Manaslu Circuit Trek
Manaslu Circuit trek is more remote and spectacular trip in the region of Manaslu Ganesh Himal. It is culturally fascinating with strong continuing links to Tibet in the upper Buri Gandaki (called Nupri ‘the western mountains’) and even has the Larkya-La pass (5100m) as a challenge. The views of Mt Manaslu, eighth highest mountain in the world, are marvelous and close. The trek around Manaslu can be done as a lodge trek throughout the trip. In nine trips to Nepal this was the absolute highlight, with strong, friendly, hospitable people, a living Buddhist culture and untouched wildlife because of Buddhist prohibitions on hunting. The Manaslu Circuit has recently become a teahouse trek, opening up the misty wood-shingled villages of the Nupri Valley. But hikers are free to explore the many other trails being forged right now.
Day 1 - Arrival in Kathmandu International Airport 1340m
Day 2 - Full day guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu Valley,
Day 3 - Drive from Kathmandu to Sotikhola 700m/7 hours by private 4W driving
Day 4 - Trek from Sotikhola to Machhakhola 870m/6 hours,
Day 5 - Trek from Machhakhola to Jagat 1340m/7 hours,
Day 6 - Trek from Jagat to Deng 1860m/7 hours,
Day 7 - Trek from Deng to Namrung 2630m/6 hours,
Day 8 - Trek from Namrung to Samagaon 3520m/6 hours,
Day 9 - Excursion trip to Manaslu Base Camp 4020m/8 hours,
Day 10 - Trek from Samagaon to Samdo 3875m/4 hours,
Day 11 - Trek from Samdo to Dharmasala 4460m/6 hours,
Day 12 - Trek from Dharmasala to Bimthang 3590m/8 hours traverse Larkya-La Pass 5100m,
Day 13 - Trek from Bimthang to Tilje 2300m/6 hours,
Day 14 - Trek from Tilje to Chyamje 1430m/7 hours,
Day 15 - Drive from Chyamje to Kathmandu via Besisahar by private 4W jeep,
Day 16 - Final Departure from Kathmandu
You’ll be met at the Kathmandu International airport by our representative from the company, so look out for a office sign/logo with your name when you leave the airport. They will bring you back to the Hotel. Welcome drinks will provide by Hotel and short briefing about your treks and refreshment. Stay overnight in Hotel.
A free day to explore in the Kathmandu Valley. Our tour guide introduces as following Options: Climb the many steps to Swayambhunath (the monkey temple), with its commanding views of Kathmandu (1420m), its whitewashed Stupas and its unique synthesis of Buddhism and Hinduism. The striking Buddha eyes of Boudhanath Stupa watch over a lively and colorful Tibetan community and attract pilgrims from all over the Himalayan Buddhist realm. In the midst of traditional Gompas, and hung with long strings of multi-colored prayer flags, Boudhanath attracts Sherpas, Tibetans and tourists alike for daily circumambulations (Koras) of the Stupa. Durbar Square, one of the old capitals of the Kathmandu valley, is a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist temples, stupas and statues, and is often the site of festivals, marriages and other ceremonies. Hindu Pashupatinath and its sacred temple complex on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here, monkeys run up and down the steps of the burning ghats, and trident-bearing saddhus draped in burnt-orange and saffron sit serenely meditating – when they’re not posing for photos-for-rupees. Stay overnight in Hotel. (Today, we also proceed for restricted area permits issuance and we need full working day as well as need your original passport with recent Nepal Tourist Visa)
Today morning after breakfast in the hotel, we drive by 4 W jeep/land cruiser to Sotikhola via Arughat (600m), a pleasant market town straddling the Buri Gandaki River. And then continue to drive through Gurung and Magar villages on the dusty rough road, on the left bank of the Buru Gandaki, which you will be following to its source. Finally scenic drive brings us in Soti Khola (710m) after 7 hours. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Morning, the trail crosses on suspension bridge above Sotikhola and treks through beautiful Sal forests then climbs onto a ridge above huge rapids on the Buri Gandaki. Much of the trail is blasted out of vertical rock walls on the way to Khursane from where we can see the large waterfall. The route gets a bit precarious as it passes over a big rock and crosses stream on a single log perched high above it. The rocky trail then weaves its way up and down past two tropical waterfalls on a steep, rocky trail clinging to the side of a cliff. This trail makes us freak out sometimes due to look slope down to River. The trail eventually makes its way down and past a few rice terraces, then up and around to the Gurung village of Lapubesi at 880m. The trail climbs behind a rocky outcrop to a dilapidated school. The valley opens and the Buri Gandaki meanders among wide gravel bars. Drop to the sandy riverbed at 860m and walk along the rounded stones before climbing about 110m over a side ridge to avoid a spot where the river changed course and erased the riverside trail. Head down again to the river and traverse to the village of Machhakhola, above the stream of the same name. Gurungs are inhabited in the village with 40 houses and their own tradition, culture. We will have view of Ganesh Himal North. