Tag Archives: nepal

Marpha, the white apple village

Marpha  is wonderful atmospheric white village at the Kali Gandaki river 90 minutes walk south of Jomsom on the Annapurna Circuit.The roofs of Marpha

Luckily the historic center remains largely untouched as the road bypasses Marpha with a couple of hundred meters. Agriculture and tourism are the main sources of income.

The complete photogallery of Marpha is available on flickr.
This post is part of the series on the Annapurna Circuit walked in October 2015

From Jomsom to Naya Pul

Day 15-21: Muktinath-Kagbeni-Marpha-Ghasa-Tatopani-Ghorepani-Naya Pul

Buses ply the dirt road continuously from Jomsom to Tatopani and most finish their hike at Jomsom. For walkers, the choice is between walking the dirt road or the alternative (longer) NAAT trails down the Valley, or change between the two as I did. As with Odar Village at the other side of Thorung La, a detour via  Titigaon and Titi lake brings you slightly off the beaten track as well.

From Tatopani, the dirt road is left behind and the trail continues +1500 meter up through atmospheric villages to Ghorepani and Poon Hill. The descent to Birethanti (and Naya Pul) is uncomplicated but endless.
As an alternative way to descend the Annapurna Circuit, mountain bike outfitters propose rent of bikes as well as luggage transport from Muktinath to Tatopani.

Annapurna Circuit
Viillage on the way up to Ghorepnani

The highlights:

The complete photogallery of the Tilicho Lake Trek is available on flickr.
This post is part of the series on the Annapurna Circuit walked in October 2015.

Odar village, a home-stay village

Odar homestay village (or rather just Odar) is an easy 50 minutes uphill walk from the Annapurna Circuit Trail between Tal and Chame and a great opportunity to get a bit off the beaten track.

In Odar, the homestay system is meticulously organized: 16 homes are currently approved for homestay in the village (several more have applied), and everything is meticulously organized:  Thus, depending on which day the guest arrives, he/she will be directed to the homestay “on duty”. This also applied for guests passing Odar for lunch, where cut-off between the lunch homestay place and the overnight homestay is 2pm. All this in order to fairly distribute the income from tourists in a poor village where two overnight guests may support an entire family for several weeks.

Odar Village
Odar Village

Odar is a traditional village, making their living from agriculture and almost everything is home-made, with bees and chicken all around the village.
I learned from my host that this area was not really affected by the 2015 earthquake. I also learned that the locals pay around 2 dollars for a jeep down to Besi Sahar (while a tourist pays around 200 dollars). And that many of the villages young people had left seeking employment in either China or the Gulf States. My host furthermore explained that the decline in walking tourists on this part of the Annapurna Circuit (most take the jeep directly to Chame), had forced the development of new forms of tourism, and it was believed that home-stays in more remote villages could be a possible solution.

Odar Village
Odar Village

Click for the full photogallery on Odar Home Stay Village on flickr.
This post is part of the series on Annapurna Circuit, walked in October 2015.

From Besi Sahar to Chame

Annapurna Circuit Itinerary day 1-5:
Besi Sahar-Khudi -Syange-Tal-Odar Village-Chame

  • 8 am: Arriving in Kathmandu Airport directly from Denmark.
  • 9 am: Getting the TIMS permits and National Park Fees in Kathmandu.
  • 11 am: Hiring a car as the buses to Besi Sahar had left. In fact I had hired an old minibus, where I slept in the back while other people got on board.
  • 6pm: Arriving in Besi Sahar at 6 pm and starting the Annapurna Circuit.
  • 8 pm: Finally in Khudi. It is pitch dark. The batteries for my head-lamp are not working.
  • I intended to walk the classical Annapurna Circuit – from Besi Sahar to Naya Pul, including Tilicho Lake, approximately 250 km.
  • Roads are continually being constructed and it is now possible to hire a jeep all the way to Manang now, and many drive up to Chame and start from there.
  • Walking up, on quite a few stretches you are obliged to follow the dirt jeep track, however there are quite a few alternate trails up the valley avoiding the road.
  • The great advantage  walking from Besi Sahar is experiencing the transition between the low tropical zones and the high alpine landshapes:
  • The villages of the lower country are very atmospheric and full of culture and life.
  • The downside apart from the dirt roads is all the construction going on mainly by Chinese companies, including a major dam on the Marsyandi Kola.
  • On one side obviously improved infrastructure is essential for the development of these very poor communities. On the other side, this development makes the area less appealing to hikers and the local tea house owners have difficult times, and have to re-think their businesses.
  • I was the only person staying in most of the lodges and in several villages I was the only guest as well.

    Rainbow Restaurant an Lodge, Ghermu
    Rainbow Restaurant and Lodge, Ghermu

Highlights of the lower part of the Annapurna Circuit:

  • The suspension brige over Marsyangi Kola to Syange.
  • Bahundanda hilltop village.
  • Tal, the glacier-carved valley and the traditional pumpkin dishes.
  • Odar, a small home-stay village off the main track.
  • Rainbow Restaurant and Lodge in Ghermu with great views over the Marsyangdi Kola to a waterfall.

Click for photo gallery of the lower part of the Annapurna Circuit on flickr.

This post is part of the series on the Annapurna Circuit walked in October 2015.

Manang and surroundings

Annapurna Circuit, day 6-12: Chame-Upper Pisang-Brakha-Manang (3 nights)-Tilicho Lake (2 nights)

From Chame to Manang

From Chame the landshape shifts gradually from pine forest until Upper Pisang, where the traditional villages Ngyaru and Ngwal are highlights of the circuit.

Manang village higligths include:

  • The presence of the Himalayan Rescue Association (whom I have considered volunteering for).
  • The fantastic bakery of Hotel Yeti.
  • Numerous movie halls playing DVDs on demand.

    Ghyaru, Upper Pisang
    Ghyaru, Upper Pisang

Hikes around Manang:

Kicho Tso, The Ice Lake, Manang
Kicho Tso, The Ice Lake, Manang

Click here for my photogallery of the area around Manang on flickr.
This post is part of the series on the Annapurna Circuit walked in October 2015.