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ANNAPURNA ROUND TREK

Central Nepal is dominated by the Annapurna Himal. Annapurna round is the most popular route of this area. Visit the Tibet like country on the northern slopes of the Himalaya and the dramatic Kali Gandaki gorge. Nepal opened Manang to trekkers in April 1977. You walk completely around the Annapurna massif. Trek through lowland villages to the remote Manang region, and down the Kali Gandaki. Cross a 5416m pass called "Thorang la". There are many tea shops and lodges all along the route from Besi Shahar to Pokhara. There are also many good camping grounds on the way. You walk along the Marshyangdi valley to Thorung Fedi, cross Thorung pass and then drop down to the Muktinath and then follow kali Gandaki valley from Kagbeni. There is an airport in Jomsom. If you don’t have enough time you can fly to Pokhara from here or can continue your trek along the Kali Gandaki valley to Tato Pani, Ghorepani or drive from Jomsom to Beni and Pokhara.

Trip Facts

Duration: 16 days

Type of the Trek: Tea House, Camping

Activities: Trekking, Culture Tours

Best Months: September to November and March to May

Maximum Altitude: 5416m (Thorang Pass)

Grade: Medium to hard

Trip Highlights

*Walk completely around Annapurna massif.

*Trek through lowland villages to the remote Manang region and down the Kali Gandaki.

*Magnificent views of Annapurna, Manaslu and Dhaulagiri range.

*Experience different culture and visit ancient monasteries.

 Detail Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu (1350m)

   A representative from the company will display your naming board and greet you outside the arrival terminal. He or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements escort to your hotel. The trip leader will hold a short briefing in the hotel regarding trek arrangements and a general orientation to Kathmandu.

Day 2: Sightseeing around Kathmandu valley

   Our Tour guide led you explore around Kathmandu valley for the sightseeing. We explore historical, spiritual and world Heritage Sites: Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath (Monkey temple), and Bouddhanath: one of the largest Stupa of the world, Pashupatinath: One of the Hindus holy place of the world. In the afternoon, we visit Bhaktapur city, one of the oldest city of Nepal and very popular for its pottery square and old temples.          

Day 3: Drive to Chamje (1430m / 8-9 hrs)

     We begin our journey early in the morning around 7 am.  After breakfast we take private transportation for the drive to Chamje, trek starting point. As soon as you drive out of the Kathmandu valley you get panoramic views of the Annapurna, Manaslu and Ganesh Himal. As you descend the scenic winding road, the mountain views disappear and you drive along the Trishuli River before turning west at Mugling and drive against flow of Marshyangdi River. We stop in one of many wayside restaurants for lunch. Upon reaching the tropical town of Dumre, we leave the main road and take a narrower road going north and follow the west bank of Marshyangdi River with the view of tumbling white water, terraced hillsides and a beautiful mountain panorama to Besishahar. Besishahar is head quarter of Lamjung district. Here are many government offices, hotels, restaurants and shops. This is big town. From here we drive along the dusty and bumpy road to Chamje. Here are several hotels and shops in Chamje.

 Day 4: Trek to Dharapani (1860m / 6 hrs)

   Cross the Marshyangdi to the east bank and follow the trail along the river embankment on rocks and exposed wire. The trail passes under an overhanging rock, and then climbs a rocky trail and a steep stone staircase to a bhattis in sattle. Climb past fields, then through stands of bamboo and rhododendron to an exposed trail that traverses high above the steep river bank. The trail makes a short descend to Tal Besi, there are several hotels at 1580m. From here it is steep climb beside the Marshyangdi, which has become an underground waterfall beneath huge boulders. The trail crests a ridge and the valley suddenly opens into a large plateau. In these dramatic settings, at a foot of large waterfall, is Tal, at 1675mt. There are many shops, lodges and very nice camping ground In Tal. There is another ACAP check post in Tal. Tal means “lake”. Tal is the southernmost village in Manang and it is the starting point of Manang district. The trail crosses the broad flat valley through fields of corn, barley and potatoes, then crosses a small stream on a wooden bridge. There is a short climb, and then the trail makes its way along a cliff and along the riverbed to Shirental. A short distance beyond it climbs to long suspension bridge across the Marshyangdi River. Climb past several bhattis in Ningalghari. Follow a trail that has been blasted out of the side of the cliff past 2 waterfalls to the Khotro. Descend past a bhatti in the forest to a long high suspension bridge that leads to the east bank of the river and karte. We follow up a stone staircase and over a ridge behind Kharte then drop to a suspension bridge that leads to the west side of the Marshyangdi. The trail climbs from the bridge to a stone Kani that marks the entrance to Dharapani, at 1860m, there are 2 parts to this village. There are many good lodges, shops, telephone office; police check post and some camping ground in this village.

