Manaslu Circuit Trek

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Starts at: Soti Khola Ends at: Dharapani
Trek Region: Manaslu Transport: Public Bus
Duration: 14 Days Trip Grade: Challenging
Max Altitude: 5167 m / 16752 ft (Larkya Pass) Accomodation: Basic teahouses

Manaslu Circuit Trek Highlights

  • Jaw dropping natural beauty of the forests, rivers, and flora in the Manaslu region
  • Friendly people, rich culture of the region which includes both Nepalese & Tibetan ethnic groups
  • Larky La Pass (5167 meters), the highest point on the trek
  • Stunning view of some of the highest peaks in the world- Manaslu, Himlung, Annapurna II
  • Abundant wildlife including Tahr, Agali, Pika, Himalayan Marmots, if lucky Snow Leopard

The Manaslu circuit trek is one of the best treks in Nepal. It takes you around the Manaslu Conservation Area and leads to a breathtaking view of the eighth highest mountain in the world.

If you’ve already been to the Annapurna Circuit, this trek can be a great alternative. It is a 14-day trek that starts at Soti Khola and ends at Beshi Sahar and can be extended to 22 days with an additional side trek to the Tsum valley.

Flanked by the Annapurna’s to the West and Ganesh Himal to the East it is one of the most graceful of the 8000-meter giants.

Unlike the Everest Base Camp Trek that’s flooded with trekkers all around the world, the Manaslu circuit trek usually sees less people along its route. It is remote and physically demanding yet culturally enriching and scenically uplifting.

The circuit takes you from the steamy lowlands with their terraces of rice and millet, through the mighty gorges of the Budi Gandaki with its turquoise waters and amazing waterfalls. Suspension bridges in Manaslu trek are in a league of their own for both length and height, and the yearly monsoon often washes minor bridges away leaving trekkers to use semi-submerged rocks.

Only opened to a maximum of 400 trekkers in 1992, this trek still has the feel of a pioneering expedition. If you want to know what trekking the 1980s was like, the Manaslu circuit trek is a visual feast from start to finish, but you better be fit.

Slowly, you wind your way North to the snowbound Larkya La Pass next to the Tibetan border. The altitude here is a problem but almost forgotten with the jaw-dropping views of Manaslu. At 5167 meters Larkya La pass is usually snow-covered and icy. Micro crampons are often used on the descent. Trekking to the pass requires a 3 am start in order to make the highest point before the winds come, usually around mid-morning.

From the pass looking back the way you have come gives a clear view but by far the most amazing view comes after you have left the pass and walk along a corridor to the west.

A great glacial cirque bursts into view. A stupendous wall created by Cheo Himal, Himlung Himal, Nemjung, Gyaji Kang and Kang Guru, casts down a stream of glaciers, while Annapurna II rises ahead. This view alone makes the trek worthwhile. Magical Nepal can arrange your all-inclusive 15 days trek. The trek can be done on a teahouse basis unless you want to go off route where camping is the only option.

Transport for Manaslu Circuit Trek

Start of the trek, you will travel 160 km from Kathmandu to Maccha Khola via SotiKhola from Kathmandu. It takes 7 hours by Private Jeep and 8 to 9 hours from the local bus. The first day of the trek is all an adventure ride in off road.

End of the trek, you will be driving 6 hours from Dharapani in a Jeep and Change it to another Jeep or local bus for a 7 hours drive to Kathmandu.

Know more how to get to the trailhead

Permits for Manaslu Circuit Trek

Manaslu Trek is a restricted region. You will need a special restricted area permit, which can be issued by a local company. You will also need ACAP and MCAP permit for the trek. Two trekkers are compulsory for the trek.

Know more about the permits

Accommodation for the Manaslu Circuit Trek

Manaslu is a tea house trek. you will sleep in the tea house every night which will very basic with two single beds. Toilets are mostly shared and can be outside of teahouses. Heating is only available in the dining area. Foods are available in teahouses. You will stop in teahouses for lunch during the trek.

Check out the accommodation options

Telephone and Wifi in the Manaslu Circuit Trek

Wifi is available in most of the tea houses. If you want to communicate back home, there is an SAT phone available in tea houses which takes a little bit of extra money to make a phone call back home. Local telephone hardly works on this trek. Nepal Telecom has better coverage than Ncell in the Manaslu region.

