An organic village Astam, named after the Sanskrit word ‘Asta’ means The setting of a celestial body which is accurately depicted as sunset or eventually, captivating the final soft glow of twilight from the village which is dwindled at horizon before dusk. Astam village is situated at north-western outskirts of Pokhara valley and elevated at an altitude of 1600 m. This traditional village is now popular as eco-village because of its conventional way of living a local lifestyle and importantly, using alternative technologies for a sustainable environment.
Austrian Base camp(Thulo Kharka) and Dhampus
Dhampus is gradually turning as a tourism spot, this village is home for ethnic Gurung community and comes under Annapurna Circuit sanctuary. This typical local village Dhampus presents an enrapturing majestic view of Himalayas ranges blended with ethnic villages. Thulo Kharka commonly known as Australian Base camp is also the newly discovered pathway to Annapurna Massif which is set on the ridge of hilltop through beautiful forest trails in the western side of Dhampus village.
You will be picked up from your respective hotel, We will go towards Kande, an hour ride along the Pokhara-Beni highway through Hemja .
Kande is basically the starting point for a myriad of destinations to be explored in Annapurna circuit Sanctuary. Ghandruk, Poon Hill, Ghorepani Treks, Trek to Mardi himal base camp, Manang and Mustang, Dhampus and Australian base camp are the most popular one. It takes around 2 hours walk from Kande to reach Australian Base camp.
Austrian Base camp lies at the altitude of 2,000m above sea level, It used to be pasture land and grazing area for livestock of villagers. There is one proverb in nepali ‘pure gold does not fear the flame’, it gradually gained its popularity among domestic people after Austrian chaps explored that place for camping. Stunning south view of Annapurna (7219m), Hiunchuli (6441m), Lamjung Himal (6983m) can be observed. From Australian base camp we will continue around 30 minutes downhill walk through a stone staircase in a calm forest and Machhapuchhre (6993m); also commonly known as FishTail Peak; will be your companion throughout the journey.
Dhampus is extended from 800m to 1500m above sea level and offers a splendid vantage point of himalayan ranges as a background and courteous ethnic gurung community living in thatched roof- stone built house along with golden rice field terrace farming is truly promised land for tourist, This place beautifies as sunset and hospitality of gurung people is luminary as we are staying there overnight we can get chance to experience that too
After a comfortable stay in dhampus we will move towards Astam, The Sunset village and you will get the 360-degree panoramic view of the Annapurna range; Annapurna South (7273m.), Machhapuchhre (7059m.), Annapurna I (8090m.) and Annapurna IV (7525m.). A village walk-in stone-paved way experiencing the local ambience of Dhampus to Astam village is almost about 3 hours walk.
After enjoying the northern periphery of Pokhara valley, we descend back to Pokhara-beni highway and drive back to your respective hotel.
If you are eagerly wondering how exactly local life in the mountains of Nepal be like then this hike will be your perfect opportunity to explore Nature, views and culture together. Astam is considered as one destination with a different view in every other turn, From Australian base camp sky above you appears so close to you which feels like an ethereal blanket embroidered by soft cotton clouds. Dhampus itself is a very typical village of Nepal providing you with the most illustrated photographic scene.
Hike can be done throughout the year but mid winter and Autumn season are the best time of year .The annual precipitation of the area is about 3534 mm,139.1 inch mostly from May to September.
The area is located in a transition zone between warm and temperate climate. It’s cold during night time, please be prepared with proper clothing including polyester as base layer, fleece jackets and light down jacket during stay at Dhampus in winter season and rising to 18–29 °C ( Average of 69.8 °F) during the summer season.
Australian base camp, gradually has been developing as a camping site, facilitates lodging and fooding. Beautiful coloured tents are there and twin sharing ensuites are also available. There are several hotels and homestays available in Astam and Dhampus as they have now been primarily focusing on promoting ecotourism where you will be welcomed with love and warmth.
During hike the village walk is itself very pleasurable, Apart from that Dhampus, Astam and Australian base camp is a very popular vantage spot for observing landscape vistas of various mountain ranges , sunrise view from Dhampus and sunset view from Astam should not be missed.
This hiking route is nearest to Pokhara and the shortest one. It can be considered as an easy hike destination, anyone in good health can easily walk in trails.
Upon booking, you will receive a confirmation email containing your hiking details, including the meeting point and other important information you may need to know.