The Manaslu Circuit Trek
The 7th highest mountain in the world(8167m) is Manaslu and the The Manaslu Circuit Trek which has become the next ABC popularity-wise in recent times. It lies in the west-central part of Nepal. The name suggests “Mountain of the Spirit”, which comes from the Sanskrit word Manasa, meaning “intellect” or “soul”. If you want less of a crowd and more of the scenic beauty to capture the eyes, Manaslu trek is the best option for you. Manaslu Trek still remains as a remote and off-beaten-track. Yet there are tea houses at the everyday stage, so trekkers need not bring tents and food, making it more accessible and affordable than similar treks; physically demanding yet people find it enriching with its beauty culturally and scenically hypnotizing. Many who have already been there, would argue it to be the best general treks in the country. The trek takes you around the Manaslu Conservation Area and leads to a spectacular view of the eighth highest mountain in the world.
Manaslu was first climbed on May 9, 1956, by Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu. It is a 14-day trek that starts at Soti Khola and ends at Beshi Sahar and can be extended to 22 days with an additional side trek to the Tsum valley.
How to start Manaslu Circuit Trek?
710m (8 / 9 hours) Kathmandu – Arughat – Soti Khola:
The journey of Manaslu Circuit Trek starts from Soti Khola at the altitude of 700 meters from sea level. Can be reached via an 8-hour jeep ride from Kathmandu. However, mark the off-road, and set out for a bumpy adventurous ride. Yes, one can reach Soti Khola from Kathmandu by taking a public bus. But, a much better and safer option is to opt for a private vehicle; whether from a comfort perspective or be it for reaching the destination much faster, private vehicle is always recommended! Henceforth, a Jeep is advisable; as some parts of the road on the way can be pretty rugged, especially after Arughat.
900m (5 / 6 hours walking) Soti Khola – Machha Khola:
This is where the walking starts, Soti Khola to Machha Khola trek, the distance about 14.1 kilometers / 8.7 miles, leaving Soti Khola and entering the mystical Sal forest; the beginning part of the Manaslu circuit trek. The cultural exploration, stunning ridges, cross bridges and walk along winding paths will give you all the chills of the trekking. The trail will be an eye-pleasing sight, a soul soothing journey.
1410m (6 / 7 hours walking) Macha Khola – Jaget:
Once we cross Machha Khola, we reach- Khorla Besi, a beautiful gurung village that lies in the Gorkha district of Nepal; where there is a small natural hot spring-Tatopani. After an uphill trek, we shall be crossing the Budi Gandaki via a suspension bridge. Today’s trail takes through forests, along ridges with mesmerizing views and undulates until we reach our destination and rest for the night at the village of Jagat.
1860m (6 hours walking) Jaget – Deng:
Jagat to Deng trek through the riverbank & hills is an venturesome experience filled with beauty of the landscape; breathtaking scenic beauty. The circuit is densely populated by sub-tropical forest of oak, birch, and pine trees. You will need to cross several suspension bridges on the way to cross Budhi Gandaki and other small rivers. Here, views of the Siringi Himal (7161 m) can be clearly seen which is another awe-inspiring sight.
2620m (3 / 4 hours walking) Deng – Ghap:
Moving ahead past the Bihi Phedi and Bihi to reach the destination of Ghap, a shorter trip with a few minor ups and downs through the forest area. Trekkers experience the unique environment provided by the astonishing gorge, culturally rich chorten and cross another suspension bridge before we reach Ghap. A short and joyful walk it will be.
3550m (6 / 7 hours walking) Ghap – Samagaon:
Start off ascending through rhododendron, oaks, other alpine vegetation and bamboo forests until reaching Namrung,situated next to the river; passing a couple of suspension bridges and stone stairs. We navigate through the village with unique architecture. After Namrung, we pass across Sho, which offers remarkable views of Manaslu and Naike Peak. We then march past Lho to reach our destination for the day- Samagaon from where the view of Mt. Manaslu is jaw droppingly extraordinary.
3860m (4 / 5 hours walking) Samagaon – Samdo:
The trail for the day would be just along Budhi Gandaki River following the point of confluence of Larke river and the river formed due to Samdo glacier, also the origin of the torrential Budhi Gandaki and there, we reach the settlement at Samdo, altitude of 3690m and is the last village before the Larkya La.
