Manaslu Trek - 18 Days

Manaslu Trek
590

Manaslu (mountain of the spirit) rises in the scenically superb region above the foothills of the Gorkha District west of Kathmandu. These villagers compromises of the Gurungs, a Tibeto-Burman people who practice Buddhism; with influences of Hinduism in the lower hills. The entire Manaslu region has been largely ignored by development, so remains poor, yet culturally rich.

A scenic drive through the Middle Hills leads to the trail head beyond Arughat at Soti Khola. The route then follows the fast flowing Budhi Gandaki Nadi to its source below the Larkya La. The river is deeply incised into the landscape frequently forcing the narrow trail to cling to cliffs as it undulates upwards over side-tributary ridges. It passes through a mix of farmlands and forests of bamboo, rhododendron, oak and pine for the first eight days. At Deng, the trail enters the Kutang – Nupri valleys (the western mountains: part of Tibet until the 1840s); peopled by an old Tibetan community with its own distinct custom and language.

A rest and exploration day is set for Samagaon to visit the large Kargyu-Pemba Chholing Gompa of the Nyingma-pa Buddhist sect; whose priests are allowed to marry. The Pungyen Nunnery is built on a ridge, south of the village, with superb views of Manaslu. A climb to the high Manaslu Base Camp may also be possible.

The crux of the Manaslu Circuit Trek is the two-day climb through tundra and scrub-juniper from Samagaon to the Larkya Phedi Dharmasala Lodge and then to the Larkya La summit (5,160m/16,930ft). The scenery along the way, and particularly from the summit, is magnificent.

The descent across scree slopes is steep at first, becoming more gentle. The trail then descends into the dense forests of the Marsyangdi River, crossing onto the Annapurna Circuit Trail that leads to Tal for the jeep/bus back to Kathmandu.

Manaslu (mountain of the spirit) rises in the scenically superb region above the foothills of the Gorkha District west of Kathmandu. These villagers compromises of the Gurungs, a Tibeto-Burman people who practice Buddhism; with influences of Hinduism in the lower hills. The entire Manaslu region has been largely ignored by development, so remains poor, yet culturally rich.

A scenic drive through the Middle Hills leads to the trail head beyond Arughat at Soti Khola. The route then follows the fast flowing Budhi Gandaki Nadi to its source below the Larkya La. The river is deeply incised into the landscape frequently forcing the narrow trail to cling to cliffs as it undulates upwards over side-tributary ridges. It passes through a mix of farmlands and forests of bamboo, rhododendron, oak and pine for the first eight days. At Deng, the trail enters the Kutang – Nupri valleys (the western mountains: part of Tibet until the 1840s); peopled by an old Tibetan community with its own distinct custom and language.

Day 1
Arrival and transfer to hotel in Kathmandu Upon arrival in Kathmandu.

Our airport representative will be waiting outside the airport terminal a few metres from the exit door. Please check your name at play card. He will bring you to hotel in kathmandu. The drive from the airport to the hotel is around 20 minutes

Day 2
Kathmandu (1360m)

In the morning we explore Kathmandu on an organised sightseeing tour. We visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where we observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. We also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here we see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The rest of our time in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. In the late afternoon you will be issued with your Trek Pack and departure information for the next morning.Meals included: 1 breakfast.

Day 3
Kathmandu – Arughat (670m/2,198 ft) – Soti Khola (710m/2,330ft): 135km, 8-9 hrs drive

A westward 70km scenic drive along the Prithvi Highway, through the forested Middle Hills, leads to Malekhu. A 30km secondary tarred road heads north, over the Trisuli Nadi, towards Dhading Besi and a rutted 35km dirt road northwest to Arughat on the Budhi Gandaki. The dirt road winds upwards towards the Gola Bhanjyang where panoramic views of the southern slopes of the Ganesh, Baudha and Manaslu Himals should be possible.

