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Manaslu Circuit Trek

Manaslu Circuit Trek

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Are you considering trekking in Nepal’s Manaslu region? Is the allure of the Manaslu Circuit calling your name? If you’re seeking detailed information about this remarkable trek, you’re in the right place.

Renowned for its Himalayan splendor, Nepal offers countless tours and trekking adventures. But what sets the Manaslu Circuit apart? Unlike the bustling trails of Everest and Annapurna, Manaslu promises a quieter, off-the-beaten-path experience. Here, we’ll uncover the essential aspects of the Manaslu Trek, from its duration and costs to trail challenges and a sample itinerary.

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a challenging and popular 14-18 days trek in Nepal that’s a bit off the beaten path. It’s known for the stunning views of snow-covered mountains, especially the eighth highest mountain in the world, Mt. Manaslu (8,163m/26,781ft). But it’s not just about the mountains – this trek also takes you through beautiful nature, diverse wildlife, traditional cultures, less-traveled paths, amazing landscapes, and untouched beauty in a naturally rich area. If you’re an adventurous trekker who loves tranquility, unspoiled nature, and ecological balance, the Manaslu Trek is a must-try experience in your lifetime.

Key Highlights of Manaslu Circuit Trekking:

Manaslu Circuit Trekking

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Captivating Road Journey: Unlike the Everest Base Camp or Annapurna Circuit, the Manaslu Trek commences with an exhilarating 4-wheel drive from Kathmandu to Aaru-Ghat and Soti Khola. This road trip offers captivating vistas along remote routes, delivering exotic landscapes and a thrilling, off-road experience. Secure your seatbelts and immerse yourself in the earthy fragrances of the Manaslu region.

Tranquil and Carefree Trekking: With a limited number of trekkers on the trail, the Manaslu Region Trek offers a serene and worry-free experience. It’s relatively less frequented compared to the Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp Treks. Some areas still have restrictions on trekking, ensuring a peaceful and harmonious trekking atmosphere.

Spectacular Views of Mt. Manaslu and Beyond: The trek’s pinnacle experience is undeniably the breathtaking panorama of the world’s eighth highest peak, Mt. Manaslu, often dubbed the “killer mountain.” From the trek’s zenith, Larkya La (5,160m/16,928ft), the sight of Mt. Manaslu and other awe-inspiring peaks is genuinely mesmerizing.

Untamed, Picturesque, and Secluded Paths: A significant portion of the Manaslu region’s trails remains unspoiled and undiscovered. Trekking enthusiasts have the chance to explore novel routes and may come across a wide array of flora and fauna while venturing through the Manaslu Conservation Area.

Flawless Natural Splendor: The Manaslu Trek provides an unparalleled opportunity to immerse oneself in the tranquil beauty of an untouched territory. There’s nothing quite like trekking in this restricted area, where you can uncover the pristine marvels of nature.

Immerse in a Diverse Cultural Tapestry: The Manaslu Trek offers a fascinating opportunity to engage with a rich blend of cultures. It’s believed that many inhabitants of the highlands are descendants of Tibetans who migrated to this area around the 1600s. As you trek through this region, you’ll have the chance to experience their traditional way of life, steeped in Tibetan influences. The local population follows a unique fusion of Tibetan Buddhism and Nepalese Buddhism, creating a cultural tapestry that is both intriguing and captivating.

History of Manaslu Circuit Trekking in Nepal

Manaslu Circuit Trekking in Nepal

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The Manaslu region has long been one of the least-visited destinations in this majestic mountain range. Taking a glimpse into its trekking history, it’s fascinating to note that back in 1995, only around 300 tourists ventured into this area. This was despite the fact that Mt. Manaslu had already been conquered by Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu in 1956.

However, the Government of Nepal had restricted trekking in the Manaslu region until 1990 due to security concerns. Interestingly, this restriction played a role in preserving the region’s delicate ecological balance and its pristine natural resources. It wasn’t until 2010 that tea houses began to appear, providing improved accommodation and hospitality for trekkers. This development marked the beginning of the Manaslu trek gaining popularity.

The year 2015 brought significant challenges when a massive earthquake struck Nepal, severely affecting the Manaslu region trekking route, which remained closed for several months. During that year, the region managed to welcome 2,288 tourists.

However, the story takes an exciting turn as the number of trekkers in the Manaslu region has been steadily increasing. Since the 2017-2018 period, the region has consistently welcomed over 7,000 trekkers each year. This growth in interest reflects the captivating allure of the Manaslu Circuit Trek, drawing adventurers from around the world to explore its pristine landscapes and rich cultural tapestry.

Understanding the Manaslu Circuit Trek and Its Itinerary

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is an exciting adventure that doesn’t require you to be a super athlete. You don’t need to be an experienced trekker either. The trek can last between 14 to 18 days, depending on how fast you want to go, the time of year you choose, and the route you take.

