“This hike leads to Mardi Himal Base Camp and is usually done as a multi-day trek.”
— Missouri Hiker
Make sure to get both a Nepal tourist visa and a trekking permit.
The Mardi Himal Base Camp Trek is an amazing trail that leads to great views of Annapurna South, Himchuli, and Machapuchare. Start your day early, and you'll get better views and more time to rest in the evening.
Need to Know
There are many "tea houses" along the way that provide food, water, and rooms. The tea houses further up cost more and have sparser accommodations. All water in Nepal is sketchy, so bring a filter or chlorine tablets to treat it. Weather can be fickle, so bring gear for heat, cold, and rain. A guide for this trek is highly recommended as they will keep you safe and oriented.
Altitude sickness can occur at High Camp (3500m) and above, which may cause painful headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Make sure to drink at least 3 liters of water per day. If symptoms persist, travel down at least 500m. Death or serious injury may occur if you do not descend immediately.
This trek starts at Kande, which is about 45 minutes outside of Pokhara. You'll start climbing up a stone paved road that leads through Australian Camp and Pothana. Stop at Pothana for lunch, and find the odd government menu, which will be the same for the entire trek onwards. Go vegetarian, since electricity for refrigeration up here is dodgy.
Continue through the forest until you get to Pitam Deurali, which is a good spot to spend the night. Make sure to bring your sleeping bag, as linens are rarely washed and are often covered in a layer of dust.
Continue your journey onward to Kokar Forest Camp. The trail here is covered by rhododendron trees and gradually progresses upward via a doublewide dirt path. You'll likely notice water buffalo and locals trekking up as well. Before you get to Forest Camp, there are some great views on the left side of the trail.
Get up early and continue to Low Camp, which is a good place to stop for lunch. Continue up to Badal Danda (Middle Camp). Here the forest recedes and the mountains begin to come into greater view. Bring your thermal layers as it will get cold at night here, and the rooms are very drafty.
From Badal Danda, it is a short three hour hike up to High Camp. Altitude sickness may occur here and at higher elevations. You'll potentially start seeing snow depending on the season.
From High Camp, this will be a challenging day that takes about 8 hours round-trip. Get up the hill to the viewpoint at sunrise. There is a small bamboo hut at the top with tea offerings. From the viewpoint, you'll travel onward to the Mardi Himal Base Camp site. This is a hard hike and half of our party got altitude sickness headaches. Bring a lunch with you as there is no food up here. After reaching the base camp, make your way down and spend the night at High Camp.
From High Camp, start descending past Badal Danda (Middle Camp) and Low Camp. Grab lunch at Low Camp and then begin the descent to Sidhing, which will take about 8 hours with breaks. Notably, Sidhing has both hot showers, wifi, and jeep access which can get you back to Pokhara.