Trek around one of the highest mountains in the world! Manaslu is the 8th highest at 8,156 meters and is also in one of the more newly opened and less trekked areas of Nepal. This 14-day tea house trek takes you deep into the Himalayas, climbing to a high point at Larkya Phedi (4480m). If you have time, you can also explore the relatively newly opened Tsum Valley. Only open to trekkers since 2008 this is a sacred Himalayan pilgrimage valley, close to Tibet.
The best time to come to this area is in late spring (March to May) and in the autumn (late September to mid-December). Winter snow and lodge closures at Larkya Phedi and Bimtang mean trekking should be avoided from mid-December until early March.
Trek Grade: This is a challenging Grade 3 trek as you have days of 6-7 hours walking including one long day when you climb up to 5160m. Regardless of age or fitness, it is recommended that some preparation is needed before you arrive.
|Day 1||Arrive in Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Kathmandu sightseeing|
|Day 3||Drive from Kathmandu to Arughat and Soti Khola (600m, 7-8 hrs drive)|
|Day 4||Trek from Soti Khola to Machha Khola (6-7 hrs, 890m)|
|Day 5||Trek from Machha Khola to Jagat (6-7 hrs, 1410m)|
|Day 6||Trek from Jagat to Deng (6 hrs, 1800m)|
|Day 7||Trek from Deng to Namrung (7 hrs, 2660m)|
|Day 8||Trek from Namrung to Lo Gham (7 hrs, 3180m)|
|Day 9||Trek from Lo Gham to Samagaon (4 hrs, 3530m)|
|Day 10||Rest Day Samagaon (3530m)|
|Day 11||Trek from Samagaon to Samdo (4-5 hrs, 3860m)|
|Day 12||Trek from Samdo to Larkya Phedi (4 hrs, 4480m)|
|Day 13||Trek from Larkya Phedi to Bimthang (8 – 9hrs, 3720m)|
|Day 14||Trek from Bimthang to Tilje (7 hrs -2300m)|
|Day 15||Trek from Tilje to Chamche (6 hrs – 1410m)|
|Day 16||Drive back to Kathmandu (8-9 hrs)|
Trekking: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail condMore...
Trekking: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail conditions. The guide in charge of your trip may have to alter the schedule if necessary and any such changes are at the discretion of Royal Mountain Travel and your guide.
The trekking day
Your day starts with a wake-up call, followed by breakfast and baggage pickup. You are then driven to the start point of your trek. While trekking, your day starts with breakfast at the tea house where you are staying. You need to pack up your baggage before breakfast as porters usually set off early.
Normally you are on the trail by 8 am and stop for a leisurely lunch around noon, with the chance to stop along the way for short breaks. Lunchtime usually lasts a couple of hours to give you time to relax or to explore the village where you have stopped. The afternoon walk is shorter and you can expect to arrive around 4 pm to allow time for short excursions to nearby sites, monasteries, exploration of the village or for relaxing with a book or catching up on your diary. Dinner is generally around, 7 pm.
Everyone walks at different speeds and you should always go at the pace that is comfortable for you. The grade of the trek is only an approximate indication of what to expect, based on the altitude and the hours of walking per day. In general, the condition of trails is good as these are the main routes between villages.
What you carry?
Each porter carries 15kg so you should pack 7.5 kgs of baggage, sharing one porter between two persons. These things will not be available to you during the day as the porters usually leave early and do not walk with you. Your daypack should contain all that you need during the day. This should consist of warm clothes for when you stop, a water bottle, camera, sunscreen, lip salve and maybe waterproofs depending on when you’re trekking. Your guide will let you know each evening about any extra items you might need for the following day. You should take a comfortable daypack to carry just a few kilograms of things you need along the way.
Food and drink
No meals are included in your trek. These are available in tea houses, lodges and bhattis that may sometimes have quite limited menus. There are a lot of tea houses and lodges along the way while you are trekking. Meals are generally simple but filling, but you may wish to stock up on ‘trail munchies’ before leaving Kathmandu or Pokhara. Although mineral water in plastic bottles can be found along the way in many places, you should try to avoid using this. Plastic bottles are a serious problem on the trekking routes as there is no way to dispose of them. Instead, you should use water purification tablets, a water filter or ask for boiled water at the lodges. It is a good idea to bring a heat resistant, a water bottle which can double up as a hot water bottle when you go to bed at night too!
