Unfortunately there is a One Huge problem with this plan and that is the height gain from Jomsom to Tilicho Lake – To do this trek safely in this direction would take several days with several nights camping to stay within the guidelines to minimise your chances of being adversely affected my AMS.
So two possible alternative plans would be
1) Take a bus from Kathmandu to Besisahar / Bhulebhule and then make your way up the valley of the Marsiange as far as you can by jeep and then trek to Manang on the Annapurna Circuit route, then after your acclimatisation day in Manang cross over to Jomsom via Tilicho Lake – The last teahouse is at Tilicho Base-Camp and from there you would have to camp for at least 3 nights to reach Jomsom, you would be advised to take along at least a porter/guide to show you the way as well as helping you carry your equipment
2) The same as above as far as Manang, then trek to Tilicho Base-Camp Lodge, stay there for two nights and visit Tilicho Lake the day in-between. Then trek down to Yak Kharka where the route rejoins the main Annapurna Circuit trail and cross Thorung La and back to Jomsom
Please be aware that most trekking maps of this area are notoriously inaccurate as most show a path alongside the northeast shore of Tilicho Lake – This path does no exist.
Both of these routes could be safely trekked within a 2 week timeframe
Approximately 7 / 8 days.
If you have time then this is an Excellent trek as you cross 3 major ridges before reaching The Dhud Kosi, The highest of these is Lamjura at 3571 meters so as you can imagine this helps you gain both fitness and acclimatization for the higher reaches of the trek above Namche Bazaar
I would Highly recommend this trek, Here is a suggested itinery
Day 1: Drive to Jiri
Day 2: Jiri to Bhandar
Day 3: Bhandar to Sete
Day 4: Sete to Junbesi
Day 5: Junbesi to Nuntala
Day 6: Nuntala to Khari Khola
Day 7: Khari Khola to Puiyan
Day 8: Puiyan to Phakding near to where the path from Lukla comes in.
Unfortunately entrance prices to get into National parks in Nepal have just been revised – And Revised Steeply I may add with Sagarmatha (Everest) and Langtang Tripling from 1000NPR to 3000Npr
Full details on the TAAN site below
The Annapurna Circuit is Still an Excellent Trek - But the time to do it is now, before the road building gets any further up the Marsyangai valley, You will read all sorts of reports about this road building, a lot of people paint it as Much Blacker than it actually is, The road had got as far as Syange when I was there in the spring 2008, It does somewhat spoil the look of the valley, but you won’t hardly notice most of it as the trekking route is on the other side of the valley most of the way. Once above Syange then you are into Awesome Country – But unfortunately this road is due to creep all the way to Manang over the next 4 or 5 years.
There is now a jeep road down the valley of the Kali Gandaki all the way from Muktinath to Beni, again you can avoid most of it by careful route planning, Personally I wouldn’t trek the section between Jomsom and Ghasa as there is little choice here with alternative routes –– However more Good News is that there is No plan to build a road from Tatopani over Poon Hill to Nayapool – So that at least is one part of this Excellent trek that Will remain untouched !!
So hence my advice – Do it Sooner rather than Later !!
I would tackle Trekking AC as follows
Start your trek at Bhulbhule (The road continues up the left hand side of the valley and you take the old trekking route up the right side) – Walk across the suspension foot bridge and spend you first night at the small lodge my the waterfall about 20 minutes trekking from the road-head
The next days trekking is up to Bahudanda (Short day but uphill so if you have the time why kill yourself !!) –
You then rejoin the road ½ way through your next day at Syange and have to walk along it – I have heard that there still isn’t much traffic on it as there is still gaps in the construction but it does continue until above Tal.
Then after Pisang you are into pristine mountain country and you will love it
After crossing Thorung La don’t stay at Muktinath, 20 minutes further on is the often overlooked village of Jharkot – a real treat – see my Nepal travelogue of the same name on the link below ;-)
Don’t miss Kagbeni, Avoid Jomsom – Maybe take a bus / jeep down to Ghasa from Jomsom where you can leave the road and trek down the opposite side of the valley (Old trekking route on the left) until Dana – Then you have ½ hours trekking on the road to Tatopani.
After Tatopani no more roads as you head up and over Poon Hill – Spend the morning in Tatopani and enjoy the hot springs when they are at the cleanest and quietest and split the long uphill day to Poon Hill (Ghoropani) into two.
Spend your last night at Birithanti, less than an hours trek from the road-head at Naya Pul and a real gem of a village.
