About Manaslu Circuit Trek
The Manaslu Circuit Trek is an incredible 15 days of authentic nature and cultural experience while encircling the world's 8th highest mountain, Manaslu (8163 M). The government of Nepal opened up this region to foreigners in 1991. Lately, this trek is getting popular as an alternative to the more busy Annapurna region. Most of the trek lies within the Manaslu Conservation Area, which comprises sub-tropical Himalayan foothills to arid Trans-Himalayan high pastures bordering Tibet.
The Manaslu Circuit Trek begins from the tropical lowlands to the high alpine regions exceeding 5000 meters in altitude. The initial 4 to 5 days of the trek follow the trail along the Budhigandaki River, an ancient salt trading route. Then after about a week of trekking, it concludes in the Annapurna region via the traverse of Larke La Pass (5160 M). The trek passes through numerous beautiful villages of diverse ethnic communities, terraced fields, pleasantly mixed forests, lakes, and plenty of thrilling suspension bridges. One prime example of the exciting suspension bridge is the cantilever bridge in Yaaru Bagar that connects the seven other northern villages of the Manaslu region. The fascinating sceneries of various mountains such as the Manaslu, Annapurna 2, Himlung, Kangguru, Cheo Himal, Lamjung Himal, Ganesh Himal, Boudha Himal, Shringi Himal, and many more during the trek please anyone who comes across it. Diverse wildlife is one of the chief features of this trek. Himalayan Tahr, Gray Langur, and Blue Sheep are common sightings along the trail.
The people around here practice Bon (Pre-Buddhist religion) and Tibetan Buddhism. The lower region is inhabited by the Gurungs who are followers of the Bon, whereas the upper region people are closely tied to Tibetan culture and practice Tibetan Buddhism. Stupas, monasteries, mani walls, prayer flags, and chortens can be seen a lot in this region. On the trek, one can experience the well-preserved culture of these people.
Our 15-day Manaslu Circuit Trek Itinerary starts from Machhakhola and ends at Tilje. If you would like to customize the itinerary according to your desire, physical fitness level, and time frame, please feel free to contact us. Our experts will help you craft a perfect itinerary that ensures a top-notch experience with safety.
Manaslu Circuit Trek Brief Itinerary
Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu (1350 M) and transfer to the hotel
Day 02: Trek preparation and Kathmandu Valley sightseeing
Day 03: Drive to Machhakhola (869 M)
Day 04: Trek to Jagat (1340 M)
Day 05: Trek to Dang (1860 M)
Day 06: Trek to Namrung (2630 M)
Day 07: Trek to Shyala (3500 M)
Day 08: Trek to Sama (3520 M)
Day 09: Acclimatization day
Day 10: Trek to Samdo (3875 M)
Day 11: Trek to Dharmasala (4450 M)
Day 12: Trek to Bimtang (3590 M) via Larke La Pass (5160 M)
Day 13: Trek to Tilje (2300 M)
Day 14: Drive to Kathmandu (1350 M) via Besi Sahar (760 M)
Day 15: Final departure
How to get there and back to Kathmandu?
The Manaslu Circuit Trek starts from Machhakhola which is around 160km northwest of Kathmandu. You’ll take 8 hours of ride on a private jeep. Local buses take an hour or longer. The road is black topped till Taribeshi. From there it’s another 3 hours of a bumpy ride on a rough jeep track.
At the end of the trek, you will drive from Tilje to Beshisahar on a private Bolero Jeep which is mostly off-road. From there, you will take a private vehicle to Kathmandu. It takes around 9-10 hours in total.
Note: If you are trekking during the monsoon, the road after Taribeshi might get affected by the rain. However, we will keep you updated about the road conditions beforehand and plan your trip accordingly.
What permits are needed for the Manaslu Circuit Trek?
The Manaslu region is a restricted area controlled by the government of Nepal. To go there, you will need to have a special permit which can be obtained from the Immigration Department of Nepal. For that, you will need to go through a government-registered agency, take a government-certified trekking guide on the trek, and be at least 2 people doing the trip.
Along with the special permit, two other permits; MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Project) and ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) are required as well.
How are the accommodation facilities in the Manaslu Circuit Trek?
Teahouses, Lodges, Hotels, and Homestays are available along the route, providing all the food and accommodation services. There are well-equipped hotels and lodges in some places. In Dharmasala, 4–5 people will need to share a single room in the high season (October, November, April, and May) because of limited accommodation facilities.
Drinking water is available in plastic bottles and can be easily bought in hotels, teahouses, and lodges. Tap water and other natural sources are also available along the routes. We would recommend you use a water purifier or boiled water because plastic bottles will only create more waste.
Toilets are mostly squat-down types located both indoors/outdoors and shared. There are attached western-style toilets in some lodges. Nowadays, most of the teahouses have a hot shower (gas geezer, solar, or boiled water) as well which costs a few dollars.
