Our Manaslu and Annapurna Trek with Tilicho lake links the trek around Manaslu with the Annapurna region trails and further explores the Jomsom area. During this trip, we also cross the Larkya La Pass (5,135m/16,847ft), the highest point on the Manaslu Circuit and Thorang La Pass(5,416m/17,769ft), the highest point on the Annapurna Circuit and visit the beautiful Tilicho Lake (4,949m/16,138 ft), one of the highest lakes in the world which also holds a great religious and cultural significance for Hindus. The trip begins in the beautiful Kathmandu city and will take you up the mountains where you will have the grandest views of some of the highest mountains in the world.
Trekking around Manaslu offers a unique opportunity to experience a reasonably untouched region of Nepal while Annapurna region is one of the most popular trekking destinations in the world. Combine these two with a visit to Tilicho Lake, and you get our unique Manaslu and Annapurna Trek with Tilicho Lake itinerary. Also, this trek takes you from a mere 710m/2328ft to 5416m/17,769ft where you get to be a part of a rich variety of natural landscapes and cultural heritage that Nepal so proudly boasts.
Upon our arrival in the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Aster who will drop us off at our hotel. After checking in, we take a rest or visit Himalayan Aster’s office. We may also stroll in the streets of Thamel, a tourist hub in Kathmandu for some souvenir shopping. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner hosted by Himalayan Aster where you will be served excellent authentic Nepalese cuisine which will introduce you to the country’s food culture. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Today after breakfast we start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu. Some of these landmarks including the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the famous ‘Monkey Temple’ (Swayambhunath) and Buddhist shrine (Bouddhanath) which is one of the largest stupas in the world are listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There will be a brief pre- trip group discussion followed by trek preparation during late afternoon at Himalayan Aster’s office in Thamel around noon. Overnight in Kathmandu.
We set off early today for Sotikhola. During the drive, we enjoy views of the Nepalese countryside along with the mountain sceneries. We will be driving on a paved road from Kathmandu to Dhading Bensi, district headquarter of Dhading (1050m)but the drive from Dhanding Bensi to Arughat will be on a rough road. Upon reaching Arughat, a major town in the region we drive further towards Sotikhola. Overnight in Soti Khola .
At the crossing of the bridge, we trek through the beautiful Sal forests, then climb onto a ridge above huge rapids on the Budhi Gandaki. We then reach Khursane upon which the rocky trail weaves its way up and down, past two tropical waterfalls on a steep, rocky trail clinging to the side of a cliff. It eventually makes its way down and past a few rice terraces, then up and around to the Gurung village of Labubesi. We further climb behind a rocky outcrop, where the valley opens up and the Budhi Gandaki meanders among wide gravel bars. Dropping to the sandy river bed, we walk along rounded stones before climbing over a side ridge. We head down again to the river and cross another suspension bridge to reach Machha Khola village. Overnight in Machha Khola.
The narrow trail makes some minor ups and downs and eventually crosses the Tharo Khola and reaching Khorlabesi. After a few more ascends and descends we come across a small Hotspring in Tatopani. From the hot spring, we climb over another ridge, then cross the Budhi Gandaki on a suspension bridge. At this juncture, we climb on a wide, well-crafted staircase, then across a landslide and over a ridge to Dobhan. Upon crossing a suspension bridge over the Yaru Khola, we climb the stone stairs and then drop to the river and again climb more stone stairs to Tharo Bharyang. Crossing the west bank of the Budhi Gandaki, we climb over a ridge, trek along the river and then climb towards the village of Jagat. Overnight in Jagat .
We begin today’s trek by climbing over a rocky ridge to Salleri, and then descend to Sirdibas. The valley widens a bit as the trail continues up to Ghatta Khola. We further continue walking upstream to a long suspension bridge in Philim, a large Gurung village. The trail turns north just above the lowest house in the village and stays on a fairly level trail as it crosses millet fields to Ekle Bhatti. The route now enters a steep, uninhabited gorge. At this point, we descend to the grassy land slopes, cross the Budhi Gandaki, then trek along the west bank for a while, then cross to the east bank and then back again. As we continue through the trail the valley widens and we pass through bamboo forests to the Deng Khola. Upon crossing the Khola, we reach the tiny village of Deng. Overnight in Deng .
After a brief walk beyond Deng, we cross the Budhi Gandaki and climb to Rana village at 1910m. From the bridge, we climb a bit to join a trail from Bhi, then head west up the Budhi Gandaki valley. The trail also passes through forests and mani where we turn towards a corner that contours to Ghap. Even though there is another route, we take the route through Prok village. Prok village has a viewpoint for a beautiful sight of Siringi Himal. We further cross the Budi Gandaki several times today and come across a few gompas en route. The trail follows the river upstream through a dense forest. After crossing the river at an impressive spot where it thunders down a narrow gorge, the forest becomes less dense and the trail is fine again. The pleasant walk continues and after a last steep climb we reach Namrung. Overnight in Namrung.
