Itinerary, description of stages, practical informations, accomodation, GPS tracks of Manaslu circuit starting in Baluwa (through Barpak and Laprak) with Tsum Valley, Annapurna circuit, Annapurna Base Camp and Mardi Himal trek.
Tsum Valley – Manaslu Tour – Annapurna – Mardi Himal
March to April 2013, I walked in Nepal, doing the following circuit :
– Start in Baluwa near Gorkha to walk through the Gurung villages of Barpak and Laprak to join Manaslu circuit in Korla Beshi
– Tsum Valley during 8 days
– Manaslu Circuit
– Annapurna Circuit using the NATT (New Annapurna Trekking Trails)
– Annapurna Sanctuary
– Part of Mardi Himal Trek
39 days walking, around 550km and 34000m of ascent in the beautiful mountains of Nepal.
Why this trek :
It gives the opportunity to make two big tours without car or bus transport. Both tours can be made sleeping in lodges and tea-houses and so avoid a big organization (tents, porters, food…).
Baluwa – Barpak – Laprak – Korlabeshi :
Beginning in Baluwa, you will immediately go up and avoid a part down in the valley where it can be hot in april. Views to Boudha Himal and then to Ganesh Himal are gorgeous. You are passing through the beautiful, traditional and of-the-beaten-track gurung villages of Barpak and Laprak. On the other hand, you start immediately with hard stages with steep ascents and descents often on stairs.
Unspoiled valley. It gives the opportunity to discover traditional life of the inhabitants who are from Tibetan origin (lamas or bodhis). Faces, habits, monasteries, chortens, mani walls remind Tibet. The countryside is green with terrace cultures, pine forests and views to snowy mountains. It is still unspoiled. We spent 8 days in the valley and met, in average, 2 or 3 other trekkers per day.
Manaslu Circuit :
It is still less frequented than the Annapurnas. Villages are still traditionals. Manaslu is very near from the trail overlooking it from 4000 meters.
Annapurnas Circuit :
From the Manaslu Tour, you are arriving straightly in Dharapani and to the most interesting part of the Annapurnas Tour. From Muktinah, it’s now possible to use the NATT avoiding most of the time the road and affording good views to Dhaulagiri on the right and Annapurnas on the left.
Annapurnas sanctuary :
In Tatopani, after more than one month walking, going up to Poon Hill and to Annapurna Base Camp is just a “short detour” to discover new views to Annapurna I and to Machhapuchhare.
Mardi Himal trek :
Instead of walking down in the valley, you walk up on the ridge,almost touching Macchapuchre. Unspoiled, friendly and authentic relationships.
GPS track of all the circuit and kmz file for Google Earth view : Manaslu and Annapurna circuit. Some parts are reconstituted (no charges batteries, too deep valley to receive GPS signal…) :
General map of Nepal and detailed map of the trek
Internet website for Tsum, Manaslu or Annapurnas
For information about trekking permits, restricted areas, check the official website of Nepal Government.
Internet website for the Manaslu Tour with a detailed map
Blog from Martin Pierrewith maps of Nepal in PDF
Manaslu Tour and Tsum Valley :
As it is in a restricted area, you will need
- A trekking permit for Manaslu (Sept to Nov : 70 US$ per person for the first week, then 10 US$ per day/pers. Dec to August : 50 US$ per person for the first week, then 7 US$ per day/pers). Photo necessary. + the Manaslu park fee (2000 rps). Photo necessary.
- A trekking permit for Tsum Valley (Sept to Nov : 35 US$ for 8 days par person. Dec to August : 25 US$ for 8 days). Photo necessary.
The days are counting from Jagat until Dharamsala. For us, we first had 8 days on the Tsum Valley permit and then 7 days on the Manaslu permit from Lokpa to Dharamsala
- Having a guide
- To be at least two trekkers. If you are alone, you can go with a “ghost” trekker ; in this case, you will need the passport of the second person, pay for two permits and explaining at the checkpoints, that the second person did’nt come because of illness. The other solution is to find a partner using website as Trekking Partners or Trekinfo.
Annapurnas Tour and Sanctuary
It is an open area so you just need to pay the Annapurna Conservation Area Project fee (2000 rps). Photo necessary.
Finally, you need the « Trekkers’ Information Management System » (TIMS) : 10 US$ via agency or 20 US$ by your own. Photo necessary.
Food and accommodation :
Lodges are going from very basic (for example in Tsum Valley) to relatively comfortable (on the Annapurnas). Generally, small rooms separated by wood walls (which let passing through the noises from neighbor room), toilet in a corner of the courtyard, small room for shower (sometimes just a bucket of cold water in the toilet, sometimes real hot shower heated by gaz. Between, you will have hot bucket of water, solar shower…)
In the lodges, the menus and the prices are almost always the same : from traditional Nepali meal (dal baht, momos, noodle soup) to western meal (pizzas, pasta, rœsti…).
In average, night, dinner and breakfast for around 1500rs (14€) including sometimes extras as beer. The dal baht for lunch was around 300rs (3€).
