Trekking Ngawal To Manang On The Annapurna Circuit
Its the seventh day on the Annapurna Circuit and we will be decreasing in altitude. Day seven will take us from Ngawal to Humde, Humde to Braka and Braka to Manang. The total journey from Ngawal to Manang consists of 10 kilometers of hiking over 5 hours and an elevation decrease of 140 meters.
Though, I will go through my journey between Ngawal and Manang in detail. That way, if you are planning your own Annapurna Circuit trek you will know exactly what to expect on day seven.
Ngawal (3680m) to Humde (3330m): 2 km hike which takes 1 and a half hours
Humde (3330m) to Braka (3450m): 6 km hike which takes 3 hours
Braka (3450m) to Manang (3540m): 2 km hike which takes half an hours
Annapurna Circuit Day Seven: Ngawal To Manang
Waking Up In Ngawal
Another light sleep I manage to stay in bed a bit longer this morning. This time until 7.30am. Breakfast is at 8am so we get changed and pack up our bags ready for another day.
Popping downstairs I eat Tibetan bread with peanut butter and a hot glass of tea. While James finishes up I go for a little walk around the village taking in the quietness this time of the morning. With beautiful peaks in the distance and the occasional whirl of the prayer wheel in the nearby gompa. There is no better way to start the morning.
Back at the hotel I meet up with James, strap on our bags and with a fill water bottle, hit the trail for the day. It is 8.30am so a later start than usual, but with clear skies we aren’t too worried.
Ngawal to Humde
Heading out of Ngawal we descend down an extremely steep trail which takes us straight down into the valley floor. It is rough on the knees. Though, wearing my ankle brace I previously purchased in Chame certainly helps make a difference.
It is interesting how the landscapes change so quickly. Up in Ngawal the plant life was very scarce, just a few shrubs and grassy areas. Though, being back down on the valley floor there are plenty of trees and forest life.
Humde actually has an airport. Though, rather than going through the town the trail goes around the back of it. I need to stop for quite a few breaks as its that time of the month for me. Problem is, its not meant to be, I am on the contraceptive pill and something is preventing my body from absorbing the pills effectively. It hits me, the only unusual thing I am consuming each day is the water purification tablets. From that moment onward I only drink bottled or boiled water depending on what is cheaper. Luckily James is super helpful and carries some of my heavier items preventing extra strain from the strap tied around my cramping stomach.
Humde To Braka
There are large fields down here making it look sort of like a golf course. The ground is quite wet down in the valley, we jump over mud puddles to not make our shoes dirtier than they already are.
Walking towards Braka we see our first helicopter on the trail. It is just a taste of what is to come and a warning of what is ahead. It lands some distance ahead in the town of Manang, our final destination of today.
Back off the high route and connected up with the main road it is a lot easier on the legs. No more undulating ups and downs, now we just have potholes to avoid. It is obvious we are heading in the direction of civilization due to the numerous motorbikes which pass us.
It takes me quite a while to walk a short distance. A mixture of high altitude trekking with period cramps does not make for a good combination. I can feel my blood sugar decreasing and need something to help me up the final distance.
Arriving in Braka the town is fairly abandoned, though I head into a hotel and grab a bottle of Sprite. This is what I have been craving and it goes down perfectly! According to the guide books this is supposedly quite a popular town. Perhaps that has changed over the years or maybe we just have bad luck. Anyway after a quick break we continue the path to Manang ready to have lunch for today.
Braka to Manang
The walk between Braka and Manang is easy along the road. The only thing is we have to dodge the occasional vehicle coming towards us.
We enjoy the scenery around us in the valley. Steep mountains on each side, snow capped peaks and nearby paddocks fill of dressed up yaks. This is certainly one of the more livelier destinations on the Annapurna Circuit and is fill of memorable sights.
Walking through a welcome sign we know we have finally made it to Manang. The crowds here are abundant with a town fill of both tourists and locals alike. Walking through the village around us is huge hotels and guesthouses. Some even three stories high!
From Manang you have some of the most incredible sights on the trail. With views of Annapurna III and Gangapurna right above the town, as well as the gorgeous looking Gangapurna glacier which seems so close. This glacier is massive as well stretching over some several hundred meters.
Manang is the village on the Annapurna Circuit where it is encouraged to have a rest day. As of this sometimes the town can be quite booked up in the high season with people staying multiple nights at a time rather than the regular one night.
Manang is quite a happening town and is the perfect place to stock up on supplies such as snacks, warm clothes and sunblock. There are also a few video halls showing English films every afternoon and even a bakery. This is also the last place to see a doctor in case you decide to purchase altitude medication, antibiotics and painkillers. You never know when you will need them! The doctors here are western trained and are use to trekkers with common hiking issues.
Staying In Manang
In the town of Manang we find a lot of the big hotels are booked up due to an event. Luckily we manage to find a room at Alpine Homes. It is not free, but at $0.80USD / 100NRS per night for both of us, so it is extremely cheap. This place has a real hikers vibe with little shed like chalets rather than individual hotel rooms. I am looking forward to having a little bit of private space. It also has great views to the nearby Gangapurna glacier.
Settling down we head to the common room for lunch. I order a plate of spaghetti. When you are hiking all day you truly start to appreciate basic things like having a hot meal. Something which many of us no doubt take for granted. We also pop down to the local bakery picking up a couple bread rolls, cake and yak cheese to snack on.
We find our British friends who are staying at a different hotel due to lack of rooms. Together we sign into our the check point and get a stamp in our books. They ask how long we are staying in Manang and where we hope to get to afterwards.
Later that evening we catch up with our Hong Kong friends who did not stay in Ngawal last night and instead spent over 10 hours hiking from Upper Pisang to Manang. Today they ventured up to the Ice Lake for their rest day side trip. Undecided whether we are going to do it we questioned them thoroughly. We are told it is overrated, an intense climb way worse than the hill to Gyarhu and completely not worth it. That settles it for us, no trip to Ice Lake for us tomorrow.
For dinner James orders a Yak burger while I dig in to a simple bowl of chips. The WiFi here at Alpine Homes is working extremely well allowing me to call home using Skype to talk with my family. Its an early night for both of us falling to sleep at 8pm, overly excited for a sleep in tomorrow morning.
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Want more Nepal Inspiration? Check out….
- POKHARA TO BESISAHAR & BAHUNDANDA- STARTING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY ONE
- BAHUNDANDA TO TAL ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY TWO
- TAL TO TIMANG ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY THREE
- TIMANG TO CHAME ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY FOUR
- CHAME TO UPPER PISANG ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT – DAY FIVE
- UPPER PISANG TO NGAWAL ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY SIX
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