One of the ‘being popular’ trekking destinations of Nepal- Manaslu Circuit Trek takes us to the captivating natural essence, exclusiveness, and untouched beauty of the Manaslu region, one of the restricted areas of Nepal. It is gaining its popularity for its quiet trekking trails, untouched beauty of the region, and large and quiet wide pasturelands. As the trek takes us up to the border of Tibet and Nepal allows us to gain experience of the culture and lifestyle of both Hindus and Buddhists. The off-the-beaten trekking routes take us via rich woodlands full of rhododendron, pine, birch, cedar, and juniper trees along with pleasant pastures.
The Manaslu round trek is a 17-day teahouse-teahouse trek that circumnavigates the 8th tallest peak of the world- Mt. Manaslu (8,156m/26,758ft). We will be trekking inside the Manaslu Conservation and reach to Annapurna Conservation area at the end of the trek. Thus it will be an experience for both of these regions.
Round Manaslu trek takes us from the steamy very lowlands which are full of terraced fields filled with rice, millets, buckwheats, barley, wheat, potatoes, mustards, and other vegetables and crops according to the seasons, almighty Budhi Gandaki gorge with dazzling waters and magnificent waterfalls. Passing high rickety suspension bridges that are very high and often very long will add more adventure throughout the trek.
Trekking around Manaslu means covering the huge trekking distance (approximately 177 km/109.9 Miles) in the Himalayan sections of Nepal, but there are various options to alter the itinerary based on your interests, physical strengths, and budget.
Trek Route for Round Manaslu Trek
Manaslu Round trip begins with a scenic and sometimes enthrill drive to Soti Khola (beginning point of the trek) from Kathmandu. Spending a night there, we begin our trek. On the second day, our trekking adventure truly starts and we proceed to Machha Khola (890m / 2,965ft). On the way, we trek passing shimmering forests, steep ridges, terraced fields, and high suspension bridges.
Continuing the trek the next day, we ascend to Jagat. Machha Khola to Jagat is a 14-kilometer-long journey and it takes 6-7 hours to reach there. On the way, we pass some of the beautiful villages such as Khorlabensi and Doban, cross a couple of rivers such as Budhi Gandaki and Doban Khola, and pass some terraced fields full of buckwheat, millets barley, etc., lush woods, and some spectacular waterfalls and so forth.
Our next day’s destination will be Deng, a small settlement. The path today is quite rugged with numerous ascends and descends but we will have an eye-catching view of Sringeri Himal on the way. Crossing a large Gurung settlement- Philim, we further walk passing some rewarding waterfalls and a few suspension bridges to reach Deng for an overnight stay. This Buddhist village contains holy monasteries and rivers, and from here, we will begin to see the glorious snow-capped mountain peaks.
Our Manaslu trek continues the next day's destination is Namrung. At first, we descend from Deng and then ascend to Rana Bridge. From this region onwards, you will be entering the Buddhist settlements, which you can sense from seeing Mani walls and stone statues on the path. Just before reaching Ghap, you will be crossing a suspension bridge. Continuing the trek, after lunch, we walk passing the forested lands crossing the river from different places, we reach Namrung for an overnight stay. Namrung village is famous for its beautiful views of Ganesh Himal (7,422m) and Mt. Himalchuli (7,893m).
Our sixth day’s journey begins after breakfast with the beautiful sunrise at Namrung village. We are pushing to the higher elevations each day. Now, with a couple of ups and downs, crossing the rivers and passing the rocky lands, we arrive at the village of Shyala and spend a night before pushing higher lands. All around Shyala Village, you will get to enjoy the views of Himal Chuli, Peak 29, Manaslu, and Ganesh Himal.
From Shyala, we make another camp to Samagaun village. Samagaun is a small township with stone-built houses and some Buddhist shrines including a monastery. We will have a spare day at Samagaun for rest and acclimatization. We will have chances to explore the nearby attractions such as Birendra Lake, Pungyen Monastery, and Manaslu Base Camp during this day.
Our trek continues after resting and acclimatizing at Samagaun. Samdo will be another destination for a stay. Today’s trek will be pleasant as we cross the pasture areas and ascend to the valley as the journey takes us through birch and juniper forest. Along with mighty Manaslu, we will have gorgeous views of the mountain massifs that are included in the Mansiri mountain range.
Wow! We are just a day away from our dreamed destination - Larkya La Pass (5,160m / 16,929ft), the highest point of the entire trek. Thus, we hike to Dharmasala today and await the biggest adventure. Throughout the trekking route, we hike slowly with plenty of rest as we are near 4500m above sea level. We will be immersed as we are surrounded by the high mountain massifs and blessed with Mani walls and prayer flags. Another interesting sight is that of the Larkya glacier. We trek around the Salkha Khola valley and ascend to reach Dharamsala, also known as Larkya La Phedi.
And ultimately, on our 13th day, we will be crossing Larkey La (5,160m / 16,929ft), the utmost point of the adventure. Awaking early morning (around 3-4), we pack everything and begin our adventure following the Larkey Glacier moraine route, passing some frozen lakes.
Upon reaching Larkey La, we will have astonishing sceneries of Himlung Himal, Annapurna II, Cheo Himal, and Kanguru. Crossing it, we trek down passing yak pastures to arrive at Bhimtang.
We circumnavigate Mt. Manaslu. Now, we have a return trip ahead and we leave Bhimthang and head for Dharapani. As we pass through dense pine forests, we may be able to see sheep, horses, jackanapes (a type of monkey), and much other wildlife. As this is the last day of the entire trek, we celebrate our adventure with all our crew members and exchange our experiences in the evening.
The next day, we drive to Kathmandu following Bensishahar- Manang road and further to the Bensishahar-Kathmandu highway. In this way, we conclude our Manaslu Circuit hike.
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,338 m/4,390 ft)
Day 2: Kathmandu Sightseeing and Trek Preparation
Day 3: Drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola: 142 km/6-8 hours drive
Day 4: Trek Sotikhola to Machha Khola (870 m/2854 ft): 14km/5-6 hours
Day 5: Trek Machha Khola to Jagat (1340m/4395 ft) 16 km/6-7 hrs
Day 6: Trek Jagat to Deng (1860 m/ 6100 ft) 19 km/ 7-8 hrs
Day 7: Trek Deng to Namrung (2630m/ 8626 ft) 17km/6-7hours
Day 8: Trek Namrung to Shyala (3500m/11480ft) 14 km/5-6 hours
Day 9: Trek Shyala to Sama Gaon (3520m/11545 ft) 12 km/5-6 hours
Day 10: Acclimatization day at Sama Gaun (Hike to Manaslu Base Camp-14km/8 hours)
Day 11: Trek Sama Gaun to Samdo (3875m/12710 ft) 8km/3-4 hours
Day 12: Trek Samdo to Larkya Phedi/ Dharamsala High Camp (4480 m/14694 ft) 6 km/3-4 hours
Day 13: Cross Larkya La (5160m/16924 ft) and descend to Bimthang (3590m/11775 ft) 16km/8-9 hours
Day 14: Trek Bimthang to Dharapani (1965m/6445 ft) 24 km/6-7 hours
Day 15: Drive Dharapani to Kathmandu
Day 16: Depart Kathmandu-Airport drop