On the Annapurnas tour, accommodation is very cheap : often 1€ or free if you are eating in the lodge. Hot shower usually free. Charging batteries costs 100rs (less than one euro). You can negotiate all as the most interesting for the lodges are the meals : around 700rs for two sets. It’s almost 6€, which is very expensive for Nepal. Prices are around the same everywhere.
On the Mardi Himal Trek, prices are slightly lower than on the Annapurnas.
We made both tours carrying our backpacks. The daily distances are not very importants but the ascents are often more than 1000m. When it is going up, it is often steep with stairs. It is possible to make longers days but we had time and we wanted to be properly acclimatized.
So the main difficulty is the altitude : take in account the symptoms of altitude sickness, take time to go up, go down if necessary, be ready to walk on the snow by intense cold weather.
Daily times :
It is included breaks. Lunch break (for stages of more than 5 hours) can last 2 hours for preparation of the dal baht.
The Manaslu Tour is signed with 3 red circles (sparsely signed). Annapurnas Tour is marked in red and white especially parts that avoid the jeep road.
The NATT is signed in red and white especially for the NATT.
The Mardi Himal trek is signed in blue and white. In the forest, it’s sometimes poorly marked and it’s easy to get lost following a wrong track.
On the part Baluwa – Barpak – Korlabeshi, we just met one other trekker.
In the valley, if we are counting those who slept in Korlabeshi and Tatopani, we were 11 trekkers.
Tsum Valley : we met in average 2 to 3 others trekkers per day.
Manaslu Tour : around dozen of trekkers per day at that time. The day we passed through Larkye La, there were several groups in camping. With porters and guides, finally, that was quite a lot of people.
Annapurnas Tour : 20000 trekkers registered in 2012, lot of lodges but mountain is wide and you can walk hours without seeing many other trekker. The day we passed through Thorong La, there were around 200 trekkers. The lodge where I slept in Thorong Phedi was full.
After Jomosom, the trails are again unfrequented.
The Annapurna Sanctuary is by far the most touristic part. Mostly no village but only lodges.
You will find again a peaceful, unspoiled trek on Mardi Himal Trek (an average of 2/3 trekkers per day).
Mardi Himal Trek : just above the frequented Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, almost nobody. We where two trekkers in Forest Camp and High Camp ; previous night also 2 trekkers in High Camp.
Sometime misty but as you are approaching mountains, views are clears. The morning is usually sunny and clear. Clouds are arriving at the end of the morning. On the afternoon, clouds are often hiding mountains. You can have some rain or snow (we had some in Mu Gompa and in Manang). During 39 days, 3 days cloudy in the morning.
You find tap water everywhere even in remote places of Tsum Valley. I always purified it but I had sometimes some “gastric” problems.
About one day other two in Manaslu Tour, you can charge batteries. On the Annapurnas Tour, you often have to pay 100rs (less than one euro) for charging. No need adaptator for European type of plug, but sometimes it is quite loose.
Internet and wifi :
It’s now possible (2014) to find wifi in several lodges in Manaslu circuit. No wifi in Tsum valley. In Samdo, it seems that there is a new cyber cafe with wifi (opening September 2013). On the Annapurna circuit, it’s more usual : in Chame (with wifi), in Pisang and Upper Pisang, in Manang, Muktinah. In Kagbeni and Jomosom, plenty places, hotels, restaurants have internet and wifi. You can find also in Marpha, Kalopani, Tatopani. On the Annapurna Sanctuary, it is common (Ghorepani, Chomrong, Sinuwa, Macchapuchare Base Camp..) but often out of work.
Katmandou – Baluwa
From Katmandou to Gorkha, asphalted road. For Baluwa, about ten kilometers before Gorkha, where the road begins to go up to this town, a road on the left stays along the river. This road is asphalted for some kilometers before becoming a very bumpy track. From the Gorkha crossroad, it’s about 3 hours by jeep.
You can catch a direct bus from Kathmandu to Baluwa the morning at around 6am.
Four wheels cars can go up to Barpak but are not almost going faster than a trekker using the shortcuts.
