Best Season March, April, May and September, October, November
The Manaslu circuit is one of the best remote trekking areas in Nepal. The most prominent of the peaks are Baudha Himal, Gorkha Himal and Himal Chuli. the area is bordered by two major river systems. To the east Budhi Gandaki and to the west Marshandi Khola. The biggest attraction of this trek is the views of the Manaslu range and the Annapuna ranges, combined with the forest and animal life along the ridge. The route starts from Gorkha. The route follows the rugged gorge of the Budhi Gandaki river through native Gurung country. A number of large Buddhist monasteries are to be seen in the upper reaches of the Budhi Gandaki.
The range of geographical and climatic regions has led to a diverse variety of flora and fauna with in this region. These parts of area are heavily cultivated and the landscape, therefore, largely consists of terraced paddy fields and rolling hills. The area is also famous for its winter crops of oranges, which can be purchased fresh from the trees along the trails in the foothills. As you progress higher up into the hills the natural vegetation changes from the tropical species to more temperate stands of forest trees including oak, beech and rhododendron. These finally give way to coniferous forests of pine and, ultimately, juniper just below the tree line. In the rain shadow, to the north of the mountains, the landscape is quite barren being an extension south of the Tibetan plateau. The higher up in the hills the natural vegetation changes from the tropical species to more temperate stands of forest trees including oak, beech and rhododendron. There is a variety of animals that can be spotted, including the barking deer and Himalayan marmots above the tree line. Pheasants may be seen in the jungles just below the tree line as well as all of the usual alpine birds including ravens, coughs and various birds of prey.
This is a challenging trek that is not without some risks. The crossing of Thorong La can be dangerous at times, especially during unexpected snowfall so potential trekkers must make sure that they are well prepared and equipped for all events. The trek can be completed in a minimum of fifteen days, starting in Kathmandu and finishing in Pokhara. If a few extra days are allowed for it is then possible to enjoy several of the possible side trips and add immeasurably to the experience.
The first few days of the trek follow the Marshyangdi through scattered farming communities by a mixer predominantly composed of Gurungs but with a sizeable numbers of Brahmin communities. A feature of this section of the trek is the number of high waterfalls that cascade down into the main river. The valley rises slowly slow altitude sickness is rarely a problem at this stage. After a four days on the trail the river, which has been flowing from the north changes its course and flows from the west. At this point the landscape changes with steep rocky gorges on its side and large stands of pine making up the forest cover. Look for a number of ancient temples, some of which represent the pre-Buddhist, Bon religion.
The tree line is reached a few hours before arriving at Mustang where a compulsory rest day should be taken for acclimatization to the increasing altitude. There are a number of possible side trips from Manang that can be taken on the acclimatization day. Perhaps the most spectacular is to the west, across the river and up to the Gangapurna glacier with its deep blue lake formed by the melting glacial ice. From Manang, the trial passes through high alpine pastures until the small cluster of teahouses at Thorong Phedi is reached. From Muktinath, the views of the west are now of the Dhaulagiri range while to the north can be seen the arid hills of Upper Mustang. The trial leads down through villages until it reaches the banks of the Kali Gandaki River. A further four days trekking down through this, the deepest valley on earth, brings you to the road head at Beni from where buses to Pokhara can be found. Settlements of particular interest below Muktinath are Jomsom with its airport, a possible exit point to Pokhara.
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Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, the Adventure Himalayan representatives will pick you up and transfer you to the hotel. After refreshment, you will be briefed in short about your tour by our guide or tour leader. If you have any questions or doubts about your trip then they should be asked and clarified at this time. Overnight stay at hotel.
Kathmandu Valley includes several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Pashupatinath (famous Hindu temple and cremation ground) Boudhanath (massive Buddhist stupa). We can also visit Swyambhunath, also known as Monkey Temple, which was built roughly 2000 years ago. Finally, we can visit Patan, city of fine arts. In the afternoon, you will be meeting with your trekking guide and will check all the necessary things. Overnight stay at the hotel.
