A pristine district of Nepal
Manang is a district of Nepal from where many trek routes start. When I was planning for a Nepal trip one of my trekker friends suggested to visit there. I asked him if one can go there by vehicle because I can not trek due to my health issues. I searched Google and YouTube and got a little information about Manang. But in those videos and articles none discussed the cost and the problems. It may be the cause that very few people go there and mostly they go in groups. They are mostly trekkers, so are strong in every way. It is a popular destination for foreigners who do not bother about expenses because 1 US $ is equal to 123 NC or 1 Euro is equal to 132 NC whereas 5 Indian rupees is equal to 8 Nepali rupees. It is a restricted and natural calamity prone area, so a permit (TIMS Nepal) is required to go there. The permit costs 1000+600 Nepali currency.
We took a bus from Pokhara to Besishahar at 7 o’clock in the morning. My companion was eternally irritating by nature. She has different health problems. It was a 4 hours bus journey and the bus did not stop for a break. She suddenly started shouting that she needed to go to the toilet. After shouting a few times, the bus stopped at a suitable place and she released herself. I felt a little embarrassed because it was against my culture and one should have control over oneself for hunger, thirst and other issues while undertaking a journey specially of this kind. There were few young foreigners from Europe who came in different groups from different parts of Europe. There was a solo female traveler too from Germany. All young.
When the bus dropped us at Besishahar, it was around 11-30 AM. We got down from the bus and had our lunch. After lunch I started searching for a vehicle to reach Manang. They asked for 5000 NC. means 3,129 IC. I was a little shocked, I had no idea that the cost of going to Manang would be so high. I could not check through Google because my Nepali SIM did not have mobile data. BTW, in Nepal most of the hotels provide free WiFi connection.
My friend got agitated suspecting that they were looting us. She asked me to bargain and I inquired of to the locals what the true price was, they informed me that it was 2500 NC for locals. I argued with a pick-up van driver and he agreed to take us at 2500 NC ( He was going to Chame, I did not know that the whole area is called Manang which is a district of Nepal and our destination point was Tanki Manang.).
When we started, the river Marsyangdi was accompanying us. It was a cloudy day and drizzling from time to time. On the way a couple from Tamilnadu joined us. The road was extremely rugged, the vehicle was swinging like a seesaw, but the view was extraordinary. We had a tea break at a beautiful view point where there was a large falls. After that there were three check posts where our permits were checked. The vehicle was carrying loads which it dropped at several assigned places.
At Chame it cleared all its cargo and the passengers, except us. He announced that he would not go farther. I was surprised because I was quite sure that it was not the place that my friend had described to me. I firmly told the driver that it was not Manang which we wanted to go for. To solve the dispute the driver took us to the tourist police who intervened and made us understand that we had to pay at least another 1500 NC for going to that particular place from there and he arranged another vehicle which luckily arrived at that time with two vacant seats, and we started again.
It was dark by that time. Outside nothing could be seen. My friend who was by nature always skeptical, started shouting at me that she had made a great mistake coming with me, exhausting herself physically, mentally and financially. She doubted that these people could kill us and throw our bodies into Marsyangdi. None would be able to trace us. I was already upset and tolerating her tantrums on different issues since the beginning of the journey, lost patience and threatened her that when she had come with me she had to endure things till we catch our flight.
When the car reached Tanki Manang it was 10PM. The village was sleeping. The moon was peeping through the clouds. Luckily our driver previously had informed a hotel nearby jeep stand to arrange dinner for all 6 passengers that he was carrying including himself. My friend was so ill mentally and physically that she was unable to stand properly; the driver and another person carried her and her luggage. She was hungry, scared and tired. She slept on the sofa of the dining hall. She could not eat properly and was out of breath. I kept myself calm and served her like a typical manager of a travel agency. She met me on a place during Rupkund trek, she informed us that she had done a few treks, it was unexpected to me that she proved herself so vulnerable in every way all through the tour. I lost my water bottle in the jeep during this chaos.
Next day was a sunny day. My friend was happy to see the natural beauty of the place and did a volte face as if nothing serious had happened previous night. Together we went to Gangapurna lake, watched Gangapuna peak and glacier and strolled in the village. Food was very costly. Even two fried eggs cost 320 NC. The name of the hotel was Hotel Yeti where we stayed. It was convenient for us due to its proximity to the jeep stand. We inquired about the jeep time and the rent after lunch. It was 4000 NC for going down to Besishahar. During dinner my friend asked for a green chilly. The manager of the hotel laughed and said he had not seen green chilly for a month. Instead he offered her chilly pickles.
Tanki Manang is a beautiful village with many snow peaks of Himalayas like Mt Annapurnas, Mt Gangapurna, Mt Tilicho, Mt Khangsar Kang etc. It is situated above 11,500ft/3500 meters from sea level. River Mansyangdi is flowing through the valley. Though arid by nature there are many apple orchards. The apples that grow here are of a different type. Many trek starts from here.
In the afternoon we went nowhere because my friend was neither hardy nor a travel freak, she loved binge watching on her phone most of the time or sleeping. I was also lacking enthusiasm after a few altercation from the beginning of the tour and was waiting for the end. Next morning we woke up early and I reached the jeep stand before 6-30 AM as per instruction of the driver. My friend reached there at 5-45 in the morning. When my friend went to the toilet she found my water bottle in the office cum tea shop at the jeep stand. I was happy to get it back. Ultimately the jeep started at 8AM. Then it stopped at Braga and Pisang to pick up local passengers. Both were small beautiful villages.
At Chame we had breakfast break. Jery (Jalebi) Puri of Chame is famous in Manang. When we went upward we could see nothing as it was cloudy. This time I looked around at Chame, a beautiful village. Manaslu peak was visible from there. From Dharapani the whole Manaslu range was visible, but I had to capture it only on my mobile as I lost my camera lens cap at Jomsom, I had to keep the camera under packing for its safety. We reached Besishahar in the afternoon, nearly at 4 o’clock and boarded in a hotel with the help of our jeep driver. Next day we reached Kathmandu.