Manaslu Circuit

View from near Jagat (1,430m)
  • TRIP TYPE: Trekking
  • TRIP GRADE: Strenuous
  • TRIP STYLE: Tea House
  • TRIP LEADER: Local Leader
  • GROUP SIZE: 2 - 10 people
  • NEXT DEPARTURE: 03 Oct 2020

Details

Manaslu Circuit is one of the classic treks in Nepal around Manaslu, the world’s eighth highest mountain, followed by crossing the Larkya La pass.

Manaslu Circuit trek would appeal to anyone who is looking for a challenging trek in a remote region of the Nepal Himalaya. The trail passes through a geographically spectacular and culturally fascinating area with scenery similar to the classic Annapurna Circuit although the trails are not as popular with trekking groups.

The trek starts at the town of Arughat passing through bamboo forests and Gurung villages in the narrow Buri Gandaki gorge. After Lho village we enter the Nupri region inhabited by Tibetan immigrants where you will see colourful prayer flags, mani walls and monasteries along the way.

After Samdo village we start the approach towards the Larkya La pass, crossing this high Himalayan pass is a challenging day although would be a good objective for a fit hill walker with no previous mountaineering experience. The view from the Larkya La is superb where we will see Himal Chuli, Manaslu, Cheo Himal and Himlung Himal mountains.

  • We are Himalayan trekking specialists and we have been operating trips in Nepal for many years. Roland Hunter, owner and founder of The Mountain Company, has modified this itinerary based on his first-hand experience of the Manaslu region.
  • Read our AITO Traveller Reviews for Manaslu Circuit where our overall holiday rating is 100%. Our approach to organising trips in the Himalayas has helped The Mountain Company win awards such as 2018 Gold Award as AITO Tour Operator of the Year and 2015 Bronze Award as AITO Tour Operator of the Year.
  • The Mountain Company will receive bespoke weather forecasts for the Manaslu region from EverestWeather.com and from our in house forecasting throughout the duration of this trek.
  • We send a Thuraya satellite phone on all of our treks in Nepal. It is essential for your guide to have reliable communications with us for logistics, planning and group safety.
  • We provide all porters with windproof jacket & trousers, crampons and shelter as per International Porter Protection Group (“IPPG”) guidelines.
  • We bring a comprehensive first aid kit plus high altitude medicine, antibiotics and other medicines. 
  • Pre trip support will be given by our Operations team with first hand knowledge of Manaslu Circuit trek. During high season we have a TMC representative from our UK Operations team based in Kathmandu.

Route Map

Itinerary

Arrive in Kathmandu

No meals

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

You will be met on arrival at Kathmandu airport and driven back to the hotel.  Please provide travel plans on booking and we will arrange the pick up and transfer.  A trek briefing will be given in the afternoon.

Sightseeing in Kathmandu

Breakfast

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

This is a one day guided sightseeing tour of the Kathmandu Valley visiting three out of the seven World Heritage Sites. You will start off by visiting Patan Durbar Square then drive to the Buddhist stupa at Boudhanath followed by the last stop of the day at the Hindu shrine of Pashupatinath. The tour is likely to finish around 4pm and the rest of the day is free to further explore Kathmandu as well as to pack your bags for the trek starting tomorrow morning. You can leave a bag at the hotel with items not needed on trek.

Three major towns are located in the valley, Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, each having a great artistic and architectural tradition. Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city in the country. Patan, the second largest is separated from Kathmandu by a river. Bhaktapur, the third largest, is towards the eastern end of the valley and its relative isolation is reflected in its slower pace and more distinctly mediaeval atmosphere.

In the Valley the landscape is dramatically sculpted by the contours of the paddy fields. The towns and villages are alive with the colours of farm produce, ranging from pyramids of golden grain to the vivid reds of chilli peppers laid out on mats to dry in the sun. In the streets and towns there is a constant bustle of activity, especially in the bazaars and markets where the farmers sell their vegetables and fruit.

Drive to Soti Khola (8 hours driving)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

We leave Kathmandu early in the morning by private bus. It is a scenic drive with several picturesque gorges and occasional glimpses of mountain peaks. After exiting the Kathmandu valley we drive along the Pokhara road following Trishuli River until we turn off to heading north following Buri Gandaki to Arughat Bazaar. After Dhading Besi the road is not sealed so it is likely to be quite dusty in the bus so it is a good idea to bring a buff or scarf along with you.

The road has recently been built beyond Arughat so these days we continue the drive in the bus or change to local jeeps for the drive to Soti Khola. This village is a better trailhead than Arughat and it saves a day walking along the dusty road.

