Side trip during the Annapurna region TrekkingDuring the Annapurna region trekking route there are many hidden places , which are quite hard to find it so we like to describe those places which is help to you bring there and if you are intersting we can visit those places during the trekking
Great Side Trek Along the Circuit From Larjung
Only 1 1/2 Hours Hike
Famous Buddha Pilgrimage Site
From Larjung you will see signs for the Ghhursanbo cave which is just following the blue and white stripes along the trail or the “sidetrek trail” on your map. It’s a very famous buddhist location as well so most of the locals should know how to guide you.
Following the trail, when you arrive at the river, where it looks like a landslide left a lot of big boulders on top of the water. In the distance, you can see waterfalls. Cross on top of the boulders here towards the waterfalls until you get to the trail that leads up the stairs to the cave, or you can stay on the main blue and white trail leading through various switchbacks up to the Naurikot Village, and then continue on to the cave from there (about 40 minutes longer). Leading up to the cave, there are some great waterfalls and amazing views. This is definitely a cool location and a great place to relax and meditate.
Awesome Side Trek On the Way To or From Tatopani
45 Minute Hike From Tatopani Village
Beautiful Views Of Valley
Small Pagoda and Beautiful Waterfall
You can either take a detour and check this out on your way to Tatopani if heading from the direction of Kalopani or wake up early and check if out while you are staying in Tatopani. It is a 20 minute walk or so from Tatopani and then another 20 minutes climbing some stairs all the way up to the waterfall.
Just head back along the main Road and cross the first bridge to the right and follow the road all the way up into the Village of Narchyang and to a small bridge leading to the stairs that go up to the waterfall. It’s very easy to find as you can see the massive waterfall from almost anywhere. Locals are also typically willing to help give directions. I really recommend doing this; it’s the best waterfall I saw throughout the whole Annapurna Circuit.
From Bhraga and Manang you will spot ACAP signs to the Ice Lake, a one day hike up to 4,600m. From manang the climb was pretty gruelling, but helpfully acclimatising, 1100m up. It took around 4 hours to get up and 2 ? to get down.
Starting early is a must in order to make the most of your time at the lake, and while it’s a steep start, Bring plenty of snacks as along the way the tiny paths will open up onto huge plains looking out over the mountains. You’ll no doubt want to catch your breath lounging around on the way up.
One of the rules of the circuit, to ease your ascent to Thorung La, is to climb high and sleep low. The Ice Lake is the perfect place to do so and a few hours in you’ll really start to feel it. We couldn’t believe how out of breath and slow we became once we reached 4000m, but later when we did the pass we found it, relatively, easy. Make sure to take your time to fully enjoy it. The journey is lovely. And the top is well worth it.
Better to bring some food with you
This is the most popular acclimatisation trip but it will add a few days to the circuit. At 4919m Tilicho Lake is one of the highest in the world which means the trek to get there is not a walk in the park. But, wow, is it worth it.
Starting from Manang the first few hours of the trek push you through gorgeous hills along a bright blue surging river. After you pass Shree Kharka, a great place for lunch or even an overnight stay if you have more time, the path starts to get more treacherous until you pass a danger sign and are literally walking in a landslide. While the path is well trodden, by trekkers and pack-horses alike, it can be pretty terrifying! As long as you take it slow and get out of the way of the animals, it’s actually an incredible hike, like being on another planet almost.
It’s a long day though so make sure to start early so you can reach Tilicho Base Camp with time to relax. The place only has two lodges but they have plenty of rooms. Its important to say that this may have been the coldest of all our nights on the Annapurna and the early hike to the lake in the morning was just as chilly so bring layers!!
We would definitely recommend spending the night at Tilicho again the next day as the hike up to altitude can really tire you out. With views like this you won’t want to rush down again in order to push on to Yak Kharka or back to Manang. There is a little shop at the top selling overpriced tea so grab a cup and take it all in.
Taking acclimatising lightly is not something to do on the Annapurna Circuit. It isn’t a difficult trek, as treks go, but you are heading to the highest pass on earth and if you don’t prepare then you risk the chance of getting sick and being unable to complete your epic journey. And you’ll miss out on these incredible views too!!
We also must give an honorary mention to the lakes and icefalls outside of Larjung which are supposedly incredible but we never managed to reach because of a huge landslide. These are especially good if you are taking the clockwise route.
Dzong or Jhong:
this is a small, very traditional looking village just across the valley from Muktinah, It is well worth visiting and can be accessed either from Muktinah or from Kagbeni. From Muktinah the easiest way is probably to walk round the valley via Purang and Chandar, or it is possible to cross the valley, and the small river, if people can find a good crossing point (we saw one when wandering about locally), but this route is more complex.
