The Manaslu Circuit Trek is probably one of the best trekking routes in Nepal. Having been opened up to trekkers as recently as 1992 and being quite a physically demanding trek, this area sees very few trekkers and retains a ‘pioneer’ feel. It is also in a Restricted Area, which means special permits are required, again keeping the number of trekkers low. As well as mountains - the Annapurnas to the west and Ganesh Himal to the East, and the majestic Manaslu itself at over 8,000 m – this 14 days trek will take you from the lowland agricultural lands with rice fields cut, seemingly effortlessly into the hillside, through forests, and along the Budhi Gandaki gorge with the crystal waters roaring passed, to over the snowbound Larkya La Pass (5,135 m) near the Tibetan border. Views of Manaslu from here are astounding and literally, in the high altitude thin air, will take your breath away.
As well as natural beauty you will be able to experience the culture of the area. Climbing higher into the mountains the dominance of Tibetan culture of the Tsum Valley becomes clear. Pass mani walls, prayer wheels, chortens and Tibetan flags fluttering in the wind, sending good prayers and wishes to the heavens. This area also falls within the Manaslu Conservation Area, home to the endangered snow leopard. Will you be lucky enough to spot one? What you definitely will spot are glittering sun-kissed mountains: Mount Manaslu of course, but also many, many more. At one point the trail brings into view a towering wall throwing down glaciers from Cheo Himal, Himlung Himal, Nemjung, Gyaji Kang and Kang Guru.
- Trip Duration: 13 days
- Level: Difficult
- Group size: 1-15
- Altitude: 5106 meters
- Permit: ACAP, Restricted area permit, and MCAP
- Accommodation: tea houses/guesthouses
- Best Time: February to June and September to November
Highlights of Manaslu Circuit Trek
- Feel like a pioneer in this pristine area
- Go from lowland fields to a snowbound pass
- Experience Tibetan culture
- Search for the endangered snow leopard
- Photograph towering glaciers and amazing mountains
- Larke La Pass, one of the highest pass in the world
- Pass via Budhi Gandaki river
- Culture of Nuri People
Food and Accommodation
You will eat next to where you sleep in the mountains. Continental food menus are available in the tea house. As they don't have proper storage for meat, vegetable grows organically in Manaslu region. It is recommended you should stay vegetarian during the hike. Some camp along the way may offer a non-vegetarian menu like chicken, pork, and even Yak stake. As you need protein while hiking, you should consult with your guide to make sure they are hygienic.
Lunch and Dinner
"Dal Bhat Pawer, 24 Hour" It is a famous saying in Nepal. Varieties of rice menus such as Dal Bhat set, Veg fried rice, Mix fried rice, Pasta, Macaroni, Spaghetti, Spring roll, Sandwich, Momo are excellent availability for lunch and dinner.
Chapati, Pancake, Tibetan bread, Porridge, varieties of soup, and eggs made omelets are well known for Breakfast.
The best weather window is important while planning a trek in Nepal. Spring and Autumn is the best time for the Manaslu circuit. Starting from the last week of September until mid-December, It is considered as the best weather window for Autumn. March until May is a well-known spring season in Nepal. In recent year 2020, the road condition to the trailhead has significantly improved. Year to come, Manaslu could be a great alternative trail for a monsoon all because of the newly built road. Unlike before, a trailhead used to often closed during monsoon. January until mid-February, some of the camp like Dharmasala, and Bhimtang might close for winter. However, If the weather is clear, you can still make a pass in winter with little extra effort.
Manaslu Circuit trek is rated moderate. Difficulty ratings measure from the various part such as hours of hike, distance, altitude gain, etc. However, the primary concern is altitude sickness and acclimatization. Although it is a high pass trek, the chance of being sick in Manaslu is lower compear to other base camp trek in Nepal. All because the hike starts from as low as 750m at (Sotikhola) and gradually increased up to 5,160m to Larke pass in 10 days. Which means, the hikers will have better chances to get acclimated before reaching a high altitude. With decent physical fitness, with no prior hiking experience, this hike is feasible in the wilderness of the remote area of the Manaslu region of Gorkha Nepal. Here is the short video in detailed.
