Manaslu Circuit - Nepal
Opened to trekkers in 1992, the Manaslu Circuit trek has since been considered one of the most challenging in Nepal. This exciting trek journeys around the eighth highest mountain in the world, crossing the superb Larkya La pass and provides its travellers and adventurers with a geographically spectacular and culturally fascinating experience. This trip would appeal to anyone who is looking for a challenging trek in a remote region of the Nepal Himalaya, visited by relatively few other trekkers.
It is more than just a walking holiday, passing through bamboo forests and beautiful stone villages, with their colourful prayer flags, mani walls and monastries, will have you becoming close with culture and the local people to leave you with lasting memories of a truly wonderful country.
We have been running treks to Nepal since 1996 and this superb trek of the Manaslu Circuit takes a total of 17 days. The average group size is ten and you will have Sherpa guides and a team of porters to assist you all the way there. Accommodation is in lodges which provide a wide range of western and Nepalese food. Our programme allows you to choose freely from an a la carte menu.
The facilities for visitors are of a high standard, as is the food. We generally offer tea house treks with overnight accommodation in comfortable lodges, but we can also provide tented trips so you can concentrate on immersing yourself in a slow and easy daily routine, with only the elements, the mountains and the quiet character of the people to accompany you.
From your first enquiry you will have experienced people to talk to in the UK office who will give you an honest appraisal of the Trek. This personal service and warm welcome will also await you in Kathmandu where Pasang Tendi Sherpa from Khari Khola, runs AA Nepal. He has made nine expeditions to Mt Everest and also guides on Aconcagua. He speaks excellent English and will be on hand all the time. He understands that this is more than trekking holiday; this is often a spiritual experience, a pilgrimage to the foot of the highest mountain on earth.
We are passionate about responsible tourism and every aspect of your trip, from transport and accommodation to staff policies, and how we behave on the trek will reflect this. Adventure Alternative was winner of the Responsible Tourism Award in 2009 in the Best Personal Contribution category.
We run our Everest Base Camp treks from a permanently staffed office in Kathmandu and our dedicated team provide an excellent service. As well as Pasang, our other guides include Geljun Sherpa from Bupsa, Tsering Sherpa and Lopsang Sherpa.
All of the guides have been employed for over ten years with us, and they have been trained to our high standards personally by Director and high altitude climber Gavin Bate, who has climbed Everest 5 times. They know how to deal with medical emergencies and speak good English. They are very attentive and after so many years have a good understanding of western needs.
We give the full recommended wage and are a Responsible Partner for the International Mountain Explorers Connection. We provide clothing, food and tents for all of our staff and have proven policies for payment and tipping. This means that you are not hassled by people looking for handouts at the end of the trip, and the staff themselves are happier.
Dates and Itinerary
The Manaslu Circuit trek is a 17 day journey, which treks around the world’s eighth highest mountain, beginning in Arughat, going up and back along a different path, ending in Besi Sahar. The drive from Kathmandu to Arughat takes around 7 hours and the drive from Besi Sahar to Kathmandu takes around 6 hours. The trek is 13 days uphill, which includes two full days rest and acclimatisation, to the last settlement of Larkya Phedi. After one day climbing to the high point of Larkya La (for panoramic views of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kang Guru and Annapurna II), the descent is in four days.
You can trek the Manaslu Circuit from March to June, and September to November.
The start dates refer to the arrival date in Kathmandu and the end date refers to the earliest you can book your return flight home for.
However you are welcome to arrive earlier or stay on at the end, and stay in our guesthouse in order to spend more time sightseeing in Kathmandu.
Private trips are welcomed and available for groups like schools or charities. We have our own office and guesthouse ready and waiting for any dates you may prefer.