Dzong seems to be fairly unspoilt by tourism, despite its proximity to the AC, and has a fair sized monastery, the oldest part of which has paartially collapsed due to soil erosion, but it makes for an impressive ruin. There were few eating places that appeared to be geared more for tourists, but these were closed when we were there. The vast pyramid of Dhaulagiri looms in the distance.
is another delightful village which is suited in the valley of the Kali gandaki river This river is one of three who cross the Himalayas, The Kali Gandaki was one of the major trading routes between Tibet and India. The traders brought the famous salt from Tibet and barley, spices and clothes from India. on the border of Mustang, and though it has a reasonable range of lodges, the older part is mostly unaffected, or unspoilt, by tourism. It is well worth visiting or over night stay there , and is also a physically easy side trip. Though it is essentially in a valley, there are good views as you approach it and there are some quite enjoyable, it is not possible to walk very far up the valley into Mustang, due to all the restrictions and high permit cost. The valley is quite wide, and gets lots of sunshine and daylight.
Here also there is a long established, sizeable monastery early morning monk do some “puja” in the main part of the monastery – this started at 7am and lasted for just over an hour. It was led by a youngish monk. Basically local kids being educated at the monastery. It was very interesting
In one of the narrow streets there is a stone statue that has a very prominent anatomical feature which makes for some interesting photos.
Kagbeni is just a 2 hour side trek from the shortest route from Muktinath to Jomsom. But it is one of nice villages in Annapurna region
Dhaulagiri Ice Falls:
Side trip from Larjung
5 hours ascend + 2 hours descend
this is another side trip that seems to get relatively few trekkers, though it gives great views of the icefall, the local area, and particularly the valley below and the mountains on the opposite side of the valley which include Nilgiri north and south, Annapurna 1 (I think) and various other peaks. Dhaulagiri itself, which is one of the 8,000 plus metre peaks, does not look quite so impressive when viewed from near the icefall.
This is quite a tough walk parts of which are quite steep, but well worth the effort for those who are fit enough and have the inclination. You walk through a forested area to start with, then after a fairly steep ascent, the vegetation thins out and there is a clear trail until you get to the last set of very basic herders/animals huts where the trail stops. Even walking say half way up would provide pretty good views,
The village of Lubrak is about two hours’ walk north of Jomsom, the headquarters of Mustang district in northern Nepal. The region’s dramatic landscape is hinted at in the village’s name – “the crag (brak) of the serpent-spirits (lu)” – deriving from the pale striations on the deeply scored cliffs across from the village. A small settlement of just sixteen households, Lubrak clings to the hillside on the southern bank of the Panda Khola, one of many small tributaries that flow into the mighty Kali Gandaki river as it plunges through the world’s deepest gorge.
Lubrak is one of the nineteen settlements that form the old political enclave known as Baragaon. Sometimes referred to as Lower Mustang, Baragaon embraces a clutch of villages strung along the Kali Gandaki and its branch valleys, dominated by steep, barren hills and snow-capped peaks. Lubrak is now the sole Bönpo village within this enclave more info in this link
If you walk the trek from Dolpa to Jomsom, which is also a wonderful section of the Great Himalaya Trail upper route, you can pass through Phalyak rather than taking the slightly longer route to Tirigaon and Kagbeni and it is one of the last villages you pass before finishing in Jomsom.
A good way to get there is as a day trip from Kagbeni. Cross the Kali Gandaki river early in the morning and take the ferocious looking zig-zag path up the hill on the other side. It is not as steep as it seems, and at the top you’ll command a great view.
You can cross over to the other-side of the mountain and find a thin path descending to Phalyak.
Just wandering the narrow alleys of this traditional village was a pleasure. It’s untouched by tourism as on the main routes.
It is now permitted to visit the first village above Kagbeni, on the left looking upstream. Either cross the swing bridge across the Kali Gandaki out of Kagbeni or use the riverbed if the river is low. It takes about 1 hr to reach Tiri, also called Ty locally and Ting-ri by David Snellgrove in 1956. There is sometimes a bhatti in an orchard just before the climb to the gompa where simple meals can be obtained. The rest of the village is typical of Mustangi villages further north but has no trekker services yet. The Sumdu Choeden complex above consists of a recently repaired and relatively uninteresting gompa, monks quarters and a small but fascinating nunnery with one attendant nun. Find her for the key and leave donations for her and the nunnery. The excellent slate-carvings of four guardian kings, which we were told were carried from Tibet, are around the inner entrance, while the antechamber has some fine paintings of monks on stone behind glass. Photography is not permitted.
