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A varied trek, landscape, vegetation, and culture all change constantly. There are numerous fascinating villages. The chief difficulty is that after several steady days in the Marsyandi valley you reach Manang at 3400 metres, and a couple of days later you are 2000 metres higher on the Thorung La. Be aware of the potential for altitude-related problems.
Things change ! Road-building is going on apace both up the Marsyandi Valley - it's now possible to travel by jeep to Chame (and ultimately, at some future date, to Manang) See end of article. In the Kali Gandaki valley it's now possible to reach Muktinath by jeep via Pokhara - Beni - Jomson. Buses run from Pokhara to Jomson (and back !). It's debatable how this road building will affect trekking. It makes it feasible to do the shorter Circuit, for example Besisahar to Jomson, in far fewer days, but presumably trekking and traffic are not such a pleasant mixture. A relatively new option is to rent a mountainbike in Muktinath or Jomsom and ride your way down, turning road construction in a positive thing for tourism. Mustang is on it's way to becoming a major downhill biking destination.
There are numerous lodges along the route, some of them very good.
Day 1: By road to Besisahar
Day 2: **see below. Trek to Bhulbule (if you arrive in Besisahar early, or the road has now been pushed further, possibly you could get to Bhulbule on day 1)
Day 3: Trek to Syange
Day 4: Trek to Tal
Day 5: Trek to Latamrang (or Chame)
Day 6: Trek to Pisang
Day 7: Trek to Bragga (or Manang)
Day 8: Rest / acclimatisation
Day 9: Trek to Lether
Day 10: Trek to Thorung Phedi
Day 11: Cross Thorung La pass to Muktinath - the big day, reaching 5400 metres at the summit of the pass
Day 12: Trek to Jomson
Day 13: Trek to Kalopani
Day 14: Trek to Tatopani
Day 15: Trek to Ghorepani
Day 16: Hike to Ponhill ( 3200 ) to see sunrise and panoramic views and trek to Ulleri or Hile
Day 17: Trek to Birethanti and drive to pokhara
Add one spare day to be taken when you want it during the trek - particularly if you have acclimatisation concerns at Lettar
Shortening the trek:
It is possible to fly, or to go by road, from Jomson to Pokhara (brings it down to 13 days)
From Tatopani you can continue by bus down the valley to reach the road at Beni then drive to Pokhara on Day 15
1) Avoiding the worst of the new Roads
November 2014 update - most of the original trekking trails on the east side of the Marsyandi are unaffected once you've reached beyond Ngadi, a few kms beyond Bhulbule, so that the trek through Syange, Jagat, Tal is unaffected.
**The impact seemed worst in the section around Bhulbule, with a huge construction site for several kilometres where a new HEP installation is being built. There may still be trails to the east.
There are a couple of disconsolate-looking groups trekking through this devastation - not a good start to your Circuit ! An alternative is either to take the bus from Besisahar to Ngadi, and settle for a mile or so of dusty walking (the bus fare is about Rs300) or to hire a jeep from Besisahar to take you beyond the spoilt area. About 300 metres short of the bridge where the road crosses to the West bank there's a fork, where the right-hand option has a rusting signpost that says 'Manang': at this point you can take that option, and leave the road behind as you trek towards Syange. A jeep will cost around 3000 rupees, which if you are a party of 4 or more may be a reasonable price to pay to enable you to get past the Chinese construction site and onto good trekking trails
Above being new downloadable guidebook on recently opened trails
Above a trekker's personal experiences including route descriptions and photos of the new roads
2) Guide to minimising the chances of being adversely affected by AMS
Above info provided by The International Society for Mountain Medicine
The alternative trail from Marpha to Tukuche via Chairo is a delight. Turn left immediately out of Marpha, and at the south end of Chairo ignore the signpost to the right (points to Tukuche,but reches the road quite quickly). Istead go left for a couple of hours of delectable trekking !