- Still a relatively unspoiled trekking destination but gaining in popularity
- Fantastic views of Mt. Manaslu and other high mountains in the area, and of the Annapurna range from Larke La pass (5160m)
- Diverse landscapes from the lower areas with diverse vegetation into alpine regions
- Traditional Tibetan-style villages and lifestyle
- Explore the traditional unspoiled lifestyle of the people in the area
- Rich flora and fauna, including blue sheep and the rare snow leopard
- Old monasteries
About Manaslu Circuit Trek - 14 days
The Manaslu Circuit Trek or Manaslu Larke Pass Trek is probably the most popular route in a restricted area after Upper Mustang. Starting at Macchekhola in the Budi Gandaki river valley in the Gorkha district it runs in a counter-clockwise loop north around the Manaslu range and then joins up with the Annapurna circuit trail in the Marsyangdi river valley.
As it starts at a relatively low altitude, around 900 meters, we pass through very different types of vegetation and landscapes on our way up to the highest point – Larke La passes at 51m. We trek along the Budi Gandaki River, crossing several suspension bridges on the way, past terraced farmlands. Then slowly reaching more alpine areas and coniferous forests and then into a rugged mountainous landscape that has been shaped by retreating glaciers.
We still find traditional villages on the way with varying ethnicities and lifestyles as we move from the lower hilly areas into the mountain regions that are inhabited by people of Tibetan origin. We have the option of visiting some of the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries on the way.
As we gain altitude, and the landscape starts opening up from the narrower river valley, we get good views of the impressive peak of Mt. Manaslu in the distance that we are trekking towards and will be passing on its east side, at its base. We stop at Sama (3520m) for an acclimatization day. On this day we can either trek to the Manaslu base camp or hike to Pungyen Glacier and Pungyen Gompa. We actually recommend hiking to Pungyen as this is more interesting and offers great views of the Manaslu southwest face and the glacier below.
The day we cross Larke La pass is physically challenging as it is a long walking day with a steep descent across rugged trails. The spectacular view from the pass is rewarding though, as we look from east to west across mountain landscapes and white peaks, the Manaslu range now to our south, and the massive Annapurna range appearing in the west.
The last trekking day takes us through different vegetation again, including rhododendron forests that cover the landscape in various colors in the spring season. At Dharapani the Manaslu circuit trail meets the Annapurna circuit trail and our trek ends here.
Unless you have not yet had enough trekking and more time at hand, we take a vehicle to Besisahar and back to Kathmandu (or wherever your next destination is).
Please contact us at Himalayan Ecological Trekking for more details about the route and let us help you plan your trip.
1. Where is the Manaslu region?
Mount Manaslu is the world’s eighth highest peak, lying in the Nepal Himalayas just east of the Annapurna range in the west-central part of Nepal, about 100 km northwest of Kathmandu.
The Manaslu circuit trek starts in Macchekhola in Gorkha district, southeast of Mt. Manaslu, and it runs in a counter-clockwise loop north around the Manaslu range. At its end, it joins the Annapurna circuit route at Dharapani. Normally you would then return by vehicle via Besisahar. If you have time and want to continue trekking, you could continue into the Annapurna trekking region from here.
2. What is the best time for the Manaslu circuit trek?
The best seasons to trek in Manaslu are autumn and spring. A little cold weather at night but warm and clear days and clear views of the spectacular mountain ranges. Often clouds appear in the afternoon, creating an interesting atmosphere and different but not less stunning views of the mountains.
3. How difficult is the Manaslu trek?
The Manaslu circuit trek is considered moderately difficult. The trail slowly ascends into the mountain areas, and we slowly gain altitude. Some of the walking days may be lengthy, particularly the day when crossing the Larke - La pass is a long day and you need to be able to walk on rugged, steep terrain.
4. Can I do a trek without a guide?
Trekking in most of the Manaslu area without a guide is not possible. It is a restricted zone and as per the law of the Nepal government, a licensed guide and special permit are compulsory for the safety and security of trekkers.
5. What kind of permit is required for the Manaslu circuit trek?
Travelling to the Manaslu region requires a special permit and a group of at least two trekkers. Because the trekking region is in a remote part of Nepal and is relatively high in altitude, there is a risk that trekkers get lost or suffer from altitude sickness. To avoid these situations, the Nepalese government has made a guide and special permit compulsory for trekking in this region.
You will need three permits for this trek in fact:
• Special Restricted Area Permit for Manaslu (Manaslu RAP Permit)
• Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP Permit)
• Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP Permit)
6. What is the cost of the required permits and fees for the Manaslu circuit trek?
• Special Restricted Area Permit for Manaslu (Manaslu RAP Permit): the cost varies according to the season. From September to November it is USD 70 for 7 days, and each extra day costs USD 10. The rest of the year (December-August) costs USD 75 for 7 days and each extra day costs USD 10, another season cost 100 USD for 7 days and each extra day costs 10 USD.
• Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP Permit): 3000 NPR
• Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP Permit): 3000 NPR
7. How high is the Manaslu Circuit Trek?
The highest point on the trek is Larke La Pass (5106m), which we cross towards the end of the trek when you will have already adjusted to the altitude. The highest point of night stay is at Dharamsala, before the Larke La, at 4460m.
8. How can I prevent getting altitude sickness?
This is a guided trek, and you will be accompanied by one of Nepal's experienced trekking guides who knows how to recognise altitude sickness (as there may be other physical conditions as well with similar symptoms) and who knows what to do. They will take very good care of you.
In general, it is important that you climb up slowly and avoid gaining more than 300-500 metres (altitude of night stay) per day. Drink plenty of water and avoid smoking and drinking liquor. If symptoms of altitude sickness are observed, climb slowly or stop for a rest day (depending on intensity) allowing your body to adjust. If symptoms persist and/or get worse, it is important that you move to a lower altitude to avoid life-threatening conditions.
9. Food and accommodation on the Manaslu Circuit Trek
Because it is a restricted region and still relatively off the beaten path, there are a limited number of simple tea houses on the way although the number has been increasing in the past years. As for food, they will usually provide cereals (muesli mostly), toasted bread, eggs, or pancakes for breakfast, soups, pasta, sandwiches, and potato dishes as well as traditional Nepali daal Bhaat (a dish of rice, lentils and vegetable curry). Although other items are available, we recommend sticking mostly with local food, like daal Bhaat or potatoes, as this is usually safe and people know well how to prepare.
10. Is travel insurance required for this trek?
Yes, travel insurance is a must for those trekking in remote regions of Nepal. It is for trekkers’ own safety and security and is used only in exceptional emergency cases. The insurance should cover medical emergency cases including helicopter evacuation.
Also, emergency insurance is required for the crew (guide and porters) as per the Nepal government law. The cost of the crew’s insurance is covered in the total cost of the trek. A serious and responsible trekking agency will ensure that all of its crew members are properly insured and adequately equipped for the trek.