Day 8 - To Ghorepani (7hrs trek approx. O/N simple local lodge/teahouse. Altitude 2,860m). The day’s trek is a long, uphill walk to Ghorepani. Having followed the river for half an hour, the trail meets a stone staircase, which passes by many homes and tea houses as it climbs. Part way up, the first view of Annapurna South appear. Still higher up, enter a wooded area of oft-blooming trees and large bamboo plants. Having crossed a stream, arrive at the village of Banthanti (2,300m). Beyond the village is a jungle of thick vegetation and mossy trees. Following a stream up a narrow valley with more stairs to climb, emerge from the jungle at Nangathanti (2,520m). From here, it’s another hour’s climb to Ghorepani.
Day 9 – To Ghandruk
(7hrs approx. O/N simple local lodge/teahouse. Altitude 1,940m) A pre-dawn hike up to Poon Hill (3,190m, 45mins). At the top, marvel at the views of Dhaulagiri and the Annapurna Range as they are struck by the rising sun. Return to the teahouse for a welcome breakfast before heading along the trail to Tadapani (2,590m). The path wends its way north along the ridge line - magnificent views of the Annapurnas stretch out from east to west. From here on, much of the way today is downhill. From the small settlement of Bhaisi Kharka there are two routes to Ghandruk; continue to descend until meeting the path which follows the Kyunri Khola. Crossing the river, a short walk leads to the overnight destination. Ghandruk is a delightful, ornate 'Gurung' village which has grown large and prosperous on the pensions of retired Gurkha soldiers. From the village, dramatic views of Annapurna South, Gangapurna, Hiunchuli and the oh-so-famous Machhapuchhre (Fishtail Mountain) are there for all to enjoy. The remainder of the day can be spent wandering around the village, visiting the local museum and the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) office.
Day 10 – To Nayapul (5hrs trek approx.) and Pokhara (1hr drive)
(O/N Hotel Taj or similar). The day starts with a steep descent down a stone stairway. On reaching flat ground, it’s then a stream crossing followed by easy walking to the village of Chane. Another short descents brings one to Syauli Bazaar and then on to Birethanti, from where the road-head (1,190m) is at a short distance away. After arrival in Pokhara the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 11 – In Pokhara
A full day at lakeside. Be as active or inactive as you like. Perhaps take a chance to paraglide from the heights of nearby Sarangkot, or simply stroll along the side of the lake and take in your fill of cafes, restaurants and shops.
Day 12 – To Bandipur
(O/N The Old Inn – shared facilities). And so from Pokhara to Dumre (2hrs approx. by tourist bus), and then a shared jeep ride with the locals (25 mins approx.) up to the gates of Bandipur. With its eagle’s nest location, its provincial architecture, interesting walks, and a warm welcome at The Old Inn, Bandipur and its environs offer a glimpse into village life and a chance to partake in the typical laid-back lifestyle of the middle hills of Nepal.
Days 13/14 – To and In Kathmandu
(O/N Hotel Norbu Linka). We catch a Kathmandu-bound tourist bus at Dumre (4.5hr drive approx.). Now the time is ripe to explore the amazing ‘mix’ that is Kathmandu. Take a walk to Durbar Square through the labyrinth of backstreets and alleys leading from one bazaar to another. And visit the ‘Great Stupa’ at Boudhanath - this place of pilgrimage for Tibetans and Nepal Buddhists is splendid in the late afternoon light. Then there’s the tourist centre of Thamel, offering a range of dining and partying options!
A full free day to explore the shops in search of that last minute bargain or souvenir. Or perhaps rise early and take a Mountain Flight to get up close to the heights of Everest and other major peaks. Or climb the commanding hill for a morning visit to the ‘monkey temple’ at Swayambhunath, And then perhaps a taxi ride to the holy site of Hindu’s Lord Pashupati. There’s also the splendid city of Patan with its world-renowned museum, before a farewell dinner on the last evening.
Day 15 – End of Tour
(O/N The Famous Farm. 4 hrs drive approx.)
One Week Extension - To Nuwakot
Transfer to the local bus-stand to catch a bus for the 600m climb up to the Valley Rim. The way north from here is one of rural scenes of the central Himalaya and, specifically, the Region of Langtang Himal.