Now that the road is extended and reaches Dharapani, the popular Annapurna Massif Circuit trek is shortened. The road is black topped up to Besisahar, but from Besisahar it is not paved. It is a 5 hr drive to Besisahar and the following day the drive to Dharapani is 4-5 hrs. The trail passes through the Manang valley gorge to the Buddhist settlements of Tibetan origin.
This more arid, rocky country contains villages of stone houses clinging to steep hill sides. At the end of the valley we pass through yak pastures and over the Thorong La (pass) at 17,764ft. to the religious complex at Muktinath. Holy to both Hindus and Buddhists, Muktinath features an eternally burning flame and 108 boars head water spouts.
Day 1: Besisahar to Bahundanda
From Besisahar the trail descends and follows the gentle slope of the Marsyangdi Khola and reaches Khudi. Khudi which is at an altitude of 830 meters. The trail then reaches Bhulbhule (840 meters) from where Himalchuli and Ngadi Chuli (also known as Manaslu 2) mountains can be seen. The trail then passes through Ngadi and climbs to Lampata (1135 meters). The final stretch reaches Bahundanda, which is at an altitude of 1310 meters and where there are several hotels, shops and a public telephone.
Day 2: Bahundanda to Chamje
From Bahundanda, following an exposed trail, the route descends to Lili Bhir and after to a beautiful, high waterfall at Ghernu. The trail continues and crosses the Marsyangdi River by a suspension Bridge in Syange which is at an altitude of 1080 meters. Following the Marsyangdi River, the path reaches the small, stone village of Jagat. From here the trail descends and then ascends through forest and reaches Chamje, which is at an altitude of 1400 meters.
On the Annapurna circuit
Day 3: Chamje to Bagarchhap
From Chamje the trail is rocky and follows the Marsyandi Khola, steadily ascending to Tal (1700 meters) which is the first village in the Manang district. After climbing a stone stairway and descending a little the trail crosses the Marsyangdi River again. A further ascent takes you to Dharapani (1920 meters), which is marked by a stone-entrance chorten. From Dharapani the trail climbs to Bagarchhap, which is characterized by flat-roofed stone houses and which is at an altitude of 2160 meters.
Day 4: Bagarchhap to Chame
From Bagarchhap the trail ascends to Temang and continues to rise through pine and fir forests to Kotho (2640 meters). Climbing to Chame (2710 meters), the headquarters of the Manang district, Annapurna II can be seen. There are many hotels, a health post and a bank in Chame.
Day 5: Chame to Pisang
From Chame, the trail runs through deep forests along a steep, narrow valley and eventually crosses the Marsyangdi Khola at an altitude of 3080 meters. Along the trail the view of the Paungda Danda rock face is spectacular. The final stretch of the day, continues to rise to Pisang, which is between 3240 meters and 3340 meters and where there are many lodges.
Day 6: Pisang to Manang
From Pisang there are two trails, north and south of the Marsyangdi Khola and which meet again at Mungji. The southern trail passes through Hongde (3420 meters) and has an airstrip at an altitude of 3325 meters. Taking the southern route involves less climbing, whereas the northern route, passing through Ghyaru, has better scenery.
From Mungji, which is at an altitude of 3480 meters, the trail continues to Bryaga (3500 meters) and further to Manang (3570 meters), where there are a number of lodges, the Himalayan Rescue Association and shops to buy supplies such as batteries, sunscreen and even chocolate. Don't miss the spectacular view of Gangapurna glacier from Manang.
Day 7: Acclimatization in Manang
A day to explore the village of Manang and to acclimatize before attempting the Thorung La pass.
Day 8: Manang to Letdar
From Manang, the trail ascends through Tengi, leaving the Marshyangdi valley. Then it head towards the Jarsang Kholar (river) valley and reaches Letdar, which is at an altitude of 4250 meters and where the vegetation becomes sparser. Spending a night in Letdar is very important for acclimatization before attempting Thorung Phedi.
Day 9: Letdar to Thorung Phedi
The trail crosses the Jarsang Khola (4310 meters) and climbs to Thorung Phedi, which is at an altitude of 4420 meters.
Day 10 Thorung Phedi to Muktinath
This regularly used and therefore easy to follow part of the trail ascends steeply to Thorung La, which is at an altitude of 5416 meters and will take about four to six hours. At this point the snow and altitude can often cause problems. The pass is marked by chortens and prayer flags and a view of the Annapurna, along the great Barrier to the barren Kali Gandaki Valley can be seen from Thorung La. From Thorung La, the trail descends and reaches Muktinath, which is at an altitude of 3710 meters.
The remaining six or seven days is the reverse of the Jomsom Trek. You can also fly out of Jomsom but we suggest you continue the walk down to Tatopani and further down to Ghore pani and then to Pokhara to enjoy fully the adventure along the circuit.
The trek can be extended by continuing the walk down the Kali Gandaki valley via
MARPHA (Day 10)
KALOPANI (Day 11)
TATOPANI ( Day 12)
GHOREPANI (Day 13)
HILE (Day 14)
POKHARA Day 15)
Or instead of walking along the newly built road, take a jeep from Muktinath to Tatopani (7 hours). Then walk to Ghorepani – Hile – end trek at New Bridge then drive to Pokhara (13 days), or drive all way to Beni from Muktinath (Day 10) (10 – 11 hrs). Then drive onto Pokhara, ending the trip.