Everything you need to know before Embarking the Manaslu Circuit Trek

  • Last Updated on May 31, 2024

Are you ready to embark on an epic adventure and an unforgettable journey through the majestic Manaslu Circuit Trek?

Table of Contents

Manaslu Circuit Trek Overview 

If you're seeking adventure, breathtaking scenery, and a chance to immerse yourself in rich cultural experiences, then the Manaslu Circuit Trek might just be the perfect expedition for you. As you prepare to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails, let's dive into everything you need to know to make the most of this incredible trek.

Manaslu Circuit Trek is named after Mount Manaslu, the eighth-highest peak in the world at 8,163 meters (26,781 feet). The Manaslu Circuit is a spectacular journey that circles the majestic Manaslu mountain range of the Nepalese Himalayas. This trek offers an alternative to the more popular Annapurna and Everest and offers trekkers a quieter and more peaceful atmosphere. The route circumnavigates the massive Manaslu range and offers stunning views of its snowy peaks, waterfalls, and green valleys.

The typical duration of a Manaslu tour is around 14-18 days depending on the route and itinerary chosen and the pace of a migrant. The trek usually starts and ends in Soti Khola, with an optional trip to Tsum Valley for those looking for a longer adventure. Each day takes you to new places through beautiful landscapes and flora. You can enjoy amazing Himalayan landscapes, take pictures, explore local villages, taste new foods, and observe wild animals and high altitude lifestyle. The actual trek starts from Soti Khola and ends at Dharapan as the trail winds through the Budhi Gandak Valley, over several rivers, to the Pungen Glacier and the ancient Tibetan settlement of Lho. After the village of Lho, the road goes to the Nupri region inhabited by Tibetan immigrants, where you can get closer to the culture, religions and local people.

Larkya La Pass, 5106m is the most difficult and exciting course of the Manaslu circuit in the Himalayas of Nepal. At the peak of Larkya La, you have to explore the exciting scenarios of Manaslu and North Manaslu, Samdo Peak, Naike Peak, Larke Peak and Cheo Himal. Larkya Pass is located between Dharmasala and Bimtang. It would also be the highest climb of the trek. The peak of Larka La Pass is extremely beautiful and surrounded by the massive Himalayas.

The Manaslu Circuit offers a great opportunity to explore the pure beauty of the Himalayas, immerse yourself in the rich culture and traditions of the region and embark on an unforgettable adventure among the world's highest peaks. Stunning scenery, challenging terrain and cultural encounters make this trip a lifetime experience for outdoor and nature lovers.

Trip Facts:

  • Duration: 14-18 Days
  • Max. Altitude: 5,106m (16,752 feet) at Larkya la pass
  • Start/End point: Machhi Khola/ Besisahar
  • Best Season: March-May and Sep-Nov
  • Trip Grade: Strenuous

Major Highlights of the Manaslu Circuit Trekking

  • Mount Manaslu (8163m)- World’s 8th Tallest Peak
  • Larkya La Pass (5106 m)- A challenging & beautiful pass
  • Experience a perfect blend of two of the best trekking regions in Nepal ie. Manaslu and Annapurna
  • Monasteries, Chhortens & Mane Walls, Birendra Lake
  • Explore the historic Nubri Monastery, Tserang Monastery, and Pungyen Gompa along the trek
  • Reach the Manaslu Base Camp (4,8015 m)
  • Breathtaking panoramic views of prominent peaks like Himalchuli (7,893 m/ 25,896 ft), Ganesh Himal (7,422 m/ 24,350 ft), and Annapurna II (7937 meters / 26040 ft).
  • Snowy mountains with glaciers like Cheo Himal, Nemjung, Kang Guru, Annapurna II, Himlung Himal, and Gyaji Kang
  • Spectacular vistas of the Himalayan Mountains, lush woods, tranquil rivers, and other natural wonders.
  • The magnificent backdrop of Mt. Manaslu and the Ganesh Himal Mountain Range
  • Chance to witness Manaslu region's rich flora and endangered animals, such as the Himalayan tahr, snow leopard, and others
  • Enjoy the serenity of the wetlands in the Manaslu region.
  • Tranquil waterfalls and stream views along the trekking route.
  • Taste the variety of flavours of Tibet and Nepal.
  • Rich cultural experience, inhabited by diverse ethnic groups like the Gurungs, Tamangs, and Sherpas.
  • Take a glimpse of the vivid ecosystem of Manaslu's preservation site
View of Mount Manaslu
View of Mount Manaslu

Why Manaslu Circuit Trek?

