Tilicho is one of the highest lakes in the world, situated at an altitude of 4,950m and formed by the glacial melting of the Annapurna and Thorong peaks. This trek leads guests to a village inhabited by various ethnic groups while providing a magnificent view of the Annapurna, Manaslu and Dhaulagiri Himalayan ranges. Tilicho Lake is considered a holy lake as it carries historical importance from its mentioning in the Ramayan (holy book of Hindus).
The trek itself starts from Besisahar where we follow the Marshyangdi River Valley, offering magnificent views of Manaslu and Himal Chuli on the eastern side. We then trek towards Tilicho Base Camp through the Khanskar village before finally reaching Tilicho Lake. From there we ascend towards Thorung La while passing Yak Kharka. Thorung La Pass is among the highest passes in the world and provides a unique and memorable experience. Guests will then trek down to Muktinath, a holy place possessing scenic beauty along with Buddhist monasteries and 108 water spouts. A large number of pilgrims from Nepal and India can frequently be seen visiting the Muktinath Temple. After our time here we follow the Kali Gandaki River to reach the town of Jomsom before taking a short mountain flight to Pokhara and driving back to Kathmandu.
The Tilicho Lake and Round Annapurna Trek requires a high level of physical fitness in order to complete and fully enjoy the experience.
Welcome to Nepal! As you land at Kathmandu airport, finish your custom formalities (visa, etc.) and get to the airport waiting terminal, you will find our representative waiting to greet you. He/she will be holding Nature Connection Treks and Tours signboard and your name. You will be then transferred to your respective hotel in our private vehicle.
After breakfast, we start a guided tour to several medieval and spiritual sites in Kathmandu which are also listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the famous ‘Monkey Temple’ (Swayambhunath) and Buddhists shrine (Boudhanath) which is one of the large Stupas in the world. Later after sightseeing program, we will introduce you with your trekking guide and have a small pre-trip meeting. You can also take an opportunity to hire/buy any last-minute trekking equipment or bargain for your souvenirs at the many stores. You are advised to pack your things and be set up for your actual Everest base camp trekking adventure that will begin the next day.
We make an early departure from Kathmandu this morning for Besisahar. It is a beautiful journey to the trek road head. We set off for Pokhara after breakfast. Driving today is adventurous and pleasant as it winds down hugging the mountain side through terraced fields. Following the side of Mahesh River, we come to the Trishuli River. We follow Trishuli River side all the way up to Mugling where Trishuli River confluences with the Marshyangdi River. After crossing a bridge over Marshyangdi River we head further west to Pokhara. If you are on the right pane of your vehicle the journey today provides plenty of opportunity to view cultivated terraced fields, rivers, streams, green valleys, rocky gorges, farmlands and typical rural life of Nepal. We take lunch break in a restaurant along the way. Leaving Besisahar we drive up to Syange. On this drive, the scenery will impress right from the moment of leaving Besisahar. The jeep track follows the Marshyangdi river upstream through gradually a narrowing and increasingly lush valley all the while with the water of the Marshyangdi raging violently below. Weather permitting provides great views of Himalchuli (7893m) and Ngadichuli (7541m) who belong to the Manaslu Range of mountains. Driving Time: 7-8 hours
We start early after breakfast. A rising and falling trail leads to Chamje, after which we cross a suspension bridge and climb through oak forest. We will notice a dramatic change in the landscape today as the valley narrows to a very deep gorge, and cascading waterfalls as the one here across the valley are a common sight in the feature for the next few days. The trail then emerges into a level valley where ‘Tal’, the next village is situated at the foot of a grand waterfall (1700m). Further we walk ahead past some mani stones Just after Tal Village. The local custom is to walk on the left-hand side of the Mani walls. We cross Marshyangdi river over suspension bridges couple of times before reaching Dharapani. Walking Time: 6-7 hours
It is a very gentle climb from Dharapani to Bagarchap, here we will be rewarded by sight of Annapurna II (7937m) looking up the valley. As we continue through Danakyue and climb up to Temang one cannot help but stop and look back to enjoy the view of the Manaslu Range. You will notice a general change in the vegetation today to pine and fir. The trail is fairly level from here for about an hour until after emerging out into a clearing which has a couple of tea houses and fields. We then descend to cross a bridge and climbing out we pass through Thanchok Village with its apple orchards. We reach Koto in about thirty minutes from Thanchok village and another thirty minutes to Chame, the headquarter of Manang District. Walking Time: 5-6 hours
