The Mardi Himal Trek, located in the heart of the Annapurna region of Nepal, is a hidden gem awaiting adventurous and enthusiastic trekkers seeking a less trekked destination with equally beautiful natural wonders.
Located in the shadows of the iconic Annapurna and Machhapuchre (Fishtail) peaks, this trek has rapidly gained popularity among trekkers looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure. Unlike its more crowded counterparts, this trek offers a deep connection with nature as you go through lush rhododendron forests, a panoramic view of snow-capped peaks, and a chance to immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of traditional Gurung and Magar communities.
The Mardi Himal Trek promises an unforgettable experience as you ascend to the Mardi Himal Base Camp, a viewpoint that unveils the grandeur of the Himalayas in all its glory. The trek to Mardi Himal Base Camp is a rewarding journey that provides a close-up view of Mardi Himal’s stunning south face. It’s a challenging but manageable trek suitable for trekkers with moderate experience.
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Permits required for Mardi Himal Trek
In order to trek Mardi Himal, you need to obtain certain permits. The permits required for the Mardi Himal trek are listed below:
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)
The ACAP is a mandatory permit for all trekkers entering the Annapurna Conservation Area, which includes the Mardi Himal Trek. The fee for the ACAP varies for foreign trekkers, with different rates for SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nationals and other foreign nationals.
Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) Card
The TIMS card is another essential document that tracks trekkers in Nepal and provides information for search and rescue operations if necessary. There are two types of TIMS cards: Green for independent trekkers and Blue for trekkers traveling with an organized group (with a guide).
However, the requirement for TIMS cards may have changed, and there might be new regulations in place. It’s essential to check the latest information from the Nepal Tourism Board or a local trekking agency regarding the specific permit requirements.
Best season for the Mardi Himal Trek
The most favorable season for trekking in Nepal has always been Spring and Autumn.
Spring (March to May)
Spring is one of the best seasons for the Mardi Himal Trek. At this time, the weather is favorable and the temperature is bearable. Many flowers and rhododendrons bloom and cover the whole tree which makes it colorful and fascinating to watch. The view from the top is clear and there is no fog or rain covering the scenery. Wildlife is more active during this season, and various species of birds and animals can be spotted.
Autumn (September to November)
Autumn is another excellent season for the Mardi Himal Trek. The weather is clear with dry and stable conditions, making it ideal for trekking. The visibility is excellent during this time, providing breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks. The temperatures are comfortable during the day, although nights can be chilly at higher elevations.
Seasons to avoid
Monsoon (June to August)
Monsoon season in Nepal, which typically spans from June to August, is a period of heavy rainfall and high humidity. This can result in muddy and slippery trails, leeches, and limited visibility due to frequent cloud cover. Landslides and swollen rivers can make some sections of the trail dangerous and impassable. Whereas, accommodation and transportation can be more challenging as some tea houses and roads may be closed, and the overall trekking experience can be less enjoyable.
Winter (December to February)
Winter in the Mardi Himal region brings cold temperatures, particularly at higher elevations. Snowfall can obstruct the trails, making them more challenging to navigate, and some sections may be closed due to avalanche risk. Accommodation options may be limited, as some tea houses may close for the season.
The altitude of Mardi Himal Trek
The highest point on the Mardi Himal Trek is Mardi Himal Base Camp, which is situated at an altitude of approximately 4,500 meters (14,763 feet) above sea level. This is the ultimate destination of the trek offering stunning views of Mardi Himal, as well as panoramic vistas of the surrounding Annapurna mountain range.
It’s important to note that while Mardi Himal Base Camp is the highest point on the trek, the journey will start in lower elevations, such as in the city of Pokhara, which is at around 800 meters (2,624 feet) above sea level. As you trek, you will gradually ascend through various elevations, passing through villages and different landscapes, before reaching the base camp. Proper acclimatization and trekking at a gradual pace are essential to minimize the risk of altitude-related issues like altitude sickness.
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The Mardi Himal Trek allows trekkers to explore pristine natural beauty and experience the region’s rich culture. The trek is situated in the western part of Nepal, within the Annapurna Conservation Area, one of the most renowned trekking destinations in the world. The journey typically starts and ends in Pokhara, a scenic lakeside city. The Mardi Himal Trek can typically be completed in 5 to 7 days, depending on your chosen itinerary and hiking pace. Whether you’re a trekker or a mountaineer, the allure of Mardi Himal’s pristine landscapes and challenging routes is undeniable.
- The breathtaking views of the Annapurna mountain range, including iconic peaks like Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Machapuchare (Fishtail), and, of course, Mardi Himal itself.
- As you trek through the region, you'll have the opportunity to visit traditional Gurung and Magar villages. These encounters offer insight into the local culture and lifestyle. You can also sample delicious Nepali cuisine in these villages.
- The Mardi Himal Trek is relatively less crowded. This means you can often enjoy the tranquility of the Himalayan wilderness without the hustle and bustle of larger trekking groups.
- The region is home to a variety of wildlife, and you may have the chance to spot different bird species, including colorful pheasants, as well as animals like the Himalayan tahr and various smaller mammals.
- The stunning landscapes, pristine forests, and panoramic mountain views provide ample opportunities for photography. Every turn in the trail offers a new perspective and a chance to capture the beauty of the Himalayas.
- Clear nights at higher altitudes offer a chance for stargazing. The lack of light pollution in the mountains provides a stunning view of the night sky.