On this 12-day journey through Nepal, experience the scenic and challenging Tilicho Lake Trek—one of the highest lakes in the world. Start in Kathmandu to get acquainted with the country, and do some sightseeing. Then, begin the journey through the Annapurna region. Explore villages and stay in teahouses along the way. Make stops in Chame, Pisang, Manang, and Khangsar Village, before reaching Tilicho Base Camp. Then, spend time admiring the Tilicho Lake, before retracing your steps back to Kathmandu.

Highlights

  • Visit Boudhanath, one of the largest Buddhist shrines in the world
  • Stroll Upper Pisang for amazing views of Annapurna II and Annapurna III
  • Embark on several hikes through Manang, and tour its many bakeries
  • Take in the incredible views of Tilicho Lake, one of the highest in the world

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 2 Drive to Chame Chame
Day 3 Trek From Chame to Upper Pisang Pisang
Day 4 Trek to Manang Village Manang
Day 5 Explore Manang Village and Ganga Purna Lake Manang
Day 6 Trek to Siri Kharka Khangsar Village
Day 7 Trek to Tilicho Base Camp Tilicho Base Camp
Day 8 Hike to Tilicho Lake and Trek Back to Siri Kharka Tilicho Base Camp
Day 9 Trek Back to Manang Village Manang
Day 10 Drive to Besisahar Besisahar
Day 11 Drive Back to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 12 Depart From Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu

Boudha Stupa
Boudha Stupa

Welcome to Kathmandu! Upon landing in Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA), a representative will meet you and take you to your hotel via a private car or a high-end tourist bus, along with providing an overview of the trip ahead.

Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and the most populated city in the country. As the historical and cultural heart of Nepal, Kathmandu is a popular destination for tourists, trekkers, and adventure seekers. The city represents a mixture of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Western influence in the Valley.

Your first stop is Boudha, a peaceful and clean part of Kathmandu. In the evening, take some time to walk around Boudha Stupa. Stop by the Buddhist shrine of Boudhanath, one of the largest in the world, and one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimages, as well as a major tourist destination in Kathmandu. It stands with four pairs of eyes in the four cardinal directions keeping watch for righteous behavior and human prosperity. Boudhanath is part of the shared history of Nepal and Tibet, with Tibet having held ruling privileges over the site until the last century. It is built on an octagonal base inset, with prayer wheels and houses of lamas (or Buddhist priests), monasteries, and shops in the stupa. The area of Boudhanath is also famous for being home to more than 50 Tibetan gompas, or monasteries.

After some exploration, retire to your hotel and get some rest this evening.

Day 2: Drive to Chame

Tea house in Chame
A teahouse in Chame

Today, take an early morning drive to Besisahar, the starting point of the day’s journey. It is also the town that connects Pokhara and Kathmandu to many trekking destinations, like the Annapurna Circuit Trek, Manaslu Circuit Treks, and Tsum Valley Trek.

Continue driving 4-5 hours to Chame, a beautiful Gurung village situated on the base of a hill. The settlement here is not densely populated. However, expect warm greetings and great hospitality while in town. Once you arrive, check in to your accommodation, and enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Day 3: Trek from Chame to Upper Pisang

Upper Pisang
Upper Pisang

Today, take a scenic walk from Chame to Pisang. Stroll through the woods, and note the views of the peaks soaring above. Once in Pisang, explore the village, with its Tibetan-inscribed mani stones and gompa. Take a walk up to Upper Pisang for amazing views of Annapurna II and Annapurna III.

Enjoy the evening at your leisure, and retire to your teahouse for the night.

Day 4: Trek to Manang Village

Manang Village and Gangapurna Lake
Manang Village and Gangapurna Lake

Today, embark on a 6-hour walk past a series of unique and colorful Chortens to Manang, which nearly reaches 11,500 feet in elevation. Manang is the headquarters of the region, and contains a village of around 500, flat-roofed houses, along with bakeries and lodges for trekkers passing through to enjoy. It is dominated by high peaks—Annapurna III and Gangapurna tower over it—and a dramatic icefall sits just across the river. There is an old Gompa on the edge of town to explore, along with many local teahouses, and some atmospheric, winding streets in the village leading out toward the Thorung La.

