Annapurn Circuit

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu:
Arrive Kathmandu airport 10.30pm you will be met by the staff from my agency in Kathmandu. Transfer to the very friendly Hotel.

Day 02: Drive from Kathmandu to Besisahar 760m (7 hours)
We take a bus for the five-hour drive to the end of the road, either at Besi Sahar or a bit farther depending on the road conditions, where we stay the overnight.

Day 03: Trek from Besisahar to Bahundanda 1310m (6 hrs)
Nepal Sherpa Treks staff will arrange porters and do all the packing. After early breakfast we hit the trail. We have about three hours of hot but pleasant walking; we are trekking in the typical Nepali middle hills now, and the scenery is gentle, muted. After crossing a suspension bridge at Bhulbhule, the trail passes a cascading waterfall, and as we traverse the rice terraces, the views of Manaslu are magnificent. Following a gentle incline we come to the village of Ngadi with its picturesque shops,From here we climb, steep and hot, to Bahundanda. Bahundanda literally means "hill of the Brahmins" and it is the most northerly Brahmin settlement in the Marsyangdi Valley, situated high up on a ridge

Day 04: Bahundanda trek to Jagat 1300m (5hrs) and overnight.
A steep trail descends from Bahundanda through green rice terraces before crossing a stream at the bottom of a small waterfall. It then climbs again and traverses the hillside high above the river before reaching the village of Hani Gaon. Ahead, the Marsyangdi valley forms a steep V-shape, and we follow the winding mountain path down through Syange and along the river for some distance. The trail then climbs steeply and the path is cut into the sheer cliff-face some 200-300m above the riverbed. Eventually we descend to the atmospheric village of Jagat, situated on a shelf which juts into the precipitous Marsyangdi valley, where we spend the night at a Tibetan-run lodge.

Day 05: Jagat trek to Dharapani 1860m - 6hrs and overnight.
We awake to a morning climb, head steeply up through a forest to a wonderful teahouse just before Chamje and marked by a magnificent waterfall on the opposite bank. Chamje is an atmospheric village of traditional-style teahouses, often packed with saddled local horses. After descending to the river and crossing a suspension bridge, we begin a steep climb to some small teahouses at Sattale. After chai, we continue on an undulating path above the river, climb the switch-backing path to the top of the hill, and are treated to the sight of Tal below us on a wide plain by the river. Though it is enclosed by cliffs, the level area is reassuring after the slightly harrowing mountain paths on which we have just traveled. Beyond Tal and the checkpost, the valley narrows and the path becomes high and winding, and in several areas is actually hewn from the rock. Beyond the small village of Karte, there is a bit more exposed trail walking before the path drops again to the river. We cross a suspension bridge, and climb the short distance to the stone kani marking the entrance to Dharapani

Day 06: Dharapani trek to Chame 2670m -5 hrs and overnight
Continuing to climb through forests of pine and oak, we pass through Danagyu before coming to a thundering waterfall, where we turn left and head up the high trail to Koto. After an hour of lovely, open forests, we reach a clearing at the top of the trail and a charming Tibetan teahouse where we will stop for a break. Pausing for breath, we can look back for views of Manaslu. An hour away is the wonderful Gurung village of Timang, where the villagers might be harvesting their crops of buckwheat or stuffing local sausages. Heading back down to the village of Koto Qupar, our base for the trek up to Nar Phu, we can look straight up at nearby Annapurna II - a stunning sight convincing us that we are deep in the Himalayan mountains! Many of the villagers are the from Nar Phu valley; this is the gateway to their region. Less than an hour brings us to Chame, the local administrative center of Manang, and a large village packed with small shops and tea-houses, an army post and a large school. We bed down here for the evening.

Day 07: Chame trek to Pisang 3200m - 5 hrs and overnight
It's a beautiful walk from Chame to Pisang, through woods with some small ascents, and wonderful views of the peaks soaring above us. It's just a five hour day, so we'll have the afternoon in Pisang to explore the village, with it's Tibetan mani stones and gompa, perhaps taking a walk up to Upper Pisang for amazing views of Annapurna II and Annapurna III.

