Manaslu Round or Circuit Trek is considered classical trek in Nepal which is in-between the popular trekking region Annapurna and Langtang Region. Manaslu Round Trek is a challenging and fascinating trip with a great Himalayan view. The wilderness trekking trail of Manaslu is not crowded with individual trekkers at all. Traveling the highland villages of Nepal thrills a trekker to cross over a Larkya La pass which is the tough bit of this trek. Manaslu is referred to as the “mountain of the soul”, and is one of the imminent geographical charismas dominating the historical kingdom of Gorkha. A conical shaped snowcapped mountain of height 8,156 m above sea level is the major attraction of this trekking package. Locally Manaslu is known as Pungent Ri whose embodiment is worshiped in a Gompa couple of hundred meters above the village of Sama Goan.
Manaslu Round Trek offers rich culture, adventure, scenic beauty and rudimental rural civilization that represents the ancient Tibetan lifestyle. Due to the newly opened route, this trek enclosing the entire Manaslu massif extends a chance to completely explore the full range of Nepal’s natural and cultural diversity. This trek begins from historical city Gorkha. As we head up towards the Mt. Manaslu, the trail reveals an unexplored country inhabited by Gurung communities. During this Manaslu Round trek, the trail ultimately encompasses Mt. Manaslu crossing Larkya Pass (5,213 m) and comes down to the classical route of Annapurna. If you still want more, you can continue trekking Around Annapurna crossing another arduous pass of Throng La (5,416 m) otherwise you will come back to Kathmandu.
It begins at Arughat after 9 hour’s bus journey from Kathmandu. Manaslu Round Trek route goes along Budi Gandaki River valley and Highlander settlements to cross Larkya Pass (5106 m). This non-touristic, quiet, untouched, geographically fascinating part of the Central Himalayan Region with a hot spring, monastery, nunnery, medicinal plants, wildlife, breathtaking highest mountain views, fresh air. This challenging route goes through tropical land towards the treeless alpine zone. Trekkers will explore the diverse land of Nepal with Tibetan Buddhism, Chorten, prayer flags, prayer wheel, mantra practice, and outstanding snow-clad mountains. Manaslu Round Trek continues from medium to a difficult level of walking through the high gorge, river valley, and uphill, downhill path even at the last beginning part of Annapurna Circuit. Adventure lovers will enjoy this eighth highest summit Mt. Manaslu 8163 m with intense colors, changing Budi Gandaki valley, marvelous alpine lifestyles. Former training even safety rules required to embark on this Manaslu Circuit trip. This hiking journey is worth to explore the untouched landscape, China border, Tibetan culture, high pass, hidden valley. This trip required TIMS, both of Manaslu and Annapurna Conservation permits, including a minimum of 2 people in a group because of the restricted area of Nepal. March to May and Sept to November are the best time to explore Manaslu Round Trek.
After landing at the Tribhuwan International Airport, you will be greeted by our representative staff that will drop you off at the hotel. You will check-in at the hotel, freshen up and take a rest. Overnight in Kathmandu.
After an early breakfast, we will begin our trip with a drive along the Prithivi highway west from Kathmandu, through the beautiful river view cross the Trishuli River and reach Dhading Bensi through pitched road. Four to five hours bus drive from Dhading Besi takes us Arkhet, driving along with the beautiful villages, rivers, follow continually Dorandi Khola northwards to Gorkha and Arukhat with observing the Mt. Manaslu and Ganesh Himal range on the footsteps of Manaslu to Arkhet by following the Budhi Gandaki River. Arughat Bazaar is centered on both sides of the River Budi-Gandaki linked by a suspension bridge. This is the largest settlement in the valley which is also a junction to various important places. After a two-hour drive from Arughat takes us to Soti Khola.
We continue following the low valley to the north, observing the majestic Himalayan Peaks from time to time on our way up the picturesque densely forested Buddhi Gandaki Valley, passing through several small villages tucked into the hillside, until we reach a widening of the valley. In Opposite site, a large tributary stream enters the Budhi Gandaki River. Walking a series of ascent and descent leads to the small and beautiful village of Lapubesi (880m). As we move our path descends to the wide, sandy riverbed which follows a trail meandering below the abrupt, steep valley side. We make the last climb up to reach Machha Khola.
