a sign pointing the direction but the route itself was buried under the snow I wouldn’t recommend taking this route it didn’t look safe and it’s very isolated, on the map it didn’t seem to be any shorter than going down through Low Camp.

A hiking trail on the Mardi Himal trek
Views of the snowy peaks from the route

Mardi Himal trek packing list

It’s a 4-day trek with staying in tea houses so try to pack light to make the walk easier. Overall for this trek, we had the same stuff we packed for the Everest Base Camp trek.

Backpack – depending on how much you pack I’d say if you pack light – 40l backpack will be enough if you hike in winter and need more warm clothes and bigger sleeping bag – 50l pack.

Smartphone – I downloaded audiobooks on my smartphone and at night before going to bed listening to it for 15-20 min.

LifeStraw or any other water filter or purifying pills – it’ll save you some money there are many water taps on the route where you can refill water and it’s environmentally friendly. It was the first time we used our bottle and the only thing we regretted was not buying it a long time ago.

Headlamp – most places we stayed on this route didn’t have electricity in the rooms, plus you’ll need a torch or headlamp if you start walking early to Base Camp.

Sleeping bag – all tea houses we stayed had blankets, it was really chilly only at High Camp so we used our summer sleeping bags with blankets and our tea house in Landruk didn’t have blankets but it was pretty warm.

Hiking shoes – you don’t need heavy hiking boots for Mardi Himal, normal hiking shoes will be good enough, I walked in my Salomon Ellipse 2 (we’ve already walked more than 2000 km in these shoes and they’re still alive), Campbell wore his new Merrell Chameleon.

Hiking socks – we always wear merino wool socks for hiking, they are great; last long, don’t absorb odors, protect your feet from blisters.

Hiking poles – the whole route is basically one long and steep up at the beginning and one long and steep down at the end so poles will be quite useful.

Trekking pants – Campbell always hikes in normal trekking pants I prefer wearing tight yoga pants.

Hiking shirt – Colombia hiking shirts are Campbell’s favorite, I like hiking in long sleeve running shirts and sports bras.

Buff – we use it mainly for sun protection instead of putting sunscreen all over our faces and necks.

Sleeping clothes e.g. long cotton pajama pants and a thermal shirt for sleeping and wearing in guesthouses after the shower it’s always chilly outside it’s great to have something warm and comforting. Ladies options are here; pants and shirt.

Hiking towel – most of the guesthouses have a hot shower though usually, you have to pay extra for it.

Waterproof pouch for documents, money, phone, etc.

Kindle – Campbell always takes his Kindle Paperwhite with on hikes. If you’re an owner of Kindle by joining Kindle unlimited program by Amazon you’ll get access to hundreds of thousands of e-books and audiobooks.

GoPro HERO7 we used it a lot for taking photos and videos, all photos in this post a taken with GoPro.

Garmin Fenix 5X for us it was totally worth buying this watch we used a lot of its data to write this post.

Annapurna trekking map (make sure to buy an updated version) or Mardi Himal trek map (if you want a really detailed route map). We used the first one a lot on all our hikes, we bought it in Pokhara, there are a couple of small book shops in Lakeside with many trekking maps and guide books.

First Aid kit – we always advise to take it with on hikes you never know what can happen from a blister to a sudden stomach problem or a headache.

Places to stay in Pokhara

Lakeside is the main touristy area of Pokhara it’s full of hotels, guest houses, restaurants, bars etc. here you can find accommodation for any budget from cheap homestays to fancy spa hotels. We stayed a couple of times at OYO 11460 Hotel Romantica and stored our luggage there every time we went hiking. The hotel was nice; clean with good facilities, the staff was great, the girls that work there are very nice and helpful. Another place we stayed in was Hotel Lake Shore; the rooms are smaller but a little bit fancier, great shower (the best shower we had in Nepal), a very good breakfast menu.

More accommodation options

Recommended books and guidebooks

If you prefer e-books over paper books don’t hesitate to join Amazon Kindle Unlimited to get access to thousands of e-books and audiobooks. You can read or listen to books on your phone or tablet using the app even if you don’t have a Kindle. The first 30 days of the program are free.

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Wednesday 4th of May 2022

Hey guys,

Firstly thank you so much for the awesome info! It's not easy finding detailed info on combined Mardi Himal + ABC treks.

