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Trekking the Manaslu Circuit in Nepal

Mónica Fuentes, Albert Ojembarrena, Amarok Adventures
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1 Person
16 day
Mónica Fuentes, Albert Ojembarrena, Amarok Adventures
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  • Nepal is a climber’s dream, but you can make it come true by joining the 16-day Manaslu Circuit tour. Lucky for us, this circuit is still far less trekked than some other trails in the country—this only means we’re getting a more authentic Himalayan experience through more remote parts of the mountain. There’s not enough space for us to list all the different alpine and tropical landscapes, vegetation, and animals we’ll encounter, so here are some showstoppers: Budhi Gandaki gorge with turquoise-hued waters and waterfalls, Himalayan blue pine forests, and mighty herds of yaks. We’ll stop for meals and overnight stays in rustic tea houses, so we’re really getting 2 for the price of 1: views of celestial, snow-capped peaks and a cultural experience of the traditional way of life.

    • We’ll begin our journey in Kathmandu, Nepal’s bustling capital city. We will meet together at the Tribhuvan International Airport and get transferred to our hotel. You’ll have some time to rest before heading out for a welcome dinner at a typical Nepalese restaurant in the heart of the city. This is a chance to get to know your guides and fellow travelers. We’ll also have a briefing and a detailed discussion of the trekking plan. After dinner, we will head back to your hotel for the night.
      Meals: Dinner
      Accommodation: Hotel
      Altitude: 1,400 m / 4,593 ft

      Kathmandu, capital of Nepal
    • Today we’re exploring the many historical and heritage sites of Kathmandu, such as the Hindu pilgrimage temple of Pashupatinath, the Boudhanath Stupa, and the “Monkey Temple.” This is a great starting point for learning about Nepalese culture and traditions before embarking the Manaslu Circuit Trek. Our hiking equipment and mountain gear will also be checked—if you’re missing anything, you’ll have enough time to purchase it before the trek. Kathmandu is our last chance to stock up on supplies for the remainder of the journey. Let’s head back to the hotel and relax for the remainder of the evening.
      Meals: Breakfast
      Accommodation: Hotel
      Duration: ~6-hour walk

      Monkey on stupa at Swayambhunath temple, kathmandu
    • With an early wake up, we’ll set out for a 5-hour drive in a passenger van along the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway. We’ll then transfer to a 4×4 jeep that will take us to Machha Khola, at the bank of Budhi Gandaki River. We will stay overnight in our first local tea house lodge.
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Accommodation: Tea house
      Duration: 9-hour drive
      Elevation: -531 m / -1,742 ft
      Altitude: 869 m / 2,851 ft

      Manaslu circuit trek
    • Continuing our journey along the Budhi Gandaki River, we will cross the Tatopani hot springs. The trail is quite exposed and challenging in several places. After a short section of a forest path, we’ll reach the tea house at Doban, above which we’ll be able to see an impressive series of rapids of Budhi Gandaki. We will climb a short steep section and then cross the river using a suspension bridge, followed by another short climb towards Jagat. The night is spent at the tea house.
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Accommodation: Tea house
      Duration: 5-hour hike
      Elevation: +541 m / +1,775 ft
      Altitude: 1,410 m / 4,626 ft

      Suspension bridge on the Manaslu Circuit
    • After breakfast in Jagat, let’s start climbing over a rocky bridge to Salleri, and then descend to Sirdibas. We will continue onto the Ghatta Khola River and follow it upstream to a long suspension bridge in Philim, a large Gurung village, from where the trail crosses the millet fields towards Ekle Bhatti. We’ll come to a steep gorge, after which we’ll descend down to the grassy slopes and cross the Budhi Gandaki river. The trail takes us through bamboo forests to the tiny village of Deng, where we’ll spend the night.
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Accommodation: Tea house
      Duration: 5-hour hike
      Elevation: +394 m / +1,293 ft
      Altitude: 1,804 m / 5,919 ft

