Why The Khopra Ridge Trek Should Be On Your Bucketlist
For many decades now, the Annapurna Base Camp and Everest Base Camp treks have been bucketlist treks for most trekking. If you think about trekking in Nepal, these are the two treks that come to mind.
But there’s another trek, very close to Annapurna Base Camp and much more rewarding, and that’s the Khopra Ridge Trek. Why is it more rewarding?
You see 23 big mountains from the Khopra Ridge
Out of which 3 are amongst the 14 highest mountains in the world – Mt Manaslu (8th highest), Mt Annapurna I (9th highest) and Mt Dhaulagiri I (7th highest)! But that’s not the full picture. You see the Annapurna massif at an arm’s distance (even closer than on the ABC trek). You see the Mt Machapuchare as glorious as ever. You see Mt Nilgiri North and South. There’s Mt Himchuli, Mt Ganga Purna, it’s endless!
Let’s not forget Mt Dhaulagiri. It is right in front of you!
More than just a ridge walk
The Khopra Ridge trek is not just a ridge walk. That would be underestimating it. Simply put, it is a walkthrough on one of the rarest big mountain views of Nepal.
Great views from inside tea houses.
You see great views from even inside your tea house. Just like any other trek in Nepal, the Khopra Ridge trek has tea houses all along the trail, where you stay for the night. They’re almost luxurious compared to other treks where you camp.
Well, there’s a lot of talking points here. We take a deviation to Khayer Lake. It is small hidden lake. But getting there is like a spiritual experience. The locals revere the lake.
If you thought the Grand Canyon was full of deep gorges, on this tek you see the deepest gorge in the world — Kali Gandaki. It separates the summits of the Dhaulagiri range from the Annapurna range.
I am not going to guarantee it, but there’s a very high chance of walking above a bed of clouds. If you’re lucky, seeing the sun set above it.
I don’t know if it is right for me to say this about a favourite trek of ours, the Annapurna Base Camp, but the ABC is full of steps to climb and descend. After a while, it hurts to your knees. On the Khopra Ridge, it is a usual mountain trail. It has its ups and downs and challenges, but not the crazy steps of ABC.
For us Khopra Ridge has turned out to be the best off-beat trek in Nepal. We know what it means to trek in a crowded trail in Nepal. The Khopra Ridge is a godsend in that respect. No maddening crowd on this trail.
Detailed Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Drive from Pokhara to Syauli Bazaar. Trek to Ghandruk.
Reach Pokhara on your own. We will pick you up from near the lake at 8.00 am. The exact location will be communicated to you prior to the trek.
The drive from Pokhara to Sauli Bazaar will take around 3 hours. You cover around 60 km during this time.
Have lunch at Syauli Bazaar before you begin the trek to Ghandruk
- Altitude: 2,713ft (827 m) to 6,654ft (1,940 m)
- Time taken: 3 hours drive from Pokhara to Sauli Bazaar (60 km); 3.5 hours trek to Ghandruk (8.6 km).
- Trek gradient: Easy – Moderate
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles at tea houses on the way and from Modi Khola.
The initial trail from Syauli bazaar is narrow and runs through a village. The river to your left is Modi Khola. On the opposite side of the mountain, you can spot the trail for the Mardi Himal trek. Ghandruk becomes visible after 1.5 hours of trekking.
The trail continues to ascend gradually.
As you approach Ghandruk, after about another hour, the view starts opening up. You see Mt Himculi and Mt Annapurna south. This is just the beginning of mountain views. As you ascend some more, Mt Machapuchare (the ‘fishtail’ mountain) welcomes you. This is also an indication that you are very close to your first tea house.
Ghandruk is the largest village in the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA). You will see old stone and slate roofed houses lining the slope. You will also find a lot of tea houses spread through the entire village.
Day 2: Ghandruk to Tadapani
- Altitude: 6,654 ft (1,940m) to 9,020ft (2,630m)
- Time taken: 5 hours, 8 km.
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Mix of gradual ascent and level walk on forest trails.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from small streams and tea houses on the way.
