This itinerary is intended as a working guide only and is subject to variation as a result of weather,
local conditions, government restrictions, or any other reason beyond the control of Sherpa Expeditions.
We reserve the right to alter (lengthen or shorten) any trek at any time if this is necessary.
Please note that there is the possibility, though rare, of the Thorung La being impassable due to adverse snow conditions, in which event it will be necessary to re-trace our steps somewhat and take a lower trail to Pokhara.
Day 1: Depart London.
Day 2: Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel ShangriLa. Rest of day free.
Day 3: After breakfast, you will see some of the more spectacular sights in Kathmandu during your half-day guided City Tour. Evening Pre-Trek Briefing.
Day 4:Early in the morning, we load the bus with the trek equipment, porters, kitchen staff and supplies and head westwards to Beshisar.
There are some interesting places along the way so don't forget your camera and film in your daypack.
Notably, we will be following the Trisuli River from Naubisi to Mugling and often you will be able to see rafts as they rocket through the rapids.
Then we leave the main Pokhara highway and drive north along the Marsyangdi River, its source in Manang and the Annapurna range. Normally we arrive at Beshisar by late afternoon and so have time to explore this small Himalayan bazaar. (823m) 5 hrs.
Days 5/8: The first few days of walking are through lowland paddies and sustenance farming areas before we start our gradual climb to higher meadows and alpine pastures. We cross numerous side creeks and the Marsyangdi River itself, over what sometimes seem frail and rickety suspension bridges (but they are tough). On the trail we meet various locals from different tribes, mule trains, Tibetan traders, and streams of porters with massive loads. The hillsides and villages are always busy: farmers tending crops, gardens being cared for, weaving, grinding grains or relaxing on verandahs enjoying the sun. Occasionally the trail is just a narrow cut perched high above the river along steep cliffs and at other times a broad expanse of carefully laid stone. Pine and rhododendron clad the upper slopes and we pass through these cool and inviting forests on numerous occasions.
Day 5:Trek to Bulbule (833m) 5 hours.
Day 6: to Syange (1,136m) 6 hrs.
Day 7: to Tal (1,707m) 6 hrs.
Day 8: to Bagar Chap (2,164m) 5 hrs.
Day 9: to Chame (2,713m) 7 hrs.
Days 10/14: After Chame, the forests change to stands of oak, pine and birch; cultivated crops are now potato, wheat and corn and the ethnic mix of the local people is quite different. From now they are predominantly Tibetan in origin, their religion Buddhist rather than Hindu, their dress very similar to that of Tibetans. Along the trail you will see Mani Walls, made from hundred of carved stone tablets and giant carved boulders, brilliantly decorated with brightly coloured paints. Buddhists hold these sacred and seek to gain merit in their next life by praying as they go past. (As a sign of respect for local beliefs, please always pass these clockwise).
At Pisang the houses have also changed, now being made entirely from stone. Above the village a monastery or "Gompa" is clearly visible and colourful prayer flags, printed with prayers, flutter in the breeze, - the prayers being carried along on the winds to the Buddha. From here on, snow often falls covering the land with a white mantle; muffling sounds and sparkling in the sunlight.
Further on, we enter the Manang Valley and the start of the "rain-shadow" effect of the Himalayas. The landscape is semi desert with steep, bare hillsides deeply eroded by the occasional rains and snow melt, a very different and startling contrast to the lowlands.
We pass through Ongre, where a STOL (short take-off and landing) airstrip nowadays enables the canny local traders to travel easily to the outside world.
Further on is Braga, also with a fascinating Gompa, and one of the most interesting towns nestled high on the hillside with its stone houses looking almost like caves against the bare rock.
Due to its location, Manang was an important trading centre, at one time controlling a huge amount of goods traffic between Tibet/Nepal/India. Today it is quieter, the Manangis operating their larger trading enterprises further afield. However they are still always traders at heart - don't expect to bargain prices down very much if you want to buy anything from the shops of stalls.
With about a day and half in Manang, you will have plenty of time to do some of the interesting side trips your group leader will organise for you: stupendous views of Annapurna II and III are available from the ridge above Manang: the walk to the glacier of the valley, with its cold green lake is fascinating, and the township itself, although only small, is of tremendous interest.
We are at quite high altitude here, on our acclimatisation day - so do always remember not to leave the campsite for walks unless you inform you leader where you are going.
