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Manaslu circuit trek is an exciting trek to the untouched regions of Nepal. While the Annapurna trek is often at the top of trekkers’ lists, this trek is an alternative to the Annapurna trek. Compared to most of the famous treks in Nepal, which offers mountain scenery, beautiful landscapes, and dense forest, this trek accumulates it all as well.
Besides, many experts consider this Manaslu Circuit trek to be one of the best mountain treks in Nepal. With stunning mountainous scenery, beautiful fairy tale forests, and alluring waterfalls, this trek takes you to the magical realm of the Himalayan ecosystem.
Despite its opening in 1992, Manaslu trekking was not relatively famous as other treks in Nepal. Now, after many years, this region is getting its deserved popularity. Many tourists, both domestic and international, have their eyes set out on this area and are more than determined to conquer it.
Despite its recent rise in popularity, this trek route remains remote, and travelers have to cross many off-beaten paths along the way.
This area was declared a conservation area by the Nepalese government in 1998. Since then, the Nepalese government has deployed forces for the conservation of its biodiversity. Upon reaching there, it seems like it is untouched by humans, and mother nature has adorned at her best.
Adding charm to the scenic beauty of the Manaslu region are the locals, they are very friendly and treat their guests with the utmost respect. With the increase of traffic in the area, the locals are earning good revenue, which has most certainly helped them by making their life in the harsh mountain region a lot easier.
The culture and traditions of the locals are the jewels of the mountain region, for which many people travel to see and experience.
With the outstanding scenic beauty of some of the world’s highest mountains and beautiful culture, many people choose Manaslu Circuit over the Annapurna region. It provides an impressive experience for any who decides to go on this trek.
Manaslu is the eighth highest mountain in the world standing at 8156 meters. This circuit trek allows trekkers to come up close with his magnificent beauty and admire its jaw-dropping beauty.
Manaslu Circuit Trek offers you a classic trek experience where you will get to witness some of the best views of the Annapurna region, icy glaciers, a rare combination of flora and faunas, and so much more.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Today we will be taking 6 hours long drive from Kathmandu to the beautiful land of Setikhola. Enjoying the scenic view of the hills and the pristine Budhi Gandaki flowing along the side, we will reach Arughat by the evening.
Here we will be spending the night at a hotel.
We will enjoy our lovely breakfasts and set off towards Macha Khola, our stop for the day. Hiking slowly and steadily through rocky and steep trails, we will come across some beautiful Gurung and Ghale inhabitants.
After some rocky ascends and descends, we will finally reach our destination of the day, Macha Khola. You will see many little teahouses and small lodges in the region, where we will stay overnight.
Today’s 8 hours long trek will take us to Jagat’s lovely little village, an old Gurung inhabitant. First, we will have our breakfasts and begin walking through some twisted trails alongside the Budi Gandaki river.
We will be hiking through some lush green forests with langurs and monkeys. Make sure to hide your snacks from the naughty monkeys.
Don’t worry if you get too sweaty along the way, as we will come across the fantastic Tato Pani, a small hot water stream for relaxation. We will stop here for a while and enjoy the natural spa created by mother nature.
After the nice break, we will start hiking again, cross some bridges, and finally reach the Jagat village.
We will be trekking through some old local villages along the way. First, we will begin hiking to Salleri and then descend to Sardibas. You will know you’re there once you start seeing prayer flags and Gompas.
Steep trails, lush forests with rhododendrons, glimpses of the stunning Himalayas are some of the highlights of this trek. Once we cross the Siyar Khola bridge, it is just a short hike to reach our stop for the day, Pewa village. Here we will enjoy excellent meals and call it a day.
We will wake up with the morning sun, enjoy our hearty breakfasts, and then set off towards our destination of the day, Namrung, a beautiful local village.
The journey starts with us hiking to Deng. We will walk through some bamboo forests and cross a few suspension bridges to reach Deng. Lookout for white-faced monkeys along the way, as they might steal away your snacks. We will be trekking through some landslide regions, so better be careful as you walk. These dangerous trails will lead us to the Namring village, where we will be staying overnight.
Today we will explore the simple lifestyle and culture of the charming Nubri people and then begging our hike. We will walk past several Mani walls, terraced fields, lush rhododendron bushes, and little streams.
You will come across some beautiful paintings in the Kani (gate arches). We’ll continue hiking and finally reach Lho, a stunning village that offers excellent views of the Himalayas.
Today’s hike is also going to be a short uphill journey. We will walk while enjoying the picturesque view of the magnificent Manaslu peak.
The easy trails are decorated with green pine forests and rhododendrons bushes. You will know you’re inside Sama village once you see yak pastures and prayer flags. We will be spending the night here in a small lodge.
Today we will spend the day acclimatizing, which means we won’t do any excessive trekking or any activities that require too much of our energy. Being at such a high altitude, it is normal to feel a little uneasy at first.
