Nepal is a land of mountains standing as tall as the pride of the Nepalese inheriting them.
A country were trekkers from around the world travel to explore the natural beauties hidden behind the Himalayas. Nepal offers a large variety of uniqueness that makes it an attractive destination for people around the globe, irrespective of their age, culture, and community.
It is more than just an attractive destination for trekkers. It would not be wrong to say the Himalayan trails are anything short than heaven. There are immense of trekking trails (easy and tough) you can explore based on your capacity and urge.
Mount Manaslu is world’s 8th highest peak standing at a height of 5213 m (17,103 feet). The Manaslu Circuit trek is one of the amazing but less trekked routes in Nepal.
Without any doubt, like all the trails, Manaslu Circuit trek too will leave you spellbound.
The Manaslu circuit trek is gaining more popularity these days among both local and international trekkers. It is among the newer routes for trekking and there are many trails that have not been uncovered yet.
However, there’s a common route used by the locals which in fact is out route too.
The best part of Manaslu Circuit trek is the breathtaking views, the peaceful ambiance, the amazing landscape, natural flora and fauna, ethnic rural lifestyle and a perfect amalgam of Nepalese-Tibetan culture.
This route is now blooming as a great alternative to Annapurna Circuit Trek.
The Manaslu Circuit trek is open to satisfy the adventurer in you any time of the year. But like most trails you can get the best views of the mountains at a comfortable pace in the peak seasons. Spring season that runs from March to May and Autumn season from September to December are the peak seasons.
Since Manaslu Circuit is a tea house trekking route, you’ll find enough tea houses with good food and sleeping facilities. You may carry sleeping bags with you for an emergency case, but that’s not really required.
Trekking along the Manaslu Circuit Trek
Manaslu circuit trail is new so we would recommend you to travel on the mapped route rather than experimenting to find a new route. It is better to associate with a travel agency and hire a guide/porter.
Besides this, the guides and the porters will also be a great companion throughout the trek.
All the challenges of the terrain fall flat when you get to enjoy the immense opportunities to capture the iconic scenes on the way. Challenging treks reward you with interesting stories and spellbinding pictures.
There are, however certain things you will need keep track of before your trek. The list includes permits for restricted and conservation areas around Manaslu, a travel guide, a porter (recommended), traveling partner, your trekking shoes, documents, medications and enough Nepalese Currency among others.
For a detailed guideline on what to bring, you can look into the Manaslu Circuit Trek packing list.
Manaslu Circuit Trekking Route and Distance
The trekking jewel of Nepal, Manaslu Circuit borders Annapurna Conservation Area on the west and Tibetan Plateau on the north and east. This region was restricted for international tourists until 1991. Since then, it has been opened to the outside world. You can rarely find a glimpse of natural and cultural ecstasy.
The itinerary and overview of the places should give you an idea of the Manaslu Circuit Trek Distance.
The accommodation arrangement is made at every stop depending on your chosen package and travel agency.
Day 1 – KTM to Arughat (6-hour drive)
The starting point of the trek is from Arughat which is at a distance of 138 km (86 miles) from Kathmandu. That is basically 6 to 12 hours driving distance from Kathmandu depending on the method of transportation you choose.
You can further reach Soti Khola from Arughat if you hire a private jeep. Soti Khola is some 13 km from Arughat.
Day 2 – Arughat to Soti Khola (or Arket) (5-hour walk)
You can also drive directly to Soti Khola from Kathmandu. It would roughly some 8 hours drive. If you drive directly to Soti Khola, you’ll be saving one more day for acclimatization.
But walking out the distance will give more opportunities for amazing sights and also allows to closely explore the nature. You’ll be spending the next night at Soti Khola.
Day 3 – Soti Khola to Machha Khola (5-hour walk)
Machha Khola is at a walking distance of 23.28 km from Soti Khola.
On the third day, you will leave for Machha Khola. You’ll witness beautiful waterfalls and rivers. Then comes the dense Sal forest, which you’ll be crossing to reach a ridge above the mighty Budhi Gandaki River. Encountering some rocky trails on the way, you will reach Khursane.
Trek will then begin downwards to the rice fields to Lapubesi – a Gurung Village.
A few hours of walk through the sandy beds of Budhi Gandaki will take you down to Naulikhola. You’ll also cross a suspension bridge on the way.
