Get up close with some of the world’s highest peaks on this moderate trek in the Annapurna Region. This adventure, including a 5-day trek, is a great trip for first-time visitors to Nepal. You'll follow ancient trails that connect local communities as you pass through blooming rhododendron forests and rice paddies, with frequent sightings of snow-covered mountains. At night, sleep in comfortable teahouses located in small villages along the route.

Highlights

  • Explore Kathmandu and a trio of sacred sites: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square
  • Trek to Ulleri through oak and rhododendron forests
  • Watch a dramatic sunrise from the majestic Poon Hill
  • Learn about Gurung culture and history in Ghandruk
  • Relax in the lakeside bliss of stunning Pokhara

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square Kathmandu
Day 3 Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Trek to Tikhedhunga (5,170 feet / 1,570 m) Tikhedhunga
Day 4 Trek from Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani (9,318 feet / 2,840 m) Ghorepani
Day 5 Trek from Ghorepani to Tadapani (8,562 feet / 2,610 m), Sunrise at Poon Hill Tadapani
Day 6 Trek from Tadapani to Ghandruk (6,364 feet / 1,940 m) Ghandruk
Day 7 Trek from Ghandruk to Kimche, Drive to Pokhara Pokhara
Day 8 Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 9 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

The cityscape of Kathmandu and Boudhanath Stupa
The cityscape of Kathmandu and Boudhanath Stupa

Flying into Kathmandu, you'll have views over the valley, the Himalaya, and the terraced fields below. After completing customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you outside the airport and to guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets to your hotel.

Once you've settled in, head out and explore the city. Kathmandu Durbar Square is a great place to start your exploration, where you'll walk through narrow alleyways teeming with small shops, ancient temples, and local restaurants. If you want to stretch your legs, Swayambhunath, the white stupa rising above the valley, is the perfect spot to catch the sunset over the valley.

In the evening, the tourist hub of Thamel is a good place to grab your first meal, with a variety of restaurants to chose from offering both Western and local Nepali dishes.

Day 2: Explore Kathmandu: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll be picked up by an English-speaking guide for a full-day tour of the Kathmandu Valley, visiting three sacred sites: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square.

This day fits quite a bit in—helpful for maximizing your time in Kathmandu—but doesn't overload you with too many sites. You can spend as much time as you like at each temple (this is a private tour just for you), although most people tend to spend an hour. For lunch, you'll stop at one of our recommended local restaurants. 

Return to your hotel in Kathmandu in the late afternoon and meet your trekking guide who will go over details for tomorrow's adventure.

Tour length: 7-8 hours (including transfers)

Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Trek to Tikhedhunga (5,170 feet / 1,570 m)

Snow-capped views on your first day of trekking
Snow-capped views on your first day of trekking

You'll be picked up by private car from your hotel in the morning and driven to Kathmandu domestic airport for a short flight to Pokhara. Upon arriving Pokhara, you'll be picked up at the airport and driven to Nayapul, from where the trek begins!

Your first trail will head uphill through fertile farms of rice, maize, and millet fields. Following the main trail of Birethanti, pass by a small waterfall and continue until you reach Sudami where you will stop and have lunch.

Get back on your feet after this midday break and climb steadily along the side of the valley until you reach Tikhedhunga Teahouse for your overnight stay.

Trekking time: 4-5 hours (5.7 miles / 9.2 km)

Day 4: Trek from Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani (9,318 feet / 2,840 m)

Nepalese youngsters near Ghorepani
Nepalese youngsters near Ghorepani

Wake up for an early breakfast at your teahouse in preparation for your big climb to Ulleri. The trek begins with a steep stone stairway—3,767 steps to be exact—up the ridgeline, eventually leading you through cultivated fields. Once you've completed this section, the rest of the trail continues through a scenic area of blooming rhododendron blossoms and old oak forests.

Keep climbing uphill until you reach Nangethanti, which is your stop for lunch. "Thanti" is a Nepalese word that means "rest house;" keep in mind that during winter months, the trail can be covered with snow. Work off your lunch and continue the climb until you get to Ghorepani, a village surrounded by spectacular scenery that's popular with trekkers.

Trekking time: 6-7 hours (8 mi / 12.9 km)

Day 5: Trek from Ghorepani to Tadapani (8,562 feet / 2,610 m), Sunrise at Poon Hill

Vantage point from Poon Hill
Vantage point from Poon Hill

Today is a highlight of your trek!

Sunrise from Poon Hill
Start off with an early morning wake up call and begin your pre-dawn climb to Poon Hill (10,500 feet/ 3,200 m) in just about an hour. This is a spiritual place that provides majestic scenery, especially when the rising sun casts a golden light on the nearby snow-covered peaks like Dhaulagiri, Annapurna South, Fishtail, and Singa Chuli, to name a few. Grab a masala tea from the coffee shack and enjoy the sublime views with your fellow trekkers.

You'll then return downhill to Ghorepani for a hearty breakfast before continuing a full-day of trekking towards the small village of Tadapani. This trail works itself uphill and downhill through a range of landscapes and microclimates, so keep your camera (and warm layers) close.

Trekking time: 7-8 hours (8.3 miles / 13.4 km)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 6: Trek from Tadapani to Ghandruk (6,364 feet / 1,940 m)

Forested trails near Ghandruk
Forested trails near Ghandruk

After breakfast in Tadapani, begin your trek to Ghandruk, also known as the 'Switzerland of Nepal'. This is an easier journey than previous days so relax as you make your way downhill along these gentle slopes.

You'll first head to Bhise-Kharka and then continue along forested trails to Ghandruk (6,400 feet/ 1,950 m), where you will stop for lunch. This terraced mountain village is populated by one of Nepal's ethnic groups: the Gurung people. Explore the maze of village stairs that connect cafés, shops, and teahouses while admiring the peaks of Annapurna South, Himchhuli, and Fishtail in the distance.

After lunch, there will be free time to rest or you can visit the Gurung Museum and learn about traditional textiles and equipment used by the locals. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon on your own.

Trekking time: 3-4 hours
Trekking distance: 6 miles (9.7 km)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 7: Trek from Ghandruk to Kimche, Drive to Pokhara

The Pokhara Valley, Nepal's adventure hub
The Pokhara Valley, Nepal's adventure hub

After breakfast in Ghandruk, you'll make an easy trek downhill to Kimche where a jeep will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel in Pokhara.

Trekking time: 1 hour (2.4 miles / 3.9 km)

Day 8: Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu

The dense buildings of Kathmandu City
The dense buildings of Kathmandu City

After breakfast, you may have time to do more sightseeing, relax, or check out one of the Pokhara's coffee shops. About 1.5 hours before your flight, you'll be picked up from your hotel and taken to the domestic airport to catch your flight back to Kathmandu.

In Kathmandu, you'll be transferred to your hotel and can enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure. Explore Kathmandu's streets on foot, bicycle, or rickshaw, perhaps shopping for souvenirs or seeing anything you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.

In the evening, choose from a selection of Nepali, French, Vietnamese, and Middle Eastern dishes in Kathmandu.

Day 9: Depart Kathmandu

The all-seeing eyes of Buddha at Swayambhunath
The all-seeing eyes of Buddha at Swayambhunath

It's time to say farewell to Nepal. Enjoy your last moments in Kathmandu with breakfast in a café, a final stroll through the narrow alleys and temples, and some final souvenir shopping. A driver will be waiting for you at your hotel to take you to the airport for your return flight home. It's best to be at the airport at least two hours prior to departure.