Choosing to take on the Manaslu Circuit Trek is a choice that stands out among the many trekking alternatives available in Nepal since it provides a range of benefits and experiences. The following are some strong arguments for why the Manaslu Circuit Trek could be the ideal option for your upcoming journey:

Immaculate Beauty

Discover unspoiled scenery and isolated regions of the Nepalese Himalayas that are largely unexplored by tourists by taking the Manaslu Circuit Trek. There is nothing short of spectacular around every corner, with terraced fields, glacial valleys, and towering peaks among the lush forests.

Immersion in Culture:

Trekking through traditional Nepalese villages, home to a variety of ethnic groups such as Magars, Tibetans, and Gurungs, offers a fascinating cultural experience. Explore historic monasteries, observe long-standing customs, and engage in conversation with hospitable locals.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventure:

The Manaslu Circuit offers a more sedate and tranquil trekking experience than more well-known trekking routes like the Annapurna Circuit or Everest Base Camp climb. There won't be as many hikers on the trail, giving you more time to spend alone in the majesty of the Himalayas and establish a closer relationship with the natural world.

Larke Pass Crossing:

The trek's high point is traversing the challenging Larke Pass, which is located at 5,106 meters above sea level. Trekkers who successfully complete this strenuous ascent are rewarded with amazing sweeping vistas of untamed landscapes and snow-capped peaks, providing for an unforgettable and thrilling experience.

Diverse Landscapes:

The hike passes through a variety of environments, including alpine meadows, subtropical woods, arid moraines, and glacier valleys. The voyage is made exciting and novel from beginning to end by the fresh scenery and topography that each day offers.

Adventure with Purpose:

Trekking the Manaslu Circuit presents a personal challenge and adventure, but it also helps the local economy and conservation efforts in the area. You are contributing to the preservation of the region's natural and cultural heritage for future generations by supporting local communities and ethical tourism practices.

Alternative Treks in Manaslu Region

The 14-day Manaslu Circuit trek offered by Nepal Gateway starts at Soti Khola and ends at Besisahar. However, you can extend it by adding a side.

Although the Manaslu Circuit Trek is unquestionably an amazing experience, there are a number of other treks in the area that offer equally stunning landscapes and cultural encounters. Here are some noteworthy choices:

Trek in Tsum Valley:

Highlights: The remote Tsum Valley Trek leads through the area renowned for its historic villages, Buddhist monasteries dating back hundreds of years, and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

Route: The trek begins at Arughat or Soti Khola and proceeds along the Manaslu Circuit until Philim, where it takes a different route that leads to the Tsum Valley. Trekkers visit charming villages such as Mu Gompa, Chumling, and Chhokangparo before resuming their journey at Lokpa.

Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek
Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek

Manaslu Base Camp Trek:

Highlights: Offering a more concentrated and condensed trekking experience, the Manaslu Base Camp Trek culminates in views of the magnificent Manaslu Glacier and the towering peaks of Manaslu.

Route: Up until Samagaon, when it veers off in the direction of Manaslu Base Camp, the trek's path is comparable to that of the Manaslu Circuit. Trekkers retrace their steps back to Samagaon and complete the circuit after ascending to the base camp for breathtaking views of Manaslu and surrounding peaks.

Ganesh Himal Trek:

Highlights: With breathtaking views of the Ganesh Himal range and chances to visit traditional Tamang villages, the Ganesh Himal Trek offers a more sedate and uncrowded trekking experience.

Route: The trek leaves from Syabrubesi and travels in a roundabout manner, passing through alpine meadows, rhododendron forests, and terraced fields. Trekkers pass through communities that provide insights into the local way of life, such as Gatlang, Tatopani, and Somdang.

Ruby Valley Trek:

Highlights: The Ruby Valley Trek is a hidden gem in the Manaslu area, providing opportunities for trekking along historic trade routes, cultural exchanges, and immaculate landscapes.

Route: Briddim, Gatlang, and Chilime are just a few of the charming villages along the trek's path, which begins in Syabrubesi. Trekkers have the chance to interact with local communities as they pass through high mountain passes, dense forests, and terraced fields.

