VIDEO: The best alternative to the Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal (Mardi Himal Trek)

When were first thinking about going trekking in Nepal, we limited ourselves to the three popular choices: Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Base Camp and Everest Base Camp.

Little did we know just how much else is out there! We didn’t book anything ahead of time, which gave us the chance to to learn from other trekkers and guides.

Mardi Himal Base Camp trek is a newly permitted area. It is not mentioned in Lonely Planet guide or on many of the standard maps you see of the Annapurna Region.  But the trek is amazing!

It’s just east of the Annapurna Base Camp trek. Instead of trekking through the valley, you are up on a ridge. So many views. Very few tourists.  You also go to about the same altitude of the Annapurna Base Camp. Base Camp is 4,500 meters on maps on signs — and 4,200 on GPS. So you can believe what you want there.

Here is a very quick overview of the Mardi Himal part of our trek:

We combined Poon Hill and Mardi Himal into a 10 day trek. We had one short day in between treks as a rest day, where we did some laundry, played Nepali chess and read books. Our last day we walked to a very nice tea place with amazing local tea and organic food.

Switching gears from the ultra popular Poon Hill and to Mardi Himal was also fascinating. Trekking around Poon Hill feelsl ike you’re part of a never ending parade, it’s that popular. For the second half of our trek, we saw almost no one else all day. We were often some of the only guests staying in the tea houses.

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