To go to Tadapani from Ghandruk, begin by walking through the narrow path running through the village. Within 5 minutes, you reach a junction. From here, the ACA is divided into two parts – Central ACA AND Western ACA. Central ACA leads to Kommorong and further ahead to ABC. For Tadapani, proceed on the Western ACA.
The trail here consists of steps cut into the rocks. After climbing for 10 minutes on these steps, you will reach the first view point. This is the “Lovely view point”. From here, you will be able sight Mt Annapurna South, Mt Himchuli, Mt Ganga Purna, Mt Annapurna III and Mt Machapuchare (fishtail). These mountains stay with you on your right as you move ahead.
As you proceed on the trail, you enter a forest trail dominated by a variety of tall trees. Very soon you hear the faint sounds of a waterfall in the distance. The dense canopy of the trees above coupled with moist air from the flowing stream gives you a fresh respite. Rhododendron trees also make an appearance here. You will see big red flowers on these if you are trekking here in April.
Follow the forest trail till you reach a small bridge. From here you get a perfect view of the source of the stream. Take a break here and refill your water bottles. The next section is a steep ascent for about 45 minutes.
As you climb up along the small waterfall, you will reach Bhaisi Kharka, a small village in the far western region of Nepal. This is 5 km from Ghandruk.
The rest of the day’s hike will take you through similar but denser forest trails. Rhododendrons dominate here. These are unusually high if you have only seen the shorter trees in the Indian Himalayas. At certain places, the branches of the trees intertwine on the top to form a gateway for the trail ahead.
Another 2 hours of trekking brings you to the tea houses at Tadapani. Have lunch here. End the day with a perfect sunset view of Mt Machapuchare.
Day 3: Tadapani to Dobato
- Altitude: 9,020 ft (2,630 m) to 11,826 ft (3,448 m)
- Time taken: 5 hours, 7 km .
- Trek gradient: Moderate-difficult. Gradual ascent through forest trails, with a short descent towards the beginning. Last one hour of the trail is above the tree line.
- Water sources: Carry two litres of water. There are no natural water sources on the trail today. You can refill your water bottles at two tea houses on the way at Meshar and Isharu (2 hours apart).
Similar to the previous day, the trek starts today starts on a forest trail filled with rhododendrons and bamboo. The Annapurna range accompanies you on the right. As you trek further, the trail enters deep forests. Oaks appear here. Now, the trail descends. After about 30 minutes, you again start climbing up. This bring you very close to the tree line. From here, you can see the ridge which is a part of the trail from Dobato to Khopra Ridge.
After an hour’s climb you reach Meshar. Fill your water bottles here. Straight ahead of you are Mt Annapurna (10th highest mountain in the world) and Mt Annapurna Fang (7,647 m). The 2 mountains remain visible for the next two hours, till you reach Isharu.
From Meshar, the trail gradually ascends till Isharu, the second viewpoint of the day. You are just above the tree line here. The views from Isharu are outstanding – the panorama includes Mt Manasalu (8th highest mountain in the world), Mt Annapurna II, Mt Annapurna IV, Mt Ganesha Himal along with other peaks of the Annapurna range.
The next hour till Dobato is a mix of ascent and descent. After reaching Dobato, have lunch at the teahouse.
After a short break, set out for the best place on this trek – the MULDHAI peak view point. There is a reason this place has such a reputation among locals. You see twenty-three snow peaks out of which three are among the fourteen highest mountains in the world – Mt Manasalu (8th highest), Mt Annapurna I (9th highest) and Mt Dhaulagiri I (7th highest). The complete Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range with Mt Tukuche and Mt Nilgiri North and South are a sight to behold, especially at sunset. If you want to witness this magic again, don’t forget to come back for sunrise the next day.
Day 4: Dobato to Khopra ridge
- Altitude: 11,826 ft (3,448 m) to 12,581 ft (3,668 m)
- Time taken: 7 hours (10.8 km)
- Trek gradient: Difficult. A complete ridge walk with steep ascents till Khopra
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from streams and tea houses on the way.
Start early from Dobato since it’s a long day today. After 30 minutes of ascent you will reach a junction. The trail to the right leads to the hidden lake and the one to the left goes to Khopra Ridge. Halt here and capture the last view of all the mountain peaks of the Annapurna range. Don’t worry, these mountain views will soon be replaced by the Dhaulagiri range.