Starting the Trek: Your journey begins in a small village called Soti Khola. From there, you’ll follow the beautiful path along the Budhi Gandaki River valley. This path eventually takes you all the way around Mount Manaslu, which is the eighth tallest mountain in the world. Along the way, you’ll walk through lush forests, fields with terraced steps, and villages where people live in traditional ways. Plus, you’ll see gigantic snowy mountains on the horizon.

Changing Scenery: As you go up in the mountains, the landscape changes. It goes from being like a warm, tropical place to looking more like a dry, desert-like area at the highest points. The highest point along this trek is known as Larkya La Pass, and it sits impressively high at an altitude of 5,160 meters (16,930 feet) above sea level. Standing there, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of the colossal mountains, including Manaslu, Himlung, and Cheo Himal. These are truly massive peaks that will leave you in awe.

Ending the Trek: Your big adventure wraps up in a village called Dharapani. Now, you’ve got two choices: you can either go back to Kathmandu, the capital city, or you can keep trekking to other cool places like the Annapurna Circuit or the gorgeous Tilicho Lake. There’s no shortage of amazing places to explore in this part of the world!

Choosing the Perfect Time for Manaslu Circuit Trek

When it comes to the ideal time for embarking on the Manaslu Circuit Trek, you have two standout options: spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November).

Spring Delight (March to May): During the spring season, the entire landscape comes alive with the vibrant blossoms of rhododendron forests. This is the time when nature unveils its colorful attire, making the trek a visually enchanting experience. The weather is mild, skies are clear, and the rain is minimal, ensuring you have the best possible views of the stunning landscapes.

Autumn Awesomeness (September to November): If you prefer trekking amidst a festive atmosphere, autumn is your season. This period coincides with several major Nepali festivals such as Dashain, Tihar, Chhat, and Indrajatra. As you traverse the trails, you can immerse yourself in the celebratory spirit. The weather remains delightful, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures, making it an excellent time for trekking.

A Sample Eighteen Days Manaslu Trek Itinerray:

Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu (1,300m/4,265ft).

Day 2: Explore Kathmandu Valley and prepare for the trek.

Day 3: Drive from Kathmandu (1,300m/4,265ft) to Arughat (600m/1,970ft) and then to Soti Khola (70m/2,300ft): A long journey of 135km, taking approximately 8-9 hours.

Day 4: Trek from Soti Khola (700m/2,300ft) to Machha Khola (870m/2,855ft): Covering a distance of 13km, which takes about 5-6 hours.

Day 5: Trek from Machha Khola (870m/2,855ft) to Dobhan (1,070m/3,510ft): A trek of 10km, expected to take 5-6 hours.

Day 6: Trek from Dobhan (1,070m/3,510ft) to Philim (1,570m/5,150ft): A challenging trek of 13km that can take 7-8 hours.

Day 7: Trek from Philim (1,570m/5,150ft) to Deng (1,860m/6,102ft): Covering 10km and requiring approximately 6-7 hours.

Day 8: Trek from Deng (1,860m/6,102ft) to Namrung (2,630m/8,630ft): A trek of 15km, which takes about 7-8 hours.

Day 9: Trek from Namrung (2,630m/8,630ft) to Lho (3,180m/10,432ft): Covering 7km and taking approximately 4-5 hours.

Day 10: Trek from Lho (3,180m/10,432ft) to Sama Gaon (3,520m/11,550ft): A 9km trek expected to take 5-6 hours.

Day 11: Rest and exploration day in Sama Gaon.

Day 12: Trek from Sama (3,520m/11,550ft) to Samdo (3,860m/12,664ft): Covering 8km and taking around 4-5 hours.

Day 13: Trek from Samdo (3,860m/12,664ft) to Larkya Phedi/Dharamsala (4,460m/14,631ft): A trek of 7km, requiring approximately 4-5 hours.

Day 14: Trek from Dharamsala (4,460m/14,631ft) to Larkya La (5,160m/16,928ft) and then to Bimthang (3,590m/11,777ft): A challenging trek of 13km, taking 8-9 hours.

Day 15: Trek from Bimthang (3,590m/11,777ft) to Gho (2,515m/8,250ft): Covering 13km and expected to take 6-7 hours.

Day 16: Trek from Gho (2,515m/8,250ft) to Dharapani (1,920m/6,300ft): A trek of 8km, taking about 3-4 hours.

Day 17: Drive from Dharapani (1,920m/6,300ft) to Besi Sahar (760m/2,495ft), and then to Kathmandu (1,300m/4,265ft): A journey of 190km, taking approximately 7-8 hours.

Day 18: Final departure.