When designing the itinerary, you should always keep extra days for acclimatization. Based on research, you should hike not more than 6-7 hours of hiking and 400-500m of altitude gain each day in below 3,000m. It should be buffer day in 3,000m and below 5,000m. And no more than 4,00m between 3,000 - 5,000m. If you keep this ration even for the first time, high altitude hikers will survive with no symptoms of sickness.
You might see a local guide drinking tap water in Manaslu, but is it safe for tourists. It all depends on your immune power. Locals are used to drinking tap water doesn't mean you have to the same. "Prevention is better than cure" I wouldn't suggest drinking tap water; instead, you can purify and drink. There are several water purification tablets available in the market. Bottled water also available for purchase. But definitely not good for the environment after use as they don't have proper recycling in the mountain.
You are required to have at least three different permits to complete Manaslu Trek. As part of the Great Himalayan Trail and restricted area, you need at least 1-week special permission plus the ACAP and MCAP permit. A detailed trek cost breakdown available here.
- You are required to accompanied by a local guide
- It should be at least two people in one group (Local guide doesn't count)
- It is only allowed to trek within the duration of restricted permit validation.
- Independent hikers are not allowed (unless you join the group or trek with ghost permit)
Transportation to the trailhead
As Manaslu is one of the remote area treks in Nepal, tourist buses are not available in this section. You have the option to take a local bus (budget option) or take the private jeep. The first 2 hours of your journey is on a paved road. After that, it is about 4 hours on a muddy and dusty road between Dhading Beshi and Sotikhola. At the end of your journey, the trek finish at the Annapurna region of Dharapani. To get back to Kathmandu, you have to travel on a local jeep between Dharapani to Besishar and then to Kathmandu on a local bus or private car/jeep.
Communication and Wifi Facilities
There is wifi availability in a couple of high altitude camps such as Loh, Samagaun, and Bhimtang. Speed might be ridiculously slow, but it does the job for a few Instagram posts and deliver a message to your friends and family that you are doing ok. If you want to have your own cell phone data carriers, "Ncell" has better internet speed and coverage.
What to pack?
Pack light, hike light! A significant factor in achieving the high pass of Larke in Manaslu Circuit Trek matters the most what is your packing list should be? If you especially don't have an additional porter to share a load on your shoulder, you must hike light. Having said that, you shouldn't miss the necessary list as well. Here is some idea.
- First Aid Kit
- Trekking Poles
- Water Bottles
- Sleeping Bag
- Down Jacket
- Base Layer Tops and Bottoms
- Day Pack
- Duffel Bag
- Fleece Pants
- Fleece/Wool Gloves (Windproof)
- Fleece/Wool Hat
- Fleece/Wool Jacket or Sweater
- Headlamp with extra batteries
- Hiking Boots
- Hiking Pants
- Hiking Socks
- Insulated Jacket
- Long Sleeve Shirts
- Rain Jacket
- Rain Pants (Optional but suitable for snow and rain in case)
- Sport Sunglasses
- Sun Block and Lip Balm
- Sun Hat
- Regularly using Medicines
- Microspike (Lifesaver during heavy and icy weather)
- Portable solar charger or backup charger
- Water purifier
- Reading and writing materials if you have book craze
- Ice glasses
- Eye Mask
- Travel Games
- Travel Documents
- Airline Tickets
- Copy of Passport (2 Copies)
- Nepal Visa
- Travel insurance
- Passport Photos (4)
- Valid Passport
- Required permits
Altitude sickness and its prevention
Altitude sickness is the effect of high elevation on the health of people, which is caused by the low amount of oxygen in high altitudes. It mainly occurs after you reach above 2500 meters.
- Increase in elevation
- Low level of oxygen
- Use of alcohol
Symptoms are temporary but in some cases, If you can't be acclimatized it can be dangerous so you need to prevent yourself.