Take the trail leading to Khopra ridge. After 15 minutes, the Dhaulagiri range appears to the left. This is also an indication that you are close to your first rest point, Bayali.
From Bayali, the trail descends for two hours through a forest. This brings you to Chhistibang, a tea house inside the forest. Have lunch here.
Make sure you eat a light lunch – you have 3 more hours of trekking to complete.
From Chhistibang, the trail ascends continuously. There are multiple small streams and small waterfalls all along. On both sides of the ridge, clouds form a small playground and enchant you with their changing forms. From here, every step towards Khopra takes you up-close to the Dhaulagiri range. Watch the sun and clouds prepare for a perfect sunset.
On reaching Khopra, you see majestic mountain ranges all around you. Mt Annapurna South, Mt Annapurna Fang, Mt Annapurna I, Mt Nilgiri South and North, Mt Tukuche and the Dhaulagiri range welcome you. The tea house here itself is a view point.
Day 5: Khopra ridge to Khayar lake and back
- Altitude: 12,581 ft (3,668 m) to 15,640 ft (4,560 m)
- Time taken: 8 hours, 15.5 km
- Trek gradient: Difficult. Starts with gradual ascent on a ridge and becomes steeper as you proceed.
- Water sources: Carry two litres of water. After the first three hours, there are no water sources.
Start early today. It’s the summit day and the longest day of the trek. The initial 45 mins is a level walk with scenic views of the Dhaulagiri range. The trail turns into a ridge walk with multiple climbs and descents for the next two hours. Take a look to your left – in addition to the Dhaulagiri range, you will see the world’s deepest valley, Kaligandaki, between Mt Dhaulagiri I and Mt Tukuche.
Slowly the trail brings you to an open field surrounded by barren mountains. This is similar to the cold desert landscape of Spiti in the Indian Himalayas. This also means that you are approaching Khayar lake.
A small dhaba at Khayar Ghat welcomes you with some local tea and snacks. From here, it is another 1.5 hours’ trek to Khayar lake. The trail ascends continuously from here, on steps. All along, there is are symbols of a temple and bells clubbed together, which is a sign of khayar lake and mythological stories of the area. Before you see the lake, you see Mt Annapurna South. The lake is at its foothill.
The lake is surrounded with praying flags, bells and a lone temple. Sit down here for a while and take in the surroundings. You have reached the highest point of the trek.
In the month of July a yatra (pilgrimage) is undertaken by Nepalis who visit Khayar lake to seek fulfilment of wishes and sacrifice an animal to lord Shiva. They believe that if the wish comes true, they will have to return as a token of thanksgiving.
It will take around 3.5 to reach Khopra Ridge on the same trail. Have lunch at Khayar ghat on the way. Every step on the descent is an ideal spot to view the sunset.
Day 6: Khopra Ridge to Shwata
- Altitude: 12,581 ft (3,668 m) to 7,786 ft (2,270 m)
- Time taken: 5 hours, 9.6 km.
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate-difficult. Descend along a ridge for the first two hours. This is followed by a level walk through a forest all the way to Shwata.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from streams on the way.
Today’s trek starts with a ridge walk which which descends into the forest. Up to Chhistibang, it’s the same trail that you took to get to Khopra ridge. After 2 hours of continuous descent, you reach Chhistibang.
At Chhistibang, the trail splits. The one to the left goes back down to Dobato. Avoid this, and take the trail to the right – this leads to Shwata and further on to Ghorepani.
From Chhistibang, you will trek through a dense forest which is entirely different from the initial two days of forest trails. You mostly find oaks here, followed by bamboo.
Three more hours of trekking through this forest trail brings you to a village named Shwata. There is a lot of agricultural land here, but very few tea houses. Your tea house is near a basketball court. Enjoy your rest of the day exploring the quiet village life of Shwata.
Day 7: Shwata to Ghorepani
- Altitude: 7,786 ft (2,270 m) to 9,775 ft (2,850 m)
- Time taken: 4.5 hours, 9 km
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. A short day with gradual ascents and descents.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from natural streams tea houses on the way.