The road till Dhading has a asphalt. The unpaved road from Dhading to Arughat Bazaar is sometimes impassable after heavy monsoon rain. In this case it takes 3 to 4 hours of walking. Arughat Bazar is small market town that lies next to Buri Gandaki river. From here, we take a jeep to Soti Khola. Overnight in Tea house.
From here, the course will repeat ascents and descents to Almara, a village on the flank. Move on, traversing the forest area. Continue a steep ascent on the rocky path, you will come across a stream. The trail makes its way down and past a few rice terraces, then up to the Gurung village of Lapubesi. Eventually, we make it to Machha Khola.
From here, we travel along the slope that has farm fields and rice paddies. Further ahead, the valley becomes wider. There are lots of views of Sringi Himal also called Chamar (7187m). The path then descends to the shores of white sand. After passing several more villages, we will reach to Kholabesi. We pass the village and the valley, follow the narrow path and soon you will reach to Tatopani, where it has a hot spring. Finally, we reach to Jagat.
Crossing the suspension bridge and passing through forested area, following the path that is carved in the rock to reach to Doban. Soon after crossing villages and a suspension bridge in Doban khola, trail keeps ascending and descending until arriving in Jagat. Overnight in tea house.
Leaving the village and make a small ascending traverse. The path will go down to river shores. It then offers a pleasant walk through bamboo forests to Deng Khola. The path will go down to the river bank. Steep cliffs continue to surround the valley. Moving on to the forest and crossing a few times wooden bridge over the Buri Gandaki the path will becomes steeper until Namru village. At this stage the Tibetan border is only a few kilometers to the north. Overnight in tea house in Namrung.
After passing through several villages, you will come to Hinan khola. Crosses the streams, you will come to Sho village, where we see spectacular views of Naike peak, Manaslu north peak and Manaslu. Lho has wide farm fields on the gentle mountain flank, it is a large village with many houses and a fine Gimpa. The views from here are excellent. After crossing Pungen glacier, the valley becomes wider. Move on from one Chorten to another to reach sama. Which is surrounded by a large number of Mani stones and Chortens. The Gompa on the top of the hill is very fine and worth visiting. Overnight in tea house in Sama Goau.
Crossing by the foot over the great Manaslu Glacier we pass the trail that branches off to Manaslu Base Camp. Our path enters a woodland where we might see marmots in the birch and juniper bushes, when a final steep ascent brings us to the charming village of Samdo. The village has a well-established Tibetan refugee community –with Tibet being only a morning’s walk away.
We take the day to explore and acclimatize our bodies to the altitude. Walking north from Samdo, the trail climbs gradually along the Athahra Saya Khola, then descends gently towards the river bed crossing a side river on a wooden bridge. Then we climb again and go beside the river on its western side. After 3 hours of walking from Samdo, the Athahra Saya Khola turns west. Cross the bridge and begin to climb on the slope. At its bottom, the trail may seem unclear as there are several Yak trails going up, but as you climb it is clear that your way is… up… The climb to the top of the Rui La pass, at 4998m. Along the way there are beautiful sights of Manaslu in the distance, as well as the Hindu and Fukang glaciers just behind you as you climb. The Rui La pass is a "classic” "U” shaped mountain pass. Prayer flags mark the pass and a border stone marks the border between Nepal and "Dzong Who” – China. Numerous mountain ranges can be seen on the Tibetan side, and if you are patient enough, wait to see a Yak caravan crossing the pass to bring goods into Nepal.
After an easy first part of the of day, we cross the Budhi Gandaki for the final time before the trail gradually rises through juniper and tundra with a viewpoint overlooking the Larkya La Glacier. Climbing further, we arrive at the Spartan Larkya guest house.