Walking 11km (6 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

Our route heads northwards following the Buri Gandaki river passing through terraced fields and forests with troops of monkeys. After Soti Khola the trail ascends on the valley sides and then descends later to walk along the river. There is an ascent to the village of Macha Khola.

During the months of both April and October it will very hot and humid with temperatures often more than 30 Degrees Celsius for the first three days of the trek. These dates have been chosen for optimal conditions in crossing the high passes however please be aware of the hot start to the trek. It is important to bring plenty of water, wear a sun hat and apply sun cream.

Walking 14.5km (7 to 8 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

You follow the Buri Gandaki river climbing up and down a number of ridges passing through the villages of Khorlabesi and Tatopani. After crossing the bridge over to east bank of Buri Gandaki you continue through forest to Dobhan. Further along you cross the bridge over Yaru khola (river) then shortly after cross another bridge over Buri Gandaki over to Jagat village.

Walking 16.5km (7 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

After Jagat you cross a bridge over Dudh Pokhari khola (river) then pass through the villages of Salleri and Sirdibas. The trail then descends to cross the bridge over Buri Gandaki to the larger village of Philim. At Philim there is a check point to enter Tsum Valley where our permits will be reviewed. We continue onwards to stay at Deng and enter this village through a Buddhist stone arch known as a Kani.

Walking 14km (7 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

A short distance out of Deng, the trail crosses back over the Buri Gandaki onto what is now its north bank near Rana. From the bridge the trail climbs a little before heading west on level ground and passing a large waterfall. Once over a wooden bridge, the trail contours up and out of the canyon and climbs high above the river before dropping into the Shringi Khola Valley. After the suspension bridge over the Shringi Khola there is a steep climb and the trail traverses along the Buri Gandaki as it flows between vertical walls of rock.

After a few more ups and downs through forests, the trail turns a corner and arrives at Ghap through an intricate kani with well-preserved paintings and elegant mani wall. After leaving Ghap, you pass more mani walls on the southern side of the river before heading into some woods. The trail climbs along the river, past a waterfall and continues through deep fir and rhododendron. The trail makes a long climb through bamboo and rhodhodenron and finally enters Namrung through another stone archway.

Walking 8km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

Today is a shorter day as we need to limit our increases in altitude in order to have time to acclimatise. Not long after leaving Namrung we arrive to Banjam with its wide fields. Soon after Banjam the trail steeps as we walk up to the next village of Lihi with a fine view of Ganesh Himal.

A further hour along the trail we arrive to Sho and then followed by another hour to Lho. From this village there are fine views of Manaslu and the Kutang Himal. In the afternoon it would be worth visiting Ribang Gompa overlooking the village as well as exploring the stupas, mani walls and kani gateway.

Walking 6km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

After leaving Lho the next village is Shyala located on a plateau then you cross a bridge over Numla khola. After crossing a boulder field, the trail emerges onto the extensive pastures and fields near Samagaon village. There is a lot to explore, it is a little piece of Tibet with many gompas and a traditional Tibetan village. In the afternoon you can walk up to Phung Gyen Monastery located on a ridge above the village.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

We spend two nights at Samagaon to help acclimatisation. There is a good day walk with views of Manaslu and Peak 29.

Walking 7.5km (3 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

Follow the Buri Gandaki northwards to a bridge over a side stream where the trail forks: the left leading towards the Manaslu Base Camp, the other passing several mani walls heads for the Larkya La. The valley widens along an easy trail past juniper and birch forest to the stone huts at Kermo Kharka, then drops off a shelf to cross a wooden bridge and climbing between a fork in the river to a promontory. From this vantage point, one can see the white stone kani marking the entrance to Samdo.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

We spend two nights at Samdo to help acclimatisation. There is a good day walk towards Gya La which is the trading pass with Tibet.

Walking 5.5km (3 to 4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

Today we start the ascent to the pass by descending through fields to an old mani wall and stone arch before dropping to the river and crossing on a wooden bridge.  This place shows up on maps as the mythical Larka Bazaar, which used to be a flourishing market, but there is nothing remaining there now.

Another mani wall marks the beginning of ascent to the pass where the trail starts climbing through tundra and juniper; the huge Larkya Glacier coming from Manaslu can be seen from here. Stay on the ridge to the right to find a trail that crosses over the top of two ravines. The trail grows steeper, climbing up the side of a gorge to a viewpoint at the edge of a huge gorge at 4000m. Nearing the Larkya Glacier, we reach Larkya Phedi, where there is a small lodge, built to serve travellers crossing the Larkya La which lies now just ahead.