The next day walk to Naya Pul, catch a local bus and you should be back in Pokhara in time for lunch ;-)
2011 Transportation Update
There is now only a local bus to from Kathmandu to Bhulebhule, Personally I would be inclined not to use this as it will be very slow and by the time you have either gone to the bus station the day before to get your tickets or paid an agent commission to get them for you, paid for a taxi from Thamel to the bus station it will work out a lot cheaper to get a Pokhara tourist bus to Dumre and change there for the local bus to Bhulebhule.
When you arrive in Dumre, Ignore all the minibus / taxi touts that will inform you that there isn’t a local bus to Bhulebhule, walk to the Y junction in the middle of Dumre main Street and there you will pick up local busses both from Kathmandu and Pokhara.
However – Things can change Quickly in Nepal so it will still be worthwhile making enquiries to see if the direct tourist bus has be re-established
As the road building progresses a New Annapurna Trekking Trail is being established in an attempt to preserver the Annapurna Circuit as a worthwhile “Wilderness” trek – Details of these alternative trails can be found in the link below
The trick is, 1st to buy a good map, then you can see that where the road goes down one side of the valley, often there is a path on the opposite side.
So, What I tend to do is ask at the lodges that I stay in, I have a chat with the lodge owner after studying the map and roughly planning where I am aiming for that night and say that I want to avoid the road and is it possible to go via “A” – “B” and “C” Usually the answer is yes, however sometimes it is no because there has been a landslide or the past is no longer passable.
Traffic as far as Jomsom (From Muktinath) shouldn’t be a problem, if it is you can cross the suspension bridge at Ekle Bhatti and trek into Jomsom on the old route. For another example I trekked the old route from Ghasa to Kopchapaini last spring.
One thing to be aware of is that if you are using a porter, they will always prefer trekking on the road as it has been graded, So you can have a bit of a battle on your hands convincing them to go the way you want to – But if you are pleasant but Firm you will get your way !!
There is now also a useful guide for avoiding the new roads on AC – The link is below
Personally I think that it is always better to keep the Guide and your own trekking food and accommodation expenses separate.
In my opinion these “packages” can lead to greed, as trekkers end up ordering much more food that they can ever eat because they think that it has already been paid for, where as the reality is that the more that they eat / waste, the less wages that are left for their Guide
Typically your own costs will work out at around $25 per day, This includes your food, accommodation, snacks and even the occasional beer / fizzy drink and bar of chocolate – . But again Not your airfare or park entrance.
You could get away with less than $20 per day but this would mean drinking only water / tea and having a repetitive diet and no treats !!
I have used the same agent in Kathmandu for my trekking for the past 18 years / 9 trips to Nepal and his staff prices are as follows
The professional trekking guide with government license holder cost US$25.00 per day.
The strong Porter cost US$15 per day
The Porter/Guide cost US$20.00 per day
Above cost includes insurance, food, accommodation, salary.
Above cost does not includes transportation by air / surface, tip, guest insurance
The Typically quoted "Package" price is around $55 per person for an all Inclusive price including guide and your own food and accommodation (But usually only tea or coffee 3 times a day with your meals and No fizzy drinks, beer or snacks). So there isn’t a great deal of difference in the price of the two, However by Not taking the “Package” it means that you can control the lodges that you stay in and both the times you eat and amount of money that you spend on the food.
Obviously a major consideration to any trek is the availability of Safe Drinking water, In Nepal you have several options of getting it !!
Please try and avoid buying bottled water as this does lead to a Huge Littler problem with all the empty plastic bottles being poorly disposed of !!
On the Annapurna Circuit there is a series of Safe Drinking Water Stations that sell water purified by ozonation.
You can read about the scheme and se where these stations are located on the link below.
On ABC after passing through Chomrong Bottled water has been banned, you can buy Safe Drinking water which has been boiled from lodges.
If you buy it last thing in the evening and pop it into a metal water bottle (After it has cooled a little) then pop this in a sock, you then have a hot water bottle for the night and nice cold drinking-water on hand the next morning.
Also a lot of water is now boiled on solar cooker like in the photo, So Safe Drinking Water at no ecological cost and still providing that essential extra income for those people that really need it !!
Both the above schemes provide an extra income for locally who badly need the money and the AC of Safe Drinking Water Stations also help fund ACAP
Last I heard that you can buy Safe Drinking water which has been boiled from lodges on EBC and Langtang too
Another option is Lugols Solution of Iodine – This is readily available from chemists in Kathmandu for a few rupees (But bring your own dropper / pipette bottle from home as the ones in comes in leek – Thus making a Big Mess of your pack !!!)
