Nepal | Special Region

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Nepal

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Nepal
Trip Overview

The Manaslu Circuit is one of the best trekking routes in Nepal. It retains the impression of remoteness and of being off the beaten path. This trek takes you around the Manaslu Conservation Area, leading you deep into the Himalayas, where you can explore the breathtaking view of the 8th highest mountain of the world, Manaslu at 8163 meters. Manaslu means “Mountain of the spirit”, derived from Sanskrit word “manasa” meaning intellect or soul.

 
Trip Highlights
  • Larkya La Pass (5106 meters), the maximum elevation
  • The trekking trail is wild and remote yet there are basic teahouses
  • The Budi Gandaki River, a deep long gorge, with many suspension bridges
  • Stunning views of some of the highest peaks in the world, Mt. Manaslu (8163m), Cheo Himal (7126m), Larkya Peak (6219m), Nemjung (7139m), Himalchuli (7893m), Siringi Himal (7187m), Ganesh Himal (7163m), Gaygi Kung and Annapurna II (7937m)
Itinerary

Drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola via Arughat.

You start from your hotel by private jeep and drive through the hilltop village of Dhading leading you to Soti Khola via Arughat. You can expect a dusty and bumpy drive as the road passes along beautiful rural communities, small towns, green terrace farms and lush hills.

 
Notes:
  • Altitude: 600 meters (Soti Khola)
  • Duration: 7-8 hours approx.
  • Accommodation: Basic Tea House

Trek from Soti Khola to Machha Khola

Starting from Soti Khola, you trek through the countryside past paddy fields and waterfalls, passing through isolated settlements of houses with dark slate roofs. Cross a suspension bridge over the Budi Gandaki River and, following the rocky trail, you head onto the village of Machha Khola.

Notes:
  • Altitude: 900 meters (Maccha Khola)
  • Duration: 6-7 hours approx
  • Accommodation: Basic Tea House

Trek from Machha Khola to Jagat

Following the narrow trail cross the Thado Khola you reach Khorla Besi. Passing through villages accompanied by the beautiful mountain views you will eventually reach a hot spring “Tatopani” where you can relax for a while. Then climb to bridges to cross Budi Gandaki and head towards Dobhan. Further on you enter the Manaslu Conservation Area and reach the beautiful paved village of Jagat.

Notes:
  • Altitude: 1410 meters (Jagat)
  • Duration: 6-7 hours approx
  • Accommodation in Basic Tea House

 Trek from Jagat to Deng

Following the river, you cross and re-cross it via suspension bridges several times along the way, and pass through the settlements of Salleri, Sirdibas and Ghatta Khola. After crossing the river at Eklee Bhatti the route enters a steep, uninhabited gorge and continues through bamboo forests before reaching the Deng Khola. After crossing this river, you reach the tiny village of Deng.

Notes:
  • Altitude: 1804 meters (Deng)
  • Duration: 6-7 hours approx.
  • Accommodation in Basic Tea House

Trek from Deng to Namrung

Today is one of the most important and culturally significant sections of the trek. First, cross the Budhi Gandaki river and climb up to the bridge, where you’ll climb a bit further to join a trail from Bhi. Then head west up the valley passing through lush forests, alpine vegetation, and quaint villages housing ethnic groups of the Manaslu region, with major peaks starting to appear in the distance. 

Even though there is another route, you will take the trail through Prok. This village has a beautiful vantage point of the snow-capped Siringi Himal. Take a break here and then continue to cross the Budi Gandaki several times today passing several gompas along the way. The trail then follows the river upstream through a dense forest and leads to a narrow gorge. Keep going until you notice the forest becomes less dense. This rewarding part of the walk is a magnificent way to experience the Manaslu Conservation Area. You’ll eventually make one last steep climb to reach Namrung Village.

Notes:
  • Altitude: 2630 meters (Namrung)
  • Duration: 6-7 hours approx.
  • Accommodation in Basic Tea House

Trek from Namrung to Lho Gaon

Continuing your climb along the forest past Budi Gandaki, you have your first stunning glimpse of Manaslu North and Manaslu. The local people here are dressed in Tibetan style clothing and you can visit Ribung Gompa, the Buddhist monastery in this village.

Notes:
  • Altitude: 3150 meters (Lho Gaun)
  • Duration: 4-5 hours approx.
  • Accommodation in Basic Tea House

Trek from Lho Gaon to Samagaon

Once again climbing through the forest you are accompanied by beautiful views of the Himalayas, a panoramic spread stretching to the horizon, with up close views of Manaslu. You enter into the Nupri region inhabited by Tibetan immigrants and your trail leads through rhododendron forest and yak pastures. You will be lucky if you are trekking in the spring, as you will be surrounded by red, pink and white rhododendron flowers!

Notes:
  • Altitude: 3530 meters (Sama Gaon)
  • Duration: 6-7 hours approx
  • Accommodation in Basic Tea House

Rest Day in Samagaon

To acclimatize to the higher altitude, you have this day to relax. You can hike to Manaslu Basecamp, visit the monastery 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. 

In Samagaon village you can learn more about Sherpa culture and admire the many mani stones with Buddhist texts and pictures inscribed on them.

