The Manaslu Trek is claimed to be Nepal’s hidden gem. It has much less traffic than its neighbors over at Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit; however, momentum is gaining. If this is on your list I recommend doing it sooner than later. The scenery won’t disappoint!
|S.N.||Date & distance||Start & endpoint||Elevation & Gread|
|1||Date of trekking||March 10-15, 2017||Starting point||Sotikhola||Maximum elevation||5,160m|
|2||Distance||190 KM||Ending Point||Dharapani||Minimum elevation||760m|
|3||No. of trekkers||2 Person||Trek style||Tea House||Difficulty / Grade||Challenging|
|4||Minimum days||13-17 days||Maximum days||20-25 days||Daily Budget||USD 20-25|
At least two people in the group and three different permits are required for Manaslu hike
Manaslu Conservation Area permit (A guide is needed to attain this) – $50USD for the first week and $7 USD/day afterward
TIMS card (Trekker Information Management System) – $25USD for 15days
Annapurna Conservation Area permit – is also $25 USDAll said, the permits cost around $150USD
Planned Start: Soti Khola
Planned Finish: Dharapani
Actual Start: Soti Khola
Actual Finish: Soti Khola
Kathmandu to Arughat – Hired a Jeep through Travel Link Services – $165USD
Arughat to Soti Khola – Local bus – ~650ru for three people
It is possible to take a local bus from Kathmandu to Arughat. We elected to take a private jeep for the convenience. Some of the other hikers, who took the local bus, mentioned it took about 9hrs; the private jeep took 6hrs.
The trail is a double track passing through small villages as it follows the river up the valley. It is the main connector to the remote villages and; therefore, busy with mule trains, locals, and trekkers. You’ll find yourself walking on stone steps, riverbeds, and through landslide and avalanche areas. Your mind will never be bored as you trek through subtropical jungles, barren alpine terrain, and alongside cliffs looking down at the river.
No camping gear is required as you hike from village to village, staying at teahouses along the way. The buildings and beds are basic. The buildings have no source of heat and snow was able to blow in through the paper-thin walls. The beds were a wooden platform with a foam mattress and sheet. I found them quite comfortable; at times, I was alone with this sentiment. Some of the teahouses had blankets for use. Our guide did not carry a sleeping bag; however, we packed -9 deg C sleeping bags and I would recommend others do the same.
In my personal experience, the Manaslu trek cost also depends on how much you want to spend in a day. It was recommended to budget $35 USD/day for the trip including food and accommodations. We, however, spent about 20- $25 USD/day.
Prior to this trip, I had never been above 3600m. As a result, we chose a more conservative itinerary. We also wanted to take advantage of being in the area and see all of the main sights. The main places we decided to check out where Manaslu Base Camp, Pung Gyan Gompa, and Gyala Bhanjyang Pass. Once we were on the trail things changed. We were able to cover the terrain quicker than we had anticipated, putting us a full day ahead of schedule. With this extra time, we decided to spend more time in Namrung. Here we were fortunate to see an amazingly beautiful monastery. It was one of my favorite places on the trail with very calm energy. Once up by Sama, there was too much snow to hike to the Manaslu Base Camp. Some of the other hikers broke trail to the Gompa; however, we elected to take a rest day, gaining ~1000m the previous day. Their comments were that it was well worth the 9hrs of hiking. We didn’t get any higher than Sama so I am unable to comment on the trail further along. Our taste buds agreed that the best “Dal-Bhat“ was in Deng. Philim was a busier town than we anticipated and therefore, I’d recommend staying on the outskirts of town. There were great accommodations on the left as you exited the town when hiking up the valley, which had individual huts.
