Khopra Trek or South of Annapurna region is one of Nepal’s last Himalayan jewels; a glittering array of panoramas, gigantic peaks and peaceful nature awaits the adventurous explorer. However, as magnificent as the mountains are, it is perhaps the people of Nepal that are its greatest asset. Trekkers visiting South of Annapurnas (Moharedanda, Khopra Ridge, ABC, Poon hill and Mardi Himal) are sure to be smitten by the mystical cultures, quaint villages, massive glaciers, mysterious forests and beautiful exciting trails with vistas. All will leave with a renewed inspiration for life; there is something very uplifting about exploring some of nature’s most magical areas…
On 24th of May, 2012, three of us, Guide Mahesh Kulung Himalaya Lodge & Restaurant owner of Landruk, Shyam Rai, and I left for Mardi Himal Trek to mark the trail with blue/white colors. We did everything as volunteers. Although the ACAP officers, Mr. Lal Prasad Gurung and Mr. Narendra Lama had promised to pay something for the paint, brushes and our food and accommodation, it seemed to be taking too long to process. As my friend's time was limited, we decided to leave as early as possible and finally decided on the right time for it. We were happy and very dedicated doing it, and I was greatly inspired to do so by Mr. Andrees de Ruiter.
About Mardi Himal Trek.
This is a beautiful and rich nature trail, best thought of as a “Ridge-trail”! because most of the time you hike along the ridge beginning from Kande, one of the best starting points for this trek, situated 36 kms. north of Pokhara. You have to follow this ridge west, until MHBC (Mardi Himal Base Camp) .The altitude starts from 1770m at Kande and reaches 4500m. at the end point ,MHBC.
You hike through just a few villages in the beginning, and at the end of the trek some particularly beautiful villages. On this trek you will have to spend 80% of the whole trip in dense pristine forest! This is a very quiet and peaceful trek – we met only an Italian tourist with a guide during our whole trip. I would like to recommend doing this trek with a minimum of 2 people or taking a Nepali guide, because it’s very peaceful and quiet and far away from access to any village.
This fascinating trip is a mixture, being both adventurous and peaceful and joyful.
Above all, when you reach high camp , at 3900m, or the upper view point at 4450m, the views are breathtaking: the snow- capped peaks include Annapurna I ,8091m, Annapurna South ,7219m, Himchuli ,6441m, Annpurna Fang (Baraha Shikher) ,7647m, Khangshar Kang (rock noir) ,7485m, Gangapurna ,7454m, Mardi Himal 5553m, Machhapuchhre’s (fish tail), both peaks (6997m – 6993m) and the beautiful sloping landscape to the south.
For those who don’t like to walk where many other tourists are hiking, then Mardi Himal Trail is perfect to do, and if you have more than 16 – 18 days for a trekking trip in Nepal, you may also combine it with the Khopra trek, including the hot spring in Jhinu Danda (1750m) at the shore, Modi khola, coming from Annapurnas . It would also be possible to go to other Tatopani (hot springs) in the Kaligandaki valley.
There are many confusing trails into the dense forest: everywhere you can see the small trails walked by yaks and sheep, which look similar to the main trail. An officially some years ago, The Mardi Himal Route was open for the trekkers, but you don’t feel it so when you are in the dense forest of it and some narrower paths above high camp! In my experienced there are many places along the trail need to fix and put more signposts, poles and metal bar etc. Originally it was made for yak and their herders, sheep and their shepherds. Seasonally, lower villagers go up to the forest and up to the sloping grassy lands to take things like bamboo and dhakai, a kind of wild vegetable, wild mushroom and some Himalayan herbs and Yarsa Gumba (cordyceps sinensis) .
I hope our blue/white signs will help you to find the right trails although I’m not sure how long they will last; hopefully the monsoon rain won’t wash them away. In the forest we tried to mark 10 or 20 meters between each, in both directions. I believe marking on the tree will last longer, because there are fewer chances of the signs being washed away by the rain. Below and above High Camp, we marked on the rocks only, some of which were difficult to see, and there are long distances between the signs so you need to look for them carefully.
Summary;The Mardi Himal Trek is a beautiful, wild trek, into pure nature- a true gem of the Himalaya, a quiet and peaceful environment. It may be a bit adventurous but it is a more joyful destination for those who like to be away from the hectic rush of civilization.
Pokhara 820m – Kande 1770m (1 hr)
There are two transport options : if you want a cheap drive then you would go to Baglung bus station ( the new bus park) and catch a bus to Kande, which costs around 2 Euro, but it would take more than two hrs, because the bus stops at many places to collect passengers.
The other option is to hire a taxi or car; it would bring you to Kande in 1 hr maximum. Recently it cost around 15 Euro for a single drive.
Kande – Australian Camp 2060m (1.45 – 2 hrs)
Kande is a small town with little tea shops, restaurants and cold stores. In the middle of the town, there are some NATT signs painted with red/white on the stone wall and a wooden electricity pole, which you can easily recognize. When you go by a cab or car, you may ask the driver to drop you right at the starting point for Mardi Himal Trek. It’s easy to find.
You turn to the right hand side and slowly continue further, through small villages and houses; soon you will start ascending and enter the bushes and forests of rhododendron and red sandalwood with beautiful southern views. You will reach Australian Camp, a very beautiful little village. From there you can see the Annapurna mountain range, and a little of Manaslu and the Dhaulagiri range including Fishtail Mount and Pokhara valley in the south.
There are good campsites and four nice lodges. I would prefer to sleep here, but for a first day the trek to Pathana is also nice. Australian Camp is famous around Pokhara for a picnic spot with easy access and a beautiful mountain scene. This place is surrounded by red sandalwood and rhododendron forest.
Australian Camp – Pathana 1950m (20 – 25 min)
The trail begins through a beautiful and pleasant short descent in the red sandalwood forest, and then let’s says, “Nepali flat “to Pathana. Sometimes you will get to see few red/white NATT-signs.
At Pathana, there are 6 nice basic lodges, 2 little bhatties and a big new lodge about to be built. There is an ACAP permit check point + tourist information centre as well. Please make sure that all your necessary permits are arranged in Pokhara beforehand.
Pathana – Pitam Deurali 2100m (45 min).
Pathana to Pitam Deurali is a wonderful hike in the red sandalwood and rhododendron forest and with some little open land between, known as buffalo pasture. After some minutes on the flat there is a slow, gentle climb up and then a bit more uphill until the flat resting place at Pitam Deurali. In between you can see some ACAP signposts and our NATT- logo in red/white. If those signs are taken away, you have to follow the straight direction; do not turn either left or right.
At Pitam Deurali, there are two basic lodges and one bhatti.
Now is the official start of the Mardi Himal Trek. Leaving behind the Trekkers Inn Lodge, there is an ACAP signpost saying Mardi Route (Forest Camp). We did paint on the pole of ACAP signpost and at the corner wall of this lodge; you also clearly see the steps on the wall between the signpost and the lodge’s, behind the side wall. When you go up the steps, you immediately turn to the right and go straight, entering the scrubby forest. Then you can follow the blue/white sign. Most of the time we painted on the tree barks as there were only a few opportunities to mark on rocks. You climb gently and in 15 – 20 minutes, you reach a little area of open land, which is buffalo pasture (you might not recognize it as a pasture for animals) where we made a larger mark on the rock in blue/white color. Coming to this pasture you might get a little confused but if you look carefully, there should be no problem finding it.