Manaslu Circuit Trek Outline Itinerary

Day 1: Kathmandu to Soti Khola (Drive)

Soti Khola – 700 m / 2296 ft – 7 hrs

Day 2: Soti Khola to Maccha Khola

Maccha Khola – 930 m / 3051 ft – 6 hrs

Day 3: Maccha Khola to Jagat

Jagat – 1340 m /4396 ft – 6 hrs

Day 4: Jagat to Pewa

Deng – 1804 m / 5918 ft – 6 hrs

Day 5: Pewa to Namrung

Namrung – 2630 m / 8628 ft – 6 hrs

Day 6: Namrung to Lho

Lho – 2957 m / 9701 ft – 4 hrs

Day 7: Lho to Sama Gaun

Sama Gaun – 3530 m / 11581 ft – 4 hrs

Day 8: Acclimatization Day (Day Trip to Manaslu Base Camp or Pungyen Gompa)

Sama Gaun – 4400m / 14435 ft – 7 hrs

Day 9: Sama Gaun to Samdo

Samdo – 3865 m / 12680 ft – 3 hrs

Day 10: Acclimatization Day (Day Trip to Tibet Border)

Samdo – 5000 m / 16404 ft – 8 hrs

Day 11: Samdo to Dharmasala

Dharmasala – 4460 m / 14632 ft – 4 hrs

Day 12: Dharmasala to Bimthang via Larkya Pass

Bimthang – 3590 m / 11778 ft – 10 hrs

Day 13: Bimthang to Dharapani

Dharapani – 1970 m / 6463 ft – 7 hrs

Day 14: Dharapani to Kathmandu (Drive)

Kathmandu – 1300 m / 4265 ft – 10 hrs

Day 1: Kathmandu to Soti Khola (Drive)

  • Drive time: 6 to 7 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Your tour to Manaslu Circuit begins from Kathmandu. To start, you can take a direct bus at 6 am and 8 am, from Gongabu Bus Park, Kathmandu to Arughat. Or, you can take the bus to Dhading or to Malekhu on the Prithvi Highway and take the local bus or jeep thereafter.

Although the road will be quite dusty and bumpy, you will catch the best landscape views from your window seat. En route, you can stop at many rest stops for short breaks and meals. Overnight at one of the teahouses in Soti Khola.

Day 2: Soti Khola to Maccha Khola

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

The next morning, you will enjoy the warm breakfast at the teahouse at Soti Khola while enjoying the scenic landscape. Then, you will start your trek of the day. Unlike other trekking trails, the road from Soti Khola to Machha Khola is quite rocky and narrow.

Despite the uneven road, you will have the most amazing walk on the first day of this trek. The stunning countryside views will keep you engaged throughout the trail.

On walking, you will pass through Sal forests where you can take short rests during the tiring walks. Following the forest trails with many rivers, waterfalls, and towering cliffs you will encounter a few Gurung and Ghale inhabitants of the region.

In the dispersed settlements, you can get to enjoy local milk, yogurt, Dal Bhat with seasonal vegetables, and typical pickles.

Once you reach Nyali Khola, you will notice a rocky edge of the hill. Standing there, locals and trekkers pray to the local deities, rivers, and mountains to keep them safe throughout the trail.

Following the river trail, you will climb several ascends and descends across the winding road. On this day, you will encounter hundreds of mules on the route. So, you must be careful as you see them approaching you. You need to stand on the wall side of the road to prevent from slipping down the hillside.

With such experiences, you will reach Machha Khola to find many teahouses for a comfortable night’s stay.

Day 3: Maccha Khola to Jagat

The following day, you will start walking across the twisting road on the bank of Budi Gandaki river. As you enter the forest trail, you will witness many monkeys and langurs.

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

After the forest, you will walk to the Gurung villages, like lower Khorlabeshi. In the village, you will notice the shepherds clad in a typical smoke-browned cape called Bokkhu.

On walking further, you will reach Tatopani ‘hot water’ where you can take warm showers and relax your soaring body. After hot water relaxation, you will cross a new suspension bridge over Bhudi Gandaki river to reach Doban.

After a landslip and Yaruphant, you cross a wooden bridge to the left of the Buri Gandaki river and avoid a torturous 3-hour climb up Gurung village trails.

Following the waves, you will find the river flattening at Yaru from where you cross a long cantilever bridge to reach Jagat, a neatly flagstoned Gurung village. On entering the village, you will have to verify your trekking permits at the check post there. From this day, you will be walking in the restricted region.

Day 4: Jagat to Pewa

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

The next day, you will walk to Salleri and descend to Sirdibas. The village welcomes you with several gompas and Buddhist prayer flags. You can also try the local alcohol in many stopovers on the route before you reach Phillim. At Phillim, you will have your permits checked, and then you will continue along the western bank of the river.

The trail is beautiful with unique sculptures over the boulders on the river bank formed due to river water. Leaving the riverbank, you proceed through forests of rhododendron, Himalayan pine and the overhanging rocks on the towering peaks. These highlights beautify the trail.

On proceeding further you cross the Siyar Khola bridge and reach a junction where the trail separates to Tsum valley on your right.

