Manaslu Circuit Trek takes you off-the-beaten-path and lets you walk along a less crowded trail. Walk around the picturesque Budi Gandaki and Nubri Valleys and discover fascinating mountain cultures on the brink of extinction. Visit antiquated Buddhist Monasteries and learn more about Bon, an ancient Tibetan religion that predates Buddhism...
Manaslu Trek takes you to some of the remote and least visited corners of Nepal Himalaya. As this trail is frequented by only a handful of trekkers, it is less crowded than the popular trekking trails of Everest and Annapurna. You begin your Manaslu Circuit trek from the lush and green Budi Gandaki Valley and climb up high to Nubri Valley. The Nubri Valley lies very close to Tibet, under the shadows of Manaslu mountain (8,163m), the eighth highest mountain in the world. Experience Nepal’s cultural diversity. In the lower elevations, you will experience Nepalese Hindu culture, while at the higher reaches you discover Tibetan Buddhist and Bon culture. You will be trekking around Gorkha district, an area which occupies a very important place in Nepal’s history. Gorkha is the royal seat of the Shah rulers, a dynasty which ruled over Nepal for more than 200 years. The unification of Nepal was started by a Shah king from this mountainous region. The last monarch of Nepal also belonged to this dynasty.
This Manaslu Trek starts from Barpak, a small mountaintop village in Gorkha. The village was the epicenter of the earthquake that rocked Nepal in early 2015. A large village inhabited by Ghales, Gurungs, Sunars and Damais, Barpak was once the stronghold of the Ghale Kings. Tread past narrow pathways carved on cliff sides and share the trail with mule and yak caravans. Enter the Manaslu Conservation Area Project, a storehouse of rare Himalayan flora and fauna. Cross raging glacial rivers, waterfalls, traditional villages and pine forests. The trail takes you to the high altitude Bhotia settlements bordering Tibet. Untouched by modernity, people at these villages have been following the same practices and lifestyle followed by their ancestors. You follow the Himalayan salt-trail, an ancient trade route used by traders of Nepal, Tibet and India in the olden days. One of the highlights of this trek is the challenging crossing of Larkya La (5,160m), a high mountain pass. Your adventure ends with a short walk to Dharapani in Marshyangdi Valley. Once you have completed the final leg of your trek, you should congratulate yourself and be proud of your achievement. You have trekked across three Himalayan valleys - Budi Gandaki, Nubri and Marshyangdi valleys, in a matter of two weeks! Our experienced local guide will be guiding you throughout your trek.
If you have already completed this circuit and would like to do a similar trek, then we recommend trying out our Langtang Trek or the Annapurna Circuit. While our Langtang Trek takes you along a secluded trail dotted with Tamang villages, the Annapurna Circuit lets you explore one of the oldest trekking trails in the Himalayas. Known as Nepal's classic trek, the Annapurna Circuit lets you experience Nepal's diverse culture and landscape.
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As you fly into Kathmandu, you will be presented with mesmerizing views of soaring mountains and gentle rolling hills. The city of Kathmandu lies in a deep valley surrounded by a ring of green hills. Once your plane lands at the airport make your way to the terminal and meet our representative. He will be there holding a placard bearing our company’s or your name. He will drive you to your hotel and help you check in. In the evening there will be a trip briefing where you will be briefed about the route you will take, the condition of the trail and the important things that you need to keep in mind while trekking. Meet your guide and other team members. After the briefing, there will be a final check of your gear and equipment. If you have missed out on any of the items on the list you can hire or buy from a local shop. There are many shops in Thamel renting and selling trekking gear and equipment. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Discover some of Kathmandu’s well known UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Head to Boudhanath Stupa, an important Buddhist pilgrimage site and centre of Tibetan Buddhism. This white domed stupa dates back to the 14th century. At the base of the stupa is a giant mandala, a Buddhist representation of the cosmos. The top has a square tower bearing the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha and a golden pyramid with thirteen steps, representing the ladder to enlightenment. Locals believe that the remains of the Kasyapa Buddha (a previous incarnation of Lord Buddha) is buried beneath this stupa. A large Tibetan community lives around this historic stupa.
Next, head to Pashupatinath Temple, one of the most sacred sites for the Hindus. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this pagoda-roofed temple was built in the 5th century. Lying on the banks of the sacred river Bagmati, Hindus bring their dead to the ghat of this temple for cremation. As non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the temple, you can view the temple from the eastern bank of the river. It lies directly across ‘Arya Ghat’, the Hindu cremation site.