It makes the water taste a bit metallic so you should take something like “Tang” along as well to flavour your water.
Some people now bring their own water filters / Steri-Pens, although I think that this is a great idea, the downside is that by using your own water filtration system you are depriving local people of a much needed income.
Potential pitfalls of not getting along with someone on trek include
1) Not having the same understanding of Nepal – Things like walking on the wrong side of the Mani Walls and Stupa’s –This is considered as both disrespectful as well as bad luck
2) Trek- Mates selection of trekking boots – For instance you would't want a trek-mate to take a 20 year old pair that have given them blisters the last time they wore them. - I have always maintained that a trekker with unhappy feet will be an unhappy trekker – After all why on earth would someone spend over £1500 on a Nepal trip and be to Mean to buy decent, comfortable footwear??
3) Try to show a little regard for the area that you are trekking through, I try to discourage trekkers from buying plastic bottles of coke and mineral water, especially if the route that you are trekking is little trekked with very little litter, try to remember that there is no infrastructure in place for removing any plastic bottles left behind by trekkers.
4) Don’t be mean with your trek-mates, put your hand in your pocket and pay your fair share of the bill and don’t let the rest of the group to subsidise your trek – Agree to the tips you leave your trekking staff and after the trek don’t forget tips for the trekking agent (Especially if he has done a good job at a reasonable price), also don’t forget to tip for his office boy who provides you with cups of coffee free of charge as well as tips for the hotel staff if they have also looked after you well.
There can also be numerous other problems, I have just listed a few potential more glaring ones – How to avoid these – Difficult but without careful selection of your trek mate you do risk having your trek ruined – don’t risk having your trek marred and cutting it shorter than planned through not being careful enough with your selection of a trek mate.
For a decent view of Everest from the ground the only real option is to fly into Lukla and trek up to Namche Bazaar – Realistically this would involve a 4 day trek
Day 1 – Early morning flight to Lukla and trek to Benkar (Recommended lodge is “Waterfall”)
Day 2 – Trek Benkar to Namche Bazaar
Day 3 Trek to Panorama Hotel for lunch and views of Everest
Day 4 – Trek back to Lukla
Day 5 – Early morning fight to Kathmandu, arriving in time for breakfast
Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking
These are a relitivly new names for an old trek and has several alternatives but one would be as follows
1) Leave Pokhara mid-day by taxi to Phidi and trek to Dhampus, arriving there late afternoon – ½ day uphill through terraces
2) Dhampus to Ladruk – about ¾ days trek crossing one ridge then mainly downhill to Ladruk
3) Ladruk to Chomrong - about ¾ days trek downhill at first to cross the Modi Kosi at “ New Bridge” (No Bridge!) and the Steeply uphill to Chomrong
4) Chomrong to Tadapani – About ¾ days trekking, Slightly up and first then cross a shoulder and down, over a long suspension bridge then up all the way to Tadopani
5) Tadapani to Ghoropani – About ¾ days trekking, Down at first then undulating to Ghoropani ¾ days trekking
6) Ghoropani to Naya Pul – Full days trekking. Up before dawn and trekked up to Poon hill for the sunrise, Breakfast and pick up your rucksack, then all downhill to Naya Pul - Late afternoon bus back to Pokhara arriving late evening, all down hill as far as Birithanti, a lot on steps then fairly level from there to the road-head at Naya Pul (If you have more time then instead of trekking to Naya Pul, you could spend the night in Birithanti which is a pleasant little village less than an hour from Naya Pul – Then catch an early bus back to Pokhara the next morning)
It is a Great little trek, particularly if you are short of time or want an introduction to Trekking in Nepal – It is a Tea-House Trek and can be done entirely independently or with a guide and porter – Up to you !!
For people with a reasonable level of fitness I would allow 9 ½ / 10–to trek ABC – You could do it quicker but would put yourself at some risk of AMS, so hence only trekking half days after Bamboo !!
