This trek is an excellent opportunity to experience the culture of traditional life in the Nepali countryside, as you share the route with shepherds and donkey trains and witness traditional Nepali farming life. Along the way, there are some steep sections to get you up to those incredible viewpoints and you will certainly have the classic experience of Himalayan trekking. At night, you'll stay in luxury lodges for a nice contrast to the day's challenge.

Highlights

  • Experience traditional life in the villages of Dhampus, Landruk, and Ghandruk
  • Get classic views of the Annapurna range and Dhaulagiri along the trek
  • Learn about Gurung culture, the largest ethnic group in the Nepal Himalaya
  • Stay in the famous Ker & Downey lodges for a taste of luxury each night

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Drive to Astam Astam
Day 3 Trek from Astam to Dhampus (1700m) Dhampus
Day 4 Trek from Dhampus to Landruk (6,234 ft / 1900 m) Landruk
Day 5 Trek from Landruk to Ghandruk (6,365 feet / 1,940 m) Ghandruk
Day 6 Trek from Ghandruk to Kimche, Drive to Pokhara Pokhara
Day 7 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

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

As you fly into Kathmandu, you'll have beautiful views over the city, the Himalaya, and of the terraced fields below. After going through customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you and guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets to get you settled into your hotel.

Once you've settled in, head out and explore the city. 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: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Drive to Astam

Pokhara
Pokhara

After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to the domestic airport for your flight to Pokhara. This is a stunning half-hour flight along the Himalayan Range, seeing four of the world’s fourteen giant mountains over 8000m: Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, Manaslu, and Shishapangma, before landing in Pokhara.

After landing, you'll be picked up and driven out of town (1-2 hours) taking a scenic route to the village of Astam, entering a completely different world from that of Kathmandu. Along the way, you can see the magnificent views of the Annapurna Range and Machapuchare.

Day 3: Trek from Astam to Dhampus (1700m)

Young Gurung girl in the fields near Dhampus
Young Gurung girl in the fields near Dhampus

This morning, you'll rise to a spectacular view (weather permitting) of the Annapurna range and a hearty breakfast to get you ready for the day ahead. You'll hit the trail and follow the ridgeline to the beautiful Gurung village of Dhampus. The Gurung people are a famous ethnic group in Nepal, well known for their role in the Gorkha regiments of the Nepali, Indian, and British armies. Tonight, you'll stay in one of the famous Ker & Downey lodges, called the Basanta (meaning springtime) Lodge. You'll have amazing views from the garden and can relax with happy hour drinks and take it all in.

Trekking time: 3-4 hours

Day 4: Trek from Dhampus to Landruk (6,234 ft / 1900 m)

Gurungs are the largest ethnic group in the Nepal Himalaya
Gurungs are the largest ethnic group in the Nepal Himalaya

After breakfast, you'll trek up to the village of Pothana and onwards to Deurali through rhododendron and orchid forest that holds a variety of bird species. From on top of the ridge at Deurali, you'll have great views of the Himalaya, including Mt. Dhaulagiri, the highest mountain in this region.

You'll have time to enjoy the views and a well-earned rest, then descend through forest to Tolka, a small beautiful Gurung village rich in culture. You'll then proceed on to Beri Kharka and, from here, the trail descends through forest and villages to Landruk. Landruk is a large Gurung village situated above the Modi River where you'll stay the night in a local teahouse. Lunch will be served en-route. 

Trekking time: 4-6 hours

Day 5: Trek from Landruk to Ghandruk (6,365 feet / 1,940 m)

Rice fields near Landruk
Rice fields near Landruk

Enjoy the last moments of your higher elevation views with breakfast in Landruk. Then, the trail begins with a steep descent towards the Modi Khola (river) for about an hour, followed by a steep ascent of 2-3 hours through scattered villages to Ghandruk, with great views of the Himalaya en route.

Eventually, you'll reach the village of Ghandruk, one of the largest Gurung settlements in western Nepal. Once here, you will have time to enjoy the landscapes and snow-capped peaks like Gangapura, Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), and Mount Annapurna.

If time permits, visit the Annapurna Mountain Conservation Area Project (ACAP) headquarters. The ACAP is the first conservation area and the largest protected area in Nepal. Rich in biodiversity, the area offers over 1,000 species of flowering plants, mammals, amphibians, and birds. You can learn about tourism management (and its effect on the environment) and activities that benefit local communities.  

Trekking time: 4-5 hours (2.5 miles / 4 km)

Day 6: 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 7: 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 city stroll, and/or souvenir shopping. A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home. It's good to be at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure.