Manaslu Circuit Nepal

Climb to 5000m over 14 days on a beautiful Himalayan trek

With walking days averaging 5-6hrs, except for the two high pass crossings (8-10hrs), this 12 day trek (17 days all included) allows a gradual ascent for good acclimatisation. Since 2011 lodges have been available in the Manaslu area, making the logistics easier and more comfortable. Less touched by road construction than the more famous Annapurna circuit, the Manaslu trek offers a wonderful opportunity to discover the legendary beauty of Nepal. This route offers a rich culture heritage, unsurpassed Himalayan beauty, and rich mountain biological diversity. The route leads to the head of the Buri Gandaki river valley, which is fed by innumerable rivers and waterfalls, ascends to Larkya La, a high pass at 5105m, before descending down to meet the Annapurna Circuit route at Dharapani. Mount Manaslu is located east of the Annapurna range and its unsurpassed beauty and rich blend of Tibetan and Nepalese culture offer a true adventure for visitors. From the Hindu culture in the middle hills, to the Tibetan culture in the high-country, the Manaslu Circuit trek is a cultural trek par excellence, without a doubt one of the best treks in Nepal.

¤ Tremendous panoramic views of Manaslu and Annapurna ranges
¤ Larkye La high pass crossing at 5133m
¤ A diversity of ethnic groups, climate, settlement, fauna and landscape
¤ A less frequented trekking area until Dharapani

The Way of Manaslu | Nepal – Himalayas from Eaglewood Films on Vimeo.

Itinerary in Brief

Arrival Kathmandu, transfer to hotel
Bus transfer to Arughat then jeep to Soti Khola, 710m, lodge
Trek 1: Machhakhola, 6h, 970m, lodge
Trek 2: Jagat, 6h, 1370m, lodge
Trek 3: Deng, 7h, 1860m, lodge
Trek 4: Namrung, 6h30, 2550m, lodge
Trek 5: Shyala, 4h30, 3330m, lodge
Trek 6: Sama Gompa, 3-6h, 3550m, lodge
Trek 7: Samdo, 3-4h, 3800m, lodge
Trek 8: Acclimatisation around Samdo, 3800m, lodge
Trek 9: Dharamshala, 3-4h, 4300m, lodge
Trek 10: Larkye La 5133m – Bimtang, 8-9h, 3850m, lodge
Trek 11: Tilje, 6h, 2250m, lodge
Trek 12: Sangye, 6h, 1130m, lodge
Jeep to Besi Sahar then bus to Kathmandu, hotel
Kathmandu Valley sightseeing hotel
Final departure, transfer airport

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

Transfer to your hotel by a private vehicle from Kathmandu airport.

Day 2: Kathmandu to Arughat

We drive the 140km away from the capital city to Arughat, the starting point of our trek, 6-7 hours transfer in a private bus. Then jeep to Soti Khola (710m), 2h.

Day 3: Soti Khola – Machha Khola (900m) 6h

For the first day of our trek we have a change of landscape with less villages and our path is bordered by high cliffs. The river flows deep in the valley and the trail has some ups and downs to reach Lapbesi, where the valley widens and meets with another, offering a densely cultivated area. Once through Lapbesi village the path heads down into the riverbed before some more up and down to reach Machha Khola.

Day 4: Machha Khola – Jagat (1370m) 6h

We cross the river and follow the bank upstream on the side of the cultivated areas before again coming to steep cliffs, which are with us as path leads upstream to Tatopani. The terrain forces the path to cross onto the opposite riverbank and we enter the forest until Doban, where we cross the Doban Khola (river). The Buri Gandaki river is more tumultuous and further in towards Nero we pass through a section of very high rocky cliffs. The trail twists steeply before descending again to the riverbed and we pass through some fields before reaching Jagat.

Day 5: Jagat – Deng (1860m) 7h

Today we start by crossing a stream and following the river before ascending a terraced hillside until Saguleri where we have good views of the Sringi Himal peak (7177m) at the back of the valley. The trail ascends gradually, passing by a mani wall (mani stones are stones carved with Buddhist mantras) at Sirdibas (1420m) and further on crossing over to the other side of the river to reach Philim ACAP check post. The Buri Gandaki valley becomes very deep and narrow and we walk through alpine landscapes in a wonderful pine forest. The trail is hewn out of the cliff and offers views of Ganesh Himal and Chuli. We leave the main trail to climb up to Nyak.