The 17 day trek involves a 13 day ascent of over 4500 metres over 190 kilometres, from a starting altitude of about 530 metres. The Manaslu circuit trek is a challenging trek around Manaslu, the world’s eighth highest mountain and crossing the high Larkya La pass. The trek starts in the village of Arughat, passing through bamboo forests and Gurung villages in the narrow Buri Gandaki Gorge. Generally it is hot during the day (up to 20ºC) and cool in the evening (average 5ºC) with little wind and occasional rain showers in the afternoon.
After Lho village, the trail enters the Nupri Region inhabited by Tibetan immigrants, where you will find yourself becoming close to culture, religions and local people. The approach towards Larkya La pass begins after Samdo village. Crossing the high pass is a strenuous day and the exposure to altitude makes the walking harder and the likelihood of altitude sickness higher, so it is necessary to allow rest days and walk very slowly. This day would be a great objective for a fit hill walker with little mountaineering experience.
The top of Larkya La provides astounding panoramic views of Manaslu, Cheo Himal, himal Chuli and Himlung Himal. The terrain is never dangerous or precipitous, it is still just a walk, but requiring the usual care and caution. There is no climbing or special equipment required.
|2||Rest & sightseeing in Kathmandu|
|3||Drive 7hr Kathmandu – Arughat|
|4||Trek 6hr Arughat – Liding|
|5||Trek 6hr Liding – Khorlabesi|
|6||Trek 6hr Khorlabesi – Salleri|
|7||Trek 7hr Salleri – Deng|
|8||Trek 4hr Deng – Ghap|
|9||Trek 5hr Ghap – Lho|
|10||Trek 4hr Lho – Samagaon|
|11||Rest day in Samagaon|
|12||Trek 3hr Samagaon – Samdo|
|13||Rest day at Samdo|
|14||Trek 4hr Samdo – Larkya Phedi|
|15||Trek 8hr Larkya Phedi - Larkya La – Bimtang|
|16||Trek 6hr Bimtang – Tilje|
|17||Trek 5hr Tilje – Chamje|
|18||Trek 5hr Chamje – Ngadi|
|19||Trek 4hr Ngadi – Besi Sahar|
|21||Drive 6hr Besi Sahar - Kathmandu|
|1||1400m||Arrive on international flight into Kathmandu. You will be met at the airport by our staff for your transfer to your city accommodation.|
|2||1400m||Rest day and acclimatisation to jetlag, sightseeing plus trek briefing.|
|3||530m||7 hours||Kathmandu – Arughat. Leave early morning from Kathmandu and drive for around 7 hours to reach Arughat, where you will stay overnight.|
|4||860m||6 hours||Arughat – Liding. The trail follows along the Buri Gandaki river through terraced rice fields and stone farm houses, until the trail begins a short climb to Keurenipani. From Keurenipani the route descends again to the river and passes Soti Khola. Trekking through few Gurung villages and a forest will lead you to Liding, where you will rest overnight.|
|5||970m||6 hours||Liding – Khorlabesi. A long day of trekking through the narrow valley and dense forest along the valley’s side. After passing through many small villages, the valley widens and the trail descends to a sandy riverbed before climbing up to Machha Khola and on to Khorlabesi – the final stop for the night.|
|6||1360m||6 hours||Khorlabesi – Salleri. The trail continues through the narrowing gorge for a couple of hours, until reaching Tatopani (1190m), famous for its hot springs. After Tatopani the trail crosses a suspension bridge to the left bank of the Buri Gandaki, through rhododendron forest to reach the village of Doban. At this point the route descends steeply past the impressive river rapids and across a cliff face to the stone village of Jagat, which is balanced on the edge of the steep sided valley. The camp for tonight is in the village of Salleri, around an hour beyond Jagat.|
|7||1860m||7 hours||Salleri – Deng. After passing through Sirdibas village the route crosses a large suspension bridge above the Buri Gandaki, and then climbs steeply to Philim. The route crosses the hillside and passes Ekle Bhatti (“lonely teahouse”) before crossing back over the river and entering the spectacular section of the gorge, surrounded by orchids, high above. The trail climbs steeply to the west side of the valley and provides an enjoyable walk through bamboo forests to the village of Deng, for an overnight stay.|
