This grade includes climbing peaks and the demanding treks in remote areas. Participants having basic knowledge of use of crampons and ice axes are required. First-time climbers can undertake one of our one-day pre-trek ropes and climbing training days to obtain some initial skills and experience.
Khayer Lake is a fantastic trek for getting up close to the Annapurna peaks and being rewarded with some of the most stunning mountain vistas in the entire Himalaya Mountains. You will walk remote forest trails that few trekkers even know about. The trek takes you high into the rampart ridges that lead all the way up Annapurna South (8,091m) itself. From many vantage points along this trek you get the feeling you can almost reach out and touch Annapurna - the mountains are so close you almost can. The trek takes you to some high mountain ridges at 3,800m and then 4,800m altitude where the views to the many peaks of the Annapurna Massif and the mighty Mount Dhaulagiri (8,167m) will leave you spell-bound. The final stage of the trek takes you to Ghorepani and the Poon Hill Lookout for a final sunrise view of the countless icy peaks of the Annapurna Base Camp. Polish up your camera and bring your biggest memory card for this trek. This is truly one of the best off-the-beaten-path treks in Nepal.
Welcome to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. A Lantang Ri Trekking & Expedition representative will greet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. When you are ready you will be collected from your hotel lobby and driven to our Thamel office where you will be formally introduced to your Trekking Guide. We will go through all your trek itinerary and arrangements with you an ensure every detail is in place. We will also ask for your passport photographs and any other details so that we can organize any permits required for your trek and the region you will be exploring.
After breakfast, we start an interesting tour around Kathmandu. Escorting by an English speaking guide (can be provide any language speaking guide on request) be, try to give them a full taste of our vivid culture image and an enchanting manner of its people. In our sightseeing tour we go to Monkey temple Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, Bouddhanath and Kathmandu Durbar square.
Bouddhanath: Bouddhanath is a Buddhist religious complex with a history dating back over 500 years. Located on the eastern edge of Kathmandu it is now a site of great pilgrimage for Buddhist followers who circle its massive stupa, spin its many prayer wheels and visit its beautiful monastery. The main feature of Boudhanath is its huge hemispherical white stupa with central golden tower and the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha. Visitors should circle the stupa in a clockwise direction and spin prayer wheels for good fortune and a good life. Visitors may also enjoy visiting the Thangka painting school within the complex to see highly skilled artists at work on religious mandala paintings.
Pashupatinath: Hindu Temple is a very large and complex and focal point for the Hindu religion. This old and very revered complex of buildings and shrines is dedicated to the Lord Shiva, one of the main deities of Hinduism. While Lord Shiva has multiple forms he is often seen as the destroyer. This has great significance for the Pashupatinath temple as it is the site of many Hindi ritual cremations each day. Pashupatinath is considered by Hindus to be an auspicious site for passing from one stage of life to the next through the purifying and destroying flames of cremation. However, on a happier note, visitors may also get to see the temple in a buoyant festival mode with one of the many Hindu festivals celebrated here through the year.
Swayambhunath: You will first visit the Swayambhunath temple complex that sits atop a high hill overlooking Kathmandu and the entire Kathmandu Valley. Swayambhunath is perhaps the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site in Nepal. It consists of a very large white stupa with the all-seeing-eye of Lord Buddha plus many small stupa and beautifully carved stone shrines. This is a wonderful place to catch your breath and start to understand and appreciate the deep importance of Buddhist belief to the people of Nepal and the Himalaya region. Make sure you ring the many bells to awaken the gods and let them know you are in Nepal. Take the time to enjoy the view over Kathmandu and have your guide point the many other highlights of the city. In the far distance to the east you may also be able to see the hills of Nagarkot where your hotel for tonight is located. If you feel energetic you might also like to try some or all of the 350 steps that lead all the way from Kathmandu city up to your Swayambhunath temple vantage point.