Day 4 – Machha Khola to Jagat (6-hour walk)
The day 4 trek is to reach Jagat. You will walk some 22.89 kilometers from Machha Khola to reach Jagat. On this day, the trail can be challenging as you will have to go through some ups and downs. You head towards Khorla Besi (yet another beautiful Gurung village) from Machaa Khola, crossing the TharoKhola river.
After some hours of a steep uphill trail, you will reach Tatopani, a hot-spring site. You should spend some time here rejoicing the natural sauna and relaxing your stretched muscles.
After that, you will climb a ridge to cross the Budhi Gandaki River over a suspension bridge. Then, after climbing up a staircase and a ridge you will finally reach Doban. After crossing another suspension bridge you will be all set to climb the stone staircase to reach Thado Bharyang.
You will finally reach Jagat village, the entry checkpoint of the Manaslu Conservation Area.
Day 5 – Jagat to Deng (6-hour walk)
On the fifth day, you will set off for Deng. Deng is at 20.67 kilometers from Jagat.
The trek will start with a climb over a ridge towards Sirdibas. Then you’ll pass through Ghatta Khola, and a long suspension bridge to reach Phillim – yet another Gurung village with a large settlement.
Heading north towards the terrace fields to Ekle Bhatti, you will encounter a steep, deserted gorge. With that, you descend down to the grassy land slopes having tall pine trees and ultimately cross the Budhi Gandaki bridge.
Walking along the west bank will take you through the bamboo forests, followed by the Deng Khola. You will reach the Deng village immediately after crossing the Deng river. You will be spending the night at a tea house in this village.
Day 6 – Deng to Namrung (6-hour walk)
The next morning you will set off for Namrung which is about 19.4 km away from Deng. Following the trekking trail along the upstream of Deng river, you will come across more steep climbs and winding forests. On the way to Ghap, you will pass through a route with Mani walls. Then, you head towards the Pork Village – an amazing viewpoint for Siring Himal.
Walking through the Budhi Gandaki a few times and following a trail through a deep bamboo forest, you will reach Namrung village where you will be spending your night.
Day 7 – Namrung to Lho(4-hour walk)
On the fresh morning of the seventh day, the 10.54 km Namrung-Lho trail trekking will start. Crossing Budhi Gandaki river and walking through the forest, you will reach to Lhi passing through a stone arch. The Lhi village is renown for its chortens and barley terraces. Then after crossing the side valley of Simnag, you will pass through Sho and finally reach Lho.
Lho is a big village where you will have enough tea houses for accommodation. There’s also a monastery where you can visit and explore the Tibetan culture.
Day 8 – Lho to Samagaon (2-hour walk then excursion on Manaslu Base Camp)
You will be covering a distance of 17.51 km when traveling from Lho to Samagaon.
The day eight is filled with sightseeing the great Himalayas while experiencing the richness of local Nepali-Tibetan culture.
Starting from Lho, you will pass through Shyala village, followed by a river originating from the glacier of Pungyen and many chortens and monasteries. As you cross the ridge, you will reach the fields of Samagaon. This is where you stay for that very night.
Samagaon is a great village to explore the local culture and lifestyle. There’s a monastery called Pungyen Monastery at about two and half hours’ of hiking from Sama. And a glacier lake, Birendra Taal, at 3,450m which is also a great place to visit.
Day 9 – Sama to Samdo via the base camp (4-hour walk)
On the ninth day, you will travel a walking distance of 16.55 km to reach Samdo from Sama.
You will cross a suspension bridge that leads to juniper and birch forests. The journey continues as you cross another bridge and climb across the Budhi Gandaki River.
You will witness the presence of the mighty mountains, especially Mt. Manaslu, following us on the way to Samdo. Samdo is a Tibetan refugee village. You will get enough tea houses to stay at Samdo for the night.
Day 10 – Samdo to Larkya Phedi (4-hour walk)
Larkya Phedi or Dharmashala is at 12.45 km distance from Samdo.
The tenth day starts with crossing the wooden bridge over the Budhi Gandaki river. You will come across the Mani walls and prayer flags as you’re heading towards the Larkya La Pass.
You will come across a couple of streams before reaching the Larkya Glacier. The magnificent view of this glacier will definitely catch your eyes. As you continue to walk uphill, you will reach the day’s destination – Dharmasala or Larkya Phedi – where you’ll relax until the next morning.