Walking 14km (7 to 8 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

The trail starts as a long gentle climb across moraine, it descends a little to a lake and then becomes rough and indistinct as it crosses to the south of steep grassy slopes. The trail stays on the moraine to a ridge marked by two cairns, from here the prayer flags marking the pass are visible. Descend to the four frozen lakes then make the final steep climb to the pass.

On the descent from the pass the trail follows the top of the moraine to the west and makes a set of steep, rough switchbacks as it crosses the moraine then descends more gently on loose gravel to another grassy moraine at 4,450m. The conditions for crossing the pass vary depending on time of year however in case it is icey we should have micro crampons. Please take a look at our kit list in the Appendix.

The trail now becomes easier to follow and reaches a small meadow and spring at 4,080m. The valley becomes wider as the trails heads down to a large meadow, past a mani wall and a small rest house that marks Bimthang at 3,590m

Walking 19km (7 to 8 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

The trail drops to a glacial stream, the headwaters of the Dudh Khola, and crosses a wooden bridge and descends into pine and rhododendron forest to Hompuk at 3,430m. The trail improves as it descends to a fork in the river and then follows the river to a stable at 3030m. Not far from here you reach Karche's fenced fields, then cross a landslide before making a steep climb to a ridge decorated with prayer flags. It makes a descent to the river bank at Gho.

The trail continues through fields and intermittent stands of rhododendron and oak to arrive at Tilje, a large Gurung village. Exit the village through a stone arch, cross the Dudh Khola and follow along its embankment descending through scrub forest. The walls of the Marsyangdi Valley loom larger and finally the houses of Dharapani appear in the distance. Pass through Thonje via a wooden bridge and through a chorten-shaped arch, and Dharapani lies across a long suspension bridge over the Marsyangdi.

Walking 14km (6 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

From Dharapani you are now on the more popular Annapurna Circuit and the trail now follows this classic trek in reverse as you pass through the steepest part of the Marsyangdi gorge. We follow Natural Annapurna Trekking Trails (NATT) on the west bank of Kali Gandaki away from the road on the other side of the valley. Our trek ends in Jagat as it is now possible to take jeeps from this village along the road to Besisahar.

Drive to Kathmandu via Besisahar

Breakfast and Lunch

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

From Jagat we take jeeps along the road to Besisahar then switch vehicles to our private bus sent from Kathmandu to collect you. You will get back to Kathmandu in later afternoon.

Flight home

Breakfast

Transfer to Kathmandu airport for the flight back home.  End of trip.

Dates & Prices

Switch Currency

2020

Dates Trip Leader Price Single Supplement: Room/Tent Availability
Dates 03 Oct 2020 to 20 Oct 2020 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,395pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / NA
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now
Dates 24 Oct 2020 to 10 Nov 2020 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,395pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / NA
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now

2021

Dates Trip Leader Price Single Supplement: Room/Tent Availability
Dates 03 Apr 2021 to 20 Apr 2021 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,395pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / NA
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now
Dates 24 Apr 2021 to 11 May 2021 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,395pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / NA
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now
Dates 02 Oct 2021 to 19 Oct 2021 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,395pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / NA
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now
Dates 23 Oct 2021 to 09 Nov 2021 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,395pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / NA
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now

For private and bespoke trip, please contact us

Enquire Here

What's Included

  • All internal transport and transfers including airport collections.
  • Twin share room at Hotel Tibet or Hotel Ambassador in Kathmandu.
  • Breakfast only in Kathmandu, all meals included while on trek. Trek meals include breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and biscuits plus two course dinner (soup and main meal) plus up to two cups of hot drinks per meal.
  • Lodge based accommodation on trek however we also bring along tents in case you prefer to sleep outside of the lodge. The tents will be allocated on a twin share basis using our three person Western branded tents.
  • Twin share room with common bathroom while on trek.
  • All trekking arrangements including permits and fees, trekking guide(s) and porter(s). We provide one trekking guide for group size of two people and two guides for a group size of three people and three guides for group size of six people plus.
  • Bespoke weather forecasts for Manaslu region from EverestWeather.com throughout the duration of this trek.
  • Thuraya satellite phone to ensure our guides have reliable communications with us for logistics, planning and group safety.
  • Manaslu trekking map given to you on arrival to Kathmandu.
  • Rubberised luggage tags posted to you before departure.
  • Full financial protection for all monies paid to us through our membership of Association of Bonded Travel Operators Trust (our ABTOT membership number is 5365) and having an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (our ATOL number is 10921).
  • Pre departure support and advice from The Mountain Company by email, phone or face to face meetings in London. After booking with us we will send our comprehensive “Nepal Pre Trip Information” notes.

