Manaslu Circuit

Beyond Everest: Discovering Nepal’s Manaslu Circuit

Nepal, often referred to as the roof of the world, is home to some of the most breathtaking and challenging trekking routes on the planet. While Mount Everest captures the world’s attention, there exists another trek that offers an equally mesmerizing, if not more pristine, experience—the Manaslu Circuit Trek. This remote trek around the eighth-highest peak in the world takes adventurers through a diverse range of landscapes, from lush green foothills to rugged high-altitude passes. Join us as we delve into the allure of the Manaslu Circuit, a journey that promises unparalleled natural beauty and cultural richness.

Overview of the Manaslu Circuit

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is named after Mount Manaslu, standing tall at 8,163 meters (26,781 feet) above sea level. Located in the Gorkha district of Nepal, this trek offers a compelling alternative to the more crowded trails of Everest and Annapurna. The region was opened to trekkers in the early 1990s, making it a relatively new and less-trodden route compared to its famous counterparts.

Why Choose the Manaslu Circuit?

The Manaslu Circuit Trek offers a unique adventure for trekkers seeking to explore beyond the more popular routes in Nepal. With its unspoiled natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and fewer crowds, the trek promises a serene and immersive experience in the heart of the Himalayas. From the towering peaks of Mount Manaslu to the traditional Tibetan villages along the trail, the Manaslu Circuit provides a perfect blend of challenge, tranquility, and awe-inspiring scenery that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Unspoiled Natural Beauty

One of the main draws of the Manaslu Circuit is its unspoiled natural beauty. The trek winds through a diverse range of ecosystems, from subtropical forests at lower elevations to alpine meadows and glaciers in the higher regions. The landscape is dominated by the towering presence of Mount Manaslu and its neighboring peaks, offering stunning vistas at every turn.

Cultural Experience

Aside from its natural beauty, the Manaslu region is rich in cultural heritage. The trek passes through remote villages inhabited by ethnic Gurungs and Tibetans, providing an opportunity to experience their unique traditions and hospitality. You’ll encounter Buddhist monasteries, prayer flags fluttering in the wind, and intricately carved mani stones along the trail, adding a spiritual dimension to your trekking experience.

Less Crowded

Compared to the Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit treks, the Manaslu Circuit sees fewer trekkers. This means you’ll often have the trails to yourself, allowing for a more immersive and peaceful experience in the heart of the Himalayas. The solitude and tranquility of the region are often cited as some of the most rewarding aspects of trekking the Manaslu Circuit.

Challenge and Adventure

The Manaslu Circuit is not without its challenges. The trail takes you over the formidable Larkya La Pass (5,160 meters/16,930 feet), which offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks but requires a good level of fitness and acclimatization. The trek is generally more demanding than the Everest Base Camp Trek, making it suitable for those seeking a more adventurous and off-the-beaten-path experience.

Detailed Itinerary for Manaslu Trek

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu

Your journey begins in Kathmandu, the vibrant capital of Nepal. Spend a day exploring the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Durbar Square and Swayambhunath Stupa, and preparing for your trek.

Day 2: Drive to Machhi Khola via Arughat Bajar

Embark on a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Machhi Khola, passing through picturesque landscapes and traditional villages along the way. Overnight in Machhi Khola.

Day 3: Trek to Jagat

Continue following the Budhi Gandaki River, passing through traditional Gurung villages and encountering stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Reach Jagat, a picturesque village with stone houses and terraced fields.

Day 4: Trek to Deng

Today’s trek takes you through dense forests and across several suspension bridges. Marvel at the views of Sringi Himal as you make your way to Deng, a Tibetan village with traditional stone houses.

Day 5: Trek to Namrung

The trail ascends through forests of fir and rhododendron, offering spectacular views of Manaslu and Ganesh Himal. Pass through the villages of Bihi and Ghap before reaching Namrung, where you can visit the local monastery.

Day 5: Trek to Lho Gaon

Today, you will leave Namrung and pass through lust forest with stunning mountain views. You will arrive in Lho Gaon and overnight here for today.

Day 7: Trek to Samagaon

Continue trekking through alpine forests and pastures, with stunning views of Manaslu and its neighboring peaks. Arrive in Samagaon, a large Tibetan village with a Tibetan monastery and impressive views of Manaslu.

Day 8: Acclimatization Day in Samagaon

Take a day to acclimatize to the altitude in Samagaon. Explore the village, visit the Pungyen Gompa monastery, and enjoy panoramic views of Manaslu and the surrounding peaks.

Day 9: Trek to Samdo

The trail ascends gradually as you trek through juniper and birch forests. Cross several streams before reaching Samdo, a Tibetan refugee village located at the foot of the pass leading to Tibet.

Day 10: Trek to Dharamsala

Today’s trek takes you through barren landscapes and pastures as you ascend to Dharamsala. Prepare for the challenging ascent to Larkya La Pass tomorrow.

Day 11: Cross Larkya La Pass, Trek to Bimthang

Begin early to cross Larkya La Pass, which offers stunning views of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kang Guru, and Annapurna II. Descend to Bimthang, a broad and beautiful valley surrounded by high peaks.

Day 12: Trek to Dharapani

Trek through rhododendron forests and terraced fields to reach Dharapani, a Gurung village with stone houses and Buddhist prayer flags. Enjoy views of Manaslu and its neighboring peaks.

Day 13: Drive to Kathmandu

Drive from Dharapani to Kathmandu, passing through terraced fields, traditional villages, and lush landscapes. Transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu and enjoy a farewell dinner.

Day 14: Departure from Kathmandu

Transfer to Tribhuvan International Airport for your departure flight, concluding your memorable journey to the Manaslu Circuit.

Practical Tips

  • Permits: Obtain the necessary permits (Restricted Area Permit, Manaslu Conservation Area Permit) before starting your trek.
  • Altitude: Acclimatize properly and be aware of symptoms of altitude sickness.
  • Accommodation: Teahouses and lodges are available along the trekking route, providing basic amenities.
  • Weather: The best time to trek the Manaslu Circuit is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons.

Conclusion

The Manaslu Circuit Trek offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural immersion, and adventure, making it an ideal choice for trekkers looking to explore beyond the well-trodden paths of Everest and Annapurna. Whether you’re captivated by the towering peaks, intrigued by the rich cultural heritage, or seeking the thrill of a challenging trek, the Manaslu Circuit promises an unforgettable Himalayan experience.

Embrace the spirit of adventure and embark on a journey to discover Nepal’s best-kept secret—beyond Everest lies the breathtaking Manaslu Circuit, waiting to be explored.

Planning a Manaslu trek and need help?

The above-mentioned trek provides good teahouse accommodations. If you plan on trekking into the typical terrains, please contact us so that we can assist you in making the most memorable trip holidays in Nepal.