Upon arrival, check in to your tea house, take a shower, and enjoy a cold beer. Attend a 3 pm lecture on the altitude, hosted by the Himalayan Rescue Association, if interested. In the evening, attend an assembly of Manang-born photographer Tashi R. Ghale, accompanied by a slideshow and a video of the area.

Day 5: Explore Manang Village and Ganga Purna Lake

Tea House in Manang
A teahouse in Manang

Today, there is plenty to do around Manang. However, a short hike (about 1,000 feet or so) is recommended, in order to get acclimated to the altitude. Some activities include the following:

  • A long day-hike to Ice Lake
  • A visit to the Hundred Rupee Lama at the cave gompa above Manang
  • A two-hour hike to Milarepa's cave, which is across the river from Braga
  • A tour of Manang's many bakeries

Enjoy your guesthouse as well—a sunny and warm place to gaze at the peaks in the afternoon. Following a day of exploration, the evening is yours to enjoy.

Day 6: Trek to Siri Kharka

Stupa in Manang Village
A stupa in Manang Village

Today, the journey continues toward Tilicho Lake, situated on the west end of Manang. Follow the path down to the river. After crossing the Khangsar Khola, reach Khangsar and head toward the village region, which is still very traditional Tibet. Trek to Shree Kharka for your overnight stay in a teahouse.

Later in the afternoon, hike up to see some Himalayan blue sheep, as well as the surrounding mountains. The evening is on your own.

Day 7: Trek to Tilicho Base Camp

Tilicho Base Camp
Tilicho Base Camp

Today, after passing a monastery, continue the trek on a recently constructed path, up toward a high ridge. At one point, there is an intersection. One path maintains the altitude, traversing the slopes toward a place where the valley is narrow; the other continues to ascend toward the line of the ridge. The former is the old path, and is much more difficult, as it continues on a steep screed; the latter is the new path that goes a completely different way. Continue along the new path, reach a high crest, and descend on switchbacks carved out through the slopes to a side valley of the main valley. At its bottom is a brook. On the other side of it is a building known as the Tilicho Base Camp, at an elevation of 13,780 feet. 

Following the trek, retire to your teahouse for the evening.

Day 8: Hike to Tilicho Lake and trek back to Siri Kharka

Tilicho Lake
Tilicho Lake

Today, wake up for an early start to avoid the wind. To reach Tilicho Lake takes another 3-4 hours. Tilicho Lake is a cold, barren place in the afternoon and is claimed as the highest lake of the world. Upon arrival, spend some time around Tilicho Lake, and snap some photos and videos of the surreal surroundings.

Then, return the same way back to the base camp to have lunch. After lunch, walk along the riverside, across the steep landslide area to Siri Kharka. When you get to the teahouse, you can enjoy a hot shower and a cold beer, and relax for the rest of the day into the evening.

Day 9: Trek Back to Manang Village

Manang Village in Winter
Manang Village in Winter

Although typical trekkers along the Annapurna Circuit continue their trek to Yak Kharka, continue toward the Manang village, instead. Walk along the riverside and pass the monastery. Stop for lunch in Khangsar before you reach Manang village.

Then, enjoy some free time—along with another hot shower and a cold refreshment. You have the option to enjoy a movie, as well, on a small projector from a theater from the top of the world.

Day 10: Drive to Besisahar

Road to Manang
The road to Manang

Today, depart Manang on a Jeep. Pass through apple farms and small villages along the way, and stop for dhal bhat, a traditional Nepalese dish, for lunch. Stop at Besisahar, the day’s ending point, and stay there overnight. Freshen up and relax at the hotel in the evening.

Day 11: Drive Back to Kathmandu

The view of Kathmandu
The view of Kathmandu

In the early morning, make your return to Kathmandu by private Jeep transfer. The trip typically takes 5 hours. After checking in to the hotel in Kathmandu, you are free to spend your time relaxing and/or shopping. Do some more exploration of the area, further discovering the monasteries and meeting the lamas. Trade emails with travel companions, organize your photos and watch the sunset from the hotel terrace with a coffee or a beer. Enjoy your last night in Nepal at your leisure.

Day 12: Depart from Kathmandu

Farewell, Nepal!
Farewell, Nepal!

It's time to say farewell to Nepal. Soak up your last moments in Kathmandu with breakfast in a café, a city stroll, and/or souvenir shopping. A travel representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home. Keep in mind, it is ideal to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure. Safe Travels!