This is why adjusting to the height and less oxygen level is crucial for us.
We will do some exploring of the village and enjoy the simplicity of rural life. If you feel energetic, you can hike to the Manaslu Base Camp situated at the North of the Sama Gaon. You will get an excellent view of the mountain from that place.
Another optional hike you can take is to the beautiful Birendra Tal. It is a relaxing place to just rest and enjoy nature at its best.
Now that we have adjusted to the altitude and are well-rested, we will be hiking towards our stop for the day, Samdo village.
Walking along with the steep and rocky trails while enjoying the glimpses of mountains, we will pass some wooden bridges and finally reach our stop, Samdo, where we will spend the night.
Today, we can either spend the day acclimatizing and exploring the Samdo region or go on an optional hike to the Tibetan border. The border region has the best view of both Nepal and Tibet lands.
On the south of Samdo Glacier, you will see some great picturesque sights. If lucky, you will see blue sheep, picas, and marmots too.
Today is another exciting day of our trek. We will be trekking to Dharmasala, located at an altitude of 4460 meters. It is going to be a short descend from Samdo village.
We will walk through some smaller towns, forests, and bridges and reach Dharmasala within a few hike hours. Here we will stay overnight in a lodge.
Today we will be trekking to the highest point of our journey, Larkye La Pass, at the altitude of 5160 meters. The trails are certainly challenging and will need a lot of motivation to go through.
Upon reaching the Larkye pass, we will be rewarded with breathtaking views of mountains like Himlung, Kang Guru, and Annapurna II along the way. After enjoying the glorious scenery, we will descend Bimthang downwards.
On our way, we will witness sights of mountains in all directions, icy glaciers, and Pongkar Tal between the Pongkar and Salpudanda Glaciers.
Today is our last day trekking in the Manaslu region. Our hike today will take us downwards to the lower settlements. We will start walking through lush green forests, freshwater streams, and some small villages.
As we go down, the villages and settlements will get larger. You will see more locals and agricultural areas as we continue hiking. After a long hike, we will be in Dharapani, where we will spend the night.
It is the last day of our incredible journey. Today we will enjoy our last breakfast in this beautiful region and then drive to Besi Sahar, a famous village in Lamjung. After arriving at Besi Sahar, we will take a bus to Kathmandu and end this trek.
Manaslu Circuit Trek is getting a lot of hype for its amazing geographical features, epic views, unique encounters with the local’s culture and traditions, and overall the thrill and adventure it has to offer.
Some are even calling Manaslu Circuit Trek the next Annapurna Base Camp, and it looks like it is.
Stationed between two of the highest peaks in the world, i.e., Annapurna to the west and Ganesh Himal to the east, Manaslu mountain is one of the most beautiful flowers globally, a height of 8156m. Its beauty is admired by many who visit the area throughout the year.
The Manaslu area is enriched with different rivers, lush green forests, glaciers, and wildlife. For those seeking an adventure of their lifetime, the Manaslu circuit trek never seems to let you down. A magical realm, not much touched by people, this area is a perfect getaway from your busy schedule and an ideal place to experience a calm nature to its best.
Unlike the Everest circuit camp, which is flooded by tourists throughout the year, the Manaslu circuit trek perceives fewer tourists. Many people did not take this trek seriously until recently, for it is an untouched and underdeveloped area for many years.
Many people would avoid the hardships of this trek. This trek was first opened to around 400 trekkers in 1992, and it still gives the fondness of a pioneering expedition to its visitors.
This magical journey will take you to the earthy farmlands with terraced rice and millet fields in the lowlands, the ferocious Budhi Gandaki gorge with crystal clear rivers, and breathtaking waterfalls in higher elevations.
Likewise, the suspension bridges along the way are in a league of their own.
The beautiful view of them connecting two hills seems other-worldly. In monsoon, when the water level rises, small bridges are swept away, leaving you with only stones to cross the streams, and you may have to walk for hours to cross the creek.
These tiny things and magical moments are what make this trip exceptional.
The whole trek takes about 14 days. However, this highly depends on your physical fitness. Our journey begins from a drive from Sotikhola through Arughat, which may take a whole day depending on the road’s condition, as the area is highly prone to landslides that obstruct the road.
Hiking begins from there to Machhakhola, from there on hiking forward for four days, you will come to Deng and move forward to Namrung. Upon reaching Samagaon, a small village situated in the Budi Gandaki valley, you can accommodate here.
Larkya La Pass(5106), according to many, is the most challenging part of the trek. After crossing the pass, you will reach Bhimtang and then eventually to Gho.
You will descend from here and follow the Annapurna circuit trail in reverse, passing Dharapani and at last taking a ride to Besisahar, from where you can get rides quickly to Kathmandu valley.
Getting into Nepal with a travel visa is pretty straightforward. You can either apply at a Nepalese embassy or get access on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport. You can also fill an online visa application form.
