Day 1: Please note that you must arrive in Kathmandu by May 5. Group arrival in Kathmandu. Your guide will meet your flight at Tribhuvan Airport in Kathmandu — waiting for you outside the customs hall. Transfer to a delightfully small guest house in Kathmandu's Thamel neighbourhood. Here you'll find comfortable rooms with attached bathrooms (good hot showers), telephones, email, laundry service, a free safety deposit box and luggage storage. Our guests tell us they enjoy the hotel's location and friendly staff.
After time to settle–in, enjoy the late afternoon light at the Buddhist, Swayambhunath Stupa (a stupa is a large domed, pyramid-like structure containing religious relics). Swayambhunath is known as "the Monkey Temple" for its large band of monkeys that call it their home. At one time the Kathmandu Valley was a huge lake. Legend has it that the hill on which the Monkey Temple stands was once an island and there is evidence that the Buddhist Emperor Ashoka visited the site 2,000 years ago. Tonight, enjoy a traditional Nepalese style dinner. Overnight in our hotel. (Dinner)
Day 2: Today is a fine introduction to Buddhist as well as Hindu religions and you'll appreciate our guided sightseeing in the Kathmandu Valley. Places of interest include the Hindu temples and ghats of Pasupatinath and nearby, the Buddhist stupa at Bodhnath. Ghats are steps leading up from a river. You will notice the bathing ghats (where people wash themselves and their clothes) as well as the burning ghats, where Hindus cremate dead bodies in readiness for dispatch in the river Ganges. You'll find an important Shiva temple at Pashupatinath (Shiva is the great destroyer and creator God of Hindu religion).
Departing Pashupatinath, we continue to nearby Bodhnath. Bodhnath is an impressive site where pilgrims come to pray by circumambulating the large, all seeing eyes of Buddha. Tonight, dinner is on your own to explore with many great neighbourhood options! Some of favorite choices include Nepali Kitchen (Nepali), Third Eye Restaurant (Indian), The Yak (Tibetan), KC's ('westerners favorites') or the Pumpernickel Bakery. Overnight in our hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 3: To the trailhead! Start Trek to Arughat. After breakfast at your hotel, we depart early by private bus on roads winding westward from Kathmandu. Leaving the main road behind at Pokhara, we veer north to Dhading and join a rough road to its end, reaching Arughat at 600 meters (1,968 feet). Driving time 8 hours. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4: Trek to Soti Khola . Our trek ambles along the banks of the Budi Gandaki River, passing tiny villages and lush paddies. We'll stop at Arkhet Village for a lunch break and then continue trekking to reach Soti Khola at 700 meters (2,296 feet). Trekking 6 hours. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5: Trek to Machha Khola. Today's trekking continues along the riverbank. The valley narrows as we pass villages, farms and fields. The last section of today's hike is gentle climb to reach Machha Khola Village where we'll spend tonight at 869 meters (2,850 feet). Trekking 6 hours. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6: Trek to Jagat. Continue trekking past fields of tobacco and buckwheat to reach Tatopani Village, named after the local hot springs (called "tatopani" in Nepali). These springs can be found at the center of this placid, terraced village. Enjoy some free time (while lunch is prepared) to nurse your tired muscles with a fine soak in the gushing, hot spring waters! You'll also enjoy a great lunch.
Soon, we're off once again — crossing a suspension bridge for a gentle climb through the woods, passing spectacular waterfalls, to arrive at to Doban Village. From beautiful Doban, our trail climbs high above the river headed for Yuruphant and finally to our goal of Jagat Village at 1340 meters (4,395 feet). Trekking 7 hours. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7: Trek to Deng. After breakfast, today's trek begins on a long downhill section with a series of stone steps leading to the river. Then we clamber up a terraced hill to Saguleri — here we can see the impressive, Sringi Himal at 7,187 meters (23573 feet). We pass the charming, paved village of Sirdibas, where its children are often selling oranges in season.
Leaving town, we cross long suspension bridge over Ghatta Khola and continue upstream. Now we face a steep climb to reach Philim, which is often a great lunch stop. Out trekking route continues past Ekle Bhati (a beautiful campsite) and a trail junction towards Ganesh Himal, where we will cross a bridge to arrive at Deng, 1850 meters (6,100 feet), for the night. Trekking 7 hours. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8: Trek to Namrung. Today our trail now enters much higher elevations and you'll notice our changing altitude reflected in the villages we pass. Houses are constructed with flat roofs and we discover more Buddhist monuments such as Mani Walls (carved stone walls with Buddhist prayers) and Chortens (small Buddhist structures).