After the pasture you enter a dense forest and you will gradually climb up (for 2 to 3 hrs). Then most of the time you hike on Nepali forest” flat “(a little up and down). Finally, after a short, gentle descent you reach the flat at Forest Camp. From some places between Pitam Deurali and Forest Camp, you will have the chance to see vistas of Dhaulagiri and the Manaslu range. If the weather is good , I suggest you to take a packed lunch or something to eat and plenty to drink as there are no lodges, restaurants, villages or water- only dense and very quiet forest.
Between Pitam Deurali and Forest Camp there are more than two signposts showing directions to Lwang village on the other side. Do not turn left or right, just go straight, following the directions of the blue/white colored signs.
At Forest Camp (Kokar), there are three nice basic lodges. The menus (daal bhat, noodles, soup, potatoes, chapatti –tarkari, beer, coke, canned juices, teas and coffee) are good, and the food clean and fresh. Rooms and toilets are neat. This little village is surrounded by beautiful green forest. They have nice campsites as well. From here there is also a trail going down via Sidding, Lwang and Pokhara. On the western side you can see Ghandruk and surrounding villages and Modi valley.
The lodges of Forest Camp are open the whole year round; you may give them a call before you go there.
a)Hotel Forest Camp & Restaurant at Forest Camp (Kokar)
Mobile No: 9804141348 or 9846169320
b)Hotel Mardi and Restaurant Forest Camp (Kokar)
Mobile No: 9806635881
c)Hotel Green View & Restaurant Forest Camp (Kokar)
The trail goes through the courtyard of Hotel Forest Camp and Restaurant. At the corner wall of toilet we painted and put a little arrow. You follow the blue/white mark on the tree bark. The hike is an easy uphill start from right behind the Hotel Forest Camp. After 7 to 10 minutes, you will turn right and walk straight, going gently up and down. Finally you will climb up and you will reach Rest Camp. There is a basic teahouse there with a few bedrooms to sleep in; they also have the same menu as Forest Camp, although I think they are able to prepare less food. They have beer, coke, teas and coffees as well.
Rest Camp – Low Camp (Humal) 3000m (2 ½ to 3 hrs approx).
The trail starts from the end of the right corner of the teahouse and soon you can see the blue/white marks on the tree bark. Most of the time it is a gradient ascent, after just a few meters , turn right and continue straight; there is some uphill and “Nepali flat” then later there are mostly gradual trails, ascending into the dense rhododendron forest. Before 15 – 20 minutes; you reach a flat trail; finally you’re at Low Camp. There are two basic teahouses with restaurants with similar menus to Forest Camp. This is a very beautiful place with a beautiful campsite as well. It is surrounded by a beautiful rhododendron forest, a very quiet and peaceful environment, with a view of Machhapuchre and Mardi Himal, when the weather is clear.
The teahouses are closed from mid May – end of July, but if you make a phone call a few days earlier, they will open the restaurant and rooms for you at any time.
From here (Low Camp) a trail goes down to Sidding and further villages as well.
Low Camp (Humal) – High Camp (Kew) 3900m (4 or 5 hrs max)
You still follow the blue/white sign, entering the scrubby rhododendron forest by a gentle ascent of 10 – 20 minutes, and then start going up the trail in the dense forest till reaching the lower viewpoint (3289m). This will take 1 ½ – 2.00 hrs. Now begins a grassy slope. From here you can also see many wonderful mountain views, especially at sunrise and sunset.
Now, you continue further up to High Camp, hiking mostly on the grassy slope, up steep and some narrow paths and into some little rhododendron forests. Sometimes you may find difficulty in seeing our signs, because it was very difficult for us to find good rocks at the right distances. Sometimes we also had to use small rocks to paint on so when the grass grows higher those signs may be hidden.
If the weather is good, this hike is also one of the nicest, because you have the chance to walk along the yak beaten trail on an open ridge with great mountain views: the Annapurna range , Machhapuchre,and the southern green landscape; below, can be seen the very deep Modi river valley, including Ghandruk, Chhomrong, Sinuwa and Dovan .
At High Camp, there is only one teahouse at present (though another teahouse is about to be built soon), named Hotel Trekkers Paradise & Restaurant (mobile phone; 9846087624 or 9846087625 or 9806691496 to Mr. Sudip Gautam, who has been playing an important role in promoting the Mardi Route). It has nice basic rooms and can sleep a total of 24 people at once. It also has a wide and beautiful campsite. There is a good dining hall, an Indian sharing toilet and bathroom. They have a menu: available are noodles, macaroni, chapatti, Tibetan bread, soups, daal bhat and vegetable curry, egg items, tea and coffee.
This place itself is a natural viewpoint tower! In all directions you can see breathtaking views, including Machhapuchre, Mardi Himal, Annapurna I, Annapurna South, Baraha Shikhar, Himchuli and the southern slope including Pokhara valley! This place is also very suitable for yak and sheep-you can see many yaks around. Oh, Madhav Gautam, the yak herder, gave us fresh milk! Fantastic Himalayan milk!! There are a couple of yak shelters as well.
High Camp – Upper View Point 4450m – High Camp (7 – 8 hrs)
Today you should start earlier, but do not start in the dark if you don’t know the trail. You still see blue/white signals till Upper View point. After you have hiked 20 to 30 minutes, further on to the trekker’s paradise of High Camp, there is a trail junction at the bottom of a high hill. Though it seems the real trail goes directly up through the dangerous steep hill, (and yes, some crazy trekkers and local people would take it because of the shortcut), I would never recommend you to do so, for then you would put your life at risk!
Immediately from this junction you can turn to the right and you should look for the blue/white marks on the rocks. I hope they will last, even though we were not able to find the most suitable and best rocks. When you have just turned right, as I said above, you will see a flat, wide place, looking like a little dried up pond and you should walk through it. Further along you can see more marks and then continue straight for 15 – 20 minutes. After that, turn left, going steeply upwards. In another 15 – 20 minutes, you will reach a little pasture, then turn towards the left hand side and trek continually and gradually up the grassy slopes. In 15 – 20 minutes, you will join the trail junction coming up through the dangerous path. Then you follow the blue/white marks, before reaching the Upper View Point; for some hundred meters the path is very narrow. When it is covered by snow, it will be especially difficult and slippery, because both sides are very steep and you hike just along the ridge. But if the weather is good, you get a great chance to view the Annapurna I 8091m, Annapurna south 7219m, Himchuli 6441m, Baraha Shikhar (Fang) 7647m, Tent peak 5695m, Singachuli 6501m, Gangapurna 7454m, Gandarvachuli 6248m, little summit of Annapurna III 7555m, both peaks of Machhapuchre (Mt. fishtail) 6993m – 9997m and Mardi Himal 5553m, MBC (Machhapuchre Base Camp), Deurali, Dovan, Sinuwa, Chhomrong, Ghandruk and the southern slope, including Pokhara valley and
MHBCW (Mardi Himal Base Camp W) 4500m, to go from the upper view point Mardi Himal Base Camp will take about 30 minutes only.
Coming down to High Camp Hotel would take 3 – 4 hrs maximum. Except for some hundred meters of narrow path, it is not that difficult, as long as there is no snow on the way.
This day trip is quite adventurous, beautiful, joyful and definitely worth it.
After 5 – 8 minutes you hiked on the same trail you came up before. There is a trail junction where we marked the big tree’s bark in blue/white color, showing Pathana as straight on and Landruk to the right, going down.