From Manang the trail gradually enters more barren terrain, cut by steep creeks and littered with scattered boulders. Often the watercourses are frozen and waterfalls appear in fairytale icicle form, flowing down the cliff faces and small gullies.
Our highest camp is made at Churi Ledar at 4,250m (13,9400ft) a day before Thorung Phedi, the starting point for the ascent of the Pass - and site of what is considered Nepal's more expensive tea-shop! This remote rocky amphitheatre is very cold at night and your duvet jacket will be your best friend as the sun drops.
Day 10: to Pisang (3,185m) 7 hrs.
Day 11: to Manang (3,35lm) 6 hrs.
Day 12: in Manang, acclimatisation day.
Day 14: to Thorung Phedi (3,867m) 4 hrs, at foot of the Thorung La.
Day 15: If the weather is clear and suitable, we start up the Thorung La early in the morning before sunrise. Whilst the ascent is the toughest you will meet on the trek, a slow steady pace supervised by your trek staff (who will carefully monitor your progress) will soon bring you to the cairn, decorated with tattered prayer flags, which marks the summit. From here there is a magnificent panorama of alpine desert and the mountains of the mysterious Mustang and the Tibetan plateau.
On this section of the trail, ascending or descending the Thorung La, it is important that you always stay with your group and keep near your Sirdar (your chief guide and trek leader of the Sherpas), as visibility will be reduced if snow starts falling.
Descending the western side is certainly easier than going up but, once again, a slower pace is better as it is long and your knees are doing most of the work.
By mid afternoon we will be in Muktinath, a village similar to Manang but set in a true desert with velvety brown rolling hills surrounding it. The local ladies are, as clever traders as are the Manangis, so don't let them talk you into buying a few necklaces or woven belts before you know it! More importantly, Muktinath is the site of the Jiwala Mayi temple to Vishnu that has a natural eternal flame and never-ending spring that provides the local water supply. For most people however the afternoons provides a perfect opportunity for rest and relax after the Pass and maybe sample some of the local pie that is delicious! (3,802m) 9 hrs.
Day 16: in Muktinath.
Days 17/19: After a restful day we leave Muktinath and start our gradual descent down the valley of the Kali Gandaki to reach that part of it which is the designated the deepest gorge in the world. With Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, both over 8,000m. And the valley floor at an average of about 1,500m. There is an enormous height difference that is impossible to comprehend - unless you are there!
The Kali Gandaki gorge is also well known for the winds, which occur along its narrow length, and walking down it can sometimes be an unusual experience because of this.
Following the barren, rock-strewn riverbed, and passing numerous long, decorated mule trains of goods from Tibet, or even horses from Mustang, we come to Jomsom, a large village with a post office and airstrip. Flights are not very regular though, as the winds can keep the small STOL planes out for days.
Descending further down the valley, we pass through some beautiful villages, notably Marpha with its carefully stone-paved streets and hand built underground water and drainage system.
Day 17: to Marpha (2,667m.) 6hrs.
Day 18: to Kalopani (2,530m) 7hrs.
Day 19: Gradually the treelike returns and we arrive at Tatopani (hot water), site of one of the best known hot springs in Nepal for a chance to soak away the accumulated trail dust. Tatopani is also one of the most important villages for trekkers as it contains the necessary supplies for a successful trip - the best chocolate cake and apple or lemon meringue pies on the Circuit! (1,189m) 7hrs.
Day 20/22: to Ghorepani Deorali (2,855m) 4rs. Turning eastwards to Pokhara, we ascend to Ghorepani Deorali and our sunrise visit to Poon Hill, the most easily accessible of the peaks in Nepal and famous for its view.
Here the splendour of both the Annapurnas and Dhaulagiris can be seen in all their glory as the sunrise tinges their peaks.
Descending from Ghorepani Deorali we arrive at Birethanti, perched on the edge of the Modi Khola flowing from inside Annapurna Sanctuary, and the home of some important sites for trekkers - more pie shops!
Day 23: We return to Kathmandu and your hotel. The rest of the day is free with plenty of time to continue exploring this wonderful city, shopping for souvenirs or trying out the various restaurants in Thamel.
Day 24: Free in Kathmandu.
Day 25: You will be transferred to the International Airport for your flight home.
Each day may vary from this schedule as walking times differ with every group, some taking longer and others takes less, plus trails and lodge conditions need to be taken into account. The guide in charge of your trek will alter the schedule if necessary.
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