It is not recommended to drink alcohol at altitudes above 3,000m or so, where altitude sickness can start to have an effect.
Accommodation is in lodges and teahouses and is of a basic standard. Rooms may be twin or multi-share with basic shared toilet facilities. Hot showers are available in some places for a small charge. It is a good idea to pack wet-wipes to freshen up, especially useful when you reach high altitudes where the water can be very cold. It is not recommended to wash your hair when you are at higher altitudes and where the outside air is cold, as you run the risk of getting a chill when your wet hair takes a long time to dry.
Lodges usually have a common room where later in the day, when people start to arrive from their day’s trek there might be a stove that is lit to keep warm. Bedrooms, however, are not heated. The lodges provide clean bedding, but you may want to pack a sheet sleeping bag for peace of mind.
The main means of transport are on foot, or in some cases by horse, with mules or donkeys sometimes carrying baggage. On most trekking routes, your baggage will be carried by the porters. You should ensure that anything you might need during the day is in your day pack as you will not see the baggage that is being carried again until the end of each day.
You will be provided with government licensed, experienced trek guided assisted by the porters who transport your baggage with one porter for every two trekkers. The guide is in overall charge of the trek and looks after you. This is the person you should go to with any problems, concerns or questions. Our guides are highly trained in all aspects of trekking, conservation, high altitude medicine, first-aid and emergency procedures. They are professionals selected for their knowledge and passion for Nepal and its peoples. However, you should remember that they are local guides and their English may sometimes be quite basic and limited to trek related topics. Usually, porters will have a more basic understanding of English. Please try to speak slowly and clearly to make communication easier.
Trek grading and preparation
It is impossible to have a ‘foolproof’ grading system as everyone has different expectations and perceptions of their own fitness level. Remember that no trek in the Himalaya is a stroll as all involve going up and down, often at altitude. Altitude affects everyone differently, and even if it has not affected you much before, each time can be quite different in how it affects you.
Regardless of age or fitness, preparation, before you arrive, is a good idea. Aerobic activity, swimming, cycling or brisk walking is recommended or, at the very least, walking up and down stairs in your trekking boots to be sure that they fit well and are comfortable. Try to use hiking boots that you have already broken in to avoid blisters. Remember that the trek should be fun and you should go at your own pace.
It is best to bring cash in major currencies such as the US, Canadian or Australian dollars, Euros, or Pounds. Ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations. Everyone’s spending is different, but as a guide, we suggest about USD 8 – 10 per meal in Kathmandu and Pokhara and USD 30 – 35 per day whilst trekking. If you drink or smoke you need to allow a bit more.
You should exchange enough money into Nepalese Rupees to last the entire time of your trek before leaving Kathmandu. You can find the money exchange counters near your hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara but there are no exchange facilities in villages along the way.
Communication: mobile phones and internet
Please note, as you will be often trekking through valleys and will not always be close to mobile towers, mobile phone reception can be very patchy. NCELL, the local mobile company has quite good coverage, but sometimes the signal can be very weak. Usually, lodges have powerpoint’s to recharge your mobile, although this sometimes can be at an extra charge.
Tipping is a personal and voluntary matter and is not included in the trip price. If you wish to reward the efforts of those who have worked to make your trek the best they can, we suggest the following: USD 4 per day for groups of 8+, USD 5 per day for smaller groups which will be shared amongst the whole staff, including porters.
Travel insurance is not included in the trip price. It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your trek. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation (including helicopter evacuation) and personal liability. We also recommend that it covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Be careful to check the small print of your insurance regarding altitude as some policies only provide cover up to 2000m.
There are no specific health requirements for entry into Nepal. Your health condition must be sound as you will be climbing to above 4000m. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date information regarding vaccinations, high altitude medication and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Nepal. Be aware that some drugs, including anti-malarial, have side effects at altitude. Please discuss this carefully with your doctor.