 Trek from Samagaon to Samdo with visit to Manaslu Base Camp

Your route initially leads back down to the Budi Gandaki River as you head towards Manaslu Base Camp (4800m). Descend to the Budhi Gandaki River and follow it to a bridge over a side stream. You’ll pass several mani walls as the valley begins to widen. The mountain views along this route are amazing and get you close to the Tibetan border.

This is an easy trek on a shelf above the river that passes juniper and birch forests in Kermo Kharka. Drop down and cross the Budhi Gandaki over a wooden bridge, and then climb steeply onto a promontory between two forks of the river. You’ll come to a stone archway and continue walking until you reach the village of Samdo. Here you might see caravans of yaks returning with loads from Tibet. If you’re lucky you can visit some of the local houses and drink chhyang (Tibetan barley beer), or salt butter tea with the locals.

Notes:
  • Altitude: 3860 meters (Samdo)/4800 meters (Manaslu Base Camp)
  • Duration: 6-7 hours. approx
  • Accommodation: Basic Tea House

Trek from Samdo to Larkya Phedi  (aka Dharamsala)

Crossing a wooden bridge over the Budi Gandaki, you start to hike up to where you can see the Larkya Glacier as you go around the Salka Khola river valley. You will reach a stone guest house (at 4480 m), which is not a lodge but a shelter, called Dharamshala. You walk past the glaciers all the time accompanied by spectacular views and the hike is short, and you have plenty of time for acclimatization and time to relax in the afternoon even if you have paused at some of the many small monasteries along the way.

Notes:
  • Altitude: 4480 meters (Larkya Phedi)
  • Duration: 4-5 hours. approx.
  • Accommodation: Basic Tea House

Trek from Dharmasala to Bimtang via Larkya La Pass

The trail moves up from Larkya Phedi with stunning views of Larkya Peak. Lonely Planet states that “the Larkya La is one of the most dramatic pass crossings in the Himalayas”. This is the highest point of the Manaslu Circuit, the most challenging day. With an early start, you cross glacial moraines in the dark before reaching the highest point of the trek at the Larkya La Pass (5106m), just 8 kilometres from the Tibetan border. The Larkya La Pass is an excellent point to marvel at the surrounding snow peaks.

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 that brings you to Bimtang, which consists of abandoned homes and Buddhist prayer stones.

Notes:
  • Altitude: 3720 meters (Bimtang) / 5106 meters (Larkya La Pass)
  • Duration: 8-6 hours. approx.
  • Accommodation: Basic Tea House

Trek from Bimtang to Tilche

After passing through the dense forest, you cross a high pasture “Sangure Kharka” and then cross the Dudh Khola river. 

From here, walk through a rhododendron forest and follow a trail along a rocky riverbed and through a narrow valley until you reach Karche, the highest cultivated land of the valley. Pass through lush fields before making a steep climb over a ridge. The trail comes off the ridge in a big, sweeping arc to the riverbank. A short distance beyond is the village of Gho where some trekkers choose to stay the night, but you continue, making a steep climb over a ridge to reach Tilije.  Mostly, Manangis and Chettris reside here, thus we get to indulge ourselves with Nepali food and local Tibetan tea.

Notes:
  • Altitude: 2300 meters (Tilche)
  • Duration: 5-6 hours. approx
  • Accommodation: Basic Tea House

 Trek from Tilche to Chamje

This is the last day of your trek and you descend all the way to Chamje. It is a rapid descent into the Marsyangdi Valley and through the forest until you join the well-trodden trail of the Annapurna Circuit. Finishing at Chamje, you stay here for the night and can celebrate your success as you have completed the Manaslu Circuit!

Notes:
  • Altitude: 1410 Meters (Chamje)
  • Duration: 6-7 Hours. Approx
  • Accommodation: Basic Tea House

Drive to Besisahar and back to Kathmandu

After breakfast, you drive by local transport as far as Besisahar. Here your driver and private vehicle will be waiting to take you back to Kathmandu, dropping you at your preferred hotel.

 
Notes:
  • Duration: 3 hours approx (Chamje to Besi Sahar)/ 3 hours. approx (Besi Sahar to Kathmandu)
Services Included
  • Private transport as per group size to and from the trekking region
  • Local transport Chamje to Besisahar
  • Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP Permit)
  • Annapurna National Park permit (ACAP)
  • Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS)
  • English speaking trekking guide
  • 01 Porter for 2 trekkers/ maximum 15 kgs luggage per porter
  • Accommodation in basic tea house on sharing basis
Services Excluded
  • All meals while on trek
  • Travel and medical insurance including evacuation and cancellation (including helicopter evacuation)
  • Expenses of personal nature such as bar bills, mineral water, laundries, telephone calls, internet facility, Electronic Device Charge, Hot Water shower
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Any item not specified as included
  • Expenses arising from unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of Royal Mountain Travel
Impact Footprints
  • Choice of accommodation is based on locally owned teahouse
  • Exploration of natural and cultural heritage
  • Permit fees for Manaslu and Annapurna Conservation Areas to curtail overexploitation and maintain authenticity.
  • Source of income for local people who will serve you during the trek.

Me and my girlfriend recently did the Manaslu trek with Royal Mountain. The trek was hard sometimes, but we were supported really well by our guide, Yubraj

Simon T