The trail continues along the river, occasionally crossing the Budhi Gandaki, and finally to Namrung at 2630 meters (8,626 feet) for the night. Trekking 6 hours. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9: Trek to Sama. Today our trek continues westward, past the Buddhist villages of Lihi, Sho, Lho and Shyala. From Shyala, Mount Manaslu is a prominent, snow-capped peak. Our trail climbs and later crosses a glacial river before reaching our goal of Sama Village at 3520 meters (11,545 feet). Trekking 6 hours. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 10: Rest Day In Sama. After today's breakfast, it's a day for you to rest and rejuvenate from our week on the trail. You'll enjoy the free time and exploring the interesting sights of Sama. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11: Trek to Samdo. You'll awake surrounded by a pristine mountain panorama and enjoy breakfast in this incredible landscape. Today it's an easy, three hour hike to Samdo at 3875 meters (12,710 feet). Buddhist Samdo is actually just a small collection of houses and lodges. Enjoy the afternoon exploring the village area. Trekking 3 hours. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 12: Rest Day In Samdo. Today is a flexible one, meant for for acclimatising to the high altitude. Spend it resting or with day hikes that reach towards the Tibet border. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13: Trek to Dharamsala/Larkya Phedi. After breakfast, we depart on the trade route to old Tibet, climbing past the ruins of an old market where salt and other valuable goods were traded with merchants from Tibet. After two hours of steady, uphill trail (with incredible views), we arrive in Dharamsala at 4460 meters (14,628 feet), the last camp or teahouse before reaching Larke La Pass. Trekking 3 hours. Overnight in a teahouse. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 14: Trek to Larkya La & Bimtang. Welcome to the most exciting and challenging day of our trek! We'll start early to avoid the bizarre local winds which increase later in the day.
From Dharamsala, the path is gentle but climbs steadily to reach the top of the pass. Once we arrive at Larke La Pass 5160 meters (16,924 feet), we are rewarded with a stunning panorama of Mount Himlung, Manaslu North, Annapurna II and many other astounding, snow-capped peaks. Once we soak–up this awesome scene, we descend to Bimthang at 3590 meters (11,775 feet). Trekking 8-9 hours. Overnight in a teahouse. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 15: Trek to Dharapani. Today we enter a very different valley, heading into the Annapurna mountain range. Our trail continues downhill, passing yak pastures and the small villages of Kharche, Gho and Tilje. Reaching Dharapani at 1963 meters (6,438 feet), we'll join the Annapurna Circuit trail from Manang Valley tomorrow. Trekking 8 hours. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 16: Trek to Chamje. After breakfast, we follow the main Annapurna circuit descending first to Karte and onward to a bridge we cross before arriving at Taal Village. We'll move on, along the Marshyangdi River to Chyamje at 1430 meters (4,690 feet), where we spend the night. Trekking 7-8 hours. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 17: Trek to Jagat. Today we continue on the Annapurna trail, along the Marshyangdi River. Passing the village of Jagat at 1300 meters (4,264 feet), we'll continue a bit more to Syange for our last night of the trek. Trekking time 6 hours. Overnight in a small guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 18: Kathmandu Return. After breakfast, an eight hour private bus ride returns us to Kathmandu. Free time this afternoon will be savoured for relaxing and showering. Leave your laundry at the front desk so you can enjoy some clean clothes! Dinner is on your own tonight, with good neighbourhood restaurants all around. Overnight in our guest house. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 19: Kathmandu (Free Day). Explore, shop and pack. Group farewell dinner tonight! Overnight in our hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 20: Depart Kathmandu. Depending on your departure flight schedule, there may be a few hours this morning for last–minute shopping. (Breakfast)
Options: It is inexpensive to arrange (in advance) for extras — additional accommodation and airport transfer for a departure tomorrow, or to continue exploring the region.
Scheduled Dates: Manaslu Larke La Pass Trek — May 4 – 23, 2015, from Kathmandu.
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