Please be aware that you will be in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal First Aid kit as well as sufficient quantities of any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses)
AMS (acute mountain sickness) is a serious issue. It is the result of the failure of the body to adapt to high altitude and can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness. It usually occurs above 1,800 meters and the likelihood of being affected increases as you ascend. The way to reduce the effects of altitude is to ascend slowly, 300 meters per day above 3,000 meters until you have acclimatized. Poor acclimatization can result in headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, difficulty breathing and swelling of fingers and glands. The only cure for AMS is to descend to a lower altitude and your guide’s decision on this matter is final. There is a possibility of AMS in any trek that passes through altitudes above 4000 meters.
Although our routes are carefully planned to allow proper acclimatization you may feel some effects of altitude for the first few days or at higher altitudes. Breathlessness, lethargy and mild headaches are not uncommon and generally decrease as your body adjusts. Maintaining adequate fluid intake is essential. Please advise your guide if you feel more severe symptoms and do not medicate yourself without discussing it with them first.
Variation of climate is directly proportional to the altitude. For this trekking, trekking routes are often passed through a range of altitudes from 850m upwards. Between, about 2700m and 3000m a cool temperate climate prevails, and you should expect a cool summer and very cold temperatures in the winter. Above 3000m, even if the daytime is sunny and quite warm, the temperature will drop sharply as soon as the sun goes down.
The weather in the mountains is notoriously changeable, so always be prepared for a change in conditions and note that if severe or dangerous weather conditions occur your guide’s decision on any course of action is final.
Trekking permits are required for almost all treks and will be obtained by Royal Mountain Travel. The Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) is essential for the record of Nepal Tourism Board keeping in mind about probable hazards to occur. You need to provide your full name, nationality, home address, passport number, sex, date of birth and 2 photographs for each permit. Royal Mountain Travel also pays any fees required for entry to national parks, conservation areas or restricted areas.
Packing for your trek
You will need to bring a comfortable medium sized daypack to carry the things you will need during the day. This should have a waist strap or (better) a padded waist belt.
You should limit your baggage to about 7kg. You will find the following items useful.
Arrive in Kathmandu
Arriving at Tribhuwan International Airport is an experience in itself. Don’t let it put you off, as our airport representative will be waiting to welcome you with your name written on a placard. Depending on traffic, the drive to your hotel takes about 20-30 minutes.
The day is spent visiting some of the major World Heritage Sites of Kathmandu. More…
You will have plenty of time in the afternoon to prepare for your trek and check that you have everything you need. You might want to visit Thamel, the tourist hub of Nepal, where you can easily find all you need for trekking. Or if you just want to relax, there are many cafes and bakeries serving excellent local tea and coffee. It is best to avoid the street food, however, unless you have a very strong stomach. It is recommended that you have an early night as you will have an early start in the morning.
Drive from Kathmandu to Arughat and Soti Khola (600m, 7-8 hrs drive)
After an early start, you are driven to Soti Khola where you start your trek. Travelling by private jeep, this takes 8-9 hours. The road passes through Dhading Bensi and Arughat, and then to Soti Khola. The roads get a little rough from Arughat.
Trek from Soti Khola to Machha Khola (6-7 hrs, 890m)
Starting from Soti Khola, you trek past rice paddies, fields, and waterfalls through lush and green scenery, passing through villages with houses that have dark slate roofs. Crossing a suspension bridge over the Budhi Gandaki River, the first part of your trek follows the narrow, deep Budhi Gandaki valley through dense forests and terraced farmland.
Trek from Machha Khola to Jagat (6-7 hrs, 1410m)
Following the narrow trail and crossing the Tharo Khola you reach Khorlabesi. You climb for much of the day, passing more villages and always accompanied by beautiful mountain scenery. After crossing a suspension bridge over the Budhi Gandaki, you climb a well-made staircase and head towards Dobhan. After crossing another suspension bridge, you climb more stone stairs and then descend to crossing to the west bank of the Budhi Gandaki where you enter the Manaslu Conservation Area and arrive at the beautiful paved village of Jagat.
Trek from Jagat to Deng (6 hrs, 1800m)
After an early breakfast, you start by following the river, crossing bridges several times along the way. You pass through Salleri, Sirdibas and Ghatta Khola and after crossing the river at Eklee Bhatti, the route enters a steep, uninhabited gorge. The trail passes through bamboo forests before it gets to Deng Khola. After crossing this river, you reach the tiny village of Deng, where the people are ethnic Tibetans.