    • Today we’re gaining significant altitude as we step slowly into alpine territory—which also means we’re getting spectacular views. We’ll pass many mani-walls and river crossings enroute to Namrung village. Above this village, the valley opens out: extensive pastures until you reach the Tibetan Village of Sho. We’ll stay overnight above the village, where we’ll get first views of Manaslu North and Manaslu peak. Overnight is at the tea-house lodge.
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Accommodation: Tea house
      Duration: 6-hour hike
      Elevation: +746 m / +2,448 ft
      Altitude: 2,550 m / 8,366 ft

      Teahouse in a village in Nepal
    • We will discuss with locals what our best option to get to the gompa is. We’ll pass through Lho, a large village at 3,150 m (10,335 ft), and we’ll find a little monastery there, numerous chortens, and mani-walls. Leaving the village, we will follow the right bank of the river, with views of Peak 29 ahead.
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Accommodation: Tea house
      Duration: 5-hour hike
      Elevation: +630 m / +2,067 ft
      Altitude: 3,180 m / 10,433 ft

      Nepal village in the mountains
    • We will head straight towards Peak 29 and then follow the lateral moraine of the Pungen Glacier towards Sama. New day, new spectacular views—we’ll see Manaslu, Naike Peak, and Northern Manaslu at 7,145 (23,442 ft). Surrounded by mountains in a peaceful forest, we will spend the night in a tea house.
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Accommodation: Tea house
      Duration: 6-hour hike
      Elevation: +350 m / +1,149 ft
      Altitude: 3,530 m / 11,581 ft

      Glacier and the Himalayan peaks
    • Today is a resting day at Samagaon. Spend your day exploring the local surroundings. We can hike a little up towards Pungyen Gompa, which will take about 3 hours. Another option is to go up the narrow and steep uphill trail to Manaslu Base Camp itself, where we’ll be getting close to the mighty Manaslu. The turquoise lake Birendra Tal is along the way. Return back to your tea house.
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Accommodation: Tea house

      Village in Nepal in Himalaya
    • We will cross a high plateau and skirt around the ridge of the lateral moraine. Then we will climb a terraced hillside to reach one of the most remote permanent settlements in Nepal. Samdo is only a day’s walk from Tibet by the Lajyang La pass at 5,098 m (16,723 ft).
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Accommodation: Tea house
      Duration: 3-hour hike
      Elevation: +160 m / +525 ft
      Altitude: 3,690 m / 12,106 ft

      Manaslu Circuit trek, village
    • Crossing the tundra, the trail winds its way to the foot of the immense Larkya glacier pouring out of Manaslu. Surrounding us are mighty mountains and snow-capped peaks, including Manaslu. The once large Bhudi Gandaki is now merely a stream as we continue to follow its course upwards. We’ll reach the last permanent settlement in the valley—Sumdu—and we’ll walk along the ruins of Larkya Bazaa, an old trading village that had strong ties to Tibet. Continue hiking towards Dharamsala until we reach a tea house.
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Accommodation: Tea house
      Duration: 5-hour hike
      Elevation: +780 m / +2,559 ft
      Altitude: 4,470 m / 14,665 ft

      Manaslu Circuit, village and mountain peak
    • Let’s head towards Cho Chnda, so we can reach the ablation valley on the north side of Larkya glaciers. We will walk across the moraines of the glacier, making a gradual ascent which becomes steeper only in the last part. From the top, the panorama is spectacular: Himlung Himal, Cheo Hima, Kang Kuru, and the Annapurna II—all above 6,800 m (22,310 ft). We’ll be welcomed by colorful Tibetan flags encircling the “Congratulations for the Success” sign at the top of the Larkya Pass. This achievement will be greeted with the relief of descending into the valley and the tea house, where we’ll spend the night.
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Accommodation: Tea house
      Duration: 8-hour hike
      Elevation: +636 m / +2,087 ft, -1,386 m / -4,547 ft
      Altitude: 5,106 m / 16,752 ft to 3,720 m / 10,728 ft

