Mardi Himal Trek 2019
Recently we had been to Trek to Mardi Himal during the Mid-February 2019. It was the first trek of the year 2019. Since it was still the time of winter, the trails were covered with snow and very few trekkers were trekking there. Nevertheless, the trek was fulfilling and full of uncertainties, bondings, joy and beautiful realizations.
Sharing my experience from the trek to Mardi Himal. Let’s get started:
Highlights of Mardi Trek
- Duration of the trek: 7-8 days
- Trekking Start Elevation: 1770 m
- Maximum elevation: 4500 m
- Starting/Ending Point: Kathmandu
- Accommodation: Teahouses and Lodges
- Best time to trek: All year around.
- Trekking grade: Easy and sometimes moderate
- Cultures are shaped not just by the customs and ethnic groups but also the places. The Brahmins were wearing Vangro.
- Views of Mountains; Machhapuchhre, Annapurna South, Hiunchuli and Mardi.
Mardi Himal Trek Itinerary
Here’s the standard itinerary of Mardi Himal Trek:
- Day 1: Kathmandu (1330 m) to Pokhara (820 m): 6-7 hours of drive. Overnight stay at Pokhara
- Day 2: Pokhara to Kande (1770 m): 1 hour of drive. Trek to Pitam Deurali (2180 m) via Australian Camp (2160 m) and Pothana (1890 m). 3 hours of trekking.
- Day 3: Pitam Deurali to Forest Camp (2580 m) via Suire Danda and Ghalel: 5-6 hours of trekking.
- Day 4: Forest Camp to Badal Danda (3300 m) via Rest Camp (2600 m) and Low Camp (2990 m): 5-6 hours of trekking.
- Day 5: Badal Danda to High Camp (3550 m) to Mardi Base Camp (4500 m) and back to Low Camp. 6-7 hours of trekking.
- Day 6: Low Camp to Siding (1945 m) (2-3 hours of trekking) and drive to Pokhara (3 hours of drive).
- Day 7: Pokhara to Kathmandu. 6-7 hours of drive.
Further reading: Manaslu Circuit Trekking- 2018!
Here’s the detailed itinerary of our trek to Mardi Himal:
Pokhara to Kande to Australian Camp to Pitam Deurali
Initially, the plan was to wake up at 5 and begin our trek to Mardi as soon as possible. But we woke up at 10:30. 😀 After getting ready, we walked from Hallanchowk until Malepatan. It was about one hour walk. At Malepatan, we got on the bus and had our lunch in Hemja. Two hours later, we reached Kande and then began our walk uphill towards Australian Camp. Around one hour
of the uphill walk took us to Australian Camp. It was fairly sunny until that point and slowly the weather turned into cloudy. By then, we saw quite a few numbers of trekkers/travelers.
Australian Camp and Nostalgia
It was a moment of nostalgia when we reached Australian Camp. We had been there in 2017 and the journey continued until Landruk. I get a mixed feeling whenever I think of that trip. Happy because it was a chilled and slow-paced trip. Sad because I lost all of the pictures and videos from the trip.
Did you know?
Australian Camp was originally called Austrian Camp. An Austrian came to that place, set up camps and so it was called Austrian Camp. As Australia is more common to people than is Austria, people started calling Australian Camp.
We continued our journey towards Pitam Deurali. There were intersecting paths which separate way to Landruk and Pitam Deurali. We chose the one towards Pitam Deurali which is on the right-hand side.
Beautiful Village of Pothana
After about 45 minutes of walking from Australian Camp, we reached Pothana. Pothana is a beautiful village situated at an altitude of 1890m. The village of Pothana is spectacularly decorated with the blooming of red Rhododendron and spring has begun. That was the moment when I felt the real trek has actually started. The views of Mt. Machhapuchhre (also known as Mt. Fishtail) were truly captivating. A short break there was indeed refreshing.
Our destination of the first day of our trek was Pitam Deurali. We were only one hour away from Pothana. So without any rush, we walked slowly with frequent breaks in between.
On the way, we were mesmerized by the small patches of un-melted snow. We played with the snowballs we made on our own, hit each other, shot some videos and continued walking in the cool weather again. Funny conversations, jokes and heartfelt warm smiles of few people met on the way made our walk even more joyful and lively.
Further reading: Gosainkunda Trek 2017!
Pitam Deurali Welcomes us!
Within the expected time of one hour, we reached Pitam Deurali. Pitam Deurali is an altitude of 2100m. Right when we reached Pitam Deurali, the weather opened up to be more vibrant with sun rays striking the roofs of the hotel buildings. The whole surrounding changed in a moment. A cold soft wind was giving a cool chill in the warmed up body. We got into the hotel room, changed the clothes and drank a cup of tea.