|8||2380m||4 hours||Deng – Ghap. A short day, trekking through a Buddhist influenced area, with a few ups and downs, mostly through forest, to reach Ghap through a complex kani with well preserved paintings and an elegant mani wall.|
|9||3180m||5 hours||Ghap – Lho. The valley becomes steep and the route follows a long climb through rhododendron and bamboo to the village of Namrung, in the Nupri Region. The people of this region are descendants of Tibetan migrants who arrived over 500 years ago. You will notice that many Buddhist gompas, mani walls and the entrance gates to the villages have typical Tibetan features. Beyond Namrung, the valley becomes exposed and soon passes through Sho, providing impressive views of Manaslu (8163m) and Naike Peak. A short walk will bring you to the village of Lho, our final stop for the day. At Lho you can see Ganseh I down the valley.|
|10||3450m||4 hours||Lho – Samagaon. Fro Lho, the route follows along the right side of the river with wonderful views of Peak 29 infront. A comuple of hours climbing through forest brings you to Shyala village, where there are exceptional views of Phungi, Manaslu and Himal Chuli. The trail crosses a wide pasture before entering Samagaon, for an overnight stay. Here you will again have views of the impressive Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world.|
|11||Rest day in Samagaon. There is a worthwhile walk to the Pung Gyen monastery, offering superb views of Manaslu and Peak 29.|
|12||3860m||3hours||Samagaon – Samdo. A short, easy day. The trail follows the Buri Gandaki, and as the valley widens it passes through juniper and birch forest to the stone huts at Kermo Kharka. From here the trail drops and crosses a wooden bridge over the river and through the white stone kani marking the entrance to Samdo.|
|13||Rest day at Samdo to relax and acclimatize. There is a great day walk to Gya La, the trading pass with Tibet.|
|14||4460m||3 – 4 hours||Samdo – Larkya Phedi. The trail begins by descending through fields to an old stone arch before crossing the river on a wooden bridge to an area known as Larka Bazaar. This mythical place used to be a thriving market, but there is nothing that remains now. An old mani wall marks the beginning of the ascent to Larkya La pass. The route climbs through juniper and tundra to reach a ridge that crosses over the top of two ravines. From here there are remarkable views of the great Larkya Glacier coming from Manaslu. The trail then becomes very steep, climbing up the side of a gorge to reach 4000m, nearing the glacier. Climbing a further 460m high brings you to Larkya Phedi for an overnight rest and preparation for the early morning ascent to Larkya La pass.|
|15||5135m||7 – 8 hours||Larkya Phedi - Larkya La – Bimtang. This day is quite strenuous, but well worth the effort for the incredible views from the top of the pass. It begins with an early start, and a short walk to reach the ablation valley on the left side of the Larkya Glacier, providing excellent views of Cho Danda and Larkya Peak. The route continues along the glacier moraine and begins the gradual ascent to the summit of the Larkya La pass. The trail is well used and easy to follow. It is important to walk slowly and listen to your body. Fatigue from lack of oxygen to your muscles is common, but some people may feel nauseous and suffer from headaches. Drink lots of liquid and keep warm. You will reach the summit after a few hours of climbing, to witness the exceptional panoramic view of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kang Guru and Annapurna II. From the pass there is a steep and sometimes slippery descent to Bimtang and your trekking poles will be helpful. The descend becomes gentler as you reach snow and onto a grassy moraine, where the trail follows through a small meadow and spring at 4080m. Before reaching Bimtang, the valley widens and journeys down a large meadow and past a mani wall and a few lodges, marking our final spot for the day.|
|16||2300m||6 hours||Bimtang – Tilje. The trail drops, after crossing the pastures of Bimtang, to the Dudh Khola River and across a wooden bridge, and then descends into rhododendron and pine forest. The trail continues across a landslide and climbs steeply to a ridge decorated with prayer flag, then descends to the river bank at Gho. From Gho we continue through rice fields, rhododendron and oak forest to arrive at Tilje, a large Gurung village.|