Finally, you will reach Pewa, the final destination of the day. There are only two teahouses in the region where they serve basic food and a night of cozy sleep. Pewa has the best Dal Bhat in Nepal with the Shilong Acha is amazing.

In the evening, you can gather around the fireplace and share your experiences with the fellow trekkers and locals before you go to bed.

Day 5: Pewa to Namrung

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

After the sun rises up, you will have your breakfast and start the trek of the day. Before you ascend the winding trails, you will walk across the bamboo forest to reach Deng. Moving further, you will cross a suspension bridge to climb to Rana and Bihi Phedi. On the trail, you can see White Faced monkeys visiting villages on the lookout for a free feed.

The trail then proceeds to Ghap through several landslide zones. At this point, you must be extra careful as you walk. Plus, you must be attentive to your guide’s instructions to maintain physical safety. After the landslide zone, you will follow the trail up to Namrung.

After about 1hr on the uneven trail, you will climb a zigzag from the river to the neat village of Namrung (2660m). The place has some of the best teashops, a restaurant, and rest houses on the trek. A local businessman worked for over a decade in Hong Kong then returned to Namrung and built a restaurant and hotel that is modern with Cappuccinos and WiFi.

Day 6: Namrung to Lho

  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Witnessing the lifestyles of the Nubri people, you will start the day. Exploring their Tibet-influenced typical lifestyle you will walk past several mani walls, lush terraces, and houses through Banjam to enter the fir, rhododendron, and oak forest before climbing to Lihi then to Sho.

As you start walking, you will see most of the locals clad in traditional Tibetan dress. As you start further, you will notice some fine paintings in the Kani (gate arches) that you pass before Sho. Walking across the rocky hillside routes, you will finally reach Lho.

From the place, you can catch the stunning views of Manaslu (8163m) and Manaslu North (7157m). On this day, you will gain a quite high altitude, so you must walk slowly and check your body signs.

Day 7: Lho to Sama Gaun

  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

The next morning, you will start with a short trek because of the altitude reasons. On walking, the picturesque view of Mt. Manaslu accompanies you. You will walk across the easy trail to Shyala on passing through pine and rhododendron gully with moss and gin-clear stream.  From Shyala, you will walk for almost an hour to reach Sama Gaun.

Once you enter the village, mountain views fade, however, the yak pastures and typical settlements will attract you.

Sama Gaun is the principal village of the Nubri people which holds a large gompa, many shops, a health post, heliport, and telephone/wifi access, etc.

Day 8: Acclimatization Day (Day Trip to Manaslu Base Camp or Pungyen Gompa)

  • Trek time: 7 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

This is the day of acclimatization at Sama Gaon to prevent altitude-related illness. And, as an acclimatization hike, you will walk to Pungyen Gompa on the east of the Nubri Valley. On this acclimatization hike, you can bring your lunch and take it at the rest stops for energy. Like other days, you will walk across the roaring river which keeps you engaged for around 2 hours on the trail.

Once at the hilltop, you will get the enticing views of Manaslu. Nearby, you will see many Himalayan Thars and Yaks grazing.

Or, you can hike to Manaslu Base Camp which is in the north of Sama Gong. You can follow the trail past Birendra Tal and turn left onto the base camp track.

You will climb the steady trails, however, the altitude may cause breathing difficulty. So, you need to maintain body hydration and walk slowly.  Proceeding slowly, you will walk to the north of Manaslu glacier to basecamp at 4400m then return.

Or, you can hike to Birendra Tal, which is a short walk from Sama Gong.  This is an option if you feel the need for a rest or if you are finding the altitude difficult.

Day 9: Sama Gaun to Samdo

  • Trek time: 2 to 3 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

On this new day, you will reach to the newer destination ie to Samdo. But, as you are in high altitude, you need to walk slowly so, this is a short day trek.  You will notice extended yak pastures up a broad valley with long mani walls, with a variety of birds.

From there, you will leave the tree line and climb to a ridge across the wooden bridge of Buri Gandaki before you reach white Kani. It is a neighbouring village to Samdo, a very picturesque village dedicated to yak herding.

Once at Samdo, you can explore the nearby villages or you can hike to Samdo Peak. The Larkya La trail is on the left above the valley. You can also see the main track for Tibet over the Larjyang La forming slopes on the Larkya La trail.

Day 10: Acclimatization Day (Day Trip to Tibet Border)

  • Trek time: 8 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

As a day for rest, you will stop at Samdo where you will go for a day trip to the Tibetan border. From the border, you can also see parts of Tibet and Nepal. If lucky, you can also witness the Yak caravan passing the border.

Once at the border, if you look towards the south of Samdo Glacier you will get excellent photos with a huge serac near the top of the glacier. You can also frame Blue Sheep, Pica’s, and Marmots in season.

