Ford Adventure Trip to Manang
To conquer a wild adventure on their wheels, a team of travel enthusiasts headed off in their 4X4 road trip to the stirring land of Manang and the breathtaking wonders of the Tilicho lake.
With reference to a conversation with Akash Golcha and Mahesh Swar
We often tend to undermine the true beauty our country holds. There are some of the most heavenly places behind our mountains, between the hills and over the plains of Nepal, waiting to be loved and admired; places in nature that make you feel alive.
We planned out our Ford Adventure Trip to Manang along with a trek to Tilicho Lake, one of the highest lakes, to experience that by ourselves and to promote domestic tourism, building a pathway for adventure tourism, and promoting 4X4 off-roading.
The journey started on the 3rd of April as we packed our bags and hopped for a road trip to Besisahar. That was when all of us got to meet the team of adventure lover and kick off our quest for expedition together. At first, we were only just 22 strangers, catching conversations, sitting at a trip briefing by Vivek Basnet, MD Yeti travels, contemplating what was the plan now and how we were going to get there. Little did we know, this group of strangers with a common love for travel, from 22-year-olds to 50-year-olds, together, stuffing all the things they may need; winter clothes, travel gears, and a ton of excitement brushing through their unprepared self, were on a venture to become like family in the next 7 days.
The next morning, we headed off in our four-wheelers through the tunnel of Marsyandi Hydropower. We managed to make most of the light traffic by hanging out of the windows as the cold rush of wind blanketed our travel spirits. We acknowledged the wildness flowing inside us and it was only minutes until we got to watch the series of narrow turkish-blue waterfalls gracefully greet us at every turning now and then while the rave of the corniche road was enough to to get our adrenaline rushed and our adventure spirit alive
We took our chances to admire the endless view of the green hills turning to a blue ocean of trees, as though our destination had been riding beside us all along. We already knew the pathway would be abundant in tiny but alluring details of nature, so we obviously had to stop once in a while to admire the waterfalls, rivers, bridges, taking as many memories as we could. That's when our travel impulses kicked in and we started getting into the feel of the trip, knowing nature won’t disappoint.
We then made it to Chame, the heart of the Manang District where we encountered the fascinating powerhouse waterfall running through the middle of the road. We took a detour across the river on our 4x4. The adventure of driving through the water with an absolutely breathtaking view around us, we couldn’t help but fill our cameras with more scenic pictures, making small moments count.
A forty-five-minute drive from Chame finally led us to the pleasant apple farms of Bhartang. This city is tucked in between the base of two snowcapped hills, lined up by the dazzling blue waters of the Marsyangdi river, abundant of a quite ingenious lifestyle of the people and hundreds and thousands of apple trees. We were stunned by the hotel there, it surprisingly became the highlight of our stop. From the unique pinewood ambiance of the place to the kind and subtle hospitality of the people there, it was truly an experience of luxury beneath the warmth of the people.
On the road to Manang, we drove along behind the majestic Annapurna Range. This was when we witnessed the entire vegetation of the land change, the grasses fade into rocky terrain, Pine trees everywhere, and uniquely structured houses of the Gurung Community. Again, with a series of astonishment, we encountered so many places with such wonderful sceneries, and then we made it to Dhukur Pokhari that was surrounded by tall pine trees complementing the waters.
Taking in all that nature was giving us, we hit the road again and stopped by Humde Airport. This sui generis of an Airport tucked in between the rocky hills had its way to baffle us as we walked around. We couldn’t help but capture this unique experience by clicking as many pictures.
Reaching the Historic remote town of Manang at the altitude of 3400m, we decided to go for a trek to a nearby Gumba, a short but challenging trek, to warm us up and kickstart our trekking impulses for our upcoming adventure. On our return, we stopped by the captivating Turkish blue waters of the Gangapurna glacial lake.
We drove to a place called Khangsar at an altitude of 3800m where we parked our cars. With the rides rested, we took our luggage along with ponies, and our trek to Tilicho Lake begun at about 10 am that morning.
After about a One-and-a-half-hour trek, at around noon, our first stop was a beautiful village, Shrekharka, at an altitude of 4100m, where the elegant views of the tall hills fading into taller mountains of the Annapurna range fading into clouds complemented the houses and tea shops we were resting at. We had an easy trek until now, but now as we were headed forth, we slowly stepped into the wilder adventures crossing a suspension bridge that served us with wonderful scenic and adventurous experiences. It was as though the bridge was a tunnel that led us from the land of trees to entirely rocky terrain.