Day 5: Trek to Chame (2670m / 6 hrs) 

   From Dharapani we turn west ward. Beyond Dharapani the trail passes a school and climbs over a spur before descending Bagarchhap. About half an hour further we reach a village called Bagarchhap, at 2160m, this is the first village on the trek with typical Tibetan architecture closely spaced stone houses, with flat roofs pilled high firewood. Here are several shops and guesthouses. The trail now travels west up the Manang valley with the high Himalayan peaks to the south. From here you get an excellent view of Lamjung Himal (6986mt.), Annapurna II (7937mt.and Annapurna IV (7525mt.) through the trees. And if you look down the valley to the west, Manaslu and peak 29 dominates the skyline. The trail climbs through forests to Dhanakyu a settlement at 2290m with several hotels run by people from Bagarchhap. A broad level trail leads through forests to a wooden bridge near a spectacular waterfall then traverses a rock ledge. Climb over a ridge on a steep rocky trail and descend to the tiny settlement to Temang Besi. The route crosses several landslides and works its way uphill through forests to Lata Manang at 2360m. There are few small nice hotels. From here it is gradual ascend for 2 and half hours to Chame. The trail climbs over three steep forested ridges, and crosses a large stream before descending to Thanchok. Trek across another ridge to the entrance Chorten of Koto (2600m), it is also known as kyupar in a meadow surrounded by huge pine and spruce trees. Here are several lodges, shops and camping ground in this village. Mostly camping group spend night here. The police check post here controls access to the Nar-Phu valley to the north. From Koto, it is an easy half an hour walk to Chame, the administrative headquarters for the Manang district. At the entrance to the village is a long wall with many prayer wheels. Here are many good hotels, shops, school, health post and bank. Across the river there are two small hot springs. Throughout the day there are views of Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II and Annapurna IV.

Day 6: Trek to Pisang (3200m / 5-6 hrs)

   From the bridge we pass an older part of Chame and the kani. Climb past Mani walls to a huge walled in field of buck wheat in Telekhu. There is a long pleasant, mostly level walk in forests with one short landslide crossing, to a huge apple orchard surrounded by a stone wall. In Bhratang there are several hotels, just beyond the lodges is a bridge leading to the old Bhratang but we don’t cross the bridge and stay on the northern side of the river. The valley is steep and narrow and the trail goes through deep forests. When the trail rounds a bend there is the first view of the dramatic Paungda danda rock face. There are also views of Annapurna II to the south and Pisang peak (6092m) to the north-east and back down the valley to Himal Chuli and Ngadi Chuli. Cross to the south bank of the Marshyangdi on a suspension bridge, make a long climb over a ridge then descend to the Dhukure Pokhari, named after a tiny lake nearby. The trek is then reasonably level as it heads into the upper part of the Manang valley, eventually reaching at the entrance to Pisang. The lower portion of Pisang a cluster of houses and a long Mani wall with prayer wheels. There are many hotels and shops. There are excellent camping places in the forest on the south bank of the river. The main village of Pisang is across the river and 100m uphill. Pisang is situated at the foot of Pisang peak.

Day 7: Trek to Manang (3540m / 5 hrs)

   Passing some prayer wheels and irrigation canals we ascend gradually to a pass (3380m) from where a wide Manang valley comes in full view with peaks of Chulu East (6429m) on the north and Gangapurna (7454m) in the south. After a short descend the trail reaches the broad forested floor. Most of the valley is used as grazing land for sheep, goats, horses and Yaks. Across the river high on the northern bank is Ghyaru. The trail follows along the valley floor to Manang’s airstrip at Humde, elevation 3325m. Here are several hotels, curio shops and police check post. There are scheduled flights from Humde to Pokhara and occasional direct flight to Kathmandu. We are now in the alpine zone with scattered scrubs of juniper. The soils here are poor and only one crop per year of wheat, barley, buck wheat and potatoes grows. Half an hour beyond the airport is the huge Subje khola valley with Annapurna- III and –IV at the head. The trail crosses to the north bank of the Marshyangdi on a wooden bridge near Mungji. The snow peak at the head of the valley is Tilicho peak, to the north of it s a black rock spire named Khangsar (5977m). The route climbs past fields of barley over a low ridge to Braga at 3475m. Here are many hotels and ancient monastery perched high on the valley cliff. The country is very arid, dominated by weird cliffs of yellow rock, eroded into dramatic pillars alongside the trail and by the towering heights of the Himalaya across the valley to the south. It is a only short walk past Mani walls and across a stream where several mills grind wheat and barley to the plateau of Manang village at 3540m. Here are many good hotels with very good facility. Here are lots of trekking shops, The Himalayan Rescue Association with a doctor. The village itself is a collection of many flat-roofed houses. But now here are many modern concrete buildings. The setting of the village is most dramatic with the summits of Annapurna and Gangapurna less than 8 km away and a huge icefall rumbling and crashing on the flanks of the peak. Here are several good camping grounds in the village and out of the village near water tank.