The trek today begins by descending right down to a water stream. Here, you cross the only bridge on the trek. After crossing the bridge the trail goes uphill but it is not very steep.
After a hiking for about an hour, you will reach the village of Chitrey.
The next three hours of the hike is a mix of ascents and descents. After about 1.5 hours, You can see Ghorepani in the distance.
Ghorepani is one of the most developed villages in Annapurna Conservation Area. There are hotels here instead of teahouses. You also find bakeries and clubs.
Another popular trek to the base camp of Poon hill starts from here. If you’re interested to do this trek you have an option to go till Poon hill which is 45 minutes from your tea house. The entire Dhaulagiri range is visible from Poon hill top.
Day 8: Ghorepani to Ulleri; leave for Pokhara
- Altitude: 9,775 ft (2,850 m) to 6,400 ft (1,960 m)
- Time taken: 3-4 hours trek, 7 km + 2-3 hours drive to Pokhara, 34 km.
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. Gradual descent throughout.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from streams and tea houses on the way.
The last day of the trek takes you till Ulleri which falls on the old route for Mansarovar lake. Because of this it is also known as old pilgrimage route. It’s a completely easy descent through forests for initial 2 hours. Post that you walk along a water stream till the time you reach Ulleri. Your trek ends here. Take a bus and reach Pokhara.
How to get fit for the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek
The Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek is classified as moderate-difficult. You start from an altitude of 3,740 ft at Syauli Bazaar and reach a highest point of 15,709 ft at Khayar. You will have long trails almost everyday and there will be days with very steep ascents and descents. On the longest day of the trek, you walk over 15 km at high altitude. This can make the trek quite demanding, especially on inclines.
As the trek demands a high level of fitness, we have a screening process for our trekkers.
Once you register, you will get a questionnaire from your Trek Coordinator who will ask you to send a screenshot of the GPS track and also the splits.
You need to cover 5 km in 35 mins and record it with splits of the run for the entire week using any fitness app before you register.
You will be able to make the payment only once he/she approves the fitness screenshot.
In order to be prepared for a high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets. In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your targets in the following manner –
- Target completing 10 km in 70 minutes before the start of the trek
- Gradually bring up your speed to do 5 km in 30 minutes
- Start increasing the distance you jog to 10 km in 70 minutes
Before the start of the trek, you should be able to cover 10 km in 70 minutes.
Strength – Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each
This is another area you should work on. There is a lot of trekking distance that you will cover in high altitude carrying your backpacks. You have to walk on uneven terrain during the trek. It could be taxing for your legs. For this, strengthening your legs will help. You can do some squats to strengthen them. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.
Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.
Here is a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.
What to take on the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek
- Trekking shoes: There could be slippery patches on Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trail, especially where you’re crossing streams. You will need trekking shoes with good grip. Sports shoes will not be comfortable. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up on a trek, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.
- Three warm layers: At the campsites, especially Khopra ridge where you stay for two nights, the temperature after sundown can drop down to below 0 degrees. You will need at least three warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece and woollen and one padded jacket) for this trek.
- Three trek pants: Wear one pair and carry the other two. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry two. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes after reaching the campsite fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. You’ll be walking on barren, desert like mountains on the way to Khayar lake on Day 5. The glare can get severe without sunglasses.
- Suncap: The sun feels stronger while walking on the mountain slopes. Carry a suncap to protect your head and neck from the heat, especially if you’re trekking later in the day.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woolen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woolen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. If you do happen to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you bring them back with you. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used wet tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each. The use of plastic is not permitted in the Annapurna region. You will not find plastic or mineral water bottles on sale anywhere, in case you plan to buy and reuse bottles. So make sure you bring your own water bottles.