These alternate treks offer trekkers a variety of experiences in the stunning Manaslu region, each with its own special charms and challenges. There is something for every adventurer to discover in this remote corner of Nepal, whether they are looking for cultural immersion in traditional villages or solitude in the mountains.

What are the Required Permits for Manaslu Circuit Trek

Since the Manaslu trek is located in a restricted area of Nepal, access to this route requires a trekking permit. In areas where a minimum group size of two people is required, solo trekkers are likewise prohibited. Trekkers need to obtain multiple permits in order to start the Manaslu Circuit Trek. These permits include:

  • Manaslu Conservation Area Permit
  • Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP
  • The Trekkers' Information Management System (TIMS) Card, which offers information in an emergency and aids in trekker monitoring.

It's crucial to remember that all permits and cards must be obtained prior to the trek and must be carried at all times by hikers. In addition, trekkers are required by Nepalese government regulations to be accompanied by a licensed guide during the Manaslu Circuit Trek. The preservation of the area's natural and cultural heritage as well as hiker safety is enhanced by these permits and laws.

When is the Best time to Trek to Manaslu Circuit?

For the Manaslu trek, the best months to go are March to May and September to November.
The trail is adorned with rhododendrons in bloom during the springtime (March to May), when the weather is pleasant and warm. The best time to see the breathtaking views of the Himalayan range is during this season as well.

Autumn brings stable, dry weather, clear skies, and breathtaking mountain views from September to November.
It is difficult to traverse Larkya La Pass during the winter months of December through February due to heavy snowfall, which closes the lodges in Dharamsala.
The rainy season, which runs from June to August, is prone to landslides and slips. Therefore, we strongly advise against trekking during the winter and wet seasons.

How is Lodging in the Manaslu Trek?

During the Manaslu Trek, your accommodations will mostly consist of teahouses or lodges. Trekkers can find food and shelter at these modest but cozy guesthouses along the trail. Expect rooms with twin beds and simple bedding configurations. While private rooms are sometimes available, only a small number of teahouses may have them.

Lodge in Manaslu Trek
Lodge in Manaslu Trek

What is the Cost of the Manaslu Circuit Trek?

Trekking to Manaslu Circuit can be expensive depending on a number of circumstances. For a walk lasting 14 to 18 days, the average cost per person might vary from $900 to $2,500. Below is a summary of the costs:

Fees and Permits: Depending on the season, the Manaslu Restricted Permit may cost between $70 and $100 each week. It also needs to have the $20 Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP).

Porters and Guides: The cost of hiring a certified guide is usually between $25 and $30 per day. You might decide to hire a porter to carry your goods if you're not used to hiking with a hefty load. Porters make between $20 and $25 per day. A porter is capable of lifting up to 20 kg of luggage.

Accommodations: A teahouse or lodge will set you back between $10 and $20 per night. Accommodations are included in the total price of some packages.

Meals: The price of meals varies, but for three meals a day, the budget is roughly $20 to $30. A greater altitude may result in higher prices because of the logistical difficulties associated with transportation.

Travel: An additional $50 to $100 may be spent on travel to and from Kathmandu, as well as the starting and finishing locations of the trek.
Other: These comprise fees for water, snacks, hot showers (which might be more expensive at higher altitudes), and any unplanned charges. You should set up about $100 for other costs.

Trekking Equipment: You may need to rent or buy equipment such as sleeping bags, trekking poles, and clothes if you don't have any of your own. This may raise your costs by an additional $50 to $100.

Travel Insurance: Since the Manaslu walk involves trekking at a high altitude, having travel insurance that includes evacuation and medical situations is strongly advised. Depending on your coverage, the price varies, but it usually ranges from $50 to $100.

Keep in mind that these are only estimates that may change depending on the services and decisions you make. It's best to do your homework and make your reservations with a recognized trekking company to guarantee a fun and safe trip.

It is traditional in Nepal to tip guides and porters, which should be taken into account as they are not included in the initial cost estimate.

Is Travel Insurance compulsory for the Manaslu Circuit Trekking?

Nepal Gateway Trekking recommends getting travel insurance before arriving in Nepal for Manaslu Circuit Trekking. Travel medical insurance is compulsory for this high-altitude Manaslu Trek. This is due to the challenges of high-altitude trekking, including steep terrains and unpredictable weather. Travel insurance offers financial protection and peace of mind, including coverage for high-altitude trekking, medical coverage, trip cancellation and interruption, protection for valuable items like cameras and gear, and inclusion of adventure activities. While not mandatory, it is crucial to ensure your insurance covers all high-risk activities, especially in challenging regions like Manaslu.