      Larkya Pass, Nepal
    • Today starts with a gentle descent through paddy fields towards the small Karcha La pass, followed by a descent through fir forests filled with rhododendrons. Then we’ll head to the tea house.
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Accommodation: Tea house
      Duration: 5-hour hike
      Elevation: -1,420 m / -4,659 ft
      Altitude: 2,300 m / 7,546 ft

      Hiker walking through Himalayan forests
    • We’ll hike gently downstream of the river passing the village of Dharapani. Once there, we’ll catch a local jeep and drive back to Besisahar, where we’ll find lots of hikers on their way to the Annapurna Circuit Trail. Overnight at a tea house.
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Accommodation: Tea house
      Duration: 6-hour hike
      Elevation: -1,540 m / -5,052 ft
      Altitude: 760 m / 2,493 ft

      Mountains on the Manaslu Circuit trek
    • Get ready for our big transit day—we’re driving back to Kathmandu for 6-7 hours. Reminiscing of the remote mountain villages and purity of their modest lives, Kathmandu is a stark contrast with its swarming businesses and buzzing streets. Fantastic in its own way, we’ll have time to explore the city before setting out for a celebratory for our last night together as a group.
      Meals: Breakfast
      Accommodation: Hotel
      Duration: 6/7-hour drive
      Elevation: +640 m / +2,100 ft
      Altitude: 1,400 m / 4,593 ft

      Historic Temple in Kathmandu's Old City
    • After breakfast on our final day in Kathmandu, we will arrange transport back to the Tribhuvan International Airport. If you’re not yet ready to say your goodbyes, ask us for recommendations.
      Meals: Breakfast

      Monk in a temple in Kathmandu
    • What you get on this adventure:

        • An experienced, certified mountain guide with extensive knowledge of the area and a local Nepali certified guide
        • 16-day trekking tour of the Manaslu Circuit
        • Private transportation during the tour
        • Hotel accommodation with breakfast in Kathmandu
        • Teahouse and mountain hut accommodations with all meals for the duration of the trek with unlimited tea & coffee
        • Transportation to and from the airport
        • Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu
        • Government taxes
        • Trekking permit

      What’s not included:

        • Transportation to and from Nepal
        • Nepal entry visa fee
        • Alcoholic drinks, cold drinks or laundry services
        • Lunches and dinners in Kathmandu
        • Luggage transportation for the duration of the trek
        • Sleeping bag and personal mountain gear
        • Trip insurance
        • Guide gratuities — optional

      As Manaslu is a restricted region and that there are no roads connecting the different towns in the area, the cost of everything (including food and accommodation) is higher. Your guides try to keep these expenses as low as possible without compromising safety or quality of your experience.

    • A licensed guide is a must for Manaslu Circuit Trek. As of April 2023, the Government of Nepal has restricted solo trekking through the region without a guide, porter and a special hiking permit.

      This is no surprise — the trek takes you off the beaten path so you will need a guide to help you navigate the routes safely. This decision has been made for the tourists’ benefit, as many tourists have gone missing over the past few years when they went trekking solo.

      Your authorized trekking guide will take care of the special permit so you don’t have to worry about the logistics and administration. The cost of the permit is included in the price of the adventure.

    • Hiking the Manaslu Circuit is a challenging undertaking, and it requires excellent physical fitness. If you want to fully enjoy your trip to Nepal, you should be able to hike for up to 6 hours a day on steep, rocky, and slippery terrain with significant elevation changes. A lot of the hiking will be done in high altitudes (up to 5,106 m / 16,752 ft), so some experience dealing with high elevation is recommended. Keep in mind that you’ll also be carrying a backpack for 15 days and that weather can be unpredictable.

      The Manaslu Circuit trek isn’t ideal for beginners who have no experience with longer hikes, rugged terrain, and high altitudes. Make sure you’re fit enough to endure 11 days of trekking with a loaded backpack and that you’re ready for higher altitudes.

      If you’re looking for some other treks in Nepal, check out this hiking tour of the Upper Mustang Kingdom, the Annapurna Circuit Trek or the legendary Everest Base Camp trek.