An early morning start is needed for strenuous, yet rewarding day. A pre-dawn start to avoid the anticipated heavy wind is important. After a long gradual climb alongside the moraine we make a short descent to a glacial lake and reach the head of the moraine (4,700m) which we cross to climb to the ridge top. Four frozen lakes lie below and then it is up to the crest of the Larkya La (5,100m). The reward for these difficult trekking conditions is brilliant westerly views of Himlung Himal, Kangurru and Annapurna II as well as the looming omnipresence of Manaslu. On the steep descent we drop around 600m in less than an hour. Our trail then levels off onto yak pastures before finally reaching Bhimthang, a collection of typical summer kharkas.
We descend on easier terrain through meadows and pine and rhododendron forest, until arriving in Hampuk. Then the path drops further, following the course of the Dudh Khola. Crossing the stream fed by the snows of the Kichke Himal, we arrive at Karche and continue on to the village of Gho – where rice is back on the menu and Nepalese ‘dhal bhat’ is revisited. Keeping to the west bank of the river, our afternoon is one of gradual descent to the Gurung settlement of Tilije. From here trail decends to Thonje. Cross the Marshyandi River to reach to village of Dharapani. Overnight in guest house.
On the 15th day of our trek, we will move into Chyamje (2713m). In Chyamje, basically we will be surrounded by lush forests with massive mountains in our background. We will travel through a thick forest, enjoying the waterfalls on the way to our destination. Chyamje is working as a trade center for the Manang district. Overnight at guesthouse.
For the trek to Pisang we'll follow the path over a narrow river valley with dense forests. Our exhaustion goes away after we see the best mountains views of Pisang (3292m). It takes about three hours to arrive there. Overnight at guesthouse.
For the trek to Manang, there consists two ways. Both routes can be followed. Afterward, we cross the Jharsang Khola. There lies a Gurung village known as Khangsar where you can find a small monastery and prayer flags. Through this trek you will get an opportunity to view magnificent view of Annapurna Himal. Overnight at guesthouse.
This is a rest day to acclimatize to the higher altitude. Use the time visiting monastery, and/or a side trip to Gangapurna Lake. You can also visit Himalayan Rescue Association Clinic. Taking some rest in this day will help us feel energized for the trekking to come. In the evening you can explore around the area. Overnight at guesthouse.
You will take a walk throughout the colorful settlement of Manang by following the path of stone walls and sandy path. You will arrive to Yak Kharka village after passing through Koche village. Koche is famous for grazing animals. In the pasture land grasses and varieties of seasonal flowers are found. It has glaciers and other water resources, making this place very attractive. Overnight stay at a guesthouse.
Today you will carry on to the direction to Thorong Phedi High Camp (4780m). After reaching there you would not be able to view any trees. It is a majestic high alpine landscape. Then, you will ascend to the Base Camp. Thorong Phedi is popular as a tiny village situated near the Marshyandi River. Below the river there is a huge meadow land. Overnight stay at a guesthouse.
Muktinath is a holy place for both Hindus and Buddhist. We need to climb another 1000 meter to reach Muktinath. First of all we walk all the way through Khingar (3400m) continuing to Jharkot (3500m) which will be an inspiring stronghold for natives. If you are planning to carry on the first part of Muktinath, we will be staying that night at Ranipur to acclimate more steadily. It has other advantages too. That will give us some time to visit Hindu places and to see the sights near the areas. Overnight at hotel.
On the 14th day the trek continues throughout the Kali Gandaki Valley to Marpha. Marpha is supposed to be home for many apple orchids as well as all the range of food products. Apple Brandy is a local area of expertise. It is said that if you got an opportunity to taste that Brandy you are a lucky one. From here, we fly to Pokhara. Overnight at Guest house in Pokhara.
From Pokhara you will return to Kathmandu taking nearly 6 to 7 hours. On the way you can enjoy the beautiful scenery from the window and during the stops we can get out and capture some photographs. On the way you can take your lunch. Overnight stay in a hotel.
We will transport you to the airport. Thanks for trekking with Adventure Himalayan Travels. We look forward to seeing you again!
This itinerary is not suited for you? Plan your own trip.