Pokhara makes for an excellent starting point for many exciting treks in the Annapurna region. One such trek is the one to Kagbeni, then to Chele, and from there, to Syangboche and Ghami. It all starts with a short 30-minute flight from Pokhara to Jomsom, the district headquarters of Mustang district, which is situated on both banks of the mighty Kali Gandaki River. The majestic peaks of Dhaulagiri (8,167 m) and Nilgiri (7, 061 m) can be viewed from here. .
Kagbeni (2,810 m) is some four hours away on foot along a trail along the river bank. Tukuche (6,290 m) can be seen on the way, in addition to Nilgiri. You get to hike through the Kali Gandaki gorge, renowned as the deepest ravine in the world. This gorge lies between the 8, 091 m Annapurna I (the 10th highest peak in the world) and the 8, 167 m Dhaulagiri (the 7th highest peak in the world). After stopping for lunch at Eklaibhatti, you hike on through splendid scenery and soon you’ll be in Kagbeni, the gateway to Mustang, once an exotic kingdom in its own right.
After a night’s rest in Kagbeni, you start off for Chele (3.800 m) early morning the next day. The hike is mostly uphill now on the high ridge top-trail. Sometimes you go down too, right to the river banks, where the trek is easier. Along the route, you come across the Nyingmapa Gompa Kang, and then Tangbe village about two and a half hours later. This village is a good example of a typical Mustang village, with black, white, and red chortens along the trail and narrow alleys between whitewashed mud and brick houses. You’ll see apple orchards and barley and buckwheat fields around the villages, which make for a picturesque sight. .
You keep on walking—sometimes uphill and sometimes downhill—until you reach Chhusang. Lunch is the order of the day now, after which you start off again. The trail goes through a riverbed for some distance, and then along a side of the valley. Before reaching Chele, you get to cross a bridge that’s some distance below the village. Then, climbing uphill, you pass through some eroded red cliffs with numerous caves. Finally, you reach Chele, which you realize, is heavily influenced by Tibetan culture. You stop for the night here.
The next day, after breakfast, you carry on to Syangboche (3, 800 m). It’s a pretty steep climb now. However, soon enough, the trail becomes more flat, and you walk on till you reach a deep canyon, across which there is a hanging bridge leading to Ghyakar village. You, however, don’t cross the bridge; instead, you carry on climbing on the canyon’s east side till you reach the Taklam La pass (3,624 m). You keep on climbing, ever upward, and reach Dajori La pass (3,740 m), from where the trail goes down somewhat to Samar. Take a break here. Have tea and some snacks. Also, rest, because although initially you go down a steep canyon, you got to climb up on the other side, as steep a climb as any you may have encountered anywhere. By and by, you reach Bhena where you have a much needed lunch, after which you start climbing once again to Yamda La pass (3,860 m) before, thankfully, going downhill to Syangboche, where you spend the night at one of its rest houses.
The next morning, you begin the trek to Ghani (3,520 m). Yes, it’s at a lower height than Synagboche, but hold on, you got to cross the Nya La pass, which is at a height of 4,010 m, before reaching there. So, there’s some more climbing to be done! Initially, you walk on towards Gheling, a much easier trek since it’s all downhill, and you reach the village about an hour later. Leaving Gheling, you start climbing to the Nya La pass. It’s a tough climb, that’s for sure. After crossing the pass, you walk down to Ghami, where you head for a welcoming guest house to hunker down for the night. All in all, this trek will demand a lot from you, but that’s what you came to Nepal for right? To challenge yourself.