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Manaslu Circuit Trek: Complete Guide

 February 6, 2020      By Manaslu Nepal Treks


Manasalu, the eighth highest mountain in the world at 8163 meters above sea level located at Gorkha district, it is one of the recent rise popular trekking destination in Nepal including Tsum Valley Trek and Manasalu circuit trek. This trekking region is listed as a restricted zone and located near to the Tibetan border which means, you need a special Restricted Area Permit, MCAP (Manasalu Conservation Area) and ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area) from Nepal Tourism Board. Although open to trekkers since 1991.

Manasalu circuit Trek Via Gorkha

The starting point of this trek is Arughat along with 177 square kilometers skirts the massif over the pass down to the Annapurna region. Trek through the mountain village, dense forests and crossing suspension bridges makes the epic circuit of 8th highest mountain. The trail follows the Budhi Gandaki River all the way from aright, Sotikhola village and ends to the Marshyangdi River. This trekking trail ascends up to Larky La Pass after Samdo village stands at the altitude of 5106m high above sea level and the highest point of Manasalu Circuit Trek.

This epic classic trek encounters with local people, ethnic culture, stunning view, beautiful villages and presents a great authentic personal experience to the trekkers. If you want to experience a remote and of the beaten path trek then Manasalu trek is the best option to choose. The variation in the altitude gives different experiences during this trek than another Trekking trail of Nepal.

Every next day you will explore a new scene with a spectacular view. The trail starts from the big hills and leads you up to the majestic high mountain and peaks. The valley has retained most of its pure natural beauty untainted by modernization.

Factors That Attract to Trek Manasalu Circuit

Manasalu trekking trail is one of the best trekking trails in comparison to another famous trekking route in Nepal. The remoteness, pure natural beauty, and the ethnic culture attract trekkers, not only that, the trekking includes the eighth highest mountain in the world stands at 8163meters, Mani walls, spectacular view, flora and fauna, and Tibetan Culture. This tea house trek trail is still off the beaten route. Hence this is one of the rising trekking trails.

Highlights of Manasalu Circuit Trek

Near to the Tibetan Border and the Culture Preserve by Tibetan Tribes. Many Carving Stones (Mani) and Oldest Gompa/ Monastery on the trail.
  •  Eight Highest Mountain in the world.
  • Encounter the flora and fauna like rare Blue Sheep, Subtropical Jungle and offer all the scenic views like other major Trekking Tail of Nepal.
  • In comparison to Annapurna Circuit and Everest base camp, this trail is less busy and low crowed by few trekkers also the Tea house is well managed and easy to get food and accommodation in Peak Season and Fall Season.
  • This pure trekking trail offers you less development and more remoteness, the life of the mountain people can be seen and observe.
  • The trail leads throughout the wild walk, challenging trans- Himalayan cliff, and the Thrill of Larke La Pass while crossing it.
  • You will enjoy walking Beside the Budhi Gandaki River, deep George of River, the many Suspension bridges and Beautiful Villages Surrounded by the big Hills and the highest mountains.
  • You will encounter the beautiful Birendra lake which is under the Manasalu Massif and the base camp of Manasalu.

What is required to get Permits for Manasalu Circuit Trek

  • 2 passport size Photo
  • Copy of passport
  • At least you need 2 people in a group to do this trek. Individual Trekkers will not be issued Trekking Permit
  • You have to hire a Registered Guide
  • A Travel Insurance Document
You need all the documents as mention above to apply for a permit. This permit will be issued by Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu.

 Permit Detail For Manasalu Circuit Trek

  • RAP (Restricted Area Permit)
  • MCAP (Manasalu Conservation Area Permit) Special Permit and ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit)
  • Permit entry cost September - November

USD 100 per person per week and USD 15 per person per day

(Beyond 1 week)
  • December – August

USD 75 per person per week and USD 10 per person per day (Beyond 1 week)

As per above mention points, you need two permits however your trek will start at the Manasalu region and end at Annapurna Region.

Permits will be issued by the Department of Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu.