Description of the stages
AD : Altitude departure
AF : Altitude arrival
AM : Highest altitude
D+ : Total ascent
D- : Total descent
|6km||Stage profile : AD : 850m – AF : 1950m – AM : 1950m – D+ : 1150m – D- : 70m|
|5-6h||Notes : in Baluwa, you cross the river on the long suspension bridge. The trail follows the river going up and down for around one kilometer before going straight up to Barpak. A lot of shortcuts avoid the curves of the jeep track. With these shortcuts, the trail is steep as you are going up 1000 meters in just 4 kilometers.|
|Logistique : small lodge in Baluwa. Barpak is a big village with a lodge, a hotel and smalls shops.|
|7km||Stage profile : AD : 1950m – AF : 2250m – AM : 2800m – D+ : 925m – D- : 650m|
|6h30||Notes : the trail is going up as the one you took the previous day : steep way up with shortcuts using stairs cutting the jeep trail sentier prolonge celui de la veille. Beautiful views from the beginning to the Boudha Himal then, arriving to the pass at 2800m to the Ganesh Himal. The way down is similar to the way up : steep. Without breaks, the walking time is around 4h30. Superb day with beautiful views to the mountains, to the villages of Barpak then Laprak and in spring blossoming rhododendrons.|
|Logistics : below the pass a tea house for lunch break. In Laprak, two hotels in the upper part of the village and a homestay in the lower part. Laprak, as Barpak, is a big village. A track used by motorcycles and tractors lead Barpak to Laprak.|
|13km||Stage profile : AD : 2250m – AF : 980m – AM : 2250m -D+ : 665 m – D- : 1875m|
|7-8h||Notes : steep way down of 450m to reach a bridge below Laprak. The way up on the other side is going along the slope to reach the altitude of 1900m. Most of the day stage is going up and down between 1900m and 2000m. A trail is cutting 100m below the village of Singla. Then, above Khorla a long way down to loose 1000m. Those who like stairs will be happy. Beautiful day with the mountain sculpted by terrace fields and views to Ganesh Himal.|
|Logistics : if you avoid the village of Singla, there is no tea house. Bring lunch pack. In Korlabeshi, you find back the Manaslu Tour with its lodges and tea-houses. Nice lodge with bungalows in a garden.|
|19km||Stage profile : AD : 980m – AF : 1570m – AM : 1570m – D+ : 1100m – D- : 440m|
|9h||Notes : the trail follows the Budhi Gandaki valley. It is rarely flat and for the all day, it is 440m of descent and 1100m of ascent. Beautiful valley with traditional life, caravans of donkeys going up, field works. A last ascent permit to reach Philim. The village is a bit up from the river and you can see snowy mountains.|
|Logistics : in almost all the villages : lodges, tea-houses, small shops. Two beautiful lodges in Philim, the first one arriving in the village center, the other one 50m further on the left with bungalows in a garden. Small shops in Philim.|
|15km||Stage profile : AD : 1570m – AF : 2260m – D+ : 1270m – D- : 560m|
|8h||Notes : you follow on going up the Budhi Gandaki valley. Less villages than yesterday and going up, you can have views on the summits. After 1 hour walking on the trail going up to Tsum Valley, you reach Lokpa. From Lokpa to Chumling, it is about 3h30 walking and there is no lodge or tea-house. The trail is going up far above the river by a steep way up. Most of the time, it is in beautiful pine forest, rhododendrons, bamboos… Summits appear. In Chumling, you have views to Ganesh Himal, Himal Chuli, borders summits..|
|Logistics : in Lokpa lodge for lunch before the part without anything until Chumling. Basic lodge in Chumling.|
|10km||Stage profile : AD : 2260m – AF : 3010m – AM : 3010m – D+ : 870m – D- : 120m|
|4h||Notes : the trail offers beautiful views to the summits (Himal Chuli, Ganesh Himal). After Domje, steep way up to Chokang Paro.GPS track|
|Logistics : Chokang Paro is a traditional village with homestays. Some small shops with basic supplies.|
|14km||Stage profile : AD : 3010m – AF : 3650m – AM : 3650m – D+ : 750m – D- : 135m|
|5h||Notes : now the valley is wide. The trail crosses villages, hamlets. Chortens, mani walls are everywhere. The wind is blowing praying flags, dzos in the field…Tibetan atmosphere. Snowy mountains on both side of the valley. After Nile, the lag village, the trail goes up more sleepily. There are only shepherds huts. Glaciers are near. Mu Gompa is perched at 3650m.|
|Logistics : no tea-houses on the way. It is possible to camp, find homestays or small lodges in the villages. Basic accomodation and food in Mu Gompa|
|10km||Stage profile : AD : 3650m – AF : 3240m – AM : 3650m – D+ : 75m – D- : 495m|
|2h30||Notes : the morning, we tried to go up the valley toward Tibet but we had to renounce because of rocks falling on the trail. We finally went to the nunnery above Mu Gompa. Friendly welcome by the nuns. Splendid scenery with the snow that fell during the night.|
|Logistics : Rachen Gompa is, for sure, the most comfortable accommodation in Tsum Valley : hot shower (didn’t work during our stay), electricity with plugs in the rooms, western toilets… It is possible to go to the morning puja.|
|15km||Stage profile : AD : 3240m – AF : 3200m – AM : 3200m – D+ : 1070m – D- : 955m|
