Your Itinerary in detail:
Day 01: Drive to Ngadi. Approx 1,150m via Beshishar 823m
We have an early breakfast, & then travel by a Deluxe Coach through the scenic Pokhara highway. This is an interesting drive through the foothills of the Himalaya. The road has been greatly improved in recent years. Just two hours before the road that leads to Pokhara, our route off-shoots from the town village of Dumre towards north to Beshishar. On arriving Beshishar, a large town and the district headquarters of Lamjung area, we continue our drive following the Marsyangdi River upstream to Ngadi for an overnight camp in the village backyard of Besisahar.
Day 02: Trek to Jagat. 1,290m.
After a solid warm-up first day trek, today's walk begins with an easy winding path from Ngadi for an hour crossing this same river via a suspension bridge. The trail follows to a steep climb for half an hour, & on arriving at the lush farm terraces field the walk again gets gradual for a short while, as the going gets better another half hour climb brings us to the top of Bahundanda. Bahundanda is a small village perched high on top of the ridge from the Marsyangdi river valley. After a short break here, the trek descends passing through farm terraces & then reaching back to a gradual winding path for an hour and a half before Syange village, a short downhill walk brings you close to the river with a great view of the water falls on the other side of the Marsyangdi River. Syange village is reached after crossing a long suspension bridge; with a short break here, our trek continues on the gradual path for a short while, then climbing up above away from the river, the steep climb lasts for an hour. Once on top of the ridge, magnificent views of the raging waterfalls can be seen on the route to Jagat near the nearby cliff wall. From here, another hour of easy going hiking brings us to our overnight camp at Jagat.
Day 03: Trek to Dharapani 1,860m.
After some time at the village of Jagat, a gradual walk takes us through terraced farms as we come to Chamje village, from Chamje a short walk brings us to a suspension bridge over the raging Marsyangdi river, & after crossing the bridge, it's another steep climb for another 2-3 hours till Tal is reached, the village is situated on the gorge-valley by the side of the river Marsyangdi. On leaving Taal after a break, the walk gets easier on the gentle path till we come to a wooden bridge, after the bridge a short climb takes us to a small place with a few teahouses, from this spot the walk winds on the up and downhill path coming to a large bridge, after the bridge another hour of hiking amidst some stunning nature, the walk brings us to the village of Dharapani & a well earned overnight.
Day 04: Trek to Chame. 2,715m.
From Dharapani onwards, the vegetation, the local inhabitants and the general landscapes go through a gradual change as the air gets cooler, the trail then climbs through forests to Bagarchhap, the first village on the trek with typical Tibetan architecture. After a pleasant cool morning walk to Bagarchhap, the altitude slowly gains as we come closer to apple country at Dhanaqi and to the alpine region passing through farm, orchards and beautiful pine forest with views of towering peaks of Lamjung and Annapurna II, the trail follows the river Marsyangdi upstream passing by the villages of Ratamanang and Koto before Chame. From Koto, a half hour of easy boot walking brings us to the village town of Chame; an important place in the Manang region. We camp near by this village or in the middle of the pine wood near the fresh running river of Marsyangdi, after some 6 hours of good walking.
Day 05: Trek to Pisang 3,185m.
The walk from here follows the other side of the river on the northern bank, after leaving Chame, the path passes through pine woods and small villages with few ups and downs till you reach the orchard village of Bratang. From here we continue on the gradual path up to a bridge, from the bridge a short steep climb through the pine forest brings us to the top of the ridge of Pisang village. After walking out of the tree line a great view of Pisang peak on the north and the Chulu peak can be seen with Pisang village below us, a wonderful sight & from this top a gentle descent of one hour brings us to the windswept village of Pisang. Overnight Pisang
Day 06: Trek to Manang. 3,350m.
From Pisang onwards, we keep hiking with constant views of the high snow capped peaks. The walk climbs steeply up for half an hour, after a short gradual walk from Pisang village. On reaching the top, we stop at a ridge to get our first view of the Manang valley, a wide U shaped valley hanging between the two lines of snow peaks. This grand spot offers a dramatic view of the valleys, Hongdre village with it's short air-strip and the great peaks of Gangapurna, Annapurna II, III, Tilocho, and on the right Chuli east, on the back Pisang peak. The walk is downhill and gradual all the way to Hongdre, from Hongdre the trek is more or less gradual on the wide path most of the way to Manang, adding a slight touch of altitude as you near the village of Braga and Manang, here we will have time to spend the morning visiting Braga Monastery. The largest in the district, it has an outstanding display of statues, thangkas and religious manuscripts. From hereon, it is only an hour walk to Manang for an overnight stop.
Day 07: This is a day for rest at Manang.
A necessary day to REST, acclimatize and explore Manang. The village of about 500 flat-roofed houses, is a truly picturesque sight set amongst some spectacular scenery -Annapurna II, Annapurna III [7,555 mtrs.], Gangapurna [7,454 mtrs.] to the South - Tilicho [7,132 mtrs.] and the Grand Barrier to the West - Chulu West [6,583 mtrs.] and Chulu East [6,059 mtrs.] to the North.