4460m (3 – 4 hours walking) Samdo – Larkya Phedi:
Descending through beautiful fields, to the bridge and across Gyala Khola, start to climb to a large pile of mani stones just above Larkya Bazaar with views of Larkya Peak, just marvelous! The north side of Manaslu, you arrive at Larkya Pedhi, also called Larke Base Camp, where there is a large emergency shelter with recently built teahouses.
5160m (7 – 8 hours walking) Larkya Phedi – Larkya La (5160m) – Bimtang (3890m):
Following along the glacier moraine, we march a steady ascent to Larkya La pass; this is the time to gain altitude and trekkers may feel nauseous or suffer from headaches; utmost care should be taken by intaking a lot of fluid and keeping yourself warm is a no.1 priority. After a few hours of walking we reach the top and gaze at the unique sight of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kang Guru and Annapurna II. Now from the top of the pass, we will descend towards Bimtang.
2300m (6 hours walking) Bimtang – Tilje:
We start ascending down, passing through the meadows to the Dudh Khola river and continue to walk further through rhododendron forests to reach Karache village (2,800M) and then, Gho village. Further trek leads to the trail crossing rice fields, rhododendron and oak forests before reaching Tilje.
1700m (5/ 6 hours walking) Tilje – Chamie:
The trail drops down and crosses Dudh Khola River. The path then joins the Annapurna Circuit in reverse and passes the Marsyangdi River and Karte. After an abrupt rocky stairway through a scrub forest and reach Dharapani. From Dharapani, after a couple of hours of trek, to Chamje
1080m (3 hours walking) Chamje – Syange- Kathmandu:
This is a very rocky trail. across forests on the edge of a steep sided valley to Jagat. Cross a cliff face and drop down about 150m we reach Syange (1080m) and that is the end of the trek and leave Syange by car in the early morning to reach Kathmandu about 7 hours later. Many people prefer to spend a few days of rest and relaxation at Syange before getting back to the capital.
Best Time for Manaslu Circuit Trek
The Manaslu Circuit trek is possible throughout the year. Every season has its own perks packed with its own kind of adventures the seasons have to offer. However, Spring (February, March, April, May) and Autumn (October, November) are the best seasons for Manaslu Circuit Trekking due to the moderate weather and stable climate the season offers.
Highlights of Manaslu Trek
-Jaw dropping view of mountains including Manaslu, Baudha, and Ngadi Chuli
-Wild & endless forests filled with wildflowers, rhododendron, pines, and oak
-Picture- perfect villages
-Better understanding of cultural and traditional aspect of natives of the Himalayas
-Exotic Budhi Gandaki River valley
-Majestic sight of Larkya La pass (5153m/16901ft) crossing, one of the highest passes in the world
-Witness the towering cliffs, deep canyons, and epic landscapes
What are the permits essential for Manaslu Trek?
The following permits are necessary for Manaslu trek:
Restricted Area Permit: US $70 per week
Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP) permit: NRs. 2,000 (approx 20 Euro or US$30)
Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) per: US $10: NRs. 2,000 (approx Euro £20 or US $30)
How difficult is the Manaslu Trek?
Whether it’s pro or novice, every trekker is engulfed and excited when it comes to visiting the country for trekking. However, one has to be really good with physical fitness when it comes to trekking. For some trekkers who have never done high-altitude treks, this trek could be a bit challenging to undertake. Manaslu trek, unlike other mainstream treks, offers a less-crowded trail, perfect for those who love solitude. Manaslu trek difficulty depends upon various factors. Make sure you can beat them all. Although moderately rated, one must have good health for the trial.
Tips to Avoid Manaslu Trek Difficulties
-Take updates on weather and temperature conditions on every day of the trek
-Train yourself for long-distance walk especially for higher altitude
-Book earlier for food and accommodation during peak seasons
-Daypack or Backpack – Travel Light & Organized
-Torchlight or Flashlight in your backpack
-Munching Items: Trail Mix, Dry Fruits, Chocolates or Energy Bars should be handy
-For summer treks to Manaslu Circuit, carry along insect repellents and table salts (for leeches)
-Keep your water bottles and water purifiers; hydrate yourself well throughout
-Trek under the reliable guidance of a professional guide