Altavista Treks & Expedition Pvt.Ltd
 
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Annapurna Circuit - Throng La Trek

 
 

A classic Himalayan trek

 

A rewarding trek, providing the opportunity to explore the scenery of both the northern and southern Himalaya. From thick fir and rhododendron forests to the harsh, thin atmosphere of the Tibetan plateau the ethnic groups encountered, lowland Hindu and highland Buddhist, are as varied as the landscape. From the dizzying heights of the Thorung Pass (5416m) line upon line of snow ridges stretch before you whilst below lies the sub-tropical Kali Gandaki Gorge a busy pilgrimage and trade route controlled by Thakali and Mustang tribes.

 

Where are you going?

Days 1-2: Flying into Kathmandu is an unforgettable experience with the Himalaya spread out before you. You will be met at the airport on arrival and transferred to your hotel. In the morning of day 2 a half-day city tour will introduce you to some of the highlights of Kathmandu.

Day 3: Drive via Dumre to Besi Shahar, the bustling supply town for the villages of the Marsyandi Khola.

Days 4-7: Follow the Marsyandi River through terraced rice paddies, bamboo forests and Tamang, Baun and Gurung villages, making several suspension bridge crossings and passing several beautiful waterfalls. Above Jaga the gorge becomes narrower and steep-sided in many places.


Views of Lamjung, Manaslu and Peak 29 and, nearing Chame, Annapurna.

Days 8-10: Starting out through barley fields and apple orchards, follow the river through a steep, narrow gorge to enter the upper Manang district. In this cold, almost arid climate wheat, barley, buckwheat and potato crops are limited to one per year and villagers depend on their herds of yaks, goats, cows and horses. From Pissang to Manang is definitely a ‘viewing’ day. All along the trail are sacred objects of Tibetan Buddhism – chorten, mani walls and, in Braga, a fascinating gompa stands above Tibetan houses which cling to the hillside, their balconies formed by the roof of the house below. In the afternoon Annapurnas II, III and IV become increasingly imposing. The dramatic setting of Manang makes for a pleasant rest and acclimatization day with the added benefit of hot showers.

Days 11-12: Branch away from the Marsyandi Khola, steadily climbing into quiet alpine areas. Again the mountain views are commanding.

Day 13: The most difficult day, but perhaps the highlight of the trek as you cross the Thorong Pass (5416m). It is a long, tough ascent via a number of small hills, but when you reach the prayer flags at the top you are rewarded with absolutely stunning high Himalaya scenery and over to the Kaligandaki valley through the entire Annapurna range, Mukut and Mustang Himal to the west. It is then a long descent to Muktinath.

Day 14: Muktinath is a fascinating village; sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists it attracts many pilgrims. Here spring water flows from a rock face via 108 spouts (108 is a sacred number to Buddhists). This water wall surrounds a temple sacred to Vishnu and below the statue runs a trickle of water with pale flames caused by natural gas. There are shrines to Shiva and his consort and Padmasambhava as well as numerous chorten and the surrounding poplar grove supposedly sprang from the staffs of the 84 Siddhas. The mass of Dhaulagiri I makes a striking contrast. The walk to Jomson, renowned for the best apples in Nepal is mostly downhill with dramatic landscapes along the way.

Days 15-17: The Kali Gandaki is home to Thakalis, Gurungs and Magars. Many of the hills bordering the northern end of the valley are yellowish due to desertification and make a striking contrast to the green farmland of the valley floor. The Thakhali dominated the lucrative trade routes with Tibet and today have turned their entrepreneurial spirit to other businesses, the neglected Buddhist shrines of Tukuche testament to their 19th century conversion to Hinduism in their climb to power. The descent to Tatopani follows the increasingly narrow valley, though one of the world’s deepest river gorges, past the beautiful Rupse Chaharo waterfall, with fantastic views along the way and the lure of hot springs at the end. Take a dip at night with the sound of the river rushing below and starts above.

Days 18-19: It is a challenging ascent to the pass at Ghorepani, yet the sunrise and sunset views from nearby Poon Hill are truly magnificent and a fitting reward for the effort. From Poon Hill the Pokhara and Mustang valleys are visible as are more than 30 snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. From here descend through pastureland and bamboo forests along the Bhurungdi Khola to Pokara.

Day 20: Drive to Kathmandu, or you may choose to fly. USD71 one-way.

Day 21: Depart

 

Note

Please note that the published itinerary is a statement of intent and to be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail conditions. The guide in charge of your trip will alter the schedule as necessary and any/all such alterations are at the discretion of Altavista Treks & Expedition Pvt.Ltd and your guide.