Important Things to Remember for Manaslu Circuit Trek

Prior to starting the Manaslu Circuit Trek, there are a few important things to consider

  • Permits & Regulations: Make sure you have all the required permits, such as the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit and the Manaslu Restricted Area Permit. Trekkers also need to have a certified guide with them for the whole journey.
  • Physical Fitness: Since the trek is regarded as moderately difficult, it is imperative that you train appropriately in advance and be in good physical shape. It is advised to engage in strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and hiking.
  • Acclimatization to Altitude: A successful acclimatization is essential to your safety and enjoyment of the hike. As you ascend, take your time, drink plenty of water, and pay attention to any altitude sickness symptoms.
  • Essential Packing Items: Don't forget to bring the necessities, like sturdy hiking boots, warm layers, a reliable backpack, water purification tablets, sunscreen, and a first-aid kit.
Villages in Manaslu Region
Villages in Manaslu Region

Manaslu Circuit Trek Outline Itinerary

Here's a brief itinerary for the Manaslu Circuit Trek:

Day 1: Drive from Kathmandu to Machha Khola (8-10 hours).

Day 2: Trek from Machha Khola to Jagat (6-7 hours).

Day 3: Trek from Jagat to Deng (6-7 hours).

Day 4: Trek from Deng to Namrung (6-7 hours).

Day 5: Trek Namrung to Samagaon (6-7 hours).

Day 6: Acclimatization Day in Samagaon (Optional hike to nearby viewpoints or visit to the Pungyen Gompa monastery)

Day 7: Trek from Samagaon to Samdo (3-4 hours).

Day 8: Trek from Samdo to Dharamsala (Larkya Phedi) (4-5 hours).

Day 9: Trek from Crossing Larke Pass (5,106m) to Bimthang (8-9 hours).

Day 10: Trek from Bimthang to Tilje (5-6 hours).

Day 11: Trek from Tilje to Dharapani and drive to Besi Sahar (7-8 hours).

Day 12: Drive from Besi Sahar to Kathmandu (5-7 hours).

This itinerary provides a basic outline of the Manaslu Circuit Trek, but the actual duration and route may vary depending on factors such as weather conditions, acclimatization needs, and individual preferences. It's essential to consult with a trekking agency and guide you to plan a trek that suits your fitness level and interests.

Manaslu Circuit Trekking Route FAQS

1. Is Manaslu Trekking easier than Everest and Annapurna Trekking?
Ans - The Manaslu and Everest treks are regarded as difficult due to the lack of amenities, opulent lodges, and teahouses despite this. Comparatively speaking to the Everest and Annapurna treks, Manaslu trekking is thought to be more challenging and involves more technical routes.

2. How challenging is Manaslu trekking?
Ans - It is thought that the Manaslu Circuit Trekking is a reasonably challenging trek. This is an off-the-beaten-path trek with lengthy trekking days, high mountain pass crossings, and steep ascents and descents.

3. Is hiking to the Manaslu Circuit safe?
Ans - In general, the Manaslu Circuit is regarded as safe. There are some risks associated with this trekking route, though, just like any other. Altitude sickness is a risk that hikers must be aware of and take appropriate measures for. It's crucial to adhere to your guide's instructions and stay on the approved path.

4. What is The Trek's duration?
Ans - A typical Manaslu Circuit Trekking route spans approximately 177 kilometres (110 miles) and requires 12-14 days to finish; however, it can be tailored to the individual trekker's needs and preferences.

5. Is it possible to finish the hike without a guide on your own?
Ans - No, you cannot finish this trekking by yourself because it takes place in a restricted area and requires a minimum of two trekkers in addition to a certified guide. The majority of the well-known trekking routes now require a guide, per the latest government regulations in Nepal.

As you prepare to set foot on the trails of the Manaslu Circuit, you're about to embark on an adventure that will challenge, inspire, and transform you. From the rugged beauty of the Himalayas to the warmth of the Nepalese people, every step of the journey holds the promise of discovery and wonder. So, pack your sense of adventure and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime on the Manaslu Circuit Trek. Happy trekking!

Ram Adhikari

Ram Adhikari