This adventure has been crafted using our Travel, Give, Grow philosophy and gives travellers a unique hands on opportunity to help a remote community in need. This trek in the Annapurna region offers incomparable views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. Our carefully researched itinerary is impressive, as within a few days we gain a sense of serenity as we gradually ascend through tiny settlements and pristine forests to the alpine heights of Kopra Ridge. The views from Kopra are incredible with the colossal ramparts of Dhaulagiri plunging to the misty depths of the Kali Gandakhi - the deepest gorge in the world. A further highlight are the high pastures above Kopra Ridge beneath the awesome Fang Face of Annapurna 1, where ancient pilgrim trails lead to the sacred waters of Khayer Lake. Our route offers a broad experience of the Annapurnas today, as we pass through prosperous villages where western influence is minimal, traverse grassy ridges, pass through old growth Rhododendron forests and camp underneath some of the most awe inspiring mountain scenery on earth. We enjoy a day with the local school in Paudwar, participating in activities organised by the Quality Education Nepal program before completing 4 days service work at the local Shree Bukha Deurali Secondary School near Bukha. This is a great hands on opportunity to give something back to a remote community in need as well as experiencing the adventure of a lifetime.
On a moderate trek physical activity will generally not exceed eight hours in a day, and altitudes generally not exceeding 5,500 metres. On a moderate adventure the physical activity is sustained and travelers should be comfortable with occasional rough terrain. At any stage of a moderate trek you can expect long steep climbs and descents and a wide range of weather conditions. An example of an average day on moderate trek could include several ascents and descents of 500 metres or more, level ground is rare in the mountains. To prepare for a moderate trek you should begin training at least four to five months before your departure. As a guideline, an hour of aerobic exercise three to four times per week would be considered a minimum requirement. The best preparation is bushwalking involving relatively steep ascents and descents. If you can manage a couple of valley floor to ridgeline ascents per bushwalk, albeit with stops along the way, you will cope with a moderately graded trek. Speed is not important, stamina, confidence and continuity are.
On arrival in Kathmandu you will be met by your group leader and transferred to your well located hotel. Here a pre-trek briefing will be given around 5pm where your Nepalese guide will run through the arrangements for the coming days and arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag and down/fibrefill jacket before heading out to dinner.
Today we will explore some of the cultural and historical highlights of Kathmandu. Our exploration will include some of the main points of interest including the Hindu temple Pashupatinah, the Boudhanath stupa and Durbar Square. Lunch and dinner today will be at the students expence.
Overnight Radisson Hotel
This morning we take a flight west to Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest town (820m). In good weather we are greeted with sights of the entire Annapurna Range. From here we drive for an hour to a pass between two river valleys to the village of Phedi, where we commence our trek. There is no need to rush as this is a short day with plenty of time to reach our overnight stop. The trail ascends for the first hour, following a ridge through fields of bamboo clusters to magnificent rhododendron forest. Villagers greet us with “Namaste”, the traditional Nepalese greeting, as we pass their homes and continue to the ridge top where at the crest the scale of the mountains astounds us. Machapuchare (6993m), Hiunchuli (6441m) and Annapurna South (7219m) can be seen from our immediate viewpoint.
Overnight eco lodge.
After a glorious mountain sunrise we follow the trail through rhododendron forest before continuing through a series of Gurung villages where lifestyles have not changed substantially over the centuries. After lunch we follow a well-marked trail to the prosperous village of Landruk where we camp for the night. Our private eco campsite affords dramatic views of Annapurna South.
Overnight permanent eco-camp
Our destination today is easily seen across the valley, the attractive Gurung village of Ghandruk. We exit the village and slowly descend through rice terraces, crossing a steel bridge that spans the glacial river of the Modi Khola and commence our ascent. As we trek up the many staircases, we enjoy the beauty of the Himalaya at a relatively close range and observe the glaciers flowing from them to form the rivers below us. It really is a magnificent location and a photographer's delight. Our leisurely approach along these ridges with their fine mountain views ensures proper acclimatisation and the un-hurried opportunity to fully savor this magnificent scenery.
Overnight permanent eco-camp
Our trail meanders uphill through fields and into forest of rhododendron, magnolia and lichen covered fig. We pass by waterfalls that cascade down narrow gullies that provide the perfect home for many small ferns and delicate plants such as exotic orchids bursting with colour. Tadapani is a small village with limited campsites, our overnight accommodation will be in an eco lodge. This is the last stop before we head into the more uninhabited regions of our trek.
Overnight eco lodge
Leaving the main trekking trail we continue to ascend on a less defined path through old growth forest where we may be fortunate enough to see Himalayan Thar, Hyrax or Ressus and Langur monkeys. Eventually we rise above the tree line and gain stunning views of the Annapurna Himal, our lunch spot will most likely be a yak pasture at Timuje perched high on the hillside with fantastic views of Annapurna South and Himul Chuli. Following our lunch break we ascend steeply to the ridge where spectacular views of Dhaulagiri and it's surrounding peaks unfold before us. This section of the trek is magnificent and we are now well off the main trail. Continuing down the opposite side of the ridge we drop into smaller rhododendron forest and arrive at our remote campsite high on the hillside overlooking the valley.
