Those on the group flight from London will arrive in Kathmandu and will be transferred to The Royal Singi Hotel in the early evening. Those not travelling with the group from London will meet us in the hotel this evening. There will be a full trek briefing this evening.
We leave Kathmandu early in the morning and drive towards Pokhara. After leaving the Kathmandu valley the road snakes its way westwards along the Trisuli Valley. We get superb views of the mountains, particularly the Ganesh Himal and Manaslu as we follow the river to Mugling. We then turn off the main road at Dumre and continue to Besisahar where we begin our trek. From Besisahar we walk down to the river and cross to the east side to avoid the new road which is currently under construction. Our trail undulates above the river, continuing northwards up the Marsyangdi Valley with Himalchuli and Peak 29 dominating the horizon. We pass through rice paddies and villages for two hours until we meet the main trail at Bhulebule.
The trail continues up the east bank of the river passing a beautiful waterfall to Ngaddi. Here we cross a suspension bridge and then begin a steady climb through scrub forest finally arriving at Lampatta, a Manangi village with Tibetan style prayer flags. A final short sharp ascent brings us to the village of Bahundanda, perched on a ridge at 1311m. From the ridge we descend to the river at Syange (1136m) where we once more cross the river. The trail then follows the river to Jagat.
An undulating trail leads to Chyamje, after which we cross a suspension bridge and climb through oak forest. The river disappears from view as we climb over a ridge. The trail then emerges into a level valley where 'Tal', the next village is situated at the foot of a grand waterfall (1700m). Crossing the river again the path now ascends and then descends to the village of Dharapani at 1943m.
Beyond this village we continue our climb over a spur to Bagarchap, at 2164m. The name of this village means 'butcher's place' and, although Buddhist, the people of this region do hunt animals. Continuing we follow the trail through forest to Dhanagyu and climb up to Temang, where we have lunch with magnificent views of Manaslu and Peak 29. The trail then descends though fir and pine forests to Koto and Chame (2713m), administrative centre of the Manang district.
The scenery chnages dramatically. Leaving the forests of the alpine region behind we enter the upper district of Manang, known as Nyeshang. At first our trail follows the river closely through a deep canyon, passing a number of waterfalls on the opposite side of the river before coming to Brathang at 2919m. The trail then follows the steep narrow valley through deep forest from which there are fine views of Annapurna II. We cross the river where the impressive curved rock face of Paungda Danda rises nearly 1500m from the riverbank, and climb away from the noise of the water to the village of Pisang at 3,185m
There are 2 options today. The energetic can take the high route to Manang via the villages of Gyaru and Ngawal. This is a wonderful walk with great views across to the Annapurnas. We drop down to the main trail just before Braga and continue on the main trail to Manang. The second option is to take the shorter main trail to Manang which climbs a low pass into the valley below Pisang Peak. As we continue up the valley, it becomes increasingly barren, and eventually we reach Braga, a picturesque village dominated by a large ancient gompa. The Tree Nursery is located and is a project that Exodus has supported for many years. There will be time to pay a visit and see how it is progressing. Passing carved mani walls we arrive at the village of Manang at 3351m. The longer walk will take approximately 8-9 hours and the shorter walk 5-6 hours.
We spend this day around Manang acclimatising to the altitude. Most people climb the hill behind Manang to enjoy the magnificent views of the whole Annapurna range and the enormous icefall that crashes and rumbles down from Gangapurna. This is the part of the trek where we are closest to the mountains. Across the valley the huge bulk of Gangapurna and the Annapurnas tower way above us- the sunset and sunrise over this great amphitheatre is one of the most beautiful mountain views in the country.
Leaving Manang we head towards the base of the Thorong La. We climb out of the Marsyangdi valley and turn northwest up the valley of the Jarsang Khola. We are above the forests now and pass through dry, alpine country, with scrub juniper and occasional clumps of birch. We spend tonight at a lodge in Yak Kharka. We will reach the lodge by lunchtime and in the afternoon we will have an acclimatisation walk onto the surrounding hills. Look out for the Blue Sheep that inhabit this cold, windy spot
A long day as we leave Phedi very early (about 4 to 5am depending on conditions) for the climb to the pass. The first part of the ascent is very steep, but eases somewhat as we approach the top. Eventually, after numerous false summits, we reach the pass itself at 5416m. Ahead there is a magnificent panorama of snow-capped peaks extending northwards into Tibet, and looking back we can see several of the main peaks of Annapurna. Directly in front of us is the great chasm of the Kali Gandaki, 2,500m. below. The very long descent starts gently but becomes steeper, as a series of switch-backs finally reach the grassy slopes, before easing off to a gentle descent to Muktinath (3802m).
A long day as we leave Phedi very early the next morning for the climb to the pass. The first part of the ascent is very steep, but it eases somewhat as we approach the top, although the altitude still makes the going tough. Eventually, after numerous false summits, we reach the pass itself at 5416m. Ahead there is a magnificent panorama of snow-capped peaks extending northwards into Tibet, and looking back we can see several of the main peaks of Annapurna. Directly in front of us is the great chasm of the Kali Gandaki, 2,500m. below. The long descent starts gently but becomes steeper, as a series of switch-backs finally reach the grassy slopes, before easing off to a gentle descent to Muktinath (3802m).
From Muktinath we pass through a landscape of bare, eroded hills with a backdrop of snow-capped high peaks. After visiting the temples we follow the main trail down the valley through a magnificent landscape of wind-eroded cliffs in an array of beautiful colours. A final steepish descent brings us to the Kali Gandaki Valley at Eklabatti, from where an easy trail brings us to the end of our trek at Jomosom.
The flights from Jomosom to Pokhara are usually in the early morning due to the high winds which blow up the Kali Gandaki Valley later in the day. The short but very spectacular flight takes us all the way down the Kali Gandaki Valley with great views of Niligiri and Dhaulagiri. We fly to Pokhara, where we transfer to a small guesthouse for the night. The rest of the day is free to explore this lakeside resort. You can hire a bike and cycle round the lake, shop or simply relax in the one of the lakeside cafes.
We fly to Kathmandu. If the weather is good there should be good views of the western end of the Nepal on this flight. The rest of the day is free to explore Kathmandu. You may wish to visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city where the old Royal Palace, with its intricate woodcarving is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. You may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Bodnath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. Various sightseeing tours can be booked and paid for locally at the hotel in Kathmandu. For details see the Optional Excursions section. (Very occasionally it may not be possible to fly, in which case we return to Kathmandu by road, arriving in the evening).
The trip ends after breakfast. Those not on the group flight will leave us after breakfast.