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Food

  • Breakfast is included throughout the trip. On trek the breakfast will be a set menu usually consisting of porridge, toast and egg. Any additional items that are not included in the set menu should be ordered and paid for separately. We do not include lunch and dinner on trek allowing you to choose what you want to eat and when. The menus in the lodges are almost identical to one another but offer a varied choice, ranging from traditional Nepalese dhal bhat to pizza and apple pie. Dhal bhat is the staple diet in Nepal and comes in many different forms but generally comprises some curried lentil dhal and meat or vegetables, some rice, and a pickle/chutney. Another popular snack is momos; a type of Nepalese dumpling, fried or steamed, filled with meat or vegetables. Although meat is available in the teahouses, we advise against eating it on trek. The meat has often been carried in the heat from lower altitudes for several days before reaching the lodges, and can cause stomach upsets or illness. Germs can also be spread by handling dirty money - we recommend using hand sanitiser. If you buy imported food and drink whilst on trek you will spend more than the suggested amount. *Drinking Water* Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity but particularly so at altitude where it is generally recommended to drink at least 3-4 litres per person per day. We strongly encourage you not to buy bottled water on trek as this contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution in Nepal’s trekking areas. Some villages along the Annapurna Circuit route have safe drinking water stations selling UV treated water for Rs40-50 per litre but these are not always open. All teahouses will provide cold water free of charge, if requested. Although this should not be drunk untreated, we recommend that you bring a reusable bottle with a wide opening (Nalgene or similar) with you and use a SteriPEN to treat it with. A SteriPEN is a handheld UV water purifier – small, lightweight and battery powered so easy to pack for a trek. In Nepal’s trekking regions most of the bottled water isn’t strictly ‘mineral water’ anyway but is UV treated, so it’s exactly the same technology. It’s quick to use, far more effective than purification tablets, and the water is ready immediately. It’s fine to use a SteriPEN on non-boiled water so long as it isn’t cloudy or full of sediment (which is uncommon in these regions). SteriPENs are widely stocked on Amazon, outdoor shops and other online retailers; look for the latest models but avoid USB charging ones. Better still, a SteriPEN will pay for itself over the course of the trek and you won’t leave behind a single plastic bottle – you will end up spending the same or even less than you would on bottled water, plus you can keep it for future trips. If you prefer not to invest in a SteriPEN, the teahouses also sell boiled water for approx. Rs150-300 per litre (the price increases the higher you trek) which should not require treating. This is also perfect for a bedtime refill as it can double up as a hot water bottle.

Activities

  • Walking & Trekking
  • Point-to-Point
  • 1

    Start Kathmandu.

    Those on the group flight from London will arrive into Kathmandu in the evening and will be transferred to our hotel. Those not travelling with the group from London will meet us in the hotel. There will be a full trek briefing at the hotel tonight. *Hotel Royal Singi (or similar)*

  • 2

    Scenic drive to Besisahar; trek to Bhulebule.

    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. *Teahouse*

  • 3

    Start the slow ascent of the Marsyangdi Valley; overnight in Jagat.

    The trail continues up the east bank of the river to Ngaddi, where a hydro project is being built. From here we 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 1,311m. From the ridge we descend to the river at Syange (1,136m) where we once more cross the river. The trail then follows the river to Jagat. *Teahouse *

  • 4

    Reach the village of Dharapani.

    An undulating trail leads to Chyamje, after which we cross a suspension bridge and climb through oak forest. The trail then emerges into a level valley where 'Tal', the next village, is situated at the foot of a grand waterfall (1,700m). Crossing the river a couple of times we reach the village of Dharapani at 1,943m. *Teahouse *

  • 5

    Steady climb through forest to Temang, then descend to Chame.

    Beyond this village, we continue our climb over a spur to Bagarchap, at 2,164m. 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 through fir and pine forests to Koto and Chame (2,713m), the administrative centre of the Manang district. *Teahouse *

  • 6

    Continue ascending through forested hillsides past the rock face of Paungdi Danda to Upper Pisang.

    We now experience a dramatic change of scenery. Leaving the forests and vegetation of the alpine regions behind we enter the upper district of Manang, known as Nyeshang. At first, our trail follows the river closely through a deep canyon before coming to Brathang at 2,919m. The trail then crosses the river and climbs through deep forest from where the impressive curved rock face of Paungda Danda rises nearly 1,500m from the riverbank to Dukha Pokhari, where we stop for lunch. From here we take the trail that climbs away from the road track to Upper Pisang village, where we stay for the night. There is an impressive monastery in the village which we can visit in the afternoon. *Teahouse *

  • 7

    Trek on to Braga and visit the 500 year old gompa and small tree nursery that Exodus supports.

    From Upper Pisang we take the high-level route to Braga via the villages of Gyaru and Ngawal. This is a wonderful walk with great views across to the Annapurnas. We start with a steep climb up to Gyaru. From here the trail undulates up the valley with magnificent views across to the Annapurnas to Ngawal, where we have lunch. We descend from Ngawal to Mungi and drop down to the main trail just before Braga, a picturesque village dominated by a large ancient gompa. We stay here for the night and can visit the 500-year-old gompa and the small tree nursery, a project that Exodus has supported for many years. *Teahouse *

  • 8

    Short walk to Manang; rest of day free for acclimatisation.

    It is a short 2km (1hr) walk on the main trail into Manang, passing some beautifully carved mani walls. 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. There is also a chance to walk up to the huge glacial lake below Gangapurna. Manang has many bakeries and coffee shops and is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon. *Teahouse *

  • 9

    Start heading towards the Thorong La. Half day trek to reach the lodge in Yak Kharka; afternoon acclimatisation walk.

    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. *Teahouse*

  • 10

    Short half day walk to Phedi, at the foot of the Thorong La.

    Another short day to aid acclimatisation. The scenery becomes wilder as we continue ascending the valley. At one point we descend to cross the Jarsang Khola, and traverse a scree slope to the lone teahouses at Phedi (4,420m) at the foot of the Thorong La. Thorong Phedi can be very cold and windy. In the afternoon we can go for a walk up to Thorong High Camp which is the last lodge and is about an hour above Phedi. *Teahouse*

  • 11

    Cross the mighty Thorong La (5416m) to Muktinath, a place of pilgrimage.

    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 5,416m. 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. It's a very very long descent that begins gently and becomes steeper, as we follow a series of switchbacks down to the grassy slopes, before easing off to a gentle descent to Muktinath (3,802m). *Teahouse *

  • 12

    Trek via Lupra to Jomsom.

    From Muktinath, we pass through a landscape of bare, eroded hills with a backdrop of snow-capped high peaks. After visiting the temples we take an off the beaten track trail uphill for about an hour to a small col with excellent views of Dhaulagiri. Descending steeply we come to the isolated village of Lupra with an ancient Bon monastery. After lunch, we follow a fantastic gorge down to the Kali Gandaki Valley. The last couple of hours we follow the main trail into Jomsom. *Teahouse *

  • 13

    Fly to Pokhara; afternoon free to explore the lakeside.

    The flights from Jomsom 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 around the lake, shop or simply relax in one of the lakeside cafes.   Please note that flights from Jomsom are dependent on good weather. If the flight from Jomsom is cancelled, we will return to Pokhara by road. *Hotel Lakefront / Hotel Dahlia (or similar)*

  • 14

    Fly to Kathmandu.

    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). *Hotel Royal Singi (or similar)*

  • 15

    End Kathmandu.

    The trip ends after breakfast. Those not on the group flight will leave us after breakfast. **

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