What's Not Included

  • International flight to/from Kathmandu.
  • Travel & trekking insurance.
  • Nepal visa for 30 days at US$40.
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu.
  • Personal clothing & equipment please see the Appendix for suggested kit list.
  • Tips (guidance on amounts included in our “Nepal Pre Trip Information” notes).
  • Other items not listed in “What is included”.

Accommodation

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

Hotel Tibet is located in Lazimpat next to the Radisson and is our usual hotel for our standard trips in Nepal.

We have used Hotel Tibet for over 15 years and our previous clients enjoy staying at this property due to its good location, comfortable rooms and high level of service. There is a garden terrace next to the restaurant on the ground floor and the roof terrace with the Yeti Bar overlooking the city.


Teahouse lodge in Nepal

While on trek at a teahouse lodge in Nepal there are twin share rooms with common bathroom and a heated communal dining room. 

We will provide all meals at the lodges and include breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and biscuits plus two course dinner (soup and main meal) plus up to two cups of hot drinks per meal. We regularly inspect and select the best lodges in each location.


Practical Information

Communications

We bring a Thuraya satellite phone for logistical, safety and personal use. Personal calls charged at £4 (US$5 or €4.50) per minute and £2 (US$3 €4.50) to send and receive SMS text.

Clothing and Equipment List for Manaslu Circuit

For the safety of everyone in the group and to help ensure a successful trek, you are required to have the following items in our clothing and equipment list tailored for Manaslu Circuit trek.

As a reminder, the weather on this trek will vary season to season and day to day as you ascend to higher elevations. During the first couple of days on Manaslu Circuit trek you are likely to experience quite warm conditions and you will experience the coldest temperatures at Larkya Phedi at an altitude of 4,460m where overnight lows can get down to around -12˚C.

Each trekker should bring one backpack for gear required during the day. Your day backpack will contain items such as warm clothes, jacket, camera, water bottles, personal first aid kit and snacks. The maximum weight allowance for back pack is 5kg. The rest of your personal equipment packed in a duffel or kit bag will be carried by a porter. The maximum weight allowance for your duffel bag  is 15kg. Please ensure that your bag is marked clearly on the outside for easy identification.

We suggest you print the kit list and tick items off as you pack them then weigh your kit bag before you come on trek.

Footwear:

  • Walking boots. A pair of water repellent boots with ankle support.
  • Gaiters. A pair used to keep boots dry if walking through deep snow or on wet ground.
  • Walking socks.
  • Trainers or trail shoes. Can be used in lodge in the evenings.

Trekking gear for crossing the passes:

  • Two trekking poles (Black Diamond poles with “Flick Lock” are best).
  • YakTrax XTR. These are helpful for descending passes if snowy and icy conditions, for more information please take a look at: https://www.yaktrax.com/product/xtr
  • Gaiters. A pair used to keep boots dry if walking through deep snow on passes.

Clothing:

  • Waterproof and Windproof jacket (with hood) and trousers (goretex or similar). For use if it rains or snows during the trek and in windy conditions.
  • Trekking trousers. Minimum two pairs of trousers.
  • Long sleeve shirts. Minimum two shirts.
  • Micro fleece.
  • Mid to heavyweight fleece.
  • Sleeveless or body warmer type fleece.
  • Thermals or base layer for top & bottom (merino wool or synthetic).

Handwear:

  • Fleece gloves (only required for winter treks).

Headwear:

  • Wool or fleece hat.
  • Sun hat.
  • Bandana or scarf. (eg. Buff Headwear or purchase a #myTMCbuff).
  • Sunglasses. The lenses need to be Category 4 rated and should have side protection or wraparound design to prevent light getting through to your eyes that could cause sun blindness.
  • Bring extra batteries.

Personal Equipment:

  • Sleeping bag. Maximum overnight lows at Larkya Phedi will be around -12 Celsius. Note: it is possible to rent a bag in Kathmandu from Shonas Rental.
  • Fleece or silk liner for your sleeping bag. A liner protects your sleeping bag from getting dirty and helps by adding extra insulation to keep you warm at night.
  • Recommended size is 30 litres or larger as you need to have enough space to carry water bottles, camera, snacks and extra clothing such as down jacket etc. It is also a good idea to bring a rain cover to keep the contents dry.
  • Stuff sacks for keeping your gear dry and organised. Or even better are fold- drybags such as from Exped.
  • Two water bottles (Nalgene wide mouth bottles are the best).
  • Sunscreen and lipsalve with a high SPF.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Water purification tablets (Pristine, Biox Acqua or Acqa Mira).
  • Favourite snack food.
  • Books, ipod and cards etc.
  • Trekking poles (Black Diamond with “Flick Lock” are best).
  • Camera with spare batteries and memory cards.
  • Insurance certificate.
  • Earplugs (optional).
  • Baby wipes (optional).
  • Hand sanitizer (optional).