After you descend for about 15 – 20 minutes, there is a steep and narrow path for about four to five hundred meters, and then you still keep descending.
I felt as though I were walking in the dense forest to take things for animals or felt I was a shepherd. When you go further down, you feel it to be a very quiet and peaceful and nice trail in the forest. Then soon you see the village of Landruk just below you and again there are very steep steps. You drop down the little stream, cross it and continue further on for 3 -5 minutes, turn left and follow the stairs down to enter the village of Landruk, soon you reach at a trail junction between the Annapurna camping ground and the Hotel Peaceful guest house, where we painted with blue/white signs, with arrows showing three directions: Mardi H. Trek, Pokhara, and Ghandruk. With this final act, we had finished our Mardi Himal Trek, Chapter: May/2012, of the NATT-trails.
We hope our NATT-signs will help you finding your trail and enjoy it. And please let us (Mr. Andrees de Ruiter www.nepal-dia.de and Prem Rai www.trekwithpremrai.blogspot.com ) know if you would like any further information, on any aspect and we will try our best for you.
“My special thanks to Mrs. Chris Panks, London/Italy, she who helped to revise my English.”
Day 01: Pokhara 820m to Pathana 1950m (3. 25 – 4 hrs approx.)
Day 02: Pathana to Forest Camp (Kokar) 2550m (5 – 6 hrs approx.)
Day 03: Forest Camp (Kokar) to Low Camp (Humal) 3000m (4 – 5 hrs maximum)
Day 04: Low Camp (Humal) to High Camp (Kew) 3900m (4 – 5 hrs).
Day 05: Day trip to Upper View Point 4450m (7 – 8 hrs approx.)
Day 06: High Camp (Kew) to Forest Camp (Kokar) 2550m (5 – 6 hrs)
Day 07: Forest Camp (Kokar) to Landruk 1560m (5 – 7 hrs)
Day 08: Landruk to Jhinudanda (Hotspring) 1750m (3 – 4 hrs maximum).
Day 09: Jhinudanda (Hotspring) to Sewai 1300m (4 hrs approx.). From there you can
drive to Nayapul or directly to Pokhra by jeep (2 – 3 hrs in maximum)
Day 10: An extra reserved day.
Day 01: Pokhara 820m to Pathana 1950m (3.25 – 4 hrs approx.)
Day 02: Pathana to Forest Camp (Kokar) 2550m (5 – 6 hrs approx.)
Day 03: Forest Camp (Kokar) to Low Camp (Humal) 3000m (4 – 5 hrs maximum)
Day 04: Low Camp (Humal) to High Camp (Kew) 3900m (4 – 5 hrs).
Day 05: Day trip to Upper View Point 4450m (7 – 8 hrs approx.)
Day 06: High Camp (Kew) to Forest Camp (Kokar) 2550m (5 – 6 hrs)
Day 07: Forest Camp (Kokar) to Pathana 1950m (4 - 5 hrs)
Day 08: Pathana – Kande and get a cab or bus and ride to Pokhara (3 hrs approx.)
Day 09: An extra reserved day.
Prem Rai P. O. Box No: 328 Lakeside 6, Pokhara Nepal.
(Below given times are including a short breaks during the hike on the way)
Kathmandu – Arughat Bazaar 608m (8 Hrs/approx)
On 7th of November 2011, there were nine members including Dr. Claudia we left for Manaslu trek. It was good idea to leave Kathmandu early to avoid the traffic gridlock and (all being well) arrive at Dhadingbesi (580m) by lunch time. It is roughly a 4 hour bus trip. Dhadingbesi is a big city and it is headquarter of the district. After having lunch here, we continued driving to Arughat (608m) of Gorkha. We arrived there by late evening, because of the bumpy rough road. At Arughat, there are many campsites and lodges to stay overnight. We did set our tents in middle part of the town, which is after the bridge over Budigandaki. Mainly Newars and Gurung people live in this town as both sides of the river. You can view west face of Ganesh Himal Range. There is a police check point as well.
Arughat – Lapubesi 885m (6 -7 Hrs/approx)
For Lapubesi we did hire a jeep to drive till Sotikhola (700m), it took us (1 hr and 40 minutes), between we mainly crossed Arkhet (620m) and Kurepani (820m), and both villages are beautiful with its farming terraces, green scrubby hills around.
After getting off the jeep, we officially began hiking to Khorsanebari (750m, 1 hour), had lunch here and then continued to Lapubesi, took us almost (4 hours) including some little break. Lapubesi is a beautiful Gurung village with farming slope terraces. Where there are few basic teahouses and nice campsites, health post and telephone service are available.
Lapubesi – Tatopani 990m (7 – 8 Hrs/approx)
All the way to Tatopani trail goes along the west bank of Budigandaki, its pleasant hike just above the river through the scrubby forest and villages sometimes, between the villages of Khanibesi (970m) and Machhakhola (869m) and Khorlabesi are also good place to stop, at those places have some basic teahouses and nice campsites. We did stop at Machhakhola for lunch, from where you can view the north east Ganesh Himal.
Tatopnai means; hot spring, there are no pools made yet, only spouts good to wash things and take shower. At Tatopani there are two basic teahouses and nice campsite right above the River of Budigandaki.
Tatopani – Salleri 1353m (6 – 7 Hrs/approx)
The trail from Tatopani to Salleri is through a dramatic gorge with many water-falls and few landslides. At the end of the Tatopani village, cross a suspension bridge to the east bank of the river and continue sometimes dense forest to Dobhan 1070m (1 hours and 30 minutes), still keep hiking along east bank of the river to Yaruphant 1170m (1 hour and 20 minutes), where there are few tea shops and nice campsite at the shore of the river, we had lunch there. Few hundred meters climbing after Yaruphant you reach at the confluence of the Yara Khola (1 hour and 30 minutes) vertical cliffs rise on both sides of the valley as the trail continues on eastern bank for 15 minutes to a bridge, after a short climb and descent of 20 minutes you reach a flat area, where there are few tea shops and campsites.
10 – 15 minutes further, you enter Jagat 1340m. There are basic tea houses, telephone services, nice campsites; police check post and MCAP information center + you’re an officially entered to Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP).
Jagat is traditional tax collection point for trade to and from Tibet. From here you can view the Shringi Himal.
Beyond the village is the Pangaur khola about 20 minutes, cross using stepping stones and Log Bridge and in next 20 – 25 minutes you reach to Salleri, there are couple of campsites in the village.
Salleri – Deng 1875m (6 – 7 Hrs/approx)
The trail now climbs an easy gradient to the resting place (50 minutes), good view of Shringi Himal. Descend to Sirdibas 1420m (35 – 45 minutes), continue via Ghatte khola to a long and high suspension bridge over the Budigandaki (there is police check post before crossing the bridge) and climb steeply 200m and reach to Philim 1570m (40 minutes).
At Philim, there are some basic tea houses, campsites, telephone services, Chhyoling Sandu gompa, nice Gurung village and a beautiful Shringi Himal view etc.
In (45 – 1 hour) you come at Eklebhatti 1600m, where, we had lunch, during food preparation time, we did collect some mountain paper from the tree. We did also collect fresh wild nettle leaves and cooked soup for lunch!