Namrung village is a good viewpoint for Siring and Ganesh Himal and from the village one can also see Mt. Himal Chuli in the south. We climb steadily and pass through forests and reach Lihi, a fine village with many chortens and barley terraces. The trail drops and crosses the side valley of Simnang Himal with Ganesh Himal always close by. We further pass through Sho, Lho and Shyala villages before reaching Sama Village. We enjoy extraordianary views of Mt. Manaslu from Lho village and also explore the famous Ribung Gompa. In Shyala village we will be surrounded by high mountains like Himal Chuli and Peak 29 (Ngadi Chuli) to the left, Manaslu and large glaciers straight ahead, and other snow summits to the right, and at the far end stands Ganesh Himal. Today’s journey ends in Samagaon where we spend the night.
We spend the day at Samagaon both for rest and acclimatization. Today, we get acquainted with the rich Sherpa culture. We enjoy the sight of thousands of mani stones with Buddhist texts and pictures and the Sherpa women clad in traditional clothes and ornaments. On a little hill near the Sama village is an old Gompa (Pungyen Gompa), a monastery with great views of the glacier. It is named after Manaslu, Pungyen means bracelet, a good description of the two peaks. It was destroyed a year after the first unsuccessful Japanese attempt to climb Manaslu. The locals believed that the climb angered the gods, and when the Japanese came back a year later they met with a lot of resistance that they had to give up their attempt. They were finally successful in 1959. Overnight in Samagaon.
Today, we descend to the Budhi Gandaki River, that has turned north and follow it to a bridge over a side stream. The trail to the left leads to the Manaslu Base camp. The Larkya la Trail passes several mani walls as the valley begins to widen. It is an easy trail on a shelf above the river passing the juniper and birch forests of Kermo Kharka. We drop off the shelf, cross the Budhi Gandaki on a wooden bridge and climb steeply onto a promontory between two forks of the river. From a stone arch we can view a large white kani. Finally passing through the kani we find Samdo. Overnight in Samdo.
This is another day set aside for proper acclimatization. There are two options for us today. The option that we highly recommend is a hike, up the valley directly at the back of the Samdo village. This hike will take us to one of the trade passes to Tibet for excellent views of Mt. Manaslu along with other Himalayan ranges including Simrang, Hiunchuli, Ngadi, Larkye Peak, Cheo and possibly Kang Guru behind the pass. En route to these viewpoints we pass many seasonal herding settlements called doksas and sight some beautiful mountain birds like the Lophophorus (the national bird of Nepal), Lammergeyer and Himalayan Griffin soaring high above us. Another option for today could be a trip to the Gya La (‘large pass’) to the north of Samdo, a more frequently used trading route to Tibet. But, this is a rather longer hike (whole day) and hence could be a little tiring. Overnight in Samdo.
Even today, we continue our walk down the edge, cross the wooden bridge over Budi Gandaki and begin walking upward. Upon crossing two streams and witnessing the Larkya Glacier we go around the valley of the Salka Khola and climb up again to the stone guest house (4450 m), which is not a lodge but a kind of shelter called Dharmshala, also known as Larke Phedi. The short walk today also leaves plenty of time for acclimatization and relaxing in the afternoon. Overnight in Dharmashala.
After a short climb, we reach a valley on the north side of the Larkya Glaciers from where we can enjoy great views of Cho Danda and Larkya Peak. Finally, we walk across moraines of the glacier, making a gradual ascent which becomes steeper only in the last section of the pass. From the pass, there are outstanding views of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kangguru and the huge Annapurna II. It is a longer day than usual to Bimtang, but to walk into these low pastures with the evening mist coming in with Mt. Manaslu looming close by is an overwhelming experience. Overnight in Bimthang.
From a ridge at Bimthang, we can enjoy great views of Mt. Manaslu, Lamjung Himal, Himlung Himal and Cheo Himal. We descend further and cross a high pasture (Sangure Kharka) followed by a bridge over Dudh Khola. We walk through rhododendron forest and follow a trail through a narrow valley until we reach the highest cultivated land of the valley at Karche, 2785 meters. We pass across fields before making a steep climb over a ridge. The trail comes off the ridge in a big, sweeping arc to the river bank at 2580m. A short distance beyond is the village of Gho. Due to yesterday’s tiredness we might take an overnight rest at Gho but better lodges are available at Tilije, so Himalayan Glacier recommends we stay at Tilije. Overnight in Tilije Village.