 

Itinerary

Day

Altitude

Time

1

Arrive Kathmandu

1300m

2

Kathmandu

3

Drive KTM-Besi Shahar

760m

7 hrs

4

Drive KTM-Besi Shahar

760m

7 hrs

5

Chamje

1430m

6½ hrs

6

Dharapani

1860m

7 hrs

7

Chame

2670m

6 hrs

8

Pisang

3200m

7 hrs

9

Manang

3540m

7 hrs

10

Rest day

11

Leder

4260m

3 hrs

12

Throng Phedi

4450m

3 hrs

13

Throng La (pass)

5416m

14

Muktinath

3800m

12 hrs

15

Jomson

2710m

6 hrs

16

Tukche

2590m

6 hrs

17

Ghasa

1970m

6½ hrs

18

Tatopani

1189m

7 hrs

19

Ghorepani

2750m

9 hrs

20

Pokhara

915m

8 hrs

21

drive Kathmandu

1300m

6 hrs

22

Depart

Trek Grade: 4
Duration: 21 Days
Trek style: Tea House Trek

Cost of trek: USD

1 PAX

1108

2 PAX

638

3 PAX

678

4 PAX

555

5 PAX

588

6 PAX

521

Best time to go: March - June / September - November

 

The Trekking Day

Some people have the idea that trekking is all sweat and hard work with no fun. This is far from the truth. Days are designed to be challenging, but not exhausting.

 

Obviously each day is different depending on terrain, distance to be covered, trail conditions and the pace of the group. However, as a guide, most days begin with breakfast at 7am. You will then need to pack up your duffle bags before breakfast, as porters will set off early. Most days you will be on the trail by 8am to take advantage of the cool morning. Stop for a leisurely lunch around noon. This is generally about 2 hours, allowing plenty of time to explore the village or relax. The afternoon walk is shorter and you usually arrive around 4pm leaving time for excursions to nearby sites, exploration of the village or simply relaxing with a book and catching up on your diary. Dinner is generally around 7pm after which relax by the fire.

 

What you carry

Your dufflebag is restricted to 15kgs. The duffle bag is carried by porters and is not available to you during the day. Your daypack should contain all that you need during the day. This generally consists of warm clothing, water bottle, camera gear, sunscreen, lip salve etc. Your guide will let you know each evening of any extra items you will need for the following day. If you have a comfortable daypack you load will only be a few kilograms and hardly noticeable.

 

Food

No meals are included.

 

In Kathmandu and Pokhara restaurants of every style and price-range abound.

 

On the trek meals are available in tea houses, lodges and bhattis with limited menus. Meals are generally simple, but filling, but you may wish to stock up on ‘trail munchies’ before leaving Kathmandu.

 

Accommodation

Accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara is on a twin share basis with private facilities.

 

Whilst trekking accommodation is in lodges and teahouses and is of a basic standard. Rooms may be twin or multi share with basic shared toilet facilities. Showers are available in some places for a small charge.

 

Trekking Staff

The Guide is in overall charge of the trek and looking after you. This is the person you should go to with all problems, concerns and questions. All our guides are highly trained in all aspects of trekking, conservation, high altitude medicine, first-aid and emergency procedures. They are professionals selected for their knowledge and passion for Nepal and its peoples, remember they are local guides and their English may be basic and limited to trek-related topics.

 

Porters transport your duffle bags – one porter for every two trekkers.

 

Trek Grading

It is impossible to have a ‘foolproof’ grading system as everyone has different expectations and perceptions of their own fitness level. Remember that no trek in the Himalaya is a stroll as all involve going up and down at altitude and that altitude affects everyone differently. Regardless of age or fitness, preparation before you arrive is essential. Aerobic activity, swimming, cycling or brisk walking is recommended or, at the very least, walk up and down stairs in your trekking boots.

 

Around Annapurna is a Grade 4 trek involving altitudes over 5000m and involves days of 6-9 hours walking.

 

What is Included

  • Accommodation Kathmandu and Pokhara - Twin share

  • Accommodation on trek. Twin or multi share.

  • All domestic transport as listed in itinerary

  • All National Park entrance fees

  • Porters to carry personal gear

  • 15kg luggage allowance while on trek

  • Trek guide

What is not Included

  • Personal expenses such as drinks, postage, laundry

  • Meals

  • International flights and departure taxes

  • Visa and passport fees

  • Travel insurance

  • Emergency evacuation

  • Tips and gratuities

  • Costs arising from unforeseen events outside the control of Altavista Treks & Expedition Pvt.Ltd

  • Pokhara-Kathmandu flight (optional) USD 80 one-way.

Money

It is best to bring a mixture of cash and travelers checks in major currencies - USD, CAD, EUR, AUD - and ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations.