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry a few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Dexamethasone – one strip
- Nifedipine – 5 tablets
- Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid – 10 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
- Knee cap, if you are prone to knee injury
- Anti fungal powder
To enter the Annapurna Sanctuary Area, where this trek lies, and to trek, you need to register and pay the entry fee. This fee is 1,000 NPR for Indians and 4,000 NPR for International trekkers. This includes the fee to the National Trust for Nature conservation and for registering with the Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS). The Indiahikes trekking fee is inclusive of these charges. If you choose to go with a guide, the guide will do the necessary paperwork. If not, you can get this registration done at Kathmandu, Pokhara, Nayapul checkpost or Birethanti checkpost. It takes around 15-20 minutes to get this done. At Pokhara, you can get this in the Tourism office of Pokhara. If you are getting it at Nayapul or Birethanti, get down from the bus, get your permit and then push up to Ghandruk. You will receive a TIMS card which you will carry with you on the trek.
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
What you need to know about the trek fee
The trek fee of Rs. 28,950 + 5% GST covers all costs of the trek from Pokhara to Pokhara.
Here is what the trek fee includes:
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 7 (Ghandruk to Ghorepani). You will be staying in tea houses on all days of the trek. Rooms will be shared with fellow trekkers.
- Transport – We will pick you up from Pokhara on Day 1 and drop you back from Ulleri to Pokhara on Day 8. Travel will be in shared vehicles.
- Meals – All meals are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
- Transport – Transport from Pokhara to Ghandruk on Day 1 and Ulleri to Pokhara on Day 8 is included.
- Forest charges – All trekking permits, forest entry and registration charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – We provide ice axes, roped, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required. There will be no tents or sleeping bags since you will be staying tea houses on all nights.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
- Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
- Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well trained guides, cooks, helpers and porters.
Here is what the trek fee excludes:
- Transport to and from Pokhara – You will need to reach Pokhara on your own on Day 1 and arrange for your journey back from Pokhara on Day 8.
- Stay in Pokhara – Stay in Pokhara before Day 1 or Day 8 onwards is not included. In case you wish to stay longer in Pokhara, you will need to make your own arrangements.
- Food during transit – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey from Pokhara to Syauli Bazaar and the return drive from Ulleri to Pokhara.
- Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 4,725 inclusive of tax. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that last minute offloading will not be possible on this trek. Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.
- Use of plug points in tea houses – Most tea houses allow the use electricity charging points at an extra cost – 100-300 NPR, with the cost being towards the higher side as you go farther into the trek.
- Use of wifi and telephone in tea houses – You can buy wifi at all tea houses. Cost ranges from 200-300 NPR. The quality is not great. Major tea houses also have the facility to make calls.
- Use of RO treated water – all tea houses provide free filtered drinking water. If you wish to use RO treated water, there is an additional charge of 50 NPR per bottle.
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from the inclusions
- Tip: Porters in Nepal expect to be tipped. The tip amount for people who offload their bags will be INR 1,000 per person. If you do not offload your bags, the tip amount will be INR 700 per person.
Terms & Conditions
1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel. Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.
The cancellation charges are as under:
- Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
- Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
- Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (cancellation charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.
The trek fee includes all costs of the trek from the pick up at Pokhara on Day 1 till the drop back to Pokhara on Day 8.
2. Pick up: Trekkers will be picked up from Pokhara on Day 1. Plan to reach Pokhara a day earlier or latest by 7.00 am on Day 1. The time and place for pick up will be communicated to you by your trek coordinator.
3. Transport: Indiahikes will arrange the vehicle pick up and drop to an from Pokhara. Participants will be clubbed together to share a cab/private vehicle. Each vehicle accommodates 6-7 people.
4. Backpack offloading: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charge for the entire trek duration is Rs. 4,725 inclusive of tax. Partial offloading is not allowed. You will need to inform us in advance, in writing, if you wish to offload your backpack. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed. Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.
5. Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.
Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.
Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.
6. Fitness: A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Cardiovascular training before a trek is critically important. Training must include strength and flexibility workout. We have laid out the eligibility criteria here. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
7. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.
8. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.
9. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.
10. Safety Protocol:
a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in the Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.
b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.
c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.
What are the risks on the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake Trek?
The Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek is graded moderate-difficult. If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitudes.
