Short Annapurna Circuit trek with Tilicho Lake

Short / Mini Annapurna Circuit trek with Tilicho Lake.

Short Annapurna Circuit trek with Tilicho Lake takes us to one Nepal’s highest lake in the Manang District. This “classic” journey of Annapurna Circuit combined with Tilicho Lake Trek starts with a drive to Besisahar in the paddy fields of the lowland, gaining altitude steadily along the Marshyangdi River. It passes through oak and pine forests and eventually emerging into high altitude desert country at Manang (3597 m.) and above. These days there is a fair weather road from Besisahar all the way to Manang. However, we only drive to Chyamje to allow our bodies to adjust to the altitude slowly.

We stay an extra night at Manang to allow acclimatization by taking a hike to a higher elevation.

From Manang, we move away from the main trail towards Khangsar village and further on to Tilicho Basecamp where there are a few lodges. We hike up to Tilicho Lake, which takes about 3 hours and an altitude gain of some 750 meters. It is a fantastic environment by the lake with the Lake appearing a beautiful Turquoise on sunny days. It is a reasonably large Lake, which is 4 km in length and the deepest part, is 85 meters deep. We retrace our steps to Tilicho Basecamp, upper Khangsar, cross the Marsyangdi River to join the main trail again the following day on to Thorung high camp.

The 1600 meters descent from Thorung La pass 5416 meters is equally amazing and varied. The trail from the pass takes Marsyangdi towards the Kali Gandaki valley and descends through the village of Muktinath. We trek to Jomsom the next day. It is a short day of hiking. The trek ends in Jomsom. Jomsom lies in the windy Kali Gandaki valley below the towering Mount Nilgiri 7061 meters. We fly out to Pokhara the next morning. 

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Trip Details US $2500

CodeACTL-16 FrequencyAnyday Duration16 Group Size2 Best SeasonMarch-November Altitude5416 meters mts. SupportYes DifficultyChallenging

Day 01: Arrival and transfer to hotel in Kathmandu

You will be met by our representative upon arrival at the international airport and bring you to your hotel. You will be briefed about your trip by your Trek leader.

Day 02: Kathmandu to Chyamche via Besisahar by private vehicle.

We start our drive for Besisahar after breakfast. Upon reaching Besisahar, we take a local jeep and will be driven on a dirt road till Chyamje.  

Day 3: Trek to Danakyu (2300m) 6 to 7 hours

We will cross a suspension bridge to the eastern side of the Marsyangdi soon after leaving Chyamje. We will pass along a series of overhanging rock formations. The path begins to traverse a broad ledge after a short climb. The Marsyangdi River comes to a series of stone steps as we pass a couple of tea shops while going uphill. The trail evens out after a while, and we walk beneath an archway, which is the gateway to Tal and the Manang district. "Tal" means "lake" in Nepali. We can see a broad expanse where a lake used to be. The Tibetan influence becomes more evident from here on with ‘Chortens,’ ‘Gompas’ and the beautiful architectural designs of the buildings. The trail from Tal levels out for a while, a welcome relief for our tired legs. We will cross a bridge back to the West of the Marshyangdi about an hour later. We can see the old trail on the other side which was recently abandoned due to landslides. The trail continues upwards until the village of Dharapani where there is a police check post. Danakyu is just a little over an hour walk from Jagat.

Day 4: Trek to Chame (2630m) 5 hours

Great views of Mt. Annapurna II (7937m) and Mt. Lamjung Himal (6932m) will greet us as The Marsyangdi River proceeds up the valley. The lofty peaks of Mt. Manaslu (8156m), the eighth highest mountain in the world, Peak 29 (7833m) will be visible on clear days. There is a steep climb of about an hour through pine and fir forest with spectacular scenery. We might see Langur monkeys in the woods. When we reach Timang village, panoramic views of Manaslu (8156m) will greet us. Continuing on the flattish path along the river, the village of Thanchok is reached. The towering Annapurna II (7937m) is an incredible sight further up the trail. The route rejoins the main trail while descending through woodland down to Koto, which sits in the shadow of Annapurna II (7937m). The Nar Khola River flowing from the recently opened valleys of Nar and Phu joins the Marshyangdi from the right side of the valley. Chame, which is the district headquarters of Manang, is a short walk away. There are excellent views of Lamjung Himal (6932m) from Chame.

Day 5: Trek to Pisang (3190m) 5 hours

A short day of trekking to Pisang. However, as it is so beautiful, most trekkers take their own time to admire the scenery and take many photographs. We will pass through a series of Mani walls. The trail is pretty even until we arrive at the apple orchards of Brathang. The trail heads uphill for about 45 minutes through the forest, leveling off before reaching a suspension bridge. A moderate climb follows, after crossing the bridge through a forest consisting of juniper, pine, and fir. The valley begins to broaden, and Pisang Peak (6091m) stands out in front of us. We will pass through a couple of small lakes where sometimes birds can be seen wading. Pisang is divided into upper and lower Pisang.

Day 6: Trek to Manang (3500m) 5 hours (Lower Route) or 7 to 8 hours (Higher Route)

There are two options for this day. We can either follow a lower route of 5 hours stretch or a higher way of 7 to 8 hours. If we take the lower road, it is a less strenuous route, the path out of the valley is level and then, once out of the valley you will begin to contour round to our left and climb up onto a ridge. The view from this ridge is breathtaking, looking down into the Manang Valley and you will want to stay here all day to enjoy it. Dropping to the valley floor the path is wide and dusty. We will notice that the scenery here is more arid, the air drier and the wind colder. Annapurna III (7,555m) rises to the left and passing through the village of Humde you will see the deserted remains of the old village on its outskirts. The path then ascends gradually and takes us to the next valley. After a couple of hours' walk, we will pass through the village of Braga, just 30 minutes’ walk from Manang.