 Manasalu circuit Trekking Trail

This trekking trail is Grade as Moderate level. The trek follows an ancient salt-trading route along the steep-sided Budhi Gandaki River. This route is wild and remote, the Tea house is well managed in every village and less crowded. This trail is becoming popular day by day whereas it includes all the scenery of Nepal has to offer.

Trek will start from Arughat along with Budhi Gandaki River. After a few days of trekking, you will enter the conservation area through the foothills, the ups, and down and varied landscape including forest, rice Terrance, a cliff ridge and waterfall. The first police checkpoint is in Jagat, your professional guide will stop for a while to check in your entry.

On the way, you will take a break at a small hot spring in Tatopani. The trail follows the pine-forested Syala village, which has the backdrop of many horseshoes shaped peak. The trail offers you the stunning view of beautiful nature, the small rivers through the various landscape, dense sub-tropical forest and the view of major peaks like Siring, Himal Chuli, Ganesh Himal, Ngadi Chuli, Ganesh Himal, massive Annapurna II, Himlung Himal, and Cheo Himal.

The highest point throughout the trail whopping 5106m high would be achieved on Larke La Pass. And the village named Samdo is the highest village in Budhi Gandaki Valley /Manasalu Trekking Route also, it commands a view of Pang Phuchi village with a backdrop of Tibetan Border. You will start your Trek in the Gorkha district and end at Manang District (Annapurna Conservation Area).

Accommodation and Foodservice of Manasalu Trekking Route

In this trekking route, there is a Tea House lodge with the facility of Food and Accommodation. In every room there is a two-single bed with an extra blanket also you can carry your sleeping bag with you, A hot water bucket shower is available but you have to pay extra, and you can order food from the menu as per your demand. Every small Village establishes a tea house that is run by local people. You will appreciate the facilities provided by the owner. You can enjoy the local food like Dal Bhat, Tibetan Bread, and other Ethnic food. It is easy to find the tea house every 5 hours of walk. This trail is not busy as another Trekking Trail of Nepal. So, this trek is famous as Off- The- Beaten- Trail.

Network and Connection of Manasalu Trekking Route

Along with the comfortable stay and food, you will find the telephone service in almost all the tea houses during the trek. Local NTC sim network is available in most of the places so, you can use your own cell phone too.

 After your arrival you can buy a sim card at the International Airport of Kathmandu, only you need your passport copy and two passport size photos.

As you ascend to the higher altitude of the Manasalu region like Sama Gaon, Samdo and Dharmasala the network is weaker. So, it will be unable to use that time. However, you can use the local phone from the tea house.

As you trek to the high mountains there is a limitation of phone network and internet service but you can use WI-FI in almost all the tea houses where you stay.

People and Culture of Gorkha Manasalu Region

As your starting point of the trek will be Arughat, you can explore a variety of cultures and people living in a different lifestyle, up-to Jagat the life of people is normal and all is the same.

After you ascend to the higher altitude the people are mostly from Gurung cast, even Philim is known as Gurung village.

People of the Gorkha Manasalu region are very kind, friendly and helpful no need to hesitate to ask for anything there.

Mostly the people from the higher altitude follow Buddhism. It is said that the Buddhist saint Milarepa is believed to be Meditated in the caves of these mountains.

There are two ethnicities mainly inhabiting this region; Nubri and Tsum. In the Central Hill of the region, Gurungs are the main ethnic group. Mostly the people are from Tibet in the higher altitude and they follow the Tibetan culture.

Weather and Climate of Manasalu Region

Due to the variation of the altitude, there are different climatic zone within the circuit. like, Tropical zone, Subtropical zone, Temperate zone, Sub Alpine zone, Alpine zone, and Arctic zone.

Your trek will start from the Tropical zone, which will be the lowest altitude whopping 710meters above sea level, the elevation of the sub-tropical zone varies from 1000m-2000m, whereas the Range from 2000m – 4000m include Temperate, subalpine and alpine zone. Arctic Zone covers the range from 4500meter. Whereas the temperature is always 0 and above 5000m there will be a permanent snow-line. Manasalu Region located in the central west part of Himalaya. The highest village in this route put a figure on sub-tropical Himalayan foothill to Dried Trans-Himalaya high meadow bordering Tibet.