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swelling of hands, feet, and face
- Nose bleeding
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid pulse
- Dry cough
- Altitude acclimatization
- Oxygen enrichment
- Keep yourself hydrated
- Do not use alcoholic substances
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The Cost Includes
- Trekking porter 2:1 (One porter for 2 guests) maximum up to 22kg (11kg per client)
- All necessary permits for the trek (ACAP, MCAP, and Manaslu Especial permit)
- 12 nights accommodation in the mountain
- 3 times food (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) along the way
- Kathmandu Arughat Sotikhola by private jee
- Dharapani to Besishar by local jeep
- Besishar to Kathmandu Private jee
- Sleeping bag for the trip
- Water bottle and purified water during the trek
- Duffel bag for the porter
- 1 set of trekking pole
- Warm hat
The Cost Excludes
- Nepal visa
- Kathmandu Hotel and food
- any kind of drinks on the mountain
- Wifi, Bucket shower, donation
- Tips for the guide
After the early morning breakfast, we will drive towards Soti Khola via Gorkha Arughat. Arughat is the beginning point of our trek. Since the tourist's buses leaving from Kathmandu to Gorkha is inaccessible, we will either take local transport or private jeep. The trip will take 6 to 7 hours drive by a private vehicle while 8 to 9 hours by public jeep.
Through the bank of Budi GandakiRiver, we will pass via Lapubeshi up to Mache Khola. We will walk through the road way near the bank of the river. The trail is flat, and the trek is easy, however, the temperature is hot. Passing right through the fertile territory, we will reach to Lapubeshi. From there we will move towards the villages like NauliKhola, Khani Besi and at last to Mache Khola. We will spend our first night there in a small village where most of the inhabitants are Gurung and Ghale.
Early in the morning, we will head towards Jagat from Mache Khola, which is about 6-7 hours of walk. The route is mixed as some way are flat, and some are uphill while some are downhill. Firstly, we will walk for 1 and a half hours and reach Khorlabesi. Likewise, from Khorla besi we will reach Tatopani within 1 hour of walk. Tatopani is famous for hot spring water. We will take a short hot shower and head towards Dovan, i.e., 1 and a half hours walking. Walking, again for 45 minutes we will reach Yauraphat and Jagat from there walking 1and half hour. Before Jagat and after Yaruphat, we will cross the Cantiler bridge.
Jagat is a wide valley like territory next to Budi Gandaki. It is accompanied by local people with a small school in the middle. The following day, we will head towards restricted area directly after being checked at the check post of Jagat. Jagat is divided into two sections, i.e., upper and lower. The one right after crossing the bridge is lower Jagat from where we will hike up a little bit to reach the Upper Jagat. Upper Jagat is bigger and more congested with a narrow lane on the middle of the village and houses on either side of the trail.
Today we will trek to Deng from Jagat passing the town of Philim and heading towards Eakle Bhatti experiencing another check post. Philim is another excellent village Inhabitat by Gurung community with Japanese donated school having round rooftop. It is beautiful as it tends to be viewed from far away. Going ahead, we will arrive at the trail with y intersection where one can go to Tsum Valley from the right-hand side and left one lead to Manaslu. We will take the left-hand sideway where we will cross a bridge and navigate toward the narrow gorge right to Deng another little tiny place.
On the way, we will pass the villages like Salleri, Siridibas, Chisopani, Noeakphedi, and Pewa. We will have the view of Siringi mountain(7218m) and Ganesh Himal ranges. Likewise, we will reach at one place which is famous for growing Marijuana, and there Marijuana day is celebrated. The route is mostly gradual uphill and sometimes downhill. Due to the long walk, you may be tired, but the trek is not that difficult. About seven suspension bridges will be crossed while trekking. Overnight at Deng.
Walking for about 7 to 8 hours today we will head towards Namrung from Deng. Firstly we will walk for 1 hour and reach Rana village. After, to Behophedi 1 hour walk and then to Gap 2 hours walk. Lastly, we will arrive at Namrung walking for 3 hours. The way is abit narrow with some part uphill, some downhill and some gradually up. Before reaching to Namrung and after the last suspension bridge, we will walk straight upward through the forest. On the way the majestic view of Ganesh Himal range and Saula Himal greets us. About 6-7 suspension bridge should be crossed this day.
In comparison to the earlier day trails, today's path is one of the most excellent as we go through Sho, Lho and Shyala Village. From that point, we can see mountains on the whole side, including tremendous Manaslu. While in the way to the entrance, the landscapes are unique with old Chortens. The housing is typical and diverse with the individuals in a different dress makes the trek unique. Before coming to SamaGau, there will be one little school with enormous football before it. Notwithstanding for the individuals who are searching up for expedition then Manaslu resembles a help base camp where the majority of the individual's store gear for Manaslu Expedition.