We spent the rest of the morning trekking through rich forest of blue pine and fir keeping alongside the river to Brathang. The old Brathang village used to be a Tibetan resistant camp fighting Chinese occupation of Tibet by making raids over the border. Today you see only an apple orchard with a couple of tea houses. We carry on walking through the forest, the trail clings on a cliff side for a while and as we cross the bridge, looking back the view of the huge rock face of Mui Tscho (Paunde Danda) is breathtaking rising about 1500m from the valley floor. After climbing steeply through the forest, there is a sudden change in the landscape as we enter the Upper Manang District. The valley becomes very broad and vegetation mainly pine, Juniper and berberis shrubs is very sparse. A beautiful and easy hour of walking in the shadows of Annapurna II brings us to Lower Pisang. By this point you would have trekked around to the north side of the Annapurnas and the views from here on are of Annapurna II and IV to the south and Pisang Peak and the Chulu East to the north. Walking Time: 5-6 hours
Today we continue through the drier upper part of the Manang district, cut off from the full effect of the monsoon by the Annapurna Range. People of this region herd the yaks and raise crops for a part of the year. Leaving Pisang, we have alternate trails form the north and the south of the Marshyangdi River which meets up again at Mungji. The southern route by Hongde, with its airstrip at 3,325m, involves less climbing than the northern route via Ghyaru and Ngawal villages. For better views, we take the northern route, i.e. through upper Pisang that follows the northern bank of the river. We come across a very picturesque village clinging on to a cliff side where the houses appear to be stacked on top of each other. Its Bragha village dominated by the oldest monastery of the region which is more than 500 years old. Upon reaching Manang, the rest of the day can be spent walking around the village and visiting the monastery and enjoying the view from the lodge and acclimatizing. Walking Time: 5-6 hours
We spend a day acclimatizing in Manang. It is recommended to stay active and take short walk to higher altitude is suggested to get acclimatized with the altitude. The whole day we spend doing some fine day walks and viewing the magnificent sights around the village. The upcoming next two days will be very demanding and tiring trek for us with swift gain in altitude. We should never be too confident with the altitude and should always be watchful. Bodzo Gompa or Gangapurna Lake is worth visiting sites from acclimatization point of view. Manang village houses Himalayan Rescue Association. Volunteer western doctors work here during the trekking seasons helping educate trekkers and researching on Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). An altitude talk is held here every afternoon, which is definitely worthwhile attending. Walking Time: 3-4 hours
From Manang we head out through the western gates and then we follow path down to the river. We cross the river and continue on the south side of it through coniferous forest towards Khangsar. One section is across a steep and exposed scree slope. Cross the Kangsar Khola on the bridge below Kangsar and ascend the slope to the village. Walking Time: 3-4 hours
Continue from Kangsar on a large path. Pass a Gompa (monastery). The route ahead goes on a recently constructed path up towards a high ridge. At one point is an intersection. One path maintains the altitude, traversing the slopes towards a place where the valley is narrow; 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 really steep scree; the latter is the new path that goes a completely different way. Continue along the new path, reach a high crest, and descend on switch backs carved out through the scree slopes to a side valley of the main valley. At its bottom is a brook. On the other side of it is a building known as Tilicho Base Camp.
From Tilicho Base Camp the path covers that route. Continue along the shore to a little plain. Leave the lake here and aim for a small saddle in the ridge above. The path is rather steep and there is plenty of lose scree and boulders. The first pass Reach and descend to a valley on the other side. Follow it upwards and step on to a flat glacier. It has no crevasses and is safe. Follow its left (south) side upwards. Leave it where an obvious saddle westward is visible. Go through this watershed. There is a little lake. Continue ahead on a faint path, lose a little altitude, and then gain another saddle. On the other side, one descends in to a small valley that turns south. Coming out of it one has reached the western shore of Tilicho Lake. We spend some time exploring the lake and we trek back to Tilicho Base Camp for overnight.
