You will be met by a representative of World Expeditions and transferred to the Radisson hotel. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. A pre-trek briefing will be given around 5pm where arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag and down/fibrefill jacket. Evening drinks are held in the hotel for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. Drinks and snacks will generally be served from 6:30 pm until 7:15pm, and this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members before heading out to dinner.
This morning a sightseeing tour takes in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu. We will visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath, returning to the hotel by 2pm. In the afternoon you may have time to explore Durbar Square, Patan, Swayambhunath or Bhaktapur, and the lesser-known towns that dot the valley on foot, by bicycle or trishaw. The area has an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops contrast with fantastic centres of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world.
From Kathmandu we drive west along the Kathmandu to Pokhara highway. We divert off the highway at the bustling town of Dumre and continue north for a further one and half hours to Besisahar. After lunch we complete the short drive to the roadhead at Bhulbhule (846 metres) in the Marysandi Valley and from there we begin our hike, just an hour or so, to our campsite at Nadi.
From Nadi, we start early in the morning, and cross a small suspension bridge over the Musi Khola to start a gradual climb to the picturesque village of Bahun Danda , located at the top of a formidable ridge. Following the trail marked signs, we descend to a stream along a steep, slippery trail then pass a huge landslide area. The track then climbs gradually until suddenly the valley opens on to a wide plateau. We then again cross a suspension bridge at Syange on the Marysandi River and take a right turn along the river bank and continue gradually uphill to Jagat. After Syange, the walk is about one and half hours, the track follows an impressive cut in the near-vertical cliffs high above the river to reach Jagat.
We head into deep gorge country where the Marsyandi River forges its course through the main Himalaya Range. Our trail ascends high above the Marsyandi River. We pass huge waterfalls, luxuriant forest and an assortment of Hindu villages as we make our way to the broad alluvial plan and the village of Tal. From there the oak, chestnut and bamboo forests give way to blue pine and cedar, indicating the extent of the Indian monsoon rains. It also marks the gradual transition from Hindu to Buddhist culture as evidenced by the tiny monasteries, white washed chortens and mani walls lining the trails.
Just beyond Dharapani we encounter recent developments as a rough track is hewn out of the mountainside. We follow the track for several km past the delightful village of Danakyu before ascending steeply to Timang. Views of Manaslu as well as the snow capped Annapurna are likely as we head through apple orchards to our campsite at Koto.
At Koto our permits are inspected before we head into the Nar Phu region an area that extends to the borderlands of Tibet and that was closed to trekkers until 2002. Crossing the well established bridge over the Marsyandi River we slowly ascend serene trails a world away from the main trial that we had followed for the last three days. River char flit from boulder to boulder in the conifer forests while silver birch stretch up the mountainside. There are no demanding switchbacks on this first stage of today's hike, just a gradual ascent through magnificent gorge country and then finally a short climb to the small Buddhist settlement at Meta.
Heading north up this immense valley, past the turn off to the west to the village of Nar, we are rewarded with a sense of serenity and exploration as we move further away from the defined trails of the lower Annapurna. Impressive peaks surround us, including Kang Guru (6981m) to the east. Along the trail remains evidence of abandoned settlements used by Tibetan warriors from the Khampa region, used briefly following the occupation of Tibet.
Today we trek further up the valley, with a profound and distinct sense of isolation and remoteness from the outside world. A wild, mountainous and semi-arid region, the hike to Phu is one of the true gems of the Himalaya.
We have a full day set aside to explore the village of Phu and the visually stunning surrounding area. Phu is one of the last villages in this area before the Tibetan border, and little is known of the ethnography of this remote village. Few westerners make the trip to Phu and such it's one of the many highlights of this trek. Depending on the time of year, the locals will be working in their fields and this is also a great area to see if time permits.
A long ridge descent that leads gradually down to the Kali Gandaki River and the village of Jomsom. On arriving we will stay in a comfortable lodge close to the airport.
It's a tough stage at first involving a 300m ascent to a ridge high above the lake. The traverse includes a couple of ridge crossings before a short steep ascend to the Mesokanto La. From the pass anticipate views that stretch back to the lake as well as views to the Nilgiri peaks and Dhaulagiri on the far side of the Kali Gandaki Gorge. From the Mesokanto La there is a steep sometimes under snow descent to camp at 4440m. Alternatively we might continue for a further hour to a lower camp at 4000m. From these vantage points you gain an eagle's view to the village of Marpha way down in the Kali Gandaki Gorge.
We start early morning to ensure breathtaking views east to Manaslu while a host of peaks including the Grand Barrier define the impressive northern ridge of the Annapurna Massif. It is not a hard climb to Tilicho Lake. Reaching a vantage point above the huge sacred lake we appreciate its dimensions, about 4 km by 1.2km, and around 85 metres deep. We have the option of undertaking a number of short day walks- although there is no trail that gs around the lake. We camp on a meadow and savor one of the finest campsites in the Himalaya and enjoy the marvelous, changing colors of the mountains as evening approaches.
A short but rather demanding stage. We head up the valley before traversing a series of scree slopes to a secluded camp at the base of the climb to Tilicho Lake.
From Manang our route travels along a recently constructed path up towards a high ridge. The panoramic view of the Annapurna range is spectacular. Our campsite is basically a meeting point where we come across trekkers returning from Tilicho Lake.
Today we walk back down the valley to the other "major" village of the region, Nar. The village of Nar is the largest in the region (350 villagers - 76 families) where villagers eke out a living trading and tending their barley fields. Huge lammergeier hover above, while the sound of chanting from the tiny monastery leaves little doubt that you are in an ancient Buddhist land. The views of Pisang Peak (6091m) to the south and the Chulu range to the north west add to the sense of anticipation of the next leg of our adventure.
The Kang La is not an unduly difficult pass and you should be able to complete the ascent to the crest of the pass in 3 to 4 hours sometimes less depending on snow conditions. An early start is imperative to gain magnificent views of the Annapurna Range to the west, views towards the Thorung La north, and back down the main trekking valley to the south. After a well earned rest on the pass, we descend on loose scree slopes for an hour or two, before heading down to our camp in an open meadow close to the village of Nyawal. Truly a fantastic day with some a high pass and some of the best views anywhere in the Himalaya.
We head up the Nar valley crossing a series of alpine meadows to reach our camp at the base of the Kang La. This is a short stage with plenty of time to explore the high ridges in the vicinity that afford an almost 360 degree mountain panorama including Chulu East at the head of the valley.
We camp just above the village of Nar with options to trek north for a day and explore the impressive gorge country. Blue sheep sightings are a sure sign that the elusive snow leopard is not too far away!
We board the early morning flight to Pokhara savouring magnificent views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. On arrival at Pokhara airport we will have transport on standby to take you into the town. Here you can wander the markets and the lakeside for a couple of hours before returning to the airport for the onward flight to Kathmandu. On arrival we transfer you to your hotel.
From Nyawal, we trek a level path along the bank of Marshyangdi River. On the way we pass pine forests, farming terraces and the village of Braga, where the houses are stacked on top of each other perched high on the valley cliffs. Above the houses is a monastery, the oldest and most interesting in the area, estimated to be over 500 years old. From Braga, it only 30 minutes walk to the important trading town of Manang. We camp in a beautiful clearing and savor remarkable views of the Grand Barrier- the huge mountain backdrop above Tilicho Lake. Manang is a tight compact village of about 500 flat-roofed houses set amongst spectacular scenery.
After breakfast, arrangements cease unless further ones have been made. Those people travelling by aircraft to other destinations will be transferred to the airport.