kathmandu and Annapurna circuit trek

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USD $3,060

OVERVIEW

Explore the vibrant and busy city of Kathmandu and spend some days visiting sites which are the epitome of Nepali art and architecture. Then you will embark on a very popular trek that highlights the spectacular mountain scenery and cultural diversity of Nepal. The trail goes across the north of the Himalayan range taking you to the highest pass in Nepal, the Thorung La at 5,416 m. Following a river you will come upon waterfalls and serene Tibetan-inspired villages. You will also catch sight of the Paungda Danda rock face, a leading exemplar of a glacial erosion. The magnificent view that you will get of the Great Barrier and the barren Kali Gandhi valley from the Annapurnas will be of worth doing this trek. Trekking through Manang, Jomsom and Muktinath settlements will demonstrate the diverse culture and lifestyle of these people. 

ITINERARY

Kathmandu is an enchanting city with packed markets lining the bustling streets. This exotic city is spotted with vibrant temples and pagodas and brims with rich history and culture. After being transferred to your hotel, you will have the whole day to explore this charming city. You will be briefed about the trek that you will commence on leaving you spare time to do some necessary shopping in the city. 

Pashupatinath, Boudhanath and Budhanilkantha

After breakfast today you will visit Boudhanath, a massive Buddhist Tibetan stupa situated at the heart of Kathmandu. You will find monks, and laymen circumambulating this temple. This practice is known as “Kora”. You will also visit the Pashupatinath temple which hosts Hindu crematorium rituals on the banks of the river. This temple is aesthetically marvelous and is a monument dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is a popular holy site for Hindus all over Nepal and South Asia. You will then go to Budhanilkantha temple where you will see the 5 meter long statue of Lord Bishnu sleeping on coils of serpent Shesha in a pool of water. You can take your time and enjoy this monument, and after you will be driven back to your hotel. Overnight in hotel in Kathmandu.

You will visit Bhaktapur today, the epitome of art, architecture and culture in Nepal. You will see in Durbar square, intricately carved buildings and monuments and is rightfully listed in the UNESCO World heritage sites. You will then move on to explore Changunarayan, a Hindu temple of the 5th century. You will hence proceed to Dhulikhel where you will witness the traditional Newari town and get spectacular views of the Himalayas. Drive back to Kathmandu and overnight at hotel. 

Today you will visit the Swayambhunath Stupa which is a Buddhist stupa perched on Nagarjun Hill overlooking the valley. This is commonly known as the monkey temple because of an abundance of monkeys found there. You will then drive to Patan Durbar Square, located right in the center of Lalitpur city. You can visit the ancient royal palace, and continue on admiring the Newar architecture. You will have time to explore the site on your own, before driving back to Kathmandu city. Overnight at a hotel.

8 hours, Camp alt. 1100 m

You will drive from Beshisahar to Jagat in a local jeep to the starting point of the trek nestled between Annapurna and the 8th highest peak in the world, Mt. Manaslu. You will head north, via Marsyangdi Valley with the views of Himal and Ngadi Chuli over the horizon. Before getting to the guesthouse in Jagat you will drive through rice paddies and quaint villages giving you some insight of the rural people. Overnight stay in the guesthouse. 

6 hours, 760 m ascent, Camp alt. 1860 m

Today marks the start of the trek. You will start from Jagat on foot following a rocky trail along the Marsyangdi River spotted with gushing waterfalls and luscious green vegetation. The trail winds up towards Chyamje and Tal (lake) taking you through oak forests. Gradually a valley will emerge and you will pass the village of Kodo, the first village of the Manang district. The trail will ascend along stone staircases and brings you to the village of Dharapani. Overnight stay here. 

5 hours, 770 m ascent, Camp alt. 2630 m

The trail follows the Marsyangdi River towards Timang (2360 m) through fir forest. You will be awe struck by the spectacular views you will get as the trail ascends of Annapurna II (7937 m). You will also view the towering Mt. Manaslu (8156 m) and Peak 29 (7871 m). As you continue onwards you will reach Chame, the administrative centre of the Manang district. Overnight in Chame. 