From Tilicho Base Camp we trek down to Kangsar and continue towards Yak Kharka. The trail passes through ancient old Mani walls in a pleasant meadow and then reaches a river. After crossing a small river on a wooden bridge and walking for some amount of time we reach small village of Yak Kharka. Little but gradual ascent is the key to avoiding altitude problems. Overnight at Yak Kharka. Walking Time: 6-7 hours
We make our way to the foot of the pass, Thorong Phedi today. Thorong Phedi is a small busy settlement catering to the needs of tired trekkers and climbers. Trekkers like us use this point as a base camp. Some visitors also attempt a hike to the High Camp today so that the next day can be easier for them. But, Himalayan Glacier’s team leader does not advise for this. Although we will have a tough day tomorrow, we stop at Thorong Phedi so that we can sleep sound rather than a risky sleep in higher altitude at High Camp. Walking Time: 3-4 hours
Today is a long trek starting before sunrise at 4 am to reach the pass by 9-10am otherwise weather conditions (strong winds) will affect the journey, particularly at the Thorung La Pass (5,416m). We climb steeply on a regular route which is quite easy to follow. However, some problems may arise due to the altitude and snow. It often causes terrible problems to cross the pass if it is covered by heavy snow. About four hours climb up to the pass marked by the chortens and prayer flags will reward you with stunning views from the top of the pass. Another four hours of walking will take you to the holy town of Muktinath.
Muktinath means the place of Nirvana and is home to the Muktinath temple as well as several monasteries. It is said that all sorrows you feel are relieved when visiting the temple, which is a scared pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. The prime pilgrimage month is September. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and has 108 waterspouts around it. Another attraction nearby is the Jwala Mai Temple which has a gorgeous natural spring and an eternal flame fueled by natural gas. Walking Time: 7-8 hours
We head along the trail down to the Eklebhatti, and then follow the Kali Gandaki River to Jomsom. Jomsom is large town with many facilities, it is also the headquarter and the official town for the entire Mustang district where all the district government offices are present. Walking Time: 5-6 hours
A 30-minute morning flight takes us to Pokhara from Jomsom. Once we arrive at Pokhara airport, we then drive to the hotel. In the afternoon, we will have a sightseeing tour around Pokhara valley, which covers Phewa Lake, Devi’s water fall, Museum, Tibetan refugee settlement and Gupteshower cave, etc. Overnight at a hotel.
The day today is a complimentary day just in case Jomsom to Pokhara flight get delayed or cancelled because Jomsom to Pokhara flight is highly affected by the mountain weather. If everything went smooth as planned, you can use this day for sightseeing around Pokhara, which is a nice city to relax after a long trek.
We drive back to Kathmandu today. Try to get left pane of your vehicle to enjoy the greeneries, mountains, river gorges, villages and terraces during the drive. In the evening, we will have a farewell dinner in a traditional Nepalese restaurant with cultural performances. Driving Time: 6/7hrs.
Note: You have the option to extend your trip with an extra day at Pokhara (Pokhara is a beautiful city to relax after a long trek), Chitwan Jungle Safari, rafting adventure, Bungee Jumping, Kayaking, Canoeing, Kathmandu valley shopping tour, Bhaktapur and Patan sightseeing, scenic Everest flight, mountain biking and other activities.
Your Tilicho Lake and round Annapurna Circuit Trek concludes today. Our airport representative will drop you at the international airport in Kathmandu for your departure flight from Nepal. We hope beautiful Nepal, the magnificent Himalayan sceneries, and unique cultural experience you got along your Annapurna Circuit Trek will stay in your memory lifelong and you will go back home with a sense of achievement.
All ground transportation and flight from Jomsom to Pokhara
3 stars hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara and lodge and tea house during the treks
Breakfast in Kathmandu and Pokhara and full board meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the treks