On arrival in Kathmandu, meet your representative who will be waiting with a Peregrine sign outside the terminal. After you settle into the hotel there will be a group briefing with your trip leader in the late afternoon. They will discuss the trek details and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements. The evening is free, but the leader will usually organise dinner (optional) at one of Kathmandu’s fine Nepali restaurants.
You will have an early departure from the hotel today for your flight to Pokhara. The flight often boasts spectacular views of the main Himalayan chain to the north. Retire for the evening at the Shangri-La Village, centrally located in Pokhara. Enjoy the outdoor swimming pool with beautiful Himalayan views.
3 Ghandruk (2000m / 6600ft )
Drive in a private vehicle to Kimche (approximately 2.5 hours). From here you embark on a trek to Ghandruk (approximately 1.5 hours). Take in beautiful scenery and local village life along the way. The route soon climbs up to the village of Ghandruk, one of the biggest Gurung villages in the area. The difference in the Gurung's lifestyle here to that of their neighbours in the lower areas is very apparent. Ghandruk is well known for the number of its men folk who have served in the British Gurkha regiments. Your accommodation for the next two nights, the beautiful Himalaya Lodge, is located in the shadow of Annapurna and overlooks the rest of Ghandruk, affording superior views of the mountains, agricultural terraces and various wildlife.
4 Ghandruk (2000m / 6600ft )
Enjoy a guided tour of Ghandruk village. Observe a fascinating mix of co-existing cultures, mainly Buddhist and Hindu. Gurung people (who are Buddhist) have the majority of settlement, but Brahmin, Chhetri, Magar, Damai, Kami and Saarki people also reside here. Your tour stops in Gurung Cultural Museum, which is a good chance to learn more about local life and history. Visit ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) and the Ghandruk Monastery. This monastery has resident lamas, as well as a collection of religious scriptures. This is also the source of daily Tibetan chant music that is played out daily over the town. There may also be the option to venture south of Ghandruk to a beautiful traditional Gurung village (Gairi Gaon), which has slate-roofed houses clustered on a canyon wall.
5 Birethanti (1025 m / 3362 ft)
Trek to Birethanti (approximately 5 hours). This is a fairly easy walk, passing through Modi Khola river, rhododendron forest, and Syauli Bazaar. Birethanti is situated at the other side of Nayapul. It is a small community set at the foot of Modi Valley and one of the main stops on the Annapurna Sanctuary and Annapurna Circuit treks. From here you can enjoy stunning views of the sacred Fish Tail Mountain in the distance. There are some souvenir and handicraft merchants in the village, so perhaps take the opportunity for some shopping. Later, relax and unwind at the Sanctuary Lodge, your accommodation for the night which was handcrafted by local artisans and offers spectacular views of Machapuchare in the distance.
6 Majhgaon (1400 m / 4592 ft)
Following a leisurely breakfast, trek to Majhgaon (approximately 3 hours). Begin by crossing the suspension bridge near the lodge, then head up the banks of the Modi River. This is a little-used trail that starts off on a rocky path and winds through a forested area. Walk through the stone staircase and small farming hamlet before reaching Majhgaon. Then trek along this ridge to the small village from where you can see right out across the valley. The route then descends for a while to another bridge. Cross over and, after one more uphill push, pass through the small villages of Patlekhet and Majhgaon. Arrive at your lodge and enjoy some lunch. Afterwards, perhaps choose to hike to nearby Tanchok village (approximately 1.5 hours), where there is a museum set in a traditional house. Reaching the Majhgaon village, enjoy views of the beautiful surrounding valleys and take the opportunity for photos. The photo opportunities continue as you retire to the lovely Gurung lodge, a collection of tribal-style houses and manicured gardens located on the edge of Majhgaon.
Walk to Lumle today (approximately 2.5 hours). Chartered vehicles will be waiting for you at Lumle. Along the way you can perhaps stop at the Tibetan refugee camp, one of the first that was established in Nepal. If you choose to stop, meet one of the monks, who will show you around and explain the symbols and significances of the Tibetan culture and religion. Drive back to Pokhara (approximately 1.5 hours). Explore the lakeside and beach of Fewa lake and perhaps try Chilli, Byanjan or Moondance restaurants – all great options for dinner.
In the late morning, embark on a boat trip around Fewa Lake. Visit Talbarahi Temple which is located on the lake itself (on a small island on the lake's southeast section). This double-storey, pagoda-style temple is a place of both Buddhist and Hindu worship. Today you also visit the International Mountain Museum which is dedicated to the sacred peaks of Nepal and the people that live around them or have climbed them. Here there is a collection of equipment on display from many of the early expeditions in the Himalayas, as well information on their natural history.
Fly to Kathmandu in the late morning. With free time in the afternoon, perhaps do some last minute shopping. Enjoy a farewell dinner at Utsav Restaurant, dining on excellent Nepali food and enjoying a traditional dance performance.