This trek has long distances to be covered everyday. Although there are no technical sections, this high altitude trek comes with several risks. The trek climbs over 2,000 ft each day till you reach Dobato. There are several stretches with very steep ascents and descents. These are some of the things you need to be mindful of.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow, and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below:
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek. Anyone who wants to register for this trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the ABC trek
Acute Mountain Sickness:
At high altitudes the chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness cannot be ruled out.
Dobato andKhopra ridge are the highest campsites on the trek. Trekkers tend to develop symptoms of altitude sickness at these camps.
Inform your trek leader about your condition immediately if you feel any symptoms of AMS. If the symptoms don’t alleviate it is best to head down to a lower campsite.
This risk can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. Even while on Diamox, the risk of AMS still prevails. While AMS can be treated with rest and medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours. And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.
** Being a tea house trek, alcohol tends to be available easily on this trek. Although prohibited on our treks, some trekkers make the mistake of sneaking in a drink. Nothing can be deadlier than this. Alcohol multiplies the chance of being hit by AMS by several times.
Take this specific precaution – Go on a preventive course of Diamox
We strongly advise you to go on a preventive course of Diamox. Diamox is a blood thinner and helps you acclimatise much faster and reduces the chance of AMS by around 80%. Take half a tablet twice a day from one day before your trek.
What to do if you have symptoms of AMS?
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the below video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In this video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.
Exit points on the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek:
In case of an emergency, you would need to reach Ghorepani. This is a road head and vehicles will be available for further evacuation. Please note that it could take up to a day to reach Ghorepani from Dobato.
Ghandruk has the only medical centre on the trek.
In case of an emergency, it is possible to get a helicopter rescue from Isharu. This is will cost 25,000 NPR. Trekkers have to bear this cost on their own. This is not included in the trek fee.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life -saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Also ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the trek and do not skip any meal.
You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.
We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then your trek leader will be able to take steps at the right time.
Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
Khopra ridge and Khayar lake Trek – FAQ
1. What is the style of accommodation in this trek?
Trekkers will be staying in tea houses on all days of the trek. Rooms in the tea house will be shared with fellow trekkers.
2. Will you provide us with tents and sleeping bags?
Yes, Indiahikes trekkers are usually provided with tents and sleeping bags. While these will not be required on a tea house trek such as this one, we will provide sleeping bags if it gets too cold and the blankets provided in the tea houses do not suffice.
3. What will the temperature be like during the months of April and October?
Day temperatures will be around 15°C-20°C in October. Night temperatures will be 0 -5°C. This could even fall to below 0°C at Dobato and Khopra ridge.
4. Which are the best seasons for the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek?
There are 2 seasons for this trek – April and October.
5. When will there be snow on this trek?
There is unlikely to be snow on this trek in October. If you’re trekking in April, you will most likely find snow close to Khayar lake.
6. What will we do if it rains?
If it starts raining while you’re trekking, we will continue on the trail as planned. Your poncho should protect you from the rain. Carry a backpack cover for extra protection from rain for your belongings. Your trek leader might take a call for the group to stay back at a place in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, in which case, you will use your buffer days.
7. At what time should we reach Pokhara?
Reach Pokhara preferably a day earlier. If that doesn’t work then get there latest by 7.00 am on Day 1. The pick up point will be near the lake.
8. How will we get back to Pokhara?
The trek on Day 8 will end at Ulleri. Indiahikes will arrange for cabs to bring you back to Pokhara. The drive will take 2-3 hours.
9. Will backpacks, raincoats and other equipment be available for rent?
Indiahikes does not rent any equipment on this trek. There are several websites that rent out trekking equipment. You will need to purchase/rent whatever you require before arriving on the trek.
10. Is this a good trek for a first timer?
The Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek is rated moderate-difficult. The trail is well laid in most parts of the trek. However, there are some very steep ascents and descents on steep steps, which can take a toll on your knees. This can be done by first timers provided they are physically fit.
11. Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack. This will cost Rs.4,725 inclusive of tax. You will need to inform us in advance if you wish to offload your backpack. The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed. We suggest you read “5 Tips to make Carrying your Trekking Backpack Easy” before making a decision. Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.
12. Can I take my child along on this trek? What is the age limit?
Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek is a moderate-difficult trek. It requires high level of fitness. The minimum age requirement for the trek is 12 years. If your child meets this criterion and is physically fit, you can take her/him along.