|7h||Notes : the trail finds back quickly the right side of the valley and the way taken to go up. After Chokang Paro, descent to Domje where the river is crossed on a traditional wood bridge a it up from the one crossed to go up. The way up above Domje is steep with almost no flat parts to relieve. It is 1000m of ascent to reach Lungdang Gompa. The monastery is in a splendid site just in front of Ganesh Himal.|
|Logistics : Chokang Paro : shops with basics supplies. In Gumba Lungdang, possibility to sleep below the temple entry : protected from the wind and with thicks mats. Dal Baht, noodle soup, tea. Nice puja in the evening.|
|11km||Stage profile : AD : 3200m – AF : 2460m – AM : 3500m – D+ : 770m – D- : 1610m|
|8h||Notes : the morning, we tried to reach the Ganesh Himal Base Camp. The trail isn’t easy to find and it is better to have a guide who knows the way. From the monastery, the trail goes a bit up and then goes down (not easy to find in the forest). It reachs a small pasture with a stone hut. Then it follows up the valley to reach a small wood bridge at the altitude of about 3070m. It reach the forest on the other side. Thrown trees are cutting the trail. After half an hour walking, it reach another wood bridge. The trail goes up on the other side going slightly to the left to reach a pasture with two stone huts. Between the two huts, the trail goes above on the left. After, we lost the way as it was under snow…Not easy way in the beginning of April. It is a long day to go to Base Camp at 4200m (around 1400m of ascent for the day). We went down to Domje. The way up was steep, the way down also..|
|Logistics : In Domje, basic accommodation (but friendly) in the school for nuns and monks (first house when you go down from Gumba Lungdang). You are surrounded by these small children who are happy to show you there English lessons.|
|13km||Stage profile : AD : 2460m – AF : 1830m – AM : 2470m – D+ : 665m – D- : 1160m|
|5h||Notes : contrary to the map, the trail from Domje stays on the left bank of the river. It goes up first slightly then steeper to reach Ripchet. Ripchet is a beautiful village perched on a small plateau at 2470m. The way down to the junction to Chumling is steep. Same for the way down before Lokpa.|
|Logistics : no tea-house or lodge on the way. It is possible to eat and sleep in homestays in Ripchet. Lodge with shop in Lokpa.|
|19km||Stage profile : AD : 1830m – AF : 2120m – AM : 2120m – D+ : 1165m – D- : 970m|
|7h||Notes : once on the Manaslu trail, the countryside change, the trail goes up on the deep gorge of the Budhi Gandaki. Not really villages but lodges, tea houses…more frequently and more luxuous than in Tsum Valley. A lot ways up and down and finally 1200m of ascent and 970m of descent for the stage.|
|Logistics : lodges, tea houses frequently which allow to cut the stage. In Ghap, the Budhi Gandaki Lodge seems to be the most comfortable one. Good food.|
|14km||Stage profile/span> : AD : 2120m – AF : 3180m – AM : 3200m – D+ : 1330m – D- : 290m|
|6h30||Notes : the trail goes up more regularly than previous day, most of the time in a beautiful forest. Beautiful views to the summits : Sringi Himal and from Sho to Manaslu. Lho is a beautiful village with gorgeous views to Manaslu, Manaslu Nord, Nalke Peak.|
|Logistics : in Lho, the Tadhi Delek lodge is in the center. Comfortable rooms. Shower : bucket in the toilets.|
|7km||Stage profile : AD : 3180m – AF : 3520m – AM : 3550m – D+ : 535m – D- : 220m|
|3h||Notes : short day to acclimatize, nice to enjoy splendid views. After Lho, the trail goes down in a side valley and then up to reach Shyala. There, views from the Himal Chuli to the Manaslu are just amazing. The village of Samagaon is very traditional with stone houses lined in a small valley. 3 hours taking time to enjoy views.|
|Logistics : lodges are at the end of the village. Several possibilities. We stayed in Mount Manaslu lodge. Bathroom with bucket of hot water. Electricity to charge batteries.|
|14km||Stage profile : AD : 3520m – AF : 4000m – AM : 4000m – D+ : 580m – D- : 580m|
|5h||Notes : day to acclimatize to Pungyen Gompa. 5 hours in total. 580m of ascent and splendid views when the trail reach the plateau where is the monastery. Manaslu is straight in front, 4000 meters higher. On 360° snowy peaks, glaciers. I recommend this walk !|
|9km||Stage profile : AD : 3520m – AF : 3860m – AM : 3860m – D+ : 460m – D- : 145m|
|3h30||Notes : way through Birendra Tal. Nice view to the Manaslu glacier. From the lake, down along the stream at the west side of the lake to join back the main trail to Samdo. Then, it’s slightly going up until the bridge on the Budhi Gandaki. The trail cross the river and goes up for a short walk to Samdo.|
|Logistics : in Samdo lodges and small shops. Internet with wifi (Youth Communication and Cyber Cafe) seems to open in September 2013.|
|6km||Stage profile : AD : 3860m – AF : 4460m – AM : 4460m – D+ : 625m – D- : 45m|
|2h30||Notes : the trails goes up gradually with almost no way down. High mountain countryside. Marmots and blue sheep.|
|Logistics : basic lodging in Dharamsala.|
|15km||Stage profile : AD : 4460m – AF : 3720m – AM : 5090m – D+ : 710m – D- : 1460m|
