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 Swayambhunath, Durbar Square, Patan 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.
We travel west from Kathmandu towards Pokhara, following the winding road over the valley rim and down alongside the Trisuli River. This is a busy road and there is much to see. We are also reminded of our journey's aim; to trek among the mighty Himalaya, with the Annapurna, Ganesh and of course Manaslu ranges intermittently in view. We turn off the main road shortly after Mugling and follow the Dorandi Khola northwards to Arughat Bazaar, and our first night's camp.
An easy walk today along the banks of the Buri Gandakhi River. We enjoy clear views of the Ganesh and Shringi Himal as we pass through numerous Gurung villages. Our campsite for the night is 30 minutes beyond the village in a picturesque setting overlooking waterfalls.
Today's walk follows a trail of constant ups and downs through forest as we continue to head upstream along the Buri Gandakhi. We descend to the wide, sandy riverbed for lunch then continue along a winding mountain path overlooking the river. The forest then gives way to farmland as the valley again opens up and we stop to make our camp.
The Buri Gandakhi gorge is narrow with sheer cliffs on either side and the morning's trail begins by following a cliff path along the east bank before passing hot springs at Tatopani and then crossing the Dodan Khola. As we begin to climb, the Buri Gandakhi valley undergs dramatic change, widening considerably and with white sandy beaches at the riverside. The trail then heads up a steep ridge before a long descent to the river. We enjoy a spectacular campsite tonight just before the village of Jagat.
A day of relatively easy ups and downs as we follow the river upstream. We cross a number of tributaries before arriving at our camp beside the river at Philim.
Continuing on, we occasionally have to trek high above the river to skirt around narrow gorges that prohibit a path. The trail takes us through pine forest scattered with rhododendron. We make our way to the lower trail which again follows the Buri Gandakhi below the Gurung village of Ngak and camp an hour's walk past Deng.
We climb initially and then descend to cross a suspension bridge to the opposite bank. There are more riverside undulations and mani walls and chortens may be seen, signs of the distinctly Tibetan territory into which we are entering. The valley trail keeps to the northern bank below the village of Bih. Bih is known for its family of master stone carvers and along the trail today we see flat stones carved with intricate figures and stupas. Just past Bih we catch glimpses of the Shringi Himal and continue along the northern bank of the Buri Gandakhi until we reach the dominantly Tibetan village of Ghap for lunch. We then continue up through the forest densely vegetated with pine and birch to our jungle camp amongst the trees just before Namrung.
We descend to cross the Damonan Khola then ascend again along a narrow path through the forest to Namrung with its check post then continue through the forest path past small Tibetan villages towards Ligaon. It is likely that we will encounter our first yak today and there is also a troop of monkeys who often come down to the river here to drink. We have uninterrupted views behind us of Ganesh III and IV and Baudha Peak and to our right the Kutang Himal stands high as the natural border between Nepal and Tibet. Before us our first real mountain panorama opens up with the peaks of Himalchuli (7893m), Peak 29 (7871m) and finally Manaslu (8163m).
The trail takes us into wilder territory as we skirt around some glacial moraine then descend to the riverbed. Excellent views of the peak of Manaslu today. We soon reach the Tibetan Refugee village of Samdo, a wild place with a substantial village of some 200 permanent residents.
A long ridge descent leads gradually down to the Kali Gandaki River and the village of Jomsom. On arrival we will stay in a comfortable lodge close to the airport.
Entering the main Kali Gandaki valley we take a short cut that avoids the road to Kagbeni. Kagbeni once marked the Nepal / Tibet border and it is the official entry to the Mustang region. Within the village is the old Gompa, and at the northern edge of the village lies the remains of the old fort. We will take a rest day here, and then proceed to Jomsom before splitting from those on the GHT Full Traverse who will proceed into the Dolpo region.
A long, arduous day rewarded with unsurpassed views. We set out from Phedi before daybreak in order to reach the top of the pass before late morning and avoid the notorious Thorong winds. The first section up the pass is steep and it's slow going. The trail winds around seemingly endless switchbacks with each "false top" leading on to another ridge. Finally we see the massive prayer-flag-covered cairn which marks the top. From here the views back over the entire Annapurna Range and across to Mustang and western Tibet are unbelievable. The cold up here soon has us heading down to Muktinath. It is a very weary group of trekkers who hit the sack that night. A day of Himalayan highs in every sense of the word!
A short but strenuous day as we continue up the valley and cross the Jorsang Khola on a small cantilevered bridge before edging our way around loose scree slopes to finally reach a couple of ramshackle tea-shops at the foot of the awesome Thorong La. An early night is advised as we have a big day tomorrow.
A superb day! After breakfast, we head off winding around contours gaining ever more impressive views of Annapurna 3 and Gangapurna before we reach the Josang Valley and the camp site at Yak Kharka.
After a couple of stream crossings, the Larkye Glacier appears on the opposite bank. We steadily climb, skirting around the Sarka Khola to camp at a small brick hut at the base of the Larkye La (pass).
We have now crossed from the Manaslu region into the Annapurna region. The trail we follow today climbs over steep forest ridges and crosses the river before reaching Chame, the administrative headquarters of the Manang District. We pass many mani walls with Mayu Prayer wheels - typical of villages in this region. The trail continues through the forest and after rounding a bend, we will view Paungda Danda rock face, a tremendous curved slab of rock rising more than 1500m from the river. We also gain excellent views of Annapurna 2 to the south and Pisang Peak to the north east. After crossing a suspension bridge we climb over a ridge and descend to the valley floor.
The trail now basically follows the Marsyangdi downstream, before entering a pristine forest of pine and rhododendron which during the spring months puts on a brilliant display of color. This is another day to ensure you have plenty of film in your day packs as the views of the Himlung and Manaslu Himal are again spectacular.
Soon after setting off today the unique shape of Larkye Peak becomes visible. The trail upwards is very gradual but at this altitude we take our time. It takes us approximately 5 hours to reach the pass, with the last section becoming quite steep but it is well worth the effort. The mountain vista to the west is incredible - Himlung Himal (7126m), Chap Himal, Gyaji Kang, Kang Guru (6981m) and Annapurna II (7937m). The descent from the pass is very steep across ice and scree as we follow the glacier. Progress is slow and careful but eventually we enter the valley of the Burdin Khola and continue to Bimtang and our camp for the night.
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 transfer to the hotel.
Trekking along the traditional Annapurna Circuit we make our way to Pisang, a cluster of houses with the main village about 150m uphill. Day 18 sees us gradually ascend about 200m towards Manang's airstrip at Hongde. Our campsite is about 40 min walk from here. This is one of the most beautiful camping sites of the trip facing towards Annapurna 4 and 3.
After breakfast arrangements cease unless further ones have been made. Those people departing by aircraft will be transferred to the airport and assisted with check-in procedures.