A single entry visa for 15-30 days will cost you around $25-$40. On the other hand, citizens of SAARC nation will have a free visa on arrival for 30 days. If you want to extend your stay, you will have to pay a certain sum depending on how long you want to stay.
The Nepal government has declared the Manaslu region a restricted area to not travel to this area as a solo traveler. The trekkers are needed to get some permits to enter the site. The permits required are:-
This permit is checked at Jagat on the way to Dharapani. Once you cross Sama Gaon, you need another document (ACAP). The price may depend on the number of days you spend in the Jagat to Dharapani area.
The price may also vary on seasons, as in peak season from September to November the price for the permit is $100 per person for the first week, from the eighth day onwards you will have to pay $15 per day extra for your stay.
Manaslu Conservation Area starts from Philim, and this is where you will need an MCAP permit. Unlike RAP, the price does not change according to seasons or the number of days you spend in the area. The total cost for this permit is $30 per person.
You will also need to get an ACAP permit as you will pass through Annapurna Conservation Area, from Dharapani to Besisahar. The cost of the permit is constant throughout the year. The fee for the entrance is $30 per person.
Note: You will not need a TIMS card (Trekkers Information Management System) after acquiring these three permits.
Every trek has its best and worst seasons. The Manaslu Circuit Trek is possible throughout the year. However, different seasons have their perks and drawbacks.
Here are the best seasons to trek the Manaslu Circuit Trek for smart travelers who don’t like running into unwanted weather surprises.
Spring season is considered the peak season for any treks and travels. The early spring that starts during March is perfect for hiking. Even the weather during this period is very mild, not too hot or cold.
The rhododendron forests are fully blossoming, and the woods and streams are also at their best. You will also get the best-unobstructed views of the stunning Himalayas.
No clouds and fogs are covering the mountains during this time. You will also see different varieties of flowers and plants along the way that only grow during spring, which increases your chances of seeing rare wildfires.
Another excellent season to go on treks is during the autumn. This is the time when the weather is the most stable and predictable. The trails are at their busiest, so you have a high chance of running into many trekkers along the way. You will get excellent views of the mountains because of the clear skies.
By many, Manaslu is considered a tea house trek, so be prepared to sleep on a tea house that will be very basic with a single or double bed provided as per your need. Lodges will offer you a mattress, blanket, and pillow, and you can ask for an extra blanket if you need it.
The friendly locals will surely provide you with the best hospitality. The toilets, however, might be a little problem for those who are used to a w/c.
Many of the tea houses have a squat toilet. Also, be sure to pack toilet paper with you throughout the journey. Heating is only available to the tea house’s dining area. This is the area where you meet other travelers following the same route.
A wood fire stove oven is built in the center of the room, and sitting arrangements are made around it.
You can get food at these tea houses. The locals’ staple is ‘Dal Bhat and Tarkari’, steamed rice, pulses soup, and locally grown vegetables. These foods are considered a balanced diet for the trekkers who need to replenish much-needed energy.
This diet is full of carbs, protein, vitamins, and other essential nutrients. You can also get some western food. For breakfast, there can be an option for egg preparations with toast and juice.
When it comes to trekking, keeping comfort as your foremost priority is on the top of one’s list. The experience of the journey is rather more exciting at first. However, taking the right things with you during such treks helps you enjoy the trip to the fullest.
Packing the right gears, clothes, and miscellaneous items while keeping them light and comfortable to carry around is something most travelers have a hard time with.
This is why we have listed all the necessary things that you should remember to pack for this trek.
The right clothes are what will make your trek easier and comfortable. Remember you will be walking in day time only. So try not to be sunburned and wear things that cover your skin.
Carry lightweight jackets and windcheaters, woolen shirts for chilly mornings and evenings, gloves, socks, and hats. Wear trousers that are not too tight and are comfortable to walk in.
Wearing the right boots and shoes in rocky and steep trails will make you comfortable and increase your speed. Carry a lightweight pair of boots and a pair of flip-flops. A regular pair of sports shoes are also handy for short village explorings.
Carry a small pouch to keep all your necessary daily hygiene and self-care supplies like toothbrushes, toothpaste, toiletries, soaps, shampoos, sunscreens, moisturizers, and so on.
Remember to carry your essential medications with you and always keep them handy. A small first aid kit for possible injuries is still a great idea.
It is essential to stay hydrated always as it helps you replenish energy for such long treks. Carry a decent thermal water bottle with a capacity of at least 1 liter of water. You can fill water from local teahouses along the way. If you have a sensitive body, carry some water filtering tablets to purify your water.
Now, finding toilets up in the forests and rocky trails is impossible. So make sure you make use of the washrooms in the teahouses before setting off for long hikes. F
or peeing, you can find pee bottles with a holding capacity of at least 1 liter. Make sure your water bottle and pee bottle are of different colors to avoid confusion.