13. What kind of food is served on the trek? Should we carry any food?
All meals will be had at tea houses. At breakfast you will usually have a choice between eggs, bread, muesli, oats. Lunch mainly comprises of dal, rice and vegetables. At dinner, you will get to choose from a number of options from the tea house menu. Typical options are spaghetti, noodles, friend rice etc. You may carry nuts and dry fruits if necessary.
You will find shops that stock everything from chocolates to toilet paper in all tea houses. The price increases as you move higher up. For example, a bar of Snickers can cost you as much as 500 Nepalese rupees.
14. Who will be there with us on the trek from Indiahikes?
An Indiahikes team consisting of a qualified Trek leader, trek guides and porters will be with you throughout the trek.
15. What are the washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?
Since you will be staying in tea houses on all days of the trek, you will have access to concrete toilets. Rooms in tea houses at lower altitudes have attached toilets. At higher altitudes, you will have access to common toilets, which are very clean and hygienic.
16. Will there be water sources on the way? Will two litres of water be enough?
You will have access to drinking water at the tea houses where you stay. For your day’s trek, two litres of water should be enough. You will be able to refill water bottles from tea houses on the way on all the days of the trek. Tea houses provide filtered drinking water free of cost. If you wish to drink RO purified water, you can purchase it in tea house for 100 NPR a bottle. You need to carry your own water bottles since plastic bottles (even packaged drinking water bottles) are not sold anywhere in the Annapurna region.
17. Is there mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
Network on NCell Namaste Nepal telecom is available till Ghandruk. Major tea houses have the facility to make calls for an additional charge. You can buy wifi at all tea houses for 200-300 NPR. Tea houses charge you 100-300 NPR for the use of electricity charging points. The rates increase as you go higher up on the trail.
The dining area in tea houses at lower altitudes usually have common charging points that you can use for free.
18. Do I need special snow shoes on this trek?
You don’t need special snow shoes. A good trekking shoe is sufficient for the trek. If you’re planning to buy a new pair of trekking shoes, we recommend that you get something that is water resistant.When there is snow, we provide microspikes and gaiters. This video will help you select the right shoes in case you need to buy a new pair before the trek.
19. Why is the trekking pole necessary?
A trekking pole provides stability and balance, and also helps to reduce fatigue. We suggest you watch this video to for a better understanding of why a trekking pole is necessary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=LXezaCVjEao
20. When it gets really cold can I consume alcohol?
Alcohol is dangerous in extreme cold, especially on high altitudes. Contrary to what people believe, alcohol does not make you warmer. Instead it opens your pores making your body colder. Moreover, it dehydrates you very quickly. Hence consumption of alcohol is absolutely prohibited on all Indiahikes treks. Anyone found with alcohol is quickly removed from the trek. Smoking, similarly, is not allowed on Indiahikes treks. Being a tea house trek, alcohol tends to be easily available on the ABC trek. Make sure you don’t sneak in a drink!
21. How long do we trek every day? What is the distance covered?
Most days on the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek involve 5-6 hours of trekking.
Day 1 – Drive to Syauli Bazaar from Pokhara. Trek for about 3.5 hours to reach Ghandruk.
Day 2 – The 8 km trek from Ghandruk to Tadapani should take you 5-6 hours.
Day 3 – The 7 km trek from Tadapani to Dobato will take you around 5 hours.
Day 4 – Dobato to Khopra ridge is 10.8 km and should take you around 7 hours to cover.
Day 5 – This is the longest day of the trek. The round trip from Khopra ridge to Khayar lake and back is close to 15.5 km and will take you around 8-9 hours to complete.
Day 6 – The 9.6 km trek from Khopra ridge to Shwata will take around 5 hours to complete.
Day 7 – Shwata to Ghorepani is a 9 km trek which will take you 4.5 hours to cover.
Day 8 – Ghorepani to Ulleri is a 7 km trek which should take you around 4 hours to cover.
