If you are looking for something adventurous and something different in your trek, then you can opt for the Manaslu Circuit trek. The circuit to the world’s eighth highest peak, Manaslu features everything you’d want from a classic trek in Nepal. Manaslu is the 8th highest peak in the world at 8163m above sea level. It is located in the western part of Nepal in the Mansiri Himal. The name Manaslu is derived from the Sanskrit word man which means “intellect” or “soul”. Likewise, Manaslu also means “mountain of the spirit” which was climbed on May 9, 1956, by a Japanese expedition, Toshio Imanishi, and Gyalzen Norbu. It is the highest peak in the Gorkha district and offers a variety of trekking options. This peak is about 64 km (40 mi) east of Annapurna.
Manaslu Circuit Trek
The circuit trek to Manaslu offers you from the epic scenery to the intimate encounters with local people and their ancient culture. Besides, this trekking also offers fantastic views of the best in the Annapurna area. In addition, one can witness the majestic view of snow-capped mountains, high glacier lakes and spot the most stunning flora and fauna. The circuit trek passes through many Nepalese cultural heritage sites, including traditional Tamang and Sherpa settlements. Therefore, these treks let you experience traditional Nepalese culture and heritage sites. This trek in the shadow of the third highest mountain in the world, Kanchanjunga and is the perfect alternative to the neighboring Annapurna Circuit. Besides, it has striking picturesque Himalayan scenery, the prosperity of wildlife, and tea house accommodation.
The trek to the circuit of majestic Manaslu starts at steamy Machhi Khola as you walk northward up the Buri Gandaki Valley. The trek sometimes follows the river along the valley, but more often climbing high as the increasingly steep, forested gorge. From Ghap climb steeply to reach the highest point, the impressive Larkya La at 5,106m/16,752ft. The route to the pass offers excellent acclimatization as well as strong cultural interest with time to explore the attractive Tibetan villages of Sama Gaon and Samdo. After crossing the Larkya La, you can enjoy a great sense of achievement and breathtaking views of the giant peaks of the greater Himalayas. Finally, you descend to Dharapani wave goodbye to the locals before returning to Kathmandu.
Highlights of Manaslu Circuit Trek
- Circuit trek to the right highest peak in the world at an altitude of 8163m
- Witness the natural beauty of the forests, rivers, and flora in the Manaslu region.
- Nepalese cultural heritage sites, including traditional Tamang and Sherpa settlements.
- Highly influenced Tibetan culture and monasteries.
- Larkya La Pass (5167 meters), the highest point on the trek.
- Stunning view of some of the highest peaks in the world- Manaslu, Cheo Himal, Himlung Himal, Nemjung, Gyaji Kang, Kang Guru, and Annapurna II.
- Lavish wildlife including Tahr (Mountain Goat), Agali (Blue Sheep), Pika (Highest living Mammal), Himalayan Marmots, and, if you are lucky, Snow Leopard.
How difficult is Manaslu Circuit Trek?
Manaslu trek is among the challenging treks in Nepal. The circuit trek to Manaslu rewards the adventurers with big alpine thrills. It is a novel and remote trek with possible difficult routes. But with enough enthusiasm, you can easily conquer the rough trails and the weather.
Difficulty Concerning Distance and Destinations
In the northern Himalayan range, this trek is widely varied, where the terrains range from its lowest point of 228 m to 8,163 m of the world’s eighth highest Mt. Manaslu. With 177km of total distance, you will be walking for 10-12 days with an average distance each day of about 15-20 km for like 17 days. The first few days of the trial are challenging as the Budhi Gandaki Gorge is harrowing steep. Also, you have to walk lots of uphills and downhills, sometimes via breezy trails and cross suspension bridges above the Budhi Gandaki river. The most challenging one is crossing the Larkya La Pass at an altitude of 5,213 m. You need to be physically and mentally prepared for the uneven terrain, rocky trails that might add fatigue.
However, remote trek necessarily does not mean you need to have outstanding fitness. You can even opt for this trek with a moderate level of fitness without any physical problems.