Next 45 minutes from here, 5 minutes before the bridge, there is a trail junction right hand trail goes to Tsum Valley and the left hand trail (Manaslu trail) descends to the river, where the trail begins a gradual climb as the valley turns westwards, keep following the main trail, soon you come at Nyakphedi 1660m. Another bridge across the Budigandaki is reach in (45 minutes), in the next 15 – 20 minutes, you cross back the same river using wooden suspension bridge and then you reach to Pewa 1700m (30 – 40 minutes). Next 50 minutes to 1 hour to Deng is good to stay overnight, there are couple of basic tea houses and good campsites with Shringi Himal views. Gurung people live in this village.
Deng – Namrung 2630m (6 -7 Hrs/approx)
The trail descends to a suspension bridge over Budigandaki , and then climbs roughly 110m to Rana village 1910m (45 minutes), now you climb up gently, some Nepali flat and come at Bhiphedi 1990m (45 – 50 minutes, keep continue further hiking through sparse pine trees and hamlets (1 hour), we had lunch at Sallaghari and then hiked to Ghap 2200m (1 hour and 30 minutes), there are couple of tea shops.
The valley now narrows and you pass through pine broad leaf forest to a spectacular canyon carved by the river (1 hour), which you re-cross in another 20 – 30 minutes on a large bridge. From the second bridge, you climb more steeply for almost 1 hour and 40 minutes to Namrung 2630m, where there are some tea houses, good campsites, permit check, hydropower + you can view Shringi and Ganesh Himal.
Namrung – Shyala 3500m (6 – 7 Hrs/approx)
Leave Namrung by crossing Therang khola along an easy hike and you reach the scattered village of Barchham (30 minutes). The trail now climbs about 290m, on an easy gradient to Lihi 2920m (1 hour and 10 minutes), there are some tea shops and campsites are available. Descend and cross the Hinan khola and ascend an easy trail to Shyo 2880m (1 hour). Now, its an easy uphill to Lho 3180m (1 hour and 30 minutes), where there are few tea houses and campsites. Its quiet a big settlement with the views of massive Manaslu and other peaks. If you have time, explore the village’s maniwalls, Ribung gompa, which situated on a hill above the village. Then the trail descends to Thusang khola and climbs a steady gradient for 300m to Shyala 3500m (1 hour and 45 minutes). At Shyala, there are some tea houses and nice campsites. For mountain views Shyala is wonderful place.
Shyala – Samdo 3875m (4 Hrs/approx)
The trail dips through the Numlakhola before descending slightly and then becoming flat all the way to Sama 3520m (1 hour and 30 minutes). Where, there are many basic tea houses, nice campsites, many big maniwalls, chhortens with beautiful Manaslu, Naike peak, Larke and Samdo. There is police station as well.
“ It is always good idea to stay one or two more day at Sama; exploring the village and some of the surrounding view points as part of an acclimatization program. You also may visit the gompas of Sama + hike up to Birendra Lake 3640m (45 – 1 hour) to see the reflection of the Manaslu and Naike in the lake!
Another very popular place to visit is; the Pung Gyen gompa beneath the east face of Manaslu. To get there, you go back on the Shyala trail to a junction before the Numlakhola, where you should turn right and continue a long and sometimes steep climb for 3 hours.
For the gompa donation is expected, so you may donate as you wished. Still higher above is cave gompa and hotspring, but relaxing in the grassy land near the gompa and enjoying the view of Manaslu is popular pastime before returing to Sama (1 hour 45 minutes)”.
Because of our tight schedule; we continued towards Samdo 3875m, following an easy trail that runs parallel to the Budigandaki. After 45 – 60 minutes cross the outflow from Birendra Lake to summer herding area of Kermo Yak Kharka, where there is an excellent view of Manaslu from the impressive maniwall. An easy gradient trail continues for (1 hour) to a bridge over the river and climb towards up to Samdo 3875m (40 minutes).
At Samdo there are two basic tea houses and many beautiful campsites, there are big chhortens and a gompa as well. Comparatively the people of Samdo are poor.
It is good idea to add one more day to your itinerary for well acclimatization. Consider climbing up the slopes to the north of Samdo for some great view of whole Manaslu range.
Samdo – Dharamshala 4460m (3 Hrs & 30 Minutes)
From Samdo the trail continues to a bridge across the Gyala Khola, climb the trail on the far side to a large pile of mani stones (50 minutes). Now you climb an easy gradient with the views of Naike, Larke and the north face of Manaslu for 2 hrs and 40 minutes to Dharamshala 4460m, where there is a large emergency shelter, recently set up a couple of large Chinese tents to sleep in.
Dharamshala – Bhimtang 3720m (8 – 9 Hrs/approx)
We did start at 5am, before sunrise and climb an ablation valley to view of Cheo ridge. Some prayer flags on the top of the valley 4690m (1 hour and 45 minutes), but still to get to the Pass, trail crosses through rough moraine (1 hour and 20 minutes to the another shelter 4905m. From here the trail begins to climb more steeply to the top of the Larkya La 5160m (1 hour and 45 minutes). On the top of Larkya La is a roofless shelter you can see and many prayer flags.
In the south, right in front of you is standing a huge massive white wall of the Larkya Himal range and in the north Cheo and Pawar (Cheo) Himal range.
After 15 -20 minutes’ descent; a magnificent view of Himlung, Kang Guru, Gyagi, Menjung, Annapurna II and IV.
Now, you descend on the steep slope, which is covered by snow or icy in winter and spring season (and may require a hand line) for 1 ½ hrs. But in Oct/Nov. season is very dry and normally no snow or ice over the pass of steeply slope down, though I would carry 20 – 30 meters rope with me. Beneath you are three glaciers spotted with several turquoises lakes; head for the ablation valley to the left of all the glaciers.
And rough gradient leads down to campsite of Bhimtang 3720m (3 hrs) belong to 6 tea shops including newly built.
Bhimtang – Yak Kharka 3020m (2 Hrs & 30 Minutes)
As I’ve seen many people take an extra day to have relax at Bhimtang after many day tough hiked via Larkya La, well Bhimtang is a bit windy place, so we made a decision to descend down to Yak Kharka, which decision was perfect. It took us 2 hrs and 30 minutes exactly without any break.
“After 15 – 20 minutes you hiked from Bhimtang will reach a moraine with fantastic views of Manaslu west face and Ngadi Chuli (Peak 29) in the south east, Himlung and Cheo Himal in the north.
Now, you cross a branch of glacial melt and then turn left, cross some more moraines before crossing the main stream of glacial melt and then climbing ridge of lateral moraine topped by few prayer flags (15 – 20 minutes).
The trail descends a little steeply through pine and rhododendron forest for 20 minutes and soon you meet to a gentle downhill gradient and keep continue towards the Dudh Khola through beautiful forest and you arrive at Yak Kharka, there is a large tea shop and very nice campsite area surrounding by green forest with the view of the north Manaslu and west part of Larka Himal.
From here the trail condition is a bit difficult to follow across some big landslides and through scrubby forest to the scattered settlement of Kharche 2700m (1 hour and 30 minutes).The trail now climbs strenuously ridge that just into the center of the valley before a long descent to Goa village 2515m (1 hour and 45 minutes), where there are couple of tea houses. It is now an easy downhill to the large Gurung village called Tilje 2300m (1 hour), we did lunch break here.
And then you cross a bridge and pass a school, after 20 – 30 minutes we came to join the new broad dirt track and we continually followed it till to the suspension bridge, crossed it and reached to Thonche village 1930m (55 minutes). At the center of this village, you bit turn to left and descend to the suspension bridge over Marsyangdi River, in 10 minutes you come to joint to the main Annapurna circuit NATT trail at Dharapani 1925m. Where there is a police check point, so you’re checking out of Manaslu and checking into Annapurna (ACAP).