Drive to Kathmandu Durbar Square, one of the three medieval palace squares in Kathmandu valley. The square houses several temples and palaces built by Malla and Shah rulers. Though some of the structures were damaged during the 2015 earthquake, there are many still standing that will interest you. Kumari Bahal (House of the Living Goddess), Taleju Temple, the statue of Kal Bhairav and the beautiful courtyards filled with artistic woodwork and stone sculptures are some of the cultural and historical treasures dotting this ancient palace complex.
End your sightseeing tour with a hike up to the hill-top shrine of Swoyambhunath. Sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists, the compassionate eyes of the Buddha look out over the valley from the stupa’s tower. According to local legend Swoyambhunath was built by a Boddhisattva, Manjushri, after draining the lake that once covered Kathmandu Valley. Enjoy a 360 degree of the city from the temple grounds. Later return to your hotel and have an early night. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Leaving Kathmandu Valley you take a long drive to Barpak in Gorkha district. As your vehicle leaves the city, the road dips down and follows a serpentine trail. Enjoy delightful views of rural settlements, rolling hills and snow-capped peaks stretching in the horizon. Your journey takes you to Gorkha District, an area that occupies an important place in Nepalese history. The unification of modern Nepal began from this mountainous region when Prithvi Narayan Shah, a Gorkha King began his campaign from the hills of Gorkha. The Shah dynasty ruled over Nepal for more than 200 years. The last monarch of Nepal belonged to this dynasty. The vehicle weaves through Barah Kilo, a bustling bazaar area. From here it takes around 4 hours to reach Barpak village. Another historic village, Barpak was the stronghold of the Ghale kings who controlled the trade route that weaved through the Buri Gandaki valley. In the olden days many travellers and traders traveled to Tibet via the Buri Gandaki valley.
Inhabited by Ghales, Gurungs, Chettris, Brahmins, Pariyars and Damais, Barpak is one of the largest village in Gorkha district. This hillside village was the epicenter of the deadly earthquake that rocked Nepal on 25th April 2015. After the earthquake, out of 1,200 homes only four buildings were left standing. Hundreds of villagers lost their lives. The survivors are trying their best to rebuild their lives. Your stay at this village will help revive local economy. You will be staying at a lodge run by a local. Overnight in Barpak.
We leave the village of Barpak and head towards Laprak, a Gurung village. The trail goes uphill through a rhododendron forest. Follow a gentle ascent to Bhoshu Khang(2800m), from where you enjoy panoramic views of snow-capped Ganesh Himal and Buddha Himal. After reaching Bhoshu Khang we follow a downward trail to Laprak Village. En route we walk past Gupsi Danda , a new settlement built to shelter survivors of the earthquake. A Gurung settlement, Laprak village was nearly destroyed by the deadly 2015 earthquake. New buildings have cropped up and there are few local lodges offering food and accommodation to travellers stopping at Laprak. The stunning summit of Manaslu mountain is visible from this village. Overnight in Laprak.
From Laprak you take a gradual descent and then you climb up. The trail weaves past Sing La village. En route you are presented with picturesque Himalayan views. Take a breather and enjoy the breathtaking sights of the soaring snow-capped peaks and distant villages nestled on the side of the mountains. Our destination for today is Khorla Besi and we stop once we reach the village. Overnight in Khorla Besi.
Today we cover a challenging section of the trail. We follow a pathway carved on the side of rocky cliffs and huge boulders. The path lies right above the Budi Gandaki river. On one side is a rocky wall while on the other is a precipitous drop, right down to the river. Do remember to walk on the side of the wall as mules taking this path tend to push aside anything that comes on their way. After hiking for a while we arrive at Tatopani, a hot spring that’s quite popular among the locals. Cross a suspension river across the Budi Gandaki. You walk through a narrow valley flanked by steep mountainsides to Jagat. A green signboard announces you that you are now entering the Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP). The Manaslu Conservation Area Project covers an area of 1,663 square kilometers and is home to a rich ecosystem made up of mountains, glaciers, water bodies and rare Himalayan flora and fauna. The area is home to snow leopards, Himalayan Thars, different species of butterflies and birds and Himalayan herbs. After walking a bit further you arrive at a local teahouse, where you stop for the night. Overnight in Jagat.
Enjoy dramatic views of Sringri Himal as you continue walking on a scenic trail. Take an upward ascent and cross a bridge. Walk uphill till you reach the settlement of Phillim. Stop for lunch at this charming village. From here you can enjoy scenic views of neighboring villages situated on mountain-tops or cliff sides. The picturesque villages are surrounded by farms and fields. Continue trekking along a trail filled with pine and rhododendron trees. After crossing a bamboo forest and a small river (Dang Khola) you arrive at the settlement of Dang. Overnight in Dang.