The weather in the Himalayan region is unpredictable. The weather plays a big role in the difficulty of the trek. Heavy rainfall, freezing nights, blazing sun, and chill wind are all possible weather conditions in the Himalayan regions. You need to be prepared for every kind of possible weather during the trek. The days are generally warm and dry but the nights are mostly below freezing. Therefore, make sure to carry warm clothes with a decent sleeping bag. The Larkya La Pass remains closed during winter due to heavy snowfall. Despite being a suitable season for the trek, bad weather can hit anytime at a higher altitude. Therefore, one must be careful regarding the weather conditions as it makes a difference in the completion of the trek.
Acute Mountain Sickness can develop at any altitude over 2500 meters. The increase in altitude can cause the risk of altitude sickness. As Manaslu Circuit Trek starts from a lower altitude and ascends to the Larkya La pass at 5213m. As you ascend, there is a low amount of oxygen, causing the problem of Altitude Sickness. The early symptoms of altitude sickness are headache, extreme fatigue, and loss of appetite. Also, Some people feel breathless at rest. When mild symptoms develop you should stay at that altitude until symptoms have gone away. After the symptoms within one or two days, you will feel well and can continue the trek. However, if the symptoms become worse, then it is necessary to descend. Worsening symptoms of AMS include increasing tiredness, severe headache, vomiting, and loss of coordination.
Difficulty Concerning Luxuries
The trails in Manaslu are usually empty or less crowded so accommodation is not an issue in the Manaslu Circuit trek. However, the tea houses and lodges are not as extravagant as those in fancy hotels and restaurants. The teahouse and lodges here are run by the locals themselves. So, during your trek to Manaslu, you might feel the typical lifestyle of Nepalese people living in rural or remote areas. Also, if you are in any sort of hand cases and want to buy something, you will not find any ATM services here. You have to make sure that you carry extra hand ashes as well.
The Necessity to Travel with a Guide
Manaslu, unlike other trekking regions, is a difficult one. So, if you are new to the Himalayas of Nepal you should immediately, drop this idea of trekking without a guide. As the Nepal Government makes a permit compulsory for foreign trekkers. Besides this, the trekkers must be accompanied by a registered guide in the restricted area. Since Manaslu is one of the restricted areas, it is not possible to trek without a guide.
Altitude Sickness in Manaslu Circuit Trek
When trekking to the Himalayas one must be cautious about the problems of Altitude sickness over there. Altitude sickness is known as acute mountain sickness. In general, it may occur when people ascend too quickly normally in altitudes of over 2500 m without any acclimatization. As you reach higher up in altitude, the level of oxygen decreases making it difficult to breathe.
Manaslu Circuit Trek starts from Soti Khola at an altitude of 700 meters. From Soti Khola, each day you will gain an average altitude of 400 meters. In the starting, your body will be able to adjust to this 400m gain of altitude but after one week you will reach Sama Gaun at 3530m. Therefore, you may have mild symptoms over there in Sama Gaun. Thus, it is best to spend an acclimatization day here in Sama Gaun at an altitude of 3000 meters. Altitude sickness generally strikes only after 4000m but in some cases, it might show up much earlier. It is a serious condition where ignoring it can lead to death.
In Nepal, most of the best treks are at the highest altitude. The base camp of most of the high Himalayas is above 5000m so does the Manaslu. The highest point to this circuit trek is at Larka pass at 5213m. Therefore, before trekking to the Manaslu region, it is important to know about the altitude sickness in Manaslu Circuit Trek. You need to be physically and mentally fit to avoid such problems.
The Major Symptoms of Altitude Sickness
- Periods of sleeplessness
- Feeling extra tiredness
- Occasional loss of appetite.
- feeling laziness
- Periodic breathing.
- Racing heartbeat
- Hard to breath
- Frequently tired
- Dry Raspy cough
- Not fell asleep
- A headache and vomiting
- Worsening headache and vomiting
- Swelling of hands, face, and stomach
- Reduced urine output and seeing the small quantity of Blood in a cough.