You must choose the best season which is suitable for you to trek, Particularly, Autumn and Spring Season are the best time to present yourself with something extraordinary to treasure.

Weather is always unpredictable. But as before traveling, you can check the climate wisely. Manasalu circuit trek climate and weather varies throughout the year from sunny to cold and dry to wet.

During the month of December to February, the temperature drops below 0 degrees. Hence, December is the driest month and January is the coldest month.

However, most of the time the weather will be sunny during the day and cold during the night.

September to November is the Autumn Season, you will enjoy the walk under clear skies and nice average temperature.

June, July and August are summer/monsoon season and receive significant rainfall.

Manasalu Circuit During Spring (March-April-May)

This season is the best time to experience the beauty of the trail. This trekking route will be a little busy but not as another famous trail including Annapurna circuit and Everest Base Camp. The pre-monsoon season considered the best season. Fresh bud bloom and nature seem so attractive and colorful.

The temperature will be mild and the weather is quite stable during this time. During the day it will be warm, early morning and the night will be chilly. Trekking route offer you to walk down to crisp skies, across colorful forests, Flora and Fauna, Frozen lake being to thaw out, streams begin to fill. The national flower of Nepal, Rhododendron can be found appearing.

This season is the safest season to trek in Manasalu Circuit. Low risk of Climatic hazard and Landslides.

Manasalu Circuit During Monsoon/Summer     (June – July – August)

During this season the country receives 80% of rainfall. Due to the rain downpour trekking in this region become more difficult. The risk of landslide and flood is also high. It will be difficult to ascend on the muddy and slippery trail. Also, the presence of various bugs and Leeches are very evident throughout these months.

Though the continuous rainfall makes monsoon season unpopular. Despite all the clouds that would be hanging, the clearest, most pristine and sparkling views of landscapes and mountain fare seen during this season. These things add a bit of unpredictable adventure to your trek.

Even it is possible to trek in the first week of June, it will be safe and the average temperature would be humid, as the rain will gradually start and the weather will be cloudier.

However, this trail will be isolated throughout this month and monsoon is considered as a month of offseason.

Manasalu Circuit Trek During Autumn season (September- October- November)

Generally Autumn starts from September, however until the mid of this month is monsoon. Autumn is gradually known as peak season. The skies will be clear, stable mild temperature and chilly night.

This season is the best option to trek, mostly Foreign trekkers choose this season somehow, the reason is the best climate, weather and the best view of the major peak, eight highest mountain and glaciers.

After the monsoon, the season starts fresh and pleasant, nearly perfect for active trekkers. The temperature will be stable during the day and chilly at night and early morning.

The climate during October and November is dry most of the time, however, it is common for the temperature to drop below. And also, these months are considered as the best time to trek Manasalu Circuit.
For the novice trekkers, the risk is zero and allows to acquire the absolute best experience from the circuit.

Manasalu Circuit Trek During Winter (December – January – February)

The winter offers more challenge throughout the circuit. However, the skies will be clear and the weather will be cold and dry. The mountain looks so magnificent, but the high wind will definitely dare you. The temperature is warm during day time but significantly decrease to -20 degree as the sunsets.

Once the trail will be isolated again in this season. It is better to trek till early December; the weather will be quite similar to November until it consistently gets colder.

The locals of Sama and Samdo village move downward to the city, most of the tea houses will close around the mid of December. January will be the coldest month of the year, only a few people can make their way to Manaslu circuit trek. Winter is the offseason for the foreign trekkers. It is better to trek in spring and autumn.
Useful Tips before you trek to Manasalu Circuit Trail
  • The best season to trek the circuit is Spring and Autumn. Winter and monsoon are not the best time to trek, you may have to suffer from many difficulties.
  • Prepare yourself with proper gear like boots, jackets, pair of warm shocks, sunglass, windcheater trousers, trekking pole, sleeping bag, suns cream.
  • Carry some first aid kit with you.
  • Drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Manasalu circuit trek is a little tough so you need to be prepared already like training and some exercises to build up your stamina.
  • Carry a pocket map with you.
Altitude Sickness while ascending to the high altitude of Manasalu circuit Trek. Some of the preventive measures and symptoms are listed below.

