Khopra Danda Trek Difficulty, Route, Highlights, Cost, Itinerary, Permit, Weather

  February 4th, 2020


Brief Overview of  Khopra Danda Trek

Khopra Danda Trek is a relatively new trekking route in the Annapurna Sanctuary, best known as a great alternative to the crowded Ghorepani-Poonhill trek. It takes you to Khopra ridge, which is at an even higher elevation than Poonhill at 3,640 meters. The viewpoint at Khopra Danda is a great location to enjoy amazing sunrise over Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges.

 
The trek further takes you to Khayer lake, a high altitude tranquil lake located at 4,660 meters. This lake sits at a vast valley with the Annapurna soaring high above. From here, the summit of Annapurna South is just six kilometers far.
 
This trek is a community lodge trek meaning that you’ll be spending nights in lodges run by local communities rather than privately run commercial lodges. It is a rather less popular trek and therefore you will enjoy lots of peaceful trails and won’t have to worry about pre-booking rooms at lodges.
 
There are many itineraries that you can follow to reach Khopra Danda. It’s essential to remember that this trek intertwines with several other famous treks like Annapurna Base Camp, Mardi Himal, Poonhill, and Mohare Danda. So you can easily add these treks and extend your trek if you wish.

Where is Khopra Danda?

The Khopra Danda Trek is located to the north-east of Pokhara, bordering with the districts of Myagdi and Kaski. The Khopra ridge is itself quite close to the Ghorepani village in Dhaulagiri. However, the Khopra Danda Trek is best enjoyed by trekking a mini circuit encompassing the entire mountain area landscape.
 
Most itineraries start the Khopra Danda Trek in Ghorepani and make it up to the ridge before circuiting around to Tadapani. However, the itinerary given below is a more scenic option and highly recommended. It starts in Nayapul, goes up from Ghandruk, Dobato, visits Muldai peak, makes its way through Dhan Kharka, and reaches Khopra Danda before circuiting to Ghorepani. This way, you also get to add the Poonhill trek at the end of your trek for additional adventure and joy.

Khopra Danda Facts

Trip Duration 9 days
Maximum Elevation 4,660 meters at Khayer Lake
Starting Point Nayapul
Ending Point Nayapul
Difficulty Moderate Moderate
Accommodation Community lodge/ teahouse
Total Distance 55 km
Permits Required TIMS card and ACAP Permit


Highlights of the Khopra Danda Trek

  • Enjoy breathtaking sunrise over Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Himalayan ranges
  • Trek through off the beaten track trekking route
  • Hike to the sacred Khayer Lake at 4,660 meters
  • Visit Pokhara, the tourist hub of Nepal
  • Customize your trek with many extensions to world-famous treks available
  • Explore several Gurung villages including Ghandruk
  • Witness the biodiverse Annapurna Sanctuary

 
Tips for the Khopra Danda Trek

  • Bring your water bottle and stay hydrated

Trekking for long hours every day means that your body will lose water in the form of sweat. So, drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is very essential. Losing high amounts of water from your body can be fatal, and you may also suffer from altitude sickness.
 
Purchasing bottled water everywhere you go is not recommended as plastic bottles aren’t biodegradable and contribute to pollution. So, it is recommended that you bring your water bottle, fill it up at tea houses, or wherever possible.
 
Also, carry a few water purification tablets to be sure that the water you drink is clean and safe.
  • Don’t forget your trekking poles

Certain parts of the trek can be quite steep and slippery, especially during the monsoon season. Having a trekking pole to assist you during these steep ascends and descends can be a lifesaver. So, it is advised that you carry a trekking pole for Khopra Danda Trek.

Avoid clothes made out of cotton and jeans

Clothes made out of cotton and jeans have bad wicking properties, meaning that they trap moisture and stay wet for long periods of time. It increases the weight that you will have to carry as well as keeps your body cold. Persistent exposure to cold temperatures can make you suffer from health issues such as cough, cold, fever, diarrhea, and even hypothermia. 
 
Instead, choose clothes made out of merino wool, which has excellent wicking properties. Clothes made out of this fabric keeps the body dry and warm.

Pack a few bug repellents for monsoon trekking

If you happen to trek in Nepal during monsoon (June, July, and August), you need to pack some bug repellents and ointments. Due to wet and muggy weather, the forests are usually filled with bugs like mosquitoes and leeches.
 
So prepare yourself and carry bug repellents to keep those bugs away from yourself.

Best Time for Khopra Danda Trek

Although the Khopra Danda Trek is doable all year round, spring and autumn are considered the best seasons for the trek. These seasons encircle months from March to May and September to November.
 