The road then drops to cross the Ankhu Khola and later, at Arughat, the Budhi Gandaki that drains the Manaslu - Tsum region. A further ~3 hrs drive up the west bank of the river leads to Soti Khola. Overnight at lodge in Soti Khola

Day 4
Soti Khola – Machha Khola (890m/2,920ft): ~14km, 6-7 hrs

After breakfast, today’s trail rises gradually through beautiful Sal forests. It then undulates over forested and terraced ridges passed numerous waterfalls. The trail is generally narrow, at times clinging to the sides of cliffs. It later drops to pass rice paddies before climbing to the attractive Gurung village of Labubesi (885m/2,800ft). After crossing a suspension bridge at the spectacular Nauli Khola falls, the valley opens out and the trail drops onto gravel banks along the river before rising slightly to the village of Machha (Fish) Khola.

Overnight at lodge in Machha Khola

Day 5
Machha Khola – Dobhan (1,000m/3,280ft): ~11km, 6-7 hrs

The trail follows the river, with minor ups and downs, often dropping to the gravel bar before crossing the Thado Khola and on up to Khorlabesi: where coffee, buckwheat and tobacco are grown. A trail from Gorkha joins the Manaslu circuit here and the GHT trail turns east from the Manaslu to the Langtang and Everest regions.

Our trail then enters a lush narrow gorge that constricts the river’s progress. Beyond is a landslide with a dicey path, shortly before the triple hot spring spouts in Tatopani. The trail then climbs a ridge before crossing the Budhi Gandaki on a suspension bridge (to avoid a huge cliff face and waterfalls. A good staircase, leads to a landslide before a final ridge climb to Dobhan.

Day 6
Dobhan – Philim (1,590m/5,216ft): ~10km, 6-7 hrs

Exit over the Dobhan Khola and continue up the east bank of the Budhi Gandaki to the hamlet of Thulo Dhunga; above cataracts. Further on the gradient changes; the valley opens and the river flow at Yaruphant is placid. Cross an old suspension bridge over the Yaru Khola (from Ganesh II and VI), then climb to Thado Bharyang. Cross to the west bank of the Budhi Gandaki and follow the river gently upwards to the old village of Jagat: entrance and checkpoint to the restricted Manaslu Conservation Area.

Cross a tributary and walk on to Salleri, via a cliff-side trail – with views of the Shringi Himal (7,187m/23,580ft) to the north. Descend to Sirdibas; and the first signs of Buddhist culture. Another suspension bridge leads to the east bank, and a tiring climb up to Philim: a prosperous Gurung village and the Chholing Sandu Gompa surrounded by fields of maize and millet.

Overnight at lodge in Philim

Day 7
Philim – Lokpa (2,240m/7,350ft) – Chumling (2,360m/7,750ft):~10km, 6-7 hrs

Traverse north of Philim, through lush grasses and scrub up the exquisite narrowing valley to the village of Chisopani and then the millet fields of Ekle Bhatti (one house, 1 600m/5,250ft). The trail then gradually descends, beneath a spectacular waterfall, into the gorge below and a junction before “New Bridge” which leads to the Larkya La. (The right hand trail leads to the Tsum Valley). Cross the Budhi Gandaki and enter its narrow gorge on an up-and-down trail with river crossings. After a suspension bridge the trail enters bamboo forest and rises to the village of Deng (1,800m/5,906ft). From here there are good views of Shringi Himal to the northeast.

Overnight at lodge in Deng

Day 8
Deng – Namrung (2,660m/8,725ft): ~12km, 6-7 hrs.

This is the entry point to Kutang or lower Nupri (part of Tibet until the 1840s): a region inhabited by Gurungs who practice Buddhism, have their own language and trade across the passes with Tibet. The trail crosses to the east bank and zigzags up to Rana. A short series of vertical switchbacks then lead to a log-bridge tributary crossing and an isolated water mill before the trail descends gently to the lodge at Bihi Phedi, high above the river.

Beyond, the trail drops to cross the Serang Khola and later enters an impressive S bend between sheer basalt walls. To the right, huge rocky crags appear – with a spectacular waterfall above fields of maize and wheat. Beyond the valley broadens and turns northeast; the trail crosses a bridge before a well preserved entrance kani and walls of carved mani stones that lead to the attractive village of Ghap (2,250m/7,382ft) on the south bank. The trail then ascends through bamboo, rhododendron and oak forest (with birds that include the impheyan pheasant) above the steeply descending river. For a short section it is forced back to the north bank by sheer walls and re-crosses back to the south bank on a wooden bridge (above a natural stone bridge) at a point where the river thunders down a narrow defile. It then climbs steeply (for 1hr) away from the river to Namrung: a police checkpoint for permits. Before reaching the village, the trail overlooks the Tum Khola from Tibet whose waters considerably increase the Budhi Gandaki’s volume at the confluence (not visible from the trail).