That was where the landslide area started, it was about a 45-minute-long trek through this wild treacherous but exciting route. As we walked on a feet wide eroded path, in the middle of the steep inclination of the giant hills covered with small and large rocks and pebbles, it finally leads us to Tilicho Base Camp at about an altitude of 4200m. The base camp is located on the foot of the hills and mountains, inhabited by only a couple of houses. We were served with a healing cup of hot garlic & ginger water and the classic comforting soupy rara noodles, the warmth of which helped rest our exhausted self after the day full of heavy treks.
After spending the night at the base camp, we headed to our final destination, Tilicho Lake. Despite the change in altitude, we were more than excited to make it through the route and couldn’t wait to get there. We knew we needed to reach Tilicho Lake on time before it gets windy which would make things hard for us. Waking up early, we continued our trek and made it to this place called 22 Ghumti at an altitude of 4800m, which came to be a challenging but experience worthy part of our trek there.
And there we were, finally, to the majestic Tilicho Lake. It was truly a magical moment for us. With the gift of the beautiful view of the frozen Lake in between the snowy mountains, we were awe-struck with a sense of achievement of making it until here, the highest lake in the world. Locking my eyes with the frozen waters of the lake in between snowy mountains, I imagined how fun it would be to ice skate here, gliding to the edge of the earth with the amusing wonders of nature. It felt unreal to just be there; to finally be in such beauty, we felt at peace. Stunned by the pure joy this place gave us, we captured it all in photos and videos. We spent a peaceful hour near the lake and found a small coffee shop to rest and eat something as we took in the chills of the achievement of our trek.
As much as we wanted to stay, we had to leave, so we said goodbye to the beautiful Tilicho lake and started our return trek back to Tilicho base camp then to Shrekharka with a full, satisfied heart.
We trekked our way back to Khangsar where we had left our cars. We started our road trip back to Bhartang, stopping on the way, taking pictures, and making the most of the moments we had on the road. We got to stay overnight at the Apple Farm House.
On our drive back to Besisahar, we got to make a quick visit to the beautiful heritage village of Taal, situated by the riverbank of Marsyangdi River. It was the perfect cherry-on-top addition to our itinerary and we had a wonderful time exploring this small but worth-the-while village.
Like it is said, ‘It is not about the destination, it is about the journey’. On our expedition, the most beautiful part of it all was the community we built, how our hearts aligned together under the nurture of the nature we got to experience. Every morning we woke up with the same kind of excitement for the adventure we were about to take on together. We got spend the day catching conversations, sharing foods and chocolates while we were trekking, laughing at moments that stirred us with this different kind of joy of living. The same people who were like strangers now had each other’s back in every step and became each other’s spirit of the trip by giving each other that warm company. We ended our days celebrating our achievement of the day, and building our connection with each other stronger.
And just like that, our wild, challenging, and spirit-lifting Ford Adventure Trip concluded, leaving us with this engraved love in our hearts for traveling together to the lap of the glorious mother nature.
Manang, also known as one of the most beautiful hidden valleys of South Asia, located in Gandaki about 250 km from the capital, that holds life at 3540m high, as the last stop in the Annapurna circuit route.
As you’re on the verge to enter this enticing town, their lies the Gangapurna viewpoint, 10 minutes away from it, that frames the absolutely captivating view of the mountains, glacier, lake, and river, almost like something straight out of a painting. The valley is the home of thousand years old Buddhist monastery overlooking the indigenous community of people who have been settling here for hundreds of years. The atmosphere lights up with the bright spirits of festivals and celebrations of the locals all over the valley. This valley is also the gateway to Lake Tilicho, one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world. Since it is a major travel destination for travelers from all around the world, there is a list of hotels, lodges, accommodation centers, restaurants, bakeries situated here, that shockingly blends in with the traditional settlements of commoners and locals who welcome you with their wholeheartedness and lively smiles to their homes on either side of the valley.
Situated at an altitude of 4919 meters above sea level beside the famous Annapurna range of Himalaya, Tilicho lake is one of the most beautiful lakes of Nepal.
It is heavily surrounded by some of the thick snowy mountains like Khangsar, Nilgiri, Tilicho and Muktinath peak. As the elegant waves of the water extend to the horizon, the clear blue reflection of the sky in the water makes it seem like the sky is blending in with the water. The best seasons to trek this route is from the month of March to may or from the monsth of September to November.