|7h30||Notes : the trails to Larkya La goes up gradually with almost no way down. Beautiful views to the summits. It tools us 3 hours without almost any rest to reach the pass. My altimeter indicate 5090m at the highest point. The way down can be risky. Part of the path are icy, small stones can fall down with trekkers above. After the first part down, the path is going down for a long walk to Bimthang. The walking time can be very different according to acclimatization (the Tsum Valley option and short stages before Dharamsala really helped us), altitude sickness, weather, fitness, hability on the steep part down…we left Dharamsala at around 5AM as most of the trekkers. We made short breaks and we were for lunch in Bimthang. Some needed more than 10 hours. One went to the pass on the back of a porter. Don’t underestimate the altitude effects.|
|Logistics : nothing between Dharamsala and Bimthang. There is water at the middle of the way down. In Bimthang, the first lodge arriving, Ponkar Mount Hotel, is luxuous after the Manaslu Circuit : small colorful chalets, hot shower, some chalets with attached toilets, stove in dining room…a transition to the Annapurnas circuit.|
|21km||Stage profile : AD : 3720m – AF : 1960m – AM : 3730m – D+ : 350m – D- : 2015m|
|7h30||Notes : long day with more than 2000m of way down. It’s going down progressively with a nice path. It’s possible to cut the stage staying in lodge in Kharche, Gho, Tilje. The 7h30 were done with short breaks. The first part inside pine, rhododendrons and bamboo forest is very nice. It’s like enchanted forest ! Nice view to Phungi Himal and the west side of Manaslu.|
|Logistics : nice new lodges in Kharka, Gho and Tilje. In Dharapani, you will find the infrastructures of the Annapurnas circuit.|
|16km||Stage profile : AD : 1960m – AF : 2710m – AM : 2750m – D+ : 1000m – D- : 300m|
|5h||Notes : the road, sometimes in very poor condition, is used by jeeps (I saw around 10 in the morning). They are going up to Chame. It’s possible to avoid the jeep track in several places. It’s marked in red and white (NATT) : in Dharapani, cross the suspension bridge to go up on the left side of the river. Between Bagarchhap and Danaque : a small section on your right. After the first two hairpin bends after Danaque, you cross a wooden bridge ; the jeep track goes on the right ; on the left, the NATT goes up steeply and join back the road before Temang. After Temang, a small shortcut at the right. Further, a sign for a trail on the right through the nice village of Thanchouk. The trail join back the road and follow it until Chame. Temang is the highest point of he day with gorgeous views to Manaslu. It’s 1000 meters of ascent, OK after Manaslu circuit but can be a bit tough if you’re just beginning walking. There are lodges all along the day if you want to shorten the stage.|
|Logistics : you just have to walk without wondering about logistics : plenty lodges and tea-houses along the way. In Chame : bank, internet (wifi in the second Internet cafe), shops, mountain gear (shoes, jackets, gloves…).|
|13km||Stage profile : AD : 2710m – AF : 3340m – AM : 3340m – D+ : 825m – D- : 210m|
|4h30||Notes : the jeep road from Chame to Manang is almost completed. Motorcycles are using it. Once the bridge in Chame finished, jeeps will go until Manang. NATT avoid the road in several places. After Talekhu, trail goes up on your right in the pine forest (I missed it as Nepalese told me to follow the road which, for us, is natural). After Bhratang, the trail cross the river and avoid the road which is along the cliff. The trail cross again the river on a wooden bridge to join back the road. After the suspension bridge, the trail goes straight and steep up to avoid the road curves. It cross the road to follow inside a pine forest until Dhukur Pokhari. Then, the trail, again on the left side of the river, reachs directly Upper Pisang. Nice day walking through pine forests. Views to Lamjung Himal (6983m), then Annapurna II (7937m) and Annapurna IV (7525m). Before Dhukur Pokhari, the trail faces Swarga Dwari (Paradise door), huge polish rocky mountain.|
|Logistics : less lodges than the previous day. From Dhukur Pokhari, you’ll find several, some nices and new ones. Internet in Pisang and just below Upper Pisang in Manang Hotel (wifi).|
|20km||Stage profile/span> : AD : 3340m – AF : 3540m – AM : 3750m – D+ : 870m – D- : 650m|
|7h||Notes : by this trail, it’s a very beautiful stage facing Annapurnas II, III and IV. Beautiful villages of Gyaru, Ngawal and Braka. Steep climb for 400 meters to join Gyaru then the trail is going along the slope, climbing pleasantly until the altitude of 3750m. Then steeply going down after Ngawal new monastery to reach the hamlet of Julu. Then following the hillside, in a dry countryside with pines to join back the jeep road in Munji. Shortly after, it’s possible to avoid again the road to reach Braka. Long day, the 7 hours walking include just a short break of lunch.|
|Logistic : to cut the stage, there are several lodges just before Ngawal and inside the village. There are some also in Munji and Braka. Manang is a bit battered towns. Lodges are quite old. Just before Braka is nicer. In Manang : shops, internet…|
|15km||Stage profile : AD : 3540m – AF : 4150m – AM : 4250m – D+ : 920m – D- : 325m|