I'm contemplating doing the combined Mardi Himal + ABC trek in early Dec. Wondering if there is a reason for doing Mardi Himal before ABC (as per your itenerary)

Many thanks in advance :)

Stingy Nomads

Wednesday 4th of May 2022

Hello, Justin. Thank you for the comment. We're glad you've found our post helpful. There is no particular reason to do the Mardi Himal first and then go to Annapurna Base Camp. I'd recommend deciding on which way to walk based on the weather predictions. Annapurna Base Camp is sometimes closed because of the risk of avalanches after heavy snowfalls. Inside the park they usually know if it's open or not. You can ask at the first check-point you get along the route. If it's open and the weather predictions are good I'd go there first and then to Mardi Himal. If not, do the Mardi Himal first to wait for better conditions and then go the ABC. Cheers


Monday 28th of February 2022

Hi guys! Thanks for the info, it was super useful. I am planning on doing Mardi Himal combined with Poon Hill now (end of March), I have arround 8 days to do it, do you think it might be enough time. Also, do you think it is okay to do it as a female solo traveller? I have hiked before, but I am still quite new to it.

Thanks a lot :)

Stingy Nomads

Tuesday 1st of March 2022

Hello, Agus. Thank you for the comment. Yes, 8 days should be enough to complete the combined Mardi Himal-Poon Hill trek. In this post (Mardi Himal route options section), you can find a suggested 7-day itinerary for the route. Both routes are quite popular with many trekkers (at least they were before the Covid) from the safety point of view it's fine to walk as a solo female. The treks are well-marked you won't get lost. The end of March is a good time for doing the Mardi Himal. Cheers


Sunday 16th of January 2022

Hey guys, which temperature shall we expect end of march, beginning of April? How cold does it get during night?

Stingy Nomads

Monday 17th of January 2022

Hello, Zanni. That time of the year it still might get to below 0C at night but not far below. At the high camp though it gets quite cold at night even in April I'd suggest packing a decent sleeping bag for the Mardi Himal trek. We did the trek beginning of March and it was very chilly at night but during the day it was sunny and even warm. Good luck


Wednesday 3rd of November 2021

Hi guys! Question for you. I'll be in Pokhara in the second half of Dec, and trying to decide whether to hike the Mardi Himal trail, or the Ghorepani/Ghandruk circuit. I was leaning towards Mardi Himal, but it sounds like it might be too cold with risk of snow/ice. I only have about 5-6 days for the hike.

Your thoughts/suggestions would be much appreciated!


Friday 12th of November 2021

@Stingy Nomads, Thank you for your inputs!

Stingy Nomads

Thursday 4th of November 2021

Hello, Raj. You're right the Mardi Himal trail might be covered in snow in late December. We hiked it in March a week after the Ghorepani trek and it was much colder on the Mardi Himal trail. In fact, we couldn't do the last bit of the trail (to the Base camp) due to heavy snowfalls. In my opinion, at that time of the year, it's better to do the Ghorepani trek. We have a detailed post on the Ghorepani Poon Hill trail that might be helpful Cheers


Sunday 18th of April 2021

Hi guys, Thanks a lot for your detailed Poon Hill and Mardi Himal trails! I'm thinking of doing the same as you did. I plan to fly to Kathmandu on May 7th and fly back from Kathmandu on May 15th, so 9 days total but 7 days hiking (arriving at Pokhara May 8th and leaving Pokhara May 14th).

I am mostly worried about making sure I can reach Kathmandu on May 15th for my flight. If during day 5 or day 6, I realize I don't have enough time to finish the whole Mardi Himal trail (=reaching Base Camp and going back), are there safe short-cut options to reach back Pokhara by jeep/bus? Also, in Pokhara, can I take a jeep/bus anytime during the morning and afternoon (both to Nayapul and Kathmandu)?

Is a sleeping bag very important in May? Or are blankets in tea houses + clothes enough?

Stingy Nomads

Tuesday 20th of April 2021

Hi, Charles! Thank you for the comment! To be honest, mid-May is not the best time for hiking in the area, it is the beginning of the rainy season in Nepal but at these elevations, it starts raining earlier in April as a result roads get very muddy and unreliable, not that they are ever good but that time it's a total mess. We took a bus back to Pokhara from Nayapul in mid-April after completing the trek and it took us 5 hours to reach Pokhara which is only 40 km away due to mudslides. The same happens with the road from Pokhara to Kathmandu, it is not a tar road once it starts raining it becomes a total mess. You might get stuck there and miss your flight. As for cutting the route shorter, you can turn around at High Camp on the Mardi Himal trek without going to Base Camp. In one day from there, you can get down to Siding and take a jeep to Pokhara. There might be jeeps leaving in the afternoon but it all depends on the road conditions. In May is not very cold I guess blankets and warm sleeping clothes will be fine. Cheers!

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