The Royal Trek – Follow In The Footsteps Of Royalty

The Royal Trek in Nepal is so named because Prince Charles and his 90 camp followers explored the route in 1981 shortly before he married Princess Diana. It is also used by Nepal’s royal family, making it a very royal route indeed.

The Royal Trek


The Royal trek commences at the beauteous lakeside city of Pokhara and passes through the Gandaki zone, an attractive region of hamlets inhabited by people of the Gurung ethnic group. It takes in astounding views of hillside rice terraces and the highly-impressive Annapurna mountains that include Machapuchhre (fishtail) and Langtang Mountain before terminating at the scenic Begnas Lake. Machapuchhre is sacred and has never been climbed.

Gurungs are a martial race whose members have served with distinction in the Nepalese, British and Indian armies. Gurungs tend to live high up on steep slopes, cultivating maize, millet and rice. Buffalo is the principal form of cattle. Pastures can reach as high as 12,500 feet. Gurungs are Buddhists. They have mongoloid features and are usually short and stocky. While Gurungs have their own language, most speak Nepalese. At lower altitudes, many younger people work in offices.

The lifestyles of the people who reside here have been unchanged for thousands of years. The Royal Trek is certainly ‘off the beaten path’. The route is less crowded than is the case for other treks in the region, allowing you to get closer to nature and the local culture. Generally, bridges are good and paths are well-maintained by the locals who depend upon them. Weather is unpredictable, so warm clothing should be taken.

Apart from the cultural sites and mountain-scapes mentioned above, there might also be opportunities to see fantastic fauna and flora.

Where the environment is upper sub-alpine steppe, rare snow leopards and blue sheep can be seen. Other areas feature protected bird species such as the multi-coloured impeyan, kokla and blood pheasant. Butterflies and other insects also abound. There are 100 varieties of orchid and the largest rhododendron forest in the world.

Regional Map


The Royal Trek is situated in the Annapurna region, just north of Pokhara (see map below).

Typical Itinerary for Royal Trek

Please note that there are several Royal trek itineraries that can be done. Below we have laid out the most popular version – 5 days, leaving from Kathmandu. If you want to make your own way to Pokhara then you could probably organise this with your operator or guide.

Click each day to read more.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Recommended Guidebook

Lonely Planet Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya 10 (Walking Guide)

There is no guidebook exclusively dedicated to the subject of the Royal Trek, however Annapurna: A Trekker's Guide by Sian Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons provides very detailed route information.

The Royal Trek earns some mentions in many guides. For a good general guide of Nepal and this trek we recommend Insight Guides Nepal (Travel Guide with Free eBook) or Lonely Planet Nepal Guide by Bradley Mayhew.

You are also welcome to have a look at our recommended list of Nepal books and guidebooks Library for more options.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the trek cost?

Are permits required for this trek?

When is the best time to trek?

Is altitude sickness a risk?

How difficult is the trek?

What gear do I need?

What travel insurance do I need?

Do I need Insurance for This Trek?


Climbing insurance is vital for the Royal Trek. If an accident or incident should occur that requires immediate medical assistance and evacuation you will most definitely want adequate trekking insurance that can cover the costs of air ambulance and treatment.

Make sure you have insurance that covers you for any travel related risks, like lost, stolen, damaged or delayed baggage; interruptions and flight delays and tour operators default.

Please read our article on travel and trekking insurance in Nepal. The article provides great information on what type of insurance you'd need.

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