An exotic and uncertain destination for many, I set out for Manang on a week-long trip, along with five of my friends. When the day came to go out for the town of Besisahar at the beginning of the Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal, I was a bit agitated, as I knew it would be the beginning of wild adventures. Aside from the highway road from Kathmandu to Dumre, the real adventure began when we crossed Besisahar towards our next stop, Jagat, meeting up with an off-road trail paved with large stones. Though it wasn’t an easy task traveling on a two-wheeler, the excitement of visiting Manang definitely motivated us to go through the journey.
The valley of Manang is open, but not too wide, running approximately in a north-west flow, with narrow branches reaching into the mountains on either side. This is a high mountain valley, with six to eight thousand meter high mountains towering over it and the steady rise of a beautiful Tibetan plateau to its north. During the road trip we witnessed numerous stone-built houses, dazzling waterfalls, and hot springs to admire. The view there was very much worthwhile.
Bhratang Apple Farm
We headed towards Khoto, the alluring place where we felt the mountains towering over us, the snowcapped range of Annapurna right in front. En-route to Chame, the headquarters of Manang district, we found the famous apple heaven, Bhratang Apple Farm. We were lucky enough to taste those juicy apples from the local farm. Bhratang village, otherwise also known as Bhratang Apple Farm, established in 2014,is Nepal’s biggest apple farm. With around 67,500 apple trees, the farm has whopping upscale in production to more than 150 tons of apples.
The challenging roads and the weather made us pause our travel at Bhraka. Situated less than two kilometers before Manang situates,the beautiful village of Bhrakais built in Tibetan style and located on a weathered rock massif. It is definitely worth going a few dozen meters down from the main path to wander through the interesting gumbas. The sophisticated village has the best gifts nature could offer, the close snow-capped mountains and the rivers flowing besides the vibrant wildlife. The local culture, the delightful taste of the local daal-bhaat, the colorful houses, and the bright heartwarming aura of the people of Manang was imprinted into our memories
Tilicho Base Camp
Continuing the journey, we headed to Khangsar, the last stop our wheels could reach. Khangsar, too, offered us all its warming hospitality. We trekked for about three hours to Tilicho Base Camp. It was the hardest to reach, as the altitude sickness caught up to us. However, through the big landslides and unstable terrain, TilichoLake (4919m high), the highest lake of Nepal, came into our view and made us forget about all the hardships on the way. We were beyond happy at that moment. It was one of those stormy cold days, yet the light was so bright, the mountains so robust, the sky bluer than ever, and my thoughts were calm and hushed.
The trip to Manang is a perfect package to enjoy natural scenery and learn about the unique culture in this region. It’s travel motivated and defined by a shift in perspective, self-reflection, and a deeper communion with nature and culture. The overall journey was indeed, a transformative one; I now feel immensely grateful towards life.