Day 08: Manang to Yak Kharka. Gangapurna Lodge. (Maya)
After a wonderful time at Manang, the trail from here leads to a slow climb up for an hour, after the last village of Manang, & the track gently winds up offering inspiring views of the Annapurna II, Gangapurna, Tiloche and the close up view of Chuli mid and west as the trail heads up into the barren windswept terrain with juniper bushes as the only surviving vegetation around this region, as we come to the small settlements of Yak-Kharka for the overnight camp in a large field, with ample time & space for short hikes around.
Day 09: Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi. 4,400m.
This takes about 3 and half hours. Leaving Yak Kharka, you climb gradually to a ridge before descending to the headwaters of the Marshyangdi and crossing via a covered wooden bridge. After a short ascent up the mountain path on the right bank, you follow a narrow trail across an unstable spree slope and then descend to Thorung Phedi. From Thorung Phedi we proceed to Muktinath. Stay overnight at lodge.
Day 10: Trek to Muktinath 3,800m.via Thorung-la 5,415m.Approx.
Today is the big day as we find ourselves going over the highest point of this trek over Thorung-la; we start very early in the morning before the break of dawn after breakfast, so that we can reach the top of the pass before the chill wind starts blowing and we must catch the best of the magnificent views of the northern Annapurna, Damudhar, Bhirkuti and Dhaulagiri range of mountains. For this morning walk we advise all to have their flash or torch lights handy as it can be dark for hours on the hike before the first rays of sunlight streaks onto the trail. The trail from Phedi follows on the winding scree, gravel path as the walk in the beginning can be quite strenuous on the steep zigzag path for an hour. On reaching the first ridge with time to catch your breath, the walk continues on the narrow gradual track for half hour or more till we reach a small glacial pond with one temporary teahouse shade nearby. From hereon, another hour and a half will leads us to the top of the pass on a winding uphill trail. Though the crossing of the Pass is not technically difficult, we go at it slowly to take into account the complications of altitude and possible snow. After about four hours of struggle from the bottom, we reach up at the height of 5,415 meter at Thorung-la, from where we can get impressive views of the stunning high Himalayan scenery. The entire Annapurna range in the South, Muktinath and Mustang Himal to the West, and the incredible deep Kali Gandaki valley, and the surrounding peaks of Thorungtse 6,482 mtrs. and Chulu to the North can be viewed from here. It’s a stunning view point with majestic landscapes. The descent is steep and rough, but we can have excellent views of the Dhaulagiri 8,167m. From here, we take a longer route to descend to the sacred village of Muktinath; on reaching the bottom of the pass at the only teahouse around, after a short break here we continue on the gradual trail for another hour to Muktinath, the holiest of all holy places; & during auspicious times, according to Hindu & Buddhist calendars, this place is literally thronged with pilgrims. We set up an overnight camp at Muktinath overlooking excellent views of Dhaulagiri, Tukuche Peak and Nilgiri.
Day 11: Trek to Marpha 2,670m.
After the strenuous day as it gets hard on the knees to Muktinath, our journey carries on with a 1,200m of descent to the Kaligandaki river valley floor, with a brief stop at Ekale bhatti which means ‘a lonely teahouse’, at present its a small settlement with 3-4 teahouses. From here onwards, the valley gets very windy in the afternoon time as we here the howling of the wind right in the ears, the walk follows the gentle trail for another two hours till the large town of Jomsom is reached. Jomsom, a little hilly town and headquarters of the Mustang region with a small airstrip is just above the Kaligandaki River. Another two hours of easy walk from Jomsom towards the south east brings us to Marpha for the overnight stop, which is little gem, with whitewashed houses, paved streets and numerous well kept lodges. Here, you will have time to celebrate with the local apple products like cider, brandy, original apple pies and pure apple juice. This area from Kagbeni to Larjung is famous for its delicious juicy apples and the delicious products that are produced from it.
Day 12: Trek to Lete, 2,480m. (Kasturi Lodge. The owner is a lady called Shanti)
From Marpha, the walk is very enjoyable following the Kaligandaki River down stream. Soon, we reach another charming village at Tukuche, close beneath the Tukuche peak and Dhaulagiri, with spectacular views of Mt. Nilgiri and the massif icefalls which tumbles from the Dhaulagiri's east face, after an hour’s walk from Tukuche while coming to Larjung village, then crossing the broad river bed, either by way of a series of temporary plank bridges over numerous channels if the river level is low, or via the high suspension bridge. We can have some fun tip-toeing across the stream if the water level is low, and we could also freshen our feet by taking off our boots on the way.
The usual route follows the east side of the valley. After an hour’s walk, we get back to the tree line of pines, oaks and rhododendron, as the path meanders away from the river for a while & then for an hour when coming back to the river bed just before Kalapani village; near Kalapani, the trail leads to a suspension bridge over the gorge of the raging Kaligandaki River with awesome views of Dhaulagiri peak and its icefall, & from the bridge, a short walk brings us to Kalapani village. Kalapani, another lovely village of more than 20 houses with excellent tea houses and lodges with grandeur views of Mt.Annapurna I, Nilgiri's and Dhaulagiri above the beautiful forest surrounding. An hour of descending takes us to our camp at Lete just by the fast flowing river near the bridge. It’s a wonderful place for camping.