Day 08: Pisang trek to Manang 3540m- 6 hrs and overnight
6 hours walk past a series of unique and colorful chortens to Manang, at 3500m, a village of 500 or so flat-roofed houses, the headquarters for the region, and an interesting village packed with trekkers, bakeries and lodges. Manang is dominated by high peaks - Annapurna III and Gangapurna tower over it, and a dramatic icefall sits just across the river. There is an old gompa on the edge of town, many local teahouses, and some atmospheric, winding streets in the village leading out toward the Thorung La. Finally, guest houses, showers, cold beers! There is a 3 o'clock lecture on altitude by the Himalayan Rescue Association for anyone interested.

Day 09: Manang rest day
Today is our acclimatization day, with lots of options; a long day-hike to the Ice Lake, a visit to the 'Hundred Ruppee Lama' at the cave gompa above Manang, a two-hour hike to Milarepa's cave across the river from Braga, the HRA talk, or a tour of Manang's many bakeries. A hike up 300 meters or so for acclimatization is recommended, but nothing too strenuous is required. The guest house is wonderful, a sunny and warm place to gaze at the peaks in the afternoon.

Day 10: Manang trek to Yak Kharka 4018m - 4 hrs and overnight
It's not a long day today, but we gain some altitude, so should take it slowly. En route, we will undoubtedly be passed along the trail by galloping Manangi horses, saddled with wonderful (and expensive) Tibetan wool saddle blankets, and their jubilant Manangi riders, bells jingling as they gallop by. We climb past Tengi and Gunsang to Yak Kharka,

Day 11: Yak Kharka trek to Thorung High camp 4850m - 5hrs and overnight
An easy two or three hour walk up to the Thorung La Base Camp Hotel at Thorung Phedi, and after an early lunch, another hour or so to hike up to the lodge at High Camp, where we will stay the night, getting to bed early for our early morning start the next day; pass day! If anyone is having problems with altitude, we have the option of staying at Thorung Phedi Base Camp, where we had lunch, a nice spot to spend the afternoon with its glass windows.

Day 12: Thorung Phedi- Thorung la pass 5416m -Muktinath 3760m- 9 hrs and overnight
Up early for the three or four hour walk to the top of the Thorung La at 5400m, where we are treated with spectacular views over Mustang and the surrounding peaks. The descent is almost as demanding as the ascent to the top of the pass, so a cup of chai and a snack at the local tea house at Chabarbu, at the bottom of the descent, is a required stop. And on to lower Mustang, which we have actually reached just after the pass, and the serene temple complex of Muktinath.
Muktinath is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus situated in a tranquil grove of trees, and contains a wall of 108 waterspouts in the shape of cows heads spouting sacred water, the Jwala Mai temple with a perpetual spouting flame and the pagoda-styled Vishnu Mandir, all of which make up the auspicious combination of earth, fire and water. We stay just five minutes down the trail from Muktinath at Ranipauwa

Day 13: Muktinath trek to Jomson 2670m- 6 hrs and overnight
We have a nice morning's walk down the Kali Gandaki riverbed, looking for saligrams along the way, to Jomsom, the administrative center for the region. The Kali Gandaki valley gets incredibly windy in the early afternoon, so important to arrive before noon; we'll have lunch in Jomsom, and there is a bank if anyone needs to change money. Then another few hours to Marpha along the same riverbed. Marpha is a white-washed village of cobbled streets, small shops, horses and donkeys, a recently rebuilt gompa and caves above the village, and a wonderful place to stop for the evening.

Day 14: Drive to Pokhara
It is about 5-6 hours of jeep ride from Jomsom to Pokhara and stay over night in Pokhara.

Day 15 - Pokhara (1285 metres)
Fly from the short take off and landing (STOL) airstrip at Jomsom to Pokhara. Transfer to Hotel Stupa and the rest of the day is free.

Day 16 - Kathmandu (1326 metres)
Drive to Kathmandu. Transfer to Hotel Marshyangdi and rest of the day is free.

Day 17: Departure

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