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Today our narrow trail makes some minor ups and downs after crossing wooden bridge, often dropping onto gravel bars alongside the river. It eventually crosses the Tharo Khola, flowing in a rocky ravine, and then reaches Khorlabesi crossing wooden bridge. The main part of the village is far above, on top of the hill. The valley is extremely steep and the trail climbs over a small ridge, and then makes another steep climb and descent to a single house. After more ups and downs there is small trail side hot spring, and then the route reaches Tatopani, meaning “Hot water”. The narrow village square has a hot spring, where the locals are washing their clothes. From the hot spring the trail climbs over another ridge, and then crosses the Buri Gandaki on a suspension bridge in a state of moderate decay. Now on the eastern side of the river, the trail climbs on a wide, well-crafted staircase, then across a landslide and over a ridge to Dovan village. A long suspension bridge carries the trail over the Dovan Khola; the trail reaches the bridge via an interesting cloverleaf approach. The route stays low at first, and then climbs on a rugged, rocky trail to some tea-houses at Duman. After crossing a big landslide you will eventually find our self atop a ridge. The river valley widens, and the trail descends to the Buri Gandaki, which is now meandering serenely among gravel bars. Cross a 93m long suspension bridge over the Yaru Khola and ascend a wide set of stone stairs, drop to the river and then climb more stone stairs to Tharo Bharyang. Cross to the west bank of the Buri Gandaki, climb over a ridge, trek along the river for a whole, then climb to the compact village of Jagat. It has a beautiful flagstone village square in front of a rudimentary trekker’s hotel, a police post, MCAP office where we should entry our permits to enter in the restricted area of Manaslu region. Stay overnight at Lodge.
In the morning, either rock-hop across the Bhalu Khola or we go quite a distance upstream and cross the suspension bridge with spectacular waterfall. Climb over a rocky ridge to Sallari, a settlement of 10 houses and herder’s huts. We will have a good view of Sringi Himal as we continue up along the side of a cliff. The trail descends to Sirdibas where a decrepit stone Kani and several Mani Walls indicate that the trek is not entering a region of Tibetan influence, although the peoples are still Gurungs. The trail widens a bit as the trail continues up to the stone houses of Ghatte Khola viewing Philim Village high above the hill with terraced fields of seasonal crops. Cross the rock-strewn stream where several mills spin merrily away. The trail continues upstream to a 300m long suspension bridge over the Buri Gandaki that looks like it’s in danger of collapse. The better route crosses the bridge and follow a new trail on the eastern side of the river after crossing bridge short climb up brings us a large Gurung settlement of Philim village with some hotels and fields of seasonal crops. We will see the good view of mountains and landscapes. The Manaslu trail turns north just above the lowest houses in the village and stays fairly level as it traverses fields to Ekle Bhatti. The route enters a steep, uninhabited gorge. The trail descends grassy slopes dotted with tall pine trees. Cross the Buri Gandaki on a blue metal bridge where the river is at its narrowest. Trek along the west bank for a while, cross to the east bank on hanging bridge and cross back again after a short walking. It hangs on a cliff, climbing over ridge and descending to the river. We can see the large Shar Khola and Tsum Valley joining the Buri Gandaki on the opposite bank. The trail makes its way up the western side and the valley finally widens, offering a pleasant walk through bamboo forests to the Deng Khola, crossing it on unstable collection of rocks and longs where newly constructed trail abruptly ends. At the tiny village of Deng we enter Nupri, and is inhabited primarily by Gurungs who practice Buddhism. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Morning a short distance beyond Deng the trail re-crosses the Buri Gandaki onto what is now the north bank, and climbs to Rana. From the bridge the trail climbs a bit to join from Bhi, then heads west up the Buri Gandaki Valley. Its level for a bit, then the route climbs on steps past a waterfall. Cross the stream on a crooked wooden bridge, then drop to another stream that flows in a steep, narrow canyon. Contour up and out of the canyon for a view of the Buri Gandaki looking like a tranquil lake above a collection of rocks that form a dam. After passing some houses and simple lodge in the lower part of Bhi, the trail darts in and out of two ravines, then climbs high above the river before dropping into the Sringi Valley. Cross the Sringi Khola on a funky suspension bridge, then climb steeply and traverse above the Buri Gandaki where it flows between vertical rock walls. The trail makes more ups and downs in forests, passing on occasional house and Mani wall, and then turns a corner and contour to Ghap. The trail passes through a kani with intricate, well-preserved paintings on the inside, then through corn and wheat fields below Ghap’s six stone houses. The Mani wall in Ghap has particularly elegent carvings said to have been made by a family of stone carvers from Bhi, high on the hillside above. The carvings depict the Buddha in various meditative poses, as well as the Tibetan saint Milarepa, who is said to have traveled and meditated in this valley. The stone in this region is quite hard, so the carvings do not have the deep relief typical of Mani walls throughout other parts of Nepal and Tibet. The trail from Ghap crosses the Buri Gandaki to the south side on a 25m-long blue steel trestle bridge. There are more mani stones on the south side of the River as the route cuts across fields and heads into the woods. Pass a few houses and three streams in a forest of big firs alive with birds, including the Danphe or impeyen pheasant, Nepal’s colorful national bird. On the north side of the river is the Tom Khola, which flows in a deep gorge from Tibet, almost doubling the flow of the Buri Gandaki. Still on the south bank, the trail climbs alongside the river past two long mani walls to a waterfall. You will need to climb over a large rock to avoid one big mud hole, and then continue up through deep forests of fir and rhododendron. In the middle of the forest is a wooden bridge that spans the Buri Gandaki. The river has cut through the rock and thunders through a steep, narrow crevice below the bridge. The crossing is made more exciting by mist rising up from the valley and the lack of handrails on the bridge. The trail climbs on the northern side of a big rock cave, then crosses river again on another wooden bridge under the watchful eyes of a tribe of grey langur monkeys. Back on the south bank, the trail makes a long, serious climb through bamboo and rhododendron forest, finally entering Namrung through a stone archway. Namrung makes up a picturesque stretch of building high above the river and has an important police check post that controls access to the upper part of the valley where you will have to present your trekking permit for inspection. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Beyond Namrung the trek enters upper Nupri where the dialect change to a form to Tibetan and most people dress in Chubas, the Tibetan-style wraparound cloak. Climb past a Mani wall and the Mani fields and houses of Barsam, then up through of forest of fire, rhododendrons and oaks to a promontory. The trail passes through a stone arch and enters the closely packed houses and wheat fields of Lihi (2900m). The stone houses of Lihi exhibit the unusual architecture of this region. They are grouped together like apartments into units of five or six that share a common roof and courtyard. Most roofs are made of heavy wood shingles. The trail leaves the village through the Kani, then makes a long sweep into a wooded canyon. Cross the Hinan Khola on a double-span cantilever bridge, then huff and puff back up to another Kani and the closely packed houses of Sho (2960m). The views now start to get spectacular. Manaslu, Manaslu North (7157m) and Naike Peak (5515m) appear at the head of the valley. The villagers on the opposite side of the river are Shonju and, further to the west Tong. The trail crosses a small ravine to a big prayer wheel in the middle of the trail, then climbs through more fields to 3030m and the small settlements of Shrip. The strange-looking platforms in the fields are watchtowers where people sit all night to scare bears away from the crops. The trail climbs past a small stream crowded with dirty kids in tiny Chubas collecting water, to Lho (3180m). Lho is the big village with a gompa, a rough stone archway at the entrance and a tibetan-style