This trek is all about the views! In a short amount of time, you'll visit two of the best viewpoints south of the Annapurna range. The trek combines the very popular Ghorepani and Poon Hill loop with an off-the-beaten-path experience going up to the amazing Muldai Peak. Going off-the-beaten-path also means staying for one night in rustic accommodations — and the teahouse at Dobato certainly has its own charm.

Highlights

  • Explore Kathmandu, Nepal's buzzing capital
  • Watch spectacular sunrises from the summits of Poon Hill and Muldai Peak
  • Trek routes away from the crowds and off-the-beaten-path
  • Discover unique villages like Ghandruk and Ghorepani
  • Visit Pokhara, a charming city that boasts the gorgeous Phewa Lake

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Explore Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 3 Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Trek to Ghandruk (6,364 ft / 1,940 m) Ghandruk
Day 4 Trek from Ghandruk to Tadapani (8,563 ft / 2,610 m) Tadapani
Day 5 Trek from Tadapani to Dobato (11,220 ft / 3,420 m), Sunset at Muldai Peak Dobato
Day 6 Trek from Dobato to Ghorepani (9,416 ft / 2,870 m), Sunrise at Muldai Peak Ghorepani
Day 7 Sunrise at Poon Hill, Trek to Mohare Danda (10,597 ft / 3,230 m) Mohare Danda
Day 8 Trek from Mohare Danda to Mallaj (3,924 ft / 1,196 m) Mallaj
Day 9 Trek from Mallaj to the main road, Drive to Pokhara (2,625 ft / 800 m) Pokhara
Day 10 Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 11 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

Boudhanath stupa
Boudhanath stupa

Kathmandu has a special atmosphere during the early morning hours when the city is slowly coming to life yet not too chaotic. It's a great time to walk and explore the streets or have a chai overlooking one of the local courtyards or durbar squares. 

After breakfast, there are then a number of ways you can spend your day given the myriad famous sights around the Kathmandu Valley. You can use this as a free day or you can utilize a local English-speaking guide who knows the city well and can explain the history and significance of the sights (along with a private jeep to take you around).

In the evening, head out for dinner at one of the city's great eateries, or your specialist can arrange a home-cooked dinner with a local family.

Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Trek to Ghandruk (6,364 feet / 1,940 m)

The Gurung village of Ghandruk
The Gurung village of Ghandruk

After an early breakfast, you'll be picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport to catch your short flight to Pokhara, a lakeside city west of Kathmandu. Your specialist can help you try to get a seat on the right-hand side of the plane for views of the Himalayas en-route. Upon landing, you'll be picked up by private car and transferred to Kimche where the trek to Ghandruk begins!

When you arrive Ghandruk, also known as the 'Switzerland of Nepal', check out the tiny Gurung Museum for local history and textiles, and explore the traditional houses made of stone slabs. Or you can just sit back and relax. There are plenty of places in the village to absorb the snow-capped views of the Annapurna range, Glacier Dome, and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail).

Trekking time: 4-5 hours (5.6 miles / 9 km)

Day 4: Trek from Ghandruk to Tadapani (8,563 feet / 2,610 m)

Springtime blossoms invite plenty of photographs
Springtime blossoms invite plenty of photographs

Wake up with breakfast in Ghandruk and enjoy great views of Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), Annapurna South, and the Hiunchuli peaks. 

From here, you'll continue on the trail upwards through Deurali and into some dense rhododendron forests. The rhododendron blossom is Nepal’s national flower and in spring, when the trees are in full bloom, the forests turn into vibrant floral gardens that look especially breathtaking against the snow-capped mountains in the distance.

After trekking over a small pass, you'll reach Tadapani, where you'll get to enjoy more excellent views. Many friendly Tibetans live in the village and they'll likely be out and about, selling trekkers items to take back home as souvenirs. 

Trekking time: 3-4 hours (6 miles / 9.7 km)

Day 5: Trek from Tadapani to Dobato (11,220 feet / 3,420 m), Sunset from Muldai Peak

A rhododendron forest near Tadapani
Rhododendrons line the trail near Tadapani

After breakfast in Tadapani, you'll leave the main trail and will begin walking in a more remote area of the Annapurna region, through beautiful rhododendron forest. This off-the-beaten-path trail crosses beautiful Nepali villages and a variety of flora, fauna, and ancient trees. It's a magical atmosphere straight out of a Tolkien book. 

After a short climb and descent into a dell, you'll start a more serious climb that continues all the way up to the lodges at Dobato. After about half an hour, you'll emerge on the northern side of the ridgeline. Enjoy a stunning view of the Annapurna South massif towering above you and hear the roar of many waterfalls as the river races away into the dramatic steep-sided valley far, far below. The forest will now transition to more oak trees and conifers. From here, it's a steep half hour up to the teahouse at Meshar Danda, perched on the ridgeline with truly incredible views.

After a cup of tea and a short rest, you'll have about an hour more of this type of forested trail until you reach the open hillside at Isharu, where shepherds graze their sheep. Fuel up with a hearty lunch before hitting the road again. You'll start out with a gentle ascent as the trail contours around the hillside and then up to a small but beautiful pass, where the path goes through a fascinating Gurung temple.