Day 13: Trek to Tatopani 1,190m.
The walk from Kalapani onwards leads to a dramatic change in the vegetation, from dry, arid desert to pine and conifer forests, as we pass between two giant peaks of Dhaulagiri and the Annapurnas. The first two hours of trek passes through the village of Ghasa with constant views of the snow capped peaks in the beautiful cool forest surrounding. Although the Annapurna Circuit is one of the most popular treks not only in Nepal, but is said to be the best throughout the whole Himalayan range, and the Kali Gandaki Valley is similarly renowned for being Nepal's most prosperous regions because of the Trans Himalayan & Salt Trade Route which passes through this region to Tibet, & this section of the area is surprisingly wild and scenically varied. There are many settlements and isolated lodges and tea houses, with open areas, enchanting forest and impressive views. Below Ghasa, which is the southern end of the area dominated by Thakali people with fewer of this ethnic tribe till Tatopani, & then the architectural style gradually changes shape, with much ornately carved wood work in evidence.
This pleasant walk amidst beautiful surroundings continues back to the terraced paddy fields and into warm sub-tropical climate all the way to the village of Tatopani passing through the beautiful waterfalls of Rupsi Chhare. Just before Dana there is a long section where the trail has, for many years, been disrupted by landslides and numerous travelers, including the many trains of pack animals which ply this route requires us to negotiate some quite steep detours. Nearing Tatopani (Hot Springs) village the valley again is quite constricted and it starts to feel quite warm with sub tropic climates and vegetation, Tatopani is another nice village with large hot spring pools just by the bank of the River Kaligandaki. Overnight at Tatopani near the banks of the Kali-Gandaki River.
Day 14: Trek to Ghorepani 2,750 m.
After a wonderful time at Tatopani and immersing ourselves in its warm pools, our trek continues towards east on the gradual trail for an hour crossing a suspension bridge over the Kaligandaki river, the path leads by the river for a while just arriving at the junction of the two trails, the other wide path follows the river all the way to Beni. Our route diverts from here taking the uphill climb, the first of the climb is quite steep to the top, where there is a small tea house, from here ahead of us lies a steep terraced hillside, dotted with farms and villages. From this spot a gradual climb leads us most of the day, leaving behind the terraced fields walking in the dense rhododendron forests and reaching the village of Chitre for the overnight. Today, a short up hill walk through the rhododendron and pine forest brings us to Ghorapani. We camp at Deurali for the best views of the sunset with excellent scenes of Dhaulagiri and the Annapurna ranges.
Day 15: Trek to Tirkhedhunga 1,500m
Early in the morning (if the day is promising) a one hour or more hike to the top of Poon-Hill at 3,195m altitude, will give us the experience of a stunning & beautiful sunrise with superb panoramas from over the Dhaulagiri-Annapurna to Mt.Manaslu range. After a busy photo session, we return back to camp at Ghorepani for breakfast. From Ghorepani, the trail leads on to the main trail as we walk more or less on a downhill path passing through a patch of cool shade of forests and small villages till Banthali is reached. After having lunch, the trek continues on the gradual trail for a short period, and then a long descend from Ulleri village takes us on the stone paved steps all the way to the suspension bridge at Tirkhedhunga and finally to our camp. This is almost our last day on the beautiful mountains.
Day 16: Trek to Nayapul (new bridge) 1,100m and drive to Pokhara 860m
Approx 3-4 hours walk and a 2 hrs drive.
After a lovely morning at Tirkhedhunga, a beautiful walk takes us on a gradual downhill path most of the way passing through rural farm villages and great views of the cascading waterfalls nearby, and then we reach a beautiful village at Bhirethanti by the river Modi for lunch. From this village, another thirty minutes walk brings us to the Pokhara - Baglung motor able highway at Nayapul. On reaching the roadside, we hop the bus for an interesting scenic drive of less than two hours towards Pokhara, for an overnight stop by the serene Lake Phewa at Pokhara with time for a visit around the Lake or boating; and at eventide, we have a farewell celebration party with the trekking crew and porters whom we’ve come to know over the weeks. After slugging some beers, we do a jig to some local dances & have a real nice well deserved time. We then retire for the night at our lodge as we reminisce on the wonders of this thrilling trek, taking home memories that will last for a lifetime.
Day 17: From Pokhara, we fly or drive back to Kathmandu.
Take a morning or afternoon flight to Kathmandu or book your ticket for the Tourist Coach from your Hotel at Pokhara.
Day 18: Departure for home
This day is free to do your own things till your departure time. Maybe you can do some shopping for the loved ones at home or just simply chill out at some bar in Thamel with some beers. Our vehicle and an escort will be on standby at your hotel to drive you down to the airport for your connecting flight home. It’s been nice knowing you. We do hope we will meet some day again. We at Nepal Great Himalaya Treks would like to wish you a safe journey home. Take care and ciao! till we meet again.