We’re having a conversation with ourselves and a guy sitting next to us was someone whom we have been following on social media for quite a sometime now. He is Ujjwol Rai (popularly known as Lost in the Himalayas on Social Media). We had a long conversation with him about his journey to being a full-time traveler and listened to his interesting travel stories as well. I had just seen his pictures on Instagram and known him as a person who has been to Antarctica. That was inspiring in itself. But getting to know him and meeting him in person was even more inspiring. After listening to his compelling stories, I was encouraged to travel and explore more in my life.
Here’s the short video clip of our conversation with him:
There were around 20 trekkers in the hotel. During the dinner time, we gathered in the dining room and had a conversation with other trekking guides, Ujjwol dai and trekkers too. Warm and delicious dinner was soul fulfilling and then prepared to sleep with beautiful anticipations of the following day.
Further reading: Reasons why I’ll visit Jumla again in my life!
Pitam Deurali (2100 m) to Suire Danda to Ghalel to Forest Camp
We woke up at 7 AM and got ready for the day. I wanted to stretch my body and so got outside of the room. What I saw totally left me in awe. The views were truly breathtaking. Earlier day, we were not able to witness mountain vistas because of the weather conditions. But on the second day, the weather was clear. White clouds were hovering around the eye-captivating Mountains.
After breakfast, we marched our way towards Forest Camp. Forest camp is around 4-5 hours away from Pitam Deurali. Our first stop was Suire Danda. It is about 45 minutes’ walk from Deurali. 15 minutes of rest and we paved our way forward. Apparently, our plan was to reach High Camp on the second day. But as the paths were snowy and it’d be tough to maintain our pace in such paths. So we wanted to reach at least Low Camp and if possible Badal Danda. That’s the mindset we had and we walked accordingly.
Further reading: Solo Trek to Tsho Rolpa lake- 2017!
Trekking Trails Markers
There have been many instances of trekkers getting lost while trekking to Mardi Himal. It is mainly because of confusing trails and at times also because of challenging weather conditions. One beautiful thing I really liked about Mardi Himal Trek is that the blue-white marks are placed in the trails so that the trekkers won’t get on the wrong way. The markers are either painted on the trees or the blue-white marked plates are pasted there. Thank you so much for the initiation. It is helping a lot of travelers.
We were tracing those marks until one of our friends noticed that we’re losing the track of those marks for 10 minutes. All of us agreed to walk further and if we don’t find the intersecting paths for more than 20 minutes, we’d walk back the same path. The reason why we chose to move forward is because it’s easier to descend and we’re hopeful that we can find the intersections. And 20 mins later, we did find the blue-white marks. We followed the trails.
Snowstorm, Snowfall and Fallen Trees
Because of the heavy snowfall and snowstorm in the past few days, the trails were a bit difficult to track. Also, the trees were fallen making it even more tough to ascend towards Forest Camp. At times, we had to make alternative paths on our own while most of the times, we had to help each other cross the fallen trees which were obstructing the trails.
Crossing the snowy paths, we reached Ghalel. From Ghalel, we could witness an un-obstructed views of Mt. Machhapuchhre. There, we met some of the trekkers who had stayed in the same hotel as we did the earlier day. They walked and we stayed a bit longer.
Following the snowy trails further, we met some trekkers descending towards Forest Camp. From that point on, the vegetation had begun to change. The dense forest started to turn into a thinner one. Similarly, the weather gradually became cloudy. As we had a heavy breakfast in Deurali, we had a light lunch somewhere near Forest Camp.
Spacious Forest Camp…
It took us around 4.5 hours to reach Forest Camp from Deurali. And the pace was very slow. Forest Camp is an important overnight stay destination in Mardi Himal Trek. It is a spacious place with a few teahouses. We had a conversation with the locals there and they were very cooperative, cheerful and friendly. Bid them goodbye and continued our walk towards Low Camp.
The weather was cool and the wind blowing as well. So we reached Rest Camp without a single break in between. It is about 45 minutes’ walk from Forest Camp and that too more than 45 degrees uphill. By then, it was very cloudy with poor visibility.
From that point on, the trails were steeper and full of fluffy snow. We made snowballs and hit each other, took minor breaks, talked to the trekkers, Shoot pictures and videos and walked forward.
Further reading: Trek to Paanch Pokhari- 2016!
Experience at Low Camp!
When we reached Low Camp, it felt surreal. The teahouses covered with snow and a portion of sunlight striking the houses. Those beautifully lighted houses and the overall surrounding looked so amazing. It was a feel of a movie. Heaps of frozen snow trying to melt. We had a light lunch at Low Camp. As the clothes were soaked in sweat, we changed them, warmed ourselves and decided to move on again.
The further walk toward Badal Danda was a steep one. More snow and steeper ascend was a challenging one. As we didn’t have crampons with us, our shoes were sliding on the snowy trails quite a lot of time. But the vegetation was astonishing. Lesser tall trees and more of the smaller pine trees. All of them beautifully decorated with snowfall. Even though it was a challenging walk, it was an equally rewarding one.