    • Suitcases or duffel bags are not allowed on this tour as you will be hiking with the backpack. If you want to bring extra clothing and luggage in a suitcase or duffel bag, you will have to leave them in the city. There will be no porter service on trek.

      Ensure that all items fit securely within your backpack without anything protruding, keeping everything dry during the hike. The recommended maximum weight for your backpack is 12 kg/ 26 lbs, with an optimal limit around 8kg/17.6lbs. The quantities listed for specific items are indicative and based on guides’ recommendations.

      Here’s a list of personal equipment you need to bring:

        • Backpack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 35-50L bag)
        • Valid passport & passport scanned photocopies
        • Visa (easy to obtain on arrival)
        • 2 passport-sized photos for your permits
        • Sleeping bag with comfort temperature of -15°C to -20°C / 5°F to -4°F
        • Waterproof bag for your clothes
        • Swimsuit and towel
        • Personal toiletries
        • Personal first-aid kit (make sure to take all you need with you)
        • Sunscreen and sunglasses
        • Headlamp + batteries
        • Camera — optional
        • Power bank
        • Hiking poles — highly recommended
        • Water bottle and thermos
        • Ear plugs
        • Small personal first-aid kit (simple and light) — first-aid tape, Band-Aids, alcohol-free wipes for cuts, personal medications, etc.
        • Skin blister repair kit
        • Anti-diarrhea pills (Imodium) — one pack
        • One small bottle cough and/or cold medicine
        • One course antibiotics for chest infection
        • One course antibiotics for stomach infection
        • One small bottle of anti-altitude sickness medication: Diamox (Acetazolamide)
        • One small bottle of water purification tablets (needs to contain silver-ions & chlorine) or a water filter or UV sterilizer
        • Prescription glasses/contact lenses

      Here’s a list of clothing you need to bring:

        • Waterproof hiking boots with a sturdy sole
        • Warm clothes
          • First layer: bottom / upper base layer (Merino wool recommended, 1-2 units)
          • Second layer: fleece jacket (1-2)
          • Third layer: down jacket (1)
        • Waterproof jacket & pants (GoreTex recommended, 1)
        • Hiking pants (1-2)
        • Short sleeve t-shirts (3-5)
        • Long sleeve t-shirts (1-2)
        • Underwear and hiking socks
        • Warm beanie
        • Gloves / mittens
        • Hiking buff
        • Sandals or crocs (for river crossing)

      Due to the difficult terrain, it’s highly recommended to bring good quality mountain gear.

      Your guides will contact you about any additional equipment at the time of contracting the trip.

    • While you’re in Kathmandu, you’ll be staying at 2/3-star hotels with breakfast included. Once you get on the trek, you’ll be staying at basic, local tea houses. All rooms are twin, though single occupancy is available upon request at an additional cost—but keep in mind that it might not be possible to get single rooms at higher-altitude tea houses.

      When it comes to tea houses on the trek, most of them have only shared washing and toilet facilities. Showers are usually hot, but they can’t always be guaranteed due to unreliability of power sources.

    • During your stay in Kathmandu, only breakfast will be included. While you’re on the trail, all meals are included—breakfast and dinner in tea houses and lunch on the trek. There are no alcoholic or cold beverages included.

      The diet during the trip will be healthy and balanced, using all kinds of local products for making authentic Nepalese, Tibetan, and Indian meals. If you have any dietary restrictions, let us know in time and your guide will make proper adjustments.


    • Group sizes:

        • For this group hiking tour of the Manaslu Circuit, the maximum group size is 12 people.
        • It takes a minimum of 7 people for this tour to operate. Once the trip is confirmed, you can start booking your plane tickets.

      Hiking the Manaslu Circuit can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

      Min. age requirements:

        • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
        • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

      If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

    • To get to Kathmandu, the starting point of your Manaslu Circuit tour, most people fly into Tribhuvan International Airport. Your guide will arrange a pick-up (and a drop-off at the end of the tour) and take you to your hotel in Kathmandu.

    • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

      We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Nepal, please refer to the entry requirements by the foreign travel advice or COVID-19 information by the U.S. Embassy in Nepal.

      Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

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