Kathmandu Durbar Square: The next stop today is the beautiful Kathmandu Durbar Square, or the royal palace square of the ancient Malla kings of the Kathmandu Valley. This square and all its architectural treasures are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While some damage to buildings occurred in the 2015 earthquake the site still contains many stunning architectural gems. The original royal palace courtyards are open to visitors and you will marvel at the intricate timber carving and beautifully crafted brickwork of the palace. The open square outside the palace has many beautiful multi-storey pagodas and temples with ornate carving and carpentry artwork that tells some of the story of the ancient kings and their mystical time and beliefs. The square also contains many important Hindu temples and statues such as to Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Durbar Square also contains the unique and intriguing Kumari Chok. This is an ancient and ornate house where resides the Raj Kumari – the Living Goddess. She is a young girl chosen through an ancient and mystical selection process to become the human incarnation of the Hindu mother goddess, Durga. If you are in the courtyard of the home at the right time in the afternoon you may see a brief glimpse of the Goddess at her window.
Drive or fly to Pokhara. The flight is an optional extra for this itinerary. Pokhara is located about 200km west of Katmandu on the shores of the beautiful Lake Fewa. Pokhara is a mixture of restful and busy. It has the atmosphere of a relaxed "resort town" where visitors take it easy seeing the sights and resting before their Annapurna or Mustang trek and once again upon their return. But is also a busy place with all these visitors arriving, leaving and exploring the lake and nearby sights of Pokhara. The option to drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara provides an opportunity to experience more of the real Nepal beyond the national parks and trekking trails. The scenery and people you will meet on the drive is also worth the experience.
A short and scenic twisting road takes you from Pokhara (915m) to Nayapul (1,050m) at the southern entrance to the Annapurna Sanctuary. From there it is time to lace up the boots, pull on your day-pack and begin your trek to Ghandruk (1,940m) via the main northward trekking trail that continues past Ghandruk all the way to Annapurna Base Camp. There are a few villages you pass through today and they make a great place to take a break and enjoy a cup of Nepali tea. The villages you pass through are populated by the ethnic Gurung people and their religion is Buddhist, so you will often see carefully tended stupa along the way.
Today our trail turns westward from Ghandruk as we depart the trail that heads for Annapurna Base Camp. We gain altitude steadily today but every step higher rewards with an even better view of Mount Machhapuchhre or Fish Tail (6,997m). So take is slow and stop often and look over your shoulder to this magical Himalayan peak that is sacred to the local people. Mount Machhapuchhre is so revered that mountaineers are actually banned from attempting to climb it.
This is the day we start heading off-the-beaten-path as we head more northward towards the icy peaks of Annapurna. The day starts with a short descent down the valley side of the Kimrong River. The trail takes us through dense Rhododendron forests was we head northwest and work our way along the southern side of the valley. The trail ascends as we go and occassionally we reach cleared grazing fields that allow spectacular uninterupted views to the Annapurna peaks and Mount Machhapuchhre. The trek takes about six hours to complete today and eventually we arrive at a small ridge-top clearing and the tiny village of Bhaisi Kharka. You hard work is now rewarded with fantastic views to the east and west todards towering Mount Dhaulagiri (8,167m). While you pull your boots off at the end of the day spend some time soaking up this marvelous view.
While the net altitude gain by the end of today is just 100m we have more work to do than this might suggest. Today we have a series of valleys and ridges to cross as we head north west towards the main farming village of Sistibang and then ascend up to the tiny settlement of Upper Sistibang just below the crest of a very high ridge - our target for tomorrow. So take your time today and conserve energy where you can as the trek starts to get a bit more challenging.
The trekking today should only take a few hours but just about every step will take you a little bit higher until you reach the spectacular vantage point of Khopra Ridge at 3,870m altitude. Altitude sickness can now become a risk so you must follow the advice of your guide and take it slow and rest often. The slower you ascend the safer it is and the more time you also have to admire the scenery. By the time you reach Upper Sistibang you will be well above the tree line and on the ridge itself you will have amazing views to all the Annapurna peaks to the east and Mount Dhaulagiri to the west - this is where you get the feeling you could almost reach out and touch these gorgeous mountains.
