You may arrive at the joining-point hotel at any time on Day 1 as no group activities are planned for today except for a group meeting in the early evening followed by an optional dinner. It is important that you arrive in time for this meeting as we will cover important aspects of the trek. Please check the entrance of the hotel for a notice from your CEO detailing the location of the meeting.
Today our trek starts with a short trek from Syanje (1,100m) to Jagat (1,350m) We follow the river accross from which you can see some Hot Springs, just some of the many that can be found along this valley. But most of the Hot Springs are often submerged during the monsoon season. As the climb gets steeper you can see Jagat on the ridge above & this ascent from Syanje takes about 2 hrs.
For almost 2 weeks we immerse ourselves into the spectacular mountain wilderness that encompasses the Annapurna Range. At 8091m, Annapurna 1 is one of the highest mountains in the world. Its surrounding sister mountains are equally imposing, creating magnificent panoramas from any view point. Throughout the trek we come across isolated mountain communities, each observing different ancestral customs and traditions, resulting in not only a visually superb expedition but also a culturally rich one. Amid the rugged mountain scenery, we meet warm and welcoming locals herding yaks and goats on the grassy pastures. We also enjoy the opportunity to visit their monasteries and temples. Along the way we see waterfalls of melted snow, cross icy rivers, broad plains and high mountain passes and reward ourselves with a soak in natural hot springs (boy, have you earned this!). The trekking is challenging, averaging 6-7 hours walking a day, often at high altitude. The highest point we reach is the 5416m Thorung Pass.
Given the dangers of altitude sickness, it is imperative that we take at least 3 days to ascend to this height. A couple of days are also allowed for rest and acclimatization. Our accommodation comprises small, basic teahouses along the track. These remote teahouses are operated by the mountain Nepalese to cater for trekkers, providing good and filling hot food and a communal floor for sleeping.
Details for the trek are as follows. Please note however that the exact itinerary can vary due to unforeseen circumstances including weather conditions or bandhs (strikes) called by the government.
Follow the Marsyandi River through terraced rice paddies, bamboo forests and Tamang, Baun and Gurung villages, making several suspension bridge crossings and passing several beautiful waterfalls. Above Jaga the gorge becomes narrower and steep-sided in many places. Walking the rocky trail from Chamje to Bagar, you enter the Manang district from Taal. Be prepared for some stone stairways before reaching the Tibetan style village of Bagar.
Above Bagar it is really breathtaking (in every way!). The walk is spectacular so don't rush it. Stop watching your feet every now and again to gawk at the splendid backdrop of Annapurna II. Chame is bigger than other towns you have come across.
Views of Lamjung, Manaslu and Peak 29 and, nearing Chame, Annapurna.
After passing through barley fields and apple orchards, follow the river through a steep, narrow gorge to enter the upper Manang district. In this cold, almost arid climate wheat, barley, buckwheat and potato crops are limited to one per year and villagers depend on their herds of yaks, goats, cows and horses. From Pissang to Manang is definitely a ‘viewing’ day. All along the trail are sacred objects of Tibetan Buddhism – chorten, mani walls and, in Braga, a fascinating gompa stands above Tibetan houses which cling to the hillside, their balconies formed by the roof of the house below. In the afternoon Annapurnas II, III and IV become increasingly imposing.
The dramatic setting of Manang makes for a pleasant rest and acclimatization day with the added benefit of hot showers. The best way to acclimatize is to do some high climbing then return to the lower altitude of Manang for sleeping.
Day 3 - Bagarchhap (2160m) (trekking time approx. 5 - 6 hours)
Day 4 - Bagurchhap to Chame (2670m) (trekking time approx. 6 hours)
Day 5 - Chamje to Pisang (3300m) (trekking time approx. 7 hours)
Day 6 - Pisang to Manang (3540m) (trekking time approx. 6 hours)
Day 7 – Rest day at Manang
Days 8 -9
Branch away from the Marsyandi Khola, steadily climbing into quiet alpine areas. Again the mountain views are commanding.
Day 8 - Manang to Yak Kharta (4018m) (trekking time approx. 6 hours)
Day 9 - Trek to Phedi (4450m) (5kms - approx. 5 hour)
The most difficult day, but perhaps the highlight of the trek as you cross the Thorong Pass (5416m). It is a long, tough ascent via a number of small hills, but when you reach the prayer flags at the top you are rewarded with absolutely stunning high Himalaya scenery and over to the Kaligandaki valley through the entire Annapurna range, Mukut and Mustang Himal to the west. It is then a long descent to Muktinath.
Day 10 - Tek to Muktinath (3800m) (approx 8-9 hours)
Day 11 - Rest day to explore Muktinath
Muktinath is a fascinating village; sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists it attracts many pilgrims. Here spring water flows from a rock face via 108 spouts (108 is a sacred number to Buddhists). This water wall surrounds a temple sacred to Vishnu and below the statue runs a trickle of water with pale flames caused by natural gas. There are shrines to Shiva and his consort and Padmasambhava as well as numerous chorten and the surrounding poplar grove supposedly sprang from the staffs of the 84 Siddhas. The mass of Dhaulagiri I makes a striking contrast.
Day 12 Drive to Kalopani (2530m)
The Kali Gandaki is home to Thakalis, Gurungs and Magars. Many of the hills bordering the northern end of the valley are yellowish due to desertification and make a striking contrast to the green farmland of the valley floor. The Thakhali dominated the lucrative trade routes with Tibet and today have turned their entrepreneurial spirit to other businesses, the neglected Buddhist shrines of Tukuche testament to their 19th century conversion to Hinduism in their climb to power. The descent to Tatopani follows the increasingly narrow valley, though one of the world’s deepest river gorges, past the beautiful Rupse Chaharo waterfall, with fantastic views along the way and the lure of hot springs at the end. Take a dip at night with the sound of the river rushing below and starts above.
Day 13 - Drive to Tatopani (1160m)
Day 14 – Trek to Sikha
Day 15 - Ghorepani (2785m) 8 km – approx. 5 hours
This day we trek gradually up to Ghorepani.
Early morning excursion to Poon Hill. It takes about 8 hours to Nayapool where our bus will be waiting to take us to Pokhara. Rest and take a well-deserved shower in this lakeside resort town.
Pokhara lies on a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalaya. The enchanting city has several beautiful lakes and offers stunning panoramic views of Himalayan peaks - creating the ambience that has made it such a popular place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
On Day 17 we travel back to Kathmandu where the rest of the day is free for shopping, sightseeing or relaxing in one of the many rooftop cafés.
You may depart at any time on Day 18.