|17||1410m||5 hours||Tilje – Chamje. Upon exiting Tilje village, the trail crosses the Dudh Khola and follows the embankment, descending through forest to reach Dharapani (1960m). The trail has now joined the Annapuna Circuit (in reverse) and crosses the Marsyangdi River, past Karte and down a steep stone stairway to the village of Tal (1700m); a previous lakebed and the first village in the Manang district. From Tal, it is a steady descent along the valley and another crossing of the Marsyangdi River to reach Chamje, for an overnight stay.|
|18||840m||4 - 5 hours||Chamje – Ngadi. The rocky trail climbs up through forest along the edge of a steep sided valley to the stone village of Jagat, then crosses a cliff face and descends a steep 150m to Syange (1080m). From Syange the trail climbs across the Marsyangdi River on a suspension bridge to Ghermu (1140m), with its wonderful views of the tall waterfall across the river, and then follows an uncovered path to Lili Bhir. After Lili Bhir its ascends steeply to Bahundanda (1270m), where you will have great views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks, then descending steeply for around 1 – 2 hours through villages and green grass, will bring you to Ngadi.|
|19||800m||3 – 4 hours||Ngadi – Besi Sahar. Today is a relatively easy day following along the Marsyangdi River for 3 to 4 hours, crossing the long Khudi Khola suspension bridge and walking mainly on flat ground. The scenery is beautiful and offers great views of Manaslu II (7879m). You will be surrounded by rice fields and tall green trees and journey through villages of the Gurung people.|
|20||1400m||Besi Sahar, drive to Kathmandu. Leave in the early morning and drive for around 6 hours to reach Kathmandu. Lunch will be had along the way and you will arrive back in the Kathmandu in the late afternoon.|
|21||1400m||Depart Kathmandu. If you leave in the morning it is possible to arrive in London the same day, or arrive home on day 22.|
Private Group Option
We can easily provide custom dates for a group going on the Manaslu Circuit, please contact us for details.
Manaslu Circuit cost: £1,495.00
- Airport transfers
- Transport from Kathmandu to Arughat, and Besi Sahar to Kathmandu
- Accommodation in Kathmandu for 3 nights - twin/double rooms
- Accommodation in lodges/tea houses (twin rooms with beds and mattresses)
- Three meals per day during the trek, and hot drinks (e.g tea, coffee, juices)
- National Park Fees
- Sherpa guides (English speaking, trained in first aid)
- Porters (1 per member, carries about 15kgs)
- Staff food, insurance and equipment
- International flight to Kathmandu (~£600.00)
- Meals and drinks in Kathmandu (~£40)
- Personal costs like drinks, laundry, hot showers, bottled water (~£100)
- Trip Insurance
- Visa ($30 for two weeks)
- Airport departure tax for some tickets (£15 paid in Nepalese rupees)
- Tips (~£30)
- Sightseeing Tours
Cost of Add-Ons and Some Optional Extras
Spa Hotel: £60.00
Located just outside of Kathmandu is the lovely Spa Resort, Park Village. We can arrange transfers and accommodation at the resort for you. People can then select and 'pay as you go' for the various pamperings and treatments. They also offer classes in yoga and have lovely trail walks in the surrounding hills. This option is all about rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
Chitwan Jungle Adventure: £399.00
This is a trip for those who would like a bit more excitement rather than pampering. We depart Kathmandu by coach and after a couple of hours driving we meet up with your white water rafting crew who will take you on an adventurous trip down river for many miles until you reach the Chitwan Jungle. We then spend the next four days based in a lovely jungle resort. This quaint home from home is our base for river trips in traditional dug out canoes, jungle walks and the highlight; an elephant back safari, which at the end involves jumping in the river with your elephant to give him or her a wash! After all of the jungle fun and activities we then return to Kathmandu by a short flight.
