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Round Annapurna Trek Manang - Thorong La
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Around Annapurnas Trekking: Manang - Thorung La

Early in April, our group started our march from Besisahar, the district headquarters of Lamjung district.

The beginning seemed auspicious in the sense that at Bhulbhule, en route to Manang, we had our first lunch on trekking consisting of dhal bhat and chapati.
But we had to spend our first night near a place where a journalist had had a fall while trekking on that route a couple of years ago. Now iron fence was put up at this particular section of the route, thus making it much safer. However, there are still many areas along the trail which are far from safe.
There were a number of landslides along the way to Chame, the district headquarters of Manang district. Walking on the trails over the slides was extremely difficult as the trails were too narrow for a proper foothold and at times, we had to rely on our sticks for support.

Any faltering or slip could mean severe injury or death from falling into the river Marsyangdi.

Just as we had finished negotiating one such narrow trail at Barthang, we saw a number of mules approaching the trail.

We stopped the driver and pointed out the danger lying ahead. However, he did not heed our advice. We heard that evening that a couple of his mules had fallen into the river and broken their legs.

Manang Himal is a magically beautiful place. Just one look at them makes the journey to Manang well worthwhile. Manang has also an airport in Manang nearby. One day of rest was also helpful for our acclimatisation (we were at 4200 metres).

At Manang village, one has a number of options: to see Lake Tilicho, the highest lake in the world lying at 5300 metres or to visit nearby villages from where one can enjoy the sights of the Annapurna Himal or to head straight for the Thorong pass.

On our way to Lake Tilicho, we stopped briefly at Khangsar village before hurrying towards the lake base camp. Khangsar village is small village of fifty-plus houses and it has the distinction of putting up a gilt-coated statue of Buddha at the western entrance of Swayambhunath temple in Kathmandu. In Khangsar there are the night's refuges available. There are only a few hotels here, but they were probably the dirtiest in the entire Manang route. We knew that April it was not the proper season for lake viewers.

The next day, early in the morning, we proceeded to our next stop, Yakkharka. The trail was not frequented by people and was slippery and dangerous. With a lot of difficulty and caution, we managed to cover the distance. Yakkharka has a well-furnished restaurant. Letdar is only two hours walk from Yakkharka, yet we decided to while away the rest of the day in Yakkharka by collecting information regarding the route from the hotel staff.

Annapurna II

The following day, we started our ascent at 5 a.m. along with other groups who opted to pass the night at Thorong base (alt 4200 metres). This ascent had to be done slowly and cautiously, often stepping on the marks made by those ahead of us. Our going was all the more difficult since we were using wooden sticks which are of little help while negotiating snow-covered ground. Yet, somehow we managed to reach the top of the pass (5416 metres) at 9:30 a.m. Upon reaching this point, everyone started hugging and congratulating each other. We had the mistaken notion that being on top would be the last hurdle. We quickly realised the truth that the descent is equally important.

written by D.B. Thapa

more information
Nepal Trekking Information: maps, diagrams, photo galleries
Annapurna Region Trekkings Thorong La
Upper Manang Trekking Mustang & Lo Manthang
Annapurna Trek Photo Gallery
Nepal Trekkings: Programmes Download
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