We cross the river and head upstream to Khola Beni. The route soon has to walk on a dramatic gorge with sculptured rocks of spectacular waterfalls and some landslides. After crossing the bridge and heading upstream to the tiny village of Khola Besi, and natural hot springs at Tatopani (Tatopani means ‘hot water’ in Nepali). From hot spring, we hike up to another trail, then, cross the Budhi Gandaki on a suspension bridge. Climb on a wide, then across a landslide and over a ridge to Dobhan. From here, we cross a suspension bridge over the Yaru Khola, and climb the stone stairs and then drop to the river and again climb more stone stairs to Thado Bharyang before ascending to the charming village of Jagat, and the Manaslu Conservation area and police check post where we will need to present our trekking permits.
We make an entry into the restricted region of Manaslu and Tsum Valley by registering the Permit in the checkpoint at Jagat. We climb over a ridge to Salleri. We walk a bit along the riverbank, cross the Budhi Gandaki River on a long suspension bridge. As we continue to walk, the valley widens heading towards Philim. As we pass by Ekle Bhatti, the trail gets separated toward Tsum and Manaslu. We pass through the welcome board and hike up approaching Lokpa. We meet a few villages. Rivers become narrow as we meet to the confluence of the Syar Rivers from Tum valley. We turn right from Tsum valley to reach Lokpa village, the first village in Tsum valley that provides a chance to see the Manaslu range. From Lokpa, slaughtering of an animal is strictly prohibited, it’s complete isolation hidden valley of happiness blessed by Padmashamva centuries ago. The stunning view of Himalchuli and Boudha Himal can be observed from Lokpa village.
After having had breakfast, we start walking from Lokpa village- entrance to the wild route to Tsum valley. In the route from Lokpa to Chumling on a clear day, the view of Baudha Himal (6672m) and Ganesh Himal VI is seen very clearly. Trial descends to Lungwa river valley, then climb up through silence tropical forest of dense rhododendron and pine to Gumling. No villages are passed on the way between Lokpa to Gumling. Trial separates at Gumling. We cross again Syar Khola and arrive at the village of Chumling. Late afternoon, a side trip to the upper part of Chumling to visit the monastery is the best for the view of Ganesh Himal. Chumling has three monasteries of Panago Gumba, Mani Dhungyur, and Gurwa Gumba. There are a telephone service and a health post too.
Today, we enter the upper valley, part of the Inner Himalaya. The trail continues along the Syar River down to Domje and then rises over 500 meters to the largest city in Tsum valley. A pretty village of Gho has unusual Gomba. From there we will continue our uphill climbing and then trek to arrive at Chhokangparo. On a clear day, we can have magnificent views of Himalchuli and Ganesh Himal from Chhokangparo. From Chhokangparo, where we will have the opportunity to have the hospitality of local people (Tibetan group “Tsombo”) welcoming with traditional Tibetan Chiya (butter tea) and local meal.
We walk relatively shorter than previous days. The Nile, on the western, sun-side of the Shikhar Khola, about a 20-minute walk across from Chhule, is the last village heading north in the upper Tsum Valley. As we go up, the valley becomes fertile, narrow, and we see people busy in farming. After passing Lamagaon, there is Piren Phu cave of St. Milarepa where his footprint is still preserved and noticeable in the rock. Piren Phu (pigeon cave) is one of the most sacred caves in the Tsum valley on the side of a rugged cliff mountain, with great views of the valley from the cave monastery, near the village of Burji. There are two different Gumbas connected to the rocky cave. Richly painted Buddhist murals, excellent artistic scripts carved on stones, long prayer flags and significant Buddhists paper scripts make this cave one of the most important socio-cultural assets in the valley. Then, we head towards the crossing of the suspension bridge over Shiar River and continue our trek through several villages to finally cross a bridge and arrive at the Nile.
A short walk from the Nile along the west bank of the valley close to the Tibetan border reaches easily to Mu Gompa, the highest point of Tsum valley trek. We hike up through yak pastures through typical dry and arid Trans Himalayan Terrain. The monastery has rows of Chortens and beautiful mountain views and houses. The historical Dephyudonma monastery connected with the origin of Buddhism is managed by Lama, on the lap of the rugged mountains, which is one of the oldest monasteries in the Tsum.