In Dharapani, there are several lodges to stay. We descent through this long village till end and cross back the Marsyangdi river using the suspension bridge and followed the left bank trail of the river, finally we reached to Karte Manang 1850m (30 minutes). The school’s ground was provided us to us as campsite; well you should pay the fee as school asked. It is situated just above the Marsyangdi River. At Karte, there are few numbers of tea houses.
Karte Manang – Jagat 1300m (5 – 6 Hrs/approx)
After 1 hour you hiked on the broad dirt road without any single traffic, and then cross a suspension bridge (to avoid the road) over the Marsyangdi River and passing narrower carved cliff trail through the deep gorge with beautiful waterfall views, and descent at the river bank and continue a head to Siran Tal 1730m (30 minutes). After 5 minutes, you get to hike through the cliff carved trail and descent at the main Tall village 1700m (20 minutes). Where there are several lodges, police station, telephone services, and safe drinking water station and at the far end of the village is Nepal Army post, right from here the trail descends to Lower Tal (30 minutes), entering to scrubby forest and you come at Sattale 1640m (45 – 50 minutes). Still you have to descend down to another suspension bridge is rough + steeply and scrubby forest trail, cross the bridge and ascend to join the road at Chamje 1430m (45 – 60 minutes). Where there are some lodges. We did stop for lunch break. Now we took walk all the way to Jagat 1300m (1 hour) on the broad dirt road without any single traffic. Jagat is beautiful place to stop as overnight. Where there are several tea houses and nice campsites. It would be good idea to book it earlier, before you arrived here, because good campsite would be occupied by others.
It was our last night of this trip + also was one of our client’s “Birth Day!” Our Chef Bak Dhoj Rai made a delicious cake! All staffs wanted to have alcohol and everyone had it and finally we all danced and sang many beautiful songs and we all enjoyed it very much!
Jagat – Besishahar – Kathmandu 1300m (8 Hrs)
We hired a jeep to Besishahar, took us 3 hrs actual driving and then we did change a car for Kathmandu took another 5 hrs, transferred to Hotel.
Thus our wonderful Manaslu trek was over safely and in good health!
Day 01:Nov.07/2011: Kathmandu – Arughat Bazaar 608m (8 Hrs/approx)
NATT*** (New Annapurna Trekking Trail) Painting Mission 2011
My partner Andrees de Ruiter and I left for Besishahar on 9th of August 2011. We rode on minibus in Pokhara, and it took us to Besishahar 4:00 hrs. It was good and safe driving. After having daal bhaat as our lunch in Besishahar, we seriously started our Mission at the end of the city, from where we turned to the right side, climbed down to the little river through the rice fields, trees, and banana garden, crossed a little bamboo bridge over the small river, again joined on the broad dirt road leading from Besishahar, continue walking on it for 40 minutes further. Then we practically started painting red/white sign as NATT*** logo!! Where, there are some houses, cold drink and grocery shops. You can see the red/white sign leading to Bhulbhule (840m), we crossed a suspension bridge over Marsyangdi rive, entered to Lete village – Mul bazaar – Simalchaur – ascended up to the ridge (1030m) – descended to Bhulbhulem, o/n there.
Next day, we continued our job, marking and finding the latest trail changing condition to Ghermuphant (1175m) through lower Ngadi – Ngadi bazaar – Bahudanda, between has not really big changes, you still walk on the old trail!
In 20 minutes you will be dropped to Syange, where you connect on the bumpy dirt road, but not any traffic now, because of many part of the road has washed by monsoon. Then took hike on the same road to Ghatte khola 40 minutes after Jagat. Where you again see the NATT sign as red/white, which leads you to Chamje (1400m) along the old trail. At the end of Chamje again the trail joins at the main trail, hike 5 minutes on then you will split to the right side trail from the last tea shop, climb down to the Marsyangdi rive and cross the suspension bridge, and climb up to Sattale – lower Tal – upper Tal village (1700m). 45 – 60 minutes beyond Tal we crossed a suspension bridge over Marsyangdi again and joined on the main trail, continued to Karte Manang. Between Tal and Karte Manang the local people were carving the cliffs for the alternative trekking trail on the left bank of Marsyangdi instead of crossing suspension bridge before Khotre. According to the people of Tal and Karte it will be accomplished by the end of November 2011. Then continued hiking toward Dharapani another 40 minutes, o/n there.
At the end of Dharapani, where is tourist check post and the trail junction to Manaslu + Manang + Besishahar near by 3 Sisters Guest House. We had to branch toward Manaslu trail and crossed the suspension bridge and turned to the left entering to the beautiful Thonche village, where is a beautiful gompa** as well. Along the left bank of Marsyangdi we took hiking till another suspension bridge crossing just below Bagarchhap (2140m), which was wonderful trail! But we did not mark it, because in future would be opened the trail till Danaque, then it would even be nicer!
At Bagarchhap we joined on the broad dirt road without any traffic, continued hiking via Danaque (2210m) – Temang (2630m) – Thanchouk (2615m) – Koto (2600m) – Chame (2670m), where you can visit the old little gompa, when you compared other gompas, its not that impressive but nice one. About 20 – 30 minutes beyond Chame you will reach to Talekhu village (2710m), at the end, trail turns to the right, where you can see the NATT red/white signs, for 3 km fantastic hike through the pine forest, you will soon join on the main trail and reach to Bhratang (2800m). Still you will follow the road up to Dhukur Pokhara (dove pond) 3060m, before reaching there; also you can see some red/white sign.
At the end of Dhukur Pokhari you should try to see the red/white sign on the electric poles just before and after the mani prayer wall (we did not find the good rock around), so from there you should take a walk by right side of the lake directing trail up to upper Pisang a wonderful village, before reaching there you will hike along the beautiful pine forest trail, bushes, fields and pastures etc. When weather is good you will see the huge mountain view of Annapurna II. At upper Pisang there are some lodges and restaurants. You should visit both (old and new) gompas there.
Still follow the red/white sign along the beautiful trail to Ghyaru (3670m). Upper Pisang to Ghyaru would take about 3 hrs, more than 2 hrs; you should climb the zig-zag up hill brings you till Ghyaru, which helps you very much to acclimatize for Thorong la. At Ghyaru there are three basic lodges and a nice gompa**.
After Ghyaru, you will hike at the similar altitude further Ngawal (3560m), from where you either take via Julu a little hamlet but so beautiful un-busy trail! With red/white signs. To take this trail starts at the water fountain of north-west Ngawal just near by the monastery, continue ascending toward west direction and reach to old gompa about 40 minutes passing by the fields, pastures, some bushes then descending to Julu, you will walk by four big chhortens after old gompa, then immediately will connect to the new and huge gompa and school for the monks, from there trail leads you down to the river of Julu, crossing through the beautiful pine forests and you will soon join on the main trail coming from Ngawal and Bensi directly to Braka (3480m). At the junction there is seasonal tea shop, where we marked red/white sign coming from Julu, and blue/white signs on the main wide trail coming from Ngawal and Bensi (3285m).
You will join the wide let’s say dirt road at Mungji, continue walking 10 – 15 minutes further and you will see the red/white sign on the electric pole, which leads you to have a real view of Braka! You’re at Braka, if you are not that tired you may visit the most beautiful Braka monastery*** in the evening, or if you’re tired in the morning you must visit it! (You must not miss it to visit), before visiting it make sure at your hotel about the key person, who will open it for you. Never forget to donate the gompa and tip for who will open it and show you.