Trekking to the Manasalu Circuit is an extra adventure. It is not so easy as we think. Nepal is famous for trekking and known as the land of Himalayas, Also famous for Mt.Everest the top of the world. Geography is categorized into three-part Terai, Hilly and Himalaya.

You begin your trek from the tropical zone whooping 710meter above sea level and the highest elevation will be 5106m. You can imagine how will be the walk up to the mountain.

 So, during trekking, you might get suffer from altitude sickness which is not so common. No need to be panic, it must be taken lightly. It needs to be a cure as soon as possible by descending down more than 200m. 

Let’s get you to know about the symptoms and preventive measures of altitude sickness. This will be worthwhile to you in every trekking route of Himalaya.

Symptom

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Poor sleep
  • Breathing problem
  • Blur vision
  • Disorder in a heartbeat
  • Mental disorder
  • Dizziness 
The above symptoms could help you to prevent early. An immediate first aid/treatment could be done if you don’t feel well. Guide and porter will help you to decent back and spent a night. Move forward to continue your trek only if you feel better.
  • To avoid altitude sickness, please follow the preventive measure which is listed below:
  • At first, you need to know your physical is fit or not, health checkup is very important.
  • Train your body by hiking and walk a minimum of 5km a day for a month before the trek.
  • During the trek drink safe water and garlic soup as much as you can.
  • Avoid smoking during the trek
  • Avoid alcohol during trek
  • Don’t rush during the trek, you have to walk decently.
  • Try to maintain cleanness.
  • Carry first aid kit.
  • If you feel any symptoms of altitude sickness then don’t move ahead, just descent to low altitude.
  • Don’t carry a heavy bag pack. 

Trek Duration of Manasalu circuit 

The total distance cover during the trek is 177km. The Manasalu circuit trek starting point is Arught village of Gorkha District stands at 710m. This trek will end to Beshisahar, the starting point of Annapurna Circuit trek.

The actual distance you will cover each day will be just about 15-20 kilometers. The highest point of trek tends to Larkya La Pass whooping 5106m one of the challenging pass in Trans Himalaya of Nepal.

As in the beginning days, you might feel difficult to walk on the narrow and rocky trail.

Day by day standard itinerary samples for Manasalu circuit trek is listed below to complete the trek. And as per your requirements, the itinerary can be customized. Each day you will be staying at the local community Tea house with basic facilities of two beds per room, warm fire at night and hope you will enjoy Dal Bhat on the trail.

Day1: Kathmandu to Sotikhola -9 Hours’ drive -700m

The first day after a fixed departure, you will drive up to Arughat by Jeep and stay at the local hotel. After a long scenic drive, it is not possible to continue your walk, you need rest and some preparation time to ready your trekking equipment for the next day. overnight to Soti Khola.

Day2: Trek to Macchakhol -6 hours- 900m

 You will start your hike early morning after breakfast. And you will stop after a few hours of the walk for lunch then continue your hike along with the flow of Budhi Gandaki River. You will be hiking seven hours normally to reach the camp/Tea House.

Day 3: Trek to Jagat -8 hour- 1340m

You will enter the conservation area after the ups and downs through various landscapes including forest, rice Terrance, a cliff ridge and waterfall. The first police checkpoint is in Jagat, your professional guide will stop for a while to check in your entry. On the way, you will take a break at a small hot spring in Tatopani. Then you will climb upstairs and head over a ridge.

Day 4: Trek to Pewa -6 hour- 1600m

On the way, you will enjoy the stunning view of beautiful nature and the small rivers through the various landscape and dense sub-tropical forests. You will continue walking throughout upstream to a long suspension bridge reach to your destination.