From Dang we trek to Prok. Lying at an elevation of 2397m this village is situated on a ridge. Rarely visited by outsiders the village of Prok is inhabited by Bhotias, an indigenous mountain community who are culturally closer to Tibetan Buddhists than to Nepalese Hindus. Life at this village and other villages in the upper reaches moves at a slow pace. The people, living in this high reaches have been following the same practices and traditions followed by their forefathers. Once you reach the village, head to a local teahouse. After a brief rest explore the village, interact with the locals and take pictures. Overnight in Prok.
You begin the day’s trek by taking a downhill trail to Ghap. Walk through a verdant forest filled with conifer, pine and juniper trees. Cross two bridges before climbing up to Namrung. From there take the path that leads to Barcham, a settlement with rolling green fields. The trail runs past a mani wall and the ancient villages of Lihi and Sho. Mud chortens dot the landscape. You are walking in the Nubri Valley, one of the most isolated areas in Nepal. Only a handful of trekkers walk past this trail each year. Savour the solitude and revel in the spell binding mountain views. After an uphill ascent you arrive at the large village of Lho. The large Ribum Gompa, a Buddhist monastery dominates the village landscape. You rest for the night at this village. Do not forget to enjoy the mesmerizing views of Manaslu, Himalchuli, Saula Himal and Dwijen Himal at sunset from one of the popular vantage points. Overnight in Lho.
Leave the village of Lho and make your way to Sama Gaon. Walk past a forest and climb steadily till you reach Shyala. Go through a traditional Buddhist gate(kani) and enter the village. Savour close up views of Manaslu and other Himalayan peaks. Continue your hike up to Sama Gaon. As you climb up the 3000 metre mark you can feel the altitude and find it a bit difficult to breathe. The valley opens and you finally reach the charming village of Sama Gaon. Filled with flat-roofed stone houses and villagers dressed in long chubas (traditional attire), Sama Gaon offers an insight into the fascinating lifestyle and culture of the high Himalayan people. The village has one of the oldest monasteries in the Nubri Valley. Overnight in Sama Gaon.
Explore the village and interact with the villagers. Take an acclimatization walk to Punggen Monastery. Situated very close to Manaslu, you can enjoy 360-degree views of this glorious peak, Hiunchuli and Nadi Chuli. If you want something challenging you can hike up to the Manaslu Base Camp. The whole journey takes around 8 hours (5 hours hike to Manaslu Base Camp and 3 hours return trek) and is filled with spectacular views of tumbling glaciers, icefall, Birendra Tal(a mountain lake) and the Nubri Valley surrounded by snow covered peaks. En route you cross the serene Birendra Tal, a turquoise lake fed by the waters of the Manaslu glacier. If you make the hike during climbing season, you will find the whole base camp area covered with colourful tents of expedition groups. Overnight in Sama Gaon.
From Sama Gaon you trek to Samado. Take the path to Khermo Kharka (lined with mani walls), where the trail divides. Take the one that leads to Samado (the other leads to Manaslu Base Camp). You walk past the Manaslu Glacier and hike up through a forest filled with birch, rhododendron and juniper trees. Take an upward ascent till you reach the village of Samdo. Situated very close to Tibet, many of the villagers living here have migrated from Tibet. This village is the last permanent settlement before the crossing of Larkya La. The ancient trade route to Tibet went through this ancient village. Some of the trails from this village lead directly of Tibet. In the summer months trading fairs are held a few miles from the village. Traders from Tibet bring their wares to sell at these fairs. Dotted with flat-roofed stone houses, yaks, chortens, prayer flags and mani walls, Samdo feels very much like a Tibetan settlement. Overnight in Samdo.
Take the trail leading to Larkya Phedi or Larkya Base Camp. Today’s walk offers some of the best mountain views in this circuit. You walk very close to the mountains and you can see the massive walls of these Himalayan peaks rising right above you. It is a humbling experience as you stand dwarfed by the gigantic mountains towering right above you. The dramatic landscape simply leaves you awe-struck. You stop at Dharamsala, a settlement with few houses. Have an early night as you will be crossing the Larkya La, a high mountain pass and the highest point of your trek at 5165m, tomorrow. Overnight in Dharamsala.