Day 8: Manang (Acclimatize and explore)

   The village of the Manang lies at the foot of the northern side of the Annapurna range. People and culture here are of Tibetan origin. The rain shadow caused by the Himalayan range deprives the valley of rain and as a result life here is harsh. People here depend on poor soil, sheep and Yak for a living. However with tourism the fates of people have changed. Mostly people have very good income from tourism. The view of the Annapurna ranges from here is incredible with Annapurna-II, Annapurna-IV, Annapurna-III, Gangapurna and Tilicho Peak forming a massive chain. An extra day in Manang we can hike to the monastery high above for the view of the valley or to the lake below the Gangapurna glacier.

Day 9: Trek to Yak Kharka or Churi Ledar (4018m - 4200m / 4-5 hrs)

    From Manang village, the trail cross a stream, climbs to Tengi and then continues to climb out of the Marshyangdi valley, turning north-west up the valley of the Jarsang khola. The trail follows this valley north passing a few Goths as it’s steadily gains elevation. The vegetation now consists of scrub juniper and alpine grasses. The trail climbs to the small village of Gunsang at 3930m. There is an irrigation and hydroelectric project. Here are some hotels. The route passes through sparse forests of juniper, rose and barberry and a few meadows where horses and yaks graze. After crossing a large stream that flows from the peaks of Chulu west and Gundang, the trail passes an ancient Mani wall in a pleasant meadow. Beyond is Yak Kharka (4018m). Here are some hotels. A large herd of yaks graze in the fields nearby. Here are good grounds for camping near hotel. An hour further at 4200m is Churi Ledar. Here are some hotels and camping ground.

Day 10: Trek to Thorung Phedi (4450m / 4 hrs)

   From Churi Ledar the trail continues to climb along the east bank of the Jarsang Khola then descend and crosses the stream on a wooden bridge. Make a short ascent on a good trail to a tea shop. The route then follows a narrow trail across a high unstable scree slope and descends to Thorung Phedi, a rock –strewn meadow surrounded by vertical cliffs at 4450m. There are several hotels and police check post. There are camp sites by the river or at the main camp site about 10 minutes above the hotel. Many people schedule to leave from here at 3 am. Blue sheep and even snow leopards sometimes magically appear in this valley. The crow and the large birds can see. We reach in Thorung Phedi on time for lunch; therefore can spend the afternoon relaxing and saving energy for the next day’s climb. There is high camp in Thorung Phedi at 4925m but mostly tourist stay in first camp. Phedi means “foot of the hill” is a common Nepali name for any settlement at the bottom of a long climb.

Day 11: Trek to Muktinath (3760m / 8-9 hrs)

