MANASLU TREK - A REMOTE TREK IN THE GHURKA REGION
Are you looking for a unique and off the beaten trek route in the Himalayas without the tourist crowds? Then Manaslu Circuit trek is the right one for you. This little-known trek has only been around since 2010 but it is getting more and more popular each year. This trek takes you around a remote and scenic Mount Manaslu (8193 m) - the 8th world highest mountain. This trek doesnt offer just stunning mountain views, one of the most interesting part of this trek is getting close to the Tibetan border where used to be Larke Bazar - an old salt trading settlement. The highlight of of this trek for many is the authentic Tibetan village of Sama, glacial Birendra Lake, and lush rhododendron forest. Once you cross the Larke Pass (5100 m) you will yourself in the valley surrounded by flourishing woodland and pass by beautiful waterfalls with stunning views never leaving your side. There is also something special for all the fauna lovers as Manaslu region is also home of endangered species such as the gray marmot, blue sheep.
The trek starts in the lower subtropical village of Gurkha soldiers, winds up to Tibetan Nupri Valley and drops downs into jungle-like rhododendron forest where it joins the Annapurna circuit. On this route, we cross many suspension bridges over Buri Gandaki river which may not be for the faint hearted. As we trek we will also cross paths with herds of donkeys, Asiatic monkeys, and many packs of blue sheep. To be able to trek in this area you will need to have a special permit (which we will arrange for you). A minimum of two people is necessary. It is compulsory for all trekkers to be accompanied by a licensed guide if they want to trek the Manaslu Circuit.
Day 1: Kathmandu (1300 m ) to Soti Khola (710m) 8 + hours drive
On our first day we take a local bus from Kathmandu which brings us up to Arughat (730 m). Here we have to change a bus to reach Soti Khola. ( There is the option of hiring a private jeep which can take you directly to Soti Khola). The second half of the journey will get bumpy as the road condition change however this will all be soon forgotten when the stunning scenic views of hills, rivers and mountains start making their appearance.
Day 2: Soti Khola (710 m) to Machha Khola (900m) 6 hours
Today on our trail we will see two beautiful waterfalls. Besides newly constructed road track we mostly walk in a subtropic Sal forest and a river sand bed. If you fancy you can even cool down in a natural swimming pool right under the waterfall in the Gurung village of Lapu Besi (880 m).
Day 3: Machha Khola (900 m) to Jagat (1410 m) 7 hours
There is more water fun on the menu today as we will be hitting the natural hot springs in Tatopani (930 m) which is only about half an hour away. Later on we cross a suspension bridge over Budhi Gandaki river and reach Dovan village. Once we reach Thulo Dhunga and Yaru Bagar (1370 m), the mountains will start making appearance and the views will get better and better. Jagat is the last place that can be reached without a special permit. The special permit starts from Jagat. This old tax collecting village is a place where we stay overnight.
Day 4: Jagat (1410 m) to Deng (1804 m ) 7 hours
Soon after leaving Jagat we will cross an eye captivating suspension bridge which makes a great photo spot. The bridge has been made over three beautiful waterfalls and crossing it is such an exciting part of the trek. The villages which we then walk through (Salleri, Sirdibas, Ghattekhola, and Philim) still keep their authenticity with people living like they have done for centuries. Futher down we separate from groups of Tsum Valley trekkers follow the left bank of the river. The view of Mt. Ganesh, Siringi, and Himalchuli which will greet us on the way is breathtaking. You can also see traditional water grinding mill called, Ghatta today.
Day 5: Deng (1804 m) to Namrung (2630 m) 7 hours
As from today we will be trekking within the Tibetan influenced region called the Nupri Valley. After leaving Deng, we cross yet another suspension bridge and walk up through the bamboo bush reaching Bhi Phedi (2000m). It takes us half an hour to reach lunch spot Ghap (2110 m). The views become splendid with snow capped Himalchuli, dense alpine forest and deep green valley. The alone standing guest house in Longa Chuta built in the middle of the woods is makes the ideal place for a cup of Nepali chai tea. The trail up to Namrung will be the final push to finish off today's hike.
Day 6: Namrung (2630 m) to Lho (3180 m) 4 hours
The first glimpse of Mt. Manaslu will be on display for us today. We will also be crossing the altitude of 3000m for the first time. Today’s trail will be taking us mostly through Tibetan descendant villages like Barsam, Lihi, and Sho. The trail in between Lihi and Sho is going to be challenging so be ready to push yourself a bit. Along the way we will be able to see local people working on their buckwheat and potato farms and herding Yaks. You will notice how much the scenery has changed compared from the lowland.