|5h||Notes : beautiful day with great views to Great Barrier, Tilicho Peak…After Shree Kharka, two options : lower trail or upper trail. The most usual way is the lower one. The upper one add ascent and the goes down to Tilicho Base Camp. By the lower trail, the path goes through a steep area of scree. This part can be dangerous with some rocks falling down. I saw one just in front of me.|
|Logistic : lodges in Khangsar, Shree Kharka and three in Tilicho Base Camp. The first lodge, New Tilicho Base Camp is nice and comfortable.|
|16km||Stage profile : AD : 4150m – AM : 4985m – AF : 4195m – D+ : 1170m – D- : 1110m|
|7h||Notes : it takes 4 to 5 hours to go up and down to Tilicho Lake from Base Camp. The altitude just before the tea-house and 50 meters above the lake level is 4985m. From base camp, it goes up and then in april, around half an hour of walk on the snow. Beautiful views to the summits. The lake in mid-april was completely frozen. The tea-house was closed. It gave a high altitude atmosphere with snow, glaciers, seracs and the white surface of the lake. After lunch break in Base Camp, I went back to Shree Kharka through the scree area.|
|Logistic : the tea-house at the lake was closed and covered by snow. In Shree Kharka, 3 lodges.|
|18km||Stage profile : AD : 4195m – AF : 4525m – AM : 4525m – D+ : 1055m – D- : 720m|
|6h30||Notes : after the 3 lodges of Shree Kharka, the path cross the river and just after goes on the left. It follows the hillside then slightly goes up to Old Khangsar. After the village, it’s just along and above the fields to finally, after a short ascent, reach a ridge at around 4200m. All those parts afford great views from Annapurna II to Great Barrier. At the ridge, it’s overhanging the valley going up to Thorong La and Muktinah Himal. The way goes down below the praying flags and the signpost “Yak Kharka” (I followed going up, following a wrong path). The way down reach a suspension bridge at around 3870m. Then on the other side of the valley, after 200m going up, it’s back on Annapurna circuit trail. It’s around 3h30 to reach Yak Kharka from Shree Kharka and then 3h until Thorong Phedi. This long stage (18km – 1055m of ascent and all the day above 4000m) can be cut sleeping in Churi Ledar and day after in Thorong High Camp.|
|Logistic : a tea house just before the bridge over Jharsang Khota river (between old Khangsar and Yak Kharka ; an other one near the junction with Annapurna trail. Then, from Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi, plenty tea-houses and lodges.|
|14km||Stage profile : AD : 4525m – AF : 3760m – AM : 5416m – D+ : 920m – D- : 1755m|
|6h30||Notes : the duration of the stage will depend of the acclimatization (don’t underestimate it, the pass is at 5400m and there are trekkers who are suffering) and the ability to go down (it’s a long way down). The way up can take 3 to 5 hours. In April, it’s a high mountain part with extremely freezing temperature and some icy parts (some trekkers put ice crampon – for me not necessary as there are a lot people walking on the track). It’s going quickly up after Thorong Phedi to High Camp (around 1 hour). Then, it’s going up more slightly. In mid-April, it was almost always on the snow. You see the pass just before arriving. The way down is impressive : 1755m of descent to Muktinah. Beautiful views to Annapurna at the sunrise and to Dhaulagiri on the way down. Muktinah is a bit strange after this mountain stage : new buildings, well dressed pilgrims, shops , saddhus..|
|Logistic : in High Camp, a hot drink is welcomed in the early morning. Tea-houses at around 5000m and in Thorong La. On the other side, tea-houses (with lodging possibilities) at 4200m at the end of the steepest part of the descent. In Muktinah, plenty lodges, restaurant, internet.|
|13km||Stage profile : AD : 3760m – AF : 2820m – AM : 3760m – D+ :175 m – D- : 945m|
|4h||Notes : a very nice stage, different of the previous ones. A feeling of Mustang. Beautiful typical villages of Chongur (painted houses), Jhong (monastery perched on a hill with good views) and Putak (views to Thorong La). All the day views to Dhaulagiri, Muktinah Himal, Thorong La. Landscape with brown colors and the green of the fields. Then Kagbeni, old streets, houses, Tibetan style people. I really recommend to go this way instead of going down directly to Jomsom. You just have to follow the red and white marks. From the arch at the end of Ranipauwa toward Muktinah, it’s marked Chongur and then marked red and white. Most of the day is on a jeep track on the right side of Jhong river. Almost no traffic . I saw only one jeep and some motorcycles. On the other side, the jeep track from Jomsom to Muktinah is continuously used by jeeps.|
|Logistic : in Jhong, lodge and restaurant. After nothing until Kagbeni. In Kagbeni, several lodges, restaurants, shops. Free wifi in Red House Lodge and in The Applebee’s Cafe (north entrance of Kagbeni).|
|14km||Stage profile : AD : 2820m – AF : 2720m – AM : 3400m – D+ : 710m – D- : 810m|