I have written out my own trekking schedule below – you might find it useful ;-)
1) Leave Pokhara in the early afternoon by taxi to Phidi and trek to Dhampus, Uphill, quite steep at times and passing through terraces, arriving there late afternoon
2) Dhampus to Ladruk – about ¾ days trek crossing one ridge then mainly downhill to Ladruk
3) Ladruk to Chomrong- about ¾ days trek downhill at first to cross the Modi Kosi at “ New Bridge” (No Bridge!!) and the Steeply uphill to Chomrong
4) Chomrong to Bamboo – about ¾ days trek, Steeply downhill on steps, the steeply uphill to Real Sinua and then downhill again to Bamboo
5) Bamboo to Himalaya – ½ day steadily up
6) Himalaya to Deurali -- ½ day steadily up
7) Deurali to MBC - -- ½ day steadily up
8) MBC – ABC – Doban - Full day, up early, breakfast at ABC then return downhill all the way to Doban picking your pack up at MBC when passing
9) Doban to Chomrong -- ¾ day with one up and over and a pull up to Chomrong
From Chomrong I trekked towards Poon Hill but you could trek Chomrong to Nayapool in one long day and catch a bus back to Pokhara from there
10) Chomrong to Tadapani - Full day - You cross one small ridge, then it is considerably up, initially through terraced agricultural land, then into forest before finally reaching Tadopani
11) Tadapani to Ghorapani (Poon Hill) ¾ day - first down through forest, then you undulate through a mixture of agricultural land and more forest, one small up and over then generally downhill into Ghorapani.
12) After getting up at the crack of dawn to see the sunrise on the top of Poon Hill, Either Ghorapani to Birethanti or Tatopani – both ¾ day treks and downhill all the way
13) From Birethanti to Nayapool – 1 hours hike and then bus back to Pokhara
From Tatopani to Beni by jeep then bus back to Pokhara
Personally I would opt for the Tatapani route and as long as you aren’t tight on time then have a day off there to take advantage of the Hot Springs
From Pokhara take a taxi / bus to Phidi (20 minutes) Then from Phidi to Dhampus (1/2 days trekking but up hill) is all terraces, then the next day some nice wooded areas as you cross the ridge before heading down to Ladruk (2nd night), then you cross the Modi Kosi and climb up to Jhinu Danda (Lunch) through more terraces, and continue up to Chomrong and overnight, from Chomrong you can trek to either Tadapani in a fairly long day or go via Ghandruk and overnight there, The walk up to and down from Tadapani is Superb Rhododendron Forrest.
Then from Tadapani you trek along the ridges with beautiful views to Ghoropani and Poon Hill.
From Ghoropani you have 2 choices, After you have trekked up to Poon Hill for the sunrise you can either trek down to Naya Pul for the bus back to Pokhara (One long day) or overnight at Birithanti, Beautiful village about an hours walk from Naya Pul and catch the bus back to Pokhara the next morning.
After you have trekked up to Poon Hill for the sunrise, Trek from Ghoropani down to Tatopani (Hot Springs) and from there either trek / jeep combo down to Beni for the bus back to Pokhara
Recently there has been some rather misleading information posted on travel forums saying that trekking routes close in December – Regular visitors to Nepal know that this simply isn’t true so I will attempt to set the record straight by posting my own experiences of winter trekking in Nepal
1) AC in December / January. Setting off from Besisahar we encountered no problems and had good weather, when we arrived at Pisang all was white and this gave us a bit of a fright, but it turned out that it hadn’t been snowing but there had been an avalanche and the wind had blown some of it over the village, no one had been hurt so no problem, Manang and above was Very Cold but there was hardly any snow on Thorung La, Windy and cold on the summit and very cold on the decent as the sun always seamed to be in front, after Muktinath it warmed up again, chilly on Poon Hill (New Years Day) and a bit of ice on the first part of the decent from Ghoropani – But the Pro’s far outweighed the Con’s
2) EBC / Gokyo from Jiri in January / February - The weather was Good when I started to trek, warm days but cold nights, all was fine until Lamjura – then we went into deep snow about 2 hours before the summit, then going down towards Jumblasi conditions worsened with snow waist deep at times and sometimes even loosing the path, never-the-less we arrived in Jumblasi safe and sound and conditions improved, Crossing Kara Kola was again difficult because of snow, by this time it was frozen making the path a bit treacherous, in fact the path all the way up to Tengboche wasn’t all that cleaver with so much snow on the bridges that we did wonder if they would take the extra weight of us, so we crossed them one at a time - but again, taking care we arrived in Tengboche safe and sound. After Tengboche, Unbelievably we walked out of the snow and had a clear vertical snow free corridor all the way to almost the top of Kala Pattar.
The weather was Incredibly cold – when we awoke Inside the lodges there was ice on the outside of our sleeping bags most mornings.
There were lodges open all the way up to Lobuje, Gorak Shep was closed and we were lucky at Dhugla as the day we left the lodge owner closed up the lodge and took his yak down to Namche Bazaar to stock up with provisions for the coming spring trekking season – but other than those places it was business as usual.