In Spring, the skies are mostly clear, and there is little to no rain. The weather is mostly stable. The temperature averages around 16 to 22 degrees Celsius in the lower reaches of the trek. While in the higher reaches, the temperatures can drop below 5 degrees Celsius during the night.
 
Trekking to Khopra Danda during the spring also means that you will be walking through forests of rhododendrons in full blossoms. The routes are filled with colorful flowers and beautiful sceneries. The freshness of spring encourages animals and birds to appear more frequently, giving you a better chance of spotting rare and exotic wildlife as well. 
 
Autumn is among the favorite seasons for trekking in Nepal. The skies are the clearest, and the weather is moderate. The temperature averages around 15 to 20 degrees Celsius in the lower reaches of the trek. However, the temperatures can drop below 5 degrees Celsius during the night at higher altitudes.
 
Clear skies offer marvelous views of the high Himalayas during the day and of the starry skies during the night. Trekking in autumn also means you will be traversing through forests of fading colors and walking on fallen leaves. Two of the major festivals of Nepal, namely- Dashain and Tihar, also fall in this season. Thus, you will get a chance to indulge with the locals in their celebrations and fill your trip with even more enjoyment and fun.
 
Months from June to August are monsoon in Nepal. The mornings are usually clear, but the afternoons are mostly rainy. Rain clouds often block the sceneries, and the weather is very unstable. The wet and damp weather attracts bugs and might end up spoiling your trekking experience. However, during this season, the valleys are lush green with various species of plants in full bloom.
 
Months from December to February are winter, and the temperatures are the lowest. Although the temperatures are warm during the day, the nights are cold, and the temperatures can drop below -5 degrees Celsius. But if you can withstand the cold weather, the snowy mountain views you get during winter is just breathtaking.
 
Below is a table with average temperature and precipitation details of locations en-route the Khopra Danda Trek:
 
S.No. Location Elevation in meters Average Minimum Temperatures in °C Average Maximum Temperatures in °C Annual Rainfall in mm
1 Pokhara 900 13 25.3 3474
2 Ghandruk 1,940 7.0 18.8 2747
3 Ghorepani 2,880 2.2 14.8 627
4 Kathmandu 1,400 10.1 23.6 1505
5 Ulleri 1,960 7.7 19.3 3316

Permits required for the trek

You will require two different permits for the Khopra Danda Trek: Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit (ACAP) and Trekkers’ Information Management System Card (TIMS card). 


Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit (ACAP)

Khopra Danda trek route lies within the Annapurna Conservation Area, so you will require an ACAP permit to enter this area. The cost of ACAP is NPR 3000 (equivalent to USD 30) per person, and it stays the same throughout the year.
 
Also, the cost stays the same no matter how long you stay inside the Annapurna Conservation Area. You need to provide 2 of your passport size photographs as well.

Trekkers’ Information Management System Card (TIMS card)

A TIMS card is mandatory for every foreigner aiming to trek in Nepal. A TIMS card helps to protect the trekker is meant to help safeguard trekkers by recording the registrations along with the checkpoints of the trek. The cost of a TIMS card is NPR 2000 (equivalent to USD 20) per person. 

Where and How to Get Permits?

  • ACAP can be issued at following Entry Permit Counters: 
  • Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu
  • Nepal Tourism Board at Damside, Pokhara
 
And just beside the ACAP permit office, there is the TIMS card office where you can get a TIMS card.
 
Normally, you can not issue the entry permits from any other counters in the trail. However, during exceptional circumstances, other counters also grant the permits with a 100% additional charge. 

Khopra Danda Trek Packing List

So now you might be wondering what you may or may not need for the Khopra Danda trek. Although your packing list depends totally on you and your personal needs, sometimes it can be a hassle to prepare a list from scratch. So we have prepared a list of all the trekking essentials that you may need for this trek.

Headgear

  • 1 cap or sun hat
  • 1 UV Protection Sunglasses

Upper body

  • 2 High wicking hiking t-shirts
  • 1 Fleece jacket
  • A warm and waterproof jacket

Lower body

  • 2 Trekking trousers
  • Shorts to change in case of hot and sweaty weather

Handwear

  • Gloves

Footwear

  • A pair of good quality waterproof trekking shoes
  • 2-3 pairs of trekking socks

Innerwear

  • 2-3 Breathable underwear
  • Synthetic sports bra for women

Rain Protectives (For rainy season)

  • Wind and waterproof jackets or raincoats
  • Umbrella

Other essentials

  • First Aid Box
  • Personal Items
  • Documents
  • Trekking pole
  • Four season sleeping bag
  • Toiletries
  • Water bottle
Note: It is not mandatory to pack everything on the list. You can customize this list as per your personal needs and preferences.