Preparing for the Manaslu Circuit Trek

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a challenging high-altitude journey that extends for at least a week.While the trek is manageable for those with a basic level of fitness, being in good shape will enhance your overall experience. Here’s how to improve your physical readiness:

Cardiovascular Fitness: Engage in cardio exercises such as running, cycling, or swimming. These activities boost blood flow to your body, delivering more oxygen to your cells. This is especially important because at higher altitudes, there’s less oxygen in the air. So, improving your cardiovascular fitness in the weeks leading up to the trek is essential.

Strength Training: Given that the Manaslu Circuit trek spans at least a week and includes challenging terrain, building strength is crucial. Exercises like lunges, squats, push-ups and planks will help you develop the inner strength needed for the journey.

Hiking Practice: If time allows, consider practicing hiking or taking long walks with a loaded backpack. This will give you a taste of what it’s like to trek long distances with a backpack. It’s a valuable way to prepare for the demands of the Manaslu Circuit.

Acclimatization: Your Key to a Safe Manaslu Circuit Trek

The Manaslu Circuit Trek takes you to high altitudes, reaching up to 5,160 meters at Larkya La Pass. Therefore, acclimatization is absolutely crucial to prevent altitude sickness. Here are some effective ways to acclimatize properly:

Gradual Ascent: Climbing to high altitudes too quickly is a recipe for altitude sickness. Experts recommend not ascending more than 2,750 meters (9,000 feet) from a lower elevation in a single day. It’s vital to gain altitude gradually, allowing your body the time it needs to adjust to the higher altitudes.

Walking at Your Own Pace: Walking at a pace that’s comfortable for you is one of the most important strategies to avoid altitude sickness. If the group you’re with is moving too quickly, don’t hesitate to let them know that you need to go at your own pace. Never rush when trekking at high altitudes.

Acclimatization Days: Providing your body with sufficient time to adapt to high altitudes is essential. In addition to gradual ascent, schedule acclimatization days into your Manaslu circuit trek. However, this doesn’t mean sitting idly. Use this time to explore nearby areas or take short hikes, which can help your body acclimatize.

Stay Hydrated: High altitudes can lead to increased respiration rates and faster water loss from your body. To counter this, make sure to drink plenty of fluids during high-altitude treks. Some experts also recommend consuming garlic soup for its potential health benefits.

Trek High, Sleep Low: Following the golden rule of high-altitude trekking, it’s advisable to ascend to higher elevations during the day but descend to lower altitudes for sleeping. This practice helps your body adjust more effectively to the changing altitudes.

Altitude Medication: If, despite taking precautions, you begin to feel unwell at high altitudes, consider altitude medications like Diamox as a precautionary measure. However, it’s imperative to consult with healthcare professionals before taking any such medication.

Accommodation and Facilities During Your Trek:

Even though the Manaslu Circuit is a remote trek, you’ll find teahouses and lodges in the right places, so you won’t need to carry tents or camp unless you want to. These teahouses and lodges vary in the quality of services they offer.

Basic Amenities: Be prepared for basic amenities. You’ll have enough food options at these places, but it won’t be as diverse as what you find in cities.

Food Costs: As you trek higher, food can get more expensive. It’s a good idea to buy energy bars in Kathmandu, where prices are lower.

Water: You can buy bottled water along the way, but it’s better for the environment if you carry a refillable water bottle and get boiled or filtered water from the teahouses and lodges. This helps reduce plastic waste. Avoid drinking from wells, taps, or rivers, as the water may not be safe.

Internet: Teahouses and lodges in lower areas usually have internet, but there might be a fee. At higher altitudes, you can use your cell phone with a local NTC SIM card, though the signal may not be very strong.


How long does the Manaslu Circuit trek take?

The classic Manaslu Circuit trek typically spans sixteen days to complete. However, the duration can vary, ranging from twelve to twenty days, depending on your preferred pace and chosen itinerary.

Is the Manaslu Circuit trek safe?

The Manaslu Circuit Trek was opened for trekkers in 1991, and since then, numerous adventurers have successfully completed this journey. While it shares the typical high-altitude trek challenges, it is generally considered safe. We recommend securing travel insurance that covers helicopter rescue in case of emergencies to ensure your safety during challenging situations.

How difficult is the Manaslu Circuit Trek?

The Manaslu Circuit is undeniably a challenging trek. However, if you have a reasonable level of fitness, you can complete this journey. If you are not in excellent shape, consider preparing yourself over a few months before embarking on the trek.

What is the cost of the Manaslu Circuit Trek?

The precise cost of the Manaslu Circuit Trek can vary based on your travel style, whether you choose to hire a porter, your spending habits, and the length of your trek. Roughly estimated, you should budget anywhere between US $900 to $1,600, excluding international flight expenses.