Overnight permanent eco-camp
Setting off early today we make our way downward towards the valley floor, eventually entering the old growth forest, surrounded by colourful rhododendron. We glimpse a small settlement lower down at Chistibung, which will be our lunch spot. After a relaxing lunch we begin our ascent to the stunning location of the eco lodge at Kopra. The views here are truly amazing and some of the best in the entire Annapurnas. Dhaulagiri dominates the scene and towers above the deepest gorge in the world, the Kali Gandakhi.
Overnight eco lodge
For those who are feeling fit and motivated for a big day hike, and dependent on weather and route conditions, the trip to the sacred Khayer Lake high above us is well worth the effort. The views are outstanding and you will trekking along an ancient pilgrimage trail to the site of the annual Badau Purnima Festival. The trail contours the steep hillsides and takes us even closer to the impressively sheer cliff face of Annapurna's Fang Face. In the late afternoon, we will descend back to our eco lodge at Kopra. Our staff will accompany you on this hike and you may turn around after a few hours if you choose to, or simply enjoy a rest day in the comfort of our eco lodge.
Overnight eco lodge
Today we descend down from Kopra ridge, away from the main trails, towards Paudwar Village. We trek through small villages drying corn out in the sun, traversing along terraced fields to reach our destination. The quality education program of Nepal has been working in this region for some time and will be organising activities for our group at the local Paudwar Village school.
Overnight wilderness camp
Today the Quality Education Nepal program is arranging a day full of activities and interaction for the students of Braemar College.
Overnight wilderness camp
This morning we head South towards the main trails in the Kali Gandaki gorge. There may be shepherds on the trail, as well as villagers going about their daily activities as we descend. There is more activity and signs of settlement, a marked contrast to the trekking we have enjoyed on the higher and more remote ridges.
Overnight in our private eco campsite in Swantha.
A short walk brings us to Chitre where we join the old Tibet-Nepal trade route. The walk this morning offers excellent views of the Dhaulagiri range as the trail zigzags until we reach our lunch stop at Ghorepani. This is a large village which is on the main tourist trail. You may wish to wander through the bazaar for a short period following lunch, as there are many Tibetan wares on display, and also a bakery or two.
Most trekkers to Ghorepani take a a pre dawn 45 minute climb to the summit of Poon Hill (3200m), which is a highlight of trekking in the Annapurnas. We will make the climb in the afternoon, when there are no crowds. From Poon Hill we leave the main trail and traverse on old yak herder trails to Upper Phulbari, which is set above the level of Poon Hill. The location affords even more spectacular views, with the luxury of no pre-dawn start, unless of course you chose to photograph the stunning views at sunrise. Overnight eco lodge.
The views in the early morning are tremendous, with forested foot hills as a fore ground and some of the world's greatest mountain ranges surrounding us. If you are up early enough, the glow of the rising sun catches Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri and Annapurna. Our trail takes us through beautiful forests of rhododendrons, fir, pine, cedar and bamboo, there are many small trails through the forest, and we are unlikely to see any other westerners in this section of the trek. Eventually we emerge to open grassland ridges that offer a particularly pleasant trekking experience, before descending to a pretty lunchspot in a narrow valley skirted by multicoloured rhododendron bushes. From here there are three trails, we take the south trail which leads us to our private eco campsite at Les Par (Swarga).
Overnight permanent eco camp
Trekking along the ridge of Bharmakot Dhanda we gain excellent views of Annapurna South, Machapuchare, Hiunchuli and the Manaslu ranges. Bukha is a delightful village, largely untouched by western influence. Here we stay in our permanent eco camp located approximately 30 minutes walk from our project site. This afternoon we walk to our project site to meet the local community and view the work to be done over the coming days. We will have a briefing on the project and meet the local labour force we will be working side by side with.
Overnight permanent eco camp.
This morning we will start our Community Project at the Shree Deurali Secondary School. The school is approximately 30 minutes walk away and the students will rise early for breakfast and then embark on the trek. There will be many roles to undertake at the school. A local crew will be on hand to divide the roles and work together as a team. This is a wonderful way to give something back to the people of the region and a hands on way to help a community in need.
This morning we rise early for breakfast and return to our project site to finish off any remaining service work. We will have an official hand over ceremony and wave our new friends goodbye as we embark on the final section of our trek. Have your trekking poles at the ready today as our descent is approx. 1000m. We pass through interesting villages situated on steep rocky hills and terraces. The villages we pass are mixed communities of predominantly Gurung, Brahmin & Chettri. The final descent into Nayapul is 20 minutes on stone stairs. Here we board our bus for Pokhara and our private eco camp.
Overnight private eco camp
This morning we transfer to the airport for the spectacular 40 minute flight back to Kathmandu. On arrival you will be met and transfer to your hotel at the Radisson. This afternoon is free for shopping and relaxing after your trek.
Our trip finishes today with a transfer to the airport for our flight to Melbourne.
Per Person, Twin Share