Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu
Arrive in Kathmandu and will be transferred to The Hotel in the afternoon.There will be a full trek briefing this evening.
Day 2: Drive to Nayapul and walk to Birethanti
We leave early and drive westwards to Pokhara. This town is set ina beautiful valley and is overlooked by Machhapuchhare, one of themost distinctive of the Himalayan peaks. We continue through Pokharato Naya Pul and from there have a 30-minute walk to the village of Birethanthi,where we stay overnight.Birethanthi is a riverside villageat the confluence of the Modi Khola and the Burungdi Khola. If there is time we can bathe in the clear but cold pools of the Burungdi Khola.
Day 3: Ulleri
We start our trek by following the Burungdi Khola upstream. After alunch stop in Tirkhedunga (renowned for its variety of local beer calledchang) we start the long steep climb up a stone staircase through then eatly terraced hillsides to the top of Ulleri (2,073m).
Day 4: Ghorepani
Winding out of Ulleri the trail now enters rhododendron forests. Inspring the forest is a blaze of colour. Trains of mules provide colourfuland noisy interludes to the continuous ascent today. Carrying rice and other supplies north to the kingdom of Mustang the trail resounds with the sound of their bells. Finally we emerge from the forests atGhorepani (2855m) and suddenly a splendid mountain vista appearsbefore us - Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Hiunchuli, Machhapuchhare, Lamjung and other Himalayan giants.
Day 5: Chuili
This morning there is an optional ascent of Poon Hill (about anhour's walk above Ghorepani) to see the spectacular sunrise over theDhaulagiri and Annapurna Himals. As the sun emerges from behindthe mountains the sky glows red and pink in the first rays of the sunand the panorama is surely one of the world's great mountain vistas.Best seen at dawn, the climb is well worth the effort. After breakfastwe head east, following a ridge to cross a pass at 3,193m. We pass through more open country then descend again through jungle to afew lodges in a clearing called Banthanti at 2,620m. Climbing back to2,745m, we reach another small pass at Tadapani where we have asuperb view of Annapurna South and the peak of Machhapuchhare.From here we descend for a short while to our lodge at Chuili, wherewe have great views of the mountains from the lovely garden.
Day 6: Chomrong
The trail descends through the forest to the Kyumnu Khola, a tributaryof the Modi Khola. From here a steep ascent brings us to Chomrong,at 2,170m, another Gurung village and the last permanent settlementin the valley. Beyond here we shall see yersas, the shelters used byherdsmen in the summer months. From Chomrong we have good views again of Annapurna South and from this point onwards the twin-peaked mountain Machhapuchhare ('fishtail') which gives the mountain its name.
Day 7: Dovan
The trail from Chomrong descends first on a stone staircase to cross the Chomrong Khola and then climbs out of this side valley to reenter the main Modi Khola Valley. We pass through jungle of oak,hemlock and rhododendron trees to Kuldi Ghar (2540m), previously
the site of a sheep breeding project. Beyond here our route undulatesthrough dense bamboo thickets. These are cut extensively to make'dokos' - the carrying baskets as used by our porters - and woven matsfor floors and roofing. We climb up through the bamboo, and thenthrough forests of rhododendrons. In early spring we may encountersnow on the trail from this point onwards. At 2505m we reach Dovan,a clearing in the forest where there are several teahouses.
Day 8: Machhapuchhare Base Camp
We continue up through the forest, passing the lodges at Himalaya Hotel and then further on past Hinko Cave, where the first expeditions to the Base Camp used to camp. Crossing a ravine theTrail climbs steeply among boulders, leaving the trees behind us.The valley broadens out and the scenery becomes wilder as we approach the gates of the sanctuary. Passing between the heights of Hiunchuli and Machhapuchhare, we reach Machhapuchhare Base Camp (3,700m), where we spend the night. The views are stupendous and the panorama includes Huinchuli, Annapurna 1, Annapurna 3, Gangapurna and Machhapuchhare.
Day 9: Annapurna Base Camp
In the early morning we walk for 2 hours up to Annapurna Base Camp surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of some of the highest mountains in the world. Hiunchuli, Annapurna South, Annapurna Fang, Annapurna 1 and 3, Gangapurna and Machhapuchhare.
Encircle us with unbroken soaring ramparts but for the route by which we entered. The sunset and sunrise are truly magnificent in this mountain arena. We spend the day in this special place with a chance to watch the sun rise the following morning. There should be time to make an excursion to the ridge overlooking the base camp from which Chris Bonington led the ascent of Annapurna's South Face. (Occasionally there is too much snow to stay at Annapurna Base Camp. In this case we would walk back down to Machhapuchhare Base Camp in the <span 1.6em;"="">late afternoon.
Day 10: Descend to Bamboo
We leave the Sanctuary today descending past Hinko, through the rhododendron jungle and bamboo thickets to Bamboo Lodge.
Day 11: Jhinnundanda
We return down the Modi Khola Valley, leaving it to cross the Chomrong Khola. We are back in inhabited country again as we climb the stone steps back up to Chomrong. We then descend very steeply on stone steps through terraces to Jhinnudanda.
Day 12: Dive from Naaya pul to Pokhara
A long day as we drop down to the Modi Khola River which we follow all the way back to Birethanthi. From here we pick up transport for the short drive to Pokhara, arriving late afternoon.
Day 13: Fly to Kathmandu from Pokhara
We catch a flight to Kathmandu. The rest of the day is free for Sightseeing and shopping.Very occasionally we are unable to fly, in which case we return to Kathmandu by road, arriving in the early evening.
Day 14: Free in Kathmandu
Today is free for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city where the old Royal Palace, with its intricate woodcarving is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess.
The whole area is a maze of temples and images. Alternatively you may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Bodnath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. Sightseeing tours can be booked locally.There is also the chance to take theoptional scenic mountain flight for amazing views of the Himalaya including Everest in the morning. This can be booked and paid for on arrival in Kathmandu. For more details of all the optional activities please refer to the Optional Excursions section.
Day 15: Depart Kathmandu
After breakfast. We will transfer to the airport for the flight back.