MANANG, THORUNG-LA & UPPER MUSTANG – The Highest of & Beyond the Annapurnas –
24 Days. Max. Altitude 5,416m.
Basic Tea-House Trekking with guides and porters.
Pre-trek Briefing: HE Office (Kathmandu Guest House) 5pm on day prior to Day 1.
Regarded at one time as one of the best of the best trekking routes in the world, the allure of Annapurna Circuit is gradually heading towards the death bed with now functional road-link (although still an off road with limited vehicular movement with all too evident further development) from the latter half of the circuit after Thorung-la pass downwards from Muktinath stretching right up to Pokhara. How can we still get the best and more of the legendary Annapurna trek? The panacea lies in not further off than the trek on offer here.
This is the journey through vast climatic and geographical variation – from lush vegetation, cascading falls, verdant farms to the punishing tread through to the thin air of Thorung-la, probably the highest road-less pass in the world, and then to the harsh climes and parched lands of enigma, that is the definitive ‘back of beyond’ – the restricted zone of Upper Mustang. Multitude of ethnicities, cultures, nuances will hold you in captivation as you progress from classic mid-hill villages, Himalayan foothills to be truly amongst the giants of Western Himalayan belt and then to the closed communities of Upper Mustang
DAY TO DAY PLAN –
Day 1: Drive to Besisahar (6hrs approx) & Trek to Bhulbule
(O/nt Altitude 840m/2.5hrs approx.) Set off towards Besi Sahar (gateway to Annapurna Circuit) by chartered vehicle from Kathmandu. A long walk through Besi Sahar bazaar leads downstream and then comes the climb up the rocky steps. There are several ups and downs as the trail makes its way through sub-tropical forests and rice paddies of Sera. Further along, traverse a long saggy suspension bridge across Khudi Khola and arrive at Bhulbule.
Day 2: To Bahundanda
(O/nt Altitude 1,300m/4hrs approx.) The trail traverses the Marshyangdi River on a long, feeble suspension bridge as Bhulbule is left behind. Once the Ngadi River is crossed, the trail gently leads upwards through scrub forests and across landslides for a short distance, which then leads to few teashops and cold-drink stalls located opposite the rice paddies of Lampata, eventually leading to Bahundanda (hill of the Brahmins), an attractive village in the saddle of a long ridge.
Day 3: To Chyamje
(O/nt Altitude 1,410m/7hrs approx.) The route traverses high above the river on an exposed trail whilst crossing through Lili Bhir. It goes past several small streams and climbs over a ridge. As we move towards our destination, we come across serene and pleasant villages of Kanigaon and Ghermu Phant. On the way, a nice stone village, opposite to the long waterfall with a medieval atmosphere, known by the name of Jagat, previously a toll station, can also be spotted.
Day 4: To Bagarchhap
(O/nt Altitude 2,160m/7hrs approx.) As the trail makes its way ahead, it traverses to the east bank of the Marshyangdi River and tags along the river embankment on rocks and exposed wire cases filled with rocks known as gabion, which is expansively used throug out Nepal to stabilise river banks and road cuttings. Much of the trail ascends throughout the day with local teahouses, lodges and waterfalls along the way to Bagarchhap.
Day 5: To Chame
Day 5: To Chame
(O/nt Altitude 2,710m/6 hrs approx.) You are already in Manang district and the valley here is made up of virgin forest of fir and pine. The tempting peaks of Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II and Manaslu Himal can be sighted en route. The trail traverses through tiny settlement at Timang Besi, and soon it turns up at Lattemarang, eventually leading to our night stop at Chame, the administrative headquarters for the Manang District.