12 Feb 2018
2 min read
Our trip to Tilicho Lake and Thorang La Pass, the highest-altitude lake in the world and the highest pass in the world, began from Kathmandu, as with most trekkers. We travelled from Kathmandu to Chame--without stoppingover at Besisahar, which is the preferred first stopover for trekkers--and stayed the night at the settlement. The next morning, we were on our way to Pisang, where we spent the night. On the third day, we finally started walking towards the village of Manang. After a near six-hour hike, we finally reached our last destination for the day--Manang, where we enjoyed delicious yak burgers, 200 km away from home.
On the fourth day of our trek, we began our journey from Manang to Tilicho Base Camp, passing through small villages like Khangsar. The trail from Manang to Tilicho Base Camp is considered to be one of the most beautiful trails in the world; and for good reason too, for you pass through valleys of gigantic rock formations and ëlandslide areasí. After trekking for almost seven hours, we reached Tilicho Base Camp, where we rested for the night. It was advised by locals of the area that we rest before traveling further up, for trekkers usually suffer altitude sickness. The next morning, we started our hike before sunrise, and after walking for a few hours we reached glorious Tilicho Lake.After getting down to the base camp, we made our way to Thorong La. We passed through small settlements like Shree Kharka and Ledar, before reaching High Camp. When we had just reached High Camp, a sudden blizzard enveloped the entire area and we couldnít take on the pass. The next morning, at five, we began our journey to the pass. By the afternoon, we had crossed the pass and come down to Muktinath. From Muktinath, we trekked to Kagbeni, the city of winds. And on the seventh day, we headed for Pokhara.
Accommodation and amenities
As the trek is a part of the Annapurna Circuit, which is one of the most popular and well-marked trekking routes in the world, there are lots of tea houses and lodges along the trail. And because we were travelling in November, which is the best time to travel to the mountains, the hotels were quite packed (but since there are a lot of hotels around, getting a room or two wasn't be a problem). The hotels along the trail offer basic facilities--like clean, comfortable beds (with extra blankets, if you ask politely), running hot water, decent food options and electricity (for you to charge your phones). Most kitchens also usually have a warm heater, around which you can exchange your travel stories will fellow trekkers from all over the world.
Despite the rough terrain and difficult trail, the local hotels and lodges provide quite an impressive menu. For example, in Manang, you can find yak burgers and yak pizzas on the menu; you can also have some delicious pasta at 4,880 m at High Camp. In Manang, we were also able to enjoy a large variety of apple products, ranging from apple brandy to apple pastries. Of course, dal bhat tarkari is also available everywhere, which is often served with fried papad, salad, yak ghee and a special chilli-powder paste. You can also try some yak sukuti, which is a speciality dish of these parts.
Starting from Besisahar, the road (which goes only up to Manang) is dangerously steep and rough for four-wheelers. But for trekkers (especially the ones trekking the entire Annapurna Circuit) who walk from Besisahar itself, the path while rocky, is not too difficult. The toughest bit, as I said earlier, is probably the trail from Khangsar to Tilicho Lake. I would also advise that you take a map with you, for there are chances that you might get lost.
The other highlight of the trail is the Thorong La Pass. While we were walking on the pass, there was a sudden blizzard, which made navigating a challenge. The snow made it difficult for us to get our bearings. The weather at the pass is extremely unpredictable (which makes this pass one of the most dangerous passes in the world) and it is advised that trekkers taking on the Thorong La take with them proper boots and gear. At 5,416 m above sea level, the possibility of altitude sickness is also very high, so it's best if trekkers take with them necessary medical supplies.