Everest Flight!: £160.00
This is a flight around Mt Everest offering spectacular views of the mountain. This flight leaves daily in the morning and can be undertaken by those who plan to depart Kathmandu for home, on an evening flight following the trek or as an addition to the next two options. The one hour flight takes off from Kathmandu Airport and flies east in a fully pressurised aircraft, where one can see magnificent mountains from a height of around 25,000 feet. A must take tour of the majestic Himalayas. It’s an hour of breathtaking scenic beauty of the Mighty Mountains. It is a sparkling clear journey across the world’s highest peaks, Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga – 3rd highest, Lhoste, Makalu, Cho Oyu, to name just a few including the Tibetan plateau. You enjoy a seemingly endless chain of snow capped peaks as you fly above the clouds, over glaciers and lakes, rivers and gorges from your private individual window. The clear, non tinted windows offer a great opportunity to experience and photograph the aerial views of the Kathmandu valley, the high peaks and the landscapes of Nepal.
Not all about money
Our prices are competitive and good value, and we offer quality, service, security and an ethical stance on tourism in a developing country. We don’t want to be so expensive to run fewer trips and have our staff idle, but on the other hand we believe that running cheap trips that promote the practise of skimming budgets would result in the porters getting next to nothing, which is something we cannot consider.
Additionally we plan treks with sufficient rest days and with achievable daily altitude increases which gives good time to acclimatise. Reducing the number of days may make the price cheaper but the chances of successfully completing the trek also greatly reduce.
We include professional staff and a porter for each member. We do not operate kitties and we use an excellent hotel in Kathmandu with which we have built up a strong relationship over the years.
We have our own licensed company in Kathmandu, Adventure Alternative Nepal and full time staff to operate all our treks, climbs and tours in Nepal.
You must have an insurance policy which covers trekking at high altitude and helicopter rescue in the event of an evacuation.
Type of Terrain
The trek is on a well trodden path all the way though this can be rocky and uneven in parts. It is not precipitous and there is no rock climbing or ‘mountaineering’ which requires equipment. It is a walk all the way, although some of the hills can be steep and never-ending!
You will meet many people along the way, and also yaks. There is only one rule of the road when meeting an oncoming yak, and that is to always ensure you step to one side, towards the inside of the trail.
Poles are useful but not necessary, depending on whether you have problems with knees and if you have a personal preference for using them. Higher up, the open slopes and moraine may give you added reassurance with a pole, but again the path is quite easy to follow.
Lightweight hiking boots with a high ankle are recommended for the base camp trek, to protect you against possibly going over on an ankle, but heavy boots will be hot and heavy and cumbersome. Cross trainers are popular, but cold in the morning up high.
The total distance covered throughout the Manaslu Circuit trek is approximately 190km. Every day the trek starts after breakfast at about 8.30am and there are many opportunities to stop and take photos, or have a cup of tea. This is a challenging trek with plenty of hills and long distances, however, the pace is slow and the itinerary allows for acclimatisation and also rest days.
Kathmandu is at an approximate altitude of 1400m and the drive to Arughat will take you down to a height of 530m. With Larkya La standing at 5135m, the circuit trek gains a total of 4605 metres from Arughat and 3735 metres from Kathmandu.
Accommodation will be in comfortable lodges and tea houses run by Gurung families, unless people specify a preference for tents. Each lodge has a central communal area with stove, while the bedrooms are unheated with two beds and mattresses and pillows. You will need to bring a sleeping bag (3 season is normally enough), and the lodge will lend you a blanket if you ask.
The lodges generally have showers which are powered by gas and they use ‘drop’ toilets (only some lodges use a flush system now).
Sometimes we use tents which are two person mountain tents, and we will provide foam mattresses. The tents are pitched close by the lodge and eating is done indoors.
The trek is not a forced march and the pace is always slow, the days generally being shorter than a day hike at home.