   From Thorung Phedi trail becomes steep, switch backing up moraines and following rocky ridges as it ascends to the pass. Local people have used this trail for hundreds of years to bring herds of sheep and yaks in and out of Manang. So, the trail is well defined and easy to find. The crossing of the pass is just walk at high altitude and there is no technical problem. But if we are late to start, weather sometimes create problem. Therefore we make an early start. There is a steeper section at the beginning for about an hour after which the walk towards the pass is rather gradual uphill. It takes from 4-6 hours from Thorung Phedi to the pass. Thorung La, with its traditional Chhorten, prayer flags and stone cairn is at an elevation of 5416m. The views from the trail and from the pass are outstanding high Himalayan scenes. You can see the long ridge of high mountains called the “great barrier”. This separates the drier, Tibet like region of Manang from the rest of Nepal. Yakawa Kang (6484m) to the north and Khatung Kang (6483m) to the south. The Mukut and the Mustang Himal lies in the west with the Kaligandaki valley down below. The peaks of Chulu East and Chulu West lies on the north and the entire Annapurna ranges dominate the southern horizon. Descending down is steep and rough on the knees a loss of more than 1600m in about four hours. There are excellent views of Dhaulagiri standing alone in the distance across the valley. Eventually the moraines yield tom grassy slopes and the final descend to Muktinath is a pleasant walk along the upper part of the Jhong Khola valley.  There are hotel at Chabarbu (4100m) where the grassy slopes begin. From Chabarbu, it is 1 and half hours to Muktinath. The trail crosses meadows drops into a deep ravine that is the start of the Jhong Khola. Climb out of the ravine and follows a wide trail into Muktinath which is the first village after crossing the pass. The temple and the religious shrines of Muktinath are about 90 meter from hotel area. It is not allowed to make camp in temple area. Muktinath is an important pilgrimage place for both Hindus and Buddhists. The holy shrines at Muktinath are in a grove of trees and include a Buddhist Gompa and the pagoda style temple of Vishnu mandir, containing an image of Vishnu. Around the temple is a wall from which 108 waterspouts, cast in the shape of cow’s heads, pour underground spring water. There is also a Buddhist temple containing a burning natural gas and a small spring emerging from the rock in the same vicinity. This auspicious combination of earth, fire and water is responsible for the religious importance of Muktinath. Muktinath is beautiful place where you can enjoy very much. Here are many good hotels, restaurants and shops. Here is also a police check post. Now, this place has been connected with motor able road with Jomsom and Beni.

Day 12: Trek to Kagbeni (2800m / 3 hrs)

   We will spend the morning half either relaxing or exploring. After lunch we descend towards the kali Gandaki valley through the village of Jharkot back dropped by the sensational view of Dhaulagiri – I (8167m) and Nilgiri (7061m). Jharkot is an impressive fortress- like village at 3500m. There are several hotels with its picturesque Kani and large Gompa is well exploring. Across the valley we can see the ruins of Dzong, the ancient capital of this region and the smaller villages of Purang and Changur. We walk through the rough road and small trail. Passing the yellow barren landscape with dotted patches of green cultivation, we follow the windy trail and after a short steep descend we reach a former trading post of compact Kagbeni on the way to Mustang and to Tibet. Kagbeni looks like a town out of the medieval past, with closely packed mud houses, dark tunnels and alley ways, imposing Chhorten and a large ochre colored Gompa perched above the town. Now here are many new modern buildings. There are many hotels, shops and police check post in the end of the village. The ACAP office that administers upper Mustang is in Kagbeni. Here are some good camping grounds. Kagbeni and Muktinath have been connected with motor able road but the road is rough. If we don’t have enough time we can go direct to Jomsom from Muktinath.

Day 13: Trek to Jomsom (2720m / 4 hrs)

   We now head south through a wide, windswept and barren section of the Kali Gandaki valley. In the morning we follow the road and small trail on the left bank along the floor of the Kali Gandaki River. A little further south we pass through Eklebhatti and still further south we reach dusty and windswept town of the Jomsom in full view of Nilgiri Himal. Jomsom is the administrative headquarter of Mustang district. Jomsom is the gate way to the Mustang valley and Muktinath for pilgrims. Follow the main path past several hotels to the school after then, we cross the Kali Gandaki River by nice bridge. Here are 2 bridges. North of the airport, on the west side of the river, are shops, bhattis, shoe repair shops and a large army camp after then we inter into the main market area. There are many nice hotels, restaurants, shops and several airline branch offices. Here is an airstrip in the last part. Many daily flights operate from Pokhara to Jomsom. In this area mostly people are Thakalis. In the afternoon we can visit Jomsom market and cultural museum. From Jomsom to Kagbeni and Muktinath there is rough road but most of the time we use trekking trail and use road in few places.

Day 14: Fly to Pokhara (823m / 30 min)

   From Jomsom to Pokhara is short flight. During our flight we can see very nice views of the mountains. We will fly along the Kali Gandaki valley and then through the middle of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. During the day we can visit many interesting places in Pokhara. Pokhara is the most beautiful town of Nepal and it is surrounded by Annapurna range and nice hills. There are many famous lakes and viewpoints.

Day 15: Fly back to Kathmandu

   We fly back to Kathmandu airport and transfer to hotel. In the afternoon we visit the Thamel market for shopping and in the evening we will have farewell dinner at traditional Nepali restaurant with pure Nepali cultural program.

Day 16: Departure to your home

   We will transfer you in international airport from hotel for your international flight.

 

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