This is not your average Himalayan trek. Nestled between the famous Langtang National Park and the world-renowned Annapurna Conservation Area, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is often overlooked. However, the trek is nothing short of amazing. Some consider it the best all-around trek in Nepal and is compared to the Annapurna Base Camp Trek without loads of trekkers. It is a most adventurous trek and the fact that it is not heavily trafficked adds to the allure. The Manaslu Circuit Trek, a somewhat strenuous trail, circumnavigates the 8th tallest mountain in the world – the magnificent Manaslu (8156m).
Best of Nepal Trekking 2023 / 2024 "Manaslu Circuit Trek"
We begin the Manaslu Circuit trek by weaving through ethnically Gurung villages. As we climb higher into the hills, the residents of the villages are ethnically Tibetan. The generous villagers, through the trek, offer great hospitality. As is the case with most treks in Nepal, half of the beauty is found in the glorious views, while the other half is in the caring, compassionate people we meet in the villages. The kindness of those in the mountains and hills in this area goes above and beyond our expectations.
After our scenic drive from Kathmandu, surrounded by cascading waterfalls and picturesque terraced hillsides, we begin our journey in Soti Khola (700m). We walk north along the banks of the majestic Budhigandaki River. We’re surrounded by agricultural fields, rugged mountains, and fresh air. The area is known for its rich biodiversity, so keep your eyes peeled for the musk deer, lynx, Asian black bear, various monkey species, the Himalayan goral, and countless other species in the area.
We continue our gradual ascent, to acclimatize properly. If you have interest, we can stop at the hot springs in Tatopani to let our bodies heal and rejuvenate. As we gain altitude, we must take our time. It’s a must in order to prevent sickness, especially as we cross the Larkya La Pass (5135m/16,847ft). After a few more days of trekking, we found ourselves at the pass. Feeling like we’ve reached the top of the world, we are filled with joy. We jagged mountain peaks surrounding us, and we feel like we’re in a different universe than the city we left just a few days ago. Manaslu and the surrounding awe-inspiring peaks reach high above the clouds. Adding a bit of adventure to the experience, the pass is usually covered in snow. The unforgettable alpine views, rich biodiversity, thick forests, and exceptional hospitality of villagers make this trek one of the best. Eventually, after a peaceful and relaxed descent from the pass, we arrive in Dharapani and take a two-hour drive to Besisahar, where we stay for the night. The following day we regrettably depart from the mountain and return to Kathmandu. Please note that this trek can be combined with the Tsum Valley Trek.
- Manaslu Circuit Trek: Embark on the adventurous Manaslu Circuit Trek, often regarded as one of the best all-around treks in Nepal. Experience breathtaking views and the allure of a less crowded trail compared to other popular treks.
- Cultural Immersion: Explore ethnically diverse Gurung and Tibetan villages along the trek. Encounter the warm hospitality of the locals and immerse yourself in their traditions and way of life.
- Scenic Beauty: Enjoy picturesque landscapes, cascading waterfalls, terraced hillsides, and the majestic Budhigandaki River as you trek through the stunning natural surroundings.
- Rich Biodiversity: Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife of the region, including musk deer, lynx, Asian black bear, various monkey species, and the Himalayan goral.
- Larkya La Pass: Conquer the challenging Larkya La Pass (5135m/16,847ft) and be rewarded with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks, including Manaslu, rising above the clouds.
- Unforgettable Alpine Views: Marvel at the awe-inspiring mountain scenery, with jagged peaks reaching high into the sky. Experience the sense of being in a different universe far from the hustle and bustle of city life.
- Authentic Cultural Exchange: Interact with friendly locals, appreciate their exceptional hospitality, and learn about their unique traditions and customs.
Difficulties and Toughest Day of the Manaslu Circuit Trek
The moderately challenging Manaslu Circuit Trek starts at 900 meters above sea level and ascends to 5106 meters. The first several days are simple, but as you ascend and the temperature drops, the difficulty increases. Between five and seven hours are spent walking on average each day.
Larkya La Pass, where you gain the most elevation (5106 meters), might be challenging for some owing to altitude sickness. To lessen the risk of AMS, the schedule includes two days for acclimatization. Additionally, you can travel with Diamox (a drug for AMS) and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
Being forced to start walking before dawn on the day you cross the pass will make it the hardest. You don't have to be an athlete to complete this trek, but you will need to be reasonably fit and persistent. Before your trek, you should work to improve your stamina and endurance.
Suggested Seasons For Manaslu Circuit Trek.
Any season of the year is suitable for the Manaslu Circuit excursion. Every season offers a unique set of benefits and adventures. However, spring and fall, when the weather is milder and more steady, are the best times to hike Manaslu.
If you are looking for adventure, are interested in flora and wildlife, and want to explore new things, you can hike during the monsoon. However, these times of year are not advised because the routes are muddy and potentially hazardous, and they may become blocked by landslides during the monsoon. During these times, the bulk of the teahouses along the top section of the route will be closed.
Trekking Permits For Manaslu Circuit Trek
Trekking in Manaslu requires a special permit because it is a restricted area where independent and solitary hikers are prohibited. Trekkers must reserve their trek through a local trekking service, and they must travel with a local guide. The Manaslu Circuit Trail requires the following permits in order to be hiked.
- MCAP, or Manaslu Conservation Area Permit
- RAP, or Manaslu Restricted Area
- The ACAP, or Annapurna Conservation Area Permit
We will arrange for all of the permits after you book the adventure, you shouldn't worry about getting these approvals To issue RAP Permits, all you need to do is provide us with two passport-sized pictures and your original passport; we'll take care of the rest. For the ACAP and MCAP, we can issue in advance but for the RAP (Restricted area permits) we need to show the original passport at immigration.
Is travel insurance necessary for the Manaslu Trek?
Yes, travel insurance that includes search and rescue and medical evacuation is required for the Manaslu Circuit Trek. Carefully review your policy's exclusions as well. We advise Worldnomads.
Accommodation and Food
You'll spend the nights in the Kathmandu Hotel of the 3-star standard. The teahouse will be the place to stay while trekking. Usually, there are shared rooms. By paying more, you can also get a single room, though this option may not be available everywhere during the busiest periods for travel. Teahouses provide very modest services.
You can expect three meals per day while on the Manaslu Circuit Trek which is included in your trip cost. The teahouse proprietors prepare and serve the meals. From the menu, you can pick from a good selection of foods. To gain all the energy and nourishment you need for hiking, we strongly advise including dal bhat in one meal.