Khopra Danda Trek Difficulty

Khopra Danda Trek is a relatively easy to moderate trek. The hardest part of this trek is the climb to the ridge itself, which is quite steep and takes around 2-3 hours. However, with proper equipment like good hiking shoes and trekking poles, you can easily overcome this difficulty.
 
Another difficulty could be the Himalayan weather, which tends to be very unpredictable. Even though the days are warm and moderate, the night could be freezing cold. Especially in the monsoon and winter, the weather keeps changing, and there is a high risk of harsh climatic conditions. Therefore, waterproof hiking boots, raincoat, warm down jacket, and a four-season sleeping bag is highly recommended for trekking in this region during monsoon or winter.

Altitude Sickness in Khopra Danda Trek

The other difficulty is altitude sickness, as the trek essentially takes you higher than 4,500 meters.
 
Altitude sickness is a sickness suffered due to the lack of oxygen at high altitudes. Altitude sickness can be of three different types, namely Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Cerebral (HACE), and Pulmonary Edema (HAPE).
 
The primary symptoms of altitude sickness include:

Early Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite

Later Symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Respiratory failure
  • Coughing of blood
 If altitude sickness is not treated in time, it could even result in the death of the victim.

How To Prevent Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness is scary and can occur to anyone of any age or gender. But if you apply a few measures, you can prevent yourself from suffering from this dangerous disease.
 Here are a few basic prevention measures.

 Ascending at a slow pace

The key to preventing altitude sickness is to ascend at a slow and steady pace. If you climb to higher altitudes at a low speed, then it gives your body enough time to acclimatize with the oxygen level properly and prevents altitude sickness.
 
For high altitude treks, a few days are always allocated for acclimatization depending upon the elevation of your climb. It is also the most effective and one of the best preventive measures for altitude sickness.

Medications such as Diamox

Medicines like Diamox and Ibuprofen contain Acetazolamide, which helps in reducing and preventing altitude sickness.
 
Acetazolamide is a diuretic that raises the secretion of bicarbonate in the kidney, which then leads to a decrease in the pH of the blood. This causes increased breathing, which then increases the concentration of oxygen in your blood.
 
But you should remember that these drugs may come with some side effects. So, consult your physician or pharmacist before taking any of these medications.

Oxygen Supplement

One of the easiest prevention techniques for altitude sickness is an oxygen supplement. A person can start receiving oxygen directly from an oxygen gas bottle using a gas mask and a regulator.
 
You can get these oxygen bottles at different locations en route your trek. However, these are subject to extra charges if used.

Hydration

Dehydration can also sometimes lead to altitude sickness. So you need to stay hydrated at all times when trekking.

 Food and Accommodation

Teahouses and community lodges facilitate the entire trekking route of Khopra Danda. These offer menus with varieties of meals and food choices. Although the most common meal in these regions is Dal Bhat, you can choose other local foods as well. The benefit of choosing local food is that you are served with fresh and organic vegetables.
 
As for accommodation, there are many community lodges and tea houses throughout the trekking route. These places are mostly run by families residing in these regions. They offer private rooms with comfy beds and shared bathrooms. There is a heating system in the dining area where you can sit by the fire, order meals, and stay as long as you want.
 
The community lodges in this trek are run differently than ordinary tea houses. Members of the local community take turns over the course of several months to run and manage these lodges. At the end of each year, the money earned is shared among the community members. 

Khopra Danda Trek Cost

Khopra Danda Trek is a relatively unpopular trek compared to more commercial ones in the same region, like the Annapurna Base Camp Trek or the Poonhill Trek. Therefore, it’s comparatively cheaper, but various factors like duration of the trek, transportation choices, lodging, fooding, and personal expenses weigh into shaping in the total cost of the trek.
 
For instance, you have the option to choose either a local bus or a tourist bus to get to Pokhara from Kathmandu. Or if you want to travel privately, you could go for a car or a jeep too, which will increase the cost of your trek. There’s also an option to reach Pokhara by plane.
 
Having a guide to accompany you throughout the trek isn’t mandatory. However, it's handy to have a knowledgeable person to guide you throughout your journey. A guide not only guides the path but will also help you to manage all the permits, accommodation, and transportation.
 