 

Everyone’s spending is different, but as a guide we suggest USD5-7 per meal in Kathmandu or Pokhara and USD 10 per day whilst trekking (if you drink or smoke this could be higher). Shopping is difficult to predict, but most people buy more than they intended.

 

You should exchange enough money into Nepalese Rupees to last the entire time of your trek before leaving Kathmandu, as there are no exchange facilities in villages along the way.

 

Tipping

Tipping is a personal and voluntary matter and tips are not included in the trip price. If you wish to reward the efforts of those who have worked to make your trek the best they can we suggest the following: USD2 per day for groups of 8+, USD3 per day for smaller groups - this will be shared amongst the whole staff, including porters.

 

Insurance

It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your trek. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation (including helicopter evacuation) and personal liability. We also recommend that it cover cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

 

Health

There are no specific health requirements for entry into Nepal. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date information regarding vaccinations, high altitude medication and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Nepal.

 

Be aware that some drugs, including anti-malarials, have side effects at altitude. Please discuss this carefully with your doctor.

 

Please be aware that we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal First Aid kit as well as sufficient quantities of any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses).

 

Altitude

AMS (acute mountain sickness) is a serious issue. It is the result of the failure of the body to adapt to high altitude and can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness. It usually occurs above 1,800 meters and the likelihood of being affected increases as you ascend. The way to reduce the affects of altitude is to ascend slowly, 300 meters per day above 3,000 meters until you have acclimatized. Poor acclimatization results in headache, nausea, sleeplessness, difficulty breathing and swelling of fingers and glands. The only cure for AMS is to descend to lower altitude and your guide’s decision on this matter is final.

 

Although our routes are carefully planned to allow for proper acclimatization you may feel some effects of altitude for the first few days or at higher altitudes. Breathlessness, lethargy and mild headaches are not uncommon and generally decrease as your body adjusts. Maintaining adequate fluid intake is essential. Please advise your guide if you feel more severe symptoms and do not medicate yourself without discussing it with them first.

 

Climate

Nepal has a generally temperate climate, however altitude makes distinct variations. The monsoon sweeps up from India each summer, making mid June to mid September humid and wet. The three other distinct seasons are all suitable for trekking and each has its own advantages.

 

Changing global weather patterns have had their effect on the Himalayan climate and mountain weather is notoriously changeable. Always be prepared for a change in conditions and note that if severe or dangerous weather conditions occur your guide’s decision on any course of action is final.

 

Winter (December-February) It is cold and you will need to be prepared, but the air is very clear providing the best mountain views.

 

Spring (March-May) Days are increasingly warm and the rhododendrons are in bloom. Mist and clouds are not uncommon.

 

Summer (June-August) The monsoon season. It will rain every day, although generally in the evening and night. The hills turn lush and green and at higher elevations the alpine plants will bloom.

 

Autumn (September-November) The most pleasant trekking season where days are warm, but not hot; there is little chance of snow and skies are clear.

 

Visas and Permits

Single entry visas are available on arrival at Kathmandu airport and all land borders. The visa is valid for 60 days and costs USD30. One photo is required. The visa may then be extended up to 90 days.

 

Trekking permits are not required for this trek. The required National Park permit will be obtained on your behalf by Altavista Treks & Expedition Pvt.Ltd when you arrive. Full name, nationality, passport number, sex, date of birth and 1 photograph are needed.

 

Packing for your Trek

Altavista Treks & Expedition Pvt.Ltd supply a duffle bag to transport your gear during the trip.

 

You will need to bring a comfortable medium sized daypack to carry the things you will need during the day. This should have a waist strap or (better) a padded waist belt.

  • Rain jacket or poncho

  • Water bottle - minimum 1 liter, aluminum or Nalgene polypropylene are best.

  • Walking boots - lightweight, waterproof and well worn in.

  • Socks: thick wool/blend and thin cotton to be worn in combination ensure boots fit such combinations.

  • Running shoes or sandals for evening

  • Lightweight wool sweater

  • Fleece jacket

  • T-shirts - 2 or 3

  • Shirt - longsleeved

  • Pants: lightweight long trousers (jeans are unsuitable)

  • Hats - beanie with ear flaps or balaclava for nights / peaked ‘French Legionnaire’ style sun hat that will give neck protection during the day

  • Gloves - wool or fleece

  • Scarf

  • Underwear

  • Thermal Underwear

  • Swimsuit

  • Sarong - a multitude of uses

  • Sunglasses

  • Bag liners - large, thick garbage bags to line and water/dust proof your duffle bag.

  • Sewing kit

  • Money belt

  • Toiletries

  • Towel

  • Torch / flashlight - headlamp style is ideal

  • Lighter - for burning toilet paper and rubbish

  • Swiss Army Knife

  • First Aid Kit

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