Trek from Deng to Namrung (7 hrs, 2660m)
The trail to Namrung starts by climbing to Rana (1910m) passing through a forest. At Prok village, there is a viewpoint where you can admire the Siringi Himal. You cross the river where it thunders down a narrow gorge and as the forest thins out, the trail improves. Finally, after a last steep climb, you reach Namrung village where you have good views of Siring and Ganesh Himal. One of the highlights of this trek, Namrung is a lovely village to explore where you can get a glimpse of the life and culture of the local people.
Trek from Namrung to Lo Gham (7 hrs, 3180m)
Continuing your climb, you have your first stunning glimpse of Manaslu North and Manaslu. The local people here are dressed in Tibetan style clothing. You can visit Ribung Gompa, the Buddhist monastery in this village.
Trek from Lo Gham to Samagaon (4 hrs, 3530m)
As you climb higher, your walking days become shorter. Today as you climb through the forest you are accompanied by beautiful views of the Himalayas. You can see the panorama of the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see, with close-up views of Manaslu. Your trail goes through a rhododendron forest and if you are trekking in the spring, you will see the red, pink and white flowers.
Rest Day Samagaon (3530m)
To acclimatize to the higher altitude you have the day to relax. You can hike to Manaslu Basecamp, visit a little monastery that is perched on a little hill near the village (Pungyen Gompa has great views of the glacier) or you can walk to the glacial lake, Birendra Tal. The village has many mani stones with Buddhist texts and pictures inscribed on them.
Trek from Samagaon to Samdo (4-5 hrs, 3860m)
Continuing upwards, you trek to Samdo. From here the trail goes on towards Tibet. Your route, however, goes back down to the Budhi Gandaki River and you head towards Manaslu Base Camp. After crossing the river on a wooden bridge, you reach Samdo where you might see caravans of yaks returning with loads from Tibet as you are close to the border with Tibet. If you’re lucky you can visit some of the local houses and drink chang (Tibetan barley beer), or salt butter tea with the locals.
Trek from Samdo to Larkya Phedi (4 hrs, 4480m)
After crossing a wooden bridge over the Budi Gandaki you start to hike up. You can see the Larkya Glacier as you go around the Salka Khola river valley. Reaching the stone guest house (4450 m), this is not a lodge but a shelter that is called Dharamshala. You feel that you are getting closer to the high mountains as you pass glaciers, all the time accompanied by spectacular views. You may feel the altitude, so take it slowly. The short walk today, however, should give you plenty of time for acclimatization and you have time to relax in the afternoon. Tonight the accommodation here is very basic.
Trek from Larkya Phedi to Bimthang (8 – 9hrs, 3720m)
Lonely Planet states that “the Larkya La is one of the most dramatic pass crossings in the Himalaya”. In every sense, this 5,200m pass is the high point of the Manaslu circuit. Today is the most challenging day. After a very early start, you cross glacier moraines in the dark before reaching the highest point of the trek at the Larkya La Pass. Here you are just 8 kilometres from the Tibetan border. You have time to take in the unbelievable views before you go down the steep, ankle straining drop to the trail that follows the glacial moraine downwards. It’s a long, but spectacular day, and one that you likely will remember forever! You see the superb panoramic view of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Gaygi Kung and Annapurna II.
Trek from Bimthang to Tilje (7 hrs -2300m)
Starting by going through the dense forest, you cross a high pasture (Sangure Kharka) and then cross the Dudh Khola (river). You walk down through rhododendron forest and follow the trail through a narrow valley. Arriving at Karche, the highest cultivated land in the valley, you then pass the village of Gho before making a steep climb over a ridge to reach Tilje.
Trek from Tilje to Chamche (6 hrs – 1410m)
This is the last day of your trek and you descend all the way to Chamche, continuing with a rapid descent into the Marsygandi Valley through the forest until you reach the well-trodden trail of the Annapurna Circuit. Finishing at Chamche, you stay here for the night and can celebrate your success in completing the Manaslu Circuit!
Drive back to Kathmandu (8-9 hrs)
After breakfast, you are driven back to Kathmandu. Arriving late in the afternoon, you may want to go out for a farewell dinner in one of Kathmandu’s many good restaurants.
You transfer to Tribhuvan Airport to connect with your onward flight. Please note that you should check in three hours prior to your flight time.