|4h||Notes : from Kagbeni to Jomosom, 2 options : through the jeep track in 2h30 or a detour passing through Phaliak. The advantage of this option is to avoid the jeep track and to go through unspoiled villages. Around twenty minutes after Kagbeni, a trail goes on the right (red and white marks) to go along the Kali Gandaki. It cross Eklebhatti. Shortly after, a long suspension bridge cross the river. From there, the way is marked in blue and white. It goes up to 3400m passing through the villages of Pakling, Phaliak and Dhakarjhong. From the TV relay at 3400m, you are just above Jomsom that you reach through a steep way down, sometimes a bit tricky (in part on a scree area). It’s quite a demanding option and the duration of 4 hours was going quite quickly (it was cloudy, windy…). With good weather, it might gives beautiful views and takes longer…|
|Logistic : in Eklebhatti several lodges and restaurants (among them the Holiday Inn…) then a restaurant in Phaliak. In Jomsom, most of the hotels are around the airport. Wifi in most of them. Banks, ATM, all kind of shops.|
|15km||Stage profile : AD : 2720m – AF : 2590m – AM : 2720m – D+ : 245m – D- : 400m|
|4h||Notes : bad weather so a short walking day to avoid rain in the morning. From Jomsom, the red and white marks are leaving from Old Jomsom to go through Thini on the left side of the river. It reaches Marpha going back up the valley from the Tibetan camp of Chhairo. As I was in New Jomsom near the airport, I left using the jeep track to Marpha. It’s possible to cross Kali Gandaki river just after the airport on a suspension bridge and then to reach directly Thini. By the jeep track, it’s just a big hour walking to Marpha. Finally not a lot of traffic and no dust as it was rainy. It’s possible to avoid Syang staying on the river bank. Marpha is a beautiful touristic village, with white houses and Tibetan inhabitants . From Marpha to Tukuche, the trail (red and white) cross the river in Chhairo (Tibetan camp) to follow the left bank. From there, it’s a nice part. You can either go up to Chimang (nice village with good views to Dhaulagiri and Tukuche Peak. For me it was cloudy) or directly to Chokhopani. There, it’s possible to reach Tukuche crossing the suspension bridge and then following the jeep track during half an hour or crossing Kali Kandaki on small light wood bridge in front of Tukuche (might be impossible when there is a lot of water in the river). It’s possible to stay on the left bank avoiding Tukuche. The old part of this village is nice with old houses with wooden carved balconies.|
|Logistic : in Marpha, several lodges. Tea-house in Chimang. Several lodges in Tukuche, some in the old houses of the village. The Tukche Guesthouse is an old trading post on the road to Tibet. On the basement, there were stables and the rooms were at the first floor. Nice patio, Buddhist temple in the dining room. Nice rooms on the roof with attached bathrooms. The family sells its own production of dry apples. Good place to stay.|
|21km||Stage profile : AD : 2590m – AF : 1980m – AM : 2590m – D+ : 245m – D- : 865m|
|6h||Notes : Pourquoi ? Why ? Por qué ? Perché ? Почему ? Warum ? מדוע ? क्यों ? 為什麼 ? なぜ ? 왜 ? Varför ? stopping in Muktinah or Jomsom. What a beautiful day ! Dhaulagiri on the right then Annapurna I on the left, nice trail through pine forests, easy walking, quiet, small off the beaten track villages…From Tukuche, go in front of the apple distillery, follow blue and white marks to cross Kali Kandaki in front of the village on a rudimentary wooden bridge. On the other bank, go up lightly to find the path (that follow those who are avoiding Tukuche). The path goes up 50 meters to pass above a cliff and reach Sauru. Then, it goes down a cliff just above the river to reach Sirkung. From there, it’s an easy track above Kali Gandaki until Dhamphu where you cross it on a suspension bridge to reach Kalopani/Lete. In Lete, the trail cut the jeep road bend, cross a river on a suspension bridge, cross again the jeep track to go up to a nice trail in the forest and above the jeep road. Then back to it near Green Forest Guest House to leave it on the right just after. Then cross Kaiku, around 10 minutes on jeep road to leave it again to go to Ghasa using a paved way on the left.|
|Logistic : lodge in Kokhethanti, Damphu, Kalopani, Lete, Kaiku, Ghasa (in the three parts of the village) so it’s easy to arrange the stage as you prefer…Internet in Kalopani.|
|15km||Stage profile : AD : 1980m – AF : 1250m – AM : 1980m – D+ : 495m – D- : 1170m|
|4h30||Notes : the trail is all the day off the jeep road. It’s going on the left bank of Kali Gandaki. It’s going up (sometimes some short and steep parts) and down along the slope. Red and white marks. It’s possible to stay on the left bank until the hot springs just in front of the village.|
|Logistic : lodges around every hour. In Tatopani, all shops, money changers, internet.|
|15km||Stage profile : AD : 1250m – AF : 2870m – AM : 2870m – D+ : 1820m – D- : 255m|
|6h||Notes : day with a lot of ascent (1820m). Just after crossing the two bridges, the way up is steep using stairs until Ghara. Then, the trail goes up with sometimes going down (255m of descent). At the beginning, nice views on your back to Nilgiri peak, then going up to Dhampus, Tukuche peak and Dhaulagiri. Just before Ghorepani, beautiful rhododendrons forest.|
|Logistic : this part is again a touristic part with plenty restaurants and lodges. In Ghorepani, lodges, internet, libraries…|