Day 6: Deng – Namrung (2700m) 6h

The river flows in a deep, narrow gorge and we follow this dramatic canyon along a cliff trail. The path climbs up through a superb forest providing various forms of vegetation and gives us the opportunity to see some monkeys (we hope). We are now entirely in a Buddhist area and come across the notable mani walls often.

Day 7: Namrung – Lo (3180m) 5h

After a short initial section the trail reaches some pasture lands and Barcham. We then climb up a hill side to enter Lihi through its stone gate. We continue climbing until we reach Sho, a Tibetan village with its kani (a covered entrance to the village protecting it from evil spirits) greeting us and its painted chorten (Buddist monument). Once through the village and a little further along the trail we have good views of the Manaslu massif. The trail climbs up a hill side with crops and rural activity and reaches Lho, a beautiful Tibetan village with a long mani wall. After leaving Lho, the trail crosses a small affluent on a bridge and reaches Shyala at 3330m. Another half an hour more and we arrive at Lo.

Day 8: Lo – Pung Gyen Glacier – Sama Gompa (3550m) 4h

Although it is possible to go directly up to Sama, it is worth a detour to the glacier where we have tremendous views of Manaslu and Peak 29. Once at the Pung Gyen glacier we can head higher to the gompa and then back to the main trail. From the main trail it is quite flat to Sama.

Day 9: Sama Gompa – Samdo (3800m) 4h

We start by a visit to the glacial lake of Manaslu glacier and the trail then skirts around the lateral moraine on a plateau coming out near the Buri Gandaki after a short section through a torrent coming down from Manaslu. The trail reaches Kermo Kharka with magnificent views of Manaslu, then passes by Kermo Manan with its long mani wall. We then continue up this hillside over the Buri Gandaki before climbing up a terraced hillside to enter Samdo through its kani. It’s the last village, and one which is terribly isolated under the north face of Pan Puchi. The population here lives permanently in difficult conditions.

Day 10: Acclimatisation day at Samdo

Before the high pass crossing we will spend our day acclimatising by walking north of Samdo toward the Tibetan border, reaching a glacier bordered by grassy meadow in an area that looks like the end of the world!

Day 11: Samdo – Dharamsala (4460m) 4h

Our day begins with the trail descending to enter a kani and cross the Gyala Khola before climbing gradually a hill side through high altitude pasture where yaks are grazing. On the left side we can see a black glacier and some dry cliffs.

Day 12: Dharamsala – Larkya La (5133m) – Bimtang (3850m) 8/10h

An early start is necessary today, so we can leave by 5am. The trail ascends slowly and is quite monotonous, taking us from 4-5 hours to reach the pass. From the top we have tremendous panoramic views of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Gyaji Kang, Kang Guru and Annapurna II. The west side of the pass is steeper, descending to Pangal on the other side of the glacier, which also gives us a superb panorama, weather permitting. The trail continues to descend on the lateral moraine until we reach a roofless stone hut at Bimtang.

Day 13: Bimtang – Tilje (2250m) 6h

The trail descends for only ten minutes until the end of the moraine and we then have an open view onto the huge breathtaking Manaslu cirque! The trail continues steeply down through a very nice pine and rhododendron forest, and then down on the eastern bank of the narrow Dudh Khola valley until a cultivated area at Karche (2785m). We then climb again up to a hilltop through fields to reach the top of Kharche La before a final descent to Gho and Tilje.

Day 14: Tilje – Dharapani – Syange (1150m) 6h

Again our day is mostly descent with the trail following the Dudh Khola until we reach Dharapani, a junction point with the Annapurna Circuit trail after about an hour. The route now descends following the west bank of the Marshyangdi river passing by a mani wall before crossing the river on another bridge and entering the broad, flat valley of Tal with the river meandering through it. We have a final effort to reach Syange where our jeep is waiting for us.

Day 15: Drive back to Kathmandu

At Syange we are on the under construction Besi Sahar – Manang road and we board a local bus that drives us to Besi Sahar, where our private vehicle is waiting for us. After a long drive to Kathmandu we are very happy to be back in our hotel.

Day 16: Kathmandu Valley sightseeing

We spend the day visiting the rich valley of the capital with the medieval city of Bhaktapur and its numerous pagodas and temples. On the way back we stop at the biggest Hindu temple of Pashupatinath alongside the Bagmati river and finally circumnavigate the huge white Buddhist stupa of Bodhnath with the Tibetan people doing the kora.

Day 17: Transfer to airport for return flight.

 

Further Reading

There is a nice article here about trekking in Nepal in general.