From Lobuje we headed back down to Phortse Tango and from there made our way back up to Gokyo, again all snow free, then from Gokyo back to Namche, by this time the snow had also melted there and trekkers were heading up the Khumba like ants. We took a day of at Namche and headed down to Lukla for our flight back to Kathmandu and that was our trek. 28 days on the hill and a trek that I will never forget and again the Pro’s far outweighed the Con’s
3) Langtang in February – This trek didn’t work out so well, First of all the bus to Syapru Besi “Fell” off the road in a heavy hale shower, luckily it didn’t go right over the edge but wedged at an angle, eventually after a couple of hours the driver and assistants got it off and we were mobile again, But it was a very unnerving experience !!!! The trek from Syapru Besi was fine and the weather good but cool in the night, above Langtang Village the temperatures plummeted and at Kyanjing Gompa it was incredibly cold and I went down with a bad chest infection (This had been building for a few days so the cold didn’t help) , then it warmed up a little but snowed heavily so the trek back down to Langtang Village was a bit treacherous. Originally I had planned to cross Gosainkund into Helambu but because of my poor state of health I pulled the plug and trekked back down to Syapru Besi and returned to Kathmandu. Not my best trek by a long shot, but more down to my poor health that really big weather problems
I Hope that helps a clarify winter trekking a little, I didn’t have a thermometer so can’t give you exact temperatures but hopefully the descriptions will give you a good idea of what I encountered and what future winter trekkers might expect.
Best Regards and happy safe Trekking
To go trekking in Nepal it is Necessary to buy a Trekking Permit Before you set off trekking !! These are best bought in Kathmandu, The fee for trekking in the Annapurna region is currently 2000 Nepalese rupees and you will need two passport size photos. Simply go to the office ( On Thamel Chowk ) fill in the forms, hand over your money and photo's and you will be issued with your permit there and then !!!
2006 -- Although I didn't actually manage to get on a trek on this, my latest trip to Nepal, I can confirm that the office is still in the same building but it has now moved upstairs -- It is now at Street level in the middle of the building, you turn in half way along it. I aren't sure of the current prices for trekking permits however !! -- Happy Travels in Nepal -- Rob
2008, For Trekking Annapurna (AC or ABC) You must have your permit before you enter the park, you can buy these in either Kathmandu or Pokhara However if you are trekking either Everest or Langtang region you now pay your park entrance fee at the Park gate
In addition to your ANCAP Conservation Fee you now also need a TIM's registration document, Nirmal at HMA got me mine, but I have been told that you can pick them up at the ANCAP office at the same time that you pay your ANCAP Conservation Fee
2008 second update
It is now possible to arrange TIM's and ANCAP Fees in Advance through Nirmal, Drop him an email for details, But basically he will arrange both permits for you for a fee of around $45 including the price of the Permits. You will have to email him your passport details, then you attach the photographs and pay the fee when you arrive – This is a Great Service and might well save you a day or two !!
Starting March 15th 2010 TIM's card will cost $20 US in Nepali currency for trekkers not in groups. Group trekkers get it for $10
"The cabinet meeting held recently has changed some provisions related to Trekkers' Information Management System (TIM's). The new changes will come into effect from March 15.
As per the new provision, trekkers are required to take TIM's Card from Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) before starting their trek. Trekkers travelling in groups can get the TIM's card upon paying $10 each while those preferring to travel individually need to pay $20.
2010 second Update – having just returned from Nepal I can confirm that the new rules mentioned above came into place on April 1st, 2010
Although TAAN registered agents aren’t allowed to sell independent trekkers cards (Green ones), nearly all of them are prepared to sell independent trekkers the Blue accompanied trekkers ones.
To do this the agents then have to demonstrate to the authorities that some money has changed hands between the trekker and the agent to arrange the trek so the price charged by the agent is usually the same at $20 that you would pay at the TAAN offices.
I have come across many lots of Trekkers who have done this. Particularly when they are on a tight timeframe organising both ANCAP and TIMS in advance and I haven’t heard of any of them running into problems, But strictly speaking the agents are stretching the rules !!
When trekking ABC, Especially in Spring and summer there is a risk of avalanche.
The greatest danger is between Deurali and MBC, but it is worthwhile asking lodge owners once above Chomrong for updates on the trail.
What usually happens in times of greatest danger is that locals build temporary bridges and you cross the Modi Khola to the eastern side and follow the temporary trails there – This then avoids the worst of the “avalanche Chutes” and makes for a safer trek.
Locals will be more than happy to give you the latest information on this and you will do well to heed any advice that they may five
Happy Safe Trekking
This plaque on the photo is for Three Germans and one Nepali who were killed by an avalanche only two years ago !!!