We do recommend that you embark on a good fitness programme at least 6 weeks prior to your trip though, and one that builds up general stamina and specific leg muscle groups. There is nothing like hiking with a rucksack to train, so the best advice is to get out into the hills as often as you can. You are likely to carry about 5 kilos in your day sack so this is a good weight to work with.
If you are going to be using the gym then concentrate on step machines which work on the thigh and calf muscles, and try to build your heart rate up to 50% above resting rate. Any cardiovascular activity is good, but remember that swimming will not train the correct muscle groups so it must be added to other exercises to be effective. Exercise groups like bodypump, Pilates and aerobic are all excellent preparation for a trek like this, especially those which work on core strength, balance and stability.
Adventure Alternative Support
The porters will carry your main bag up to a maximum weight of 15 kgs and cater for all the group needs, including assisting you if you need to go back down the valley. Unless specifically tenting, all accommodation is in lodges or teahouses which are very well equipped, warm and sociable.
Pasang Tendi Sherpa is our operations manager in Kathmandu and Director of Adventure Alternative Nepal. He organises all the staff, equipment, permits and hotel arrangements. You will have his telephone number, or the staff at the hotel desk can call him for you. He is the organiser, translator, problem solver, advisor and the main link between you and the UK office. He will talk to the Sherpa guides regularly on the mountain and can make arrangements while you are on trek.
You also have continued support from the main office in Northern Ireland. Should a problem arise of significant proportion then you only need to call us. In the Khumbu region there is still an opportunity to communicate since most lodges now have satellite phones.
- Duffle bag or rucksack for your porter to carry (soft, up to about 16 kilos, weatherproof)
- Day sack, about 30 or 40 litres for carrying yourself
- Hiking shoes/boots – lightweight with ankle high protection, good sole that is not too bendy, comfortable and not too heavy.
- Sandals for walking round the villages or in the lodges
- Sleeping bag – 3 season or 4 season if you get cold easily
- Longjohns and a thermal top if you get cold easily
- Several pairs of trekking socks, midweight wool/synthetic or Smartwool
- Hiking shirts and trousers, T-shirts and a pair of shorts
- A few fleece tops or jumpers for the evenings
- Fleece jacket
- Waterproof or ‘shell’ jacket and bottoms
- Sun hat with wide brim and a warm woolly hat for the cold
- A few pairs of gloves, one thin pair and a thick pair, or mitts
- Wash kit and towel
- Sun cream and lip screen (UV protective), moisturising cream
- A water bottle or Camelback
- Head torch and spare batteries
- Personal first aid kit – see below
- Money belt
- Hiking poles, optional
- Umbrella for both sun and rain, very useful, can be bought on the trail
- Dry bags for damp clothes, dirty clothes and for putting sleeping bag into.
Additional Kit Info
Luggage Allowance on Internal Flights
Please note that standard luggage limits on internal flights are 10kg in the hold and 5kg as hand luggage. You can pay for extra luggage allowance at 120rupees(~0.75GBP)/kg. However, note that the amount that the plane can carry also has a limit! You can of course wear your trekking boots and jacket to help cut down on the weight of your bag. You will also have left any city clothes or extra travel kit in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu has an area called Thamel which is full of hundreds of equipment shops, each one an emporium of new, used, quality and fake equipment all very reasonably priced for rental and buying. You can buy almost anything needed for any trek.
- All our guides are personally trained by Gavin Bate, Company Director and high altitude climber who has made five expeditions to Mount Everest 5 times (link to Gavin clip)
- We offer small scale, authentic adventures, which support the local economy.
- We do not contract out our trips, we employ full time staff, offering job security and good benefits, and we are continually improving our quality service year on year.
- All the staff in our UK office have been to Nepal so you can chat to people who understand what it’s like to go up for the first time, before you go.
- We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company supports sustainable development in Nepal in a real way. (include award logo).
- Adventure Alternative underwrites the charity Moving Mountains.
- Financial security guaranteed.