Depends on your flexibility of time, you can make day hike either Ice lake (4640m) or Milarepa cave (4100m) on the opposite direction of Braka village. We already painted as blue/white sign from the suspension Bridge of Braka to till beyond the fields on the right side of Marsyangdi rive, and starts pine forest. The owner of Braka bakery promised us that he/his company will accomplish the rest painting job up to the Cave Milarepa and Ice Lake as well. In my experienced both trip or at least one of those to make is wisdom for well acclimatization and breath taking views of Mountains and the landscapes, especially Ice Lake.
Further Manang (3570m) you may also sleep only one night if you already spent one or two nights at Braka. Still if you got plenty of time you can visit praken gompa, Chhyankur view point, Khanshar etc.
We followed the main trail via Gunsang (3900m) – Yak Kharka (4018m) – Ledar (4200m) – Phedi (4470m) – Hight camp (4800m). After high camp to Muktinath-Ranipauwa (3800m) via Thorong la (5416m) with awesome mountain view of Annapurna range, Chulus, Khatung kang, Yakawakang, Dhaulagiri and many more including blue sky!! We had also seen many beautiful flowers until 5360m!
From Ranipauwa up to Lubra pass (3915m) we did paint with blue/white. The Lubra pass trail starts at jeep station of Ranipauwa, where you can see the big ACAP board, near by you can see the blue/white sign on the electric pole. The trail to the pass is very beautiful at the similar level hike, with hundreds of flowers, passing through the opened grassy land! To climb down to Lubra village you should make sure there is a bridge or not? I mean in monsoon, for the dry season is no problem.
From the Lubra pass we turned toward right direction and kept marking blue/white till Jharkot village below Ranipauwa, so to go Lubra either from Jharkot or Ranipauwa, both trails worth for you. Around Ranipauwa – Muktinath you can make a beautiful day hike, Jharkot, Purang, visiting Muktinath temple, nunnery gompa, burning flame gompa*** etc.
According to the previous plan with ACAPOP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project Office Pokhara) on 2011.08.22 we met Mr. Rishi Ram Dhakal the representing person of ACAP to work with us for NATT mission. It was so good to see him and work together. From 2011.08.23 we started marking together from the northern entrance gate of Ranipauwa, where you can see the sign post of ACAP written Chhongkhar, but every local people says as Chhongur. At the left of the gate you can see red/white signs on the rocks and on the ACAP sign post’s pole as well.
You may follow the NATT sign and take easy walk to Chhongur Tibetan styled beautiful village, there is a beautiful gompa**, old houses with red and white vertical striped on its wall and nice people with their colorful culture. Then the next village is Jhong (3700m) 30 minutes on foot. At Jhong there is a beautiful gompa** with the great view of Thorong la, Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri Mountain ranges, Tilicho peak, Yakawakang, Khatungkang, Thapa peak and other many including upper kaligandaki valley view! With the gompa, there is a guest house also with max 8 beds, so if some one wants meditation to do, definitely can stay at this guest house. There are other two private guest houses in Jhong, rather basic but very nice to stay.
In 20 minutes you will descend to Putak another beautiful village, you still should follow the red/white signs along. At the end southern part of Putak, the trail turns to the right straight, where you can see the red/white signs. In few minutes you will cross a suspension bridge over Dry River but very deep! Then follow the main trail (dirt road 3 vehicle drive maximum per day!) till Kagbeni. At the west-north of Kagbeni, there is an old beautiful stupa, from where you can see the best view of Kagbeni! And that’s very important point for entering to this village and outgoing for Muktinath and upper Mustang. Kagbeni is really beautiful village, there is gompa** and old ruined buildings.
As a day trip you can make toTiri village and gompa**. Tiri is still belong upper Mustang but recently you’re allowed to visit in for the day and come back to Kagbeni spending over night. At Tiri you can get noodle soup, daal bhaat for lunch at the white big building next to prayer wheels stupa near by the public water fountain. For you, it would be very interesting to see the monk at Tiri gompa**, he is also Amchi the Tibetan doctor with his farmacy! For that he studied for 9 yrs in Darjeeling.
From Kagbeni we made to old Jomsom via, Eklebhatti, where, at the suspension bridge you can see two kinds of NATT signs; red/white sign leads you directly to Jomsom on the motor able broad dirt windy road. With blue/white signs we followed the beautiful trail via Pakling – Phalyak – Dhakarjhong – Batase Bhanjyang (The Windy pass 3435m) and dropped to Jomsom near by wooden bridge over Kaligandaki River. Along this trail the landscapes, untouched Tibetan culture, beautiful villages, breath taking Himalayan views, the southern part of upper Mustang and the whole view of lower Mustang!!
In the evening of 2011.08.25 and the morning of 2011.08.26 we got an opportunities meeting to Mr. Santosh Sherchan Thakali, The ACAP Officer in Jomsom, Mr. Krishna Gurung Tourism Assistant Officer, Mr. Bel Bahadur Pun Tourism Assistant. We exchanged our experiences and discussed a lot about that how to maintain the alternative trekking trail in better and cheaper way and promote tourism for Annapurna area for the first step and then for the whole country in future. Every one was very happy with that meeting; rather the idea was new for them or new use for experiment in Nepal. But for Mr. Andrees de Ruiter wasn’t new, he brought this concept already in 2007 to Nepal for the first time! And Mr. Thakali and his team want to use this system for the whole of the country as trekking trail marking sign!
From Jomsom Mr. Thakali sent another ACAP representative with us. He was Mr. Bel Bahadur Pun was as fantastic as Mr. Rishi Ram Dhakal. We really enjoyed marking trail with them.
Again we started marking from old Jomsom near by the wooden bridge over the Kaligandaki River. At the ACAP sign post’s pole painted with red/white sign leading to Thini village – Dhumba lake with many fishes in – Dhumba village – descended at Chhairo the Tibetan settlement – turned to the right, crossed the suspension bridge and entered to Marpha, to get into the middle village of Marpha would take 15 – 20 minutes.
At Chhairo (Tibetan settlement) also being built a hotel with 14 beds and restaurant, they said by November 2011 it will be completed.
Next day you should cross the suspension bridge over Kaligandaki, take a walk 30 – 40 minutes further will reach at the trail junction, where shows to right directly to Chokhopani and on the left making detour through the Chimang the beautiful village with wonderful Dhaulagiri range view! It would be one hour different so you can decide yourself when you are at the junction.
When you come to Chokhopani the lady Usha Restaurant can make soup noodles and daal bhat for you. Then you will start climbing about 190m through the beautiful pine forest newly built trail, awesome views of Dhaulagiri (8167m) and it’s Ice Fall! And Tukuche peak (7920m) lying before you!! Follow the red/white sign till Sauru. At the moment we were there between Sauru and Serthung about maximum 500 meters not that good trail, but the Mr. Thakali and his team promised us to maintain it as soon as possible before the peak season. At least they also promised to put temporary wooden bridge until the cliff is not carved. So make sure at Sauru regarding the latest trail improvement, other wise at Sauru you should cross the long bridge to Larjung and take the broad dirt road till Kokhethanti. But for us was possible to cross the 500 meters difficult trail, we did it and came to Kokhethanti along the left trail of Kaligandaki river.
