Our main plan in Nepal was to visit the majestic high mountains and hike up to one of the base camps. We wanted to gain an elevation of a minimum of 4000 meters while hiking up, so we chose Mardi Base Camp (4500 meters) of the Annapurna region. In addition to that, we wanted to observe the lifestyle of people in high mountains away from the effects of modernization and wanted to taste Nepali food making the most out of our trip.
Highlights of trek searching in Nepal
We wanted to have adventurous trekking experience without guides or porters, so we searched for it accordingly. Likewise, we were bent on trekking in the low season so that the trekking trails would be silent with just a few other tourists.
During our research quest about Mardi Himal Trek in Nepal during an off/Low season, we found out about the Shivaratri festival which is one of the biggest festivals for Hindus, especially Shiva followers and devotees. On the occasion of Shivaratri Festival, we decided to smoke with a sadhu. We also came across Jhinu Danda- A natural hot spring where we could relax our sore muscles after trekking.
Arrival at Airport
Our arrival experience was good and warm as the people were friendly. Right after our arrival, many people were trying to make a deal with us about our trekking even at the airport taxi place. That was kind of overwhelming.
First encounter with Nepali people
The Nepali people were open and had friendly faces. They even showed a slight interest in us. However, I missed the spirituality in the people that I was hoping for.
We were nicely welcomed in Buddha hotel. Thanks to Pramod who treated us so special. We thoroughly enjoyed your hospitality and are grateful for your support and kind words.
Our trekking plan included leaving our suitcases in the hotel and heading forward with our backpack. We shopped for some trekking gear in Kathmandu and prepared to head towards Pokhara. From Pokhara, we would begin our trekking/hiking journey starting from Dephi /Dhampus.
Returning back from Mardi Base Camp, we went down to hot springs.
We found the permit office with the help of a 16-year-old lad named Sandeep. There were few other people in the office and the competent staff made it possible for us to get our permits in just 30 minutes.
Traveling to Pokhara
Instead of a big tourist bus, we went for the local bus (Toyota Hiace). Summarizing our ride we can say- risky but funny drive, nice views, shitty roads, and nice food stops.
Pokhara is a nice lake town which was not as cold as Kathmandu during the time we reached there. Better air and a nice atmosphere is what we had to say about the weather conditions. We found a small cafe with really good coffee (it was 5th street, I think). This was one of our favorite places.
Mardi Himal Trek
Phedi - Dhampus-Ponthana-Dudh Kharka-Forest camp-Low Camp-High camp- Mardi Himal Base Camp- High Camp- Sidhing- Pokhara.
Facts of our trek:
We stayed first night in Forest Camp, second night in High Camp while ascending to Mardi Himal Base Camp and third night again in High Camp while descending back from our destination.
Average walk distance/ time per day
- Between 5 to 10 Kilometers per day
- About 5 to 8 hour per day
About 22 Km
We did not need Wifi and we had no Nepali sim so phone connection didn't matter much. We had a detailed map and also a google offline map which we had saved prior to the trek.
Accommodation Foods/ people in the mountains
Our Accommodations were comfortable with enough blankets to keep us warm at night. We were also served with good tasty food. Every evening, fire lit where we would warm ourselves up. We couldn’t find a hot shower up in the mountains. To us, the local Nepali people in the mountains seemed much more relaxed probably because they were more aware of nature and had strong hearts.
View and Difficulty
In the Initial days of our trek, the views were weak due to fog. As we ascended higher, the days got sunnier. I think we were blessed with nice hiking weather. On our way back from base camp to high camp, the fog got us all confused and we lost our way. Luckily, we had our mountain dog bamboo who guided us home ;)
From above 3500m, we had some problems while breathing. We were breathing heavily and with a high pulse of course. We got a minor headache the day we went above 4000 meters. I think this was mainly because we are not accustomed to such heights. Furthermore, we had no training.
This time of the year, Crampons are a must!
My advice is to take enough time to go up slowly to such a high altitude in order to avoid the headache we had due to our fast ascent.
Good Hiking boots, trekking sticks and gaiters, cap, sunglasses and a backpack with max are some things we carried. Moreover, a 10kg sleeping bag is also recommended.
Message for other travelers
Enjoy this special country with such a unique culture. The food is amazing if you like it spicy ;)
You don’t need to worry about getting robbed. Nepali people believe in karma. Since there are no heated houses (except maybe the 5-star hotels), it’s likely that you experience moldy rooms and strong smells. When you are in the high mountains, always drink enough! Maybe buy a face mask for your time in Kathmandu!!
If you trek alone I recommend a guide.
Greetings from Austria — Steven/ Jakob / Philip