Is electricity, telephone network, and Wi-Fi available throughout the Manaslu Circuit Trek?
Recently, electricity has reached most places except Dharmasala and Bimtang. You will need to pay for charging your camera or smartphone in these places. So bringing a solar charger along with you will be very useful.
The same goes for the telephone network as well. Before the Larke Pass, the phone network works till Samagaun. It works in Samdo as well but you'll need to walk to the edge of the village facing Samagaun to get the network reception. After the pass, the phone network starts to work from Surkikhola which is 3-4 hours of walk from Bimtang. We recommend you use an NTC sim, as it has better coverage in most of the rural areas of Nepal.
And as for Wi-Fi services, the lodges and teahouses in most places have started pay-per-service except in Dharmasala. You can expect frequent problems, mostly in the higher parts of the route.
Our guide will be equipped with a Thuraya satellite phone to communicate with us in case of emergency or bad weather.
How difficult is the Manaslu Circuit Trek? Do I have to worry about altitude sickness?
The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a physically demanding trek because you’ll need to walk above 5000 meters altitude. During the day of the Larke Pass (5160 m), you will walk around 12 km for 9-10 hours starting early in the morning around 4 to 5 am. There are chances of getting high-altitude sickness at an altitude like this. If you have already done treks like Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit, or any other high-altitude treks, then it will not be a problem. For people with no previous experience of trekking, taking cardio exercises like cycling, running, swimming, hiking, etc., for at least a month before the trek is highly recommended.
Our Manaslu Circuit Trek Itinerary is well crafted and planned adequately with a rest day for acclimatization which will help your body to adapt to the increasing altitude ensuring you a safe and successful completion of the trek. Moreover, our professional guide with wilderness first aid training will be equipped with a Thuraya satellite phone and an oximeter for your safety.
When is the best time to do the Manaslu Circuit Trek?
The ideal time to do the trek is in autumn (Late September to Late November) and spring (Late March to May).In autumn the skies are clear, providing beautiful mountain sceneries. The weather is not cold nor too hot. The number of trekkers is also high during this time, as it is the peak season for trekking.
In spring, you will be welcomed by trails with colorful rhododendrons. It will start to get a little hot by mid-May. The skies may be blocked by clouds as rainfall is expected sometimes. The number of trekkers is a little bit less than in autumn.
If you would like to avoid the crowd, trekking during the winter and monsoon will be better. In the monsoon time, the trails look lively with lots of greenery everywhere. But trails and roadways in the lower regions could be affected by heavy rainfall. Mountains are not visible most of the time due to clouds. And beware of the Leeches as well.
In winter, the skies are crystal clear with amazing mountain scenery. Be ready to face the extreme cold in the higher regions. And in most of the winter, tea houses in Dharamsala are closed. So you may have to trek directly to Bhimtang from Samdo via the traverse of Larke Pass. You may even need to return or wait a few days if there is heavy snowfall.
Is the Manaslu Circuit Trek possible to do solo without a guide?
As mentioned above, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is forbidden without a guide affiliated with a government-registered agency. In the case of a single visitor, there is a way where you can do the trek solo with a guide. For that, you’ll need to pay for an extra permit and the agency will prepare another extra permit which is called a ‘Ghost Permit’.
Manaslu Circuit Trek Variations
There are plenty of ways to do the Manaslu Circuit Trek depending on your time frame. Below are some of the ways to do it:
1. Manaslu Circuit from Barpak
This particular itinerary is 2 days longer than the usual one. The first 2 days of the trek pass through the beautiful Gurung and Ghale villages of the Lower Manaslu region like Barpak, Laprak, Gumda, Yamagaun, and Lapsibot, also popularly known as the epicenter trail, and join the trailhead of Manaslu Circuit at Machhakhola. The first village Barpak was the epicenter of the devastating 2015 earthquake, and all these villages were heavily affected. Trekking through this region offers beautiful panoramic views of Ganesh Himal, Shringi Himal, and Boudha Himal.
2. Rupina La and Manaslu Circuit
The combination of these two different treks takes around 20 days. For those who have plenty of time and are looking to do a bit of adventure, it's an ideal one. The trek starts from Barpak and then heads west towards Boudha Himal crossing the Rupina La (4720 M). Then it finally joins the Manaslu Circuit Trek Trail at Nyak Phedi. The Rupina La Trek includes the remote and untouched region which requires 6-7 days of camping.
3. Tsum Valley and Manaslu Circuit
If you have plenty of time, this is one of the best ways to explore the rich culture, natural beauty, wildlife, and vegetation of the Manaslu Region. The Tsum Valley and the Manaslu Circuit Trek are around 22 days including 18 days of walking. The trek starts from the Machhakhola, then on the same trail till a suspension bridge a couple of kilometers after Eklebhatti. Then from the bridge, we take the right trail to the Tsum Valley. And after exploring the valley for a week, we trek back from the same route and continue our journey on the Manaslu Circuit Trail.