5 hours, 670 m ascent, Camp alt. 3300 m

Today you will trek through deep pine forests following a steep and narrow river. The Marsyangdi valley narrows down to a steep point where the trail is right on the vertical face of the rock cliff. Past this point you will be rewarded with a panoramic vista of the majestic mountains and the Paungda Danda rock face above the start of the trail. The locals, Gurungs, believe that the top of Paungda Danda is the Gateway to heaven. Continue onward to Pisang, and overnight at Pisang. 

4 hours, 270 m ascent, Camp alt. 3570 m

Today you will continue on to the upper part of the Manang District. Tibetan and Buddhist influence is very prominent in this region. Locals here are yak herders and farmers growing crops such as maize. As you follow the Marsyangdi River, further away from Pisang, you will arrive to the villages of Mungji and Braga. To get here you have two options, you can either take the southern route which is a gentle climb along the river or the more strenuous and demanding northern route. You will get amazing views of the Annapurna from the Northern route. 

Today is a rest day in Manang. Day walks are available that offer breathtaking views. Some of the options you have is the hike up to the monastery perched on the hill behind Manang where you can get amazing views of the Annapurna range and the gigantic icefall from Gangapurna or the hike up to the ice lake(4500 m) with spectacular views of the region. You can end this acclimatization day with the stunning sunset atop the Himalayas. 

3-4 hours, 540 m ascent, Camp alt. 4110 m

Today you will start your trek towards the base of Thorung La pass (5416 m). Leaving the Marsyangdi valley you will tread in the Jarsang Khola valley instead. As you continue northward, you will pass through pastures and juniper trees with gain in altitude. Just below the trailhead is Ghunsa, a small mud roofed village. After crossing a wooden bridge and a Mani wall in a meadow you will gradually arrive to a small village called Yak Kharka (huts) where herders bring their animals to graze. Overnight at a guesthouse in Yak Kharka. 

3-4 hours, 490 m ascent, Camp alt. 4600m

Today is another short acclimatization day. You will trek towards Thorung Phedi, the base camp of Thorung La pass. In Nepali, Phedi means foot of the pass.. The trail crosses a river after descending and once again picks up altitude and reaches 4600 m. Spend as much time resting as the trek the next day to Thorung La pass is demanding. Overnight at Thorong Phedi. 

7-8 hours, 816 m ascent 1616 m descent, Camp alt. 3800 m

The ascent towards the awaited Thorung La pass at 5416 m will kick off early in the morning. Since this pass is broad, it is the best viewpoint for a panoramic view of the Annapurnas and other snow capped peaks extending towards Tibet. As we descend you will also view the deepest gorge in the world called the Kali Gandaki. Following a slow descent the steepness increases gently bringing you to the town of Muktinath which is an important site for Hindu pilgrims and home for Buddhists and Tibetans. It is surrounded by mountainous terrain offering amazing views of Dhaulagiri (8167 m). Overnight at a guesthouse in Muktinath.

5 hours, 1200 m descent, Camp alt. 2600 m

You will make a visit to the Muktinath temple today. This temple is sacred for Hindus and Buddhists. Muktinath is a famous pilgrimage site and it may also be possible for you to participate in some religious ceremonies here. You will witness the mutual support and harmony between two religions allowing to share the same holy spot. After this you will head on down to Jomsom. 

25 minutes

Today you will board a flight heading to Pokhara. You will check into a hotel upon arrive and the rest of the day is in your hands. Explore Pokhara city and the beautiful sights here. Overnight at hotel in Pokhara. 

5-6 hours

You will drive to Kathmandu today. You have the rest of your day to explore Kathmandu city one final time, marking the end of your trek circuit. Overnight at a hotel in Kathmandu.

Depart from Kathmandu International airport to your destination.

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