From Kokhethanti we marked as red/white to Titi lake – Taklung – Kunjo (had dal bhat) - Chhoyo – crossed the bridge over Kaligandaki and turned right to Lete/Kalopani. The new trail below Kalopani and Lete is wonderful into the lush pine forest with vistas! We had to mark as 4 exit points in Kalopani and Lete to be connected on that trail below. Because we wanted every one happy of Kalopani and Lete. The first (I) exit point is between Mountain View Lodge and Kalopani Guest House, the (II) exit point is just after Kalopani Guest House, right opposite of Angel Guest House, the (III) exit point is between Kalopani and Lete, where you can see the red/white sign at the public water fountain and the last exit point without number is at Lete also at the water fountain too.
(I rather would suggest you to do Titi Lake and around as day trip, leave all your back packs in Kalopani or Lete wherever you stayed).
Below Lete village you get to connect on the dirt motor able road, walk few minutes further along and soon you will cross a suspension bridge the middle one, northern concreted bridge is for the motor able road and the southern one is too old, anytime it might collapse! (Though it does not seem that old being collapse soon).
Before and after the middle suspension bridge of Lete khola you will see the red/white signs. After crossing the bridge you will immediately cross the motor able road and enter to the alternative pristine lush NATT*** forest trek starts! Wow, about 1:40 hrs you will forget yourself! Because it’s so beautiful and pleasant being inside the fresh forest!!
You will again join on the motor able dirt road at Ghumaune, take a walk 5 minutes along the road and again turn to the right exactly from the Green Forest Guest House, have a look red/white sign, another 40 minutes in the forest and connect on the road at Kaiku village, 1.5 km on the road and will arrive in Ghasa (2125m).
At the end of lower Ghasa you will see the red/white sign and follow them till to the suspension bridge over Kaligandaki, before crossing it you see the red/white sign and arrow showing Tatopani, continue to Pairothaplo as directed – upper and lower Kopchepani, then still the red/white sign along further, the trail again splits at lower Kopchepani leading up to Bhalebas 1750m (90 meters above of lower Kopchepani). Now you are descended to Ghadpar village, where, turning to the right and cross the suspension bridge over Kaligandaki and be connected on the motor able dirt road and entering into the beautiful upper and lower Dana villages. But we continued on the left river bank through Narchyang bensi and other villages with red/white marking, our first chapter of NATT*** mission ended just 15 minutes before Tatopani, where, there is a suspension bridge and we had to cross it and re-join on the road. You can see at the bridge also we marked as red/white signs and put arrow showing Jomsom!!
Over night at The Dhaulagiri Lodge of Tatopani, in the morning my partner and I woke up at 5:00 AM, decided to take hot bath with natural spring! So went down to the hot spring, no one woke up!! We were shouting to some one and allowed taking hot bath, but it was too hot to sit in! Because we were the first clients, did not mix cold water from the pipe, we tried to mix it and sit in some time with the frozen bottle of coke! Still too hot for us! We did have enough time to wait till it gets normal so we left for our Lodge, after breakfast grabbed a jeep and drove to Beni, jumped into the next bus for Pokhara and arrive in afternoon.
On 2011.09.01; my partner Andrees and I went to join for a meeting to Mr. Narendra Lama (Tourism Officer in Pokhara). He was very appreciated seeing us; we talked 1.30 hrs about tourism promotion through NATT signs and trail in detailed. Mr. Lama was so thankful to us; especially to Andrees for bringing new concepts of marking the trekking trail in easy, cheap and effective way!! Mr. Lama also believes this system to be used for the all trekking trails of the Country. Also Mr. Lama and his team would like to work with us for further future.
DAY 01: KATHMANDU OR POKHARA - BESISHAHAR 820M/TREK TO BHULBHULE 840M (9 ½ - 6 ½ HRS), RED/WHITE SIGNS BETWEEN BESISHAHAR AND BHULBHULE.
You drove either from Kathmandu or Pokhara, if you’ve reached to Besishahar in normal time, same day you can trek to Bhulbhule. About 45 minutes beyond Besishahar we started marking red/white as the first of this mission! From the dirt motor able road we turned to right and crossed the suspension bridge, then Lete village, Mul bazaar, Simalchaur and reached to Bhulbhule. I highly recommend to every one not miss it to hike! Really beautiful with mixture people and culture.
DAY 02: BHULBHULE - BAHUNDANDA 1310m (4 - 5 HRS, IN SLOW PACE), RED/WHITE SIGNS.
Today all day long you will hike along the left bank of Marsyangdi river via lower Ngadi with some lodges, villages and rice fields, then Ngadi bazaar, old Ngadi and ascend up to Bahundanda. Just before reaching Bahundanda is not so easy climbing, whole year around 30 degrees Celsius! But when you’re on the top will forget every thing you did, because so beautiful views of surrounding landscapes, farming land terraces, Nepali typical villages and some mountains etc.
First 45 minutes to descend to the rice fields, walk at similar level altitude till Ghermphant 1175m, bit climb down and cross the bridge of Syange, climb up to Jagat 1300m, still ascend to Chamje and o/n there.
Few minutes on the main trail in the beginning, turn to the right after the last tea shop, descend to the river, cross suspension bridge, Sattale, lower and upper Tal, Kotre and Karte Manang reach to Dharapani.
DAY 05: DHARAPANI - THANCHOUK 2615m (5 - 6 HRS)
You may take via Thonche village, trail divides from 3 sisters guest house leading toward Manaslu, cross the suspension bridge, turn to left and walk along the left bank of Marsyangdi, cross another suspension bridge below Bagarchhap, follow the main trail up to Thanchouk.
DAY 06: THANCHOUK - BHRATANG 2800m (5 HRS), RED/WHITE SIGNS.
To night rather basic lodges to stay, but nicer than so luxury one! Also there are only two lodges.
First one hour you will walk at the similar level of altitude through pastures and pine forest till suspension bridge then you start climbing zigzag trail up to Ghyaru village. Gyaru is very beautiful to stay with breathtaking mountains views of Annapurna II just in front of you and many more mountains, an other hand if you slept over night there will be perfect acclimatization already for further days.
DAY 09: GHYARU - BRAKA 3480m (5 - 6 HRS), RED/WHITE SIGNS.
Beautiful hike up to Ngawal village, then you can take a walk via Julu hamlet, which is most beautiful NATT trail to trek! Though it bit detours your way, but no problem because it deserves all your diligence!
DAY 10: DAY TRIP:-
(a)Either up to Ice Lake (4640m) with breathtaking Mountain View, observe Marsyangdi valley and its beautiful landscapes! Other advantage of making this trip is well acclimatizing for Thorong la.
(b)Or, you can do the Milarepa cave (4100m), which is also very good idea to make good acclimatization, walking into the lush pine forest, being closer to the Annapurna III (5555m), visit the caves where Milarepa did meditation! See the monk and have cup of tea, normally he may offer it for every guest who visits him. (blue/white signs till beyond the fields, opposite of Braka)
DAY 11: BRAKA - MANANG 3570m (25 - 30 minutes)
When you reached to Manang do reserve the rooms, have lunch and either visit the praken gompa above Manang village or hike up to Chhyankur view point opposite of Manang. That makes perfect acclimatization for you.
If you do feel not that well because of high altitude you can stay at Yak Kharka (4018m), then next day you can make to Thorong Phedi.
DAY 13: CHURI LEDAR - HIGH CAMP 4800m (5 HRS), RED/WHITE SIGNS.