Dhumba Lake is a beautiful, clear water lake situated at the base of Mount Nilgiri. The lake can be reached from Jomsom (Mustang). You can start the trek by reaching Jomsom Bus Park and crossing the wooden bridge there to reach the left side of the air strip. There you’ll find a sign board pointing towards the way to Dhumba Lake/Thini Village. The first milestone of the trek will be Thini Village and after that will lead you Dhumba Lake.
Dhumba Lake is a sacred Buddhist lake and for the same reasons, the lake was fenced with prayer flags. There is an interesting story behind this lake as per the locals. Legends say that the lake water once turned red on its own and only after long, devoted religious ceremonies performed by Tibetan Buddhists that the water returned to its natural color. So it’s been considered a scared lake since then and according to some locals the fish from the lake is never consumed. Some locals claim to come here in order to pray for same sort of change in their lives for their betterment.
There’s a gompa (or stupa) called Kuchup Terenga Gompa (approx. 3000mts) about fifteen minutes of uphill walk from the lake. All the religious rituals at the gompa are initiated by using the scared water from the lake as a form of religious offering.
The lakeside is perfect for spending afternoon amongst picturesque snow-clad peaks and spectacular views of the valley. A calm and pleasant place to relax, it is a worthy stopover if you’re in Jomsom. If you wish to go up to the gompa, you can have even more striking 360 degree view of the area. The sacred lake is truly a mesmerizing treat to the eyes and so is the whole trek. The apple orchards and the mud houses of the Thini Village are magnificent and give a good peek into the Mustang culture. It is believed that the Thini Village overlooks the old salt trade route between Tibet and Nepal.
However, if you wish you can continue the trek from Dhumba Lake up to the Marpha Village which is a famous Thakali village. Marpha is the apple capital of the nation and you can take a good look at the apple and apricot industry there along with the local Tibetan monastery.
The small village of Thini, or Thini Gaon (2860m), is visible across the valley from Jomsom and makes for an excellent short hike; if you are still feeling energetic, there is a small lake and a wonderful gompa to explore. From the bridge dividing old and new Jomsom, take the signed trail southwest, a thirty minute walk through terraced fields.
Thini is the oldest village in the valley and features an old Gompa (once Bon now Buddhist). From the village an obvious trail leads uphill to Tilicho Tal, but this is certainly not for day-trippers. Instead, if you want to continue exploring, turn south and drop down to cross the Lungpuhyun Khola, climb the other side and pass by the hilltop ruins of Gharab Dzong, a fortress built by king Thing Migchen. Beyond is the pretty, prayer flag festooned Dhumba Tal (2830m).
From the ridge above the lake you can head towards the Katsapterenga Gompa (2920m) for its spectacular 360-degree views of Nilgiri peak, Tilicho Pass, Syang village and Thini and Jomsom below you.
About 45 minutes walking distance from present Thini village here is an ancient place called Gharab Dzong where the king Ghel Tangwo Chen’s ruined fort can be seen. Actually, present Thini village was shifted from Gharab Dzong. Thini still has Kot Ghar (arsenal/fort) where they have preserved ancient artilleries and weapons. They open Kot Ghar once in a year for the religious purpose. It happens during the Hindu Festival Dashain that occurs in October/November Gharab Dzong offers panoramic views of Mt. Nilgiri, Tilicho Peak, Yak Kawa, Mesokanto La, Mt. Dhaulagiri and bird’s eye view of Dhumba lake, Smalle, Thini, Jomsom, Puthang and Syang villages.
It takes about 30 minutes walk to reach Syange village from Jomsom. It is one of the oldest picturesque villages in Panch Gaun region. The inhabitants are Thakalis of Tibetan origin. It has two monasteries: Syang Gompa (Tashi Lha Khang) and Ani Gompa (Dhi Che Ling). Syang Gompa is a Nyingma-Pa sect monastery. The monastery depicts three huge images of Chengresi, Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) and Toma. Dhekep can be observed here in October/November. Ani (Buddhist nun) Gompa is one of the famous nun monasteries in Mustang. Two Rimpoches of this monastery have been reincarnated. It is also Nyingma-Pa sect monastery and depicts idols of Dolmo, Syang, Chyukchirol, Amitabha (Red Buddha), Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), Chengresi, Mharme Jhe and Shakyamuni Buddha. Both monasteries depict beautiful wall paintings.