The High route
If we are feeling fit and energetic, then the high path on the eastern bank of the Marshyangdi is strenuous but well worth the effort. We have to cross the river out of Pisang village and then take a reasonably level path through scrubland, passing a small picturesque lake on our right. We will then walk past long ‘Mani walls’ and descend to cross a stream and begin a strenuous zigzagging climb up to the village of Ghyaru (3,673m). A welcome tea shop is the first house we will come across in the village. It is well worth climbing up to visit the Gompa at the top of the village. The views from here of Annapurna II and Annapurna IV are stunning. From Ghyaru we will continue up the valley on a beautiful high-level trail. Here, passing through the ruins of a castle, we will arrive on a promontory, with views both ways up and down the valley. Then, we will arrive at the village of Ngawal (3,650m) where there is a significant newly built Gompa up to the right. We will leave the village near a long Mani wall. We finally descend back to the valley floor and rejoin the main trail to continue to Braga and Manang.

Day 7: Manang – Acclimatization day.

Today is all about acclimatizing and resting. We can have a day hike around one of the many scenic trails around Manang, rest or visit one of the many sights around the area. 

Day 8:  Manang to Tilicho Base Camp 4170 m.

We head out through the western gates from Manang and then follow the path down to the river. We cross it and continue on the south side of it through a coniferous forest towards Khangsar. One section is across a steep and exposed scree slope. Cross the Khangsar Khola on the bridge below Khangsar and ascend the hill to the village.

We continue from Khangsar on a broad path, passing a Gompa (monastery). The route ahead goes on a recently constructed road up towards a high ridge. We stop at Shree Kharka for lunch.

At one point is an intersection where one path maintains the altitude, traversing the slopes towards a place where the valley is narrow, while the other continues to ascend towards the line of the ridge. The former is the old path and is much more difficult as it goes on a steep scree slope, while the latter is the new path that goes an entirely different way. We continue along the new route, reach a high crest, and descend on switchbacks carved out through the scree slopes to a side valley of the central valley. At its bottom is a brook. There are three lodges, and it is known as Tilicho Base Camp.

Day 08: Explore Tilicho Lake & back to Shree Kharka (4,180 m.)  7-8 hours walk. 

Tilicho is one of the highest lakes in Nepal, although a lot of websites claim it to be the highest lake in the world. The question is how big does a body of water have to be before it is called a lake? It is stunning scenery nonetheless. We retrace our steps back to Tilicho Basecamp for lunch and head towards Shree Kharka.

 Day 10: Shree Kharka to Leddar. 4200 m.  5-6 hours walk.

We retrace our steps towards Khangsar, hike via upper Khangsar on a lesser-trodden trail until we descend towards the bridge at the Marsyangdi river. We have a short climb to join the main path that takes us to Yak Kharka where we stop for lunch. We proceed on to Leddar for the night.

 Day 11: Yak Kharka to High Camp (4800 m.)  5-6 hours walk.

Leaving Leddar, we climb gradually along mountain trails running along the headwaters of the Marsyangdi crossing it at one point over a suspension bridge. We then follow a narrow mountain path that leads us up to Thorong Phedi for lunch. As we have been up to Tilicho Lake at 4916 m and depending on how everyone is feeling, we head up to high camp for the night.

Day 12: Thorung Phedi high camp to Muktinath (3760 m.) 8-9 hours walk.

Today is a long day, and we start at 5 am. Another two hours or so later we finally get to the pass with its

A plethora of prayer flags and excellent views. After a quick stop to take photos, rehydrate, we will start the steep descent to the remote but sizable town of Muktinath for our well-earned overnight stay.

Day 13: Muktinath to Jomsom (2,700 m.)  6-7 hours walk.

Today we descend from Muktinath to Jomsom with Mount Nilgiri on to the east and Mount Tukuche and Mount Dhaulagiri in front of us on the hike to Jomsom.

Day 14: Jomsom to Pokhara by flight.

Free day in Jomsom to chill out or go shopping.

Day 15: Pokhara / Kathmandu flight.

We will spend the morning chilling out in this lovely Lakeside town and take the afternoon flight back to Kathmandu.

Day 16: Departure Transfer.

Depending on your departure time, you can chill out or go souvenir shopping

Cost Includes
Boutique hotel in Kathmandu on bed and breakfast basis Boutique hotel in Pokhara on bed and breakfast basis
Hotel/ Lodges while trekking on twin sharing basis All transportation
Responsible Adventures' Expert Trek leader (Click to watch video of trek leaders) Complimentary T-Shirt
Use of trekking kit bag during trek 1 Assistant guide between 4 trekkers
Trekking 1 porter between two trekkers
Good clothing for porters and crew Food for porters & crew members (We are less then handful of trekking companies that provide this facility)
Insurance for crew and porters All permits
Twin sharing room on trek All meals on trek (best trekking meals in the whole of the Himalaya)
Domestic airfare.
Cost Excludes
Visas All optional additional tours or activities during free time
Transportation outside of the tour program Travel insurance (Compulsory to have insurance that covers helicopter evacuation)
Tips(suggested amount US$70 per week for staff only); Leader's tip at your discretion Items of a personal nature e.g alcoholic drinks, bottled beverages, laundry, souvenir etc.
From To Number of Pax Unit Price ($)
17 November 2016 31 December 2017 2-10 2500

No Departure Date with Pricing Available as of Yet.

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