22. How do I manage the negative temperatures on the trek? Do I need special jackets?
At high altitudes, temperatures are sure to dip into negative at nights.. For these extreme cold temperatures, you need to keep the rule of 3 in mind. The rule of 3 usually takes care of cold that dip to -10°C. It is a simple formula of wearing 3 layers of woolen, inners and lower wear.
Follow this guide:
- Wear one thermal and two T-shirts, three layers of woolens (two sweaters and a jacket). For your lowers wear a thermal inner with two layers of track suit. If you are prone to more cold, just add a layer.
- The temperatures dip only late in the evening and early mornings. During the day if the sun is out, then you may even be trekking in your T-shirts. Make sure you use your thermal wear only at night and not while trekking.
- A woolen cap/balaclava and gloves are a must.
This video has tips on how to stay warm on a high altitude trek.
23. What all do I need to carry on the trek?
Click here to get the list of all the things you need to carry on the trek.
24. Is it safe to trek with Indiahikes?
All high altitude treks come with their share of risks. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it. Before you go on the trek, make sure you’re thoroughly acquainted with the safety procedures followed on a trek.
25. What are the places of interest that I can visit after the trek?
After the trek you can spend time exploring tourist attractions in Pokhara and Kathmandu. You could also visit Chitwan National Park. Please note that this is a suggestion and Indiahikes does not make any arrangements for the same.
26. Are Indian credit and debit cards accepted in Nepal?
Most Visa and MasterCard credit cards are accepted here. Debit cards are not accepted anywhere in Pokhara. You can use your credit cards to withdraw money from ATMs. However, 500 Nepalese rupees are charged for every withdrawal in the ATM. Hence, we suggest that you carry currency worth at least INR 10,000 with you to avoid unnecessary charges.
27. Do we get a visa on arrival and do we need to carry our passports?
A passport is not usually required for Indian citizens. A voter id should suffice. However, if you travel on beyond the trek, there might be a few establishments that require a passport for identification.
28. What are the visa requirements for other foreign nationals entering Nepal?
Visitors from most countries to Nepal can get a Visa on arrival. For details, see Government of Nepal’s Department of Immigration website – http://nepalimmigration.gov.np/article/142/visa-on-arrival-1.html
To see the list of countries to which Visa on arrival does not apply and whose nationals need to get a Visa before arriving in Nepal, click – http://nepalimmigration.gov.np/article/141/prohibition-to-visa-on-arrival.html
29. Do we have to tip porters on the trek in Nepal?
Yes, porters expect a tip from trekkers. The tip amount will be INR 1,000 per person if you offload your bags. If you do not offload your bags, this will be INR 700 per person. This amount is not included in your trek fee and will have to be paid directly during the trek.
The best way to reach Pokhara is to reach Kathmandu and take a bus or flight to Pokhara. You are expected to reach Pokhara before 7.00 am on the first day of the trek. The pick up point will be near the lake.
Regular buses leave from Kathmandu at 15 minute intervals to Pokhara starting from 7.00 AM. Tourist buses cost between 800-1200 NPR per person and a local minibus costs between 400-600 NPR per person. The duration of the drive is between 5-7 hours. The drive winds through beautiful hillsides and valleys. You can check fares and routes here – http://greenline.com.np/routes/
Most hotels help with booking bus tickets so you don’t need to book them in advance.
It is a 40 minute flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Flights fly daily on this route between 8.00 am and 3.00 pm. Yeti Airlines, Buddha Air and Simrik Air operate on this stretch.
Here are a couple of websites where you can buy flight tickets. A single person’s return airfare is usually in the range of INR 5,500 – 9,000. This could vary depending on the airline and when you buy the ticket.
Syauli Bazaar is a 3 hours drive from Pokhara. The trek up to Ghandruk from Syauli Bazaar will take about 3 hours.
Getting back to Pokhara
The trek ends at Ulleri, which is the road head. Private cabs and buses are easily available from here to Pokhara. Make sure you stop at Birethanti to let the TIMS and ACAP office know that you are exiting the trek zone. Indiahikes will arrange transport from Ulleri to Pokhara. You are expected to reach Pokhara by around 6.00 pm. It is advisable to stay the night at Pokhara and plan your onward journey on the next day.