Day 11: Samdo to Dharmasala

  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

This is another adventurous day in the high altitude. So, you must watch your body signs properly. Enjoying the scenic views of the chain of Himalayas you will walk slowly across the rugged terrains of the Manaslu region before you reach Dharmasala.

Day 12: Dharmasala to Bimthang via Larkya Pass

  • Trek time: 10 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

This is a special day as you will walk to the highest point of the trail. You will walk to Larkya La Pass (5160m) on this day. In bad weather and in the snow, the walk could be quite challenging yet, it is doable. You will cross the pass before afternoon so you need to wake up early and leave the teahouse quite early. This is the challenging part of the trek but if you walk steadily, you can walk to the pass successfully.

The stunning views you will witness once you stand at the pass make the trip more enlightened. You will catch views of Himlung (7126m) near Tibet and Kang Guru (6981m) and Annapurna II (7937m) in the Annapurna Range

Spending your special time at the pass, you will walk down fro around 3 hours towards Bimthang for an overnight stay. On descending, you will get views of huge icefalls and mountains in all directions, Pongkar Tal between the Pongkar and Salpu Danda Glaciers.

Day 13: Bimthang to Dharapani

  • Trek time: 7 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

This is the final day you will be walking on the trails of the Manaslu region. On climbing downhill, you will walk through the lush forests full of flora and fauna including rhododendron bushes.

Walking back across the Dudh Khola, you will walk to Karche for lunch. In the next hour, you will see many signs of a glacial flood, with tree trunks smashed and banks undermined, the track becoming quite rough. And, the trail drops to Gurung Goa, the first real village since Samdo.

The valley becomes more agricultural and lush as you pass fields and copses of oak and rhododendron, staying on the north (true right) bank until Tilije. From there, you will continue your stroll towards Dharapani.

Day 14: Dharapani to Kathmandu

  • Drive time: 10 hours

You will take a jeep from Tilije to Beshi Sahar. From there, you will take a ride back to Kathmandu. After the 6 to 7 hours drive from Beshi Sahar, you will get to rest in one of the sophisticated hotels in Kathmandu.

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Includes

  • 13 nights accommodation in mountain teahouses
  • Guide for 14 days
  • Kathmandu Soti Khola, Dharapani Kathmandu Local Bus
  • Manaslu & Annapurna conservation area permit
  • Restricted area permit
  • 14 x breakfast, 14 x lunch and 13 x dinner while on the trek
    Vegan
    Veg
  • One Porter for 14 days USD 231 (Optional)
  • Private Jeep USD 440 (Optional)

Equipments

The following gives you a general idea of trekking equipment and clothing needed for the Manaslu circuit trek.

Manaslu Circuit Trek FAQ

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a challenging trek mainly due to the Larkya La Pass which has to be crossed, being over 5200 m. Descending from the top of the pass is hiking over loose rocks on a steep trail. What’s more, compared to tea houses on other mainstream treks, the accommodation and food are basic on this trek. Making it more of a rugged experience.

The best way to do this trek is to take 14 days from Kathmandu to Kathmandu. It can be done in 10 or 12 days but that would be rushing the trek, and perhaps missing out on some of the experience. Not to mention it will be harder and more tiring on the body. If you have time, consider a side trip to the wonderful, recently opened, Tsum Valley. This will increase the duration of the trek to 20 to 22 days.

On this trek it is mandatory to take a guide and the permit is more expensive. So you should calculate it will cost around USD 800 per person on a twin sharing basis. If you add in a porter and private jeep transport it can cost up to around USD 1300 per person.

Mount Manaslu is about 123 km aerial distance from Kathmandu to the Northwest. The starting point of the trek is around 126 km from Kathmandu.

There is no airport on Manaslu so the only option is to travel by road. The choice then is a local bus taking around 8 hours or a private jeep which will take around 6 hours including breaks.

Like many other treks Manaslu is best between mid September and mid December, and between end of March to end of May. Some trekkers do undertake this trek in the monsoon between June and September but very few would choose the winter. The reason being sometimes the pass cannot be crossed due to snow.

No. You must trek with a guide in Manaslu. There is a government rule that a minimum of two trekkers and a guide are needed for any trek in the Manaslu area.

Manaslu is located Northwest from Kathmandu. It is bordered by Annapurna to the west and Langtang Ganesh Himal in the east.

Yes. You need permits. You will need a special restricted area permit for Manaslu and a Conservation Area Permit for Manaslu and for the Annapurna (As the trail passes through the Annapurna Region too)

At the start of the trek the climate is subtropical. Overall you can expect somewhere between 10 to 25 Celsius throughout the year. However in the upper parts of the trek the temperature will fall to -20 or below in the winter.

Manaslu Circuit Trek Map

manaslu trek map

Tsum Valley Trek | Manaslu Circuit & Tsum Valley Trek

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