Depends how do you feel? If feelings or symptoms are good yet, you easily can go up to high camp, but if anything doubt able with your condition, you should stay at Thorong Phedi (4470m).
HIGH CAMP - MUKTINATH RANIPAUWA 3800m (9 HRS) VIA THORONG LA 5416m, RED/WHITE SIGNS.
You may start at high camp around 6 – 7 o’clock in the morning, do not hurry up, be careful yourself, take your time and pace! Then you will enjoy and success it an easily! I’ve seen many people do hurry up early morning, that’s why more possibilities getting hypothermia and frostbite, when you start too early!
DAY 15: DAY TRIP AROUND MUKTINATH AND RANIPAUWA.
Visit the temple and natural burning flame gompa, hike down to Jharkot village via Purang etc.
DAY 16: RANIPAUWA - KAGBENI VILLAGE 2800m (6 - 7 HRS), RED/WHITE SIGNS.
You should take a hike through Chhongur, Jhong & Putak the Tibetan styled beautiful villages with its art, culture, religion and do not forget to visit the gompas**. (many red/white signs).
DAY 17: DAY TRIP TO TIRI VILLAGE AND GOMPA (2900 - 3050m).
You may take 4 – 5 hrs, including visiting gompa, village, lunch break etc. (no signs, because it’s easy to find the way).
DAY 18: KAGBENI - OLD JOMSOM 2720m (7 - 8 HRS), RED/WHITE SIGNS.
(a)(The trail splits from the bridge of Eklebhatti) via Pakling – Phalyak – Dhakarjhong – Batase bhanjyang (Windy pass 3435m) - old Jomsom would take 7 – 8 hrs, in my opinion every one won’t able to do in one day. Still over Phalyak village you may get to eat and sleep as home stay, they normally cook for you daal bhat, noodle soups, potatoes boiled and teas. And recently it seems being built some new buildings as well. At the center of the village you should see the red/white signs, because the ACAP sign post is showing wrong direction by the way. In 30 minutes you will be at Dhakarjhong village also very beautiful, continue to the pass with breathtaking views of Nilgiris, Tilicho peak, Thorong la, Dhaulagiris, Tukuche peak, southern part of upper Mustang & whole lower Mustang valley view with its gorgeous landscapes! Whoever able to walk should not miss it!! So beautiful and untouched nature and culture. (blue/white signs).
(b)Directly to Jomsom on the broad dirt windy road! But it takes faster, about 4 hrs. (Red/white in the beginning only).
DAY 19: OLD JOMSOM - MARPHA 2660m (6 - 7 HRS), RED/WHITE SIGNS.
You should look the ACAP sign post near by Jimmy Hendricks’s hotel at the left bank of Kaligandaki or the wooden bridge, the trail leading toward Thini - Dhumba Lake - Dhumba village – descends at Chhairo the Tibetan settlement- turn to Marpha – cross the suspension bridge over Kaligandaki – enter to the beginning of Marpha.
You turn to Chhairo again, 45 minutes further you will see the sign post showing directly to Chokhopani and Chimang. You may skip Chimang because of it makes your way one hour detour, but you must not forget that village is most beautiful with scenic mountains, landscapes, wonderful people, colorful culture etc.. If you are there in monsoon, wow green fields with flowers, apple garden with juicy fruits!
After Chokhopani you have to ascend 190 meters, but you won’t feel that much because it gradually climbs through the pine forest with Dhaulagiri and Kaligandaki valley views!
Soon descend at Sauru, make sure further 300 meters the trail possible or not? Or there is any alternative little wooden bridge to cross or not? Otherwise you should cross the long bridge over Kaligandaki and take the dirt road on other side till Kokhethanti. But if the trail still possible you may continue to Kokhethanti.
DAY 21: KOKHETHANTI - KALOPANI/LETE 2530m/2480m (1 ½ HRS).
But there are two options; either you take a walk via Titi Lake (2690m) – Taklung – Kunjo – Chhoyo – turn to Lete or Kalopani. It takes about 5 -6 hrs and we marked as red/white. But I rather suggest you doing is as day trip without bag pack.
DAY 22: KALOPANI/LETE - DANA 1400m (6 - 7 HRS), RED/WHITE SIGNS.
In Kalopani and Lete there are 4 exit points to the alternative beautiful trail as I mentioned above as well.
(I)Exit point between Mountain View hotel and Kalopani guest house.
(II)Exit point just after Kalopani guest house or in front of Angel guest house.
(III)Exit point at the public drinking water fountain between Lete and Kalopani.
(IV)Another exit point at Lete’s water fountain too, we did mark as red/white sign, but not any numbers.
When you joined on the trail so beautiful hiking through pine forest, drop to the Lete River, cross the middle suspension bridge soon you cross again the road and enter to the beautiful pristine lush forest trail! It leads till Ghumaune, again take a walk in the forest, and descend to Kaiku, 1.5 km on the road and reach to Ghasa 2125m.
Continue end of Ghasa, some minutes further to the suspension bridge, will see the red/white sign and arrow showing Tatopani, you descend via Pairothaplo – upper and lower Kopchepani – ascend up to Bhalebas 1750m, descends to Ghadpar village at the shore of Kaligandaki, cross the suspension bridge turn to Dana, o/n there.
DAY 23: DANA - TATOPANI (HOT SPRING) 1200m (4:00 HRS), RED/WHITE SIGNS.
You again turn to the bridge you crossed last night over Kaligandaki, and follow the NATT trails along the left bank of the rive. Today you will reach to Tatopani by morning that means you will have enough chances to choose the rooms there as you wished! Have a good lunch and after taking shower you just descend to the hot spring and enjoy it! Wonderful sitting into the pool after many day hiking in the Himalayas!
DAY 24: TWO OPTIONS:-
(a)Either; take a bus or jeep to Beni, jump on another bus and drive to Pokhara (2 + 4 = 6 hrs).
(b)Or, continue trekking up to Ghorepani-Poon hill and further…..up to you now.
The trekking trip is over! Will discuss regarding further activities eg: city sightseeing, Chitwan, Mountain flight, rafting etc.
"Please let me know if you are interested in any of these treks. I can help you arrange any treks or itineraries in Nepal. You can make any of these treks longer or shorter to fit your stay in Nepal."
Prem Rai P. O. Box No: 328 Lakeside 6, Pokhara Nepal.
On this page you will find information about the guidebook : Trekking in the Annapurnaarea along the new NATT-trails which avoid the road The second Ebook edition is published in September 2013. i decribes the Annapurna Circuit AC, Tilicho lake, The Annapurna panorama & poon hill trek. The Annapurna Base Camp trek and the new Khopra Dhanda and Mardi Himal trek. For that click this image
NATT*** (New Annapurna Trekking Trail) Painting Mission 2011 My partner Andrees de Ruiter and I left for Besishahar on 9 th of August 2011...
Prem Rai was born at a beautiful little hamlet called Sintup 7, Tamku of Sankhuwasabha. It is located in the area of Makalu Barun National Park the most remote north part of East Nepal. He is self employed Trekking guide since 1999. He has over decade of experienced about trekking and tour organizing in Nepal through the Himalaya. On 26 Feb, 2004, he had received an “A” grade Trekking Guide License by His Majesty’s Government of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal. “Feel open to contact him, whether you have any interest about Nepal and all related activities in tourism and adventures. He can help you arrange any treks and tours or itineraries in Nepal. You can make any of these trips longer or shorter to fit your stay in Nepal.".” With warm regards – namaste!