- Walking with a staggering gait
- Visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not real)
- Changes in the ability to think
- Changes in normal behavior
- Tightness in the chest, and a persistent cough bringing up white, watery, or frothy fluid
Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty
Distance of the Trek
Manaslu Circuit Trek lies in the northern Himalayan range, the west-central part of the Gorkha district. The terrains range from their lowest point of 228 m to 8,163 m of the world’s eighth highest Mt. Manaslu. Manaslu Circuit Trek is about 177 kilometers in total distance and you’ll be walking for 10-12 days with an average distance each day of approximately 15-20 km, which can be pretty much challenging for you.
Here are some of the difficulties of the Manaslu Circuit Trek.
As the base camp of Manaslu lies at an altitude of 5213m, altitude sickness may be the major problem here. Altitude sickness starts above 2500m. Therefore, it is one of the difficulties in the Manaslu Circuit Trek
Another thing to consider while trekking in the Manaslu region is remote routes. The routes are dusty, unraveled with various ascends and descends. People with low physical fitness and stamina may find it difficult.
Weather and temperature in the Himalayan region are always unpredictable. Bad weather can hit anytime at a higher altitude. As the temperature at nighttime may drop below freezing in some seasons.
Another difficulty that arises in the Manaslu circuit trek is accommodation. As we go up to the higher altitude the number of tea houses gets limited. Therefore, pre-booking is necessary.
Best Season for Manaslu Circuit Trek
Spring starts in March and lasts till May. It is one of the peak seasons for trekking and adventure in Nepal. During spring, the clear blue sky with a temperature that ranges from warm to moderate makes springs a perfect time to go trekking. Spring is the season of flowers where the trekkers will be blessed with sorts of colorful flowers and rhododendrons blooms. The weather in spring is comfortable- it is neither too hot nor too cold. In April, the temperature starts to rise and the hills are surrounded by the blooming Rhododendron. Early to mid-April is the best time, among the spring as well. May is also a peak season as the temperature in the lower region gets hot and the upper region can get blurry sometimes.
Spring is considered the second-best season compared to autumn as spring is less crowded than any other season. So for those who prefer a quieter, nicer, and more wonderful vacation, Spring is best for them.
Monsoon is filled with Lush green forests and pretty flowers. Despite being a wonderful season, rain in the monsoon might add some difficulties to your trek. During monsoon season trekkers may have to face the problems of leeches, landscape risk, slippery trails, and dark clouds that can block the amazing Himalayan views. The monsoon begins around mid-June and continues till August in Nepal. However, If you don’t mind the rain, then you could get a glimpse of the lovely mountains early in the morning. July brings heavy showers which may cause non-stop rain for several days. July is a time when landslides occur. The weather in the monsoon is a little unpredictable these days.
Despite all of this, you get to enjoy nature, surrounded by lush green fields with blooming rhododendrons. Even though rain may bring some obstacles, the surrounding after rain is something to brag about. It is fresh green with the clearest view of the entire panorama.
Autumn is the best time for the trek to Manaslu Circuit. It is the most crowded season but is still lesser compared to Annapurna Base Camp Trek or Everest Base Camp Trek. Autumn falls in September, October, and November. However, trekkers can experience slight rainfall during the first two weeks of September. Therefore, if you want to avoid rainfall as far as possible then opt for October and November if possible. October and November are the best months for the trek to the Himalayas. There is less or no rainfall and the surrounding environment is stunning. The view of the Himalayas is crystal clear with the terrain farmland. November is the equally best month even though it starts to get a bit chilly in late November. Overall, in autumn the days are warmer but night can be a bit cooler.
Winter presents the best view of the mountains and the sky turns a perfect blue. Winter starts from Dec to February in Nepal. The days in winter are cold at lower altitudes and it gets below freezing at higher altitudes. The base camp of Manaslu lies at an altitude of 5213m, where the temperature is extremely cold during winter. Therefore, with proper precautions and preparations, it is not impossible to trek to the Manaslu circuit trek. Trekkers must be well-prepared with the proper gear and clothing. Also, in winter you may face difficulty in finding accommodation for a night’s stay as tea houses may get closed due to cold and heavy snow. To avoid such circumstances, one must pre-book the accommodation earlier.
You must take extra clothes and camping gear but sometimes Larkya La Pass becomes impassable due to ice and snowstorm. If this is your 1st trek then it is not a good option to choose this one during winter. Because of the unpredictable and extremely cold weather, it is quite hostile and you must walk cautiously.