Overnight at lodge in Namrung.

Day 9
Namrung – Lho (3,180m/10,430ft): ~4km, 3-4hrs

Namrung is the entrance to Upper Nupri (the western mountains) a region of purely Tibetan inhabitants who speak a (different) dialect of western Tibet and continue to trade across the passes; chubas are the common dress.

The trail continues through a mix of forest and extensive barley fields: guarded by bear watchers (simple guard towers dot fields from Bihi Phedi to Shrip). In Lihi (2,900m/9,515ft), series of dwellings are grouped, each under a single shingled roof. There are impressive chortens, plus great views of Himal Chuli (7,893m/25,897ft) to the south. Only the Ganesh Himal is visible to the east.

The trail then drops and enters a side-valley to cross the Hinang Khola (where a path leads south to the Himal Chuli BC). Beyond the double-span bridge it rises sharply to a detailed chorten from where impressive views of Ngadi Chuli (7,873m/25,831ft) rise above the side-valley walls. Beyond are the packed houses of Sho (2,960m/9,712ft). Good views continue on the climb, past a large prayer wheel on the trail, up to Shrip.

On the walk up to Lho, Manaslu (8,156m/26,760ft, mountain of the spirit from the Sanskrit manasa – ‘intellect’ or ‘soul’, the 8th highest peak), Manaslu North and Naike Peak are revealed for the first time. A steep pull leads to the ridge and the large village of Lho.

Many of the stone houses in this region have distinctive wooden decks and shingles. The large Ribung monastery above the village houses ~150 monks. The best spot for sunset and sunrise pictures is from a Kani above the village; reached by a walk through barley fields, past a long mani wall and old chortens. Rise early for sunrise shots of Manaslu.

Overnight in lodge at Lho

Day 10
Lho – Sama Gaon (3,530m/11,578ft): ~8km, 5-6 hrs

The Budi Gandaki now flows far below in the valley north of the trail which passes the long mani wall out of Lho, before dropping steeply to cross the Damonan Khola tributary. It then follows a gentle stream upwards through exquisite mixed forest. Then a short climb to a plateau: and the badly deforested village of Shyala (3,520m/11,549ft). Huge mountains surround it: Himal Chuli (7,893m/25,897ft) and Peak 29 (Ngadi Chuli, 7,873m/25,831ft) to the south; Manaslu (8,156m/26,760ft) and large glaciers ahead; more snow-capped peaks to the west and north.

Further on, the trail crosses a bridge over the Numla Khola that drains the Pungyen Glacier from Manaslu. Later a trail leads left to Pungyen Gompa. Continue down the broad valley, past a school, to a large chorten, beyond which a yellow kani leads to rows of houses with front courtyards that form the main part of Sama. The Kargyu Chholing Monastery stands above the far end of the village against a forested moraine. Only the upper sections of Manaslu and the Naike ridge are visible from the village.

Overnight at lodge in Sama

Day 11
Sama: Rest and exploration day: Birendra Tal / Pungyen Gompa / Manaslu Base Camp

Sama is the regional centre of Nupri. Explore the village architecture and customs: only potatoes and barley flourish in the short summers at this altitude. Cloth weaving for chubas (from local goat and sheep wool or Tibetan imported wool) and the manufacture of hooked rugs are important occupations for trade with Tibet. Yak and dzopkyo herds and horses are kept and traded.

The Labrang (Lama’s Place) Gompa in the lower village and the Kargyu Chholing Monastery on the rise beyond the village, were established some 500 years ago when this region was first settled by Tibetans. The monastery architecture is unique with fine woodwork. There are eight temple buildings: the largest, Pemba Chholing Gompa, contains an impressive statue of Guru Rinpoche. It belongs to the Nyingma Buddhist sect and so most of its Lamas are married and live in dwellings at the complex.

