Day 6 Pisang to Manang

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Day 6

Pisang

Manang

North

28°36.89'

28°39.69'

East

84°9.00'

84°01.61'

Altitude

3,400m

3,606m

Ascent

206m

Time

4 hours 20 minutes

Distance

12 kilometres

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Leave Upper Pisang fondly behind, descend the path and recross the bridge over the Marsyandi River to the left bank. Continue westwards along the path. The village of Gyaru may be seen high on the hillside on the right (30 minutes). Pass the small village of Sabche ( 1 hour 15 minutes) and then an abandoned Tibetan village with a small prayer wheel wall (1 hour 20 minutes). A little farther on the village of Gnarwahl may be seen high on the northern hillside. Hongde (1 hour 35 minutes) has an impressive prayer wheel wall. Perhaps it is intended as insurance for the air passengers travelling through Hongde Airport. Hongde has many hotels, but only passengers stay overnight here. The hotels include:

  • Manya Lodge
  • Airport Hotel
  • Marsyandi hotel
  • Shanta hotel
  • Jullu Peak Lodge
  • Tibetan Lodge
  • Hotel Annapurna

Hongde also has the airport reception and the Royal Nepalese Airlines office. There is a police post to the west of Hongde.

Cross a small bridge (2 hours) although remaining on the left bank of the Marsyandi River. Pass a small pond. Cross a bridge over the Marsyandi River and pass a partially deserted Tibetan settlement (3 hours 25 minutes). Pass the Munghi Restaurant and a water powered prayer wheel. At 3 hours 40 minutes, Manang may be seen in the distance.

Braga (3 hours 50 minutes) is a Tibetan style village perched on an ancient eroded hillside just 5 minutes north of the main path, beyond a meadow. As Braga is not on the main path, the villagers have built a couple of hotels by the path, in order to get some economic benefit from the increasing trekking industry. The New Yak hotel is one, but the one really deserving mention is the Braga Bakery. The cakes in here are absolutely world class. The coffee is heavenly. You don't need a guide book to tell you this though. You can smell the coffee aroma from the path.

Braga Gompa is one of the oldest and most interesting Buddhist monasteries in the region. The people of Manang village recommend it, which is high praise given the rivalry between Manang and Braka. The Gompa is open to visitors from 7am to 10 am and 1pm to 5 pm. The lama will show you around. Be sure to leave a small donation. Even the locals do this. You would no doubt do the same in your place of worship at home.

Manang (4 hours 20 minutes) has acquired a reputation as a cosmopolitan centre of some sophistication. As you would expect from a town which has given its name to the region it is larger than the surrounding villages, claiming a population of around 5,500.

Manang has more 'German' restaurants than London. Meat is served in Manang, including 'yak burger'. There is an imposing range of food on the menus. The menu of one restaurant runs to 40 pages and has more international dishes on offer than in any other restaurant I have visited. This is the main evidence of the cosmopolitan lifestyle of the Manang Bhot. If you look on the walls of some of the lodges, you will see photographs of the proprietors in such places as Singapore, Bangkok and Delhi. They certainly travel around.

Their experience shows in their hotels, which fall into two main categories. First are the tourist class hotels which try to be as similar as possible to a standard tourist hotel. They are:

  • Annapurna Hotel
  • Manang Hotel
  • Tilicho House
  • Manang Shanti Guest House
  • Yak Lodge
  • Gangapurna Hotel
  • Hotel Bhujungale
  • Thorung La Hotel and Bar

In 1997 there were several similar lodges under construction. Soon there will be a glut of lodges in Manang. In 1997 it was the cheapest place to stay on the circuit.

There are also 3 smaller more interesting lodges for the trekker who wants to sit around a traditional hearth and doesn't mind inhaling woodsmoke and coughing up soot later. They are:

  • Ghyalchan Lodge
  • Glacier Hotel
  • Himal Chulli

The hotels are all well equipped with bathing facilities of various sorts, but there is so much dust in Manang that the minute you emerge from washing yourself, the dust clings to your still damp skin. Washing oneself is still something of a novelty in these parts.

Copyright Ian P Johnson October 1998