This is another "wow!!!" day as you head even higher and even closer to Annapurna. Make sure you have your camera all charged up and ready for this huge day. Get up early and watch the sun rise from behind the many Annapurna peaks to your east and make sure to also catch the first rays of the sun to hit the face of Mount Dhaulagiri to the west. After breakfast and comparing sunrise photos you will trek up the steep lower slopes of the Annapurna Massif itself. Take it very slow again today as the altitude gain will be over 1,000m. This is another challenging day but every step is rewarded by the most stunning of Himalayan mountain scenery. Your turn-around point will be a tiny perched lake, Khyer Lake, sitting in a steep valley with Annapurna high above - lots of amazing photo opportunities here. When standing at the lake you will be just six kilometers from the summit of Annapurna South - it towers above you with all the power of one of the great Himalaya mountains. But eventually you will need to retrace your steps and descend back to Khopra Ridge.
It is all down, down, down today so some different muscles will get a workout. The trek takes you back into the oak and rhododendron forest and then down into the beautifully terraced hillsides as you pass many small farms and clusters on homes. You may even come across water buffalo and their keepers out working their fields. After five or six hours of trekking you should reach Swanta and take a well earned rest.
The scenic highlights of this trek are not over yet. The objective today is to reach Ghorepani and be ready for a pre-dawn start the next day at the Poon Hill Lookout (3,180m). But first we have some walking to do today. The trek initially is pretty easy as we walk a gently ascending trail along the valley floor to Chittre. The trail continues further south-east through more farming communities until you reach the main valley wall leading up to Ghorepani. Time for some hard ascending. But by now you will be so fit you wil relsih the challenge and soon make it to the high vantage point of Ghorepani. While the views from here are great, just wait until tomorrow morning. So start charging the camera again and get a good night's sleep.
Today you will need to rise well before dawn and ascend to the vantage point of Poon Hill just to the south-west of Ghorepani. Your goal is to arrive on Poon Hill just before the sun starts to rise over the Annapurna Massif peaks. Poon Hill is about 500m higher than Ghorepani and the hilltop provides uninterrupted views in every direction. Watch the first rays of the sun hit the summit of Mount Dhaulagiri (8,167m) to your west and the other icy peaks of the main Annapurna Massif - Tukuche Peak (6,920m), Mount Nilgiri (6,940m), Varaha Shikhar (7,847m), Mount Annapurna I (8,091m), Annapurna South (7,219m), Annapurna III (7855m), Machhapuchhre (6,993m), Annapurna IV (7,525m), Annapurna II (7,937m), Lamjung Himal (6,931m) and many other gorgeous Himalayan peaks. Make sure you have fresh batteries in your camera, you're going to leave Poon Hill with lots of fantastic photos and memories that will last a lifetime. But once the sunrise show is over and you catch you breath it is time to descend the hill and trek down to Hile and then return to Pokhara.
After breakfast in the morning you say goodbye to Pokhara and head back to bustling Kathmandu by road. You may also choose to fly back to Kathmandu as an optional extra to your itinerary. You will be delivered back to your Kathmandu hotel at the end of today's travels.
We will meet you at your hotel and take you to the airport in plenty of time to meet your flight home.
Recommended equipment list: Trekkers need to provide their own personal clothing and equipment. Some items of equipment are available for hire from us as like Down Jacket
Footwear : Well broken-in walking shoes - these must be suitable for snow, thick socks, light socks, camp shoes.
Clothing : Down or fiber filled waterproof jacket and trousers, sweater or fleece jacket, underwear, warm and cotton trousers or jeans, shirts and T-shirts, shorts, long underwear, wool hat, sun hat, gloves, bathing suit, track suit.
Other equipment: Sleeping bag (5 seasons), lock, day pack, water bottle, sun cream, sunglasses, flashlight with spare bulbs and batteries, lip salve, gaiters.
Other items: Insect repellent, toilet articles, diary, toilet roll, laundry soap, wet ones, pocket knife, towel, sewing kit, plasters, binoculars, camera, film, cards and personal medical kit.