|17km||Stage profile : AD : 2870m – AF : 2250m – AM : 3200m – D+ : 1045m+300m – D- : 1660m+300|
|6h30||Notes : the 300m of ascent are to go up to Poon Hill (but I didn’t include it on the duration and distance of the stage). The fist part to Deurali pass(3200m) is on a wonderful setting. The path in a ridge with gorgeous views to Dhaulagiri, South Annapurna, Annapurna I, Nilgiri, Tukuche Peak…all this surrounded by blossoming rhododendrons forest. Then a nice way down along a stream with cascades and rhododendrons. After Banthanti, steep ascent in Bhurungdi Khola valley and an other steep ascent to Tadapani. From Tadapani, it’s going down quickly with stairs (800m of descent) to cross Kyumnu Khola. Then again up for around 400m to reach Chomrong. Nice day (I couldn’t see Macchapuchre because of the clouds) that can be cut with all the lodges on the way.|
|Logistic : plenty possibilities for accommodation. Lodges and restaurants in Deurali, Banthanti, Tadapani, Chuile, Gurjung and Chomrong. Internet in Chomrong. Wifi in the bakery in the middle of the descent. In Chhomrong Cottage : wifi and good chocolate cake.|
|17km||Stage profile : AD : 2250m – AF : 3200m – AM : 3200m – D+ : 1600m – D- : 705m|
|7h||Notes : it’s Macchapuchre day with all the day splendid views. From Chomrong, plenty stairs to go down and then plenty stairs to go up to Sinuwa. All the day long, you will find stairs and at the end it is 1600m of ascent. After 34 days walking, it’s OK ; otherwise, plenty options to cut the stage.|
|Logistic : lodges in Sinuwa, Bamboo, Dobhan, Himalaya, Deurali. Internet in Sinuwa.|
|8km||Stage profile : AD : 3200m – AF : 4130m – AM : 4130m – D+ : 945m – D- : 55m|
|3h30||Notes : according to acclimatization, a night in Macchapuchre Base Camp is recommended. Short stage but demanding regarding to the altitude.|
|Logistic : in Macchapuchare Base Camp, lodges seem to be confortable (wifi in Fish Tail). In Annapurna base camp, lodges are more rustic.|
|25km||Stage profile : AD : 4130m – AF : 2250m – AM : 4130m – D+ : 760m – D- : 2610m|
|7h||Notes : long day I did at quite a fast pace. 2610m of descent, lot of stairs and steep way up to finish.|
|Logistic : same as going up|
|9km||Stage profile : AD : 2250m – AF : 2550m – AM : 2500m – D+ : 1140m – D- : 900m|
|4h30||Notes : short distance but steep trail. To begin 800m going down directly with stairs from Chomrong to New Bridge. In New Bridge, once you cross the bridge, at the tea-house just after, a shortcut joins directly Forest Camp without passing through Landruk. The trail isn’t marked. I went there with a guide. It’s not easy to find the way. Most of the time is through a humid forest. The trail is covered by leaves. It’s very steep, slippery (might be difficult on the way down). It’s 1000m of ascent in a short distance. This part was very different of the previous days with a kind of hot, humid,tropical jungle.
From the tea-house, the trail goes up through the fields on the left of the houses and along a cliff. Then it goes up on the left bank of a stream. It goes then a bit on the right to pass above a very steep slope. Arriving to a crumbling area, it goes up steeply on the left of the crumbling. At around 2100m, on sweeter slopes, it cross on the right, going along the slope, sometimes lightly going down. It follows go up until a kind of pass on the ridge. There, it follows on the left just under the right side of the ridge to reach Forest Camp and back to blue and white marks.
|Logistic : until New Bridge, it’s on the Annapurna Base Camp trail so plenty lodges and restaurants. In Forest Camp, 3 simple lodges (price for food is 30% less expensive than on Annapurna trail).|
|7km||Stage profile : AD : 2550m – AF : 3550m – AM : 3570m – D+ : 1130m – D- : 100m|
|4h30||Notes : from Forest Camp, the trail goes up below the right side of the ridge. It’s inside a forest and not easy to follow (false tracks used by animals…). I went too near to the ridge and was above the trail. It’s marked with blue and white signs. From Low Camp, beautiful views to Macchapuchre. It seems that you are going to touch it ! After Low Camp, again a part through a forest before following the ridge with some rhododendrons. Gorgeous views to Macchapuchre, Annapurna, Hiun Chuli…High Camp is on the ridge in front of these peaks and just above the trail that goes up from Chomrong to Annapurna Base Camp.|
|Logistic :1 lodge in Rest Camp, 2 lodges in Low Camp and 1 lodge in High Camp|
|19km||Stage profile : AD : 3550m – AF : 1700m – AM : 4200m – D+ : 995m – D- : 2855m|
|7h30||Notes : I went up to 4200m in direction of Upper View Point. The weather was cloudy and then there were snow, so I didn’t go further. The way down from Low Camp to Siding is long and isn’t marked. In Siding, a road is sometimes used by jeeps. I walked on the road until above Lumre where I finally caught a jeep going down. Almost 2 months without using motor way of transport…and finally Pokhara and back to civilization.|
|Logistic : it’s possible to sleep in Siding in homestays. The owner of High Camp run there the Trekker Home. The owner of Low Camp has homestay at the end of the jeep road. Jeeps are going down from Siding. Bus from Lumre.|