This trek follows the famous Annapurna Circuit until Manang where it joins our Remote Valleys & High Passes trek to Tilicho Lake and Jomsom. Most importantly it avoids the bottleneck of the Thorung La pass that almost everyone else goes over.

Starting at Syange between Kathmandu and Pokhara we follow the Marsyangdi Khola river gorge northwards towards Chame. From here we trek on the Upper Pisang trail  towards Ngawal. From here, it is possible to walk on what amounts to little more than goat tracks across to the ancient town of Braga. Going this way we get a very good view of Braga from the same level. It’s interesting to see how all the flat roofed buildings are stacked up.

Gangapurna glacial lake

Gangapurna glacial lake

Continuing on to Manang and coffee and cake, we have planned in a rest day, during which you can walk up to a viewpoint overlooking the Gangapurna glacier and it’s startling blue lakes. There are several day walks in the vicinity. In Manang, you may be lucky enough to attend one of interesting talks by the doctors there about high altitude sickness.

Leaving Manang, we head west towards Tilicho Lake, which, at almost 5000mts, claims to be the highest lake in the world. The route crosses a landslide area and winds around and over rock pillars. The path is exposed and not for the faint hearted but anyone with some hill walking experience in the UK, or similar, will be at home. We stay in a lodge at the end of the valley. Climbing up to the lake next day puts us up at 5000mts and from there we don’t drop below 5000mts until towards the end of the next day. During these two days we go over Tilicho Pass (5340mts) and depending on our exact route over the Mesokanto pass 5140mts. The second day is a long one.

From the pass area you can see Mustang to north and to the west we can see Dhaulagiri range 8167mts. To the east is Manaslu, 8163mts, Chulu East, Pisang peak and many others. Southwards we can see the Annapurna range. Right next to us is Tilicho Peak and Nilgiri.

From the passes, it’s just a stroll down to Jomsom and a flight to Pokhara and then by bus or plane back to Kathmandu.

The route up to Tilicho Lake

The route up to Tilicho Lake

This area is difficult trekking, it’s remote and experiences snow at any time of the year. In bad weather we’ll be going over the higher, but safer, option of the Thorung La. This all sounds dangerous and it does have a higher level of risk than the average trek but don’t let this all put you off as it’s a great trek. I can assure you it’s not very dangerous and is trekked on a regular basis. In fact there is a lodge near the lake.

The accommodation throughout is lodges but, as with all less trekked routes, we take a tent. Some lodges are very basic or get full very quickly so you can always camp outside and eat in the lodge.

 

Duration.

Fourteen days from Kathmandu to Kathmandu. After your international flight, you need a day in Katmandu sorting out permits and paperwork, checking and maybe buying kit and last minute chocolate bars. Then one day by road to Syange. The trek starts on the Day 3 in Nepal and is 12 days long. Day 16 arrive back in Kathmandu. Next day you fly home.

If you have never been to Kathmandu you should spend a few days there as it’s a fascinating city. We can organise personal guided tours of specific locations such as Boudhanath, the holiest Buddhist site in Kathmandu.

As always, transport in Nepal is never guaranteed to happen on time so it’s a good idea to allow for a few extra days and also to have a flexible ticket.

Dhaulagiri range

Dhaulagiri range

Cost.

You pay a flat fee for guiding and portering. Then you pay for all your living expenses plus travel, etc. on top of that. We’ve estimated your living expenses at the upper end of the scale. Depending on your wishes you can either save money or  spend more by, lets say, drinking beer every night.

Based on two trekkers sharing a room and one guide and one porter the guiding only will cost £480 each. That includes the staffs accommodation and food which they pay for.

On top of that you have your costs as individuals which is roughly £780 each which includes your food and accommodation on trek, car to Syange and bus from Pokhara  to Kathmandu, flight from Jomsom to Pokhara, 3 nights in an average hotel in Kathmandu, 1 night in an average hotel in Pokhara, permits, taxis, etc.

So it’s roughly £1120 each in total.

Obviously we cannot control ticket or permit prices.

You can take a plane from Pokhara back to Kathmandu for about £100.

The way it works is: You pay the guide up front in full and pay the rest directly to the provider, eg lodge owner. The guide will organise the bill for lodges, etc. I find it best just to hand over a sum of money for the guide to pay the daily expenses and keep track of the running total. It makes life simpler that way.

This doesn’t includes staff tips. These are poor people, so please bear that in mind. I always give 12%.

This doesn’t include your international flight, extra days, etc.

Manang mules
Porter in Annapurna region
Machapuchare ' Fish Tail' mountain. Annapurna trek
Annapurna dawn
Trekkers on suspension bridge
trekker & porters
Mani Wall
Mule train
Trekking the Annapurna Circuit
Many sheep come looking
Annapurna Sanctuary
Braga Gompa

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