Day 7: Lho (3180 m) to Sama (3530 m) 4 hours
Today will be in the same theme with short but rather challenging trekking. As we have plenty of time there is no need to hurry so we can enjoy the scenery and views to the fullest while enjoying each and every step up. Mt. Manaslu always accompanies us in the backdrop. Once we are in Syala (3520 m) get ready for some scenic views that will take your breath away. You will be seriously impressed by towering mountains of Manaslu, Himalchuli, and Naike peak all standing tall and strong in front of us. You can see the slope of Manaslu with its glacier from here. From here we trek for another one hour crossing two suspension bridges to reach Sama village. Sama village itself is like hidden Tibetan gem in the lap of Mt.Manaslu. We check ourselves into a hotel here and if we have enough time we can a short hike up to Birendra Lake.
Day 8: Sama Acclimatization day
Since we are now hitting some seriously high altitudes we need to take a day to acclimatise. There is plenty to do in the area of Sama giving us two options of what to do for you to chose from:
1. A hike to Manaslu Base camp or
2. A hike to Pung Gyen Gompa
In both options, we have a chance to see dramatic valley surrounded by mighty peaks like Himalchuli (7893 m), Naike peak aka Peak 29 (5515 m), Mount Manaslu (8193 m) and far to the south lies Mt. Ganesh range.The Pung Gyen Gompa hike takes you near to the spiritual meditative area of ancient Rimpoche. If we are lucky we might get to see Lama guru practicing meditation. Similarly, Manaslu Base camp itself gives you a wonderful view of the entire valley.
Day 9: Sama (3530 m) to Samdo (3860 m) 4 hours
We will now be entering some of the most upper parts of the entire trail. Following the rocky path and crossing the wooden bridge will bring us to Samdo, the last village in Nupri Valley. On our trail, the forest becomes thin giving us the chance to catch a glimpse of blue sheep. You will also pass by one of the longest stone cairns in the Himalays. The impressive and grand Kani gate in Samdo village will welcome us at our final spot for the day.
Day 10: Samdo (3860 m) to Dharamsala (4480 m) 4 hours
Today we will be trekking in the highland of Manaslu region. On our way to Dharamsala, we will encounter number of blue sheep and endangered rabbits such as marmot. The area becomes drier with only some bushes of juniper. The beautiful views wont leave our side during the entire 4 hour of challenging yet satisfying trek.
Day 11: Dharamsala (4480 m) to Bhimthang (3720 m) 8 hours
The D-Day has arrived. Today we will pass the Larke pass - one of the most dramatic passes in the Himalayas. To avoid the midday strong wind blow at the top, we start trekking early. We will bring a pack lunch with us as there is no more tea lodges along the way. Once we are at the top we will be able to see the majestic Annapurna mountain range. From here we will trek for further 3 hours to reach Bhimthang - a pleasant village for us to rest and stay overnight.
Day 12: Bhimtang ( 3720 m) to Sotikhola (2700 m) 4 hours
Today's walk will be very pleasant through beautiful woodlands.The forest is rich in different kinds of floral diversity. We descend into Dudh Khola Valley consistently enjoying the hide and seek of mountains. On bright spring days you can count more than 20 types of rhododendrons. We will finish today's trek in a charming little village of Sotikhola.
Day 13: Sotikhola (2700 m) to Dharapani (1920 m) 4 hours
Walking downhill will be the theme for today as well will descent nearly 800m down to Dharapani via Tilchi village. Dharapani is the final spot on Manaslu circuit where we also meet Annapurna circuit trails. We will get to see the river Dudh Kosi again and also Marshyangdi river in Dharapani.
Day 14: Drive to Kathmandu or Pokhara 8 + hours
Today marks the end of our trip. If you have time and interest you can join the Annapurna circuit trek from here. If you prefer to rest and enjoy the city life again we can arrange for a shared jeep to thake us to Besisahar. From here you can easily catch a bus to Pokhara or directly back to Kathmandu.
Costs of Manaslu Circuit trek
CALCULATION FOR 2 PEOPLE SHARING
TIMS Card: Not required
Special restricted permit: $70 for seven days per person
Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) fee: $20 per person
Permit Total: $90 per person
Guide, porter services
Guide service: $45 per day, total per trek 45 × 14 = $630
Porter service: $20 per day, total per trek 20 × 14 = $280
Accommodation & food
Accommodation: $7 for twin normal room ×13 = $91
It means $46 per person on share basis
Need an en-suite bathroom? add extra $10- $25 per day
Breakfast: around $ 7 × 13 = $91
Lunch: around $ 7 ×13 = $91
Dinner: around $ 10 ×13= $130
Total meals with tea, water = $312
All necessary ground transportation (public bus / jeep / tourist bus): $ 100 per person
Guide, porter service: $455 (630+280 = 910/2)
Accommodation: Food: $358 (312+46)
Total cost approximately $1030 per person
Guide services cost
- 1-3 pax price - $ 45 per day
- 4-7 pax price - $ 55 per day
- 7- 10 pax - $ 60 per day
- 10 + pax - $ 70 per day
Trekking Guide - can carry up to 7kg of your luggage
Porter service - $20 per day
Price doesn't include: associated transport to/from the trek
What do we do for you?
We offer excellent English speaking guide and a porter
Arrangement of all trekking documents
Arrangement of domestic flight tickets
Arrangement of all accommodation for the entire trek