chorten and huge mani wall at the western end. There’s a spectacular view of Manaslu from the kani above Lho. Drop down to the Damonan Khola, crossing it on a two-span bridge nears some miles, then ascend again. The trail follows the north fork of the stream up for a long distance through damp forests on grounds that are either muddy or icy, depending on the season. Finally the trail emerges onto a plateau at Shyaula (3520m) with a wide vista of Himalchuli (7893m), Ngadi Chuli (7879m; the survey of India called this peak 29, and the locals call it Dhangnang) and Manaslu known locally as Ghanpurge. There is a Chhorten and a small Gompa with huge prayer wheel here. The total deforestation around Shyaula is shocking. The scene is one of almost total desolation. Cross the ridge and trek in and out of the canyon of the Thosang Khola, then descend onto a rock-strewn moraine. Clamber across the boulders and emerge onto a ridge overlooking the extensive pastures and fields of Samagaon (3530m), known locally as Ro. The large village Gompa is visible in the distance, nestled against a wooded moraine at the far end of the valley. Walk across fields of wheat and buckwheat, past a Chhorten, to a large yellow Kani with bright, well-preserved paintings inside. The extensive village of Samagaon or Sama is nestled in the valley, beyond the kani. Descend to a large collection of mani stones and walk through the village. Many houses have courtyards that over look the trail, so we become immersed in the domestic affairs of the village during the trek through. At this elevation the only crops grown are potatoes and barley .The villagers keep herds of yaks and also a few horses, and weaving is a big occupation. Head west beside the stream that runs through the village to a shop, cross a wooden bridge and eventually pass through a kani to find our self headed for the gompa. From Samagaon only the lower north summit of Manaslu is visible. Climb up to the many buildings and residence of Kargyu Chholing Gompa, and on to a camp sit in a large field beyond. This is a Nyingma Gompa and most of the lamas are married and live in houses on the monastery grounds. There are eight separate lhakhang (temple buildings), the largest of which is Pemba Choling Gompa, which houses a large statue of Guru Rinpoche. Stay overnight at Lodge.
This day for acclimatizing with altitude of 4900m. The trail continues on to Birendra Tal, a glacial lake. Beyond the lake the trail steepens through the Yak pasture land where you can see grazing Yaks. Then trail widens high up with viewing Samagaon and Mt. Manaslu with other snowy peaks. We need to be committed to climb the 1200m for 3 to 4 hours to the miniature village of tents and prayer flags that is Manaslu Base Camp from where you will have spectacular views of Mt. Manaslu, Manaslu North. Then return descent to Samagaon takes around 2 to 3 hours. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Descend to the Buri Gandaki, which has now turned north again, and follow it to a bridge over a side stream. The Larkya La trail passes several mani walls as the valley begins to widen. It’s an easy trail on a shelf above the river past juniper and birch forests and the stone hurts of Kermo Kharka, then it gets rougher as is reaches a ridge where yak trains have ground the trail into mush. Drop of the shelf, cross the Buri Gandaki on a wooden bridge and climb steeply onto a promontory between two forks of the river. From a stone arch we can see a large white kani. It looks close, but it will take us a long time before we finally pass through the kani to reach Samdo (3860m), nestled behind a ridge. The town appears by surprise as we crest a hill and immediately on our left is a village. There is the mani wall near the small stone-roofed primary school, and the closely packed stone houses of the village extend off to the east. A police check post hides somewhere in the village, but police often head for warmer climes during the colder months of the trekking season. Samdo is at the junction of three valleys and we’ll see yak laden with timber heading east over the 5098m Lajyang La to Rhee village in Tibet, a day’s walk away. