Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 3
If you missed Day 2, you can catch it here. My day 3 Manang trek was amazing. It was amazing because, the mountains are incredible, the valley landscape is stunning, the temples and monasteries are beautiful, and the wildlife is kind of friendly. My guide and I hiked for 5 hours. We stopped in Manang, which is a little cheeky, and rustic. However, Old Manang on the north end of town is traditional and beautiful. So, kick back, relax, and join me as I take you around the Annapurna Circuit in this anti-harrowing journey.
Waking up in Upper Pisang
I would be lying if I told you it wasn’t cold. It was freezing. Last night, it snowed again. I was delighted to wake up to a fresh coat of powder and clear views. I went outside and took a few photos of the landscape. You could see all the way to Lamjung Himal on the left and Tilicho Peak on the right. You could see Annapurna 2, Annapurna 4, Gangapurna, and others. It was essentially the entire massif.
After breakfast, a delicious meal, my guide and began our Manang trek. We left at 8:30 and the clouds were already starting to form. However, I was happy, because my attention was on the landscape in front of us. The terrain was like a simple melody. While it was mostly grasslands, there were trees and shrubs that accented the tune. The climate was charged by cools winds, like the slow entrance of an overature. The whole movement felt swift and empowered.
We walked for miles in silence. We passed monasteries on our right while the river gently flowed around its banks on our left. You could almost feel Buddha and nirvana. Our silence was interrupted by a wild horse neighing and approaching us. I greeted the horse with an open palm. It smelled me, then started nibbling the salt off my hands. It reminded me of my childhood.
Next, we came to Humde. It was once a thriving village with an airport that delivered supplies and provided passage. Due to governmental disagreements, it is now decommissioned. Humde is at about the halfway mark to Manang. Walking past it was disappointing because it was a reminder of the corruption within the government.
We stopped for lunch in Bhraka. It is also called Braga, and Brathang. This place has a huge apple orchard and processing facility. Coming into it, you walk through a corridor like passage with bamboo fencing on both sides. The whole scheme is to keep people from going into the orchard and picking fruit. Somebody should tell them they can make a lot more money by charging for the fruit that visitors pick.
The apple season is in October, which aligns perfectly with the peak trekking season. If you go, be careful of tainted apple pies. When I had lunch, I ordered a slice of apple pie ($1.50). I asked the waiter if it was hot. He then proceeded to touch the entire pie and all the other baked goods in the store to show me they were hot. He then asked me to touch them too. All it takes is one person with dirty hands to spoil your food and cause you illness.
On the way to Manang, there is a look out post with a lot of kairns. This is a great spot for pictures. You can see the entire Annapurna Massif from here. There is also a tea shop nearby.
As we entered the Manang valley we could see antiquitous monasteries, ancient cave dwellings, and beautiful mountain views. We passed yak pastures with shrines in the center, and signs advertising Ice Lake and Milarepa Cave. As we hiked next to the Marsyangdi Nadi river, we passed Braga and Bojo gompas. Finally, we were in Manang.
Hotel in Manang
My guide picked the tea house in Manang. It was an ok place. The rooms were a little small but had a charging outlet. There was two western style bathrooms for each floor to share. Also, the rooms were a little dirty with wrinkled sheets. The beds had a slanted head rest, like a demanding pillow. The room reminded me of a grungy dungeon with a charging outlet.
The best part about the room was its price, because it was free! The food was ok, and the people were nice. I was happy here. I unpacked my gear and ventured into old Manang.
Old Manang is on the north end of the village. It is full of collapsed mud buildings and animal shelters. If you hike to the end of the village you can see Gangapurna lake. If you have an extra hour to spare, you can hike down to the lake. You can also have great views of the lake by climbing up the east end of the village. The locals are friendly, but some of them might call you names.
There is also a check point in the center of Manang. A very nice woman was there when I checked in. the building has a ton of information about things to do and see in Manang. There is also a clean water drinking station, and a museum next to the check point. The clean water drinking station charges $0.8 to fill a liter bottle.
Fast forward to next day…
The following morning, I asked to pay for my bill. The hotel owner tried to charge me for the room and double charge me for dinner. I lost all respect for him. I know we all make mistakes, but this is becoming a common theme on the trek. Make sure you check you bill before you pay. Check the item prices and the items.