In the middle of a hill amidst all the trees, the houses submerged in snow lied a beautiful place called Middle Camp. There was only one teahouse there. Snowfall was almost as high as our thigh. (It rhymes hahaha 😀 😀 ) Until Middle camp, the weather was very cloudy and the visibility was poor as well.
Badal Danda Welcomes with panoramic views of Mt. Machhapuchhre and Annapurna- South
I was expecting that the weather wouldn’t get better. But when we reached Badal Danda, we were welcomed by the panoramic views of Mt. Machhapuchhre and Annapurna- South. The Sun was about to set and the golden lights striking the top of those two mountain tops. You can experience 360-degree views from Badal Danda. Mt. Fishtail (Machhapuchhre), Annapurna- South, Ganesh, Mardi, Dhaulagiri are some of the mountains that can be seen from the place.
A group of 17-nursing students inspired me…
In Badal Danda, we met a group of 17 nursing students from Butwal. And their trekking experience truly inspired me. All of them were trekking for the first time in their lives. I hadn’t seen such a huge group of people trekking without any of them having prior experience. They were well prepared with the equipment and clothing, left some of the stuff which need not be used in a trek in Pokhara and remaining at Low Camp while ascending to Badal Danda. Smart thinking, right? Yes it is!
And it takes quite a courage to travel like that. If I were in their situation and their age, I would have a hard time convincing my mom about the trek. I was wondering how could they overcome doubts from their family members. Also, they were denied by their teachers in the first place. But they were eventually able to make it. Indeed a courageous group of young girls. Wishing them all the best! And thank you so much for inspiring ?
We had dinner, sang songs and shared travel experience with them. Along with the group was another group of musicians from Pokhara. They were interesting people as well. The journey to being a musician was encouraging. When our vocals were almost null after continuous shouts, we went to our room and prepared to sleep.
Further reading: Kalinchowk Travel Diaries 2016!
Badal Danda to Low Camp to Siding to Pokhara
Sapan woke up early in the morning and got outside of the room to shoot pictures and videos. I and Aman woke up at 6 AM while Deepesh was still sleeping and didn’t want to wake up. Aman pulled off the curtain and BOOM! The majestic view of Mt. Machhapuchhre and vibrant sunrays striking the mountain. He pulled off a curtain from another window and there we saw a vivid, intense and flamboyant color palette of sunrise from the East. I’d like you to imagine the view; two of us watching the sunrise to the East and Mt. Machhapuchhre changing colors to the North. Warm and cozy inside the room, no wants and desires to shoot anything, just enjoying the view. Isn’t it amazing?
After the sunrise view was over, we went outside to shoot some videos and pictures. Had our breakfast and prepared ourselves to descend. It’s because the trail further was fully immersed in snow and it’d be too tough to walk. Instead, we decided to walk downhill. So we paved our way towards Siding Village and drive our way to Pokhara. We did accordingly.
Bad Experiences during the Mardi Himal trek
Jeep Driver tries to cheat on us…
During the trek, we had one bad experience. When we were about to return to Pokhara from Siding, we had two choices. Either return on a public vehicle which had already left as we were late. The second option was to reserve a jeep that’d cost us Rs. 6000. And there were two jeeps which were already booked by the group nursing students. The only option we had was to wait for them to come. After waiting for more than 2 hours and agreeing with the jeep drivers to travel together with them, the nursing students finally came to Siding.
When it was the time to drive to Pokhara, one of the drivers argues and doesn’t want to go with us. He asks for more money. When we told him that we had already agreed to pay as dealt before, he still insists. We’re too agitated and threatened him to report with the video footages we’ve shot during the discussion if he denies. Eventually, we had a discussion with another driver and he agreed to take us.
Rude Experience at Low Camp
Another one was a rude experience at Low Camp. I had not been able to inform my mom since my phone didn’t have a network. Same was the case with my other friends. So I asked the hotel guy if I could make a phone call to my mom and I agreed to pay whatever money asked me. He denied saying he doesn’t have much balance and have a hard time getting recharge card. That’s true! With the intention of helping him, I told him that I will first make a call to my friend, he’ll transfer the balance and then I will make a call. He still denied. That’s okay to deny but he was so rude.
Mardi Himal Trek Cost for Nepalese
The total cost of Mardi Himal Trek per person was Nrs. 6302. The cost included everything (foods, transportation cost, accommodation and snacks) during the trek. It’s because we as Nepalese don’t need TIMS Card and normally the price is cheaper as comparatively compared to the foreigners.
Happy trekking guys!
Aman: Find him on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBHFtRRhLqPCS4QT-bdGqQA), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/dingdungtm/) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/dingdungTM).
Sapan: Find him on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCme2mUH8xemb5_F65e93TMg), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/sapan6087/) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/spnhml).
Deepesh: Find his amazing blogs (https://passivetravel.wordpress.com/)