Manaslu sits immediately next to the Annapurna range within a closely managed conservation area. The Manaslu Circuit shares many of the great views and panoramas that you see trekking around Annapurna. The big difference is that while the Annapurna Circuit is in nearly every collection of great treks, Manaslu is relatively unknown so it is a lot quieter than its famous next door neighbour. And now that the latter part of the Annapurna trek has been spoiled by roads, this is a great alternative.
As well as the change in scenery as you rise higher, there is also a distinct change in culture. In the lower farming areas the people are Nepali of Indian origin but as the trek progresses you move into the Nupri Region, where villagers are descendants of Tibetan immigrants.
The high point of this trek is the crossing of the Larkya La, a high remote and challenging pass. From here there are fantastic views of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kang Guru and Annapurna II. From just after the pass you take a side trip to visit Manaslu Base Camp before following the trail round to meet with the outbound leg of the Annapurna Circuit, ending your trek at Besi Sahar.
We offer the Manaslu Circuit as a private only tour. No open groups.
The Kandoo team will meet you at Kathmandu airport and transfer you to your pre-trek hotel. Later you will attend a pre-trek briefing with your Lead Guide to prepare you for the challenge ahead.
The journey to Arughat Bazaar starts down the main Pokhara Highway before taking a turn down a rough road. It takes approximately 6 hours to drive to Arughat, which is a large prosperous trading town.
On our first day on the trail we head north, following the Budhi Gandaki. In this low country we are trekking through rice paddies and rural villages. After climbing briefly to Kyoropani, we descend once again to the river, where it meets the Sundi Khola, and our village for the night.
We cross a bridge and climb up onto a ridge above the rapids of the Budhi Gandaki. The trail continues, climbing over a big rock and crossing a log bridge, before it eventually descends back down to the banks of the Budhi Gandaki. We trek up again on a steep rocky trail clinging to the side of a cliff, then up and around to the Gurung village of Labishe (880m) and beyond to Machha Khola.
We cross the Machha Khola river and head upstream to the tiny village of Khola Bensi and the hot springs at Tatopani. The valley becomes steeper and the route then switches to the left bank by way of a suspension bridge. The trail is quite exposed and challenging in places. After a short section of forest path we reach the single teahouse at Doan. Beyond this steep section, the route is much flatter and we will finally cross the river on a suspension bridge, and then climb on a high path to the fields of Jagat.
After descending a long series of stone steps to the river, we climb a terraced hill to Saguleri, from where we can see Singri Himal, 7187m. Our route continues upstream, through a gorge section with towering walls. We cross the river three more times in the next two hours to avoid difficult valley sides and then climb up over a further steep spur to reach the village of Deng.
As we leave Deng the valley is still steep-sided. We pass the village of Lama, and start to see Mani stones (prayers etched onto wayside rocks), a sign that we are entering a Buddhist region. After about four hours we reach the village of Ghap in the Tibetan area. As we gain altitude we move into alpine territory with great mountain views. There are more Mani stone walls and three more crossings of the Buri Gandaki on our route to Namrung.
Above Namrung the valley opens out and there are extensive pastures. Climbing gently now, and crossing a large stream flowing down from the Lidanda Glaciers, we reach the Tibetan village of Sho, and get our first views of Manaslu North and then of Manaslu Main. As we continue we come to Lho, a large village at 3150 metres where there is a lovely little monastery and numerous chortens and Manis, before arriving at Shyala.
Leaving Shyala we follow the right bank of the river, with views of Peak 29 ahead. As we continue on the main trail, we reach the fields of Samagaon.
We continue to follow the Budhi Gandaki surrounded by spectacular mountains on all sides. Manaslu is particularly impressive and we take a detour off the main path to visit Manaslu Base Camp. From here we drop back down to re-join the main route and descend to Samdo for the night.
Today we hike along the ever shrinking Budhi Gandaki river with towering mountains around us. We will find a stream that runs through Gya La, the gateway to Tibet and the remains of what used to be a trading hub. Finally we reach Larkya Phedi and one of the best lodges we will have stayed in for many days!
Not long after leaving Larkya Phedi we reach the northern face of the Larkya Glacier and climb steadily to the Larkya La Pass, from where there are stunning views of Cho Danda, Annapurna II and Larkya Peak. We will then walk down to Tanbuche and from there down to Bim Thang.
The trail descends into pine and rhododendron forest before following the Dudh Khola river. After we reach Karche, we make a steep climb onto a ridge, before descending again to the river bank at Goa. We continue through fields to Tilje, a large Gurung village.
Another day spent trekking the lowlands through mixed forest and paddy fields. After Dharapani, we join the Annapurna Circuit and follow this classic trek in reverse through the Marshyangdi valley to Jagat.
An easy morning's walk brings us to Besi Sahar before our final drive to Kathmandu which takes about 7 hours. You stay overnight in a hotel in Kathmandu.
We will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Kathmandu Airport for your departing flight.
Q1HOW DIFFICULT IS THE MANASLU TREK?
The trek is considered moderately difficult. There is nothing extreme about this trek and the trails are getting better every year. However, you will need a good level of fitness as you will be trekking a fair distance each day and climbing over several high oases, including Larkya La Pass at 5,150 meters.
Q2WHAT IS THE DISTANCE OF THE MANASLU TREK?
Whilst there are a number of possible circuit itineraries, the most common is roughly 111 miles or 180 kilometres in total length.
Q3WHAT IS THE SCENERY LIKE ON THE MANASLU TREK?
Many people argue that this is now the greatest general trek in Nepal due to the Annapurna Circuit road problems. The trek takes in six different climatic zones and weaves past ten mountains over 21,000 feet! You will see lush forest, dry alpine zones, running rivers and snow-capped peaks. The Manaslu trek is a great cultural trek that takes you off the beaten path. You will come across a number of rural villages where life has not changed in centuries!
Q4SHOULD I BOOK IN ADVANCE?
Yes. This is a privately run trek and Kandoo need time to prepare permits, accommodation etc. We advise booking at least 1 month in advance.
Q5WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO HIKE THE MANASLU TREK?
Autumn and spring are the two best seasons. These are the driest periods where vistas will be least obstructed. Winter is actually possible, however, night will be very cold and you’ll need to rug up!