Rise up at the crack of dawn and get an early start. An uphill ascent brings you to the north side of the Larkya glacier from where you can enjoy enthralling views of Larkya Peak and Cho Danda. Today’s walk is quite tough and challenging as you make a crossing of the Larkya La. Take each step carefully as you walk past the treacherous moraines of the glacier. From Larkya La you can savour impressive views of Cheo Himal, Himlung Himal, Kangaru, Gyaji Himal and Annapurna II. Take a steep descent to Bimtang while enjoying the view of Manaslu’s forked summit. Some part of the trail may be icy and you may need to wear crampons. Once you reach the village head to a teahouse and take rest. It has been a tough climb and you need time to get recharged. Overnight in Bimthang.
The trail weaves downwards past green meadows and pine forests. It descends to Hampuk and follows the downward descent to Dudh Khola. Walk past the settlements of Karche and Gho. Walking down the west bank of the river, you finally reach the Gurung village of Tilije. The village is popular for its Apple Brandy. Overnight in Tilije.
From Tilije it’s a short walk to Dharapani. Dharapani lies in the Marshyangdi Valley and here you will come across several trekkers taking the Annapurna trail. This is a charming settlement set amidst mountains covered with pine trees. There are plenty of lodges and eateries catering to hordes of trekkers trekking along the Manaslu and Annapurna Circuits. From here you board a vehicle and take a drive to Kathmandu via Besisahar. The drive offers picturesque sights of green hills and rural farmsteads. Once you arrive in Kathmandu, check into your hotel and take rest. In the evening, attend a farewell dinner (complimentary) at an authentic Nepalese restaurant to celebrate the completion of your trek. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Our representative will drive you to the airport well on time to catch your homeward-bound flight. If you wish to explore more of Nepal or the neighbouring Himalayan destinations of Bhutan and Tibet, do let us know. We have a range of products offering you a wonderful travel experience.
The best seasons to complete the Manaslu Circuit are Spring (March to May) and Autumn (late September to November). Trekking in Spring will have you walking along valleys filled with wildflowers and rhododendron blooms, while an autumn trek offers clear skies and stunning mountain vistas. Nights can be extremely cold. Above 4,000 meters, you can expect nighttime temperatures to drop as low as -10 degrees.
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Monument entry fees during Sightseeing tour
Accommodations in Kathmandu and on the trail are included in the package. Stay for 3 nights at Hotel Shanker in Kathmandu, a 4 star luxury heritage hotel. The hotel which was once a palace of the Rana aristocrats, has been renovated and offers opulently furnished rooms, spa, fitness centre, swimming pool, restaurants, bar, café etc.
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According to data collected by the Ministry of Tourism, October is seen as the busiest month. Spring and Autumn are the most favorable seasons to do this trek. The mountain views are stunning and you can see Manaslu, the eighth highest peak in the world, in all its glory. Trekkers generally keep off this circuit during December, January and February, due to extreme cold and heavy snowfall.
You can store it at your hotel (most hotels in Kathmandu have storage facilities) or you can leave it at our office.
Yes, the necessary permits are included in the trip price.
The permits required are:
1. Manaslu Restricted Area Permit
2. Manaslu Conservation Area Permit
3. Annapurna Conservation Area Permit
Hiking involves walking for a short distance to reach your destination. It may only last for only a day. Trekking involves walking for several days to reach the point of your interest. Each day’s walk may last for several hours and you may need to stay overnight at camps or lodges. Compared to hiking, trekking is more rigorous and challenging. To participate in mountain climbing one requires adequate training and technical skills. Special mountaineering gear is needed and the risks are higher in mountain climbing than in trekking or hiking.
If you get ill while on the trail, your guide will take action taking into account the nature and severity of your illness. For minor health concerns like stomach ache or diarrhea your guide will be carrying medications. If the altitude is affecting you, you will be moved to a lower altitude. For severe injuries and illnesses an emergency evacuation by helicopter will be arranged.
No, solo or individual trekking is not allowed in this region. You will have to book your trek through a registered agency and there should be at least two people in your group. The permits required to do this trek are:
During my research on this trek there were instances where people faced difficulty with an inexperienced guide which was my number 1 concern. Third Rock Adventures were prompt with their email and also they gave me with their phone number. I called and as we talked I became certain that I will do the Manaslu circuit trek with the company. They assured me that the trip would be as they have promised. I am glad that I did the trek with them and could not have asked more. I was least worried and enjoying the trek more. It was worth all the pain, difficulties and mild Acute Mountain Sickness. Alluring mountains, challenging trail, cultural diversity, unhampered Tibetian culture and solitary.