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Descend on a wide, gentle trail from samdo past many fields to a large mani wall and stone archway. Drop to the river, which is now very small and narrow, and cross it on a wooden bridge at 3850m. the survey of India map shows the village of Larkya Bazaar located here, but this was only a seasonal tent camp and there is not a house to be seen. A fine, old mani wall marks the start of the climb to Larkya La. Climb gently through tundra and juniper opposite the huge Larkya Glacier that drops from Manaslu North. Avalanches roar down from this peak, but the trail is safely out of there path. After more then an hour of climbing, the trail becomes indistinct. Stay high on the ridge to the right and we will find a trail that crosses the top of low large ravines. Watch for blue sheep as the trail gets steeper and climbs the side of a ridge to about 4000m, where there is a viewpoint at the edge of a huge gorge. We can see a single stone house in the distance and a row of abandoned houses, perhaps the remains of the mythical Larkya Bazzar, far below. Before the political situation made it impossible, Sherpa from Namche Bazzar used to bring their yaks on a long trip via Tibet, then into Nupri, to trade. Climb in and out of the gorge and contour to the only shelter on the route before the pass, Larkya Rest House, at 4480m. Stay overnight at Lodge.
The routs start up the ridge in front of the rest house, eventually, becoming a long, gentle climb beside a moraine. Cross a small ridge, descend a bit to a lake, and keep climbing the ridge until you reach the top of the moraine at 4690m. The trail becomes rougher and indistinct as it crosses the moraine to the south of steep, grassy slopes. A few cairns mark the route, but if there is snow we will have a real route-finding problem. Stay on the moraine to a ridge with two cairns; we are able to see the prayer flags on the pass from here. Descend to four frozen lakes, then and then make the final steep climb to the Larkya La (5100m). It should take there to five hours from the rest house to the Larkya La. It is best to make an early start in order to cross the pass safely. It can be extremely cold and windy during the climb, and porters have perished on this pass in snowstorm. The views are tremendous. The peaks to the west of the pass are Himlung Himal (7126m), Cheo Himal (6820m), Gyaji Kung (7030m), Kang Guru (6981m) and Annapurna II (7937m). The descent begins along the top of a moraine to the west, then drops steeply and traverses acre slops to a long set of steep, rought switchbacks. If there’s snow, the route is treacherous and you would do well to fix a rope on the steepest stretch. Once of the top the trail crosses the moraine and descends more gently. There is a final long, steep, slippery descent on loose gravel to Taubuche (Dangmuche), another grassy moraine at 4450m- a drop of 650m in little more then an hour. The trail becomes easier, descending along the grassy moraine to a small meadow and a spring at 4080m. The trail turns a corner, the valley becomes larger, and the trail heads down to a large meadow, a mani wall and a small rest house. This is Bimtang (3720m), whose Tibetan name means ‘plain of sand’. There are a few lodges here, including the Manaslu Hotel and lodge, and from May to October several teashops cater at the large amount 9of local traffic between Nupri and the Marsyangdi Valley. The ruins of a much larger building, said to have been two storeys’s high, are a mute testimony to Bimtang’s earlier prominence as a trading post. Tilman reports that during the 1950 season more then 3000 animal-loads of goods were traded here. Bimtang was also a Khampa guerrilla staging area during the 1970s. This is a huge valley surrounded by high peaks and you’ll probably her many avalanches during the night. Stay overnight at Lodge.
The trail drops from Bimtang and crosses a glacial stream, the head waters of the Dudh Khola, on a wooden bridge. The next two days’ walk follows an ancient salt-trading route. Climb over the side over of the moraine and descend into a beautiful pine and rhododendron forest to Hompuk (3430m). a single ‘gingerbread’ cottage in the middle of the woods offers warm food and a couple of beds in an emergency. The walking improves as the trail descends; switch backing down to a fork of the Dudh Khola, then follows the river through forest to a goth at 3030m. The going stays easy to a stream and the fenced fields of Karache (2700m), with a small tea-house. The trail crosses a landslide, then goes across fields before making a steep climb over a ridge decorated with prayer flags, while the river loops around in a pronounced ‘S’ shape below. The trail comes of the ridge in a big, sweeping arc down to the riverbank at 2580m near a few houses and fields on the opposite side. A short distance beyond is the village of Gho (2560m), which boasts the first real tea-shop since Jagat. At the foot of the valley we can see part of the peak of Lamjung above the Marshyangdi valley. Continue through fields, interspersed with rhododendron and oak forests. Do not cross a suspension bridge that crosses the Dudh Khola; stay on the north bank as you trek into Tilje (2300m). Stay overnight at Lodge.