It’s an important thing to remember that booking your trek using an international travel agency might be more expensive than a local travel agency. And, the same is about trekking guides as well. So, you could save a few bucks by booking your trip with a local travel agency and hiring a local guide.
 
Here’s a table for the services you may use during the trek and their cost.
 
Services Cost in NPR
Teahouses 400-1,000 (4-10 USD)
Meals 400-600 (4-6 USD)
Local Bus 500-800 (5-8 USD)
Jeep 1,000-1,500 (10-15 USD)
Trekking Guide 2,000-2,500 (20-25 USD)
Porter 1,600-2,000 (16-20 USD)
Porter/Guide 1,800-2,200 (18-22 USD)
Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit (ACAP Permit) 3,000 (30 USD)
Trekkers’ Information Management Card (TIMS Card) 2,000 (20 USD)

Itineraries and route details

Outline Itinerary

Day Itinerary Final Elevation Trekking Duration
1 Scenic Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara 900 meters 6-8 hours
2 Drive from Pokhara to Nayapul, then trek to Ghandruk 1,940 meters 5 hours
3 Trek from Ghandruk to Dobato 3,426 meters 5-6 hours
4 Trek from Dobato to Khopra Danda 3,640 meters 8 hours
5 Hike to Khayer Lake 4,660 meters 9 hours
6 Trek from Khopra Danda to Swanta 2,214 meters 5-6 hours
7 Trek from Swanta to Ghorepani 2,880 meters 4-5 hours
8 Trek from Ghorepani to Hile, then drive to Pokhara 900 meters 5 hours
9 Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu 1,400 7-8 hours

Detailed Itinerary of Khopra Danda Trek

Day 1: Scenic Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara

The Khopra Danda Trek begins with a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara. The drive starts early morning and takes around 6-8 hours to reach Pokhara.
 
The most common mode of transportation from Kathmandu to Pokhara is by a tourist bus or a public bus. It usually takes about the same time no matter what you choose, but the level of comfortability and cleanliness varies. You also have options to choose private jeep or car, which provides you an added level of privacy and the comfort of stopping whenever and wherever you prefer.
 
You’ll be spending the first night at Pokhara, which is quite popular for its three beautiful lakes and captivating nightlife. Pokhara is also the starting point for several famous trekking adventures in Nepal, such as Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Upper Mustang Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, and Ghorepani Poonhill Trek

Day 2: Drive from Pokhara to Nayapul, then trek to Ghandruk

The day starts with a short drive from Pokhara to Nayapul. You can get a private vehicle or just catch a public bus from Pokhara bus park. The drive takes you along the Pokhara-Baglung Highway and goes through several towns, including Hyangja, Kande, Phedi, Naudanda, and Lumle. The drive takes about 1.5 hours to reach Nayapul finally.
 
This is where your actual trekking adventure begins. The trail descends slightly down a muddy path and ascends to a beautiful stone-paved staircase. The route then traverses with the Modi river and continues uphill alongside the river until you reach Birethanti.
 
From here, trees of bamboo surround you while you trek to reach the Birethanti iron bridge. The trek further continues with the Modi river rustling beside you, and in around 2.5 hours, you reach Syauli Bazaar. You can stop here briefly for lunch.
 
After lunch, the trek continues through terraced farmlands, stone staircases, and a few Gurung settlements. After around 3-4 hours of trekking from Syauli Bazaar, you reach Ghandruk, where you will be spending the night.
 
Upon reaching Ghandruk, the first glimpses of the Himalayan range start to unfold, and your arrival time may permit you to view a fantastic sunset from the village just before you head inside the teahouse.
 
Ghandruk is one of the largest Gurung settlements situated northwest of Pokhara. The Gurung ethnic group, also known as Tamu in their mother tongue, is believed to have originated in Mongolia. Gurungs are also famous among British and Indian armies, known by their bravery as Gurkha soldiers.   
 
There’s a Gurung museum in Ghandruk where you can explore collections of traditional and rare clothing, jewelry, iron weaponry, and other items used by the olden Gurung communities.

Day 3: Trek from Ghandruk to Dobato

After leaving Ghandruk, the terraced farmlands disappear, and dense forests of rhododendrons and oaks appear. There are stone steps paving your route through the dense forests to the next destination.
 
You come across Bhaisi Kharka, where you can stop for lunch. If you can, you could stretch your trek and walk further to Tadapani and stop there for lunch.
 
After lunch, the trek further continues uphill through several stone-paved staircases and a few isolated settlements to finally reach Dobato. This is where you will be spending the night.

