Done with trekking in popular Annapurna and Everest region of Nepal? Searching for a challenging trek in Nepal? Manaslu trek will be perfect for you! Trekking in Nepal once isn’t enough.
Manaslu Circuit Trek is famous as an off-the-beaten trekking route in Nepal. The trek in the wilderness is gaining popularity amongst trekkers seeking challenges. The off-the-beaten-path trek features breathtaking views of mountains, unique ancient culture, and crossing high mountain pass beyond 5100 meters.
Savor the feeling of fresh air touching your face, listen to the music of woods and river, and bask in the joy of walking amidst natural beauty. Get a glimpse of the daily life of people in villages. With the increase in elevation, you will see the difference in culture. As you start the trek from the lower region you will see Hindu culture. Upon trekking to the higher region you will come across Buddhist people akin to Tibetans. Enrich your journey by interacting with locals and know more about the lifestyle and culture of people high in the mountains.
Learn about top 8 reasons to trek to Manaslu along with 8 interesting facts in this Manaslu Circuit Trek Blog. So, without further ado let’s get started!
If you are up for the challenge of trekking in secluded areas of Nepal then Manaslu trek is perfect. You will get to keep trail to yourselves most of the days. However, be prepared to encounter many mule trains as it is the only way of transporting goods in the faraway area. Also, the rugged terrain intensifies the sense of trekking in a faraway land.
Manaslu Round Trek is significantly less crowded than the classic treks of Nepal like Annapurna Circuit Trek and Everest Base Camp Trek. Expect to meet and interact with fellow trekkers in guest houses or lodges where trekkers stop for the meal or night.
During a trek to Manaslu, you will experience diversity in culture on walking from lowlands to a higher altitude. In the lower regions, you will come across Hindu culture. Villages are mostly inhabited by Gurungs, Ghales, Sunars, Damais, and others.
Interact with locals and get an insight into their culture and lifestyle. As you trek higher in altitude you will encounter Buddhist culture and Bon culture that precedes Buddhism. You will come across Mani walls, mud-built chortens, monasteries, colorful Buddhist prayer flags showing the presence of Buddhism. You will come across a large Buddhist monastery called Ribum Gompa in the village of Lho.
Exploring local culture intrigues you then explore Sama Gaon on your acclimatization day. Hike to observe thousands of Mani stones inscribed or painted with Buddhist texts. Visiting an old gompa called Pungyen Gompa is perfect to explore the local culture with an amazing view of the glaciers.
Your Manaslu trek begins from hills of Gorkha which is home to the Shah Rules of Nepal. Nepal was divided into several small kingdoms before its unification by King Prithivi Narayan Shah. The descendant of Shah Rulers reigned over Nepal for more than 200 years until the abolition of monarchy in 2008.
During the Anglo Nepalese war, between East India Company and the Gorkha Kingdom in the 1800s, East India Company suffered heavy casualties. The fearsome Nepalese soldiers made an impression on British East India Company leading on to sign a peace deal in 1815. Since then British Army constitutes of the Gurkha Brigade known worldwide for its brave and fearsome attitude.
The term Gurkha came from the town of Gorkha which is synonyms to most formidable soldiers. Gurkha soldiers fought on behalf of Britain all over the world and have received many gallantry awards including several Victoria Crosses. Moreover, Gurkha troop is dominated by ethnic groups of Gurung, Magar, Rai, and Limbu.
While trekking in the off-the-beaten trail of Manaslu, you will reach villages inhabited by Bhotias akin to Tibetan Buddhist. Manaslu’s Nubri valley is one of the remote areas of Nepal and remains untouched by modernization. The way of life is not much different than it was in ancient times.
The locals of Nubri valley are mostly engaged in animal husbandry and agriculture. Agricultural produce includes potatoes, barley, maize, apples, and others.
You will find a unique culture and tradition in the mountain valley. People in Nubri valley wear traditional clothes and speak in their own language. Instead of “Namaste”, you will hear locals saying “Tashi Delek.” You will find the predominance of Tibetan Buddhism in this area.
Walk past beautiful chortens, circumambulate Mani walls in a clockwise direction and visit monasteries where monks and nuns reside.
