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Fine views of Nepal’s Annapurna range, a bustling Gurung community, and Gurkha heritage in the mountain village of Ghandruk

GhandrukA village in the Modi Khola Valley of Nepal’s Annapurna region, Ghandruk offers panoramas of the surrounding Annapurna massif, including good views of Annapurna I, the world’s tenth-highest mountain. And yet, the village only stands at around 2,000 m (6,562 ft), meaning you can look out over snow-drenched Himalaya peaks without needing to trek at altitude.

Visiting Ghandruk also gives you a snapshot of everyday local life in Nepal’s mountains, especially that of the Gurung people. The whole place hums with activity, and you can soak it all up over a leisurely couple of days, sipping tea and wandering amid streets strung with prayer flags.

You can also take day walks from here, which give you the chance to ascend a little further for even better views. Or, explore the village’s links with the Gurkhas, a unit in the British Army with a storied history.

Things to see and do in Ghandruk

Trekking to and around Ghandruk

You can trek to Ghandruk from Pokhara, the entry point to the Annapurna region and only a day’s drive from Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. This means you don’t necessarily need to take a domestic flight to reach the Annapurnas, unlike with the Everest region.

Ghandruk villageYou have several options for exploring the Modi Khola Valley and the Annapurna region. You might like to trek between comfortable mountain lodges, spending a night at Ghandruk’s Himalaya Lodge. We could arrange day hikes once you’re in the village, or you can pass through Ghandruk as part of a longer hike toward Annapurna Base Camp.

The five-to-six-hour trek up to Ghandruk itself takes you on a steady uphill climb over well-paved steps, and sees you cross paddy fields and agricultural terraces, where you’ll stop for a picnic lunch. You’re following the same paths used by local people, so you’ll likely pass porters, farmers driving goats, and people leading mules and donkeys carrying supplies.

You might come across a waterfall or two, and you’ll see people working in the fields. All this activity can make for a nice, human contrast to the starkness of the snow-engulfed peaks above.

There are also excellent vantage points all over the village that give you views of the Annapurna range: your guide will show you their preferred spots and identify the big-name peaks.

Village life

Gurung woman, Annapurna foothillsOnce you’ve reached Ghandruk, you might like to dip in and out of its tea bars, and try momos (dumplings) and other street food snacks from small vendors. You can lose yourself among small shrines, temples, teahouses, and shops, as well as many farmhouses with chickens strutting about outside.

In a traditional Gurung stone-slab and wooden building, you’ll find a museum documenting the region’s Gurung people. Expect displays of bamboo crafts, kitchen tools, and musical instruments, as well as Gurung hats, dresses, and bracelets.

Ghandruk is also the nexus for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, which promotes many varied local ecological projects. If this is something that interests you, please speak to your specialist.

Gurkha heritage

Ghandruk was and continues to be a recruitment hub for the British Army’s Gurkha soldiers. Selection is partly determined by the men’s ability to complete a gruelling uphill run, carrying a basket filled with rocks on their back.

If you’re especially interested in Ghandruk’s historic and modern-day Gurkha connections, please speak to your specialist. Some of the guides we use here have links with the Gurkha community and will be able to help you explore this aspect of local culture further.

Best time to visit

October and November see the best conditions for trekking to Ghandruk, with clear skies and temperate, comfortable days. In second place, there’s April and early May, when days begin to lengthen again after Nepal’s winter. The hillsides are vivid with blowsy rhododendrons, although you should also expect some rain showers.

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who's been there
Audley Travel specialist Nick

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Ghandruk by contacting one of our Nepal specialists

Suggested itinerary featuring Ghandruk

This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Ghandruk, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Ghandruk

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    Places near Ghandruk

    Our expert guides to exploring Ghandruk

    Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting Ghandruk, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate Ghandruk at its best.

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    Accommodation choices for Ghandruk

    We've selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Ghandruk. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.