|Planned Itinerary||Elevation of destination||Elevation gain|
|1||10-Mar||Jeep to Soti Khola||730||2336|
|2||11-Mar||Soti Kohol to Khorlabesi||970||3104||240||768||12km||6hrs|
|3||12-Mar||Khorlabesi to Jagat||1379||4413||409||1309||11km||6.5hs|
|4||13-Mar||Jagat to Deng||1860||5952||481||1539||12km||6hrs|
|5||14-Mar||Deng to Namrung||2540||8128||680||2176||15km||7hrs|
|6||15-Mar||Namrung to Lho||3180||10176||550||1760||12km||6hrs|
|7||16-Mar||Lho to Sama||3520||11264||340||1088||7km||4hrs|
|8||17-Mar||Sama –> Base Camp –> Sama||3520||11264||340||1088|
|9||18-Mar||Sama –> Pung Gyen Gompa –> Sama||3520||11264||0||0||5km||6hrs|
|10||19-Mar||Sama to Samdo||3875||12400||355||1136||6km||4hr|
|11||20-Mar||Samdo –> Gyala Bhanjyang pass –> Samdo||3875||12400||0||0|
|12||21-Mar||Samdo to Dharamsala||4460||14272||585||1872||7km||5hr|
|13||22-Mar||Dharamsala to Bimthang||3580||11456||-880||-2816||13km||9hrs|
|14||23-Mar||Bimthang to Tilje||2300||7360||-1280||-4096||9km|
|15||24-Mar||Tilje to Dharapani – back to Kathmandu||1963||6282||-420||-1344||5km|
Tatopani – Great place to stay as they have a natural hot spring. Accommodations are open to the air
Deng – Best Dal Bhat (Traditional Nepali food) we ever had in the Manaslu
Ghap – Awesome accommodations, brand new resort-style tea houses, also not so busy
Lho – Has a full-blown store
Shyala – I would stay here over Lho, better views
There is a small accommodation that looks up the Tsum valley that looked like an amazing place to stay. It didn’t work into our itinerary. At the start of the trail, you walk along a road for an hour before you’re on the ‘trail’.
(If you like more detailed information, I can send you photo’s of my guidebook, please contact me here)
|Actual Manaslu trek Itinerary||Elevation of destination||Elevation gain|
|1||10-Mar||Jeep to Arughat, a charter to Soti Khola||708||2266||140km||8hrs|
|2||11-Mar||Soti Kohol to Tatopani||913||2922||205||656||8hr 10min|
|3||12-Mar||Tatopani to Philim||1543||4938||630||2016||8hr 12min|
|4||13-Mar||Philim to Ghap||2070||6624||527||1686||9hr 4min|
|5||14-Mar||Ghap to Namrung||2592||8294||522||1670||2hr 23min|
|6||15-Mar||Namrung to Samagaon (Aka Sama)||3492||11174||900||2880||19km||8hr 10min**|
|8||17-Mar||Samagaon to Namrung||2592||8294||-900||-2880||19km||6hr 19min|
|9||18-Mar||Namrung to Philim||2070||6624||-522||-1670||9hr 20min|
|10||19-Mar||Philim to Mocha Khola||850||2720||-1220||-3904||9hr|
|11||20-Mar||Mocha Khola to Soti Kohol||708||2266||-142||-454||2hr 12min|
|12||21-Mar||Soti Kohol to Arughat via local bus||708||2266||0||0||13km||1hr 15min|
Table symbols: (* distances are unknown. They are estimates from other sources **we did not stop for lunch this day *** lunch on average took 1.5hours ## elevation taken from the watch)
|Gear I packed for this trip||Quantity||Gear I packed for this trip||Quantity|
|-9°C sleeping bag||1||Bra||1|
|Silk cotton blend sleeping bag liner||1||underwear||2|
|Gortex jacket||1||Trekking socks (Burnt one..oops)||3|
|Softshell jacket||2||Solomon high top hikers||1|
|Synthetic light puffy (Wasn’t needed)||1||Microspikes||1|
|Down heavy puffy||1||Hiking poles||1|
|Light long john pants||2||Gloves||1|
|Rain pants||1||Sandals for camp||1|
We found the Manaslu trek itinerary to be quite relaxed, hence being a full day ahead of our plan. The 14-day option is feasible for those with prior altitude experience and a strong fitness level. If you were like us, no previous high altitude experience, a desire to check out the local sights, and not get caught up in the need to push, and a very strong fitness level, I’d recommend 14 – 15 days. Those who are questioning their fitness and their knees (there are a lot of steps on the trail) I would give yourself extra time, 17-18 days.
For more information, including a list of the gear we packed and overnight temperatures check out www.GetOutsideAdventures.ca I’d be happy to answer any questions swirling around in your head.