From here, it's a short descent to a beautiful open valley before you head into the trees again and back up to the ridgeline. Along the way, you can see incredible purple barked rhododendron trees, much smaller than the ones you saw earlier but striking for their color (and the mountain backdrop if the weather is clear!). From the ridge, you will contour down to a creek bed and a small pass, from which you'll traverse to the lodges at Dobato.

If you have extra energy to spare, head up to Muldai peak for sunset views. It takes about 45 minutes from the teahouse to reach the view tower and the view is stunning — one of the highlights of the trek!

Trekking time: 5-6 hours (4 miles / 6.5 km)

Day 6: Trek from Dobato to Ghorepani (9,416 feet / 2,870 m), Sunrise at Muldai Peak

Pointing the way to Ghorepani

You'll wake an hour before sunrise for an early breakfast, then will walk up to the viewpoint at Muldai, just in time to watch the sun crest from behind the mountains. From the peak, you'll continue south down a steep trail towards Banthanti. This is one of the best sections of the trek, where you're well away from the main trails and crowded routes that most trekkers follow.

Continue descending steeply for a couple of hours to Banthanti, where you'll rejoin the main trail. The route then steepens as you climb through rhododendron forest to Deorali, a small pass, before dropping down to the lodges at Ghorepani. At this point, you're back on the main Annapurna Circuit route and, depending on the season, you'll find quite a few other travelers passing through this ridge-top settlement in both directions.

Ghorepani literally means “horse water,” and was a popular stopping place for the mule trains that plied the route from Pokhara to Jomsom and beyond to Tibet. The impressive peak you see across the Kali Gandaki Valley to the northwest is Dhaulagiri (26,795 feet / 8,167 m), the seventh highest mountain in the world.

Trekking time: 6 hours

Day 7: Sunrise at Poon Hill (10,482 feet / 3,195 m), Trek to Mohare Danda (10,597 feet / 3,230 m)

A view of the Annapurna mountain range from Poon Hill 

It is an absolute must for those who stay at Ghorepani to make the walk up to the celebrated viewpoint of Poon Hill (10,482 feet / 3,195 m), which overlooks the village. Since dawn is the best time to go, you'll wake up at 5 am to head up the well-marked track by torchlight. From the hill, you'll be treated to a phenomenal sight, as the first light of dawn illuminates Dhaulagiri and Tukuche Peak with a surreal pink glow.

If you're feeling peckish after sunrise, you may be able to buy coffee and breakfast from an enterprising local who has carried his produce up to Poon Hill to take advantage of the morning trade.

Once you've had your fill of the mountains, you'll continue over Poon Hill and into the forest below. If you're here in spring, you'll be privy to a lovely fragrance in the forest, thanks to the flowers of the Lokta bushes. The inner bark of these plants is used to make beautiful Lokta paper, which you'll see around many stores in Kathmandu. In fact, many restaurant menus are made from this natural, rough and raw paper.

Continuing on down the ridge from Poon Hill, you'll head to Mohare Danda and its cozy community lodge. The warm dining hall offers fabulous views of the surrounding hills and just outside, you will find yourself under the watchful eye of the white-topped Dhaulagiri range.

Walking time: Approx 5-6 hours

Day 8: Trek from Mohare Danda to Mallaj (3,924 feet / 1,196 m)

Spectacular morning views from Mohare Danda

If you're up early this morning, Mohare Danda has a special treat for you... sunrise over the mountains. Grab a hot cup of Nepali tea and enjoy the early morning spectacular before hitting the trail. Then prepare to head out early this morning to tackle the journey ahead.

This morning's walk down to Nangi is a lovely combination of Nepali flat with a gradual downward trend. Expect to contour around the hills as you alternate between forests (rhododendron, pine, and bamboo) and bare grasslands. You'll head over Thampal Pass (at almost 10,170 feet / 3,100 m), then will descend quite steeply through the forest to Nangi (7,546 feet / 2,300 m).  

At Nangi you'll stop for lunch and will rest your legs before continuing down to Mallaj, where you'll be happy to have a very comfortable place to stay. The Heritage at Mallaj is a restored property, originally built in 1904, and boasts a fully organic garden that supplies the kitchen. Plus the kitchen's freshly baked bread is a can't miss.

Walking time: Approx 6-7 hours
Accommodation: The Heritage at Mallaj 

Day 9: Trek from Mallaj to the main road, Drive to Pokhara (2,625 feet / 800 m)

Colorful boats bobbing on Phewa Lake's placid waters

This morning you'll have a relatively short hike down to Beni, a large roadside town where you'll meet the car for your drive back to Pokhara (a roughly 3-hour trip). There you'll bid farewell to your trekking crew, check into your hotel to enjoy a shower. After, just relax in this charming lakeside town, enjoying the memories of a great trek! Head out in the evening to one of “Lakeside’s” many great restaurants (your specialists can give you some great recommendations).  

Walking time: Approx 2 hours

Day 10: Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu

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

After breakfast, you may have time to do more sightseeing, relax, or check out one of 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 the city.

Day 11: 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 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.

Map

Map of Muldai, Poon Hill, & Mohare Trek - 11 Days
Map of Muldai, Poon Hill, & Mohare Trek - 11 Days