We return down the valley through Chhule and continue down as far as Phurbe. We go through the Siyar Khola and crossing flat boulder-covered plains following the power lines to Rachen Gompa (3240 m), where we inspect the ancient Gompa, talk to very friendly nuns or monks.
We trek to the south until a bridge crosses to the west bank and passes again through Chhokang Paro then drops below on the previous trail towards Chumling. After about 2 hrs we can witness a small white gompa on the left at Gho (2485 m). We descend on a narrow trail crossing the gompa and drop to a wooden bridge over the Siyar Khola. Cross the bridge to Domje (2460- has Tibetan herbal medicine clinic and school. Then we climb very steeply through pines and rhododendrons until the track starts traversing at a Mani wall with prayer flags. Finally, in the pine forest, take a prayer flag marked the ascending trail and make an ascent through huge silver pines to reach Gumba Lungdang (3200 m), sat on a hill.
The intact forest wilderness and views make it an outstanding trek even though; altitude gain may cause difficulty in hiking. We traverse down and up through two small valleys, then drop right on dusty or muddy zigzags on a shortcut to regain the lower track and continue up the valley through the forest. After passing through a small clear pasture then taking the right-hand descending track and drop to the river, the bridge takes to a steep bank – look for cairns upstream and climb the bank. Traverse through the forest on a passable track with many wind-thrown trees, and cross the Laudang Khola to the west bank on a rickety wooden bridge. Climb steeply through pristine pines and rhododendrons on a ridge, stone huts beside a large boulder in a kharka. The track continues between the huts and up. Eventually, we emerge into grassy flats behind the lateral moraine of the Torogumba glacier. Continue climbing past seasonal yak huts and several tracks on the moraine wall that gives superb views of the mountains. We trek for about 4 hrs. to reach the Ganesh Himal Base Camp (4200 m). The return to Gumba Lugdang is very short.
We go down Chhokangparo to the monastery at Gho (2,485 m). Continuing on a narrow trail through the village to cross the Shiar Khola and head to nearby Dhumje (2,440 m). Then the trail climbs up steeply through pine and rhododendron to reach a Mani wall with prayer flags. Leaving Gomba Lungdang, we pass through Domje and get back to Lokpa. The trial will drop back through the George that forms the entrance into Tsum valley along the Syar River.
The descent trail through the exposed route, we cross the Buri Ghandaki on a solid bridge then enter a narrow gorge ascending and descending while gradually climbing through the valley. Crossing the river again on a suspension to Nupri and then through bamboo forests to Deng (1860 m), inhabited by Gurung villagers. Crossing the river and climbing to Rana (1900 m) and then reach Bhiphedi (2,130 m). We meander in and out of the valley canyons to cross the Serang Khola before finally arriving at into Ghap (2160 m).
Leaving Ghap, the valley becomes steeper and long climb through bamboo and rhododendron crossing the wild river a couple of times to reach the village of Namrung, entry into the Nupri region. The people here are descendants of Tibetan migrants many centuries ago. We continue passing the entrance gate of Mani walls, Buddhist Gompas to the villages. Ahead the valley opens out and soon moves through the Tibetan village of Sho. The village has many yaks and there are excellent views of Manaslu (8163 m) and Manaslu North (7157 m) at the end of the village.
This is an easy day and we enable us to savor the great mountain views. Trek to Sama (3530 m), we follow the right bank of the river with views of Peak 29 ahead. A couple of hours climbing through the forest bring us to the village of Shyala, offering views of Phungi, Manaslu and Himal Chuli. The villagers rely on yaks, potatoes, and barley for their crops in this precisely mountainous region. As we hike up, the peaks of Ganesh Himal towards the east and the huge peaks of Himalchuli and Manaslu in the south can be seen. At the far end of the village, overlooking the valley stands the well-known monastery of Sama Gaon; the Tibetan border is very near from here. We stop at Samagaon for the next two nights which will further help with acclimatization.