Day5: Trek to Namrung -6.5 hour- 2630m

This trail descends to the grassy slopes and then cross the Budhi Gandaki river and climb up to the bridge. The route takes through the valley and passes through the bamboo forest to the Deng Khola River. After climbing a cliff, you will reach to the Tea house.

Day6: Trek to Lho -4 hour- 2957m

The trail drops and crosses the side valley of Simnang Himal with Ganesh Himal. You will trek through the village of Sho, and you can enjoy the great view of Manasalu from Lho. Your steadily climb will pass through the forest and a village with small Stupas. The trail offers you the stunning view of Siring and Mount Himal Chuli.

Day 7: Trek to Sama Gaon -4 hour -3540m

You will enjoy the walk from Lho to Sama Gaon, you will pass through the Shyala village which is surrounded by the Mountain view like Himal Chuli and Ngadi Chuli to the left, beautiful Manasalu straight ahead including the peak with glacier and Ganesh Himal. You will acclimatize the next day so you can explore the village, Tibetan lifestyle and short hike around the village. you can take a photo of many carving stones which are known as Mani stone. Near to the village, there is Pungyen Gompa a small old monastery which is very famous. If you wonder to walk a few Further then there is a beautiful Birendra lake under Manasalu Massif.

Day 8: Acclimatization.

Rest, explore in the village and Overstay in the tea house under the great mountain view.

Day 9: Trek to Samdo -4hour -3865m

As per your daily schedule, you will start your trek after breakfast. Your walk will offer you the beautiful nature, several Mani walls and cross the Budhi Gandaki river through wooden Bridge. This is a short hike and an easy day for you. It is one of the highest villages in Manasalu Region, Trail offers you a very smooth walk up to Samdo. You will be very near to the Tibetan border. The short walk will make you feel better. so, you can relax and save energy for the larky la pass.

Day10: Trek to Dharmasala -5hour -4460m

The hike up to Dharmasala is a little tough than other days as per you gain the elevation the walk will be more difficult because of the higher altitude. You will walk beside the valley of Salka Khola and head you to the Dharmasala, the base camp of the pass and also known as Larke Phedi. Along the route, you can see the Marmot, Blue Sheep as well and beautiful traditional monastery.

Day11: Trek to Bhimtang -11 hour- 3590m

You have to wake up early at 3 am, After breakfast get ready with the headlamp. This will be the special day as you are hiking to the highest point of the trail. It is quite a challenging part of the trekking which you may have to face some difficulties like walking up through the rocky trail and high wind. You will cross the Larkya La Pass till afternoon. To complete the pass successfully you have to walk steadily. As the trail is more challenging but it also offers you a more exciting experience like clear Glacier blue lake, a beautiful village, stunning view.

After a few hours of cliff walk, you will see many snow-capped peaks and mountains with Glacier very near. Even you can encounter the view of Cho Danda and Larke's peak on the north side. The last section of the pass is steeper, just be careful while passing the trail. After the high pass, you will reach to Annapurna Conservation Area in Manang District.

Day12: Trek to Tilije - 6 hour – 2300m

Bhimtang is a very beautiful town, where you can enjoy the great view of massive Annapurna II, Himlung Himal, and Cheo Himal as well as the beauty of the village. After breakfast, you will keep descending all the way up to Tilije by crossing Karcher which is the highest cultivated land in the village and Gho the beautiful small town.

You will walk through the narrow trail beside the Dudh Khola River and the huge forest with a lot of rhododendrons. Keep following the riverway until you reach the destination.

Day 13: Trek to DharaPani - 6hour - 1860m

This will be your last day of the trek, you will follow the riverway descending down to Dharapani by crossing the Thonje village, you will go through the police checkpoint, at this point you will be checking out from the Manasalu Conservation Area. After crossing Marshyangdi River Suspension Bridge you will reach the Dharapani, then you have to make a check out entry from Annapurna Conservation Area.

Day14: Drive to Besi Sahar -7 hour- 830m

Day15: Kathmandu

Conclusion

The above information could be useful to you, it includes all the details about the Manasalu circuit trek. You can customize the itinerary as per your requirements. Hope you will prepare yourself to do this trek. Good luck.


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