Travelling:

  • Small combination padlock to secure the bag.
  • Travel clothes. You will need casual clothing for air travel days and time spent in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
  • Toiletry bag including toothbrush, etc.

Personal first aid kit

Note: we provide a comprehensive group first aid kit but please bring personal medications and other items you might use regularly such as:

  • Any personal medications.
  • Blister treatment (Compeed patches are the best)
  • Rehydration powder (eg Dioralyte).
  • Analgesics (paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin).
  • Plasters and zinc oxide tape.
  • Throat lozenges.

Threat and risk assessment for Manaslu Circuit

Participants should be aware trekking, mountaineering and travelling in a developing country are activities that involve a risk of personal injury or death. As a condition of booking you must accept these risks and be responsible for your own actions and involvement.

Adventure travel requires an open and flexible attitude. You may experience extreme conditions, unpredictable weather and last minute changes to the itinerary beyond our control. The ability to work in team is an important aspect of all of our trips.

As a part of our planning process we have performed a detailed threat and risk assessment for our Manaslu Circuit trek. It is worth pointing out all of our trips have a certain degree of risk, this is of course part of the attraction of adventure travel and why so many people choose to join this type of holiday. However by identifying the potential hazards on Manaslu Circuit we can assess the level of risk and implement control measures to reduce this happening.

Our full threat and risk assessment for Manaslu Circuit is available to clients on request. For your information we have listed below a summary of the significant risks and hazards identified by us:

  • Falls and trips resulting in physical injury eg. slipping on ice or falling off the path.
  • Altitude illness including but not limited to AMS, HACE and HAPE.
  • Getting lost or becoming separated from group eg. crossing Larkya La pass in whiteout.
  • Severe bad weather and conditions when camping.
  • Climatic injuries (dehydration, sun burn, heat exhaustion, hypothermia or heat stroke). Please note during the months of April and and October it will very hot and humid with temperatures often more than 30 Degrees Celsius for the first three days of the trek.
  • Crossing a river with no bridge resulting in drowning and/ or a fall.
  • Rock fall and landslides.
  • Snow and ice avalanches eg crossing Larkya La pass.
  • Lightning strike.
  • Wildlife, pack animals (eg. donkeys or horses) or stray dogs. Pack animals have been known to knock people off the path. Dogs can attack and bite, we advise you discuss rabies vaccination with your doctor.
  • Earthquake.
  • Risk of fire in the hotel or lodge.
  • Endemic local diseases. We advise you discuss vaccinations with your doctor before departure.
  • Physiological injury such as heart attack, appendicitis, hernia, toothache etc. in a remote area.
  • Road traffic accident. We use a private bus from Kathmandu to Arughat and back from Besisahar to back to Kathmandu. Due to local rules we cannot take drive our bus to Soti Khola and Jagat so it is usually necessary to use local jeeps for these sections of road.
  • Contaminated food and/ or water.

This trip visits a remote area where you are away from normal emergency services and medical facilities. In case of a serious injury requiring hospitalisation evacuation could take up to several days and may impede your ensuing recovery. Helicopters are the most usual means of evacuation, however they are not always available or they may be hindered by poor weather and flying conditions.

Internal Flights

British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (“FCO”) travel advice to Nepal states that “STOL airstrips in Nepal are among the most remote and difficult to land on in the world and are a challenge for even the most technically proficient pilots and well-maintained aircraft.” For their latest advice please take a look at their Safety & Security section under Air Travel.

There have been a number of recent air accidents in Nepal and in December 2013 The European Union banned all airlines based in Nepal from flying in the 28-nation bloc under the latest changes to a list of unsafe carriers.  For more information on Nepal’s air safety profile take a look at Aviation Safety Network.

Weather and climate for Manaslu Circuit

Manaslu Circuit trek will have a wide range of temperatures depending on the altitude and the time of day.  In the mountains between 1,000m and 3,500m the nights will be cool, normally around 5˚C, and during the day temperatures sometimes rise to 25˚C.  At higher altitudes temperatures range from about 15˚C to -12˚C.

The traditional trekking season in Nepal is late September to May, with October and November generally recognised as having the best weather. Spring is also a popular time of year with warmer weather and the advantage of seeing spring flowers and rhododendrons in bloom.

SOCIAL MEDIA