Why Manaslu Circuit Trek
Manaslu Circuit Trek is, without a doubt, one of the most gratifying treks in Nepal. Its rich flora and fauna, wildlife, breathtaking scenery, and traditional Hindu and Buddhist settlements make all your hard work worthwhile. There are several reasons to choose this trekking route for your next holidays.
The trek route blesses the trekkers with beautiful sights of astounding Himalayas including Himalchuli (7,893m), Manaslu (8163m), Shringi(7,187m), Ganesh Himal, Ngadi Chuli (7,879m), Himlung Himal (7,125m), Cheo Himal (6,820m), Kang Guru (6,981m) and Annapurna II (7,939m), Larkya Peak (6250m) and Manaslu (8163m).
Trail Rich in Biodiversity
The Manaslu Region provides a rich and diverse habitat to a range of rare and endangered animals. You will pass through a conservation area where you will get the view of elusive Snow Leopard, Red Panda, Himalayan Black Bear, Serow, Himalayan Tahr, Ghoral, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, etc. Danfe, Nepal’s beautiful national bird resides at lower altitudes. Therefore, apart from trekking, the Manaslu region lets you witness the natural diversity, vegetation, and endangered species.
Less Crowded and Peaceful Trail
If you are willing to travel in a peaceful place without much of a crowd then definitely go for this trek to Manaslu. Manaslu Circuit trekking, being more remote than the other popular treks in Nepal is less visited and often the trail remains peaceful. The number of trekkers trekking in the Manaslu circuit is very less as compared to that of other popular trails of Everest and Annapurna. One can enjoy the king peacefully and the filly gets time to explore nature.
Unique Culture Experience
Another unique feature of the Manaslu circuit trek is its unique culture and experience. The culture and tradition of the Manaslu region are similar to that of Tibet. People in Manaslu are those who migrated a long time ago from Tibet to Nepal. The amazing settlement of the Manaslu region brings the vibes of Tibetan culture. Lifestyle in Manaslu is untouched by any kind of modernization and development. The uniqueness in culture is easily visible as you trek along with the villages. Similarly, you will see people wearing their traditional attire and the majority of people follow Buddhism. You will pass through several stupas, monasteries, gompas, prayer wheels, as well as Chortens on the route. route.
Larkya La Pass
The Larkya La Pass at around 5125 m is an adventurous pass at the Manaslu trek route. It is the longest pass that the trekkers will encounter during their Manaslu Trek. Larkya La pass is the highest point around the Manaslu trek and is undoubtedly a perfect viewpoint en route. From the pass, you will be blessed with fabulous views of the majestic Himalayas. It is super adventurous, yet satisfying after you see the glowing Himalayas right in front of your eyes.
Tips for Manaslu Circuit Trek
- Drink enough water and always stay hydrated. Keeping your body hydrated is the ultimate protection against Acute Mountain Sickness.
- Always drink purified water and bring.
- Be aware of uncooked food. Include a healthy diet and eat a vegetarian diet unless fresh meat is available.
- Carry some high-calorie snacks like protein bars, raisins, and peanuts that help you to gain stamina and energy during a long trek.
- Make sure to pack the right gear for high altitude trek as it decreases the difficulties of the trek.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking as it increases the possibility of altitude sickness.
- Carry a first aid kit with any medications you’re taking. Only carry those which you are taking. Don’t carry those which you are not sure about. Consult a doctor before taking any medicines
- Start early as it is always best in the Himalayas to start early. The bad weather can hit anytime in the Himalayan region. Therefore, it is better to start early.
- Proper acclimatization is highly recommended as it prevents one from altitude sickness. It is recommended to move around and keep yourself active.
- It is normal to get a little headache or slight fever while adjusting to the varying altitude. Don’t get too worried about it.
- Make sure you have all the required permits for the Manaslu Trek.
Manaslu circuit trek is one of the adventurous treks in the Himalayan region of Nepal. The breathtaking perspectives of Mt. Himalchuli, Mt. Ganesh Himal, Mt. Manaslu itself, and different mountains make the Manaslu circuit trek adventurous and interesting. This trek is truly for those who are interested in travel and trekking to an adventurous region of Nepal