The trail to Samagaon is Gradual uphill and straight uphill. From Namrung we will walk for 45 minutes and reach Bomja. From there walking for 45 minutes to Sho and 1 hour to Lho we will reach Syala village. Likewise, from Syala village walking continuously for 2 hours, we will reach our destination Samagaon. Right before getting to Lho we will had the opportunity to Manaslu, Manaslu North, Naike Peak or Master peak. Lho will be our lunch place where we will take some rest and have some food. In Lho we will visit the Rivung Gompa.
As we are already at the height of around 3700 m from ocean level, we will go through our first day of acclimatization. We will climb upright through Manaslu Base Camp passing through Ridge of Birendra Lake. Aerial perspective on Birendra Lake is grand, so is the view on Mighty Manaslu. Today we can see the distinctive face of Manaslu absolutely from posterior which consistently look all the more new and delicate snow on the base.
There will be two option today as the side trip one is Manaslu Base Camp and the other is Pungen Gompa. If we walk for Manaslu Base Camp, it takes 9 hours to reach, and if we go for Gompa, it will take 4 hours. From Base Camp, the glacier and Master peak can be viewed. Whereas we can also view the 360 panoramas, Glacier firmly, Mountains, Closer fall of the avalanche, Blusheeo and yak, etc. In Gompa, if the Avalanche is not seen, then we can listen to its sound falling every 15 minutes. After coming Back From one of the side trip, we can go for Birendra Lake right below Manaslu Base Camp. The lake is chilling where we can make a pile of stone.
Nearly at a similar height, Samdo is around four-hour walk from SamaGaun. The trail is all the way flat and gradual uphill we will be losing the perspective of Mount Manaslu as we make a move ahead for Samdo. Passing the route of large Chorten, we will arrive at the settlement of Samdo, another village that is like SamaGau.
Todays is the easy day of this trekking. We will walk through the bushes, wooden bridge, and Terrance land, which is impressive. After reaching to Samdo, we will meet many people who have migrated there from Tibet long ago. We can make a side trip to the village and a bit up
Not a plunge hotel, simple little stoned hotel for overnight convenience is hugely helping for traversing Larke Pass as we can't cross Larke Pass straightforwardly from Samdo. So it will be genuinely long. We will go through a night in Dharmasala and walk around to witness Larke Glacier and offer your involvement with other individual trekkers who may have cross Larke Pass from next side from Bimthang.
The route to Dharmasala is gradual uphill due to the elevation the way seem to be challenging with less oxygen. In this day we will view the Tibetan mountains from the right and Master peak, Manaslu, Manaslu North and Larke Peak on the left. Likewise, some places are slippery and narrow, so we need to careful while walking. The people here are not permanent; they have been doing the seasonal business related to tourism, and the company closes when there is offseason.
Directly after a short trip, we will reach toward the north sided valley of Larkya Glaciers. There we can see Larkya Peak, one of the celebrated climbing crests in Manaslu Trekking Route. With a perspective of Annapurna II we will enjoy the farewell to Mount Manaslu and head to Annapurna region at Bimthang. Bimthang is the beautiful village toward the finish of Manaslu Circuit Trek and the second last overnight in the confined area of Manaslu Trek.
From Dharmasala, we will walk for about 4-5 hours to reach Bhimtang. We can find Temporary tea house between Dharmasal and Larke La Pass. There is no water, so it is better to carry the water bag with you. After, we can have a view of mountains with 360 panorama. Annapurna ranges, Manaslu ranges, Larkepeak seems to be close from the left side. The Glacier lake is in the left. The path is rocky all the way. Similarly, Tibetan flags, Chortens are one of the attractions in this trekking. In the middle there is no shop or anything to eat; you need to carry a daypack for lunch. On the left from Larke La to Bhimtang Ratna Chuli, Himlung, Killer mountain, Cheo, Pere Himal, Jarkaya Himal, Gyala peak and Larke north is seen.