You will be trekking in the foothills of the 8th highest mountain in the world, Manaslu 8163 meters high. The trek which is recently gaining popularity as off-the-beaten-path-trek will reward you with the stunning views of Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, and Buddha Himal among others. Take a thrilling walk past big boulders and rocky cliff which ultimately narrow downs to a valley with steep mountainsides.
Tread past terraced farmland and lush green forest with rhododendron, pine, conifer, and juniper trees. Watch one of the most beautiful sunsets over Manaslu, Himalchuli, and other neighboring mountains from the popular vantage point in Lho village.
The valley opens up from Sama Gaon and from here you can bask in the close-up views of Manaslu. Standing amidst the amphitheater of mountains with peaks like Nadi Chuli and Hiumchuli will be a memory to cherish for a lifetime. A pristine and blue Birendra Tal is one of the highlights of the trek which is filled by Manaslu glacier. Side excursion to Birendra Tal on acclimatization day in Sama Gaon will enrich your experience.
The theatrical views of Sringri Himal will entertain you before the stunning glaciers and ice fall greet you. Breathtaking view of colossal snow-capped mountains from Samado leaves you spellbound. Crossing Larkya La Pass is undoubtedly challenging and difficulty will increase in the presence of snow. All the pain endured to reach here is worth the breathtaking scenery. Devour the well-deserved views of Chelo Himal, Annapurna II, and others.
Lonely Planet describes Larkya La Pass or Larke Pass as one of the most dramatic mountain passes. Wake up before dawn to prepare and start your ascend to challenging high mountain pass, Larkya La 5165 meters high. It is one of the longest passes in Nepal with moraines from Larkya Glaciers and steep trails adding difficulty. You might need crampons to walk on some portion of the trail covered with ice around the pass.
Walk steadily and keep pushing and motivating yourself with the stunning views yet to see beyond words. After crossing the challenging pass, you can savor the awesome views of converging glaciers. Also, Larke Pass overlooks the panoramic beauty of snow-capped mountains like Manaslu, Annapurna II, Lamjung Himal, and others.
The restricted area of Tsum Valley opened for trekking only in 2008 which was once an important trade link between Nepal and Tibet. ‘Tsum’ means vivid in Tibetan and lies in the lap of Boudha ranges, Ganesh Himal, and Sringi Himal. Along with striking geography, the Tsum Valley has a distinct culture. You will find people of Tibetan roots with their own art, culture, religion, and dialect.
Before entering Tsum Valley big boulders painted with mantras in Tibetan script will greet you. According to legends the famous Buddhist Yogi, Chyuchin Milarepa meditated in one of the caves in Tsum Valley. The cave where Milarepa meditated is regarded as sacred and is called Piren Phu (Pigeon cave). Further, you will come across ancient scripts written on ceilings and stones. Visit monasteries dating centuries back and one also features statues of Tara, Buddha, and Avalokiteshwara.
Your trek to Manaslu starts from Barpak of Gorkha which was the epicenter of the devastating earthquake that rocked Nepal in 2015. The hillside village was hit hard by the strong earthquake and its recurring aftershocks. Among 1200 houses only a few were left and hundreds of people lost their lives. Before the destruction of the earthquake, the village with a beautiful landscape was dotted with traditional thatched roof houses.
Life moves on but the earthquakes have instilled fear in survivors. People are coping and moving forward with passing time. The villagers are doing their best to rebuild their lives and your stay in the village will directly help in boosting the local economy.
Now, you have known about the Top 8 reasons to trek on the foothills of Manaslu. Let’s read the 8 interesting facts about the off-the-beaten trail of Nepal.
Trekking to a restricted region of Manaslu recently opened to foreign trekkers and climbers from 1992. If you are thinking to go on a solo trek to Manaslu then hold that thought. Trekking alone is prohibited by the government and at least a group of two trekkers is required along with a mandatory guide. Trekking with a registered company or agency and licensed guide in this region is a must. A guide will lead you through right trail safely and in the time of crisis, the experience and prudence of a guide can be a matter of life and death.
Trekking in the Manaslu Circuit will require you to obtain a Restricted Area Permit. Your trekking company or agency can get the restricted area permit on your behalf. The government aims at preserving the natural resources of the Manaslu region along with its tradition, culture and heritage by declaring it a restricted area.
The high trekking season during the months of September, October, and November attract trekking permit fee of USD 100 per person per week. If trekked beyond one week, an additional USD 15 per person per day will be charged.