Day 11 – Larkya Phedi to Bimthang (8-hour walk)
Day 11 is when you cover a distance of 24.9 km to reach Bimthang from Larkya Phedi.
On this day you pass the Larkya La – the highest point on Manaslu trek at 5,213m.
This place gives you the best view of the mountains such as Humlung Himal, Cheo Himal Kang Guru, and the great Annapurna II.
Proceeding further towards west will take us to the top of the moraine. After crossing the moraine, you will climb down towards another grassy moraine. The trails will become easier as you come down. After some 8 hours of walk, you’ll finally reach Bimthang. You’ll rest your night there.
Day 12 – Bimthang to Tilje (6-hour walk)
The distance between Bimthang and Tilje is 26.3 km.
Now that you’ve crossed the difficult part of the trek, your trek will start to feel easy. Crossing the Dudh Koshi river across the wooden bridge and then walking by the deep pine forest will give you amazing view of the Marsyangdi Valley.
You will also see a variety of the local rhododendron flowers. The day’s trek will end as you reach Tilije – a Gurung village famous for brandy.
Day 13 – Tilje to Dharapani (3-hour walk) and drive to Besisahar (4-5 hours drive)
Tilje to Dharapani is some 7.8 kilometers apart.
As we come to the end of the trek, on the13th day you will walk-past a beautiful village and then cross a bridge over the Dudh Koshi river. Before reaching the Thonje village you will come across an arch and Mani walls. You will encounter multiple police checkpoints in between. After few hours of walk, you will reach to Dharapani – entry point of Annapurna circuit section.
You will then find a local jeep or bus to Besisahar from Dharapani. It will approximately take 5 hours to reach the destination, where you can comfortably sleep your night away.
Day 14 – Besisahar to KTM (6-hours drive)
Besisahar is 186 km (115.6 miles) from Kathmandu. That makes it few hours of a scenic drive towards the city of temples. You will enjoy the beautiful views of Trishuli river, terrace farmed lands, enchanting mountains and more. Your trek journey ends as you reach Kathmandu.
Note: While traveling by road, it is wise to equip yourself with a nose covering mask, or scarf along with the sunglasses as the off-road routes can be quite dusty and bumpy. Adventure can start at any point, just keep yourself prepared!
Tsum Valley Trek is another most recommended side trip from Manaslu Circuit. It is located towards the east of Philim near the Tibetan border.
It is a virgin and isolated land which is home to the indigenous ‘Tsumba’ people. It first welcomed foreigners in 2008, the Tsum Valley is surrounded by mountains. These include Himalchuli in the west and Ganesh Himal in the south.
Highlights of the Manaslu Circuit trek
- Mountain peaks like Larkya, Samdo Himal, Panbari, Nirekha, Khayang, Saula, and others can be climbed. It is a small additional achievement you can embrace during the trek.
- Try not to miss out on visiting Manaslu base camp and the Manaslu glacier.
- Tibet border is at a short trek from Samdo. You can get a sneak-peak nearby.
- Visit the ancient Gompas along the trail route. These are not big enough but are often visited by the ‘Rinpoches’.
- Larkya La is a pass at the highest point in the Manaslu Region. You will be able to see four glaciers converging from here.
- Tatopani is a great place to stay. It has a natural hot spring. Accommodations are free, spacious and open to the air.
- Deng serves the best Dal Bhat (Traditional Nepali food) in the entire Manaslu region, be sure not to miss it.
- Ghap treats you with awesome accommodations, brand new resort style tea houses which are not so busy.
- Lho is facilitated with a full-blown store
- Manaslu Circuit trek gives you an authentic, Nepali trekking experience.
The Manaslu Circuit is one of the must go treks in the mountains of remote Nepal. Its unexploited natural beauty makes it nothing less than a utopia. The Manaslu Circuit is creating hype among the younger trek enthusiast generation in addition to other popular trekking routes of Langtang Circuit, Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp and more.
The astonishing glimpse you get at this part of the world is worth the struggle and effort you put in the adventure. Clearly, it is the reason why there are a number of visitors exploring this place throughout the year. The joy of walking in nature is the best feeling ever.
A land of stupefying grace and peacefulness, Manaslu trek is an amazing experience. It is one among those uncharted places in Northern Nepal that are enriched with scenic beauty.
The trek route mentioned in this article is a standard route that trekkers generally follow. It may, however, vary depending upon the travel agency and guides you are trekking with. For further details on the route and expenses, feel free to contact us.