To ensure proper acclimatization to the altitude, we have scheduled a rest day at Sama Gaon. The beautiful village of Sama Gaon is one of the highlights of the trek with excellent mountain views, close to Manaslu base camp. We see women wearing a nice silver spoon as jewelry at Sama Gaon. Today is a rest day but our guide takes an optional excursion side trip to explore glacial moraine surrounding attractions with sightseeing to Birendra Lake or Pungyen Gompa which means bracelet i.e. a good description of the two peaks. The return side trip to Manaslu base camp takes eight hours. Those wishing though side trip but well worth the effort with the Manaslu Glacier and the turquoise lake beneath with mountains as far as the eye can see. If you want to just explore surrounding viewpoints and relaxed day, this Tibetan village allows visiting the Pung-Gyen monastery which sits beneath the east face of Manaslu. Higher up again is a cave Gompa and hot springs.
We start an early in the morning walk from Sama Gaon to head towards Samdo. We continue our walk down the edge through some fields to some old Mani walls and cross the wooden bridge over the Budi Gandaki and climb gradually up the valley. Another Mani wall marks the beginning of the ascent to the pass and cross two streams and witness the Larkya Glacier. We go around the valley of the Salka Khola and ascend to the stone guest house (4450 m) which is not a lodge but a kind of shelter called Dharmasala, also known as Larkya La Phedi. Today we will be rewarded with the views of Larkya Glacier with the fantastic views of Manaslu looking particularly impressive. We came here today and have a rest to prepare for tomorrows crossing of the famous and most awaited Larkya Pass.
We leave Dharmasala very early in the morning as it is the longest and toughest section of trekking around Manaslu crossing the Larkya la pass 5160m before the wind starts blowing strongly and possible storms appear on the pass. The trail starts 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. As we descend to the four frozen lakes then make the final sheer ascent to the pass. From the pass of the summit, there is an outstanding panoramic view on a clear day of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kanguru, and the huge Annapurna II on the horizon. Savor the spectacular views from the top of the pass. Bhimtang is long but beautiful. On the descent from the pass, the trail follows the top of the moraine and makes a set of steep, rough trails as it crosses the moraine. Then the trails descend more gently on loose gravel to another grassy moraine at 4,450 m. as we reach a small meadow. The valley becomes wider as the trails head down to a large pasture, past a Mani wall and a small rest house that indicates Bimthang at 3,590 m.
From Bimtang, the trail starts to cross over the side of the moraine and descend to the headwaters of the Dudh Khola and crosses a wooden bridge, then into pine and rhododendron forest to Hompuk (3,430m) with a rock shelter. The rhododendrons appear in a wide range of colors, sheep, horses, and monkeys fill the forest. The panoramic view of Phungi, Manaslu, Manaslu north peak, Cheo Himal and Himlung Himal, are visible. 30-minute descent in the forested area reaches the meadow of Sangore Kharka. Then cross a landslide before beginning a steep ascent to a ridge adorned with prayer flags. It makes a descent to the river bank at Gho (2,575 m). Overnight lodge at Gho.
The route continues down with a few ups, mostly through fields, but also through some dense forest. Less than an hour walk through fields and intermittent stands of rhododendron and oak to arrive at Tilije, a very mixed of an ethnic community settlement. We exit the village through a stone archway, cross the Dudh Khola and follow along with its bank descending through the little forest. The walls of the Marsyangdi Valley appear larger and eventually, the houses of Dharapani emerge in the distance. As we pass through Thonje via a wooden bridge and through a chorten-shaped arch, we arrive at Dharapani that lies beyond a long suspension bridge over the Marsyangdi. Trial downs to talk on the sandy banks of the Marsyangdi River. The prayer flags, Mani walls, and chortens of Tal represent the last Buddhist village on the trek.
In the morning, we leave Tal for Besisahar on local Jeep or Bus. Approximately after 4 to 5 hours drive passing the villages, Marshyandi river, the town of Bhulbhule and khudi then to Beshishar. We need to reach Besisahar at least before 3 p.m. to catch up last jeep or local bus to Kathmandu. On a journey back to Kathmandu, the road follows along the scenic Marsyangdi River Valley and then meets the Trishuli River as we head west along the Prithvi Highway. Along the way, we will have good views of the lush scenery and terraced farmland and perhaps even some final glimpses of the mountains.
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This is one of the most amazing treks I have ever done in Nepal. We did the entire Manaslu Circuit and a side trip to the remote Tsum Valley. We are lucky to have chosen Attractive Travels and Tours, their porter/guides are one of the most funny, nicest guide/porters we’ve had. Not only we enjoyed the trip but we also had a great time.