An easy and rewarding hike beyond the monastery is to the Birendra Tal (3,450m/11,319ft) below the Manaslu Glacier. It can be viewed from a hilltop or from a stony beach and offers striking views of the mountain. ~3km, 1½hrs

Or, follow the trail towards Samdo to a bridge over the stream from the lake and then ascend the demanding trail that rises ~1 200m above the lake and the snout of the glacier to the Base Camp (~4,900m/16,100ft), ~8km, 5-6 hrs

A walk to the Pungyen Nunnery (3,870m/12,697ft) that stands on a plateau above the Pungyen Glacier offers unbeatable views of the Nadi ridges and Manaslu from near the gompa. It also adds an illuminating perspective of the mountain and its satellites to the other views seen along the circuit trail.

Walk back along the trail, past the school, to the turnoff to the Pungyen Nunnery. It lies over the ridge on a plateau above the glacier, and looks out onto Manaslu (known locally as Kang Pungyen). The ~2½hr trail through summer kharkas (no teahouses) along the Numa Khola and Pungyen Glacier can be icy and slippery. Above the complex is a cave gompa with yet better views.

Most of the gompa buildings were destroyed by an avalanche in 1953 and were only recently rebuilt. The avalanche was blamed on that year’s first Japanese expedition to Manaslu. They were the first to summit the mountain – in 1956. ~10km, 5-6hrs

Return to lodge in Sama for the night

Day 12
Sama – Samdo (3,860m/12,660ft): ~8km, 3-4 hrs

Descend towards the Budhi Gandaki, that has turned north, and pass the lake and Base Camp trail as well as several mani walls as the valley begins to widen. This is an easy trail along a shelf above the river past juniper and birch forests that surround Kermo Kharka. A stone wall divides the region into two with a stile and animal gate that separates the Sama and Samdo herds. Further on, the trail drops to cross the Budhi Gandaki on a wooden bridge before climbing steeply onto a promontory above the confluence of the river with the Mayol Khola from the Samdo Glacier to the northeast.

At the top is a stone arch, followed by fields before a white kani at the entrance to the village: an attractive, cold, yak and goat herding area. This was an ancient summer grazing region and was only settled in the late 1950s when the residents fled Tibet. They built the clustered dry stone houses with stone-slab roofs along a low ridge with fields below and behind the village. They trade to the north and south.

Zigzag up yak tracks behind the village to any of several sets of flags on a high ridge for superb 270o views: with Samdo Peak (6,335m/20,785ft) and its dramatic glacial basin to the east; the Sama Valley and its ranges to the south (Manaslu is masked by a rocky peak to the southwest); while to the west is a bird’s eye view over the northern Syacha Glacier from Manaslu (partially hidden) and tomorrow’s trail to Dharamsala and the Larkya La. Samdo is the last village before Gho, in the Manang District. Only informal kharkas (with lodges) lie between these villages.

Overnight at lodge in Samdo

Day 13
Samdo – Larkya Phedi/Dharamsala (4,460m/14,628ft): ~7km, 3-5 hrs

Descend past the northern village fields to cross the Budhi Gandaki for the last time at the remains of the Larkya Bazaar site. The river turns north up the Pana Danda Valley. Follow the westward trail on grassy slopes with scrub juniper, rhododendron and lichen covered granite above the Syacha Khola Valley. The source of the Syacha Glacier that descends from the Manaslu North ridge comes into sight. The trail works its way gradually up the valley towards the Larkya Glacier beyond the Larkya La Phedi, called Dharamsala. The guest house is a simple stone structure: with a kitchen and dining room, two separate buildings with 15 small double rooms, two tunnel-tents each with 8 cramped beds and a third for trekking staff. Short walks can lead to better views of the Larke (6,249m/20,503ft) and Naike (6,291m/20,641ft) peaks.

Overnight at Lodge in Dharamsala

Day 14
Dharamsala – Larkya La (5,160m/16,930ft) – Bimthang (3,720m/12,201ft): ~12km, 7-9 hrs

Today’s pass needs, if snow free, 3-5 hours to ascend the 800m/2,600ft to the summit and 3-4 hours to descend the 1,500m/4,900ft to Bimthang. It can be very cold, especially if windy. Snow and ice conditions demand more care and time.