A briefing given by the group leader is scheduled for this afternoon. Your trekking program and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements will be discussed. Look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. The evening will be free, but the leader will usually organize an evening meal (optional) at one of Kathmandu’s fine Nepali restaurants. Alternatively you can enjoy dinner at the hotel.
11 Lukla / Phakding (2610m / 8563ft)
Rise early and board a plane for a quick journey from Kathmandu to Lukla (2827m) (approximately 45 minutes). This spectacular flight goes parallel to the giants of the Himalayas, with unforgettable views of the mountains bordering Nepal and China. Land on an airstrip built by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpas in the mid-1960s. After landing you will have time to explore the village while the Sherpa crew sort and load your trekking equipment. After a quick safety talk, begin your trek to Phakding. You’ll descend towards the milky white waters of the Dudh Kosi River, where you will join the main trail to Namche Bazaar, located just above Chaunrikharka (2713m). The walk is easy and after passing through the small village of Ghat (2550m), it’s only a short walk to Phakding. Settle into your first mountain lodge of the trip. It features organic gardens, a peaceful riverside location, and warm and cosy rooms designed in traditional Khambu style.
12 Namche Bazaar (3450m / 11319ft )
Today you’ll trek approximately 7 hours to Namche Bazaar, when you will memorably see Everest for the first time. From Phakding you’ll cross the river and head up the valley, following in the footsteps of the porters carrying supplies for Namche Bazaar. The trail, lined with blue pine forest, follows the river valley and is especially spectacular in spring when the rhododendron flowers are bright in bloom. Cross the Dudh Kosi River at Benkar, and look up to see the peaks of snow-capped Kusum Kanguru (6369m) and Thamserku (6623m). Press on to Monjo (2835m), a good place to break for lunch. From here the walk starts to get a little tougher, with a steep ascent to Namche Bazaar. Enter into the national park, cross the river through the village of Jorsale (2805m) and then continue upstream. Cross another spectacular suspension bridge and begin the ascent to Namche Bazaar at a steady pace. There are some fantastic photographic opportunities as the peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Taweche (6542m) come into view for the first time. Your base for the next three nights, the Yeti Mountain Home, boasts a breathtaking location, perched on the upper slopes of the Sherpa capital.
13 Namche Bazaar (3450m / 11319ft )
Namche Bazaar is a great place to properly acclimatise to the altitude. One of the best ways to do this is to take a walk up to a higher altitude then come back down to sleep – there’s an optional walk above the Bhote Khola River Valley towards Thami (3810m). Taking a walk to see both the sunrise and sunset views from the national park headquarters above the village is also a great option. This stunning vista includes a super panorama of the Khumbu peaks and great views of Everest.
14 Namche Bazaar (3450m / 11319ft )
Enjoy free time in Namche Bazaar. The national park headquarters are home to interesting displays about Sherpa lifestyle and culture, and the local flora and fauna. Namche gained its importance during the period when Tibetan salt was traded for the lowland grains of Nepal. Rugs, clothing, salt and dried meat still all do a roaring trade in the village centre. Your guides are on hand to offer advice and escort you on further day walks.
15 Monjo (2835m / 9301 ft)
Today you descend to the small Sherpa settlement of Monjo, (approximately 3 hours). Your route travels via Jorsale, which is located just north of Monjo and south of Namche Bazaar. This village is situated on the west side of the holy Dud Khoshi River which follows from the mountain. An exciting part of today's walk is crossing a suspension bridge – one of the popular bridges going across the Dudhkoshi. Settle into your plush lodge and enjoy some rest and relaxation. Tonight's accommodation is the newest of the Yeti Mountain Home lodges. It's spacious, comfortable and fitted out in classic Sherpa style.
16 Lukla (2860m / 9383ft)
This morning you depart Monjo and continue your descent along the Dudh Koshi River. Along the way, pass by several monasteries and villages before making a final ascent to reach the Lukla plateau (approximately 4.5 hours). You should arrive there by mid-afternoon. On your arrival in Lukla, there will be time for you to relax and unwind. Your tranquil and beautifully decorated lodge offers the added bonus of a Himalayan Healers spa. Take the time to indulge in a few creature comforts as you reflect on the adventure that has been.
Fly back to Kathmandu from Lukla airport. In the late afternoon, visit the Garden of Dreams. This Edwardian garden, located centrally in Kathmandu, was created by Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana in early 1920. About half of that original garden still exists today, but it's a beautiful sight, having been restored with the help of the Austrian Government between 2000 and 2007. Spend some time exploring its elegant flower arrangements, pavillions and fountains. Afterwards, retire to the Hotel Annapurna for the evening.
Your trip comes to an end in Kathmandu this morning.