Manaslu Circuit Trek
The Manaslu Circuit trek is a stunning 17-day journey (21 days including travel and days in Kathmandu) which treks around the world’s eighth highest mountain, beginning in the busy market town of Arughat, going up and back along a different path, ending in Besi Sahar. This is a trek for someone who wants something different in Nepal but still offers the most striking and jaw-dropping scenery.
Many people liken the Manaslu Circuit trek to the Annapurna before it got busy! It is in a region which was closed to outsiders until the early 90's and tourism is still restricted. It is also not quite as high as the Annapurna circuit and really is a stunning and less trodden path.
The drive from Kathmandu to Arughat takes around 7 hours and the drive from Besi Sahar to Kathmandu takes around 6 hours. The trek ascent is for 13 days, 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 on the website 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. We also run private treks so feel free to call and discuss your plans with us.
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 on the Manaslu Circuit trek but it is obviously important to have good equipment and adequately prepared for multi-day walking.
|2||Rest & Preparations in Kathmandu|
|3||Drive Kathmandu to Arughat 490 m|
|4||6 hours walking Arughat – Liding 860m|
|5||6 hours walking Liding – Khorlabesi 970m|
|6||6 hours walking Khorlabesi – Salleri 1360m|
|7||7 hours walking Salleri – Deng 1860m|
|8||4 hours walking Deng – Ghap 2380m|
|9||5 hours walking Ghap – Lho 3180m|
|10||4 hours walking Lho – Samagaon 3450m|
|12||3 hours walking Samagaon – Samdo 3860m|
|13||3860m Relax and acclimatise in Samdo|
|14||3 - 4 hours walking Samdo – Larkya Phedi 4460m|
|15||7 - 8 hours walking Larkya Phedi – Larkya La – Bimtang 5135m|
|16||6 hours walking Bimtang – Tilje 2300m|
|17||5 hours walking Tilje – Chamje 1410m|
|18||4 - 5 hours walking Chamje – Ngadi 810m|
3 - 4 hours walking) Ngadi – Besi Sahar 800m
Drive back to KTM 6 hrs
Depart KTM or stay on for longer
Manaslu Circuit Altitude Profile
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Note: You can also copy and paste the following plot into a word processor or image manipulation programme to view or print it.
What to pack for the trek to Manaslu?
The basic idea of the kit that you need is to keep you warm, dry, protected from the sun / rain / cold so that you are able to move efficiently on the mountains and able to be comfortable in the evenings and night.
- BAGS - Large Duffle bag/Rucksack ~80L (for a porter to carry) + Medium Daypack ~40L (carried by you)
- SHELL - Top and bottoms to keep off wind/rain
- INSULATION - Warm layered system to keep you warm- body hands & Head
- BASELAYER - Thin layers to wick away sweat and to strip down to when it gets hot
- FEET - Comfortable, Waterproof boots to support your ankles over rough terrain. Lighter footwaer to change into in the evenings.
- SLEEPING - Warm sleeping bag & Bedroll to get a good nights sleep at the lodges & camps
- EATING/DRINKING - Water bottles & favorite snacks for during the day
- WASHING & MEDICAL - To allow you to wash and maybe stave off a headache or blister
If you have any questions about what kit to bring then to please call or email us. Do consider this is a long trek though it is possible to wash items enroute drying them can at times be difficult.
How fit do I need to be for this route?
Doing a trek for seventeen days straight inevitably is tiring and it's certainly a benefit to be fit, but don't forget that during the trek you are exercising every day and you will end up wonderfully mountain fit and weather beaten! Come back toned, healthy, detoxed and several kilos lighter!
So do train beforehand, do lots of walking with a day sack, but don't overdo it. It's not a marathon, but there are lots of hills to go up and down! The high pass is quite challenging too. Work on your thigh muscles, calf muscles and shoulders for carrying the bag (it's only about 5kg but it feels like 10 when you've been walking uphill in the sun). The days aren't too long, the path is fine, and the porters help a lot, but the enjoyment of this trip will be much more if you have worked on your fitness before the holiday.
The trek is not a forced march and the pace is always slow, the days generally being shorter than a day hike at home. 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.
Terrain on the trek is 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, to avoid the cliff edge on the other side! Poles are useful, 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.
The highest point of the trek to Larkya La Pass (5135m) climbs steeply, and at times the pass can be slippery so care must be taken. But the path is well used and the ascent is not overly difficult.
Lightweight hiking boots with a high ankle are recommended for the trek, to protect you against possibly going over on an ankle, heavy boots will be hot and heavy and cumbersome. Cross trainers are popular, but cold in the morning up high.