The trail along the northern moraine of the Larke Glacier is not steep or difficult but is long and continuously rocky underfoot. Snow poles line the route. From Dharamsala, it rises gently to a ridge followed by a long gentle climb to the vast and jumbled moraine. Larke Peak on the Larke Himal wall and Pawar Peak on the Cheo Himal emerge to the south and north of the glacier. A short climb leads to an ablation valley followed by a drop to pass the first of four small scattered frozen lakes. A gradual ascent to the left up the glacial moraine and a final pull leads to the first set of summit flags. Back to the east; look over the trail to Tibetan border ranges beyond Samdo Peak. The Larke Himal wall blocks more southerly views; the Pawar Himal views to the north.

A long moraine-ridge runs from the first flags, parallel to the Larke wall and separated from it by a deep gully, to a second set of flags and astounding views ahead. (These flags also mark the border between the Manaslu and Annapurna Conservation areas.)

To the west peaks include (anticlockwise from the north) the impressive Pawar Peak (6,620m/21,720ft), Cheo Himal (6,820m/22,376ft), the Himlung pyramid (7,126m/23,380ft), Gyaji Kung (7,030m23,065ft), Kang Garu (6,981m/22,905ft) plus Annapurna II (7,937m/26,041ft) and its satellites away to the east. Below lies a magnificent basin within dramatic rock and ice walls from which flow a complex of glaciers.

The descent begins from these flags and drops steeply off the moraine then traverses loose scree slopes down a set of steep zigzags to the grassy Dangboche Kharka (4,450m/14,600ft) almost directly below.

The trail offers a bird’s eye view of the glacial action that feeds the upper Dudh (milk) Khola. From the Pawar Himal, the Salpudanda Glacier merges with the Ponkar Glacier below the medial Ponkar Lake (trapped between their moraines) and is then joined by the western Kechakyu Glacier to form the Bimthang Glacier that exists the valley.

From Dangboche Kharka the gradient eases and the trail follows the curve of the lateral moraine of the Salpudanda/Bimthang glacier into the lovely Bimthang Valley. A T-junction indicates a path up over the moraine to the Ponkar Lake or down to the scenic settlement of Bimthang (plain of sand). The Kechakyu Himal rises to the north and Manaslu’s northeast face and connecting ranges stand high above the valley to the east.

Bimthang is now the summer grazing settlement for the people of Samdo. Before the closure of the Tibetan border it was an important trading post. The Tibetan Khampa warriors held a centre here in the 1970s.

Overnight at lodge in Bimthang

Day 15
Bimthang – Gho (2,515m/8,250ft), ~12km, 5-6 hrs

A further 1,200m/3,900ft descent begins with a walk across the Bimthang Plain, a drop to cross the stony glacier then up and over the far moraine to enter magnificent pristine rhododendron and pine forest. Views back towards the Larke, Manaslu, Nadi and Chuli Himals are excellent all along this route. The trail descends along the west bank of the Dudh (milk) Khola past Hompuk (3,430m/11,254ft, a rock shelter near the bridge) and attractive Sangura Kharka (3,020m/9,909ft) before descending steeply to the highest cultivated land at Karche (2,700m/8,860ft). Beyond is a flood related landslide, more terraced fields and a steep ridge climb before dropping to the substantial (Gurung) village of Gho.

Overnight at lodge in warmer Gho

Day 16
Gho – Dharapani (1,920m/6,300ft)):~8km, 3-4 hrs

After breakfast, trek through farmlands to the old paved village of Tilje (2,300m/7,546ft), then cross to the east bank of the river before descending rapidly towards the Marsyangdi Valley through scrub forest. Cross back to the west bank just before Thonje (1,965m/6,447ft) and then, in Thonje, cross the Marsyangdi Khola (from Manang) just above the confluence before joining the new road along the main Annapurna Circuit route in Dharpani at the perfect lunch time and end of the trek. Afternoon enjoy hot shower and wonder around this Tibetan village.

Overnight at Lodge in Dharapani

Day 17
Dharapani- Besi Sahar (760m/2,495ft) – Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264ft): ~ 190km 7-8hrs

After breakfast, a jeep ride along the dusty and bumpy road to Besi Sahar and the paved road back to Kathmandu.

