For the hiker with more time to spare, this is widely regarded as Nepal’s ‘trek-with-everything’ – green forests, tremendous mountain scenery, a mosaic of fascinating cultures and, of course, a thorough and healthy work-out!
The trail leads northwards initially, crossing paddy fields before dissecting the Marshyangdi River Gorge and passing through interesting villages, including Bhubhule, ‘a place where water bubbles up through the ground;’ Taal, situated near a waterfall; and Pisang, a two-part village, the upper portion of which has dramatic views of Annapurna II. The ascent is fairly steady and eventually emerges, with a dramatic change of scenery, in the arid Manang Valley, a region which is predominantly Tibetan in lifestyle and outlook. The following few days are spent travelling through this delightful valley, which has fascinating settlements and tremendous views.
A day is taken side-trekking to Manang for acclimatization purposes before we continue crossing the Thorang-La (5416 m). This is a long but very rewarding day with splendid views of Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri and Dhampus Peak, among others. From the pass, a steep descent of two-three hours leads to Muktinath, the most sacred place for Hindus in Nepal apart from Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. Muktinath has been a holy place since ancient times (it is very significant for Buddhists, too), stemming from the discovery of the small flames of natural gas within a Nyingma Buddhist shrine on the south side of the temple complex. This has always been viewed as a miraculous conjunction of fire, air and water.
Our return follows the Kali Gandaki via many intriguing Lower Mustang and Thakali villages, including Kagbeni, which has great examples of Tibetan style architecture and culture, Marpha, renowned for its production of world class (and extremely potent !) brandy, and Tatopani (which means ‘hot water’).
Tatopani is a small town with three main clusters of houses: at the southern end of the northern group of lodges and stores are the hot springs from which the settlement’s name is derived. Tatopani is a stopping point for pilgrims as well as for the trekkers who, lured by its tangerine trees as well as the promise of a natural hot bath, have regarded it as an idyllic halt ever since trekking began to be popular in the early 1970s. We spend a day enjoying the hot springs – and some great food – in Tatopani, before a further two-day hike to Ghorepani.
On the next morning we are up early for the trek to Poon Hill, one of the best spots to see – and photograph – the sun rise over the Himalayas.
On our return we rest for our final night in the beautiful large Gurung village of Ghandruk.
Our last day is an easy descent to Nayapul, where transport awaits for the one-and-a-half hour journey back to Pokhara.
Day 01: On your arrival in Kathmandu we meet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel. In the evening there is a tour briefing and a Nepali dinner with cultural programme.
Day 02: Trek preparation day
Day 03: Drive Kathmandu to Besisahar on local Bus (7 hours) – then trek Bhubhule
Day 04: Trek, Bhulbhule to Syange (1100 m)
Day 05: Trek, Syange to Taal (1707 m)
Day 06: Trek, Taal to Danaque (2082 m)
Day 07: Trek, Danaque to Bhratang (2850 m)
Day 08: Trek, Bhratang to Pisang (3200 m)
Day 09: Trek, Pisang to Manang (3540 m)
Day 10: Rest at Manang (for acclimatization)
Day 11: Trek, Manang to Yak Kharka (3980 m)
Day 12: Trek, Yak Kharka to Throng Phedi (4450 m)
Day 13: Trek to Thorang-La Pass (5416 m) then descend to Muktinath (3810 m)
Day 14: Trek, Muktinath to Kagbeni (2800 m)
Day 15: Trek, Kagbeni to Marpha (2670 m)
Day 16: Trek, Marpha to Kalopani (2530 m)
Day 17: Trek, Kalopani to Ghasa (2010 m)
Day 18: Trek, Ghasa to Tatopani (1190 m)
Day 19: Trek, Tatopani to Chitre (2390 m)
Day 20: Trek, Chitre to Ghorepani
Day 21: Early morning (4:45 a.m.) trek to Poon Hill to watch the sunrise over the Himalayas. After spending time there we retrace our steps to Gharepani village for breakfast, before setting off for Tadapani.
Day 22: Trek, Tadapani to Ghandruk village
Day 23: Trek, Ghandruk to Nayapul then drive to Pokhara
Day 24: Drive, Pokhara to Kathmandu on tourist Bus
Day 25: Free time
Day 26: Tranported to airport for your flight to onward destinastion