Climb over a small ridge to the stone-paved village street and wind among the closely spaced houses of this large Gurung village. As the trail descend through scrub forest, the wall of the Marshyangdi Valley, and finally the house of Dharapani become visible. Cross a wooden bridge back to the northern side of the Dudh Khola at 1930m and climb up through a chhorten-shaped arch. The police post is on the paved village street. To get to Dharapani (1920m), turn left just beyond the hotel, pass the large tin- roofed high school and cross a long suspension bridge over the Marshyangdi. We are now firmly on the apple-pie trail, and the remainder of the trek follows the first days of the Annapurna Circuit trek in rivers. By now we are in good shape, and the trail is generally downhill, so we should be able to make a fast trek back to the road head for a while and stay east side of the trail crossing suspension bridge above the Marshyangdi River and climbs over a ridge, entering the churning river gorge before arriving Karte. Then after cross high suspension bridge and stay west side of the river, then walk down to next bridge on the road. Cross long suspension bridge over Marshyangdi River and walk east bank of river until Tal where we will have picturesque waterfalls where lunch place will be best. Then walk river bank for a while climb down on the rocky trail passing small batti and climb gently ups and downs through dense forests until reaching Chyamje. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Today morning, jeep pick us up and drive down until Besisahar on dusty road quite rough but our driver care about for slow driving. Then after scenic drive with viewing high mountains range including Mt. Manaslu and finally arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel.
Your trip will come to an end today after breakfast in Hotel. Our office reprentative will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements and transfer to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport by our private van around 3 hours before your flight schedule and flight back to your home/other travel destination.
Int’l/Dom Airport/Hotel/Airport picks up and transfers by private car/van on arrival and departure.
3 nights deluxe accommodations in twin bed sharing basis with breakfast at 3* Hotel in Kathmandu.
Guided sightseeing tour as per above mentioned itinerary and all kind of entry fees.
Meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) with tea or coffee are included during the trek.
Lodge to lodge accommodation during the trek.
1 Experienced, helpful, friendly and well trained English speaking guide, porters (1 porter for 2 peoples and carry 25kg) during the trek and their food, accommodation, equipment, salary and insurance.
All ground transportation by private 4W driving to and from trek.
Manaslu Restricted Area Permit and Manaslu Conservation Area Permit.
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit and other necessary permits.
First Aid Medical Kit box and necessary medicines.
Office Service Charge and all government tax.
Any meals (Lunch and Dinner) in Kathmandu other than breakfast in hotel.
International Airfare to and from Nepal.
Nepal Tourist Visa Fees.
Items and expenses of personal nature.
All kind of alcoholic drinks (beer, wine, whisky), cold drink (mineral water, coke, fanta, sprite, juice), laundry service, postage, phone calls, internet, donations, museum entry fees etc during the trip.
Personal Trekking Equipment such as sleeping bags, walking poles, down jackets, walking boots. (It can be hired/bought in Kathmandu).
Emergency Evacuation (Medical Insurance and Helicopter Rescue in case of accident and can be paid either insurance company or clients themselves).
Any cost arises due to a change of the program/itinerary, because of landslides, political disturbance, strike and some accidental problems.
Horse/Pony renting and additional porters due to natural calamities during the trek.
Any other costs whatsoever, that is not mentioned in the cost inclusive.
Tipping Tips for guide, porters, drivers and horse man. Tipping is expected but it is not mandatory and can be treated end of the trip if satisfied.