Day 18
Day 18: Final departure

After breakfast, transfer to Tribhuvan International Airport for your onward flight to your next destination.

Price Includes

  • Airport Pick and Drop by private Transport
  • Hotel in Kathmandu with B/B basic (One Night) (Centrally located, attach bathroom, hot and cold shower)
  • All government taxes and Everest National Park entry fees as well as local charge
  • TIMS CARD (Trekking Information Management System). We need two photograph each for permit.
  • Required number of experienced English speaking guides ((trained by Ministry of tourism), and support staff (we pay for their daily wages, insurances, trekking equipment’s, thier food and accommodation).
  • Rescue arrangement in emergency situation & worst weather condition
  • Necessary ground transportation depending upon your request (via tourist bus or private vehicle).
  • Manaslu Conservation Fee
  • Trekking poles, sleeping bag, down jacket/duffle bag (we provide these if necessary).
  • All necessary Domestic airport taxes.
  • Trekking maps.
  • Rubbish disposal.
  • PNT service charge and government taxes.

Cost Excludes

  • All meals in Kathmandu and during trekking
  • Extra nights hotel stay in Kathmandu.
  • Tips to guides and support staff.
  • Additional costs in case of emergency (You must have adequate travel insurance to cover any kind of emergencies, such as ground transportation & Heli recue/medical/hospitalization. Medical etc).
  • Your International flight ticket airfare
  • Energetic chocolate/energy drinks/alcohol/mineral water/cigarettes/packing food snacks etc
  • Additional medication for altitude sickness (Acetazolamide etc).
  • Personal expenses and any other unforeseen expenses, such as Laundry/WIFI on trek/phone call
  • Personal trekking equipment.
  • Nepal entry visa fees which can get up on your arrival in Kathmandu airport
  • Sightseeing tour and All the entrance fees of temple in Kathmandu
  • Services not mentioned herein

Permit & Entry Fees:

It is compulsory to pay Everest National Park entry fee and TIMS card to trek in this area.

Medical Support:

An emergency first aid kit is carried by the support staff at all times.

Accommodation and meals:

During tea house treks our guests pay for their food (breakfast/lunch/dinner) at the lodge while we provide guides/accommodation/necessary permit and transportation. It can be USD $25 per person each day for food (Lunch/dinner/breakfast)

Water:

Mineral waters are available at all stops during tea house treks. You can also use tap water if you choose to use water purification tablets.

Travel Insurance:

Travel Insurance is mandatory for all clients who choose to trek or climb with us. The insurance should cover you in case of emergencies like accidents, altitude sickness and ambulance and helicopter rescue charges if required. Please carry a copy of your insurance papers while travelling in Nepal and do send us a copy as well. This will help us in making all the necessary arrangements in case of any sort of emergencies.

Best Season for Everest Panorama View Trek

  • Spring : March – May
  • Summer: June – August
  • Autumn: September – November
  • Winter: December – February
While there are no seasonal constraints on traveling to Nepal, different regions are best visited in different seasons. Once you inquire about any trekking itinerary we’ll email you regarding the best season for that particular trek.

Check-list of personal equipment:

  • Good standard trekking boots
  • Camping shoes/thongs
  • Socks-polypropylene
  • Down Jacket
  • Fleece
  • T-shirts
  • Trekking trousers
  • Shorts (both casual and for treks)
  • Swim wear
  • Sun Hat
  • Woollen Hat
  • Nylon Windbreaker
  • Gloves
  • Gaters
  • Strong Rucksack
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Water Bottle
  • Torch/headlamp (with spare batteries)
  • Toiletries/soap
  • Toilet paper
  • Sun block
  • Travel Towel
  • Wet-wipes
  • Medication (cough medicine, throat soothers, water purification tablets)
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Camera & lenses
  • Memory cards
  • GPS Tracking Units may be helpful
  • Altimeter
  • Compass
  • Book/music player/pack of cards
  • Padlock
  • A plastic bag for waste
  • Energy/snack bars

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

Price From USD$700 USD$590/person
590
Total $ 590 USD

Trip Facts

  • Private Car and Local Transport
  • 2 Minimum - 10 Maximum
  • 5100m/16731ft Larke pass
  • Moderate/Strenuous