Accommodation on the trek will be in lodges and tea houses run by local 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 the infamous ‘drop’ toilets (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 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 tea houses which are very well equipped, warm and sociable.
The guides all speak English and are qualified and experienced. They will be on hand to help you all the time and guide the route as well as talk about the country and the people. Furthermore:-
- All our guides are personally trained by Gavin Bate, Company Director and high altitude climber
- 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.
- We follow the IPPG five guidelines on porter safety
- Porters' health and welfare is constantly monitored by local and UK trekking group leaders.
- All the staff in our UK office have been to Nepal so you can chat to people who understand what its like to go up for the first time, before you go.
- We are a company founded and run by people who are passionate about trekking, climbing and exploring in the world's most beautiful wildernesses.
Day 1 – 1400m Arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to your hotel or our guesthouse.
Day 2 – 1400m Rest day and possibility of a sightseeing tour if you would like to see around Kathmandu. Trek briefing.
Day 3 – 530m (7 hours) Kathmandu – Arughat.
We will leave Kathmandu in the early morning for a 7 hours drive to Arughat were we will stay the night.
Day 4 – 860m (6 hours walking) Arughat – Liding.
Today we start our trek following a path along the Buri Gandaki river across terraced rice fields and stone farmhouses. Later a short ascent will lead us to Keurenipani. There the trail drops down to the river, passes through Soti Khola and later goes across some Gurung villages. A forest then leads us to Liding,
Day 5 – 970m (6 hours walking) Liding – Khorlabesi.
Today will be long and your trek will cross a narrow valley with dense forests along its side. After passing through various little towns the valley widens and our path descends to a sandy riverbed. We will then ascend to Marchha Khola and later to Khorlabesi, where we will spend the night.
Day 6 – 1360m (6 hours walking) Khorlabesi – Salleri.
The trail will head through a narrow gorge during the first few hours, until it reaches Tatopani (1190m), where we can enjoy the natural hot springs. On from this we cross a suspension bridge on the left bank of the Buri Gandaki river. Our journey then takes us through rhododendron forests from where the path drops down steeply past the rivers rapids. We will have great views of the stone village of Jagat, balancing on the edge of the steep valley wall, after which is Salleri village.
Day 7 – 1860m (7 hours walking) Salleri – Deng.
Today we pass Sirdibas, then cross, using a large suspension bridge the Buri Gandaki river and later ascend sharply to Philim. After crossing a hillside, we encounter Ekle Bhatti (“lonely teahouse”) before crossing the river again. The trail then enters an amazing part of the gorge, surrounded by orchids on the top. After that, a steep climb to the west side of the valley will lead us through bamboo forests to Deng, where we overnight.
Day 8 – 2380m (4 hours walking) Deng – Ghap.
Today will be shorter. The trek will take us across a Buddhist influenced region, with a few minor ups and downs, mainly through the forests. We’ll then reach Ghap through a complex Kani with well-conserved paintings and an elegant mani wall.
Day 9 – 3180m (5 hours walking) Ghap – Lho.
In the morning the valley starts of steeply as the path ascends through rhododendron and bamboo forests until reaching Namrung, in the Nupri region. Their inhabitants are descendants of Tibetan migrants who arrived here 500 years ago. You will discover that most Buddhist Gompas, Mani and entrance gates to the village display beautiful Tibetan features and prints. After Namrung we pass across Sho, which offers striking views of Manaslu and Naike Peak. Later we reach Lho, our last stop for today.
Day 10 – 3450m (4 hours walking) Lho – Samagaon.
Following the right bank of the river we enjoy astonishing views of Peak 29 and after a few hours of climbing through the forest we reach Shyala, from where you can observe Phungi, Manaslu and Himal Chuli. We then cross a wide meadow before arriving in Samagaon, where we spend the night.
Day 11 – 3450m Today we either relax or walk to Pung Gyen monastery and come back for the night.
Day 12 – 3860m (3 hours walking) Samagaon – Samdo.
Today we follow along the Buri Gandaki river and as the valley widens we pass juniper and birch forests until reaching Kermo Kharka. There, the trail descends and passes a wooden bridge. we then reach Samdo after walking through the White Stone Kani.
Day 13 – 3860m Relax and acclimatise in Samdo, with a day walk to Gya La, the trading pass with Tibet.
Day 14 – 4460 m (3 - 4 hours walking) Samdo – Larkya Phedi.