However, the trekking fee is lesser in the months from December to August. You need to pay the trekking permit fees of USD 75 per person per week. Trekking beyond one week will attract an additional charge of USD 10 per person per week.
Talking about other permits, you will need Manaslu Conservation Area Project permit and the Annapurna Conservation Area Project permit. Thinking why do you require Annapurna Conservation Area Project permit for Manaslu trek? You will be passing through Beshi Sahar and Dharapani during your Manaslu Trek that comes under Annapurna Conservation Area.
If you are thinking of extending your trek to Tsum valley then you will require an additional trekking permit in this region. Trekking from September to November in Tsum valley attracts trekking permit fees of USD 40 per person per week. An additional fee of USD 7 per person per day is required for trekking for more than one week. If you trek from December to August then you need to pay USD 30 per person per week in Tsum valley. An additional fee of USD 7 per person per day will be required on your trek beyond 1 week.
Manaslu Trek is graded as strenuous on the difficulty level. You will be walking for 4 to 6 hours a day for at least 13 days. It will be a demanding trek so be prepared mentally and physically to walk on uneven and rocky trail and stone stairs. You will be gaining a height of 300 to 500 meters every day. Crossing Larkya La Pass is regarded as the most difficult part of Manaslu trek.
Larkya La Pass is one of the longest passes of Nepal and is treacherous as well. Also a sharp descend to Bimtang requires technical skills.
On your trek preparation list add cardiovascular exercises and one-day hikes. Having previous experience of trekking will help you know what to expect in this kind of trek and terrain. With prior trekking experience, you will enjoy this off-the-beaten-path trek of Nepal more.
Manaslu Conservation Area is spread over an area of 1,663 km2. You will be trekking to Prok, Lho and Samagaun on Manaslu Round Trek which comes under the Manaslu Conservation Area. The area features around 2000 species of plants, 33 mammals, 3 reptiles, and over 110 species of birds. Manaslu Conservation Area is home to rare animals like Snow Leopard, Musk deer, Jackal, Brown Bear, Lynx, and others. Also, Himalayan Tahr, Blue sheep, Himalayan marmot, Wooly hare, and others live in this conservation area.
The monks of the Manaslu region have ensured the conservation of wildlife in this region by enforcing the prohibition of killing animals. Buddhism is not only a religion but more a way of life in this region. So, the teaching of Buddhist monks from the monasteries makes a huge impact on locals. You won’t find the practice of slaughtering animals as meat or sacrifice. The ban on killing animals by the monks is significant in protecting animals of this region especially the rare fauna.
Manaslu is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘Manasa’ which translates as soul or intellect. Moreover, Manaslu means mountain of spirit.
The eighth highest mountain in the world, Manaslu 8163 meters high was first climbed on May 9, 1956. A Japanese expedition team first achieved the successes of climbing Manaslu. Yuko Maki led the expedition while Toshio Imanishi from Japan first summited Manaslu along with the Sherpa, Gyaltsen Norbu.
You will find the practice of Polyandry in some households of Tsum valley. A woman who marries the eldest brother serves as a wife to brothers of the same family. The practice helps in the prevention of division of family property especially land among brothers. Apparently, the polyandrous household is economically better off than the monogamous households.
Spring and autumn are the best seasons to trek to Manaslu. You will be walking through trail covered with colorful rhododendron blooms in spring. During your trek in autumn, you will see a clear sky offering gorgeous views of mountains. Nights above 4000 meters can be brutal so anticipate mercury to dip up to -10 degrees.
Enjoy your trek on the off-the-beaten-path of Manaslu with Third Rock Adventures and check out our Manaslu Trekking Package. Leave the hassle of trek arrangement to us while you enjoy stress-free trekking in the solitary of mountains. We also customize the trip as per your requirement. Feel free to inquire us and get in touch with our travel experts.
You ought to be extra careful while choosing a trekking company or agency when trekking to Manaslu. Guides, who know the Manaslu region well, are less in comparison to that of famous Everest and Annapurna region. The instances of trekkers deviating from the trail route and facing added difficulty due to the incompetence of guides aren’t unheard. A guide with knowledge of basic first aid is curial when trekking in high altitude. Trekking in the remoteness of Manaslu can be hectic than enjoyable if you aren’t in able hands. Choose Wisely!