Day 4: Trek from Dobato to Khopra Danda

It’s a good idea to start today’s trek early in the morning because you’ll have to cover a long distance to reach today’s destination.
 
The trek begins with a pre-dawn climb of Muldai Peak, which is at an elevation of 3,640 meters. The views of this viewpoint are as good if not better than from Poonhill.
 
After breakfast, the trek continues, and the route is relatively flat without many uphills or downhills. There are a few exposed areas and a little bit of incline, which makes it feel tougher than it actually is.
 
A few hours through the walk, you’ll start to see the vast valley as you close in the distance between you and the mountains. As you reach Dhan Kharka, you can stop briefly for lunch.
 
After lunch, its an uphill climb for over 2 hours until you reach Khopra Danda. Altitude sickness can now be a risk worth being aware of as we are ascending above 3,500 meters of altitude.

You will be way above the tree line as you come closer to Chistibung, and the marvelous mountains of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri will start to be visible. The trek further continues until you finally reach Khopra Danda. This is where you’ll be spending the night.
 
It takes around a total of 8-9 hours to trek from Dobato to Khopra Danda.

Day 5: Hike to Khayer Lake

Like the previous day, it is advised that you start today’s trek early in the morning. Today’s hike can take up to 10 hours. It is also essential that you pack lunches and plenty of water to suffice the entire day as the hiking route does not have any tea houses or hotels.
 
The hike starts, and its mostly steep and uphill climbs. There’s a small shepherd’s shelter at Thanti, where pilgrims often stay. Further climbing, you will find a shrine and then finally reach the tranquil Khayer lake. It’s a steep climb, and so trekking poles are highly recommended.
 
Sitting at an elevation of 4,660 meters, the Khayer lake is located in a steep valley with the Annapurna soaring high above. The summit of the Annapurna South is just six more kilometers away from where you’ll be standing at the lake. The views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges are ever-so-alluring that you will not want to return. But eventually, you will have to retrace your way back to Khopra Danda. 
 
You’ll be spending the night in Khopra Danda. 

Day 6: Trek from Khopra Danda to Swanta

After breakfast, you leave Khopra Danda and immediately start descending down a steep downhill path towards Dhan Kharka. Trekking downhill is easier than climbing up, but it will certainly stress your quadriceps and hamstrings. A trekking pole could also aid in maintaining your balance and a steady pace through steep and slippery downhills.
 
Once you cross Dhan Kharka, the trail will change from wild scrub vegetation to dense forests. The trail will further descend to the river and then enter Swanta village. 

Day 7: Trek from Swanta to Ghorepani

After having breakfast at the village of Swanta, the trek begins. The trekking route is mostly downhills with occasional ascends. You will be passing through several forests of rhododendron and oaks before coming across the village at Chitre. This is where you’ll be stopping for lunch.
 
After lunch, the route starts to ascend, and after trekking for around 2 hours uphill, you finally reach Ghorepani. This is where you’ll be spending the night. 

Day 8: Trek from Ghorepani to Hile, then drive to Pokhara

There is an early morning hike to Poonhill today. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the top of Poonhill from Ghorepani. The trail is steeply uphill but easy to follow and well-marked. So, starting the trek before dawn is recommended as you get to enjoy the sunrise over the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs.
 
Quick Note: It’s not allowed to bring a thermos with hot drinks at the top of Poonhill. There’s a fine of NPR 2000 (Equivalent to 18 USD) for such an activity. However, if you wish, they sell hot drinks at the top which you can buy. It is relatively expensive than what you may get down at the village.
 
After spending quality time and appreciating the views at the top of Poonhill, you retrace your way back to Ghorepani.
 
From here, your trek further descends through multiple forests of rhododendrons, oaks, and bamboos. The trekking route continues downwards past many waterfalls, small rivers, and through several villages such as Nangethanti and Banthanti until you reach Ulleri. This is a settlement of Magar and Gurung ethnic groups. You can take a short break in Ulleri village for lunch.
 
From Ulleri, the route is quite steep, and long descend without any places to stop until you reach Hile. Upon reaching Hile, you can catch a jeep and drive back to Pokhara. This is where you’ll be spending the night. 

Day 9: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu

Today marks the final day of your trek, and you pack your bags, load them up in a vehicle of your choice and drive back to Kathmandu. You have the option to choose jeeps, cars, tourists or public buses, and road travel usually takes about 6-8 hours. The drive offers you wonderful scenery of the hills, glistening rivers, terraced fields, traditional towns, and villages.
 
Or if you fancy, you could even get on a plane and reach Kathmandu within as little as 25 minutes.

Comment

Our Team