Ahead of schedule after strolling for 5 to 6 hours down the slope to Surkikhola, we will have our lunch on the way. Proceeding with our walk through the pine and rhododendron forests, we will stop at Gho where we can discover only 5 Tea houses. Following the Dudhkhola stream from Bhimtang to Gho, the beautiful Putang Himal alongside Lamjung Himal can be seen. The tea houses there is by all accounts OK with hot shower and wifi. After crossing the suspension bridge and two wooden bridge we will spend overnight there.
Today, we will stroll for 2 and half hours and drive for four hours in the dumpy street where on the way Chamche cascade and Syange cascade can be seen. From that point onward, Dharapani comes where ACAP grant is checked. Crossing the four suspension bridge among Gho and Dharapani, we will arrive at the headquarter of Lamjung and stay overnight.
Promptly in the first part of the day we wil head towards Kathmandu with 6 to 7 hours of drive. We will have our lunch on the way.
Frequently asked QuestionExpand/Close
If you are keen to do the Manaslu circuit, you should be physically fit. It is not true that the Manaslu trek is not for beginners. The maximum elevation of the trek is 5106m, and the route has several ascent and descent, but you will have lots of time to be acclimatized so if you are Physically fit, Manaslu trek is not as harder as it seems. (Difficult should refer to the walking hour, total distance, sickness, etc.) Watch this video https://youtu.be/6uO6Xn6q_68. Just not the random word)
The trek starts from Sotikhola. On the first day, you will drive from Kathmandu to Sotikhola by Local bus or private jeep and stay overnight in Sotikhola. Next day morning, after having breakfast you will start your trek onward to Machhakhola.
Sotikhola is about 140km far from Kathmandu. From Kathmandu to Dhading, halfway blacktop road and from Dhading to Sotikhola there is a bumpy road. If you drive from Kathmandu to Sotikhola by private jeep, it takes normally 7 hours. If you go by the public bus it takes roughly 8 to 9 hours.
Manaslu is a restricted area, the Nepal government will not give you permission to do the Manaslu circuit trek without a guide.
Yes, It would be valid if you want to further trek to Annapurna Circuit after Manaslu. As long as you don’t exit the national park, however, you have to bring TIMS permit, which is USD 10 with the guide, and for independent trekkers, it is USD 20. You have to make sure you purchase this permit in advance if you are trekking to Annapurna circuit after.
As per the government rules, trekkers need three different permits to do the Manaslu circuit trek. 1. Manaslu restricted area entry permit 2. Manaslu conservation area entry permit 3. Annapurna conservation area entry permit Restricted area entry permit cost would be $70 in Sept, Oct, Nov and $50 in other months and it is valid for 7 days. If you stay longer than a week in the restricted area then you have to pay per day $10 extra. Manaslu and Annapurna conservation area entry permit cost is $30 each. Let’s suppose you are trekking for 14 days so the total cost would be USD 130 for one person.
A total number of only about 8,000 tourists hike Manaslu annually. Compared to the Everest and Annapurna region 40,000 – 50,000 hikers each year. Also, the region is part of the restricted area, means independent hikers are not welcome here, which craft down the significant number of tourist makes this area one of the peaceful and less crowded trekking regions in Nepal. this region Manaslu region is quiet and peace because individual trekkers are not allowed in the restricted area.
You don’t have to expect the food and accommodation like in the city area. Regarding the accommodation, there will be a simple tea house which would not have well fascinate. There will be common toilet and shower. Regarding the food, every teahouse offers western food in different taste.
In this case, the guide will be flexible with your decision. If you decide to take a rest for 1 or 2 days and continue the trek that’s also fine but if the case is emergency or you are not feeling comfortable, in the meantime the option is fly back to Kathmandu by helicopter.
You have to walk 8 to 9 hours on the day of Larkey la. From Dharamsala to Larkey la top, there is 4-hour ascent way and after passing the Larkey 5 hours descent route to Bhimtang. After the pass, there is a glacier lake called Ponkar lake in Bhimtang which is really nice. You can hike to the glacier lake in the morning in Bhimtang.
The trek will be ended from Dharapani. You will take a private jeep or public sharing jeep to Besisahar and of course, you can continue to Pokhara or Chitwan from Besisahar.