From here onwards we join the classic Annapurna trail. From Tilije we descend first then cross a suspension bridge and ascend until we reach Thoche village. After which we follow a fairly straight trail and come across a Power House for electricity production in Bagarchhap village. On the way from Bagarchaap to Chame we negotiate a few steep forested ridges, along with several landslides on route. Remember to look up though, as you will be rewarded with sensational views of some of the major Himalayan peaks like Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, and Annapurna IV (7,525m/24,688ft). Overnight in Chame.
A steep, narrow path through a very dense forest will bring you to the dramatic curved rock face, rising 1500m from the river. As the trail opens up you will be surrounded by majestic Himalayan Peaks. Overnight in Pisang.
Enter the upper Manang region, where you will notice a contrast with the landscape and vegetation. The cold, dry climate creates a much harsher environment. We also get to witness incredible views of the towering Himalayan Peaks. Overnight in Manang.
From Manang we head out through the western gates and follow the path down to the river. We cross the river and continue walking on the south side of the river through coniferous forest towards Khangsar village. From Khangsar we move further towards Siri Kharka and pass a monastery on the way. The uphill walk could be tiring but we will have Gungang Himal and Mt. Chulu in the backdrop to keep us company. Overnight in Siri Kharka.
From Siri Kharka to the Tilicho Base Camp, it’s mostly going downhill, but it has landslide areas that can be dangerous. They’re not difficult to walk, but the trails are very narrow. The trail goes through the middle of the landslide area. The rock formations along the trail are very impressive. Overnight in Tilicho Base Camp.
From Tilicho Base Camp the path continues up along moraine ridges and grassy slopes to some large switch backs carved out of the slope. We then reach the watershed. On the other side is Tilicho Lake, a large spectacularly set lake nestled at the foot of the north face of Tilicho Peak, part of the snowy wall that the 1950 French expedition team referred t as the The Great Barrier. The leader of the French team, Maurice Herzog referred to Tilicho Lake as the The Great Ice Lake. The Lake also holds an important place for the Hindus as this sacred lake features in one of the holiest texts of the Hindus, The Ramayan. We retrace our step and return to Siri Kharka. Overnight in Siri Kharka .
On returning from Tilicho Lake, this route from Siri Kharka to Yak Kharka, which lies on the main cicuit trail, avoids backtracking to Khangsar and Manang. We descend from Siri Kharka toward Thare Gomba and in only a few minutes reach a trail junction. Again, we stay left and reach Old Khagsar after walking for a while. Khangsar is uninhabitated except for occasional herders and during festival times. We follow rock wall north out of Khangsar. We walk further more until we reach a seasonal bridge in the Thorang Khola valley. We cross the river to the east band and ascend along for a while to a plateau. We walk further more until reaching Yak Kharka. Overnight in Yak Kharka .
From Yak kharka to Thorang Phedi is an uphill walk. After waling for some time we cross a suspension bridge and reach Ledar village. We again ascend towards Thorang Phedi which is only about an hour walk from Leder. On this trip we are rewarded with one of the best views of some of the Himalayan ranges like Mt. Gundang, Mt. Syagang, Thorung Peak and Mt. Khatungkan. Overnight in Thorang Phedi .
Today we cross the famous Thorung La Pass (5,416m/17,769ft) and continue ascending towards Muktinath. The pass is exhilarating to reach and is a transition from one major Himalayan valley to another. From here, far below to our west is the Kalai Gandaki River. The descent from the pass is gradual at first then later becomes considerably steeper and keeps to the south side of the valley. We cross a suspension bridge, walk furthermore beyond the famous Muktinath temple then reach the village of Muktinath/ranipauwa. From here we can enjoy the beautiful Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges. Then we drive to Jomsom. Overnight in Jomsom.
After breakfast, your trekking crew will help you with your bags to the airport and offer farewell for the last time. Our representative in Jomsom will make all the arrangements for your flight from Jomsom to Pokhara. Upon reaching Pokhara, you will have to check in at the hotel. Then, you can either rest or stroll in the beautiful streets of Pokhara. Overnight in Pokhara.
Early morning drive to Kathmandu in a tourist bus where you get to enjoy the river side scenery garnished with terraced farms and some local villages along the way. Upon reaching Kathmandu you check in at your hotel. You can spend the rest of the day taking rest or perhaps catch up on some last minute shopping or even explore any landmarks in Kathmandu that you may want to visit. In the evening celebrate your successful journey with a dinner hosted by Himalayan Asterr. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Our adventure in Nepal comes to an end today! A Himalayan Aster representative will escort us to the airport approximately 3 hours before our scheduled flight. On our way home, we have plenty of time to plan our next adventure in the wonderful country of Nepal.