Our days starts with a descent through beautiful fields to an old stone arch before we cross the river via a wooden bridge to Larka Bazaar. This used to be a thriving market but nothing today remains. An old Mani marks the start of the climb to Larkya La pass. Crossing juniper and tundra we come to a ridge crossing the two ravines at their top. There, we have magnificent views of Larkya Glacier. The climb gets steeper at the side of a gorge reaching 4000m, nearing the glacier. Further up we arrive at Larkya Phedi (4460m) and rest there for the night.
Day 15 – 5135m (7 - 8 hours walking) Larkya Phedi – Larkya La – Bimtang.
Early in the morning, a short walk will take us to the Ablation Valley, on the left side of the Larkya Glacier, which offers amazing views of Cho Danda and Larkya Peak. Following along the glacier moraine we start a steady ascent to Larkya La pass. The path is well trodden and easy to follow. We walk slowly and listen to our body as we gain altitude some may feel nauseous or suffer from headaches. It' important at this stage to drink a lot of fluid and to keep warm. After few hours of walking we reach the top and gaze at the unique sight of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kang Guru and Annapurna II. Later a steep and sometimes slippery descent to Bimtang awaits us. Trekking poles are useful for this section. The slope gradually becomes smoother when reaching the snow on the moraine, then on from that a small meadow is at 4080m and finally the valley widens as we arrive in Bimtang.
Day 16 – 2300m (6 hours walking) Bimtang – Tilje.
Our trek drops down after passing through the meadows to the Dudh Khola river where we cross it via a wooden bridge. We then descend further into rhododendron and pine forests before climbing to a ridge decorated with prayer flags. We then drop again to the riverbank at Gho, where the trail crosses rice fields, rhododendron and oak forests before reaching Tilje.
Day 17 – 1410m (5 hours walking) Tilje – Chamje.
When leaving Tilje, the path crosses the Dudh Khola River and follows the embankment, dropping down through forests until Dharapani (1960m). The path now joins the Annapurna Circuit in reverse and passes the Marsyangdi River and Karte. After an abrupt rocky stairway we reach Tal (1700m). There, a steady descent follows the valley, later crossing Marsyangdi River again before arriving at Chamje, for an overnight stay.
Day 18 – 840m (4 - 5 hours walking) Chamje – Ngadi.
A rocky trail takes us across forests on the edge of a steep sided valley to Jagat. Then, we cross a cliff face and drop down an abrupt 150m to Syange (1080m). There we cross the Marsyangdi River via a suspension bridge leading to Ghermu (1140m). Here we can stop and enjoy the stunning waterfall before continuing to along the trail to Lili Bhir. Afterwards a steep ascent leads us to Bahundanda (1270m), where another stunning view of the Himalayan peaks awaits. A further descent soon brings us to Ngadi.
Day 19 – 800m (3 - 4 hours walking) Ngadi – Besi Sahar.
Following the Marsyangdi River, we cross the long Khudi Khola suspension bridge and walk mostly on a flat path. The landscapes are immeasurable, especially the sight of Manaslu II (7879m). Surrounding by rice fields and tall green trees we trek the Gurung villages until reaching our overnight village, BBesi Sahar.
Day 20 – 1400m
Today we pack up our boots and leave Besi Sahar by car in the early morning to reach Kathmandu 6/ 7 hours later. Lunch will be taken on the way. We then drop you off at your hotel or you can come to our Guest House.
Day 21 – transfer to the airport, and departure from Kathmandu back home, or if you'd like to stay on for a few days you're very welcome.
Mansalu Circuit Trek: £1695.00
- Airport transfers
- Accommodation in lodges/tea houses (twin rooms with beds and mattresses)
- All meals on trek, with a hot drink
- National Park Fees & Permit
- Sherpa guides (English speaking, trained in first aid)
- Staff food, insurance and equipment
- International flight to Kathmandu (~550-650)
- Accommodation in Kathmandu (~ £15 - £25pp/n) - we can book this for you. Click here for details
- Meals and drinks in Kathmandu (~50-100)
- Personal costs on trek, e.g cold drinks, laundry, hot showers, bottled water (~£50)
- Travel Insurance (~£50-100) must cover trekking at altitude & helicopter rescue in the event of an evacuation
- Visa (~$30)
- Tips (~£60)
- Sightseeing Tours
A deposit of £100 is required on booking to secure your place and we ask that the remaining balance (trip price minus the deposit) is paid in full 4 weeks prior to your departure.
You can book your Adventure Alternative holiday for as little as £100.00 and pay the balance in as many instalments as you like. Choose a scheduled date or contact us for private dates, a bespoke itinerary or more trip details.
- Duration 21 days
- Numbers min 4
- Altitude 5160m
- Distance 190km
- Challenge Moderate
- Comfort Lodges/Camping